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Author: Rick Knutsen

10+ years of experience in SEM & SEO, online advertising, social media, with a documented record of success in increasing online presence and brand awareness

WSI Named Top Agency by Web Marketing Association

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Summary: WSI brings home 15 more WMA WebAwards in the 2019 competition and earns Top Agency Award recognition.

WSI is proud to announce that we have been crowned the Top Agency by the Web Marketing Association. The Top Agency Award recognizes the consistently outstanding development going on at interactive firms. WSI outranked its global competition and won the most WebAwards in this year’s WMA WebAward competition.

Overall WSI won 15 awards in the 2019 WebAwards including Best B2B Website, Best Medical Website, Best Restaurant Website, Best Home Building Website, five Outstanding Website WebAwards, and six Standard of Excellence WebAwards. The addition of these awards brings WSI’s total WMA Award tally to over 100 and reaffirms its place among the leading web development agencies of the world.  

WSI’s global WSI network of Digital Marketing Agencies helps thousands of businesses and organizations in various industries, maximize the potential of the internet for business growth and profitability. Receiving this award for Top Agency in WMA’s prestigious annual Web Development Competition makes all of us extremely happy and proud. But more than that, it bestows on us the ongoing and exciting responsibility to continuously raise the bar and set new standards for our clients. We would never have been able to achieve this recognition without the tremendous support and close teamwork of our Consultants, suppliers, partners, employees, and customers. It’s time to say a big “Thank You and cheers” to the incredible WSI team.

The WebAward Competition is the premier showcase for website development in more than 96 industry categories. WSI has been entering into the awards competition since 2007. Their trophy mantel now includes a Top Agency award, 5 Outstanding Development awards, and over 100 individual WMA Awards. 

About WSI

WSI is the world’s largest network of Digital Marketing Consultants with its head office in Toronto, Canada. WSI Digital Marketing Consultants have helped over 100,000 businesses with their online marketing strategies. By using innovative Internet technologies and advanced digital marketing tactics, businesses can have a WSI Digital Marketing Plan tailored to their individual needs and help elevate their Internet presence and profitability to new levels. In 2019, WSI was named the Top Agency and received 15 Awards at the Annual WebAwards organized by the Web Marketing Association (WMA), bringing their total WMA Award tally to over 100. With the support and cooperation of its customers, Consultant network, employees, suppliers, and charitable organizations, WSI as a collective organization is dedicated to helping make child poverty history through its global outreach program makechildpovertyhistory.org. For more information about WSI’s offerings and business opportunities, please visit our website at wsiebizsolutions.net

The WSI blog offers insightful digital marketing tips, strategies and ideas. You can also follow WSI on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

The Role of the Customer is Changing – Are You Ready?

The Changing Role of The Customer
Summary: Through building a collaborative culture, companies and brands are able to unlock the potential to accommodate to the changing role of the customer.

The role of the customer is changing. Nowadays, customers hold higher expectations for the companies and brands they support and work with, especially due to the amount of easily accessible information and data out there. Everyday consumers are also making an effort to support purpose-driven brands, which plays a significant role in affecting their consumer behaviors and purchasing decisions.

customer role is changing how to pay for products and services

As a result, companies and brands are no longer building their marketing strategy solely around the goal to accelerate business acquisitions anymore. They are now looking deeper into creating connected experiences with the help of data, insights, and by leveraging new tools such as automation and intelligence. These tools and resources are extremely helpful to ensure that their marketing efforts are helping their brand stay relevant to their customers.

There is an increasing emphasis on the customer experience

As I mentioned earlier, customers’ expectations are changing the way many companies and brands do business. More importantly, it is changing the way many companies and brands do marketing. Customers expect businesses and brands to know exactly what they want and they are seeking meaningful and relevant interactions.

There is now a stronger emphasis on the customer experience (CX) and it is becoming increasingly important within the realm of marketing. It’s time to shift your mindset and start approaching your marketing efforts with a “customer first” mindset.

With that, more and more people have been talking about the importance of data and its positive impact on enhancing the customer experience. Data-driven businesses are on the rise and many of them are exploring and using data-driven creativity to map out their customer journey. As a result, this helps brands manage customers’ expectations and create an engaging experience. Through building a collaborative culture, companies and brands are able to unlock the potential to accommodate to the changing role of the customer.

How can companies and brands stay relatable to their customers in 2019 and beyond?

Now that we’ve discussed the “what”, it’s time to discuss the “how”. With the changing role of the customer, how can companies and brands stay relatable to their customers in 2019 and beyond?

Create targeted in-depth customer profiles

Now that the focus has shifted to the customer, it’s important to take the time to create targeted, in-depth customer profiles. Getting into the habit of doing this will help you gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, what your customers like and don’t like, and how you can formulate and segment your marketing strategy for different targeted audiences.

Customer Personas

Elements to consider when creating customer profiles can include:

  • Age or age range
  • Gender
  • Geographical location
  • Level of education
  • Occupation
  • General income level
  • Lifestyle & hobbies
  • Shopping habits

Conduct A/B tests to figure out what works and what doesn’t

Using cross-channel data to design, personalize, and test different marketing campaigns can result in positive outcomes when it comes to reaching and engaging with customers. This may also be an opportune time to experiment with conducting A/B tests to help potential customers move more effectively through the marketing funnel.

Work with a marketing agency to help manage customer expectations

There may be instances when it becomes hard to keep up with increased customer expectations, especially if you have a relatively small marketing team and limited resources. With increasing demands from customers, it may be beneficial to consider outsourcing your digital marketing efforts to help manage customers’ expectations. Based on Glassdoor data from 2018, the national average salary for a digital marketing manager can be as steep as $77,015 for just one employee. If you think about it, adding a whole in-house team of marketing experts would cost anywhere between $700,000 to over $1,000,000 annually.

The Changing Role of The Customer

It’s important to identify any gaps within your marketing department and consider key factors when comparing in-house marketing teams against outsourced marketing agencies. Working with an outsourced marketing agency is beneficial if you require:

  • The need for wide-ranging skill sets
  • A desire to keep a competitive edge with industry best practices
  • A larger network of brainpower
  • Access to tools and platforms

Often times, many business owners and solopreneurs go at their digital marketing efforts alone. With the role of the customer changing, it may become slightly challenging and overwhelming. Working with a marketing agency is better than going at it alone because it solves the “time is money” problem, it keeps you out of the sell-do loop, and it provides knowledge (and we all know that knowledge is power).


As you continue to revolve your digital marketing efforts around your customers, think of different ways you can manage their expectations. The role of the customer will only become more significant from here on out. Make sure you invest in the right tools and resources and put your best foot forward.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

 

5 Tips to Grow Your Online Reputation and Brand on LinkedIn

linkedin online reputation
Summary: As you become more active on LinkedIn, push and challenge your boundaries to brainstorm new and innovative ways to continue growing your company’s online reputation and brand.

LinkedIn has become a vital social media tool for brands and businesses. Your customers and prospective customers are on LinkedIn. Your investors and key stakeholders are on LinkedIn. Your employees and potential employees are on LinkedIn. With that, reputation management has become a crucial part of many businesses’ LinkedIn strategy.

Why is it important to grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn?

According to Hootsuite, as the top-rated social network for lead generation, LinkedIn has become one of the most important social media platforms to invest in. Maintaining your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn can help build leads organically, grow your professional reputation, and increase your brand’s credibility and trust.

Now that it’s time to up your game on LinkedIn, the first step is to make sure your Company Page is detailed and up-to-date. This is crucial if you’re looking to grow your audience and drive positive business results. With over 562 million users on LinkedIn, a detailed Company Page allows users to learn about your business, your brand, and job opportunities within your company. It is also a great platform to demonstrate your brand’s thought leadership to your audience.

Having an incomplete LinkedIn Company Page won’t attract as many users to your page. Here are 5 tips to grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn:

Tip #1: Ensure that branding is consistent across LinkedIn

In order to grow your online reputation on LinkedIn, you need to ensure that your company’s branding is consistent across the platform. Many businesses and brands are actively using LinkedIn as a brand building tool. This means making sure that the branding on your LinkedIn page mirrors the branding on your company’s website. Make sure you include your logo, company description and a banner image to establish and sustain your company’s professional presence. This plays a fundamental role in acquiring new clients and retaining old ones.

Tip #2: Incorporate rich-content features

LinkedIn has become one of the top social media platforms for businesses and brands to demonstrate their thought leadership and expertise. If you’re looking to continually grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn, it’s important to evaluate and brainstorm the breadth and variety of content you are sharing on your company’s page.

What type of content will appeal to and grow your LinkedIn audience? What do your followers want to know? These are key questions you should be constantly asking yourself. With that, a great tip to grow your online reputation is to incorporate rich-content features in your LinkedIn content strategy.

Nike does an excellent job of maintaining a strong online reputation and brand on LinkedIn. They’re consistently incorporating rich media to tell their brand’s story in an engaging and compelling way.

Nike LinkedIn online reputation

Incorporating rich media allows businesses and brands to offer a “richer” and more dynamic user experience.This encompasses any and all content that deviate from the generic static images and text. For example, videos are a key example rich media content that you can use to ignite your marketing campaigns. Just like how videos can increase engagement with your blog posts, it can also increase engagement on your LinkedIn page. Other forms of rich media content include podcasts, e-books, whitepapers, and any other interactive content.

Tip #3: Make use of your existing content streams

Don’t know what type of content to post on your LinkedIn company page to grow your online reputation? It’s time to be resourceful! Do a content audit on the different platforms that you are already active on and repost content that have performed well on those platforms to LinkedIn. What content received the most Facebook or Twitter likes? Which posts had the most retweets or replies? Taking content from existing content streams can help build your brand on LinkedIn and can help you gain access to a whole new audience.

Tip #4: Experiment with sponsored updates

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 11.10.51 PM

Sponsored updates are a unique feature offered by LinkedIn for companies who want to boost their posts on the LinkedIn platform. It provides companies with the opportunity to reach a wider audience beyond just their followers. Similar to Facebook or Instagram advertising or boosted posts, sponsored updates on LinkedIn allow you to expand your reach and target specific audiences.

Tip #5: Participate in key groups and encourage colleagues/employees to connect

Growing your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn is a two-way street. Not only do you have to make sure your company page is always up-to-date and populated with relevant content. It is also key to get involved within the LinkedIn community. This means participating in LinkedIn groups and communities and joining in the conversations within and across your network. This can help build a closer relationship between your brand and your audience.

LinkedIn online reputation

Another tip to grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn is to encourage your colleagues and employees to connect and engage on the platform. A collective effort goes a long way, and your brand has much wider exposure when colleagues and employees also actively put in the effort to maintain the business or brand’s image.


As you become more active on LinkedIn, push and challenge your boundaries to brainstorm new and innovative ways to continue growing your company’s online reputation and brand. Take the time to see what other businesses and brands are doing, and don’t hesitate to find and experiment with new tactics.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

 

The CCPA is Changing How Consumer Data is Handled – Is Your Businesses Affected?

Consumer Data Protection
Summary: The California Consumer Privacy Act requires businesses to protect personal information for California consumers. That means implementing privacy policies, security protections and ensuring consumer rights.

California is known for having complex regulations. The state is not afraid to experiment with regulatory procedures, making it difficult for some businesses to keep up. For example, following the approval of the General Data Protection Regulation by the EU Parliament (read more about the responsibilities of a Controller, Processor, and Data Protection Officer according to the GDPR), California proceeded with data privacy legislation and rolled out the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a law that affects businesses that collect personal data.

Now that this law has been passed, it has prompted other states to consider something similar. For example, Mississippi proposed a replica of the CCPA, though it died in committee earlier this year. Other states that have proposed laws on data privacy include Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts.

What do these privacy laws mean for your small business? Let’s learn more about the CCPA, how it may affect your business and how to prepare for the future.

What is the CCPA?

The CCPA is a bill that goes into effect in 2020 and requires businesses to protect the personal information they obtain from California consumers. This includes privacy policies, security protections and consumer rights. According to the CCPA website, consumers have the right to the following:

  • Right to know all data being collected and why
  • Right to refuse the sale of their information
  • Right to have their data deleted
  • Right to opt-in before the sale of information of children under 16
  • Right to know when data is shared with third parties

Not all consumer requests have to be followed, but those that are reasonable and applicable should. Businesses have 45 days to respond to consumer requests, and any damages that occur due to a breach can cost a business up to $7,500 USD per customer.

Who Does the CCPA Affect?

Any business that earns $25M USD in revenue each year, sells 50,000 consumer records per year or gets 50% of its revenue from selling personal information must follow the guidelines in the CCPA.

Under this criteria, most small businesses are excluded from the CCPA. According to this article, the average annual revenue for a small business is less than $25M USD. But, does this mean that small businesses won’t be held accountable? No. Small businesses should start thinking about how data is handled within their company.

In fact, all businesses should start reviewing how customer data is handled, as the CCPA is impacting other states to consider passing these types of laws. For the most part, state legislators are embracing the language in the CCPA and other similar laws. The definition of “consumer” is broadened and more rights are given to consumers.

What if Your Business isn’t in California?

Even if your business is not in the state, the laws still apply to you if you have customers there. With the new laws in place, you will need to change the way you collect and handle all of your consumer data, or you will need to handle Californians’ data differently.

The latter option will probably prove more difficult and expensive, as this will be an entirely separate group of data. It’s best to move in the direction of handling all customer data in the same manner, in compliance with the CCPA, as this is how things will eventually be. As a business, protecting consumer information should be a priority, whether or not there are laws forcing you to do so. Taking these initiatives today will help you prepare for the future and earn the trust of your customers.

What Can Your Small Business Do to Prepare?

The CCPA goes into effect January 1, 2020, so businesses need to get ready for the law as they will need to be able to respond on January 1, 2020 to consumer inquiries about their data. Many businesses are already reviewing personal data processing, information security and access requests.

No matter what state you are in, you should be taking the appropriate steps to protect customer data. As more states crack down on how consumer information is handled, it might not be long before your state follows suit. Rather than scrambling to get things in order, an early start will give your business time to understand the privacy regulations modeled in the CCPA.

Here are some of the things you can start doing to prepare your small business for a changing data privacy landscape:

  • Publicly post a notice disclosing what information is being collected by your business, how it’s being used and to whom it will be sold
  • Create a simple opt-out process for the sale of personal information
  • Be prepared to delete all personal information if the customer requests that you do so
  • You cannot discriminate against those who exercise their right under the CCPA (e.g., charging extra fees to these customers)
Consumer Data protected by business

Final Thoughts

Whether your business is big or small, you should take the regulations in the CCPA seriously. This bill has been well-received by state legislators and will likely serve as the foundation for other states’ proposed laws. Plus, if you have customers that come from California, you are legally required to handle their information according to the CCPA come January 1st, 2020.

While small businesses may not face all of the compliance burdens as larger businesses, they could face some. Rather than looking at this as a headache, look at this as an opportunity to improve the safety and protection of your consumers. Now is the time to talk to your digital marketing agency to discuss how you can best protect consumer data.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

 

5 Steps to Conducting Successful A/B Tests for Your Landing Pages

Landing Pages
Summary: A/B testing can take your marketing efforts to the next level and help customers move more effectively through the sales and marketing funnel.

As a marketer, it’s often tempting to base your marketing decisions off of your initial “gut feeling”. More often than not, those who solely rely on their intuition to predict what will make people click and convert will fall short. In return, this may lead to detrimental results for your marketing campaigns.

Rather than trying to guess what will lead to the best results for your next marketing campaign, it’s time to run an A/B test (if you’re not running them already). A/B testing can take your marketing efforts to the next level and help customers move more effectively through the sales and marketing funnel. In a nutshell, results of an A/B test can effectively determine which tactics work and which don’t work.

What is A/B Testing and Why is it Important?

A/B testing is scientifically known as “two-sample hypothesis testing”. In the digital world, it is also commonly referred to as “split testing” or “bucket testing”. According to Optimizely, A/B testing is “an experiment where two or more variants are shown to users at random”. From there, based on statistical analysis, running an A/B test helps determine which of the variations perform better for a given conversion goal.

Landing Pages Test A/B

Within the digital marketing world, A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of a marketing asset with just one varying element. Marketers most commonly run these tests on landing pages, display ads, and emails. The main purpose of running these tests for digital marketing campaigns is to see which variation performs best.

In its simplest form, running A/B tests can help you gain a better understanding on whether users like version A or version B of your campaign.

The Importance of A/B Testing for Your Landing Pages

Landing pages are vitally important to lead conversion and it’s crucial to understand the importance of landing pages. Landing pages are standalone pages that serve a single and focused purpose. They play a vital role within the buyer’s journey, with a strong focus surrounding lead generation and lead conversion.

So, where does A/B testing come into play? In order to create an effective landing page that converts, you will need to conduct tests on a number of variables and measure what works best.

Step 1: Identify the problem

First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out why your landing page isn’t converting. Start by pinpointing a specific problem. For example, you own an e-commerce store and notice that very few sales are coming from the landing page linked your email campaigns. You notice that your emails have a high open and click-through rate, yet very few are actually are actually converting.

Step 2: Analyze the variables

Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to analyze the user data. Specifically for landing pages, there are so many elements you can analyze and it can become extremely time consuming. Instead, start by figuring out and prioritizing which elements you want to focus on and target first. According to MailChimp, you can choose to conduct A/B tests on a number of variables. Variables and elements of your landing page that you can choose to test include (but are not limited to):

  • Color scheme
  • Number of types of images
  • Call-to-action button design and placement
  • Headings and subheadings
  • Special product/service offers and pricing

For example, you’re analyzing your landing page and notice that your call-to-action button is not very visible to users. Maybe it’s the placement of the button or maybe it’s the size that’s affecting the conversion rate. At this stage, you start brainstorming where you can move the button or how you can resize it to help generate a higher conversion rate.

Step 3: Narrow down the elements

Now that you have analyzed the data, pick one element you want to test and figure out how you want to test it. Let’s say you choose to test the placement of your call-to-action button. Let’s also say that the original placement of your button was hidden all the way at the bottom of your landing page. You are now able to develop a hypothesis stating that users might be more inclined to click-through to your website if the call-to-action button was placed closer to the top of the page.

Step 4: Run the A/B test

Congratulations, it’s time to conduct the A/B test! You’ve identified the problem, analyzed the data, and developed a hypothesis. At this stage, create a separate version of your landing page, implementing your new idea for the placement of your call-to-action button. Run an A/B test between the original version and the current version for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Keep in mind that if you are testing the placement of your button, the only thing you should change is the location of the button. Keep the design of your landing page the same so that you can easily pinpoint which version’s positioning performed better.

Step 5: Analyze the data

Once the A/B test is complete, it’s time to analyze the data and crown the winner. Take a look at the results and see whether or not the newer version of your landing page was able to drive noticeable changes. If it did, hooray! If not, you can try testing a different element of your page.

Once you have conducted the first round of your A/B test, you can repeat the process again to find a new “challenger” for your “champion”.


In the long haul, A/B testing can help ignite your digital marketing campaigns. It is a fantastic method for figuring out your promotional or marketing strategies. It also helps marketers make more informed decisions. It’s time to say goodbye to the good old guesswork and time to start digging deeper and analyzing the variables. Ultimately, A/B testing can help improve the ROI for your next campaign and you definitely won’t regret it.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

Website Design And UX: Why It’s Important To Iterate

Website Design and UX
Summary: With our newly launched website in mind, here are the reasons why it’s important to iterate your website’s design and UX on a regular basis.

Just in case you were wondering, the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” shouldn’t be applied to your website design.

Here’s why: your website essentially begins to break the moment you launch it. It’s like driving a new car off the lot – the second you hit the highway, the car loses 20% of its value.

This isn’t a pessimistic take or anything like that, it’s simply the state of doing business in our increasingly digital world. Tactics, design trends and most significantly, user experience requirements dictate it’s best practice to iterate your website and its design as frequently as you can.

We recently redesigned and migrated our WSIWorld website; with that decision in mind, here are the reasons why it’s important to iterate your website’s design and UX on a regular basis:

The Digital World Moves Fast

Perhaps the biggest reason not to let your website’s design and UX stagnate is the speed at which the digital landscape moves. We do business in a world that changes fast – faster than most of us can even keep up with – and with that comes the need to quickly adapt the tactics, strategies and tools that we use. What worked in the digital world two years ago probably doesn’t work the same way today. So as good as your website looked and functioned two years ago, for all intents and purposes, in today’s digital world, it’s old.

Practice What You Preach

For us, redesigning our website and its UX was part of a company-wide dedication to “practice what we preach” or “drink our own champagne.” We say that we help businesses do better marketing, and in order to do that, we need to have our own ducks in a row. As we’ve discussed, in 2019 and beyond, it’s important to iterate your website’s design and UX on a regular basis. So that’s what we’ve done: we’ve completely revamped our website and UX. We’re really proud of the new site so please, have a look around and let us know what you think!

Follow The Numbers

In the digital marketing world, numbers and data are hugely important. As soon as you any website, you also begin collecting data on it. And unless you’ve somehow built the perfect website, that data is immediately going to tell you that certain components of your site are not working optimally. Whether that’s because users are behaving differently than you thought or a design element isn’t as engaging as you hoped doesn’t really matter. Once your site has been live for a few months, dig into the data and you’ll easily have a list of things to work on for the site’s next iteration.

Optimization, Optimization, Optimization!

Sometimes, you just can’t see all the angles until a project is launched. This is part of the reason why we’d rather ship something imperfect and iterate rather than waiting for perfection, but that’s a post for another day.

WSIWorld Homepage

Throughout the process of creating the new WSIWorld, we: a) analyzed data on our legacy website b) considered modern design and UX trends c) audited our content and SEO strategy and d) really honed in on our customer personas. As a result, here are some rules of thumb we came up with, which you can use if you’re thinking about a website redesign of your own:

Don’t Make Your Visitors Think

If you give your website visitors too many things to think about or too many places to look or click, it causes cognitive friction. When users are overwhelmed by a page on a website, what do they most often do? Click back and try something else – otherwise known as a bounce.

This is why, on the homepage of your website – above the fold – you should try to tell your website visitors a) who you are b) what you do and c) why they should trust you. While it might seem difficult to do all of this in such a small space, it’s totally worth it to put the time and effort into optimizing this information.

Avoid “Greedy Marketer Syndrome”

Picture this: you’ve got a new website and you’re excited. You want to reap the benefits of all that hard work as soon as possible. You launch the site and can’t wait to get that first conversion. Sound familiar?

As tough as it is, we recommend avoiding “greedy marketer syndrome.” The fact is, we shouldn’t really want or expect our website visitors to take the bottom-of-the-funnel conversion action right away. We should earn their trust and allow them to make their own decision without being overly pushy.

This is why, for example, we chose to go with “Talk To Us. We Can Help.” as our main CTA button text instead of something like “Book A Consultation Now!”

Conduct Website Design Post-Launch Analysis

We’ll close this post out by saying, don’t forget to conduct a post-launch analysis once you’ve rolled out the new site and UX. There will be immediate data so why not use it? Heatmaps and A/B tests can give you insight as to how users are engaging and what they’re clicking on – maybe you can even make some tweaks with this data right away.

Good luck, and be sure to reach out of you have any feedback on the brand new WSIWorld!

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

Ad Blockers Growth by Digital Natives: What Advertisers Need to Know

With digital natives growing older and having more control over their digital experience, we’re seeing a strong correlation with the increase in the use of ad blockers. This is nothing new – the advertising industry has seen a steady increase in the adoption of ad blockers, rising from approximately 21M users in 2010 to more than 180M users worldwide in 2019. In fact, in the US alone they’re seeing over 75M users using ad blockers on their browsers.

 

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And it makes sense – digital natives are comfortable with technology and used to making it work to their ends. But what does that mean for digital advertisers and their clients?

What Are Ad Blockers?

Ad blockers – also known as content blockers – are simple software programs that prevent ads from being shown on websites. They are typically browser add-ons that you can add to Chrome, Firefox or Safari. And even through there are dozens of alternatives, the most popular ad blocker add-on in the market is AdBlock Plus.

By removing ads from webpages, page loads time can improve considerably and can also reduce data usage – something that is good news for people with limited data plans or who live in areas with slower networks.

Another benefit of ad blockers is that they can block the tracking and behavioral monitoring technology that profiles user behavior. So if you’re someone who doesn’t want their online browsing monitored or their browsing preferences sold to advertisers, ad blockers can be an attractive way to guard your privacy.

Who are Digital Natives?

The term Digital Native describes a person who grew up in the digital age. These are children, now young adults, who rather than having to learn about technology as adults, grew up with it from childhood. This exposure to technology in their formative years means that digital natives have a greater familiarity and understanding of technology than the generation that came before them.

 

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So Why is this Important?

Taking the micro-view of the situation, it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. So what if users are blocking ads on their browsers? Shouldn’t users have a choice as to what they want to ingest on the internet?

And the answer is yes, of course. But if you take a step back and look at the macro-view, you start to see the long-term impact that the adoption of ad blockers can have.

The reality is that the majority of websites on the internet exist thanks to online advertising. Everything from blogs about labradoodles to sites like the New York Times depend on online advertising revenues. That money helps pay for the writers that produce the content, the hosting costs, the maintenance of the site – everything.

This simple idea is what originally made Google billions and billions of dollars – people visit a site they like. They see an ad for a product they find interesting and they click on that ad – the site owner gets a bit of money from that purchase, the product seller is able to sell their product and the user is able to buy what they like. Everyone is happy.

 

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Ad blockers disrupt all of this. A person with an ad blocker add-on installed on their browser could visit whatever site they like and never see an ad. If they never see the ad, they can’t click on it nor can they buy what the ad is selling – that means that the site owner doesn’t get their money and the product seller can’t sell their product.

This little extension added to your browser is having an impact on the keystone piece of the whole modern internet experience.

What Can Advertisers and Business Owners Do?

While the situation can seem dire for advertisers and their clients everywhere, there are some good news:

  1. Users have spoken loud and clear as to what kind of ads and site activity they find intrusive – if your strategy is too aggressive in following users across multiple devices, if your ads are annoying or irrelevant, you’re going to get blocked.
  2. Users are taking their data management more seriously and expect the sites they visit to be trustworthy.
  3. Users are willing to undo ad blocking on sites that are giving them content they want.

This information can be used by responsible advertisers to ensure that their advertising strategy employs tactics that won’t chase away their visitors and potential customers. That means:

  1. Committing to creating ads that aren’t disruptive. That means no pop-ups, no auto-playing video ads with sound, no large sticky ads and no prestitial ads with a countdown.
  2. Having a website data policy and being clear as to what your visitors can expect when it comes to tracking cookies, data storage, etc.
  3. Creating excellent content that makes visitors want to support your site and prompting them to turn-off their ad blockers to read further.

So What’s Next?

Digital Natives are going to continue to make up a bigger part of the digital population. And that means addressing their concerns when it comes to their privacy and their digital experience is going to become more important.

Business that work with their digital marketing consultants to ensure that their online presence doesn’t cause friction with their visitors and potential customers are going to be better able to navigate the changing demographics. And business that are unwilling to recognize this new reality will see the impact to their bottom line, sooner or later.

RESOURCES

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook
WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

Creating An Effective Marketing Funnel To Drive Sales

marketing funnelA marketing funnel is made up of different stages and it breaks down the customer journey from the awareness stage to the purchasing stage. According to Sprout Social, a marketing funnel lets you know what your company must do to influence consumers at certain stages to drive sales, and increase brand loyalty/awareness.

Why is creating an effective marketing funnel important?

Creating an effective marketing funnel is important because just like any other funnel, a high volume of leads enter the top of the funnel. However, as they move through each stage of the funnel, more and more leads get weeded out.

So the overarching question here is: How do I keep more leads moving through the marketing or sales funnel? Here are a few key considerations to take into account at each stage of the funnel:

Stage 1: Raise Awareness

The very first step to creating an effective marketing funnel is to raise awareness for your product or service. This is the stage right before prospective customers enter the sales funnel, and it’s your time to shine and come up with creative and compelling ways to attract the right prospects.

Understand your ideal customer demographics

In order to create an effective marketing funnel, research always comes first. Research shows that start-ups often fail because they don’t understand the market and the problems of their customers.

Take the time to come up with ideal customer personas. Investing the time to understand who your potential buyers are will be beneficial for the later steps.

Get the word out about your product or service

Once you understand your ideal customer demographics, it’s time to get the word out about your product or service. Raise awareness by coming up with ways to tell prospects what your product or service is all about.

At this stage of the funnel, the main focus is lead generation. Investing in paid advertising and SEO/SEM campaigns at this stage is a good head start. Get to know the SEO must-dos for every local business to drive traffic and growth. This stage is also the ideal time to start caring about On-SERP SEO. Your ultimate goal should be to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Take the necessary opportunities to get your brand out there. For example, you can create a product video to ignite your marketing campaigns. There are also different types of videos you can use build your brand, business, and bottom line. You can also reach out to micro-influencers or brand ambassadors to promote your brand. You can even create a purpose-driven marketing strategy to attract new leads to the top of your marketing funnel.

Stage 2: Build A Relationship

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Once you have solidified a strategy or plan to raise awareness for your product or service, the next step to creating an effective marketing funnel to drive sales is to nurture your leads by building meaningful relationships. At this stage, prospective customers have already entered the marketing funnel. It’s now up to you to continue building that relationship and retain those prospects through your marketing efforts.

The exchange of information is key

One of the best ways to start building strong and effective relationships with prospective customers is to first engage in an exchange of information. Many businesses do this by asking for their email address in exchange for valuable content or more information. Tying in your content marketing strategy is key to creating an effective marketing funnel to drive sales. Over time, you can send them valuable content to build a relationship so that you are the first brand that comes to mind when they are ready to buy.

Provide an exit intent pop-up

We’ve all seen these on the websites we’ve visited. They’re the pop-ups that are displayed when we often close the webpage window or tab. Typically, this pop-up window will have an opt-in option, and studies show that one pop-up can boost your conversion rates by 10% or more.

Build a stronger relationship with your audience through email marketing

Integrating email marketing provides an avenue for constant and consistent interaction with subscribers who have expressed interest in your company, product, or service. Understand how to deliver compelling email marketing to promote consistent engagement and drive sales. Marketing automation can help your leads trickle down the funnel and increase the chances of turning them into buyers. Both email marketing and marketing automation can also help you map out your marketing funnel at each stage and throughout the entire customer buying journey.

Stage 3: Conversion

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The last stage of the marketing funnel is lead conversion. Yes, your prospects (which you have poured your hard work, dedication… and marketing budgets into) have finally decided to buy your product or service. However, it doesn’t end here. You want to ensure that these lead conversions become returning buyers.

With that, you should be investing more and putting more effort into building relationships with existing customers. A repeat customer is easier to sell to and has a 60-70% chance of converting. Continue to create a unique and engaging customer experience to continue driving sales through your marketing efforts. Using data-driven creativity can help enhance the customer experience. It’s also an easy way to build brand trust and loyalty.

At the end of the day, creating a high-quality marketing funnel can help skyrocket your business. Being able to effectively guide prospects through the journey of becoming buying customers is not something that will happen overnight. It definitely takes a lot of strategic thinking. Instead of exploring random tactics, develop a strong understanding of how you would like to engage with leads at each stage of the funnel. This will guarantee success in driving a higher volume of conversions and sales.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

3 Purpose-Driven Marketing Lessons to Learn from 3 Innovative Brands

In the past, many people opted to stay neutral on certain causes and issues to prevent retaliation from others. Nowadays, everybody wants to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Whether it’s by supporting a local/global cause or living a particular lifestyle, many of today’s consumers are actively seeking to make a difference these days. The desire to make a difference is now highly reflected through consumers’ behaviors and purchasing decisions. Several key examples include supporting cruelty-free beauty brands (e.g. BECCA), the zero-waste packaging movement (e.g. bare market), the climate change crisis (e.g. Patagonia), and more!

Consumers who are passionate about their causes are constantly on the lookout for purpose-driven brands and businesses who also advocate for and support the same causes as they do. This new movement has paved a way for what we know today as purpose-driven marketing or cause marketing.

What is a purpose-driven brand?

A purpose-driven brand goes beyond the corporate bottom line and is fueled and centered around a particular cause, mission, purpose or vision. As mentioned earlier, this is a relatively new movement that many businesses and brands are centering their business models around to connect with their audience. According to a Forbes interview, a purpose-driven brand is a successful brand, and a brand’s purpose should be the center of attention in order to be successful. We have now entered an era of “radical transparency” and believe that customers are, in fact, more than just buyers.

As a result, brands are encouraged to adhere and be more committed to their customers’ beliefs. This is where purpose-driven marketing plays an integral part in your business’ brand marketing strategy.

Why is purpose-driven marketing important?

63% of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from purpose-driven brands. Moreover, over 70% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand that supports a good cause. Here are a few tips to 3 purpose-driven marketing lessons to learn 3 innovative brands:

1. Find a mutual cause both you and your audience can connect with.

One of the most effective ways that you can use purpose-driven marketing to connect with your audience is to find a cause that matters to them. At the same time, make sure that the cause also aligns with your brand.

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Patagonia is a prime example of a purpose-driven brand that effectively tailors their marketing efforts around a cause that their audience can deeply connect with. Patagonia’s mission is to save the planet in the midst of the current climate crisis we are in. They see this as an opportunity to build the best products while doing no unnecessary harm to the planet. Their business is centered around protecting nature and this is a cause that their audience cares deeply about.

It’s extremely important that you get to know your customers and what they care about. Using data-driven creativity can help map out your customer journey and deliver the experience that your target audience expects. The right data can make all the difference, and finding a cause that your audience can connect with encourages them to get involved with your brand’s mission.

2. Drive social change by being transparent with your audience.

88% of consumers want to know that the brands they are supporting have a real impact. Purpose-driven brands need to be transparent with their audience through their marketing efforts in order to prove that they are truly driving social change. In other words, this means reporting on the impact your brand has made on the cause you are supporting. Many brands do this by capturing and collecting data to communicate the impact it has made over a certain period of time.

As a marketer, take this as an opportunity to create original content by reporting on the impact that you and your customers have made together. For example, the TOMS Stories website displays first hand how their customers’ purchases are creating change and making an impact. You can read up on the cause behind their Unity Collection, which is dedicated to equality and inclusion. You can also read up on how they are also take a stand on ending gun violence. TOMS’ content marketing strategy is what makes up their strong narrative as a purpose-driven brand. This is significant because it can help build stronger brand trust and loyalty in the long run.

3. Always realign your purpose-driven marketing efforts back to your brand.

Keep in mind that purpose-driven marketing is a two-way street. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Not only do your marketing efforts impact your customers, but it also defines your business as a whole.

Take a look at the adidas and Parley product line for example. Adidas’ purpose-driven marketing efforts for this collaboration are centered around the ocean plastic epidemic. Their campaign video takes us on a journey and does a real deep dive on how ocean plastics are negatively affecting our oceans’ ecosystem. Adidas effectively realigns their efforts to their brand by spinning the problem into a solution and creating high-performance sportswear that is made out of plastic. The lesson here is that the cause you are supporting becomes a part of your brand narrative, which is a driving factor that determines who will support, buy from, and invest in your business.


At the end of the day, not every company is obligated to go as all-in as brands like Patagonia, TOMS or Adidas. However, working towards a common goal or a shared set of values with your customers creates a strong emotional link with a huge impact. Ultimately, this will help drive your purpose-driven marketing efforts forward and continue to build a community around issues and causes that matter.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

Influencer Marketing: What Are Micro-Influencers?

Influencer marketing has become an extremely effective way for businesses to promote their brand, products and/or services. In 2019, influencer marketing is not only maintaining its foothold – it’s continuing to grow. What is influencer marketing? In a nutshell, it’s when a business collaborates or partners with an influential person (or people) to promote something. It could be for a new product launch, a specific marketing campaign, a particular service, you name it.

influencer marketing

Over the years, Instagram has become one of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing. With over 1 billion users and a fast-growing network of influencers churning out millions of sponsored posts each year, Instagram has become the most important influencer marketing channel. With that, the word “influencer” has become a rather loose term. There are so many people on Instagram referring to themselves as influencers, but what does that really mean? At the surface, it seems as though an influencer’s total number of followers matter the most. However, as a business, there’s so much more you have to consider when coming up with an influencer marketing strategy. What can influencers do for your brand? Does their brand align with yours? What kind of relationship do they have with their followers? How do you find the right influencers? How much will it cost? These are all important questions to consider.

Since there are many facets of influencer marketing, we will focus mainly on the topic of micro-influencers in this blog post.

What are micro-influencers?

Later describes micro-influencers as people who have a significant, but not massive, social media following. This number is subjective and can range from anywhere between 10,000 to 500,000 followers. The exact number usually depends on who you talk to and the influencer market you are targeting. Micro-influencers have specific niche audiences that are deeply engaged and connected to them. Whether you’re a beauty, fitness, fashion, lifestyle, wellness, food or travel brand, there is probably a large pool of micro-influencers available to reach out to.

What sets micro-influencers apart from macro-influencers?

For starters, major social media influencers (or macro-influencers) have attained some sort of “celebrity status”. These types of influencers often have hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of followers, and it probably costs an arm and a leg just to have them promote or endorse a brand’s product or service. These types of influencers also tend to lead more lavish lifestyles than your average consumer. Some extreme and notable examples of influencers that fall into this bubble are the Jenners and Kardashians.

On the other hand, micro-influencers are much more like your everyday consumer. Although the criteria of who qualifies as a micro-influencer remains very subjective, they are overall more relatable and personable to their niche audience. If they were to recommend a product or service, it may seem more like a trusted recommendation from a friend rather than a celebrity endorsement.

What can micro-influencers do for your brand?

Micro-influencers can be extremely valuable for your brand because they’ve already built a strong following. They’ve established a certain level of trust and a relationship with their followers through their personal brand. As a marketer, collaborating with micro-influencers can help you cast a wider net to increase your brand visibility. Here’s how:

Micro-influencers can help expand your reach. Whether you want to promote a campaign for your business or promote a new product/service, working with a group of micro-influencers can help you reach a wider audience. They can promote your brand using videos that will help ignite your marketing campaigns or other types of content. It’s also more important than ever before to understand the importance of using Instagram Stories for business, especially when it comes to influencer marketing.

Micro-influencers can help you build lasting relationships. Working with micro-influencers can help you build lasting relationships with their followers. Studies have shown that influencers with a smaller following have a much higher engagement rate than top-tier influencers. Rather than just tagging your business or brand in a post, micro-influencers are more likely to give honest opinions and reviews on your product.

Working with micro-influencers can give you a higher ROI. Rather than spending your entire influencer marketing budget on a macro-influencer celebrity to promote your business or brand, investing in collaborations with a group of micro-influencers can help you get more bang for your buck! This is definitely a great way to save on your marketing spend.

How do you find micro-influencers?

Now that you have a general idea of who micro-influencers are and what they can do for you plan, now comes finding the right micro-influencers for your influencer marketing strategy. Here are a few key considerations to keep top of mind:

Make sure they are relevant to your brand. Will they do a good job representing my brand? Do their values align with our brand and business values? Make sure to do your research beforehand and ask yourself these questions. Targeting the wrong micro-influencers will result in a very low ROI.

Engage with them and show appreciation for their content. Realistically, you’ve got to know why you are reaching out to specific micro-influencers. Get to know them before reaching out to see if they’re a good fit for your marketing strategy. Engage with them and show some appreciation for their content to get a feel for how they interact with their audience. This can help you determine whether or not they are a good fit for your brand.

Look for micro-influencer fans. Conduct an Instagram search to find content that may contain your brand. Follow branded hashtags and there’s a possibility that micro-influencers may already be a part of your brand’s fanbase. For example, many micro-influencers in the beauty industry are constantly promoting and tagging different brands’ products. They name drop brands all the time when doing reviews, sharing their makeup and skincare routines. And not all of these posts are sponsored or in collaboration with those brands. Beauty companies like Glossier see this as a unique opportunity to approach these types of micro-influencers because they know they are already an ambassador for their line of products.

The Current Challenge

Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out a new feature in Canada, hiding the number of likes on users’ posts. This experiment to make the number of likes appear less prominent on Instagram feeds and profiles aims to shift the focus from a “popularity contest” to the authenticity and quality of content. How will this impact influencer marketing?

BigCommerce states that 65% of influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2019. Are you ready to invest in this area of marketing?

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.