October, 2020

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4 Differences Between Creative and Marketing Agencies

Do you need a creative agency or a marketing agency?

Look at the most successful companies today, and you’ll see the magic of both agency types at play. 

Take Apple for example. 

Apple’s marketing believes that design and utility are just two of the reasons behind Apple’s success and certainly give it a competitive advantage.”

But drill down to Apple and its individual products’ success in the market spaces they compete in, and you’ll see that design alone doesn’t do the magic. 

Marketing is just as important.

Apple drives growth with a marketing mix that does an excellent job to create raving fans even before product launches. And the overall sales it commands from its products is a direct result of the company’s marketing strategies. 

In other words, to drive and sustain its growth, Apple uses creative agencies. But before their product launches, they leverage the expertise of marketing agencies.

This is the difference between a creative agency and a marketing agency.

What is a creative agency?

According to Column Five Media: 

“A creative agency is a term for an agency that offers a variety of services that fall under the umbrella of marketing and advertising. Basically, if you need any type of creative strategy, work, or promotion, they can help you get it done.”

Column Five Media is a creative agency that has worked with Intuit, eBay, Google, Facebook, and dozens of other global brands. 

Take a second to look at the definition of a creative agency by Column Five Media, a creative agency, and what does it reveal to you? 

It clearly shows that even a wildly-experienced creative agency admits that its services, or any creative agency’s services, fall under the umbrella of marketing and advertising.  

This definition should tell you something:

A creative agency helps to illuminate the advertising and marketing strategy execution of a company through appealing designs and other forms of creative work. 

What is a Marketing Agency? 

Like Column Five Media, my agency, Neil Patel Digital, has also worked with global brands such as Google, eBay, Intuit, Facebook, and dozens of others: 

Here’s how I define a marketing agency:

“A marketing agency is a business that researches, strategizes, brands, and promotes a company’s products or services. Ultimately, marketing agencies partner with a company to develop, manage, and execute its marketing strategy to achieve defined business goals.”

As you saw in Apple’s example, design and utility (mostly brought to live by creative agencies) play an essential role in making products more appealing to users. 

But the identification of those users, understanding what design choices will appeal to them, the messaging that’ll resonate with them, how, where, and when to reach them for the most impact comes first. 

That’s why I say that marketing (mostly achieved with a marketing agency) is what engineers and sustains a company’s growth. 

Hence, while creative agencies help to illuminate marketing ideas, marketing agencies strategize, create, and deliver the right content to the right people: 

With their defining distinctions established, what are the various other differences between a creative agency and a marketing agency? 

4 Differences between a Creative agency and marketing agency

As I said at the beginning of this article, the difference between these agency types boil down to very fine details. 

Yet the need to know them is paramount, as it helps you to avoid judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree. 

To guide you, I’ll distinguish both by pairing the related services these agency types can help you with when looking to grow your business. 

Difference #1: Market research vs user research

Market research is a core business function. 

Through market research, you can validate a business opportunity, examine the economic forces at play by investigating key industry trends and the competition, and get an idea of your potential market size. 

But the main goal of market research isn’t to give you a solid foundation of the above alone. 

Most importantly, it is to relate the findings from the research to your business case, ensuring that you get a firm grasp of how and where to position your company for growth. 

By using market research to determine “how” to position your business, an agency identifies measures to differentiate your brand from competitors. It also allows them to identify “where” that positioning should happen – something that comes from knowing your prospective customers’ demographics. 

Marketing agencies excel more doing this type of high-level market research. 

Not only are they the ones who usually have market analysts working in-house, they’re also the ones who go on to develop tools that enable this kind of market research. 

For example, the need to conduct SEO research and help people understand their market and competition better is part of what led me to develop Ubersuggest

However, although some marketing agencies have in-house user researchers, creative agencies shine the most in the area of user research.  

Market research helps to determine the how and where of your brand. 

But to know why people would care, you must appeal to their interests and address their pain points the moment they spot your brand collaterals, most times without saying a single word.  

Achieving this feat boils down to creating user-focused visuals and design assets that appeal to people’s interests or address their pain points, otherwise called psychographics

User-focused design is the core of creative agencies. 

To excel at doing this, they always conduct user research to determine the psychographics of prospective customers, even after market research has identified their demographics. 

This explains why you’ll find UX researchers and UI/UX designers leading the lines for creative agencies. 

Difference #2: Long-term branding vs specific targeting

Have you noticed something about most global brands? 

They hardly change their core branding

Yes, they may evolve into trendy visuals as most often do, but the brand fundamentals rarely change entirely. 

Take Google, for example.

The company’s visual identity and logo has evolved tremendously from 1997 to 2015, but its fundamental brand colors, red, blue, yellow, and green remains:  

The reason for this is that branding, usually executed by creative agencies, takes a long-term approach. It involves creating design assets and visuals to depict what your company represents and to articulate your corporate identity even in the years to come. 

But as you see with Google, as time goes by and new market opportunities emerge (mostly identified through market research and by marketing agencies), the need to evolve that identity may arise as you realize the need to appeal to specific audiences. 

And this was the case with Google.

According to a report by The Verge, redesigning their logo to look good on small screens had a profound impact on why Google evolved its visual identity design in 2015. 

In other words, Google, through continuous market research saw the need to appeal to the growing number of people using smartphones to access the internet. 

Google’s example depicts an important difference between creative and marketing agencies. 

Use creative agencies when you need to design and evolve your brand and corporate identity to reflect what your brand represents in the long-term and in changing times. 

But creative agencies focus more on designs, and don’t get into the weeds of studying changing market trends on specific channels. 

And that’s where marketing agencies differ. 

Marketing agencies’ work revolve around seeking new avenues to market your business’ offering, reach specific audiences, and drive growth. Logically, this a necessary first step before embarking on design or involving a creative agency. 

Difference #3: Go-to-market strategy development vs creative direction

Marketing agencies and creative agencies also differ in the area of go-to-market strategy development and leading the creative direction of the strategy execution on various channels. 

That’s another way to say that marketing agencies can help you to identify what channels to market your product or service. They can also help you to plan and decide what content types will drive the most impact. 

But most lack design expertise even when they have in-house designers. 

Creative agencies, therefore, are a better option if you know what channels and content types to create, especially when there’s a need for expert design of the final deliverable of such content. 

For example, a marketing agency may find that your brand will drive more engagement and growth on social media. But they may lack the creativity required to produce appealing content for the social media channels your company uses to appeal to your target audiences on those platforms. 

Creative agencies differ in this area. 

They are the ones to turn to when you need expert design execution specific to a go-to-market strategy typically developed by a marketing agency. 

Difference #4: Analytics vs creativity

There was a myth (although debunked in 2013), which postulated that we have two brains: The methodical or analytical side on the left and the creative side on the right. 

Let’s pretend for a moment that there was some truth in that myth. 

Why?

Because I consider it a good way to differentiate a marketing agency from a creative agency. 

In that case, you can see marketing agencies as the left-brain analytical side because they crunch a lot of numbers in search of logical insights to justify things like marketing spend, marketing ROI, and many others. 

On the other hand, creative agencies deal with the irrational aspects of a business by applying creative thinking and emotionally-driven design development to appeal to intangible human emotions not necessarily measured by numbers. 

Although in business, everything, including efforts by both a marketing or creative agency, eventually gets measured in the long run to justify their investments. 

However, let’s say you want to identify insights into how your advertising campaigns are performing or will perform in the future relative to your business goals. 

Or, you need data insights such as traffic sources, channels driving the most impact for your business, what your sales funnel metrics is saying, marketing agencies are the ones to turn to because these tasks require analytical data crunching. 

If the data crunching by marketing agencies reveals the need to improve your design or recreate them entirely to get them to become more appealing to specific audiences or channels, creative agencies shine better for doing this. 

Creative agency vs marketing agency: Which one should you choose? 

It depends. 

The truth is that both agency types bring excellent levels of creativity to whatever they do. 

Hence, staying with the myth about the left-side analytical brain and right-side creative brain, you can’t do away with one side and expect the brain to perform at full capacity. 

You need both to drive your business forward. 

So instead of asking which one you should choose (because you’ll need one of the two at some point), the question should be when should I choose a marketing or creative agency? 

When you want to develop or improve your branding or brand identity, go to a creative agency. Also, when you want to create or improve design assets to support your marketing campaigns or make your content more appealing, creative agencies can help in these areas. 

However, before you seek creative design help, it’s essential to conduct market research, develop a go-to-market strategy to guide everything they design, and set up an air-tight analytics ecosystem to measure everything every step of the way. 

If this is what you need right now, my ad agency, Neil Patel Digital, shines in this area.

The post 4 Differences Between Creative and Marketing Agencies appeared first on Neil Patel.

12 Expectations to Consider When Engaging a Digital Agency

Hiring and working with a digital agency comes with a lot of considerations. 

Not only will you need to think about how to appropriately vet a digital agency, but also what the working relationship will look like. 

In order to ensure that you are getting the most out of your digital agency – and that you aren’t driving them crazy – consider these factors. 

1) Proposal and Strategy 

When you are initially engaging with a digital agency, you should expect to receive some form of value upfront before you invest in their services. 

This can take different forms such as:

  • Proposals – The agency you are speaking with should at the very least prepare a presentation in regard to strategy and execution. 
  • Test project – In some cases, it may be worth hiring the agency for a test project initially. This works better with some services such as content, but not so much with something like SEO, which takes longer.
  • Audit – Agencies may provide you with a free audit, such as things to optimize with your technical SEO or how to improve your design. 

Getting value upfront will help you evaluate the expertise of the agency and demonstrates that they are serious about helping you. 

2) Niche Speciality

Any agency you engage with should ideally have experience working with other clients who are similar to you in terms of both your specific needs and the market you operate in.

  • Market – Not all markets are the same and need different strategies. A B2B company selling machinery parts will need a completely different approach to ethical fashion brands in terms of marketing channels, messaging, and sales cycles.
  • Marketing channel – Your digital agency should also have real experience with whichever marketing channel is best suited to you. Remember that you are competing for customers in each channel, so you need somebody who knows the nuances that will allow your message to stand out.

3) Contracts

Understanding the legal side of your relationship with your agency will ensure that you don’t have any nasty surprises. 

When you sign a contract with an agency, here are some things you should expect:

  • No guarantees – Naturally, an agency will likely do their best to ensure that you get results. However, you will never find an agency that will guarantee a set of results in the contract. Although they may be competent, there is no way they can know for certain they’ll get you results.
  • Fixed period of time – Most contracts are agreed on for a fixed period of time, e.g 3 months. This means that you won’t be able to simply cancel the agreement once you get started, unless there is a clause allowing you to do so.
  • No responsibility – An agency doesn’t hold the responsibility for any damages your brand may incur through their marketing activity. This is one of the reasons why you need to be prudent when evaluating different agencies.

4) Cost Expectations

When you are hiring an agency, you are engaging in a form of outsourcing. 

But despite the connotations, outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean cost savings. If you work with the best agencies, you will have to pay adequately for their expertise. 

Some agencies may promise to do the same work for less, but there is always a logical reason why one agency charges more than the other. Chances are, they have more experience and expertise. 

It’s important to also keep in mind the cost difference between hiring an agency and building an in-house team. Consider how much it would cost you to hire the top talent in a particular field, versus hiring an agency who already has them.

5) Project Scope

Oftentimes, business owners engage with an agency without a clear understanding of exactly what they want. 

Although this is understandable, you should speak with your agency and get a crystal clear idea of what the scope of the project is. 

You will need to consider:

  1. Timeline – How long do you see your working relationship with your agency lasting? Is it a short contractual project to complete a content series? Or do you need an ongoing partner to work with indefinitely?
  2. Evolving needs – You may hire an agency to take care of your SEO, but soon realize that you actually need help producing great content. You will need to map out all the ways you will need help and account for that in your project scope.
  3. Budget – Longer and more complex projects cost more, so you will need to have a realistic grasp of how far your budget will stretch.

6) Results Expectations

Getting results for your business is the ultimate goal when hiring an agency, but it’s important to have a realistic perspective on what success looks like. 

  1. Testing phase – At the start of any relationship with a new agency, there will be a period of adjustment and testing before both of you find the right cadence. This could be a matter of months, depending on what the focus is. 
  2. Failure management – Even the best digital agencies don’t have any magic powers. Although they may do their best, there are sometimes factors outside their control. For instance, the competition in your market may be very tough. You should accept that there is always a risk of failure when engaging with an agency.
  3. Quantified results – With product services like design or programming, the end result is easier to agree on. With marketing, however, there are a lot more variables that can be hard to predict upfront. For instance, a PPC agency can’t tell you exactly how many leads they can get you without running the appropriate tests.

7) Hiring Multiple Agencies

Something you may be thinking about is whether you should hire multiple agencies or just one that can handle everything. 

Working with different agencies has perks including:

  • In theory, you will be able to find super-specialized agencies for each of your marketing needs. This should provide better results
  • You can leverage and gain insights from different perspectives
  • You diversify the risk of relying on one team

But there are some limitations too.

  • It can create a lot more work having to manage multiple agencies. If managed badly, performance can suffer
  • Not all the agencies may be as good as each other
  • It may be difficult to get agencies to collaborate together on a holistic marketing strategy

Hiring multiple agencies can be useful if there is something very specific that you need to solve. For instance, if you are in a niche market and need content creators who have deep knowledge of your market.

8) Personal Workload

When you engage with a digital agency, you are leveraging an external team that can help you achieve your goals. 

However, this doesn’t mean that they are going to take over your business and do all the work for you. Particularly when engaging with a digital marketing agency, you will still have some responsibilities:

  • You will need to ensure that your landing pages are well optimized so that you can convert the increased traffic into customers
  • There will be tasks that you have to do at the onset of the relationship such as providing access to software, creating customer profiles and so on
  • Depending on the type of work you have hired for, you may need to complete specific tasks such as taking high quality product photos or interviewing your team for content ideas

9) Micromanagement 

Micromanagement is typically never a good thing, but you are more likely to pull it off successfully if you are working with a small in-house team.

Working with a digital agency is another story. 

Your digital agency will have their own set of processes and ways of working which you won’t easily be able to oversee and become involved in.

Remember that an agency operates in a different manner to your employees and they aren’t simply there to do as you tell them.

There are also logistical barriers even if you wanted to micromanage an agency. You may only have direct communication with an account manager and not the other members of the team, for instance. 

And not only will the agency not be in the same location as you, but there is a chance that they could be in a completely different timezone.

10) Business Fundamentals 

Here’s the deal.

If you have a bad business, it wouldn’t matter if you hire the best digital marketing agency in the world. They would simply be sending traffic into a blackhole.

You need to deeply understand whether your current challenges are a result of your marketing strategy or a weak business in itself. Before talking to a digital marketing agency, think deeply about the following:

Have you validated your product?

If you barely have any customers, hiring a digital agency probably isn’t the best idea. Find out if there is a strong demand for your product first.

Is there a large addressable market?

Digital agencies will help you build out scalable marketing channels. And to see the best results, you need to have a product and a market that can scale. Selling personalized homemade cookies in your local area probably isn’t the right fit for a digital agency.

Do you have any proof of marketing potential?

In addition to proving that you have a product that sells, you need some inclination that digital marketing channels will work for you. For instance, are their competitors in your space that are doing well online?

11) Agencies Have Multiple Clients

Digital agencies structure their business so that they can work with multiple clients. And like any other business, they are usually trying to grow, which means taking on new clients.

What you need to keep in mind here is that any given digital agency will never put 100% of their resources and focus onto your particular goals.

You will be assigned an account manager, and depending on the work involved you may have direct contact with the team members who are executing on the marketing strategy.

But you will likely not have access to the senior team, unless you are one of their biggest and most important clients. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that even the account manager and marketing people you work with will likely be working on other projects too. It is unlikely you will work with agency members who are 100% focused on your project.

12) Agencies Have Their Own Processes

When you start engaging with a digital agency, you will quickly come to find out that you are essentially integrating with another company.

This means that there has to be a good symbiosis between the different parts of your company and theirs.

  • Team – As agencies are mostly about human relationships and not software, you will need to see if your team actually gets on well with their team. Even if it’s a right fit in terms of skills and track record, sometimes different personalities don’t see eye to eye. 
  • Culture – You will need to examine the culture and values that your agency partner embodies and see if it meshes well with yours. You may for instance prioritize a more slow and steady approach, but they may focus on results by any means. 
  • Processes – You may expect an agency partner that is always on stand by and ready to engage, whereas they may structure themselves more around long periods of deep work. They may be more methodical in how they work, where you may focus more on fundamental execution. You will need to ensure that your processes and styles of working sync up too.

Conclusion

Having the appropriate expectations will set you up for success and a more harmonious relationship with any digital agency you work with. 

The main takeaway here is to understand what an agency can and can’t do for your business. 

As talented and experienced as they may be, they can only work with what you give them.

You will need to ensure that your own house is in order first so that when you do work with an agency they can help you scale up what’s already working.

The post 12 Expectations to Consider When Engaging a Digital Agency appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Work With a Consultant: The Ultimate Guide

While looking through your business objectives, you suddenly feel your organization needs to shake things up a bit. Unfortunately, your in-house team doesn’t have the required expertise to push through change.

So what do you do?

Hire a consultant, hands down.

A consultant can provide your company with specialized knowledge to help solve specific problems, allowing you to gain a competitive advantage.

In a nutshell, they can give you expert opinions, analysis, and recommendations that can help ensure a more objective-based approach to grow your business and maximize sales – all at the same time.

Plus, an outsider’s perspective can likely improve strategizing and troubleshoot problems effectively too.

Our team at Neil Patel Digital has compiled the ultimate guide below to help you understand the nuances of working with a consultant for the best results.

Let’s start by reviewing how you can find the best consultant for your company.

How to Find a Good Consultant – Getting the Interviewing Process Right

Let’s face it: None of us know everything about growing and managing a business.

The scope is big, and covering every part of the syllabus isn’t possible. 

Hence, it makes perfect sense to seek the counsel of experts who are right for you and your business.

And no, no one is going to judge you because you can’t solve your problems, whether it’s reducing expenses or creating an audience for new market entry.

When hiring a consultant, make sure you follow these five simple and important guidelines:

Person of the Highest Character

A good consultant must have an unimpeachable character and be a thorough professional who is willing to put the best interests of your company ahead of their own.

For instance, they must be willing to tell clients things they need to hear but may not want to – even if it means losing business. Ever ready to put their best foot forward, the expert should deeply care about helping their clients achieve their business objectives.

Experience and Expertise

The only way that a good consultant can meet challenges and identify opportunities is when they have years of experience and expertise to create effective strategies. 

The consultant doesn’t need to know your company or industry niche, but they should have the relevant knowledge to understand what to do next to enhance campaign efficiency and deliver results.

Additionally, they should have applicable certifications and technical knowledge. So if you want to launch paid campaigns, find out whether the prospective consultant has the niche-specific qualification. 

For instance, a Facebook ad consultant should know how to use Facebook Pixel, Facebook Ad Manager, and Power Editor. On the other hand, an AdWords consultant should be Google AdWords-certified and know how to improve ad Quality Score.

Creative Problem-Solving Skills

If there is one thing your consultant should be, it‘s an outstanding problem solver.

After all, the whole point of hiring a consultant is to solve specific pain points, along with taking advantage of opportunities.

Most of this is highly dependent on the mentality and excellent analytical skills to create and synthesize campaigns or business processes. Consultants have to be quick and effective learners and have the capability to solve problems through an imaginative and creative thought process.

Spot-On Interpersonal Skills

You need to trust your consultant if you want a successful collaboration, especially since revealing intimate details of your business is a necessity here. 

Think of it as a relationship similar to that between a doctor and patient.

In the absence of complete candor, the consultant’s efforts may not be very effective, and hence, won’t help solve problems. 

So make sure you choose a candidate who you feel you can develop a professional relationship of comfort and trust with.

Effective Communication Skills

Strong communication skills – oral as well as written – is mandatory for a good consultant. 

An articulate thinking process and writing eloquently can also have a positive effect on your company’s target audience.

Communication is a two-way street, though. 

No matter how great a consultant is, they won’t be able to help you until they fully understand the challenges you face, so make sure you’re clear about your pain points, vision, and challenges.

Remember, having the right consultant can create tremendous value. But if you get it wrong, it can also destroy value.

What to Expect When Working with a Consultant

Once you’ve chosen a consultant, there are certain expectations on both sides that you should know to ensure consultancy success.

Onboarding Process

One thing that you can expect from a responsible consultant is availability and responsiveness.

Make sure all the credentials are verified and that the necessary HR paperwork and background checks are properly performed. Once everyone is on the same page, formal documentation should be signed and delivered to the involved parties.

During onboarding, make sure you maintain open dialogue to make the process smooth and fuss-free.

Role Clarification

Everyone involved in the project or task should be clear about what is expected from them and why they’ve been hired. 

You can give the consultant your company‘s mission and vision statements, along with other key documents to help them see the bigger picture.

Don’t be afraid to give the consultant measurable goals. You can work with them to set SMART goals that not only clarify all your expectations but also set parameters to measure the overall progress and performance.

Holding Discovery Sessions and Meetings

It’s almost impossible for a consultant to create any strategy for your company without having an in-depth understanding of your business objectives.

Hence, you have to be prepared to answer a lot of questions from your consultant. In fact, make sure that the consultant does clear their doubts as otherwise, the campaigns will likely fail. This includes:

  • Questions about your current benchmarks, segment objectives, and overall goals.
  • Questions about customer expectations and strategizing accordingly.
  • Questions about KPIs and metrics for performance measurements.
  • Question about tactics and various marketing channels for boosting customer engagement.

Once the consultant understands your current situation, they‘ll work out a game plan to tell you your final destination and think of ways to help you get there.

Reviewing the Final Game Plan

At this stage, the consultant will present their tailor-made ideas and strategies to suit your business needs in front of you and your employees.

This, of course, will depend on the project and the consultancy provided by them. For instance, a digital strategy consultant should cover various aspects related to advertising, such as media, public relations, digital marketing, and print advertising.

You can also propose reviews by looking at the presentation and examples from the previous clientele of the consultant. 

Here’s what you can do:

  • Ask for performance data for evaluation.
  • Discuss campaign elements, especially priority points.
  • Spot knowledge gaps and weak points in strategy, and ask for alternatives.

Strategy Implementation and Result Monitoring

Once you give the final go-ahead to the plan, the consultant will then launch the business campaign or start implementation.

After execution, the consultant should collect and analyze data to give you insights about the campaigns. You can allow suggestions made by them to enhance campaign effectiveness or adjust budgets accordingly.

You may not see immediate results, but you can still use the gained insights for crafting better campaigns.

How to Measure Success 

Measuring the ROI of a consultant can be a challenging prospect. More so, because they help in several areas – many of which are measured in long-term growth.

In fact, according to the Predictive Index Consultant Report, nearly 27% of companies don’t want to hire consultants because measuring ROI is too difficult.

The first thing that you should do is approach the consultant-owner relationship with an actionable viewpoint by doing the following:

  • Set specific, measurable goals from the very beginning.
  • Figure out ways to measure the intangible benefits of their work.

Additionally, you can use certain metrics, such as:

  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Response rate
  • Unsubscribes
  • Lead and conversions
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Brand engagement on website by finding out the number of unique visitors, return visitors, and total time spent on the website

Make sure that you select the right KPIs that allow you to analyze your business campaigns effectively. Otherwise, you won’t be able to measure the success of the consultant’s strategy.

For measuring intangible benefits, gauge the difference in your team’s confidence before and after hiring the consultant. You can also carry out an internal survey or reference feedback.

Where to Find Consultants 

We’ve already established that you need to define the problem you’re facing before hiring outside experts. 

Once you’ve done that, you can get on the task of finding the right consultant for your business.

Usually, the best way to find good consultants is to use word of mouth. Talk to your past clients and ask them for references. Ask them about the problems the consultant helped solve, objectives they helped achieve, and whether they would hire them again.

The other way is to post project details on platforms like Reddit, Guru, Upwork, Freelancer.com. You can also select a freelancer profile from these marketplaces.

Another excellent way is to scan the respective consultant on LinkedIn profiles and blog posts. You can learn a lot about their personality, work ethics, and value that you may not identify while interviewing them. Twitter is also another platform to consider.

However, if you want to work with seasoned consultants – something that we highly recommend – you can do a basic Google search. Visit the websites of these companies and fill in their inquiry forms to schedule a discovery call.

Make sure you pay a lot of attention to the consultant’s personality and consulting style. It’s necessary for them to fit in with your corporate culture and gel with your team – just as any new employee should.

Do they listen to you properly? Do they have high emotional intelligence? All these are important questions you should consider before hiring.

Make sure that you do your homework on the prospect, whether a person or firm, to determine their suitability to solve your exact situation.

The worst thing you can do is force a square peg into a circular hole, which will only lead to time, energy, and money wastage. In other words, you’ll end up in the same place you started.

What Kinds of Budgets and Prices to Expect 

A good consultant will always ask the budget before chalking up campaign frameworks or strategies.

Some consultants work with clients having a monthly budget of $400 for ads, while some only go for businesses with budgets greater than $3000 per month.

So you have to decide the kind of money you are ready to spend and then find candidates who have previously worked with similar budgets.

As for pricing, every consultant charges their own fee depending on their expertise, experience, and goodwill. Typically, there are three pricing models:

  • Daily rate
  • Project fee
  • Retainer fee

Hence, you can either offer them a “set rate,“ provide an upfront retainer fee for the work the consultant will do over a specific period, or finalize an hourly rate.

Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate – even consultants expect it.

The Different Types of Consultants 

A consultant often specializes in specific fields where clients need in-depth expertise. This makes them better equipped to solve particular situations by using expert tools and a greater target audience understanding to avert any crisis.

Consultants generally fall into five categories. These are:

Strategy and Management Consultants

These consultants have a market-specific understanding and know the best practices of your industry niche. As a result, they can offer the following:

  • Enlarge your market footprint
  • Reorganize businesses for greater efficiency and cost savings
  • Expand your product offerings
  • Helps make informed decisions regarding equipment purchase or company buyouts

Human Resources Consultants

These consultants work specifically on employee needs

Whether it’s recruiting top talent, determining compensation to align with company goals, or improving employee retention, an HR consultant can streamline everything using their leadership and communication skills.

IT Consultants

IT is one area that is experiencing tremendous consulting growth.

With the rapidly increasing relevance of technology and tech support, companies have started hiring consultants to facilitate better integration and improve their computer or phone systems, upgrade servers, and ensure efficient storage space.

These consultants are also known as ICT or digital consultants that help clients with the development and application of information technology within their organization.

Operations Consultants

These are individuals or agencies that can help clients improve operations efficiency and performance.

Activities in this segment vary from advisory services to hands-on implementation support for primary functions (sales, production, marketing, etc.) and secondary functions (finance, supply chain, HR, legal, etc.). They can help to improve quality, minimize steps or mistakes, increase margins, and decrease costs.

Sales and Marketing Consultants

As one would expect, sales and marketing consultants primarily focus on the marketing and advertising aspects of organizations. They perform the following tasks:

  • Work on positioning statements
  • Create effective marketing plans
  • Develop a brand from scratch
  • Launching advertising campaigns
  • Initiating sales process and suggesting improvements
  • Establishing social media strategies
  • Designing sales training and coaching material

Financial Advisory Consultant

These are consultants who operate in the financial advisory segment. Their main job revolves around working on questions that address financial capabilities as well as analytical capabilities within an organization.

Furthermore, every consultant can have varied profiles, ranging from M&A to risk management to real estate consultancy to tax.

Agencies vs. Consultants – What Is the Difference?

Agency and consultancy: Two words, but they are worlds apart in approach.

The main differences between these two terms ultimately boil down to the following:

Team Know-How

Agencies – whether big or small – are almost always larger than consulting firms. As a result, they have a wider range of creative talent, team members, and skillsets. You are also assured of more resources with them.

Despite the smaller size of consultancies, there is a built-in rhythm that makes them more agile when adapting to rapidly changing business landscapes. They often have specialists in specific fields that can solve pain points – provided it fits their suite of knowledge.

Also, agencies commonly implement more activities, such as advertising, digital or media plan, web designing, and so on. On the other hand, consultancies are more focused at the strategic level, which involves building brands for long-term health and commoditizing strategy execution.

Varying Budgets and Mandate Size

Any reasonable professional will always consider the overall cost to make sure it fits their budget. 

This is precisely why you should decide between an agency and consultancy after determining your business size, budget, as well as the breadth of your mandate.

For instance, if you run a small operation that requires a quick turnaround time, heading consultancies will be right up your alley. But if you have more wiggle room, resources, and time, you can opt for an agency.

We would highly recommend getting roadmaps with key deliverable dates and timelines from respective partners after you finish aligning your budget and timelines. This will help you understand the overall projected costs more effectively.

Brand Vision and Time Factor

If you choose to work with creative agencies, you get the option to choose your partner based off on your vision and past campaigns. They give you hundreds of options to choose from after taking your idea to make things easier for you.

Also, since creative processes go through several rounds of conceptualizations, the turnaround time is a bit longer, but you are assured of high-quality campaigns.

Consulting firms allow clients more latitude to push their vision and opt for a more hands-on experience of collecting data and designing campaigns.

Since consultants usually try to immerse themselves wholly in their client’s team, the turnaround time is typically faster as well. That said, the size of a consultancy can increase time, in case they have a huge reserve of past work.

Offered Solutions

Agencies are popular for creating some of the most engaging, inspiring, and emotional (you can insert more positive adjectives here) brand campaigns. 

While the process is definitely a little longer than working with the consultant, they do specialize in distinct areas that facilitate better strategy execution.

Consultants, on the contrary, dig deeper to solve your problems. You‘re assured of more direct and quicker solutions thanks to their hands-on approach.

The post How to Work With a Consultant: The Ultimate Guide appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Find Specialized Marketing Agencies

You’re experiencing slight pain in your chest.

So you visit a general care physician who performs a series of quick tests. 

Based on the results, they offer you general advice, but in the end, they refer you to a cardiologist to look into the issue in more detail.

This is a fairly common practice in medicine.

You start seeing a general practitioner, and when things go beyond their expertise, you go to a specialist who has the knowledge as well as equipment to handle your situation better.

Business is no different. More so, marketing.

While you’ll find several end-to-end marketing agencies, it’s nearly impossible to get results without specialized knowledge – something that specialized or “niche“ marketing agencies offer.

Not only are they able to identify and address your unique pain points, but they can also make your business operations more effective.

In this guide, our team at Neil Patel Digital has outlined some vital tips to identify and hire specialized marketing agencies, as well as help you understand how these agencies fare when compared to an end-to-end agency.

How Specialized Marketing Agencies Guarantee Success?

Specialized agencies, with their high skill set in a specific niche, can identify opportunities for success and analyze problems with great precision and detail within any given marketing campaign.

They bring specialized depth and focus into the service offering, which allows them to see potential issues that can be missed by others as well as provide creative ways to implement solutions.

An important thing to note here is that specialized marketing agencies go beyond their deliverables. You can enhance your marketing efforts by correctly leveraging the strategic insights, experiences, and partnerships offered by them.

Due to the greater level of detail and expertise, there is a higher possibility for you to maximize your company’s marketing ROI.

Precisely why you need to think of ways to strategically align your agency partnership that brings your company maximum value.

How to Identify and Hire the Best Specialized Marketing Agency for Your Company?

Before signing up for an agency, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your company generating sufficient marketing leads?
  • Are all your marketing plan elements being carried out efficiently? 
  • Is it possible for you to employ new staff to improve your marketing activities? Does your current budget allow it?

If even one of these questions raises concerns, you should go ahead and consider working with a specialist marketing agency.

But… hiring the right agency isn’t going to be easy.

It needs patience, along with practice and some good ol’ trial and error.

Here are a few tips to help you find your next marketing mastermind:

Determine Your Business Objectives and Desired Outcomes

Specialized agencies cater to the specific needs of businesses.

These agencies generally specialize in one or two areas. Hence, the first step of choosing the right specialized marketing agency is to know your business goals and what you want to achieve by working with the agency.

Let’s consider an example to help you understand this better: creating a series of marketing videos.

You want to improve your social media presence and boost engagement on your website. You decide to create a series of marketing videos to achieve this, but you aren’t sure where to start.

In this case:

  • Goal: Greater social media presence and increased website engagement.
  • Deliverable: Make engaging videos and similar visual assets that communicate your new offer in a creative and fun way to capture your audience’s attention.
  • Result: A set of finished videos, along with supplying you with the knowledge to walk you through the process.

You can enlist the services of a marketing agency that specializes in video marketing or maybe graphic designing to achieve this goal.

Similarly, you can choose your agency based on the other types of services you want. Here are a few other examples:

Market Research

These agencies help you make better-informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes by carrying out primary market research, such as surveys, interviews, and experiments, and secondary market research.

Marketing Strategy

These agencies understand the art of creating strategies backed by research, experience, knowledge, and wisdom. They can help you formulate a well-aligned marketing strategy that supports your unique business goals and objectives.

Content Writing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Content writing agencies can create excellent content that is optimized according to SEO principles to boost engagement and conversion. This can include posts on social media networks, company blogs, or creating gated assets like PDFs and whitepapers.

You’ll also find agencies that specialize in optimization, which offer well-written and formatted content to drive traffic through a search engine results page or SERP.

Email Marketing

Email marketing agencies can help you move your prospects down your sales funnel. They send emails that motivate people to buy products and services while keeping your past and potential customers in the loop.

Advertising

Advertising agencies can enhance your audience targeting efforts and amplify your reach by creating attention-grabbing advertisements that force the customer to take action, such as visiting your website, viewing your products and services, etc.

Ultimately, you should choose a specialized agency based on your requirements and end goals.

Skills and Experience

It’s no secret that specialists should have technical skills and experience that actually make them experts at a specific niche.

To help you find the right agency, we have two lists below: Must-haves and Nice-to-haves.

These are the skill sets that are a must for your agency:

Specialized Knowledge

What’s the point of calling themselves an expert if the agency doesn’t possess the necessary business growth and inbound marketing knowledge for a specific niche?

The agency should be able to demonstrate their ability to apply marketing techniques and up-to-date inbound marketing tactics and strategy that can promote business growth.

Tech Savvy-Ness

Agencies should have the expertise to navigate and use a variety of modern tech tools and platforms. After all, it’s the only way that your brand can have a competitive edge over its competitors.

Job Functional Skills

Job functional skills have a broader concept as it goes deeper into the actual role for which the agency is being hired.

For instance, if you want to hire a digital marketing agency, you should take a look at past digital campaigns created by the agency. Ask them to explain the campaigns and how they will apply their knowledge to help you achieve your business goals.

Effective Communication Skills

The agency should comprise members that have excellent written and verbal skills to drive meaningful conversations.

Nice-to-Have Skills

These skills aren’t deal-breakers if a prospective agency doesn’t have them, but if they do, you should give them brownie points.

The following are a few nice-to-have skills:

  • Certifications that prove their expertise and ability to implement effective marketing tactics and strategies.
  • Previous experience working with clients that operate in your niche.
  • Their passion for your target mission.

Partnership Capabilities

Specialized agencies should have strategic partnerships as a means to expand their offerings – one that goes beyond complimentary deliverables.

You see, buying marketing services goes beyond à la carte for clients, which is why specialized agencies have to take the time to foster strong relationships with their partners to create value and efficiencies from the client’s viewpoint.

If you hire an agency that boasts of this synergy, it can be very beneficial for you.

You might have to add another vendor to your list, yes. But the fact that you get excellent content, along with the SEO, rather than subpar work does seem like the better option, no?

Take a Look at the Pricing

There’s a reason why Versace costs 20 times more than Fashion Nova, and in most cases, you get exactly what you pay for.

It’s really that simple.

If your prospective agency is charging unrealistically low rates, it’s probably because they are inexperienced or they just… suck.

And yes, before you ask, many specialized agencies claim to have “expert knowledge” but don’t.

You‘ll also find agencies that charge you an arm, a leg, and a kidney to work with them, which isn’t right too. 

While many can justify their pricing, hundreds can’t.

Treat the Agency Just Like You Would a Potential Employee

When hiring a specialized marketing agency, conduct the interview in the same way you would when hiring a potential employee.

So in addition to going through their merits, make sure they are a solid cultural fit for your company.

The agency partnership won’t be a success if you don’t share similar values or have completely opposite mindsets.

Why Choosing a Specialized Agency is better than an End-to-End Agency?

According to a 2016 Statista study, 24% of US-based companies had hired roughly three marketing/advertising agencies, while 23% were working with two agencies.

That said, the following are the main reasons why you should go with a specialized agency over an end-to-end agency:

Lots of Flexibility

Niche agencies don’t provide a one-size-fits-all focus. Instead, they believe in creating a more personalized and unique marketing plan that can help you stand out from your rivals.

Additionally, they have the resources and methodologies that equip them with expert knowledge about the specific niche, allowing them to be more in tune with your pain points. This, in turn, enables them to deliver a much more effective strategy as well.

It’s this flexibility that helps them adapt to your needs and requirements constantly, and offer dynamic solutions through their relationship with you.

More Personal Attention

As mentioned before, working with a specialized agency will make your experience more personable.

You’ll be in direct contact with specialists who are fully dedicated to your brand. Moreover, you‘ll have direct oversight interactions with people who are working on your marketing campaign, irrespective of their position.

Such agencies work on various campaigns, which makes them proficient in offering a completely different perspective to yours. You can also expect new insights and opportunities that can generate fresh ideas.

In addition to this, the overall flow of information and communication is also much better. With the questions delegated more efficiently, you get your answers faster too.

Greater Suitability for SMBs

Specialized marketing agencies and small- to medium-sized businesses can have an excellent working relationship built upon commonality. 

Both the agency and company are trying to grow and expand, which makes them more invested in each other. Having overlapping roles is another motivating factor that ensures successful outcomes for both parties.

Most of the time, these agencies monitor their growth based on your success since they aren’t only in it for money. They genuinely want to build meaningful relationships for a sustainable business.

Unlikely to Outsource Tasks

Multiple end-to-end marketing agencies outsource their work. 

We don’t claim it – Hubshout stats do. For instance:

  • 48% of full-service agencies outsourced PPC services
  • 28% of full-services agencies outsourced content marketing services.
  • 68% of full-service agencies outsourced SEO to a white label SEO provider

These agencies focus on a few single areas of marketing expertise and then outsource the work from white label partners. In short, there is no guarantee that the agency will actually be doing the work for you.

Specialists, on the other hand, do not outsource. 

Why? Because you don’t have to.

They have all the specialists they need right there in the organization. When you work with a specialist marketing agency, you get access to a specific set of services that are usually absent from general marketing and communication teams.

Consequently, you know exactly what you‘re getting into and who will be working on your project. 

You can focus on your areas of expertise, while the agency can focus on those specialized services to help you achieve your business goals.

More Creative and Innovative Ideas

This is honestly the best part of working with a specialized agency.

End-to-end agencies use the same strategies and methods for each of their clients. 

Time is naturally very crucial for them, which is why if they see one marketing test working well, they tend to use it for every customer they take on.

Contrarily, specialized agencies don’t take advantage of time trials. They build a customized strategy that is adjusted according to your suggestions and demands – all aimed at establishing your brand reputation.

Still, End-to-End Marketing Agencies Aren’t a Bad Choice Either

An end-to-end agency or a fully integrated marketing and advertising company that can provide you with a complete list of services, including:

  • SEO
  • Systematic planning
  • Social media
  • Digital marketing
  • Paid advertising 
  • Interactive marketing services

They are larger in size and can easily handle all your advertising and marketing requirements, helping you make the most out of marketing. 

Here are a few reasons that your company may want to pursue an end-to-end agency instead:

Knowledge of Latest Trends, Systems, and Software

End-to-end agencies, also known as full-service agencies, are well accustomed to the latest trends and technology

They know how to target the right offers, use analytical reports and data correctly, and the right tools that can help you target your audience at the right time.

Cost-Effectiveness

Agencies are hands down way more cost-effective, and sometimes the only way that companies with smaller budgets can afford professional services.

Usually, specialists charge a higher amount for their expertise and knowledge, which can be way out of budget for most brands.

Scalability on Demand

You can scale your marketing activities up and down according to new products, seasonalities, and so on.

When you have an in-house team, you have to hire and train to scale up or layoff staff to scale down; with an end-to-end agency, you simply pick the phone.

Expertise and Experience

Working with full-service marketing agencies lets you work with a pool of talent who have experience working with various clients, technologies, and industries. They have broader skills that can help build and launch a comprehensive marketing campaign to drive results.

Think of the agency as a deep pool of specialists.

There is also no secret that today marketing involves content, branding, social media, paid ads, and SEO. Handling this requires bandwidth and the right know-how – something that end-to-marketing agencies can offer.

Time-Saving

Irrespective of your business size, you do need an effective marketing strategy.

This needs a strong team, and when you choose to work with a full-service agency, you have a team that can focus 100% of their knowledge and expertise in developing your campaign as efficiently as possible.

Indeed, end-to-end marketing agencies may not provide you with the same level of expertise as specialist marketing agencies. But if you opt for a major marketing company that offers full service, you do get the best of both worlds.

At Neil Patel Digital, we have the expertise and experience to provide comprehensive marketing and advertising strategies tailor-made according to your needs. We offer:

  • SEO
  • Paid search marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Data, analytics, and insights
  • Programmatic advertising

Whatever You Do, Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

Regardless of the marketing agency you choose – whether generalists or specialists – make sure you ask the right questions.

Who is working on your account? What are the specialties? How will you clear your doubts? What results can you expect? What are the KPIs? – ask everything.

If you really want to take your business to the next level and are ready to think big, contact us here and let us help you disrupt your industry.

The post How to Find Specialized Marketing Agencies appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Create Your First Website Like a Pro

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

You’ve decided to create your first website—great! I’m going to teach you to set up your site like you’ve done this thousands of times before.

What You Should Know About Starting a Website

In order to get your website online, you will need a domain name and a web host

  • A domain name is where people access your website. For QuickSprout, that would be www.quicksprout.com (also called a URL, the technical component of a domain name).
  • A web host is a business that you pay to provide storage for all of your crucial website data.

Bluehost allows you to buy and register both a domain name and hosting plan. 

What If I Want a Free Website?

You can start for free at WordPress.com.

To use the free plan, you will not need to register a domain name or choose a web hosting provider since your website will automatically be generated as a sub-domain of WordPress.com. For example, if you wanted to start a blog about vintage teacups, your URL could be www.vintageteacups.wordpress.com.

If you’re in this for the long haul, keep in mind that your audience will be much more likely to trust your brand if you own your domain name (i.e. www.vintageteacups.com). Investing in domain registration and hosting is the first step towards growing an independent business.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Website

Ready to get started? These 8 steps will walk you seamlessly through the process from sign-up to beginner content building so you won’t have to worry you’ve left anything out.

Step 1: Consider your website goals 

Do you intend your website to be a portfolio of your work? A niche blog? An eCommerce site? You can do all of this and more via WordPress, which opens up the world wide web of possibility with its full-powered CMS.

How do you want to be known by your audience? That’s your business name. 

And how do you want them to reach you? That’s your domain name. 

Since your domain name will be a major face of your business, you’ll want to put some good thought into it. 

A strong domain name serves your business goals by referencing your product or service. It should be catchy, memorable, and easy to type. Try for shorter rather than longer names where possible.

How can you come up with the right name?

Let’s take the two businesses we’re working with in this guide as an example. 

WordPress is short, iconic, and evokes images of text (“word”) and potentially a printing press (“press”). It’s clear that their business model is based on sharing content. 

Similarly, Bluehost includes the word “host,” suggesting they are a web host provider. The combination of “blue” and “host” is simple and catchy. 

Both names are highly brandable and easy to remember.

Step 2: Choose your Bluehost plan

The benefit of hosting on Bluehost rather than just WordPress.com is that Bluehost takes care of your site’s security, speed, performance, and updates for you.

We recommend shared WordPress hosting, which gives you access to a server specifically attuned to the WordPress software package. This means that safety, security, and speed are all built in—put another way, managed for you. 

To choose a plan, go to Bluehost’s pricing page. You’ll see this:

Bluehost offers four hosting plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro. At every tier, the plans include a free SSL certificate (adding an extra layer of security to your site), unlimited bandwidth, and plenty of storage. For most sites, the performance of the hosting will be more than good enough. 

Select the plan and that’s right for your budget. You can always upgrade later.

Step 3: Register your domain name

After selecting a plan, you’ll be prompted to register your domain name. 

If you already own a domain name, enter it on the right. You may need to change your DNS records to make sure your domain name servers point to Bluehost, allowing people to access your website. 

If you are registering your domain name with Bluehost, enter it on the left. Domain registration is free for one year with a managed WordPress hosting account. Always be sure to note when your domain must be renewed so it doesn’t expire without your notice, leaving your website inaccessible. 

You’ll be asked to fill in personal information before finalizing your purchase. 

Be sure to choose a strong password for your Bluehost account (preferably not the same one you use to log into any other site). You’ll then be ready to install WordPress.

Step 4: Install WordPress with one click

Connecting Bluehost with WordPress is incredibly easy. In your Bluehost account control panel, navigate to “MOJO Marketplace” and choose “One-Click Installs.” 

This will bring you to the Scripts and Platforms page. After you click the WordPress icon—found under “Blogs” at the top of the page—an installation window will open. Click “Start” to begin installation.

  • Choose the domain name on your account where you want to install.
  • In “Check Domain,” you’ll make sure your domain name is pointing to your account. This is especially important if you bought your domain name before signing up for Bluehost. If you get a warning that you are overwriting files, you can check the box without worry—since this is your first website, there’s nothing to overwrite. 
  • In “Show Advanced Options,” you can choose your WordPress username along with a strong password—or log in if you already have a WordPress account. Check “Automatically create a new database for this installation.” 
  • Read the terms and conditions and check the box.
  • Almost there! Click “Install Now.”

You’ll now be taken to the progress page. After installation is complete, you will see your site URL, admin login URL, your username and password. Print and store this master list in a safe place.

Time to log in to WordPress! Log in at your admin URL and you’ll find yourself at the Dashboard, where you can begin on the visual design for your site.

Step 5: Try on some themes for size

Also called “skins,” your site theme is like an outfit for your website. The theme you choose will affect your site visuals, content layout, and some of the customizable design features you have access to. 

WordPress has a number of both free and premium (paid) themes.

When choosing a theme, pay special attention to:

  • Good design: Is the design clean and organized? Is it responsive to optimize for the roughly 50% of people who prefer mobile viewing? How easy is it to navigate?
  • Compatibility: Is the theme compatible with the latest version of WordPress and with popular plugins?
  • Back-end: Is there active development on the design? How easy is it to access support and documentation? 

Most themes allow you to try a Live Demo so you can see how it will look and compare its appearance to your design and content goals for the site.

When you’re ready, click “Activate theme” to install. You can always add plugins for additional functionalities or switch themes when you are better accustomed to WordPress.

Step 6: Add some helpful plugins

If your website theme is like a “skin” or outfit that gives the website substance, design, and form, your plugins are the accessories that pull the outfit together. 

Plugins work alongside your theme to provide desirable functionalities, like a comment filter, contact form, or search engine optimization (SEO) toolbox, and are built to work seamlessly with WordPress’s back-end operations. While some are best-suited to a particular type of site, like eCommerce or blog, many are all-purpose. Plugins can be free or paid.

In most cases, you will need a WordPress Business plan or higher to use plugins. Aspects of Jetpack and Akismet (see below) are included with your blog.

Popular plugins:

  • Jetpack: This integral plugin enhances your site security, performance, marketing, and design capacity. Site speed, image serving, and SEO are just a few things it can help you with. 
  • Akismet:  A “spam-fighting service” that protects your posts, trackbacks, and messages from spam.
  • All-in-One SEO pack or Yoast SEO: These SEO plugins help you optimize your site to be found organically in search results when people search for similar products, services, or content.
  • WP Forms or Ninja Forms: You can use either of these plugins to build professional contact forms within minutes, without any coding experience required. 

Be sure to vet your plugins before installing: A large number of positive user reviews alongside information about the developer, functionalities, and latest release date can all help you make the best decisions for your site. 

Step 7: Begin building your site content

On WordPress, there are two meaningful distinctions when it comes to organizing your site content, pages and posts.

  • Pages make up the main framework of your website, and generally appear in the navigation bar for easy access. There are a number of essential pages you’ll want to add, including your Homepage, About page, and Contact page.
  • Posts are individual pieces of content, each with a unique URL, that make up a blog. Many people choose to make their blog a central focus of their website, but you don’t have to. Many businesses keep blogs as a tool in their content marketing toolbox, and WordPress makes it possible to designate as a secondary page (see Step 8).

When you start adding content to your website, it may be helpful to get inspiration from existing websites, both those where you spend a lot of time and sites that have a similar function to yours. Ask yourself:

  • How is the content of these websites organized? 
  • What are the major pages? 
  • How prominent is the blog? 
  • Does the site include subpages, and what are they? 
  • Where is the contact form located? 
  • How do they use media to create an engaging experience?

Here’s how to create your first page (ideally, the homepage):

After creating the essential pages, consider your website’s functionality from the point of view of your future site visitors. Although it may be tough in the beginning to put yourself in their shoes, successful site content is laser-focused on the audience. Ask yourself: 

  • What will my visitors want to do on my site? What will be less useful to them?
  • How can I structure my pages, content, and media to create a positive User Experience (UX)?
  • How can I set up site navigation so that important information and features are easy to find?
  • What information do my visitors need to understand my offering?
  • What information do my visitors need to trust me? 

Don’t feel pressure to include all possible content at once; less is often more for a new website. Your site will likely change over time based on your evolving business model as well as the needs of your audience. You can always add more content as you go. 

Additional pages

On the one hand, the beauty of website creation is that your site design is completely up to you. Depending on the purpose of your website, however, you may be required by law to include certain content, like:

  • Contact details
  • Cookie handling
  • eCommerce: terms of service, refund policy, privacy policy

Be sure to check the relevant law in your area and update your website regularly.

Step 8: Finalize your homepage and navigation

Do you want your homepage to appear as a traditional homepage or a blog?

WordPress allows you to choose whether you want a static (unchanging) or dynamic homepage (shows your ten latest blogs). The dynamic version is the default.

To designate a static homepage, find the “Site” category in the left-hand sidebar and click “Pages,” then “Add new page.” You can choose a premade layout or click “Use Blank Layout,” as in the photo just above. Then name your page and click “Publish.” For example:

Now, navigate to the “Design” category in the left-hand sidebar of your Dashboard and click “Customize.” 

There are many things for you to play around with here, including adding your Site Title, Tagline, and Icon, adding a header or footer, and changing the site colors. For now, click on “Homepage Settings” and toggle the option for “A static page.” Beneath, you can choose the page you just created.

It’s time to start adding content to your homepage!

Once you add more pages, like About or Contact, they will show up as part of a navigation bar that is designated by your theme. In “Customize,” click on “Menus” to change the page order and location. 

What’s Next?

You’ve just created your first website. Congratulations on this exciting new step!

Now you can start familiarizing yourself with the WordPress interface. While creating Pages and Posts, you’ll be using the Block Editor, which uses Gutenberg blocks to help you add content and make your site engaging and interactive.

Since your website is a representation of your brand, I recommend building your content with a critical eye. At the same time, learning as you go is part of the experience. You can always delete or click the back button—no change is permanent, so feel free to play around.

The post How to Create Your First Website Like a Pro appeared first on Neil Patel.

Fund your Business with Crowdfunding During a Financial Recession

Financial Recession Got You Down? Then Fund Your Business with Crowdfunding

There are thousands of businesses using crowdfunding to raise money to fund their next business venture. For some entrepreneurs, crowdfunding is the ticket to financial independence. Starting a new business without adding debt or taking out equity, can be unheard of for startups. But with a little planning and creative marketing, starting a new business can be more enjoyable than disappointing. Yes, you can fund your business with crowdfunding, even during a financial recession.

Financial Recession Period Funding

The number of American financial institutions and thrifts has been decreasing slowly for a quarter of a century. This is from consolidation in the market along with deregulation in the 1990s, minimizing obstacles to interstate banking. See: https://www.fundera.com/blog/happened-americas-small-businesses-financial-crisis-six-years-start-crisis-look-back-10-charts

Assets concentrated in ever‐larger financial institutions is troublesome for local business proprietors. Big banks are a lot less likely to make small loans. Economic recessions imply banks become more careful with financing. The good news is, business credit does not count on financial institutions.

Beating the Financial Recession: What’s Crowdfunding All About?

Crowdfunding gives today’s business owner a new way to build a successful business. Don’t be fooled. Not everyone with a campaign on a crowdfunding site becomes an automatic millionaire! Success on crowdfunding doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, being an instant success on a crowdfunding site doesn’t usually happen. To succeed at crowdfunding, do your due diligence. And see if you would be successful at crowdfunding.

Beating the Financial Recession: What’s a Good Crowdfunding Platform?

Find which crowdfunding platform is best to use for your business. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular crowdfunding platforms to use. If you’re like most new business owners, you’re looking for investors. Before you start putting your campaign out there, make sure that you have everything ready and perfect. This way, you can get the investors that you want to fund your campaign.

Beating the Financial Recession: How Do You Get Creative With Crowdfunding?

Trying to get the investors you want will take time. You need to brainstorm, create, and perfect the right pitch that gets investors pouring money into your campaign. To help you get your campaign started in the right direction, use this quick guide.

Getting the Best Crowdfunding Platform For Your Needs

Pick a Crowdfunding Platform. Before you get started with your campaign, pick a crowdfunding platform that’s the right fit for you. There are several crowdfunding platforms to choose from. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two to start looking into.

And you need to be aware of what you are doing when you’re developing your campaign. If you’re raising rewards and not investments, then Kickstarter and Indiegogo should be on your list.

Kickstarter is great to use for creative projects, but it’s all or none. This means that if you don’t raise 100% of your initial funding goal, then you don’t keep the pledged money. Indiegogo is a little different from Kickstarter. If you choose to pay up to 9% of your funds raised, then you can keep the funds pledged to your campaign. The only drawback is that your project will need some minimum funding to work.

GoFundMe is another choice; they let you keep the money even if you don’t meet your goal.

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding Pitches

Prepare and Get your Pitch Perfect. Remember that the content in your campaign is vying for the attention of your potential investor and client. There are so many other distractions that pull for the attention of your viewers. For this reason, your pitch and its messaging has to grab their attention immediately. Once you get their attention, you can’t stop there. You’ll want to keep your viewers engaged, which means that you need to have a great story to tell about yourself or your project.

Pitch Videos

Your pitch video will need to be good. Use a professional to film it and develop the script. Unable to afford professionals? Then try schools, both pupils and instructors.

Your script doesn’t need to be word for word but you must have points you want to make and not babble. Create a script and stay with it. This is not the right time to wing it.

Show the Evidence

If you have physical evidence of your project, then make sure to show it in your campaign video and on your campaign web page. This means an image of your spa’s sign or a short video recording of your prototype robot.

Address Skepticism

A great deal of people don’t trust crowdfunding. A photo and a tangible thing will go a long way to demonstrating to them that your project isn’t vaporware.

Good Manners Matter

Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome to everyone. Use these magic words in your pitch and in your interactions with your donors. And use them in the cover letters you deliver with your perks (even virtual perks can include a cover e-mail). You don’t need to grovel, but you must be polite.

Financial Recession Credit Suite

Demolish your funding problems with our rock-solid guide about 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

Don’t Be Greedy!

If you need $250,000 for your campaign, but you ask for $1,000,000, that does not do anyone any good.

You’ll just seem like you want to bum off others’ generosity. As an alternative, explain your overhead as transparently as possible. Because if you misuse your funds, you may find yourself in an unpleasant meeting with your state’s attorney general. So be truthful!

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding and Focusing on Your Investors

Focus On What You’re Giving to Your Investors. One of your goals in crowdfunding is to raise funding. But you need to focus on your investors. You want to create rewards or terms that will help you raise the money that you want. When developing the rewards for investors and backers, have your rewards tie back into your story.

One way to come up with a great reward for your campaign is to check out the most successful campaigns which raised the most money.

Donor Strategy

Line up the most significant and most reliable donors you can before you start. Tell your mother to postpone handing over her donation till you launch your campaign.

And ask them (nicely!) to release their money at a very specific time. Which time? The first or final day of the campaign. Separate the expected funding as well as you can. If the split isn’t around half and half, then ask for more to come on the final day of the campaign. Make the most of the novelty factor of the very first day of the campaign, or the urgency factor of the very last.

It’s like a busker with a few of her own dollars in her hat. To motivate people to donate, you want your biggest donors to show other donors that they believe in you and your project. It helps if they tell other donors that they’d best get in on investing in your company before the opportunity ends.

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding Supporter Engagement

Get Supporter Engagement. Don’t make the common mistake of not engaging the people in your network of friends, family, and supporters. When creating a campaign, be ready to start funding once you launch everything. It’s especially important if you are using equity crowdfunding. Supporter engagement is vital. Because these people are your stakeholders, advisors, board members, partners, and existing investors.

Courtesy Counts

Be gracious if your campaign fails. Even with GoFundMe (where you can keep the money even if you fall short), you still may not get enough to make a significant dent in your funding needs. If you wanted $100,000 and you only got $500, your best option may be to give back the cash.

If you almost got there with $95,000, then thank everybody who donated. See what you can do, although there’s a deficiency. And tell them what you are doing! Perhaps you’ll buy your building next year, or hire four people as opposed to five.

Once more, give your donors a stake in and an inside look at your startup. This will help them to feel invested. And they may decide to make up the shortfall themselves. Just because your crowdfunding campaign ends doesn’t mean a donor can’t send a check or buy more goods or services. If that comes about, then politeness is crucial.

Financial Recession Credit Suite

Demolish your funding problems with our rock-solid guide about 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

Beating the Financial Recession: Finding Influencers

Get to know Notable Investors. Get the attention of people who have never heard of your project before. One of your main goals should be to get people, organizations, and businesses that are familiar with you involved with your campaign. And ask them to spread the word. This sort of networking can only help you.

Social Media

Share your campaign on social networks and ask your friends and family to do so, too. Tweet the link. Add it as a Facebook status. Turn it into a Tumblr blog post or a snap on Snapchat or publish a blog post about it. Ask your network to distribute the link. The best technique to get your network to help you out is by assisting them in return. If your nephew’s band is on Facebook, share their page, or tweet about it.

Be a cooperative member of your own personal community. Then your online community will be more likely to help you out when you ask. And rerun these social media posts. Consider time zones and our all-too busy lives. People might not see your message the first time around. Mix it up and send it at irregular hours. Use scheduling software such as HootSuite for this. This includes what is the middle of the night where you live.

Beating the Financial Recession: Crowdfunding Strategy

Plan your Marketing and Outreach Strategy. You will need to put hours into creatively marketing your campaign before it launches. Successful campaign owners spend hours developing a plan that will market their campaign. And they have a defined goal that raises funding efforts both online and offline.

COVID-19 funding Credit Suite

Demolish your funding problems with our rock-solid guide about 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

Stretch Goals

Your stretch goals should be a mix of easy to get and pie in the sky. If you are crowdfunding for $100,000, a pretty easy to meet stretch goal is $125,000.

Pie in the sky will be more like $300,000. Make it clear what you will do with any added cash if you are fortunate enough to get it. Will you buy the property your startup is in? Hire five more people? Replace your worn out equipment? Open a brand-new market on some other continent? Let your donors know what you are striving for, so they can dream with you.

Beating the Financial Recession: Takeaways

Starting a new business venture doesn’t have to be restrictive or stressful. This is especially when you know how to use crowdfunding and its various platforms. Crowdfunding can be another way to fund your business or a new project without having to pay for upfront marketing costs. And you get to keep your equity!

As a business owner, you should always look for ways to grow your business. And by using crowdfunding you can provide your business with new avenues to get funding.

The post Fund your Business with Crowdfunding During a Financial Recession appeared first on Credit Suite.

5 Companies that Build Business Credit

Building business credit is not hard, if you know what you are doing.  It doesn’t happen without some intentional action on your part.  You need to know how to set up your business, and then you need to do business with companies that build business credit. 

How to Use Companies that Build Business Credit to Your Advantage 

It can seem almost impossible to get business without business credit.  They cannot get approved for accounts because they do have business credit.  But they do not have business credit because they do not have accounts reporting positive payment history. 

What do you think of when you hear about companies that help build business credit?  Probably  not what they actually are.  These are companies that will offer net terms on invoices without a credit check. Then they will report your payments on those invoices to business credit reporting agencies.  Of course, they have to reduce risk in other ways since there is no credit check.  They may require a minimum order, a certain amount of pre orders, a minimum amount of time in business, or any number of things. 
Companies that Build Business Credit

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. 

Why Business Credit?

What is business credit, and why do you need it?  Many business owners ask themselves this very question, especially if they have good personal credit.   They think they can get all the business funding they need with their personal credit, and fail to understand the need for business credit.  

The thing is, you need your personal credit for personal things, like buying a house and a car.  Generally, business expenses are much higher than personal ones.  They can eat up personal credit limits in a heartbeat.  This means your balances are always hovering at your limit, even if you make payments like you should.

With personal credit, this means your debt-to-credit ratio is always high, which knocks your personal credit score down.  Then, not only do you not have the open credit you need to handle your personal finances, you also ruin your personal credit score.  That crushes your chances of additional personal credit, and reduces your ability to grow our business in the future. 

The solution is business credit.  That is credit in the name of your business that is not attached to your personal credit report at all.  Typically, business credit limits are much higher.  This means you do not run as much risk of maxing out.  Also, the debt-to-credit ratio does not affect business credit the same way it does personal credit.  Even if you do max out business credit, your score will not be affected.  Your business credit score is much more reliant on making consistent, on-time payments. 

More Differences Between Business Credit and Personal Credit

Business credit is vastly different from personal credit.  They are affected differently by late payments, amounts reported, balances, and even inquiries.  

Of course, both are affected greatly by late payments.  However, business credit is affected much more quickly. Late payments are not typically reported to your personal credit report until they are 30 days late.  Late payments on business credit accounts hit your business credit report when they are as little as one day late.

Here is the biggest difference though.  With personal credit, almost every account reports to the credit reporting agencies.  In contrast, only about 7% of business credit accounts report to business credit reporting agencies.  This means you have to be intentional to get accounts reporting to business credit. 

Start by setting up your business as a separate entity from you as the owner.  Then, work with companies that build business credit.  

Companies that Build Business Credit: Set Up Your Business to Be Fundable

If your business is set up properly, you are very likely to meet most of the requirements set forth by companies that build business credit.  other than minimum time in business or minimum revenues.  These things, of course, are a function of being in business for enough time.  

How do you set up your business to build business credit and be fundable so you can take full advantage of companies that build business credit? 

There are a number of steps you need to take to ensure your business is set up in the best way to build both fundability and business credit

Get Separate Contact Information

Your business needs it’s own business phone number and fax number.  You can get both pretty easily that will work over the internet instead of phone lines.  In addition, the phone number will forward to any phone you want it too so you can simply use your personal cell phone or landline if you want.  Whenever someone calls your business number it will ring straight to you. 

Faxes can be sent to an online fax service, if anyone ever happens to actually fax you.  This part may seem outdated, but it does help your business appear legitimate to lenders. 

You also need a separate business address. You can use a virtual office to accomplish this, even if your business is run out of your home. This is a business that offers a physical address for a fee, and sometimes they even offer mail service and live receptionist services.  In addition, there are some that offer meeting spaces for those times you may need to meet a client or customer in person. 
Companies that Build Business Credit

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. 

Get an EIN

Next, get an EIN for your business.  This is an identifying number for your business that works in a way similar to how your SSN works for you personally.  You can get one for free from the IRS.

You Have to Incorporate

Incorporating your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation is necessary to fundability.  It makes your business appear more legitimate and offers some protection from liability. 

The option you choose does not matter other than for your budget and needs for liability protection.  The best thing to do is talk to your attorney or a tax professional.  Keep in mind that your time in business will start over at the time of incorporation. Remember many companies that build business credit require a minimum time in business to extend net terms.  That is why it is essential that you incorporate as soon as possible. 

Open a Business Bank Account

You have to open a separate business bank account.  There are a few reasons for this.  First, it will help you keep track of business finances.  It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes. Also, a lot of companies that build business credit want to see a business bank account with a minimum average balance.  

Licenses

For a business to be legitimate it has to have all of the necessary licenses. If it doesn’t, credit issuers will be concerned.  Do what you have to make sure you have all of the licenses necessary to legitimately run your business at the federal, state, and local levels. 

Website

Spend the time and money necessary to ensure your website is professionally designed and works well.  Pay for hosting too. Don’t use a free hosting service.  Along these same lines, your business needs a dedicated business email address.  Make sure it has the same URL as your Website.  Don’t use a free service such as Yahoo or Gmail. 

Companies that build business credit may not check this, but they may.  Regardless, your website is your first impression on almost everyone, and this is a vital part of setting up your business to be fundable. 

Finding Companies that Build Business Credit

Once you set your business up right, you still have to find the companies that will extend net terms and report payments.  That first part is pretty easy.  Lots of companies extend net terms on invoices.  However, most of them do not report those payments to the business credit reporting agencies like Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax.  

Furthermore, the ones that do report do not make that information readily available. Here are a few however, just to get you started.  

Strategic Network Solutions

Strategic Network Solutions sells eBooks, software, and even office supplies.  You do have to register to see their products, but the process is fast and easy.  You will have to make a $75 or more initial purchase to be eligible for a net30 account.  They report to Experian and Credit Safe.

Grainger Industrial Supply

Grainger Industrial Supply sells industrial equipment for outdoors as well as standard tools, and more. To gain net 30 approval you will need a business license, a DUNS number, and bank reference among other things.  You will also need to make a $50 initial purchase.  They report to Dun & Bradstreet.

Summa Office Supplies

This is another office supply provider.  You can order anything from paper to staples, pens to printer ink, and pretty much anything you can think of in between from Summa.  They require a $75 initial purchase to report. They report to Equifax.

Uline

Uline sells shipping, industrial, and packing materials.  They also offer industrial and janitorial products. As a general rule, orders ship the same day.  You can get approval for net 30 terms when you order, but the credit department may make you do a few pre-paid orders first. 

Crown Office Supplies

Crown Office Supplies offers paper and other office supplies. They report to all three of the major business credit reporting agencies, which of course include D & B, Experian, and Equifax. It can be hard to find vendors which report to Equifax, so getting credit with Crown is a good move.  They do have a $99 membership fee.

This is a good start, but it isn’t enough.  You will need many more of these types of accounts to really build business credit.  How do you find them if they don’t make it publicly known whether or not they report?  You need a qualified expert to help walk you through the process. 

Another Option for Building Business Credit

Doing business with companies that build business credit is a vital step in the process, but there are some ways to make it go even faster. One of these is the credit line hybrid. 

What Is the Credit Line Hybrid? 

A credit line hybrid is a way to fund your business without putting up collateral.  Also, you only pay back what you use.  You do need a personal credit score of at least 605.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Furthermore, in the past 6 months you should have less than 4 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit. But, if you do not meet all of the requirements, you can still use this type of funding.

Here’s how.  You use a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to help fund their business.  If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding, and as long as you make the payments, you can still build business credit.  

Companies that Build Business Credit

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. 

Companies that Build Business Credit: Next Steps

Once you have companies reporting your on-time payments you will start building business credit pretty fast.  Then what?  Then you will be able to get approval for business credit cards.  In the beginning, it will be easiest to qualify for store cards like those offered by Office Depot or Best Buy.  These are cards you can only use at the specific store that issues them. 

After that, you should be able to get approval for fleet cards.  These cards can be used for vehicle maintenance and repair, and gasoline purchases. 

Once you have several of these different types of accounts reporting consistent, on-time payments, your business credit should be strong enough to handle whatever comes its way.

Companies That Build Business Credit Can Help You Meet Your Goals

Unlike personal credit, you have to work to intentionally build business credit.  The first step is setting up your business to be fundable.  It doesn’t stop there though.  Since few business accounts actually report to D&B, Experian, Equifax, or any other business credit reporting agency, you have to work with companies that you know will report.  That takes some work and intentionality.  Find a qualified business credit expert that can help you find these companies and get approval.  Then you will be well on your way.

The post 5 Companies that Build Business Credit appeared first on Credit Suite.

12 Best Landing Page Examples

Let me ask you a question…

Would you rather have a beautiful website or a website your customers love?

From a business perspective, you shouldn’t go for either.

Your answer must be 100% I want a high-converting website.

Because if people buy, then they both like it and you can safely and predictably scale your business.

Many people get in the trap of creating designs they like while their perfect client avatar is so much different than what they would imagine.

And that can be easily noticed when you click on ads you see on social media.

You might like the ad itself but most times the landing page on the other side is not what you want to see.

The connection between your traffic and your landing page is called an accurate message to market fit.

You want your message to perfectly fit your market so you can start with a winning funnel that’s only bound to go up from there.

Because if you mess up there, you would be optimizing and tweaking little components that will barely get you to break even.

But if you nail your message you would be getting customers left and right without even knowing why or how they came to you.

It’s your most powerful weapon and most businesses do it completely wrong.

So to help you out and guarantee your immediate success, we’ll be going over the best 12 landing page examples that you should use to scale your business.

We’ll go over each one’s strengths and weaknesses while making sure you find one that fits your exact business.

After this post, you’ll be able to come up with high-converting landing pages like magic.

But before we do that, we must go over…

What Makes a Great Landing Page

That question solely depends on your needs.

So let me ask you a couple of questions that will help you clear your mind and think in the right direction.

#1 What do you want to accomplish with your landing page?

Your most common options are:

  • Getting people to opt-in in exchange for Free value on a subject
  • Directly selling a low-ticket product like a book or a mini-course
  • Free Trial offer for a monthly service or software
  • Free + Shipping offer where you count on upsells to make a profit

You’ve got to know exactly what offer you want to present in your landing page before creating it.

And of course, there are other offers you can make but the idea here is to clarify what is the one that you want to use for your business.

If you’re not sure, there would be multiple examples further down the post.

Now for the next question, you need to ask yourself…

#2 Are you committed to this project or are you just trying out an offer?

Building a high-converting landing page is not an overnight hustle.

You might find yourself optimizing a non-profitable landing page for months before it starts generating real returns.

And if you’re not ready for that, then I recommend you quit before you even start.

Yes, you can get a lucky shot and hit a homerun from your first try but counting on it is delusional.

Be ready for the long game so you catch the long-term gains that are so much sweeter than the momentary satisfaction.

And for the final question…

#3 What’s your budget?

Before you begin designing your high-converting landing page, you need to prepare a solid budget.

You can’t expect everything to go smoothly throughout the process.

Problems are going to occur and most times the easiest and fastest way to solve them is to pay someone who is an expert in the field.

That can be a developer, a Funnel designer/builder, an Ad specialist, or a CRO consultant.

Either way, you should be ready to pay someone to do it right so you don’t face the same problems over and over.

In marketing and life, there’s a rule of thumb that suggests you should finish your work and then let someone else judge it.

Obviously, for landing pages, the way is to run some ads and see if the traffic converts.

If it does, you raise your ad budget and try to scale.

If it doesn’t convert initially then you should let a professional take a look at it.

And even if you already hired someone to build it for you, don’t expect him to help you here.

Yes, he can optimize your page but you’ve got to keep in mind that people have an emotional attachment to their work.

That’s why you need a third party to help you out.

And especially when it comes to optimizing a landing page for conversions, you must consider the idea of hiring an agency.

Big marketing agencies nowadays have had hundreds if not thousands of clients who had been in your exact situation.

That’s why hiring a marketing agency to help you increase your conversion is the best bet.

And talking about CRO (conversion rate optimization) there’s no better choice than NP Digital.

It is simply the best marketing agency for both SEO and CRO.

If you’re at the stage where you want to optimize your existing landing page but you don’t know exactly how to do it…

Then you should book a quick call with a professional where you’ll unravel the secret conversion optimization methods your business needs.

And now for the main event…

The Best 12 Landing Page Examples

These are the 12 Best Landing Page Examples we could find.

We’ll be judging them for conversions, offer, design, and customer experience.

#1 Get Response

Get Response is an example of a simple yet interactive landing page example.

You can see the Get Response team are bold as they’re the only software in the industry that uses an interactive headline.

The yellow sign you see on the image below changes between the words growing, leads, and sales.

That makes it for a great attention-grabbing headline that just makes you read on.

Also, they use a friendly, positive face which is something we don’t see very often in business that is not centered around a personal brand.

That of course is not a bad thing. It automatically builds trust and makes it easier for people to sign up for their software.

#2 Slack

Slack is always on the top of its game when it comes to landing pages.

They are constantly optimizing for conversions and that’s the best way to find your winning landing page.

Their current one is once again, extremely interactive, has a big eye-popping headline, and also shows how easy it is to use the software with a quick 5-second giff.

Straight from the get-go, you can see they value customer satisfaction and if you’re still not sure, scrolling down will lead to non-stop credibility and results that prove their authority in the marketplace.

#3 Intercom

Intercom’s main objective on this landing page is to get you to opt-in with your email.

Keeping it to email only is a great way to increase your opt-in rate.

A big, positive headline that puts you in the right state of mind to act now.

The images they use perfectly represent the headline’s main USP.

You can see an overall friendly environment and you just have to opt-in if you got to this page.

#4 Lyft

Lyft has been riding up the charts in the past years and their website, landing page, and their overall online funnel is not lacking behind.

They focus on attracting new drivers that want to control their own life.

And promising your employees freedom while working for you is the best way to snap the best candidates from your competitors.

We know Lyft has used multiple landing pages in the past but their current one shows real professionalism.

Once again, we see a giant, attention-grabbing headline. This time with a question to anticipate curiosity and thought process in their prospects.

And check out the button “APPLY TO DRIVE”. It implies that it’s not 100% sure you’ll be able to get the position.

Making it so your clients have to compete to get a hold of your attention makes it so they try harder in the job itself.

#5 Zoho

Zoho’s landing page is a great example of a more complicated but still extremely powerful messaging.

They use more text than the average software in the industry but that’s not necessarily bad.

For their specific case, they need to convert the prospect to begin a free trial which automatically builds tension in a prospect because he knows it will come a time he’d have to pay.

And converting someone to pay is way harder than just getting their email.

That’s why using more text in their messaging makes it for a powerful copywriting punch that maximizes free-trial registrations.

#6 Squarespace

Squarespace tops the list for the least amount of text in their landing page design.

At first, you may think that is not enough to convert someone.

But once you see that they’re a website builder you can see how the design and the quick and powerful messaging are all you need to sign-up.

They know their prospects mainly struggle with complicated codes and want to show a safe space where they can relax and drag and drop their winning website design.

#7 ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign solely focuses on showing you how their software brings the best customer experience possible.

And if you’re a business owner, you both want to be treated well and want to help your customers in tough times.

Their headline hits 2 birds with one stone and once again there’s no useless text or design.

Everything leads to the big green button and you starting your free trial.

#8 Hubspot

Hubspot is one more CRM that tops out the list today.

They, just like ActiveCampaign, show you that using their software will both help you and your customers feel better throughout the process.

Knowing that their ideal customer’s main objection is that learning a whole new CRM from scratch might be hard, tedious, and maybe even impossible, helps them narrow their message straight to the point.

#9 Shopify Plus

Shopify is one of the most well-known platforms in today’s online space and they know it.

As they’ve been rapidly growing throughout the years, they’ve been able to test out multiple landing page designs to find one that converts.

And the Shopify Plus’s landing page shows for it. 

Their main goal is to book a consultation call with their prospects which takes more than just a couple of words.

They have the budget to shoot professional videos for all of their products and services which helps transfer valuable information to their prospects in the fastest possible way — video.

Down below you see powerful credibility and if you take the time to watch the video, you’re most likely going to book a call with them.

Videos are a deadly weapon in the right business’s hands and Shopify proves that here and pretty much with anything they do.

#10 Webflow

Webflow shows the insights of the software immediately when you land on their landing page.

You can see instant credibility from big websites that have used their services and also you can begin for free.

That breaks any tension the prospect might have.

On top of that, you can see that their software is similar to Photoshop.

So if you’ve ever used Adobe’s products, you immediately know this work will be a piece of cake for you.

#11 ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels uses its software to convert you for a free trial.

And even if you have any skepticism you can play around with the funnel pages and buttons to see the responsiveness of nowadays funnels.

You can see that they use more text than the average website/funnel builder.

But once again they’re trying to convert people to start a 14-day free trial which is not an easy task.

They also use powerful videos that sell directly to their ideal customers.

And the best part is the analytics they’ve slapped on their landing page.

It’s a bold and powerful move if done correctly.

The way these analytics are crafted makes it so they are constantly being updated and it’s not just 100K+ users as you might see on other platforms.

ClickFunnels values its customer’s success stories and is always there to record each result.

It’s one of the harder landing page designs to pull off but if you do it, your conversions will skyrocket.

#12 Conversion Lab

Conversion Lab has been using this landing page design for years now.

We’ve noticed they split test different button CTA-s like book a call, get a free consult, and many more.

Keeping their Founder on the main page of the website builds a long-term relationship many businesses nowadays miss out on.

They clearly state their services through their persuasive headline and even if you’re not ready to book a consultation call with them, a pop-up will appear collecting your email.

Email follow-up is a great way to ensure that a high percentage of prospects that land on your website will end up booking a call with you.

That is all for our list today.

To conclude what you need to know when building your landing page…

  • Find what your best customers struggle the most with and then directly destroy this objection with a short and punchy headline.
  • Use credibility and videos if possible.
  • Know your goals — Is it to get their email, phone, ook a call, start a free/paid trial, or something else?
  • Clear and easy to follow Call to Action

And always, always optimize in the process.

You can NOT be perfect from day one. Every business on this list tests their pages dozens if not hundreds of times before concluding a winner.

And even then, they still optimize.

Have you tried building a landing page before? How’d it go — did it convert well and what were your biggest breakthroughs when doing it?

The post 12 Best Landing Page Examples appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Get a Free Credit Report Sample

Your business credit isn’t the only thing that affects your ability to get funding.  Still, it is a huge piece of the pie. One way to see your business credit and get a feel for where you stand is to get a credit report sample.

A Free Credit Report Sample Can Help You Know Where to Start with Funding and Fundability

Unlike your personal credit report, you can’t really get a free copy of a business credit report.  However, you can get a sneak peak in some cases with these options. 

Nav

So, Nav is a service that will let you see a credit report sample from all three of the major credit reporting agencies.  But these are only summaries, not full reports.  Generally, that means you can see your score, and maybe the accounts you have listed.  While this will help you get your bearings, it will not suffice for the purpose of correcting mistakes or even to show you what you need to do to improve your score. You do have the option to pay for more information though.

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring

Credit.net

Similarly, Credit.net will let you see a credit report sample with their free trial.  There is no credit card required.  Also, after you pull the report, you have 30 days to check it out. As a result, at least once you can get a totally free look at your report.  Since there is no fear of missing a cancelation deadline and having to pay anyway, it’s a great option. 

Scorely 

Scorely offers you a credit report sample before you pay for an ongoing subscription.  In contrast to Nav or Credit.net, they actually calculate their own score similar to the big 3:  Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet. They strive to be totally transparent and to make their reports easy to understand. 

CreditSafe

You do have to pay for an ongoing subscription to CreditSafe.  However, they will give you a credit report sample to get you started.  Also, they have a number of reports that are unique to them.  This means you are getting something that you may not get with the other monitoring services or even the standard reports from Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax. 

How To Read Your Credit Report Sample

In truth, each reporting agency offers different types of reports and information. Similarly, they all contain the same general data.  You need to understand what your credit report sample says, whichever agency it is from, about your business.

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet offers several different types of business credit reports.  In fact, there are six different reporting options in all.  They all offer different information related to credit worthiness, and it takes all of them to get the whole picture.  The price range listed above is dependent on which reports you want to order. 

The report most use is the PAYDEX.   This is likely because it is the easiest to understand, due to it being the most like the consumer FICO score.  It measures how quickly a customer makes payments and ranges from 1 to 100.  Scores of 70 or higher are acceptable.   For example, a score of 100 shows payments are made in advance, and a score of 1 indicates that they are 120 days late, or more. 

The other Dun & Bradstreet Credit Reports include:

  • Dun and Bradstreet Delinquency Predictor Score

The delinquency predictor score measures how likely it is that the company will not pay, will be late paying, or will fall into bankruptcy.  The scale is 1 to 5, and a 2 is good.

  • Financial Stress Score

The financial stress score measures pressure on the balance sheet.  It shows how likely the company is to shut down within a year.  These scores range from 5 to 1, with a score of 2 being a good thing. 

  • Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating

This rating ranks the odds of a company surviving 12 months.  The minimum score is a 9 and the maximum is 1.  A “good” score is 5. 

  • Credit Limit Recommendation

The credit limit recommendation reflects a business’s borrowing capacity.  It is a recommendation for how much debt a company can handle. Typically, creditors use this to determine how much credit to extend. 

  • D&B Credit Rating

This one ranks overall business risk on a scale of one to four.  A score of 2 is good.  The rating is given in conjunction with letters, the combination of which indicates a company’s net worth. 

Even if there isn’t enough information on a business to assign a regular rating, Dun and Bradstreet will assign what they call a Credit Appraisal Score.  This is based on the number of employees. Another option is an alternative rating based on what data is actually available.

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring

Experian

Experian’s uses what it calls Intelliscore as its credit ranking.  There are more than 800 different factors that they use to predict a company’s credit risk. With Intelliscore, a score of 76 or higher indicates a low risk of default or late payment. If a score falls between 51 to 75, it indicates a low to medium risk.  Scores from 26 to 50 are medium risk, and from 25 down to 1 is medium high to high risk. 

Here is where Experian gets tricky. Intelliscore is a blended score of both the business and business owner’s personal information.  That means it offers insights into a business’s public record findings, collections, and payment trends, as well as overall business background. Experian is also unique in that it does not ask businesses to self-report.  Instead, they collect all the information themselves. You will have to give permission for a lender to view this report, due to it containing personal information.

Equifax

Equifax collects information similar to Dun and Bradstreet, including: information from public records, financial data from the business, and payment history from creditors.  Credit utilization is also a factor, which accounts for how much credit you are using versus the amount of credit you have available to use.

The information is used to calculate various scores, including the business credit risk score and the business failure score. The first measures how likely it is that a business will become 90 days or more delinquent on bills over the next year.  The score ranges from 101 to 992.  The second ranges from 1,000 to 1610 and predicts how likely it is that the business will file for bankruptcy over the next 12-month period.  A lower score indicates higher risk. 

They also calculate what they call the business payment index.  This is the Equifax version of Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX.  It even runs on the same scale of 0 to 100.  This is an indicator of payment history over the past year. It is different from the PAYDEX, however, in that you must reach a score of 90 or higher for it to be a good score.  

In addition, Equifax offers business identity reports to confirm a company actually exists. It verifies details such as the company’s tax ID, number of employees, and yearly sales. 

Equifax does not allow business owners to request reports on their own company.  They decide themselves when to start a credit file on a specific company.

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring.

A Note on CreditSafe

If you want to subscribe with them after you see your credit report sample, they offer 3 packages, Standard, Plus, and Premier.  The problem is, they do not list their prices on their website.  You have to request a quote to determine what your pricing would be.  They allow you to purchase individual products as well. 

CreditSafe is quickly growing in popularity. No doubt that is partly due to the subscription service it offers, which allows easy insight into your own company’s credit report. The free trial allows for test driving, which sweetens the deal even more. 

Their main score, the CreditSafe rating, works on a scale of 1-100.  It predicts the likelihood that payment performance will become 90 plus days beyond terms within the next 12 months or that the business will go bankrupt.  They offer a variety of other scores and reports that provide a ton of information however.

They collect data from over 8,000 sources including: 

  • FTSE Stock
  • Telephone research
  • Local Agents
  • Companies House
  • Gazettes
  • Branches
  • News
  • Trade Payment Data
  • Banks
  • Courts
  • Registry Offices

Of course, this is far less than 8,000, but it gives an idea of the sources they use to gather their information.

CreditSafe Business Credit Reports

  • International Score

This score is derived from the Creditsafe rating. It allows for a comparison of credit risk between companies that are registered in different countries.

  • Credit Limit

The Creditsafe recommended credit limit uses information from the business payment records and those of similar companies to calculate a dollar amount recommendation of the maximum amount of credit a company should receive at any one time.

  • Days Beyond Terms (DBT)

Compares how many days late a business pays its bills in comparison to other companies in the industry.

  • Derogatory Legal

This is a report on the number and value of tax liens and judgements that have been filed in the past 6 years and 9 months.  It also includes bankruptcies filed in the last 9 years and 9 months

  • Payment Trend

A report designed to highlight at a glance substantial changes in how a company is paying its bills. 

  • Business Spend Trend

Lets you know whether the total annual business spending is going up or down when compared to the previous year. 

Subscription packages come in levels, and the prices depend on your business’s individual needs.  You will have to speak to a consultant to get a quote. 

How To Use the Information on Your Credit Report Sample

Honestly, it’s a great idea to get a credit report sample.  But, what do you do with the information that is on it? Here’s what.  You use it to figure out where you need to start with building stronger fundability.  Truly, your business credit score isn’t the only thing that affects fundability.  In fact, there are many other factors that come into play as well. However, if you have a problem with any of these other factors, it will often be detectable on your credit report sample.  Once you see it, you will know what you need to work on, including business credit. 

What Affects Fundability? 

What are some of these other factors you can use your credit report sample to check? Here are just a few.

Other Business Data Agencies 

In addition to the business credit reporting agencies that directly calculate and issue credit reports, there are other business data agencies that affect those reports indirectly.  Two examples of this are LexisNexis and The Small Business Finance Exchange. These two agencies gather data from a variety of sources, including public records.  This means they could even have access to information relating to automobile accidents and liens. While you may not be able to access or change the data the agencies have on your business, you can ensure that any new information they receive is positive.  Enough positive information can help counteract any negative information from the past. If you see something on your credit report you did not expect, it may have come from one or both of these agencies.

Business Information

On the surface, it seems obvious that all of your business information should be the same everywhere it may show up.  However, when you start changing things up like adding a business phone number and address or incorporating, you may find that some things slip through the cracks. If you see accounts missing from your credit report sample, or accounts on it that should not be, you may have a problem with this.

The Application Process

Consider the timing of the application.  Does your credit report make it seem as if your business is currently fundable?  If not, get to work.  

Use Your Credit Report Sample to Build Fundability

Biz Credit Reporting Review Credit SuiteOf course, there are a lot of factors that affect fundability that you may not be able to use your credit report sample to check on.  Still, getting a peek at what is on your business credit report is a fabulous start.

With the information you see, you can start making some decisions about how to create stronger business fundability.  If you see an issue with any of these factors you need to work on it. Seeing a credit report sample is the first step toward detection and correction. Also, I would encourage you, don’t stop with a credit report sample.  You need to see more. Regular monitoring of your business credit is vital.

The post How to Get a Free Credit Report Sample appeared first on Credit Suite.

Bounce Rate Analytics: How to Measure, Assess, and Audit to Increase Conversions

Your bounce rate can be such a scary number, right?

It’s common knowledge that a high bounce rate is bad, and a low rate is good.

Every time you log into your Google Analytics account, it’s right there waiting for you.

I understand the feeling when you see that number creeping up.

But the problem is that numbers can be misleading.

After all, how high is too high, really?

In this post, I’ll show you how to fully measure and assess your bounce rate. That way, you’ll know if it’s actually too high for your industry or if it’s perfectly normal.

I’ll share tips and tricks on how to audit your bounce rate and understand what’s driving it up.

I’ll also tell you some of my secrets for lowering your bounce rate.

But first, let’s talk about exactly what a bounce rate is and why you should care.

What is a Bounce Rate and Why Does it Matter?

A “bounce” occurs when someone visits your website and leaves without interacting further with your site. Your bounce rate shows you the percentage of your visitors who bounce off of your site.

By default, Google Analytics considers a visitor to have interacted with your site if they visited at least one additional page.

The bounce rate you see in your overview report on Google Analytics is your site-wide bounce rate.

bounce rate example in Google Analtyics

It’s the average number of bounces across all of your pages divided by the total number of visits across all of those pages within the same period.

You can also track the bounce rate of a single page or a segment or section of your site.

I’ll show you how once we start looking at the different segment reports.

The bounce rate of a single page is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the total number of bounces divided by the total number of visits on a page. 

Inspired by common questions that we’ve heard, this infographic provides answers to the most asked questions about bounce rate and provides tips to help you improve your bounce rate.

Bounce Rate demystified infographic

If you run an e-commerce site with a blog, you may want to implement a segmented bounce rate.

Why?

Your blog posts may have a very different average bounce rate than your product pages.

We’ll get into the exact details later, but segmenting the two can make your numbers more meaningful when you’re looking at the data.

So, why is bounce rate important?

According to SEMrush, bounce rate is the 4th most important ranking factor on SERPs.

bounce rate image

However, Google does not use bounce rate in its algorithm metrics, according to Google’s Gary Illyes: 

Can they both be right?

Yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Google’s algorithm may not directly take bounce rate into account, but what it signifies is very important to it.

As of 2016, RankBrain was the third-most important ranking factor of Google’s algorithm.

If you’re not familiar with RankBrain, its main purpose is to improve users’ search results by better understanding their search intent.

If a user clicks on your page and leaves without any interaction, that could signal to RankBrain that your site isn’t what they’re looking for.

It makes it look like your result doesn’t match the searcher intent well. As a result, RankBrain says, “Maybe this page shouldn’t be so high in the results.”

Can you see how these connect?

If you understand bounce rate properly, it can tell you if your marketing strategy is effective and if your visitors are engaging with your content.

The key is to understand what your “target” is and break down your bounce rate in a way that provides meaning.

What is a Good Bounce Rate? 

Many different variables determine what a “good” bounce rate is.

Things like your business type, industry, country, and the types of devices your visitors are using all influence what a good average bounce rate would be for your site.

For instance, Brafton found that the average bounce rate is 58.18%. However, their research shows that bounce rates are higher for B2B businesses than B2C businesses.

bounce rate by type of business

These benchmarks show a wide range of average bounce rates across industries:

bounce rate by industry

If you’re still unsure about the bounce rate you should be targeting, Google Analytics can help you figure it out.

Google Analytics provides a quick visualization of the average bounce rate for what it believes is your industry. It does this by benchmarking.

First, you need to set up benchmarking in Google Analytics.

Under the admin section, click on “Account Settings” and then check the “Benchmarking” box.

bounce rate bench marks in Google Analytics

Now you can compare industry averages.

Just navigate to your behavior reports. Click on “Site Content” and then “Landing Pages.”

how to view bounce rate in GA

You’ll immediately see the average, site-wide bounce rate.

view bounce rate on GA

Of course, a site-wide average can be too broad to be a valuable benchmark.

You can drill down further to view section-specific bounce rates.

With either the Content Drilldown Report or the advanced filter feature, you can see the average bounce rates for your site sections.

how to view per page bounce rate

For example, now you can compare the industry average for just your blog or product pages.

In the “Audience” section of Google Analytics, go under “Behavior” then “Benchmarking.” Then, select “Channels.”

Now you can choose your vertical and compare whichever time period you want to review.

This should give you a better idea of your website’s bounce rate performance compared to the average by channel.

bounce rate view in GA

The chart above compares your channel bounce rate against other Google Analytics accounts or properties in your industry.

If you want to look deeper, you can do so by going into “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” and then “Channels.”

Then click the “Comparison” button on the right and filter by “Bounce Rate” to see which channels are above or below average.

view bounce rate in Google Analytics pic 4

You can then dig even deeper into each one for further analysis.

Ultimately, a “good” bounce rate will be different for every site. It may even be different for every page on your site.

I suggest you focus on your bounce rate trends over time and how you can improve the highest ones to boost conversions.

The focus should be on using this metric to find weaknesses in your site. Don’t worry about hitting a magic number.

Now, let’s look at how you can improve your bounce rates.

Modifying Bounce Rates

Your site-wide bounce rate is too broad to be anything but a vanity metric.

It’s too shallow to provide meaning.

To measure and assess your bounce rate, you need to narrow it down and group it by different variables.

You won’t be able to start lowering your bounce rate until you really understand what’s causing it to be high.

You can modify the bounce rate metric you see in Google Analytics in a couple of ways.

As I already mentioned above, the first way is by segmenting your bounce rate.

We’ll look at nine different segment options that will help you assess and improve your bounce rate.

Segment Bounce Rate by Age

There are plenty of different demographics that Google Analytics tracks, which allows you to better segment and analyze your site traffic.

One of these is the age range of your visitors.

To look at bounce rate by age range, look under “Audience” and then “Demographics” on the left-hand sidebar. Then, click the “Age” option.

bounce rate by age google analtyics.

The resulting report should look something like this.

bounce rate segmentation google analytics age breakdown 2

Now you can easily see if your bounce rate is higher with a certain age range.

You can see in the example above that seniors (65+) have a much higher bounce rate than the rest of this site’s visitors.

If seniors are part of your ideal target market, make sure that you structure your web pages properly for marketing to them.

For example, avoid using jargon, trendy language, and slang.

Segment Bounce Rate by Gender

The “Gender” option is just below “Age” on that left-hand menu.

bounce rate by gender in GA

This report tells you your bounce rate for males and females.

Google analytics gender breakdown 1

You can now easily see if your site is better at retaining one gender over the other.

Gender targeting with tactics such as different language and colors can impact viewing and purchasing behavior.

bounce rate impacts of gender on buyer behavior

If you have a higher bounce rate with one gender, make sure you’re not accidentally creating the perception that you’re only targeting the other sex.

Segment Bounce Rate by Affinity

The next option in the “Audience” section is under “Interests” and then “Affinity Categories.”

bounce rate by affinity

This groups bounce rate based on visitor interests.

bounce rate google analytics affinity reports 1

Check out which affinity categories have the highest bounce rates to see if you’re losing out on key marketing groups.

You can see in the example above that this site is engaging best with business professionals and shutterbugs.

Engagement with music lovers, movie lovers, and green living enthusiasts is the poorest.

This knowledge can now help you better target those groups with your imagery and content.

Segment Bounce Rate by Location

Still in “Audience,” just under “Interests,” you’ll find the “Geo” section. Within that, you can click on “Location” for another segment report.

bounce rate by location

First, you’ll see a color-coded map that shows you where most of your visitors come from.

bounce rate google analytics geographic location

Below that, you’ll see the table version breaking down your visitors by geographic region.

bounce rate google analytics geographic breakdown 2

This gives you your bounce rate by country.

In the example above, you can see that Australia and the UK have much higher bounce rates than the other countries.

You can drill further into it to see if certain provinces are engaging worse than others. Then, you can adapt your marketing strategy to target areas where you want to see improvement.

Segment Bounce Rate for New Visitors

A good segment to check out is the “New Vs. Returning” breakdown. It’s also in the “Audience” section under “Behavior.”

bounce rate by new vs returning in GA

Now you can see if your new visitors are bouncing at a higher rate than your returning visitors.

google analytics new vs returning user bounce rate

I would expect your new visitors to have a higher rate.

To get more value out of this segment, you can view the acquisition source as a secondary dimension.

Just click on the “Secondary Dimension” drop-down list at the top of the table and select “Source” from the list that appears below.

We’ll talk more about acquisition in a minute.

Segment Bounce Rate by Browser

The browser breakdown report is a good way to see if you have any technical issues causing your visitors to bounce.

In the “Audience” section under “Technology,” select “Browser & OS.”

bounce rate by browser and OS

The report should look like this:

google analytics broswer breakdown bounce rate

If one browser has a higher bounce rate than the others, that might indicate that you haven’t configured your site well for that browser.

You also need to consider versions of browsers. For example, don’t just check Internet Explorer. Check across versions 8.0, 9.0, and 11.0.

bounce rate by browser in GA breakdown

If one has a noticeably higher bounce rate, your site might have bugs or UX issues with that browser.

Even if it’s an outdated browser, you will want to fix the issue if the browser is still bringing you traffic.

Segment Bounce Rate by Device

Underneath the “Technology” section, (still under Audience), you will see the “Mobile” section. Select “Overview” to see your bounce rate across devices.

bounce rate by device in GA

This will give you a bounce rate comparison between desktop, mobile, and tablet.

google analytics bounce rate mobile devices breakdown

If you find out that your bounce rate is significantly higher on mobile or tablet, it may indicate that you haven’t properly optimized your site for those devices.

You can also view the “Devices” report. This further breaks it down by mobile brand and operating system.

mobile device breakdown bounce rate

For example, if you find that Apple users are bouncing at a higher rate than Android users, you might have some design issues.

Pay attention to individual device models as well.

mobile device model bounce rate

Focus on trends and device release dates. For example, you might discover that your bounce rate is fine for Apple devices in general, but it’s too high for the latest models.

This may indicate that your website isn’t compatible with the newest Apple OS.

Segment Bounce Rate by Acquisition

Now, let’s look at segmentation by acquisition rather than by audience.

Go to “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” and then “Source/Medium” in the left-hand menu.

acquisition bounce rate GA

The table at the bottom of your screen should look like this.

google analytics traffic source bounce rate

It will show you a breakdown of where your traffic is coming from and the associated bounce rates.

Take a look at the sources with the highest bounce rates to see if there’s a trend.

Here’s an example where you can see that the paid advertising campaigns have a much higher bounce rate:

bounce rate by paid campaign

Either your advertising targeting is too broad, or your landing pages are not lining up very well with your ads, resulting in a higher bounce rate.

Segment Bounce Rate by Landing Page

The final option we’ll discuss is segmentation by landing pages.

In the left-hand menu under “Behavior,” click on “Site Content” and then “Landing Pages.”

bounce rate by landing page GA

The resulting table shows you a breakdown of your landing pages and their average bounce rates.

bounce rate by landing page report

You might find that one page has a much higher bounce rate than the others.

Visit that page and look for any design problems or issues that might be making it less effective than the others.

bounce rate by landing page high bounce rate example

Make sure you haven’t forgotten any key steps to optimize your landing pages for conversions.

Now that you know the different ways that you can segment your site traffic, I’ll show you how you can create adjusted bounce rates.

How To Create Adjusted Bounce Rates in Google Analytics 

You can adjust what Google Analytics considers an interaction. This will directly impact your bounce rate.

For example, you might feel that a visitor has interacted on your site if they watched a video.

In Google Analytics, you have the option to set an event like playing a video, clicking a button, or completing a download as an interaction.

Then, users who complete these “events” will no longer count toward your bounce rate.

However, you need to careful with this. Make sure that automated events don’t skew your results.

If you’ve set up your videos to play automatically, you don’t want to count video views as interactions.

The simple way to modify how Google records interactions is by sending events into your Google Analytics that tell you when a user spends a certain amount of time on a page scrolls through a certain percentage of a page, or sees a specific element on the page.

You can send events from Google Tag Manager:

1. Adjust Your Bounce Rate Through Scroll Percentage Events

The “Scroll Depth” trigger allows you to create custom events based on how far a visitor scrolls down a page.

First, you need to create a new tag.

create a new tag in Google Analytics

Then, name your tag, select “Universal Analytics” for tag type and choose “Event” for the track type.

Next, you need to type in the event category and event action.

To get the action, simply click the small plus sign beside the field and select “Page Path.”

For the event label, pick “Scroll Depth Threshold.”

If you don’t see this option available, go to your “Built-In Variables” screen and enable the scrolling variables:

create a google tag in send depth for bounce rate

Now, select “Non-interaction Event” as “False,” and add in your UA tracking ID.

If you’ve completed all of those fields, it should look like this:

google analtyics tag for bounce rate example

For this tag, I recommend setting the scroll to 75% of the page. That means that Google will consider a visitor to have interacted on your site if they scroll 75% of the way through the page.

create event for scroll for bounce rate

Make sure you’ve selected “Scroll Depth” as the trigger type. Then, in percentages, put down “75 percent”.

Once done, you can save, preview, debug, and then publish.

2. Adjust Your Bounce Rate Through the Timer Function

You can also decide that Google should consider a visitor to have interacted on a page if they spend a minimum amount of time on the page. 

Create a new tag and give it a name, such as “UA — Adjusted Bounce Rate — Timer.”

bounce rate adjusted timer

You can choose the length of time that you want to start with. I suggest starting with 30 seconds.

To do this, add a new trigger and name it “Timer — 30 seconds”.

bounce rate time google analytics

The interval is in milliseconds. So, for 30 seconds, you need to put enter “30000.”

Select a limit of one. Then, in the conditions section, set it for “Page URL matches RegEx*.”

This will make it so that Google Analytics includes all of your pages in the tracking.

Make sure you save, preview, and debug before publishing.

Other Methods for Decreasing Bounce Rate

Here are some more ways to see where visitors are bouncing and how you can use that information to boost conversions.

Review Top Exit Pages

Another report you should check out is your top exit page report.

You can find it right below the landing pages report on the left-hand menu.

bounce rate exit pages example

This report will show you what pages people most often abandon your website from.

Take a look at your top traffic pages and compare your bounce rate and your exit rate.

bounce rate by exit page report

This will show you who’s landing directly on that page and bouncing versus who’s arriving there from an internal link and exiting.

It can help you narrow down where you should spend your time testing and making improvements on your site.

Review In-Page Analytics

Another great report within Google Analytics is the in-page analytics report.

This is only available now via a Chrome plugin, but it is still beneficial.

As you can see below, the report allows you to see the click-through rate for every link on a web page. Page Analytics by Google for bounce rate

This is a great way to evaluate a landing page, but it can be useful for any content on your site, including your homepage.

It will allow you to see which links in your content people are clicking on and which ones they skip right over.

This will help you determine which anchor texts you should reword or which calls-to-action you need to improve.

View Page Timings

Your pages may have high abandonment because they’re too slow.

You can check this with the Page Timings report.

In the “Behavior” section of the left-hand menu, click “Site Speed” and then “Page Timings.”

bounce rate by page timings

The report will tell you how fast each page on your site is loading.

google analytics site speed bounce rate

You can sort by number of page views and average page speed. That way, you can start improving your pages with the highest traffic yet slowest load times first.

It also shows you your overall site average speed.

bounce rate total site average

In light of Google’s Speed Update, site speed is becoming increasingly important. But even apart from that, it’s critical for improving bounce rates.

For example, the average page speed above means that our bounce rate is 123% higher than it could be.

page load time impact on bounce rate

Google Analytics Site Speed Reports

You can check out the other Site Speed reports for further analysis and options for improving your site speed.

bounce rate see speed suggestions

The Speed Suggestions report will indicate potential issues and give you useful advice on how to resolve them, such as prioritizing visible content.

You can also use Google’s PageSpeed Insight for more strategies for improving site speed. 

Utilize A/B Testing

Throughout all of these report checks, you are hopefully pinpointing some specific areas you need to target for improvements.

It’s difficult to guarantee which changes will improve your bounce rate the most.

For instance, you may have identified a weak landing page. But what do you need to do to improve it?

Do you need to make it longer? Do you need a different call-to-action? What will increase your conversion rate?

A/B testing is a great way to test your improvement strategies.

It allows you to test things like different call-to-action wording, different landing page designs, and different target audiences.

A/B testing will make it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t since it allows you to show one version of your website to half of your visitors and another version to the other half.

Just make sure you set a clear goal for your testing and follow the correct steps.

To better understand your A/B test results, you can also use a significance calculator.

A/B testing significance bounce rate

Make Your Pages Easy to Read

It’s easy to forget such a simple aspect of your pages, but readability is important.

There are lots of free tools that allow you to check your content’s readability and your website, like the Yoast plugin for WordPress.

Make sure the headline is big and bold. Then, use subheadings stand bullet points to make the article easier to read. 

Here are a few tips to help you format your content and make it more readable:

  • Use subheadings to throw more light on your topic.
  • Use bullet points to explain benefits or points worth noting.
  • Use plenty of charts, images, screenshots, and quotes from industry experts, where appropriate.
  • Bold keywords a few times (don’t overdo this).
  • Ask a lot of questions in your content, to give readers an invitation to participate, instead of just read.
  • End your content with a subheading entitled “conclusion.” This tells the reader to read the last few words and take action quickly. Make your conclusion actionable.

You can test how readable your site is with WebFX’s free readability tool

Also, be mindful of your font size and type, your sentence and paragraph length, and the amount of white space on the page.

Consider other elements on your page that might be distracting, like your color choices and ad placements.

Include Clear CTAs and Consider Their Placements

A great way to get people to engage and convert is by using compelling calls-to-action.

A call-to-action should compel someone to do something, such as sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product.

There are many ways to improve your call-to-action buttons. Consider your copy, color, button size, placement on the page, and so much more.

cta impact on bounce rate example

Apple suggests making sure that all CTA buttons are at least 44 pixels tall.

hit targets bounce rate from GA

Sprout Social, a social media management software business, understands that giving users a free trial period and educating them along the way is a surefire way to convert more users into customers.

You can get buy-in without getting a buy from a client with a CTA for a free trial. This will help you achieve a good bounce rate. Review your landing page, whether a WordPress theme or not, to see how you can offer something with urgency and get a site visitor to take positive action.

If you’re in the SaaS business, offering free trials truly works. Your free trial should be made plain in your CTA.

Use Videos and Images to Engage Your Audience

Humans are visual creatures.

We love imagery. We also retain information better from images. 

If you hear something or read something, the chances are good that you’ll only remember 10% of it three days later. However, if you see a picture, you’re likely to remember 65% of it.

Adding images and videos is a great way to get your audience engaged with your content.

Short, catchy videos are increasing in popularity, and they can boost engagement.

videos help retain information and improve bounce rate

Infographics are also effective at drawing your visitors in.

In fact, over 41% of marketers say infographics were their most engaging form of visual content.

If you find that your audience isn’t engaging with a certain page, you may simply need to add more images, videos, and infographics.

Offer Live Chat Support

Live chat is the fastest method for offering customer service support.

If people come to your page and don’t immediately find exactly what they want, live chat can help engage them before they give up and try the next site.

There are lots of platforms out there today that can help you set up live chat services, such as Intercom.

improve bounce rate with live chat support

Live chat is one of the best tools you can implement on your website this year to decrease bounce and boost conversions.

Target Keywords With High-Value Traffic

Keywords can make or break your bounce rate. If you want to improve bounce rate, start targeting high-value keywords, because that’s where the high-value traffic is.

According to LinchPin SEO, a perfect high-value keyword sits at the intersection of four important metrics:

  • Traffic value
  • Conversion value
  • Persona value
  • Brand value

find valuable kw to improve bounce rate

Did you know that 97% of Google’s revenue is from advertising? The bulk of their revenue comes from targeting expensive keywords.

All keywords are not created equal. Some are going to bring you valuable traffic, while others will only keep you waiting by the side of the road for a ride that probably isn’t going to come.

where does google make money and impact on bounce rate

Simply writing content for your blog will not adequately reduce your bounce rate or improve conversions. 

You’ve also got to target keywords with high-value traffic.  These keywords, in turn, will send high-value customers to you.

Attract the Right Visitors

In her book Content Strategy for the Web, Christina Halvorson wrote that “Better content means better business for you.”

A higher bounce happens when you’re getting the wrong website visitor from the start. This is a targeting problem.

If your content strategy isn’t yielding the right visitors and increased sales for you, it’s time to improve. 

There’s nothing as powerful as publishing custom content that’s “right” for your market, using a content strategy that takes each stage of the buying cycle into account.

Brian Dean boosted his conversions by 785% in one day, with A/B split testing, because he recognized that the traditional ebook giveaway is no longer effective for building a massive list. He created the “content upgrade” strategy, which has now become a marketing standard.

The mistake that a lot of content marketers make is attributing a high bounce rate to a lack of quality content. But, the term “quality” is relative. Your definition of “quality” may not be the same as mine. A higher bounce might be better attributed to the wrong content.

For example, in the internet marketing world, lengthy articles (usually 2000+ words) are considered high quality, because they tend to address every question or concern of the target audience.

content length bounce rate

On the other hand, this is not true in non-internet-related industries, like health, entertainment, and finance. In these industries, shorter, informative articles tend to perform better on social media platforms.

This is a lesson for you when building a campaign or creating content: Always target the right visitors. If you run a Facebook Ads campaign, drill down into your campaign and get to the right people.

The value of the right audience can’t be overemphasized. In an interview with Forbes, Robert Kiyosaki said that the key to his success in building a multimillion-dollar brand around financial literacy is “simplicity.”

This is truly striking because I’ve often advocated the KISS (keep it simple stupid) concept.

It’s a chain reaction. When you create the right content and use the right channels to distribute it, you’ll ultimately reach the right audience that will be interested in your offer. You’ll develop a good bounce rate.

This is the easiest way to make marketing work for you. For example, if you sell information products (such as ebooks or software) and services, you’ll double or triple your sales conversion rate just by attracting the right prospects.

bounce rate autoresponder

Further, HubSpot’s research data shows us that 50% of consumer time on the web is spent engaging with custom content that’s tailored to them.

Write Attractive Meta Descriptions  

A lot of companies don’t optimize their meta descriptions for search users. As a result, their click-through rate continues to decline.

Maybe they didn’t think that it was that important – but it is. 

When users type a keyword into Google search, any word that matches the search term is bolded, to differentiate it from the rest and tell the searcher to consider that result.

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that describe what a particular web page is about. Search engines use meta descriptions to display a snippet of your web page, so that users can determine whether a particular search result is right for them, just by reading the description.

image33

The optimal length for a meta description is 155 characters. If a web page description is longer, the remaining characters will not show in the search results pages. Instead, you’ll see an ellipsis (…) at the end. This may cause a higher bounce rate because people felt misled about your website.

Before you can successfully write an attractive meta description, you’ve got to understand the anatomy of a search result and where the meta tag fits in.

One of the tactics that I employed to grow Gawker Media’s traffic by 5,000,000 visitors was creating a unique meta description for each page, instead of allowing Google to automatically pull the site’s slogan or initial copy.

So, how do you write an attractive meta description?

If you’ve got the All In One SEO pack installed on your WordPress blog, this is easy to do. For every post that you publish (each of which is a separate web page on your site), you can provide a unique meta description. Use these tips:

Include the Target Keyword

Since a meta description is basically targeted at search users, make sure that the keyword they’re searching for is present in your description. However, this doesn’t mean that you should go stuffing keywords into descriptions

On the contrary, you should absolutely continue to write naturally.

For example, let’s say that your main keyword is best plumber in NY. Here’s how to include it in your description naturally:

meta example for better bounce rate

You can see that I mentioned the keyword just once in the description – not more. Also, notice how the keyword flows into the rest of the copy, so it doesn’t appear manipulative. This helps achieve a good bounce rate where a site visitor will see what the site is about and hopefully be enticed by the CTA.

Use A Call-to-Action in Your Meta

Search users – all users, really – need you to tell them what to do next.

Still using the above keyword (best plumber in NY) as our example, here’s how to use it as a call-to-action in your meta description:

meta description for better bounce rate

Conclusion

Analyzing and improving your bounce rate can be intimidating. But improving your bounce rate means a more engaged audience and more conversions.

If you follow the steps I’ve outlined in this post, you should see your bounce rate decrease in no time.

First, understand what a “good” bounce rate really is and narrow down your analysis to pinpoint exactly what your bounce rate metrics are telling you.

Remember that a site-wide bounce rate is simply a vanity metric. It’s too broad to provide actionable information.

Focus on the different segment reports and your other analytics tools to dive into the data.

Check out your top exit pages, page timings, and speed reports to understand what might be causing your bounce rates to be high.

To help people engage with your content, be sure to improve your site’s readability, add imagery, optimize your CTAs, and use live chat.

Do some A/B testing to see what works best for you and your audience.

Monitor your reports with each change to see where and how you’re improving

Remember: There is no magic number that you’re trying to hit.

Aim to keep improving and offering your customers a better, more engaging experience.

What tools and tricks do you use to monitor and improve your bounce rate?

The post Bounce Rate Analytics: How to Measure, Assess, and Audit to Increase Conversions appeared first on Neil Patel.

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