Response FX http://responsefx.com Wed, 20 Sep 2017 19:33:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Does Your Website Need a “Tune-Up”? http://responsefx.com/website-need-tune/ http://responsefx.com/website-need-tune/#respond Fri, 22 Apr 2016 00:25:06 +0000 /?p=7827 Are you achieving the results from your website that you want or need? You may not need a new website to improve leads or sales.  You might be able to improve results by addressing the 4 items about your website that drive or affect leads and sales: OFFERS: For the Biggest Change in Results, Change […]

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Are you achieving the results from your website that you want or need?

You may not need a new website to improve leads or sales.  You might be able to improve results by addressing the 4 items about your website that drive or affect leads and sales:

  1. OFFERS: For the Biggest Change in Results, Change the Offer

Sales response can be improved by a more attractive Offer.  What will make the visitor buy yours NOW over the competition?  Can you offer free shipping (which might end up costing you less than a discount on the price)?  Can you include a free gift with order (a sample size of some other product, or a free service)?  Can you give the customer a discount for buying in quantity?  Or a “buy X, get X free” offer (buy a year, get 2 months free, etc.).

When your goal is a lead, that lead response is driven by your Offer.  If you’re struggling with lead generation, it might not be a problem with your “website” per se.  It’s likely a more STRATEGIC problem – you probably need a better lead generation plan with more targeted Offers.  So if you’re not happy with the leads you are or aren’t getting, try changing your Offer FIRST.  Consider:

  • Was your Offer seen as valuable enough for your audience to give you their contact information? That means it shouldn’t be something your prospect could get elsewhere without providing contact information (like a product brochure or video available publicly).
  • Are you relying on a “non-offer” like “for more information, “contact us”? Contact Us is typically used only by those who are ready to talk to a sales person.  Unfortunately, most daily visitors to your website aren’t ready to talk to a sales person.  If you only have a “Contact Us”, you’ll miss capturing contact information from the majority of your visitors.
  • Is your Offer targeted at your particular target audience? If you’re getting leads from the wrong audience, it’s typically because your Offer is too generic, and doesn’t discuss how to solve the problems most important for your particular audience.

If you’re doing blog posts and hoping to drive leads or sales, but there isn’t an Offer on each blog page in a prominent location, be sure to add an attractive Offer there.

  1. CONTENT: Crafting the Words to Sell

If you’re struggling with lead generation or sales, it could be a problem with your actual website Content.

If you’re not “merchandising” your lead generation Offers by clearly and prominently promoting the benefits in your Content, your lead response will suffer.

  • It’s not enough to just say, “Download our free report” – your audience needs at least bulleted points of what they’re going to learn from that report.
  • Maybe you’re offering a free trial of your service – what benefits will I enjoy during the free trial, what can I try out? Be SPECIFIC and don’t assume your audience knows what the benefits are.

 When your goal is a sale, your product Content is key.  In general, when your sales response is low, you haven’t effectively answered the “why should I buy yours?” question.

This is the most common problem with copy:  you deliver all the benefits of your “category” of solution, the same category that perhaps dozens of competitors offer.  What you’re missing is the reason a visitor should buy YOURS.

  • Does your product Content clearly answer all of the key questions your prospects might have — like dimensions, weight, ingredients, material, country of origin, warranty, compatibility with other equipment, the specific services you offer, how does the product work, etc.?

Many companies seem to be afraid of Content – they’re afraid of creating “too much Content” because “prospects don’t read.”  Actually, prospects don’t read useless Content or Content that wastes the prospect’s time. 

Most prospects aren’t on your website for entertainment or to pass the time. They’re on your website for a specific reason — to solve a problem or get their key questions answered.  Be sure your Content clearly delivers the answers.

  1. NAVIGATION: Clear Website Navigation that Answers Visitor Questions

If your visitors don’t spend much time on your site or visit a low number of pages, it could be that they can’t easily find what they’re looking for.  And that unclear navigation can cause low leads and low sales.

Can your audience easily find what they’re looking for on your website?   The easy test of this is to:

  • Make a simple list of your key types of visitors
  • For each visitor, list the key questions they are likely looking to answer on your website
  • Is it clear EXACTLY where the visitor should go to get each of those key questions answered? You never want to make a visitor say, “I wonder if that could mean . . .” That’s always a sign that your navigation isn’t clear.

Don’t limit yourself to creating one-word names in your menu, because that’s what your web designer specified.  Take control of this key strategic element of your website, and create navigation that’s clear to your audience(s).

 For most websites (especially if your site is built in WordPress or similar Content Management System), changing your navigation can usually be accomplished without creating an entirely new website.

  1. DESIGN: Focused on Response 

The specific design of a website page can absolutely affect response positively when it emphasizes key elements on the page such as the Offer.

Similarly, design can also have a negative effect on response when:

  • You rely on “sliders” or “rotating banners” to deliver key messages and Offers. In general, the first slider can generate reasonable click-through.  The second slide usually gets a click-through rate similar to links found at the bottom of the page (where typically a small percentage of visitors scroll down to).  Any slides past the second slide typically get no response at all, because few visitors are waiting for the rotating banners to get past the second slide.
  • The Offers are buried “below the fold” – too far down on the page.

You can easily move your Offers to a more prominent location on your pages, and be sure that your key messages appear in a static location on your page.

It’s important to remember that “creating a new website” may not improve leads or sales – if you don’t have a better plan for smart Offers, true copy that sells, a navigation that answers visitor questions, and design that moves the eye to the Offers.

Improve these 4 elements first – which is something you can do today.

rehabwhitepaper-graphic

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Website Diagnosis: Is Your SEO Effective? http://responsefx.com/website-diagnosis-is-our-seo-effective/ http://responsefx.com/website-diagnosis-is-our-seo-effective/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2016 01:52:49 +0000 /?p=7810 Are you happy with your website’s SEO?  It seems few businesses are.  In general, the complaints seem to go in these 3 directions: “We’re not sure how our SEO is doing”. “We’re not sure if our SEO is correct.” “We’re not sure if any SEO has been done.” Here’s How to Diagnose Your Search Engine […]

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Are you happy with your website’s SEO?  It seems few businesses are.  In general, the complaints seem to go in these 3 directions:

  • “We’re not sure how our SEO is doing”.
  • “We’re not sure if our SEO is correct.”
  • “We’re not sure if any SEO has been done.”

Here’s How to Diagnose Your Search Engine Optimization with Google Analytics

The only reason to undertake SEO in the first place is to drive organic traffic.  So if the goal is to drive organic traffic, some simple measures from Google Analytics can show you how your SEO efforts are going:

  • Is your organic traffic growing each month?
  • How does your monthly traffic this year compare to last year? (Especially if your business is seasonal, may be useful to compare January 2014 to January 2015 results, etc.)

If your traffic is growing, the next thing to look at is the “quality” of that traffic – are visitors to your site finding what they were looking for.

How has your “bounce rate” changed in the past year?  (Bounce rate is the percentage of all visitors to that page who visited ONLY that one page.  A 100% bounce rate means every visitor to that page never went any further on your site.)  If you have a high bounce rate, that could indicate:

  • Your content didn’t answer your visitors’ questions
  • Your visitor couldn’t find what they were looking for
  • Your content is attracting visitors that are not your real target audience

What about time on site or average number of pages viewed trends over the past year?  Low time on site or low average pages viewed (or declining numbers) are other potential indicators of a problem with the content you’re delivering (visitors didn’t find the answers they were looking for), or it could indicate a navigation problem (visitors couldn’t find exactly what they were looking for or what to do next).

  • If your bounce rate is not that high, but your time on site or average pages viewed are low, that’s an indication you are attracting the right visitors – but they’re not finding what they need.

Google Webmaster Tools for Useful CTR by Keyword

Another diagnosis tool that’s free is google.com/webmaster/tools/. (You will need to connect your website to Webmaster Tools. If you can access Google Analytics as an Administrator, you should be able to connect to Webmaster Tools by clicking “add a property”.  Otherwise, have your webmaster give you access to Webmaster Tools.)

In Webmaster Tools, you’ll find “Search Traffic” in the left column.  Select “Search Analytics” to see keywords (check the “queries” box) for which your site appeared on google.com (choose the data range you wish to see).  Check the 4 boxes at the top to see:  clicks, impressions, CTR (click-through) and position.

  • You can sort by position to see the keywords for which you tend to appear on page 1 (in general, positions 1-10). But you may also find decent traffic and CTR even for terms that have a lower position.
  • You can also sort by CTR – to see how effective your “meta description” for each page might be in getting searchers to click.

Although Webmaster Tools has its limitations (the numbers are general averages), it does give you a simple (and free) look at your keywords from Google’s point-of-view.  If you were hoping to see your pages in a higher position for particular keywords, that may indicate a need to revisit your keyword focus on your individual pages – or add blog posts that focus on those keywords.  If they are very competitive keywords, you might consider using pay-per-click advertising to gain some search engine visibility for those keywords.

Good Meta Descriptions and Page Titles Critical for Driving Organic Traffic

If you see some low CTRs, that could indicate that your meta descriptions for each page aren’t enough to motivate your visitors to click. (If you haven’t specified meta descriptions, Google pulls content from the page to use for each page’s description in its search results, which may or may not be helpful for driving CTR.  Always better to specify your own description.)

If you’re using WordPress, you can add the free Yoast SEO plug-in.  This SEO plug-in will put a Page Title and Meta Description editing box at the bottom of each page where you edit pages or posts.

Page Title seems to be a very critical element in SEO.  Each of your pages should have a unique Page Title.  (Note “Page Title” should be specified separately from “the name of your page”, or what you call the page in your navigation, what the page URL is, and what the page headline is.)  Some beliefs that seem to be true about Page Title:

  • Your most important keyword for that page should appear early or first in the Page Title
  • Write the Page Title like a headline – because that’s what it’s used for in Google’s organic search results. Don’t make it a list of keywords, it should read like a headline.
  • Don’t put the name of your site in Page Title. Many websites, including WordPress sites, tack on the site name at the end of the Page Title needlessly.  Your URL includes your site name – there’s no benefit to including it in Page Title.  And including it can dilute the value of the other words in the Page Title (and create Titles that are too long).

Beyond looking at organic traffic, general position, CTR, and your descriptions and page titles, other important elements of SEO include:

  1. Individual page URLs — which should include the most important keyword for each page
  2. In-text links to appropriate pages. If you mention your new CRM software as an add-on product, be sure to link to the CRM software page – and put the link on the words “CRM software” or appropriate keywords for that page (rather than “click here”).
  3. Use of keywords naturally on the page. Always write your content first for your target audience, including keywords as they would logically be included in conversation.

You should also review your company listing in the big national databases for inclusion and consistency.  You always want to register your company name in exactly the same way with exactly the same address and phone number across the databases.  If you have multiple locations, be sure to always call each location by a consistent name, like “Response FX San Diego” and “Response FX Los Angeles.”  You can get an idea of how consistent your company is represented across the databases by visiting https://moz.com/local/search.

What’s your biggest SEO question?

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Why Your Website Isn’t Generating More Leads http://responsefx.com/art-crafting-lead-generation-offers-part-2/ http://responsefx.com/art-crafting-lead-generation-offers-part-2/#respond Thu, 25 Dec 2014 01:09:40 +0000 /?p=7467 Are you focusing on Lead Generation?  Do your in-house marketers really understand Lead Generation?  Does your agency? The company president advised me, “we’ve had 2 agencies in the last 18 months . . . the first was a design firm.  They did great design, but they couldn’t deliver on the words.” “I told the second […]

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Are you focusing on Lead Generation?  Do your in-house marketers really understand Lead Generation?  Does your agency?

The company president advised me, “we’ve had 2 agencies in the last 18 months . . . the first was a design firm.  They did great design, but they couldn’t deliver on the words.”

“I told the second agency I needed a smart strategy — they assured me they were great with strategy.  But as we started to work together, they had no strategy.”

What this client actually needed was an agency who understood Lead Generation — and how to get maximum value from every visitor.  He needed to create some logical “Lead Generation Paths” to tie all of his marketing efforts together.

Step 1:  Make Every “Traffic-Driving” Effort Part of a Lead Generation Path

For each marketing activity that drives traffic, how can you tie that activity into a Lead Generation Path?

THE SEO LEAD GENERATION PATH

If you’re doing SEO, how are you measuring its success?  lead-gen-1

Increases in Organic traffic — and increases in number of pages visited, time on site, and decreases in bounce rate (from Organic traffic) — help indicate your keywords are drawing the right audience, and your pages are meeting that audience’s needs.  But what’s your plan for converting that SEO-driven traffic?

Appropriate Offer on each page of your website — do you have this?

Are you hiding your white paper or checklist or special industry report or worksheet so visitors have to search for them?   Most visitors won’t — so don’t stop your SEO efforts at traffic.

Encourage Organic traffic to convert — by including an appropriate Offer on EVERY page of your website that could logically appear in Organic search  listings.

THE PPC LEAD GENERATION PATH

The Lead Generation Path for Pay-Per-Click advertising efforts is similar:

lead-gen-2R

THE SOCIAL MEDIA LEAD GENERATION PATH

It’s amazing that a significant number of marketers and business owners still question the value of Social Media.  Maybe that’s because they don’t understand social media’s role in the Lead Generation Path:
lead-gen-4
On Social Media, you need to attract an audience — by posting useful information.

The more valuable or intriguing your posts, the faster your audience grows.  As your audience grows, each of your future marketing efforts gains an expanded reach.

Social media is NOT just for consumer products.  B2B is driving traffic and leads successfully through Social Media.

Yes, LinkedIn is very useful for this — but surprisingly, many B2B clients are driving the bulk of their Social Media traffic from Facebook (!).

And don’t forget to use Social Media Updates to promote your Offers (so you could have at least 2 different Social Media Lead Generation Paths).

Step 2:  Craft a Low Commitment Offer to Reach Prospects at Early Buying-Stages

Obviously, the Offer in each of these Lead Generation Paths is KEY.  And this is where useful Content can become an effective Offer.

A Low Commitment Offer is an easy Offer for your audience to take advantage of.  It requires little effort on their part — typically just providing some basic contact information.  The easier you can make it for your audience to take advantage of your Offer, the more leads you’ll generate. (Concerned about Lead Quality?  Be sure your Content Offer is something tailored specifically to your audience.)

What kind of Offer should you make?

Most companies focus on the “middle” Buying Stage — when the prospect has already figured out what type of solution they need, and are just comparing options.  But focusing here misses a HUGE OPPORTUNITY to reach prospects early in the process.

Ad Age reported that 43% of B2B buyers have already decided what they’re going to buy and who to buy from before they contact any vendor.  (June 2014)

If you’re relying on your CONTACT US or REQUEST A DEMO to generate leads, you’re missing at least 43% of your audience.

So how can you reach your audience at an Early Buying Stage?  Create an Offer that helps them determine what type of solution they need to solve their problem.

For my business-owner client who couldn’t find an agency who knew how to solve his Lead Generation problem, a white paper like this might have been helpful:

 “Why Your Website Isn’t Generating More Leads”

This type of Offer could have steered him toward the TYPE of solution he needed — a Lead Generation agency. And it may identify those companies EARLY in their agency search.

Step 3:  Use Email to Nurture Your Leads (and Prepare Them to Talk to Sales)

Email performs the heavy lifting in lead conversion.  Email is where you prove your expertise, build your credibility, and educate your prospects about the benefits your solution offers.

A smart email series will also deliver Next-Stage Offers — so those ready to take the next step and talk to Sales are easily identified.

Are there other Lead Generation Paths you’re using?

leadgen-graphic

 

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What a Smart Lead Generation Program Should Include http://responsefx.com/lead-generation-agency-doesnt-want-succeed/ http://responsefx.com/lead-generation-agency-doesnt-want-succeed/#respond Wed, 05 Nov 2014 05:12:35 +0000 /?p=7598 I was on a call with the principals of a small design agency, who had hired a lead generation company to handle some email business development for them. The design agency told me the lead generation company had “done a few emails” for them.  Results to date?  “We had some visits, but nothing came of […]

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I was on a call with the principals of a small design agency, who had hired a lead generation company to handle some email business development for them.

The design agency told me the lead generation company had “done a few emails” for them.  Results to date?  “We had some visits, but nothing came of them yet.”

So I was hopeful . . . until I heard 4 key points that convinced me this lead generation agency had no interest in really helping the design firm succeed.  See what you think . . .

1.  The email effort was not targeted at all.  The design firm said, “We’re pretty much looking for any type of company in any industry.”  I’m guessing this was music to the lead generation company’s ears.

  •  The less they target, the more email addresses they’ll have available to use for this client.  They can just keep spending the client’s money prospecting for that needle in the haystack.

Why not focus on 2 industries the design firm has worked in before, and tailor 2 email messages to those 2 industries?  Then, each email could  link to a  landing page that features a case study from the corresponding industry.

  • If they pursued this carefully targeted approach, they might actually learn what message and landing page case resonates with each industry audience — and their email efforts would become more effective over time.

2.  The emails had no offers.  When I asked about this, the lead generation company president actually said,

“We didn’t create any offers because then we’d have to figure out what to do with those leads.”

(!)   In other words, if the prospect isn’t an “A” lead and ready to talk to the design firm today, the lead generation company isn’t interested in them.

  •  Of course they’re not — if they actually created a mailing list of “B” and “C” leads that the client could educate and nurture over time to become “A” leads, the design firm might not need the lead generation firm at some point.

Why wouldn’t the lead generation firm want to manage that nurturing program monthly? I guess they just don’t want to be bothered with pesky leads that don’t immediately convert . . .

Why not create a downloadable portfolio of work, accessible when the email recipient provides their email address — and build a follow-up list for the design firm?  (Otherwise, this design firm will never have their own list of prospects.)

3.  There were no click-through results from the prior emails.  huh?  Click-through is the single stat that tells you whether your audience was actually interested enough in your message to learn more — by clicking through to your landing page.

The lead generation president then uttered, “We go by open rates — the pixel fires when the email is actually opened.”

  • Actually, the “pixel fires” refers to any graphics in the email messages being accessed from the server.  If the recipient’s email program has “images off” by default, it will never register as an “open” even if the recipient actually OPENS IT 50 times — unless the recipient turns the images on.
  • It’s also true that if the recipient has “images on”, but is using a preview pane, EVERY email will register as an “open” whether the recipient ever views the email or not.
  • What if someone reads your message but never turns the images on?  That will never count as an “open.”
  • What if someone reads the text version of your email?  Also never counts as an “open.”

How does this lead generation company — that is sending untargeted emails with no offer and isn’t tracking clicks — know if the message is resonating?  Um, let me guess:

  • As long as they keep reporting these “open rates”, the design company will think the campaign is working.

4.  They were not “testing their way to success.”  When I asked how they’ve tested messages so far, they mentioned they had sent out a few different messages to the same audience.

But they hadn’t sent the different messages at the same time — so the tests weren’t actually as accurate as they might have been, had they split the list and mailed the 2 different messages at the same time.

  • And, of course, when I asked what the specific results were from each of the past emails, only open rates were cited.  How many clicks did each receive?  How many visits to the landing page?  Isn’t the purpose to generate website traffic?  No results were given at all.

Isn’t that what a lead generation agency is for — to carefully test each and every element of a lead generation program — and then carefully analyze the results to know how to proceed?

Become a More Educated Buyer of Marketing Services

It’s always sad to see a small business being taken advantage of by a marketing agency (and in this case, it’s a marketing agency being taken advantage of by a marketing agency).   Small businesses need to become more educated consumers of marketing services.

How?  Always request a proposal from at least 2 potential agencies so you can compare their strategies.  By “strategies”, you should see a plan that makes sense given your particular objectives.  If you need to generate a steady stream of leads — and convert them — you should find these elements in the proposals:

  1. Discussion of list targeting.  Ask them specifically if they can include any cases where they changed the list targeting and got better click-through rates.
  2. Discussion of potential offers — and how they make sense for the quality of leads you’re looking for (whether you’re gathering A leads or a range of A,B,C leads).  Ask them for a discussion of a situation where they did some offer testing and what the results were.
  3. Discussion of creative testing — what are they going to test and how.  Ask them for a discussion of a situation where they did some creative testing and what the results were.
  4. Discussion of how they’re going to help you convert the leads they generate — because you don’t make any money until those leads buy.
  5. Discussion of lead generation programs they’ve done for others and what the results were.  You want to see more than open rates here — you want to see click-through rates.

You want to see what was tested and how they steadily improved results over time.  That’s how a lead generation agency should be making its money.  

Lead generation is all about careful testing of each element over time — so that after a number of email campaigns, you know exactly which Subject Line did better, and exactly which offer did better, and exactly which message did better.

It’s great when marketing companies have good salespeople.  But it’s much better for you and your marketing results if you’re sold instead by actually seeing GOOD STRATEGY!

What do you think about this lead generation company’s email strategy?

leadgen-graphic

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Need Smarter Digital Marketing? Hire a Direct Marketer http://responsefx.com/key-direct-marketing-skills-next-generation-part-2/ http://responsefx.com/key-direct-marketing-skills-next-generation-part-2/#respond Wed, 08 Oct 2014 03:13:45 +0000 /?p=7463 (This is a continuation of Direct Marketing Skills for Digital Marketing.  See part 1 of Key Direct Marketing Skills for the Next Generation . . .) To find out what works best, TEST! Great Direct Marketers know how to test our way to success.  We don’t have to guess which headline is better — we can […]

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(This is a continuation of Direct Marketing Skills for Digital Marketing.  See part 1 of Key Direct Marketing Skills for the Next Generation . . .)

To find out what works best, TEST!

Great Direct Marketers know how to test our way to success.  We don’t have to guess which headline is better — we can test and tell you exactly which one is better.

Testing creative has always been absolutely horrifying to non-direct marketing creative teams — but Direct Marketers have always relied on testing. So now, Direct Marketers with deep experience in testing are applying those skills to websites, landing pages, and email marketing.

I still remember the great presentation by Emily Soell in Los Angeles. She had the audience of Direct Marketers highly engaged in voting for which version we thought won in each of her test scenarios. I sat with Bill Brown, then a multi-ECHO-Award-winning Creative Director. Bill and I each voted for our favorites — and neither Bill nor I (nor Emily Soell!) was always correct.  And Bill turned to me at the end and said, “That’s why we test.”

What should you test?  In your email marketing — different Subject Lines, Emotional Appeals, and Offers can have a huge impact on click-through.  We regularly find that an Emotional Appeal, Headline, or Offer can do 3X better than another option!

FOR EXAMPLE . . .   For Qualcomm, we “tested our way to success” by:

  • First discovering the Emotional Driver that brought in three times more orders
  • Taking that Emotional Driver even further — with a really “out there” creative approach that got 3 times more orders than that previous winner
  • Finally, we were able to reduce the cost of the Offer, and still achieve close to the same results.

Direct Marketers are always looking for a way to boost response, boost revenue, or reduce costs.

Direct Marketers Live for the Numbers

Smart Direct Marketers know exactly what it costs us to bring in a customer.  And if we’re generating leads, we know the metrics at each step in the process, including:

  • Click-through rate from each different source of traffic
  • Cost per click from each paid traffic source
  • Lead Conversion rate per traffic source
  • Cost Per Lead per traffic source

A Direct Marketer will run a simple Breakeven Analysis on a proposed program, to see what the numbers look like at various response rates before we ever begin.

If more marketers could perform this Breakeven Analysis for the CEO and CFO of their company, showing how carefully the program has been constructed before ever spending a dime, more marketers would be heroes!

Direct Marketers are the Original Analytics Experts

How do you decide if your website is as effective as it can be — or where it might need improvement?

A Direct Marketer will analyze visitor progress through each step of a website to identify problems and opportunities.  For example, we might:

  • Compare the number of home page visitors with the percentage that continued onto a product page
  • Brainstorm changes we could test on the home page to improve the percentage of those who click through to a product page
  • Look at the percentage of those who clicked “Download the Trial” or “Get the White Paper” as compared to number of visitors to a product page
  • Test changes to the product page to try to improve the percentage who click on an Offer
  • Compare the number of visitors to each Offer page to the number that completed the Lead Generation form
  • Think of ways to improve conversion

You can solve your Digital Marketing Staffing — with a Direct Marketer

Many companies are finding it difficult to find qualified digital marketing talent to hire.  But digital marketing tactics need to be driven by smart, strategic thinking — which you’ll find in an experienced Direct Marketer.  If you’ve got a Direct Marketer on your staff, why not cross-train them to allow them to apply their skills to digital marketing?

Or bring in a Direct Marketer — you won’t find more qualified marketers for testing, financial analysis, and analytics, even when applied to digital marketing.

We regularly train new hires, interns, and more traditional marketers in digital marketing tactics.  Learn more about our Digital Marketing Consulting and Training

 

 

 

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How to Use the Skills of Direct Marketers in Digital Marketing http://responsefx.com/get-new-marketers-excited-direct-marketing/ http://responsefx.com/get-new-marketers-excited-direct-marketing/#respond Fri, 03 Oct 2014 02:39:08 +0000 /?p=7524 Key Direct Marketing skills are in high demand in Digital Marketing.  That’s because smart marketers realize that Offer creation and managing Lead Generation programs, Analytics and Testing — all critical for effective Digital Marketing — are all Direct Marketing skills. Direct Marketing:  Offers, Lead Management, CRM, Testing, and Analytics Direct Marketers are the ones usually […]

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Key Direct Marketing skills are in high demand in Digital Marketing.  That’s because smart marketers realize that Offer creation and managing Lead Generation programs, Analytics and Testing — all critical for effective Digital Marketing — are all Direct Marketing skills.

Direct Marketing:  Offers, Lead Management, CRM, Testing, and Analytics

Direct Marketers are the ones usually responsible for (and experienced in) generating measurable, trackable:

1.  Leads:  including lead generation, lead qualification, and lead conversion

2.  Traffic:  retail traffic, web traffic, phone traffic

3.  Direct sales

In addition, it’s a Direct Marketer who’s usually charged with creating profitable customers through:

4.  Cross-sell and up-sell efforts and Offers

5.  Loyalty programs

6.  Reactivation programs

It’s the Direct Marketer who will try to create more “best” customers and increase Lifetime Value.  And it all starts with the Offer.

It’s the OFFER that Drives the Right Audience to the Right Action

 Among the key skills that define great Direct Marketers is the skill of Offer Creation.  (It was the Direct Marketers who were doing “Content Marketing” decades before the Internet even existed.)

Direct Marketers start with the specific objective we’re trying to achieve.  Then we craft an Offer to motivate our specific target audience to take a specific action.  (I’ve been in meetings where staff says, “gee, what should we offer this month?” — rather than starting with a plan.)

I received a call a while ago from the agency working with a local store that is part of a nationwide retail chain. The account manager was working on Offers (to drive sales) to include in the next postcard mailing.

“What do you think about offering 20% off your entire purchase versus 20% off a single item versus 10% off a $100 purchase and 20% off a $200 purchase?” she asked.  I re-focused her on thinking about the end result of each offer.

Once we identified the objectives her promotion was trying to achieve, we were then able to select the right Offer.

Creating and Managing a Lead Generation Program

A key skill that smart Direct Marketers usually possess is knowing how to create and manage a lead generation program.

For a Direct Marketer, creating effective Lead Management programs may involve:

  • Lead generation — using every possible medium that makes sense for the audience, budget, and specific ROI goals
  • Managing Lead “quality” versus Lead quantity — through the commitment level of the Offer and other elements
  • Attracting A, B, and C leads — and identifying A leads for Sales follow-up
  • Lead nurturing — typically through email marketing
  • Lead conversion — typically through email marketing that drives traffic to a website landing page

Marketers at all levels struggle to put together an on-going lead generation SYSTEM.  Perhaps it’s because so many marketers never learned key Direct Marketing skills.

CRM:  Creating More Profitable Customers

Great Direct Marketers are the ones who are typically charged with managing customer profitability. It’s our job to analyze the customer file, and create steady streams of communications to maximize the value of our customers over time.

It’s a smart Direct Marketer who’s responsible for:

  • On-going education of customers (and prospects, through lead nurturing)
  • Up-sell efforts
  • Cross-sell efforts
  • Making each sale more profitable by boosting average order size
  • Increasing purchase frequency

That’s because all of these efforts involve smart crafting of targeted Content and Offers.  The Direct Marketer strategically analyzes the customer file and creates messages and offers to achieve specific objectives.   And those messages and offers are usually delivered by email . . .

Email marketing has supplemented (and in many cases, replaced) direct mail to:

  • Convert leads
  • Sell more to existing customers

But the same skills required to craft effective Direct Mail programs are those needed for effective Email programs.

(Next — Part 2:  Testing, Analytics, and Direct Marketing done on the Web.)

 

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10 Things Successful Marketing Departments Do http://responsefx.com/10-critical-components-successful-marketing-departments/ http://responsefx.com/10-critical-components-successful-marketing-departments/#respond Wed, 03 Sep 2014 00:39:23 +0000 /?p=7470 The most successful Marketing departments get the most from every Marketing dollar. They’re focused on maximizing results — and tend to be set up around some key activities.  Here are the key components of their Marketing plans that help ensure their success . . . 1.  Use Data to Craft Relevant Communications The smartest thing […]

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The most successful Marketing departments get the most from every Marketing dollar.

They’re focused on maximizing results — and tend to be set up around some key activities.  Here are the key components of their Marketing plans that help ensure their success . . .

1.  Use Data to Craft Relevant Communications

The smartest thing you can do is send relevant communications to customer and prospects.  It doesn’t take a lot of data elements to get started, just some basic information about your customers and prospects, all in one easily-accessible system.

Use your data to drive your communications. Rather than the same communication to everyone, customize your communications based on what you know about your customers and prospects. That allows you to send information on only the most appropriate products to each individual.

We used the brand purchased last to drive the next email offer for our golf client:

  • The very targeted offer generated 11% purchase response (more than 3x the response compared to when we sent everyone the same offer)

The results include:  better return on Marketing investment, better readership of each communication, stronger customer loyalty, fewer unsubscribes, and better prospect conversion.

2.  Send Customers and Prospects Useful Communications

Are you ignoring your customers?   Or do you send them emails that waste their time?

Communicate with your customers on a regular basis — by sending them some VALUABLE information.  Remind them of why they do business with you — and tell them something they didn’t know.

Communications could include:

  • New product or service enhancements (don’t assume your customers are checking your website regularly for new stuff — they aren’t)
  • Add-on products or services (based on their past purchases)
  • Reminders of how to get service after the sale
  • Summaries of all the benefits of the product or service purchased (don’t assume your customers are using all of your product’s features — or know all the products and services your company offers)
  • Success stories about how other companies are using your product or service

Remember:  most customers have no idea of all the products you offer, or all the benefits of the products they’ve already purchased.  Few, if any, customers have read every page on your website.

Canon sends an email newsletter to its printer customers.  The newsletter includes links to free software that can be downloaded to further enhance what your Canon printer can do.  Useful info, valuable links, and it makes me appreciate Canon more.

3.  Track the Results of Every Marketing Effort

Do you know how many new customers — and how much in dollar sales — were brought in by every Marketing effort (or every campaign)?

Use measures like Cost Per Order (CPO) or Cost Per New Customer Acquired (CPA) to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of each media vehicle and each promotional campaign.

This will help you spend your Marketing dollars most effectively, by choosing only the most cost-effective media vehicles (or types of promotions) in the future.

  • The smartest Marketing departments can dazzle the CFO with their understanding of CPO as it relates to marketing budget — and the company’s sales goals.

4.  Test Everything

Don’t just run ads or post updates and hope they’ll bring in business.  eudora-test-envelope

Why not actually test one headline against another, one offer against another, a different description against another — to determine the most effective direction for each element of your marketing campaign?

  • The change of a single word can triple your response!
  • If you find the winning headline, offer, and description, that combination of successive improvements can be powerful. In our tests for Qualcomm, the winning combination generated 24 times the response of the original approach.

This is the secret for getting far greater return from your Marketing efforts — without increasing your budget.

5.  Know — and Publicize — the Answer to “Why Should I Buy From You?”

The most successful Marketing departments have the answer to this question plastered on their walls so everyone knows it!

Your answer to this question should be prominently displayed THROUGHOUT your website, and mentioned in every customer and prospect email.

The key is to prove why you’re different from the competition.  And that is the test of every web page, every email, and every other communication that is generated by Marketing:

  If it’s clear why someone should do business with your company, then the communication is doing its job.

See how this website places its 3 key points of differentiation on EVERY page just below the main menu:

sliderobes-2

6. Craft Well Thought-Out Marketing Procedures for Handling Prospects

Smart Marketing departments don’t set up other departments for failure — by not thinking through your procedures.

  • I called a hotel to ask about their catering services.  The front desk person asked me “Do you want Virginia or Sylvia?”   (Marketing is driving these phone calls and wants them to convert.  So Marketing needs to work with Guest Services to give the front desk some Training on how to more effectively route the calls.)
  • He then transferred me to the Catering department. The woman who answered gave me the third degree:  she wanted my name, company, address, phone, fax, email — and only then did she ask what date I was looking at.  Then, she concluded the hotel couldn’t accommodate me on that day.

Clearly, she had been told to gather contact information from every caller to build a database.  But I’m not sure this particular procedure was the best way to leave a positive impression on a potential customer.

7. Develop Ways to Serve More of Your Customer’s Needs

It’s much more cost-effective to market to customers rather than prospects. So why not find more products and services to sell to your existing customers?

Smart Marketing departments look at customer needs and consider logical product bundles — or cross-sell opportunities.

And through product development, product line expansion, and partnerships with other companies, you can secure a bigger piece of each customer’s business — and make your company more indispensable to every customer.

  • “We’re looking for a CRM system that will be tailored to our needs from day 1, and we want every user to be able to hit the ground running with the system.”   Why not offer customization services and user training?  Or offer a consultant’s services through your company, so you retain control of the customer relationship.

8.  See Everything from the Customer’s Point of View

Most companies know this is important, but does your Marketing department really know how to implement it?

Does your website, email message series, and every customer communication use more “you” and “your” — compared with “we”, “us”, “our”, your product name and company name?  Every customer communication should talk directly to your customers and focus on “what’s in it for me (the customer).”

Do you meet regularly with other departments to review company procedures from a customer point of view?

Anywhere you find you’re making the customer adhere to your company’s way of doing things is an area that needs change.

Do you use industry jargon that might be confusing to the customer?

  • I called a company to order something.  The customer service rep asked me, “Do you want one with feature A or feature B?” When I asked him what the difference was, he actually sighed — and then told me.  Why not lead with the simpler language — rather than the jargon? (and lose the ‘tude.)

9.  Know Your Customer Lifetime Value When Budgeting for Prospecting

Your prospecting budget should be based on how much you can afford to spend to acquire each customer — based on the value of the customer over his or her entire lifetime with your company.  For example:

  • If you know the average customer will spend about $1,000 with you each year
  • And they continue doing business with you for about 2.3 years
  • And your margin is 20%
  • That means each customer generates  $1,000 x 2.3 years = $2,300 in revenue @ 20% margin = $460 gross profit

If your prospecting efforts are creating new customers at less than $460 each, doesn’t it make sense to do more prospecting, as long as the cost per new customer is less than the lifetime gross profit?

10.  Genuinely Value the Customer

Smart Marketing departments focus on doing the right thing for the customer.  That translates into:

  • Including enough information on the website to answer questions when they arise (like FAQs).  There’s no such thing as TOO MUCH COPY when your customer has a problem or when a prospect is gathering information about your product to present to the boss.
  • Having a way for customers to reach you, with a promise of a response within a certain period of time.  Be sure submissions on your website are handled promptly.
  • Creating webinars or videos to help customers learn how to use a feature — or that show customers some best practices or success stories
  • Sending email messages that illustrate step-by-step how to get maximum value from your product or service

With this attitude, the company becomes a trusted resource, and a business to which the customer is likely to refer others.  And Marketing can encourage this attitude throughout the company.

This can be as simple as the garden department worker at Home Depot mentioning that other customers have found a particular potting soil to work better than the one I might have just put in my cart.  I appreciate the recommendation and think better of Home Depot for it.

Have I missed anything you’ve found the most successful marketing departments do?

 

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Is There Too Much Copy on Your Website? http://responsefx.com/much-copy-website/ http://responsefx.com/much-copy-website/#respond Wed, 20 Aug 2014 04:24:46 +0000 /?p=7363 Sales says:  “There’s a LOT of copy on the website.  I’d rather have less copy and drive visitors to Contact Us to learn more.” Although Sales/Biz Dev might want the entire focus of the website to be on driving leads (and so, may believe there is “too much copy” on the website for lead generation), […]

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Sales says:  “There’s a LOT of copy on the website.  I’d rather have less copy and drive visitors to Contact Us to learn more.”

Although Sales/Biz Dev might want the entire focus of the website to be on driving leads (and so, may believe there is “too much copy” on the website for lead generation), the website has to meet the needs of your entire audience.   

Each of your visitors can be in different buying stages.  At any point in time, visitors to your website include:

  • “A” leads  – those visitors ready to talk to a salesperson today, but always the smallest group.
  • “B” leads — those actively looking for a solution, but may not want to talk to a salesperson – they’re looking to see what’s out there, and trying to narrow down their potential vendor list.  If this audience doesn’t get their questions answered on your website, they’ll probably just move on to your competitors’ websites.  It’s too early in the process for them to want to take the time to talk to a particular company — they’re still researching options.
  • “C” leads — the “sightseers.”  These visitors may want to learn more, but aren’t actively searching for a solution today.  Similar to “B” leads, they won’t bother contacting you if they have questions.

To capture contact information from the widest group of visitors, you need offers that meet visitor needs at their various buying stages.

o   Those just starting their research want to learn more, they want to be educated.  So offer them something that will help them learn more — like a special report or white paper or comparison report or case study(ies) in their industry.

o   These visitors want to know what your solution can do – so they can decide whether to put your company on the potential vendor list or not.

o  If you’re selling B2B, there may be multiple decision-makers.  Each decision-maker may be looking for different things in your solution.  (And there may be multiple types and levels of visitors to your website from the same company.)

o   Some visitors may come with a specific list of requirements that they’re looking for — if you don’t have enough detail, it’s too easy for them to just go on to a competitor’s site.

Think that won’t happen?  What do you do on an e-commerce site when you can’t find details on a particular product being sold?  Don’t you just go search for another website?  There’s almost always another website selling a similar product — with a more complete explanation.

So “all that copy” is there to answer questions, to provide specifics — because SPECIFICS SELL.  And it’s there to meet the needs of the range of visitors coming to your website.

How to Make “All That Copy” Not Look Like A Lot of Copy 

1.  Break up the copy — using numbered points and bullets.

2.  Use specific subheads throughout.  Specifics sell!  And subheads help the scanning reader and can help your SEO.

3.  Use on-page tabs.  TabsTabs organize the copy (they’re like subheads) — but only the copy under one tab is displayed at any one time.  For SEO purposes, though, the copy in ALL of the tabs is seen by search engine bots as being on that single page.

4.  Use “See More” and “See Less” jquery or “accordion” type of functionality.

Visitors who want to learn more can click on the item and additional content is revealed right on the same page.  This is a great solution to provide the detail needed — AND keep enough content on a page for SEO reasons. accordion-2

The search engine bots see all of the copy as being on the page, whether it’s displayed by default or not.

(Hey Sales, improving SEO will help drive more traffic!)  In general, many improvements to a website that are good for the visitor tend to be good for SEO as well.

How have you handled the “how much copy do we need” issue on your website?

rehabwhitepaper-graphic

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Is “Request a Demo” the Only Offer on Your Software Website? That’s Why Sales Shouldn’t Dictate Website Details http://responsefx.com/request-demo-offer-software-website-thats-sales-shouldnt-dictate-website-details/ http://responsefx.com/request-demo-offer-software-website-thats-sales-shouldnt-dictate-website-details/#respond Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:02:49 +0000 /?p=7358 Sales says:  “We want to drive more Demos.  We want the offer of a Demo to be everywhere on the website.” You check the Analytics.  You discover: Only about 5% of all website visitors click the “Request a Demo” button on the website currently — which likely means 95% of website visitors aren’t ready to “Request […]

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Sales says:  “We want to drive more Demos.  We want the offer of a Demo to be everywhere on the website.”

You check the Analytics.  You discover:

  • Only about 5% of all website visitors click the “Request a Demo” button on the website currently — which likely means 95% of website visitors aren’t ready to “Request a Demo”.

You see the Demo button is in the website’s masthead — so it appears on every page.

During the last revision of the website, the Demo button was also added to the bottom of every product page.

So within the Product section of the website, the Demo button appears at the top and bottom of every page.

And it’s also featured prominently on the Home page.

Isn’t it already “everywhere”?  What else can you do to make Sales happy?  

Marketing’s job is to choose the best direction to help Sales achieve its goals

Marketers, consider yourself as a “marketing consultant” to Sales — listen to what Sales is trying to achieve, and review all the options before deciding how to proceed.

Sales says they want more Demos.  Is adding more “Request a Demo” buttons around the website the best solution?  There may be other options:

  • Maybe the masthead button is missed because it blends in too much.  (In general, bright, primary colors for buttons tend to get more attention than muted, softer, or darker colors.)
  • Maybe there should be a Request a Demo button in other places on each product page other than masthead and bottom of page. Once visitors have gone past the Home page, they may not notice anything in the masthead on interior pages — so a call to action button in the masthead may be missed.
  • A small percentage of visitors usually read all the way to the bottom of the page.  Placing a prominent “Request a Demo” early in the page — but below masthead and main menu — should help alert more visitors to this available next step.

There are likely some simple changes that you can easily test to see if they have any effect on Demo requests.  But what if you don’t see any effect?

Analysis of the “Request a Demo” as Offer:  Most visitors likely want to know what your software can do before they demo it.  In a B2B situation, the visitor may have a list of requirements they want the software to meet — or they may be trying to identify software to consider further.  So “Request a Demo” for many first-time visitors may be too far down the path for them.

You need offers for visitors in the earliest stages of the buying cycle — so you can capture them early and be the one to educate them over time

It’s true that:

  • Not everyone who visits your website is ready and willing to talk to a salesperson today.
  • You want to capture contact information from as many visitors to the website as you can — so you need an offer with wider appeal.
  • By focusing only on a Demo offer, with no lower-commitment offer, you’ll miss capturing contact information for a huge percentage of visitors.
  • By adding some lower-commitment offers, you can educate the audience, prove your company’s expertise and prove why your software offers unique benefits.

Potential Lower-Commitment Offers to Consider

Offer a Special Report or White Paper that gives the prospect more detail about your solution — and educates them about why your solution is so great.

  • Position it as a helpful resource, not a pitch.  Consider a Special Report on the “Top X Things the Most Successful Companies are Doing with CRM Systems” — or something similar that will be considered a valuable read.  (In this example, you might highlight things that only your CRM system can do — or that your CRM system makes easier to do).

Maybe all visitors to your website are looking at many different CATEGORIES of solutions — perhaps a report that compares the different types of solutionswould be attractive to this audience.

Offer an archived webinar that demonstrates the product as a brief introduction.

Maybe your special report offer will help them choose the right type of solution — like a “Top 7 Things to Look For in . . .”

  • With this type of document, you can establish the decision criteria for your prospects to use that puts your software or services in the best light.

“But we want more Demos.”  

Tell Sales you want to capture contact information from more of the 95% of visitors who aren’t ready for a Demo today.

Tell Sales you’ll create a series of email messages to those visitors, so you can educate them over time and be their solution provider of choice when they ARE ready for a Demo.

Tell Sales you can deliver more Demos over time — by making some lower-commitment offers along with the Demo on the website.

What about Visitors to the “Request a Demo” page who don’t complete the form?

Have you compared the number of visits to your “Request a Demo” page versus the number of complete “Request a Demo” forms you receive?  What if your completion rate is less than 50%?  That may indicate:

  • You’ve asked for too much information on your form.  The more information you ask for, typically the lower your completion rate.  Do you really need all of that information?  Could you just as easily ask for less and look up other details online?  The discussion with Sales should be:  We can ask for more information — and keep our completion rate where it is.  Or we can ask for less and you’ll likely get more Requests for Demos.
  • The visitor might be assuming the “Request a Demo” would work differently.  For example, if visitors have to provide contact info and wait for Sales to contact them to arrange a Demo, that’s a very different assumption than providing contact info and receiving access to an online Demo or software they can download for trial.  POTENTIAL ACTION:  If you don’t want to offer an online Demo or download because of competitive reasons, could you create a short summary video, showing some of the major benefits of your software?
  • The procedure and amount of information you’re requesting isn’t perceived to be worth the benefit you’re offering to the visitor.  POTENTIAL ACTION:  Could you enhance the benefits listed on the Request a Demo page that might convince more visitors to complete the form?  This kind of change should be easy to test.

What about asking one of your happy customers to lead a summary webinar to demonstrate your product?  So the “Request a Demo” offer could become “Join our next Demo” — likely to be perceived as a much lower commitment offer.  And you can pitch “Led by a customer, see how (company name) uses it — and ask direction questions.”

If you tried these steps, do you think your Sales department will go along with this plan?

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Is Your Website Focused on Content and Links? http://responsefx.com/website-focused-content-links/ http://responsefx.com/website-focused-content-links/#respond Mon, 07 Jul 2014 05:25:47 +0000 /?p=7325 (This is another question in our “Are You Smarter than an Internet Marketing student?” series posted on the Response FX page on Facebook.com.  The questions are taken from actual midterm exams given to university-level Internet Marketing classes.) Which 2 elements are a key focus of websites because of the importance of ranking on Google? Choice a? […]

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(This is another question in our “Are You Smarter than an Internet Marketing student?” series posted on the Response FX page on Facebook.com.  The questions are taken from actual midterm exams given to university-level Internet Marketing classes.)

Which 2 elements are a key focus of websites because of the importance of ranking on Google?

Choice a?  Links to Facebook and Twitter

Links TO your website is what Google wants to see.  Achieving social media mentions of your URL, and “shares” of your content along with a link to one of your web pages can positively affect your search engine position.

Choice b?  Blogs and RSS feeds

Blogs can be a smart part of your Content strategy, as well as your SEO strategy.  Blogs can be your primary way of posting fresh content on your website, which can be great for SEO.  And if that fresh content is unique and useful enough to your target audience to be SHARE-able and LINK-able, your blog can help generate traffic, expand your reach, prove your expertise — and help your SEO further with shares and likes.

RSS feeds help distribute your blog content to those who have subscribed to your feed.  But setting up a feed isn’t done specifically to help your SEO efforts on Google.

Choice d?  Keywords and PPC (Pay-Per-Click, such as Google Adwords)

Keywords are the first strategic decision you should make when optimizing your website to be search engine-friendly.  Pay-Per-Click, though, is not used for SEO reasons;  participation in PPC Advertising (which could be on Bing.com, LinkedIn or Facebook, as well as Google Adwords) does not affect your SEO ranking on Google.com.

Choice C:  CONTENT AND QUALITY IN-COMING LINKS

Content is what Google wants to see — especially Content that others find so valuable they create in-coming Links to it.  But those Links need to be “quality” Links — they should be from web pages that relate to your business or product area.  They should be from websites that also are content-focused.

If they’re in-coming Links from social media websites, they should be from SHARING your content or URL by a variety of individuals on those social media websites.

Value-able, Share-able, Link-able, Find-able, Scan-able, Engage-able   

Every website and blog should be focused on creating unique content that:  find

1. Is VALUABLE to your particular target audience.

2. Your target audience finds unique and valuable enough to want to SHARE it with others.

3. Your target audience finds valuable enough to want to LINK to.

4. Is easily SCAN-able (the way 85% of visitors view it — and search engines actually love specific, keyword-laden headlines and subheads)

5. ENGAGES your audience so they want to read it.

6. Has been optimized for appropriate keywords so it’s easily FIND-able in the search engine results.

Did you choose the right answer to this test question?  Vote at the  Response FX page on Facebook.com.

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