January 28, 2016 Nik Livadas

Rochester Digital Marketing Inbound Q&A

Steps from my house during an inspirational pink sunrise this morning, Digital Rochester hosted their Digital Marketing SIG breakfast event at the RMSC. Speakers Nicole Mahoney and Sean Magin detailed the benefits of inbound methodologies and all-in-one marketing platforms like Pardot and HubSpot.

In digital marketing, foundational reminders and good general advice are often more valuable than hard rules and cutting-edge tricks. The presenters wisely stayed away from tactics and advice on execution as those answers are best derived from your business intelligence and marketing action plan.

Deerstalker Hat for Marketing Analytics ResearchAt the risk of being wrong about your business needs, here are how I would have answered the audiences’ questions without the privilege of going all Sherlock Holmes on their individual business goals, audiences, and historical marketing analytics:

Q. Do landing page lengths differ for offerings like Online Courses or Whitepapers?

A. We recommend sticking with about a half a page. That’s more than enough room for a brief headline, 1 Image/Video, 1 Paragraph, 3-5 bulleted bene’s, credibility establishing elements, a call to action, and a minimal footer with social sharing options. If your LP is really long, you’re assuming that someone is reading all about your offer all at once before making a decision to download more information. This isn’t usually the case from our experience. A short LP is crucial if you’re expecting visitors to convert while they’re reading on their phones.

Q. What’s an average predictable bounce rate? Can we accurately predict and formulate ROI?

A. Bounce rates differ widely. A good technical marketer in Rochester can establish benchmarks and inform your decision-making, but won’t have the ability to see into the future. A good technical marketer in Rochester can inform your decision-making, but we won’t have the ability to see the future. You’ll want a seasoned digital native looking at your history and competition with a magnifying glass and deerstalker hat. Even with well-formulated plans and projections, bounce rates can change quickly if you hit a home run or change direction with your content. When you create high-impact, attractive content your visitors have never seen before, their improved reactions and engagements should be reflected in the numbers.

Q. Should I use a custom vanity URLs like (GetYourDomainWhitepaper.com) or custom sub-domains for landing pages like (get-whitepaper-name.yourdomain.com)?

A. Yes, the benefits are that your URL will be a more branded, memorable, and actionable. Your content and traffic may become more measurable if you have tools configured for segmenting these domains. You may also reap SEO benefits if your domain contains keywords people are searching. We’ve never bothered to do A|B or ROI comparison testing with custom domain names vs non-custom because we’ve had successes using them for over 10 years for The Food Network, NCL, The Vs Network, Wegmans, and The Jim Beam Brands to name a few.

Q. Are landing pages dated? Don’t people just want to get to their content they want ASAP?

A. There is a conscious or subconscious question we ask ourselves each time we generate content for the web: Does it need to be locked behind a gate? As audiences become more sophisticated, you may hear feedback that your content is too gated. Whether this feedback is from a vocal minority or not, it’s a sign that your landing page offer is not conveying as much value as you expected. It varies widely on your market, but no matter who your customers are, you can experiment on their threshold and tolerance for gated content. We measure this with bounce rates and conversion rates. Work with an Inbound Expert in Rochester to help you set meaningful goals and balance what you want vs. customer delight. There are ways you can strike a balance and harmonize attractive offers with delighted customers. Best case scenario: everyone wins.

Q. How can you formulate a scoring system to segment? What if you don’t know ways to identify a Marketing Qualified Lead? How will you know what lead scores to assign to who?

A. Lead Scoring is a powerful way to create and assign your own “brownie point” system in your business’ CRM. Your lead who are most likely to buy are noted by their high lead score. To flip the script, ask Sales this question… “What makes for a bad lead?” Sales will love a chance to vent about the characteristics of bad MQLs. This is a perfect chance to break the ice between Sales and Marketing. This allows you to pick their brain without coming across like you need them to do your job for you. Then, you can use that intel to assign negative lead brownie points. Also, we’ve found that when you start asking about what makes for a crappy lead, you usually end up talking about the contrary.

Here are 4 ways we’ve handled lead scoring for B2B “Get a Quote” landing pages to begin lead segmenting/scoring:

    • 1. Too many international visitors you don’t need?

Assign negative scoring for traffic from outside the US using geolocation or contact country info.

2. Too many college kids and casuals clogging the sales funnel?

Deduct points if they use an .edu email address, and weed out the casuals/spies who use their old .yahoo or .aol to access your gated content.

3. Were they on your site at 3:40am when they requested a demo?

Maybe you can assume they’re not likely to buy because they’re in another part of the world? Or maybe they’re restless over the buying decision?
Check to see what time of day your target buyers usually spend time on the site and when they requested a quote.

4. Did they spend a lot of time on the careers section of your website?

They could be doing competitive analysis or looking for a job. You usually don’t want Sales talking to people who are job hunting, so it’s probably safe to deduct points for types of pages they looked at.

If you enjoy Inbound Marketing Q&A, it’s your lucky day. Today is Digital Agency Day 2016 (#DAD16), and Inbound.Org is doing a whole bunch of threaded conversations there.

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About Nik Livadas

As a well-rounded native, I’ve developed the acumen required to chief various tech-tribes — 1.0 & 2.0 web-firms, eCommerce shops, eLearning providers, and adaptive eduTech startups. Since 2001, I’ve helped savvy CEOs and CMOs from NYC to LA conceive and execute award-winning digital, automate action after analysis, and ultimately make an exit.