First, make sure your sense of humor is in good working order this morning. Then check out this article lampooning five popular content marketing metrics. You will definitely laugh — and you might learn that you agree with a few of the author’s conclusions.
After laboring endlessly over your website design, spending countless hours carefully understanding your customer persona and carefully selecting keywords that will drive SEO to alert your target that you exist — the moment of truth arrives. A viewer, who you hope will become a prospect, clicks on your link and arrives on your landing page. What kind of experience they have in the first 5 – 15 seconds will likely determine whether they ever go any further.
“What?!? All that work will be judged in 15 seconds? That’s all the time I get to tell my story?!?”
Yes. But guess what, this is not new. As business people we have always had an incredibly narrow window to make a first impression with a prospective customer of client. Many experts say that a potential employer (or customer) forms an initial impression of a candidate within the first ten seconds of seeing them. Sometimes before the person even opens their mouth. And those first impressions are only altered in a remarkably small percentage of instances.
“So what’s all that got to do with my landing page?”
Your landing page is the digital equivalent of that first impression. Assuming you get past the initial visual inspection, you still have a very short while to engage the prospect with a clear understanding of your business proposition and what it will do to make them more successful. In the analog world this is called your “elevator pitch”. The idea is to write a script in your head that you could deliver in a five story elevator ride — one that would leave a stranger with a clear idea of who you are, what you do and why it might be beneficial to them.
One exercise used to create the elevator pitch is to write down your story on a 3×5 index card. And only one thought or bridge phrase per line on the card — NO CHEATING. (OK, you might have to go to the office supply store to buy index cards — you probably don’t use them any more. But it will be a dollar well-spent.)
Still interested in knowing what all that has to do with your landing page? Check out this article from Target Internet to find out.
Hint: This excellent article from Marketing Profs on how to get prospects to read past the headline of your Content Marketing piece utilizes fishing analogies — so we won’t. But we are going to encourage you to read on to get some great tips on how to close the deal with your readers.
Let’s assume you have some great content for your audience. Maybe a great way for them to use your products to gain more Millenial users, or a new marketing offer that’s sure to snag more Boomer business for them. But, like most B2B marketing messages, it is somewhat complex and requires some explaining. Like maybe four of five hundred words of explaining or even a full page plus some charts explaining. Even though your headline was a SEO masterpiece, many viewers first inclination is going to be to break for the exit while the door is still open when they see that much content. We all do it. It is instinctive.
So, what do you do to get them to read on? How do you say something in that next sentence or two that will, in the author’s words “set the hook”? The article has some great suggestions, so do read on, but here’s a few of our own.
- Lead with the punchline.
As marketers and story tellers we all want to tantalize our readers with the build-up and then wow them with a grand reveal at the end. It’s a natural tendency born of our confidence in our excellent writing skills — or not. About a hundred years ago someone at Procter & Gambel (or so the legend goes) established a premise for memo writing that said “Tell them what you are going to tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them what you told them.” In other words, lead with your key point so the audience knows what they are going to get. Then dazzle them with the details. It still works.
- Create a burning platform.
Chances are, your product or service is a solution to a common problem among your target audience. So lead by painting a vivid picture of the most urgent scenario you can imagine for them. Make them feel that tension that says “I have to fix this right away!” The give them the solution. Perhaps they will thank you by placing an order.
- Leap off the building.
Most people cannot avert their eyes from an impending calamity. So set yourself up in one in your opening lines…”I went to the client’s office prepared to do a demo for the buyer on my laptop. Then they escorted me into the conference room with 50 people looking at me expectantly…” Try not reading the rest of that one.
So click the link to learn more ways to deal with the challenge of “setting the hook” and driving client engagement with your content.
There’s a lot more to creating an effective presence for your brand on YouTube than just posting informative videos. Helping potential customers find your videos is critical. To do that, you need to apply a little “SEO love” when creating and posting the videos. Start with the title — what are the key search words that come to mind when a potential customer is thinking about the problem they are trying to solve? Creative? Content Marketing? Lead Generation? How about things like “Effective Communication” or “Employee Engagement”? Use these words in your title to improve the chances that your video will be displayed when your potential customer is searching for solutions.
And don’t forget about the thumbnail. In this case, a picture is worth at least a thousand words (the word count limit YouTube sets for video descriptions) and custom production of a unique picture for your thumbnail is proven to outperform the video screenshots YouTube will suggest for you. Custom production is worth the trouble. And speaking of those descriptions, remember, your viewers are looking for a video — not a novel! So keep that word count down. Instead of posting the screenplay for the video, focus on those keywords that will drive SEO and views. The same goes for other chances to drop in copy like tags, subtitles and closed captions. Check out this article for the specifics on how to lavish your next video with SEO love!