Filter The NoiseBlog

We blog about design, technology, internet marketing and business on the web. As the name implies, we aim to "filter the noise" and share only the most relevant information. Feel free to chime in anytime with your thoughts and comments. Established 2004 in Colorado Springs, Colorado by HighTouch Web Design and Internet Marketing.

Ways to Increase your Email Marketing List

Kim Kolb - Thursday, January 27, 2011

If you don’t have any compelling offers on your site, you’re ignoring a huge opportunity to grow the size of your email list. This is true whether you're a B2C or a B2B company - offers are one of the most effective ways to harvest email addresses and leads from your site traffic.  You'll want to note that a boring quarterly newsletter is NOT featured below.

Here are 4 ways to create offers that can help dramatically increase the size of your email list and lead conversion volume.

Educational / How To Offers

These type of offers are valuable to B2B's because you are giving them valuable information. These can also be good for B2C's because those are most time "How To's". Regardless of B2B or B2C, you are offering a "way" to do something.

  • eBooks – “Download our comprehensive guide to inbound marketing and ecommerce”
  • Whitepapers – “Understand how to nurture your email list”
  • Buyer's Guides – “Which LED underbody kit is right for you?”
  • Fact Sheets – “10 facts you need to know before purchasing a used car”
  • Checklists – “The 5 key steps to preparing your IT department for the iPhone 4”

Free Stuff Offers

Everyone loves free stuff. Every week, I get a free offer from "All You".  Whether I need it or not, I submit my info to receive my free sample.

  • Contests - “Send us your cutest dog picture; cutest picture wins free doggy day care!”
  • Sweepstakes – “Enter for a chance to win a free copy of the book!”
  • Giveaways – “Register for your free welcome gift of a free keychain!”
  • Quizzes –“Who was Warren G. Harding’s dog? Let us know and two lucky history buffs gets a free dog bowl!”
  • Surveys – “Take our survey and get $10 off your first order!”

Coupons and Deals

Like with the free stuff offers above, everyone likes to feel as though they are getting a good deal. Running special offers for a discount is always a great way to get more customers:

  • Coupons for dollars or percentage off – “Sign up for future offers and savings to receive 10% off your next order today!”
  • Free shipping – “Create an account today and get free 2-day shipping through March 1st!”
  • Time-sensitive discounts – “Save 20% on flower arrangements through February 14th – order soon, roses are going fast this year!”
  • Bundled deals – “Fill out the form to get a free iPad if you sign up for our service in the next 2 weeks!”

Events

Events can create huge engagement from your interested prospects and customers. Because events require your prospects to physically show up at a certain place at a certain time – even if that “place” is online – event registrations indicate serious fans of your brand, products, and services. Think creatively about what constitutes an "event" for you: consider sponsoring charity events, conducting in-house mini-events, and use your site to collect registrations with names, emails, and other pertinent information.

  • Webinars – “How to get more leads using Email Marketing”
  • Off-site events – “Meet us at the Fine Arts Center for a fundraising event on Tuesday”
  • On-site / in-store events – “Come in every Friday for free drinks, snacks!”

Spin up a few new landing pages on your site and start experimenting. You will quickly find which have the best traction among your traffic and customer base if you keep an eye on your offer's performance metrics. Encourage your new email signups to share your offers on social media, email the offer to a friend, and get the word out to exponentially increase your offer's reach.

Tell us how you grow your email list?

What are Inbound Links and Why they are good for your Search Results

Kim Kolb - Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inbound links are the unsung hero of successful inbound marketing. They help increase traffic, and improve SEO.

But what is an inbound link? An inbound link is a link from one website to another website. For example, this is an inbound link to Hubspot.com. The inbound description is generally used by the person receiving the link. So HubSpot might say, "I received an inbound link from HighTouch.

So why do you need inbound links? Two reasons. First, it's an opportunity to receive referral traffic from another website. An inbound link from a blog is an avenue for that blog's readers to visit you. But depending on the amount of traffic that blog or website receives, the link may send a low volume of traffic.

So what does a good inbound link look like? Good question! There are three primary qualities that define the quality and strength of an inbound link:

1. Comes from an authoritative website. So, if Hubspot were to link to HighTouch's blog, they would be an authority since Inbound Marketing is what they are all about.

2. Uses anchortext. Anchortext is the text that "holds" the link. For example, you can link to another site by either writing the URL, or using anchortext (www.hubspot.com or Hubspot, respectively).

3. Has descriptive anchortext. The reason we like anchortext in point #2 is because it gives the linker the opportunity to describe the linked-to site in the link itself. This is great for the person who is receiving the link, because now search engines will have more information about his or her site. (For Example if you have a link that goes off the site, you can call it something relative to what you are talking about like, click here for more Website Design and SEO tips, linking Website Design as the anchor text.)

You can see here from the Analytics what the sites are that refer traffic to HighTouch...  Notice Facebook is at the Top, just a plug for Social Media Efforts.

Have you checked your site for Inbound Links lately?  Blogging is a great way to accomplish this as well as commenting on other relevant blogs.

What is your highest referring site?

Blogging, like praying, takes patience and obedience

Kim Kolb - Monday, June 14, 2010
If we believe God can help us in our every day life by asking for help for what may seem silly to some, then I would like to ask God to help me with my Blogging.  I don't think it is too much to ask...People circle the parking lot at stores saying "Oh God, please help me find a parking spot".  

Blogging is like praying.  It takes patience, diligence and obedience. We don't always get instant feedback when we post a blog or pray. This I have learned..

I have come to find that the more I hope and pray that I become a better blogger, the worse I get.  I just have to "shut up and put up"!  I have to be more diligent and maybe do what the expert bloggers say instead of ignoring them and that is to create a Blogging Schedule.  That's right.  Write time in on my calendar and stick to it.  You have plenty to talk about.  

Along with Blogging, Checking on our stats is just as important.  Blogging is great but if you are not monitoring your stats, you may as well just not Blog.

There are tons of platforms to start a blog on.  Do a google search for "Blog Platforms" and find the top ones.  One thing to remember is that you want your blog to have its own name.  So instead of wordpress.companyblog.com, you want to have the domain be www.companyblog.com.

There are also tons of tracking tools for blogs available.  Do a Google search on "blog tracking tools"

So stop trying to get the Blogging God to help you with your Blog.  Plan it, write it, and track it.  Don't talk about it, Just DO IT!

What else do you do to keep yourself on track?

Why Doesn't Blogging Come Natural To Us

Kim Kolb - Monday, February 01, 2010
How many of you reading this blog post actually write your own blog?  How many of you only comment on other blogs?  How many of you are really Awesome and both write your own blog and comment on other blogs?

Why do I ask all these questions?  Because I think for most people, blogging is not a natural thing.  Yes, we can compose an email and write a few paragraphs to our colleagues, but to sit and write about something that we then share with the world is quite an overwhelming experience.

When I started Blogging, I was committed to 3 times a week. Why?  Because that is what the experts told me. The avid Bloggers.  The guys who make money blogging.  I can do this I thought.  I started off well.  I blogged twice in one week.  I missed that third one.  The next week I did two.  Then after that, I just did one a week.  This went on for awhile and then I just stopped.

When I reflect back on my short blogging experience I wondered why I didn't blog more?  I definitely read tons of blogs.  I got to thinking about how someone could come up with the content for a blog.  How do you figure out every day what to write?  Sometimes bloggers do a couple of blogs a day.  How are they so inspired.  I was overwhelmed and didn't feel that I had anything to contribute.  My blogs consisted of content from other blogs that I felt I could do a better job at writing.  I figured the experts were already writing the good stuff.  Seriously, how many "10 ways" of anything can you have of one subject?

After about a month of no blogging, I decided to check our google analytics... Man, that was a depressing image.  Our stats went from about 200 + visits a day to 0.  Yep, that's right, a big goose egg.  

So what do you do when you have hit the bottom?  The only thing you can do and that is pick yourself up, brush off the cobwebs and start again.

I can successfully report that I have blogged for three days (Friday, Sunday, and Monday).  Hey it's a start. This time I have made it a priority.

How do I find content and the time for my blog?  I have decided that my thoughts may not be as profound as others, but that someone out there feels or felt like I did or do.  I think what I have to say can help someone either by inspiring them or making them feel like they are not alone.  Now the time part, I get up every morning and do the same thing.  Feed my cats, grab a cup of coffee and head to my computer for Emails, Facebook, and sign onto HootSuite.  I have added blogging to my morning ritual.  So far so good!

Although blogging hasn't felt real natural to me, what does feel natural is my writing style.  Everyone has one.  My style of writing is as if I am talking to my best friend.  I write like I speak.  Why is this important? Authenticity is one of the most important factors when blogging.  If you aren't sincere, the reader will pick up on that and probably won't be back.

I like to be funny in my writing.  Sometimes, and I shouldn't say this, but I make myself laugh!  I have found a few authors of some great books who write like they speak.  It makes for an engaging read.  Believe me, I have to really be engaged. My attention span is shorter than one of those curly shoestring laces.

I hope this has helped someone.  I would really like to know the answer to the very first questions.  Think of it as a poll.

How many of you write your own blog?  
How many of you only comment on other blogs?  
How many of you are really Awesome and both write your own blog and comment on other blogs?

Which Blogging Software to use

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Hello to all my fellow Bloggers.

I come to you today as a community of well knowledge people who want to help. This is one reason I love blogging so much. I love the feedback that people are willing to give. 

So, here is my dilemma. I need a Rockin Blog Software Platform! I hope that by getting your feedback, I will also be able to better serve my clients by being able to provide a case study and a recommendation to them and yes; I will share this with the Blogosphere. 

Here is the scoop. I currently have a CMS that has integrated blogging software. Yeah, that’s the good news. The blogging software DOESN’T talk to any other types of tracking tools or analytics tools. The one tool that truly bums my groove is that I can’t get it to hook into Technorati and the software company doesn’t feel this is a huge issue right now, although the forum on this is huge (which means others out there confirm I am not crazy). I can’t even get it to connect to Google so I can set a goal on how many subscribers I get through my RSS like Avinash Kaushik talked about in the last Webinar with HubSpot's Inbound Marketing University. This is the Bad news. 

So, I come to you for suggestions on blogging software:

  • What is the blogging software you use and why do you like it? 
  • Does it hook into all the cool tools that HubSpot recommends to get found?
    • Technorati 
    • Google Goals 
    • I am sure there are more and please feel free to share 
  • Does it give you complete control over the design of your Blog and if not what kind of limitations does it have (Dave loves to design and have control)? 

Since I am fairly new to blogging, I would appreciate any advise you have. I subscribe to some really cool RSS feeds and I read all the important info, but most of you have been doing this longer and know the tips, tricks on getting found and that is what I want, to get found by more, I am convinced the blogging software has a huge impact on this. 

As a Web Design and Marketing Company, I am starting to think that websites are a dying breed, like outbound marketing. Blogs can accommodate just about anything we need to convey to the world and most times our Blog gets picked up by Google faster than our website. So HubSpot, HATS of to YOU! 

Thanks in advance to all who comment on this Blog! I also hope to make some new friends during this process.

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