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?

Creating Great Landing Pages

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, January 26, 2011
1) Remove Navigation and Other Distractions

Your landing page should have one simple purpose: Get someone excited enough about your offer so that they're willing to hand over their information. For best results, you'll want to remove distractions like navigation and additional offers. Keep your visitor's focus on the offer at hand.

Getting Started

2) Use Your Headline to Explain the Value of Your Offer - What's in it for Me?

People's attention spans are short, especially online. Because of this, you'll want to make sure that your offer is as clear as possible. The best way to achieve this is to have a clear title. Specifically, you'll want to make sure your title contains:
  • A clear action (e.g. "Get Started Today")
  • A clear description of your offer (e.g. "Complete form to discuss project")
  • An explanation of the value of your offer (e.g. "Custom Websites")
I've seen many landing pages that miss one of these three key details.

3) Use Caption Text Under Your Image(s)

You should always include at least one image on your landing pages. Images are engaging, they make your offers more tangible, and people like them.

That said, one of the most commonly overlooked elements on landing pages is image caption text. Behaviorally, people are much more likely to read the caption text on an image then to read the body text of your landing page.

Use your caption text to help underline the value of your offer.

4) Use Thank You Pages & Suggest Next Steps

When someone has finished filling out your landing page, what do they see? You should think carefully about this question.

Your "thank you" page is a great opportunity to suggest your lead's next action and should help them further connect with your company or brand. "Subscribe to our newsletter," "Read our blog," "Connect with us on Twitter," or "Share this offer with a friend are all are excellent examples of things you can suggest on a thank you page.

5) Make Your “Submit” Button Engaging

No one get’s excited about submitting their information to a marketing database. Because of this, you should always change the default text of your "submit" button.

The best practice here is to use an action word and to remind your visitors about what they're going to get. Think about which button you'd rather click below:

Bonus Tip: Avoid “Contact Us,” - Create Stronger Offers

A “Contact Us” page does not count as a landing page. If this is the only "offer" on your site, you’re just going to attract spam and sales people. Diversify and create more offers.

Specifically, create one early-stage and one late-stage offer. For example, an early-stage offer could be a guide, a kit, or a white paper. A late stage offer can be a free consultation, an estimate / price quote or a free trial.

Do you have a great Landing Page you want to share?  Send us a link.

International Builder Show Jan 2011

Kim Kolb - Sunday, January 16, 2011

I have just returned from the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL where the International Builder Show (IBS) was held. 

This was the first time I have been to the International Builder Show. What a massive production. The show was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. They had a beautiful sign out front with nice glittery lights.. Kinda made me think I was in Vegas. The Displays spanned the entire length of the West Building. I have been to a PartyLite Convention before and I thought it was a big production.

There were tons of seminars for Builders as well as networking opportunities.

I was attending this event because I was asked to be a speaker at the Convention. I was part of a panel that talked about the REDMAR process. I was asked to speak on this process and how Inbound Marketing relates to getting visitors to your site. I love it when I am asked to talk about Inbound Marketing. It really makes me feel like my job means something when I get a client who looks to me for advise on how to start or improve their on line marketing efforts.

Although my trip was only one day long. I do plan to go back to Orlando because there was tons of fun I did not have!

How is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging, Email Marketing and YouTube Affecting Your Business

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Every month I like to reflect on how my on-line marketing efforts are working with my Social Media efforts and my website.  Here are tools I use, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blogging. I have 3 Twitter Accounts, 2 Facebook Accounts, 2 Facebook Pages, 1 LinkedIn Account and 2 Blogs I maintain. Now these are not all my main business accounts with HighTouch Marketing and Design, I also have a passion for Wine in which that is another set of accounts in this mix.  I know what you are thinking..."How does she manage all those accounts?"  HootSuite is what I use, but TweetDeck is also another great tool.

So with all these accounts what is my goal for my business and my passion?  To drive traffic to them! Why? Why would you spend all this time on these marketing efforts and not have a plan?  If you are just aimlessly out there "Playing" then you are not serious about your business. If your goal is not to get more people to your website to find out about you and then to get them to convert to a lead/sale then you really need to stop your efforts. 

Converting a Lead/Sale is different for everyone. With my company HighTouch, my goal is to create traffic to my site so I can convert someone into getting a website redesigned or created and to help that customer market their business.  My Wine site on the other hand, a Lead/Sale is different.  Right now I am working on name recognition, trust and winery profiles. So a conversion can be different for the type of business you are in.

Tracking your efforts

There are great tools like Google Analytics, it is FREE, that you can use to track the traffic on your site, where people are coming from, what they are clicking on, etc.  Tracking your efforts is as important as the actual effort.  You can track all your social media and blogging efforts here as well as putting links on your site to drive traffic to those particular venues.

Here are some Cool Stats from my friend at Bonsai Interactive Marketing. Pay close attention as these stats show you that people are out there and they are searching for you.  What will they see when they find you?

Facebook Stats:

  • The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
  • More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts,
  • notes, photo albums, etc.) is shared each month.
  • More than 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
  • every month.
  • There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook
  • through their mobile devices.
  • The average Facebook user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events.
  • People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

Twitter Stats:

  • Twitter’s web platform only accounts for a quarter of its users – 75% use
  • third-party apps.
  • Twitter gets more than 300,000 new users every day.
  • There are currently 110 million users of Twitter’s services.
  • Twitter receives 180 million unique visits each month.
  • There are more than 600 million searches on Twitter every day.
  • Over 60% of Twitter use is outside the U.S.
  • More than a third of users access Twitter via their mobile phone

LinkedIn Stats:

  • LinkedIn is the oldest of the four sites in this ebook, having been created
  • on May 5 2003.
  • here are more than 70 million users worldwide.
  • Members of LinkedIn come from more than 200 countries from every
  • continent.
  • 80% of companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.
  • A new member joins LinkedIn every second.
  • LinkedIn receives almost 12 million unique visitors per day.
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn.

Blogging Stats:

  • 77% of Internet users read blogs.
  • 60% of bloggers are between the ages 18-44.
  • One in five bloggers update their blogs daily.
  • Two thirds of bloggers are male.
  • Corporate blogging accounts for 14% of blogs.
  • 15% of bloggers spend 10 hours a week blogging.
  • More than 50% of bloggers have more than one blog.
  • Bloggers use an average of five different social sites to drive traffic to
  • their blog.

YouTube Stats:

  • The very first video uploaded was on 23rd April 2005.
  • By June 2006, more than 65,000 videos were being uploaded every day.
  • YouTube receives more than 2 billion viewers per day.
  • The U.S. accounts for 70% of YouTube users.

So what's the point to all this?  The point or rather the questions are:

  • Are you using On-line Marketing to drive traffic to your site?
  • Are you tracking your efforts?
  • What changes have you noticed, good or bad?
photo credit, jaxxshirts.com


No Really, I Don't Want to be Served Your Content

Kim Kolb - Monday, August 23, 2010

I got to your website and really liked what I saw and wanted to subscribe to your RSS feed, but couldn't find one. So I wanted to contact you and couldn't find where to do that, then I tried to comment on a current blog and you needed to moderate my comment. REALLY??

Sorry, today I have had it! I am on a rant! I am going to point some "general fingers". I have been a Certified Inbound Marketer, trained by the best at HubSpot and their partners! I learned that a Blog is soooo very important to you getting found. Why? Because of all the Remarkable Content you have put into it. So, I think I have a pretty good knowledge of what I am talking about.

On with the story. Okay, so I am a wine enthusiast for some time now. Particularly with Colorado Wines, if you are interested in my passion, Cheers!, if not keep reading. So, I get ahold of some blog articles that really spoke to me. What is the natural thing to do if you like something? Follow it, Like it or Subscribe to it, right? Right, but in this case the RSS feed link just went back to the blog, or sometimes there are no RSS feeds. I have even sent a comment asking where the Feed is and nothing. Or what is even better is when I make a comment and it says, "Your comment will display after it has been moderated", REALLY?

What ever happened to spontaneous and true emotion? If I leave a comment, good, bad or indifferent, suck it up and take it!

Don't make a post or ask a question if you can't take the answer!

So with that all said, am I on target or did the rules change and I missed the boat? Do you find that people who try to Blog and do Social Media don't always do the necessary things?

Kinda goes back to a blog I read from Todd DeFren "Social Media Training on the rise". He said that more companies are doing it themselves instead of hiring consultants to do it for them. This is all fine and good, but maybe companies just need to hire a consultant to be trained the correct way.

Thanks for listening, please give me your feed back. I promise my reader works, you can leave a comment and I won't moderate it except to provide a response! "I can take it, I am a BIG Girl"!

Photo Credit: Bank Innovation

Blogging Will Be The Death Of Us Yet. Keep up the good fight!

Kim Kolb - Thursday, July 01, 2010
Blogging is one of those things that we hate to do and struggle and complain and moan all the while we are getting ready to do it and even when we are doing it and then when it is done, we think wheew, that wasn't so hard.  I equate it to working out at 5:30am (I do this EVERY morning, except weekends). I know I need to do it, I know it is good for me, but I really don't want to get up that stinkin early to work out.  Then after it is all over, I am all happy and chipper and ready to face the day.

Why do we fight what we know is right?  If we all would succumb to this necessary evil, we would all be better off.  To help make you feel better and to encourage you to Blog, here is why it is so EXTREMELY important.

Blogging gives your company a voice - Really?  Yes, really.  Alot of companies outsource the content of their blog to 3rd party companies, which is fine EXCEPT...your voice, the voice of the company is never heard.  Here's what I mean.  I have a totally different writing style than my husband.  I am more jovial and I write as if I were talking to my friend about the subject.  So you will see lot of ! from me and lots of ... My husband on the other hand is very formal in his writing. You would definitely be able to tell if he were to start writing for me. (I hope)

Starting a blog no matter when it is - Start a blog when the "shit hits the fan so to speak".  If you can be the first to start talking about a situation, then you become the expert.  For example.  The housing industry really SUCKS right now.  Why don't home builders blog about how it is a good time to buy because interest rates are low or How someone can capitalize on this economy.  If you tell people what they should know, then they will know it and act on it. Kinda like the BBQ place that says "Best BBQ in town" We tell everyone they are the best, why, because they said so.

Blogs get indexed faster than your website - I know, you spent a lot of money on your site and you want people to go there and see how beautiful it is.  They will in time.  When you write a blog, you create remarkable content by default because you are writing "Topic" specific. Google indexes these quicker because the content constantly changes.  From your Blog, you can direct folks back to your site, but remember, direct them someplace specific so they don't have to figure out where you want them to go.  Remember, tell them what they should know and they will know it. :)

Blogging promotes respectfulness - It is always a great sign of respect when you read your fellow bloggers blog and leave a comment.  Shows you are interested enough to read and provide valuable input.  It also makes the author feel validated.

Blogging withstands time - Blogging will always and has been around for a very long time. Tools come and tools go, but blogging is definitely here to stay.  Maybe we should coin a new phrase "Blogging is forever" instead of diamonds.. I hope I didn't upset the ladies.

Blogging enforces content creation - When you write good content it creates buzz, when you have buzz, you get traffic, and when you have traffic you create leads.. Get it..

Which reminds me: If I haven't mentioned it, blogging is good for SEO? Blogging will get you indexed faster... Most times faster than your website.

So here is my one last and final plea!  If you aren't blogging you are being left out..Don't be the kid that lets blogging pass you by.  This is one of those times where if you want to be the "Cool Kid", then do what the Cool Kids do and get a blog. If you need help, get ahold of me.

I would love to hear how you or a client is dragging their feet, kickin and screaming "I don't wanna Blog, and you can't make me"!



Blogging is the Elephant in the Room

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Blogging seems to be the Elephant in the room.  We all know we need to do it.  We know it is good for our business, yet it is the one thing on our todo list that just gets moved each day until we "have time".

Well, "It is time" to quote the Lion King.  Blog is not a bad 4 letter word.  In fact it is a great word! Think of Blogging as a "ray of sunshine" or that ahhh you get when you have that first sip of coffee in the morning.  

What is blogging?  Blogging is writing about something you are passionate about or are well versed in the subject matter.  When you blog about something you know and love, people look to you as a Thought Leader in that subject matter.  The biggest fear I hear from people is that they have nothing to write about.  I beg to differ.  If you have a business and you offer a service or product, you have something to say.

I read a newspaper article the other day and in the article, one of the people being interviewed talked about how if you are not on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, then you will be left behind.  Well, let's add Blogging to the mix.  Blogging, I would say is more important than the others because it is creating remarkable content on your site.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are avenues to tell people about your great content.  

Benefits of Blogging:
  • Provides fresh remarkable content to your site that is searchable
  • Provides a place for readers to comment which creates more content that is searchable
  • You become a Thought Leader in your Industry
  • Provides more Inbound links to your site
  • When someone leaves a comment or trackbacks back to you, it provides validation
  • Provides search engines with great content to help you get found
Blogging is the Mojo of Online Marketing.  If you aren't blogging, I challenge you to start.  If you are blogging, KUDOS to you!

I would love to hear your thoughts on how you think Blogging is or isn't beneficial to your business.

Have You Set Up Your Facebook Business Page Correctly?

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, May 19, 2010
How does a restaurant become your "Friend"?  Or you want to become a fan of a company and all they offer you is "Friendship".  How do you determine the sex of your company?  Is the company really as old as the owner or the person who set it up?  Do all your "Friends" really need to see the pictures from the last girls night out on your wall?  Do you see where I am going with this?  

A Personal Profile is just that.  It is you personally with all "your" personal info.  It is your family members and friends from grade school, it is your "farmville" stats and your "personality test" score. This is not what a business should be displaying to the people that are trying to become a Fan. These are applications that can only be on a Personal Profile.

A Business Fan Page is for the Business.  There is no personal information that can be viewed from your Business Page that anyone can see.  It is just that, for Business.  Your Business Page does not have a gender or an age.  It doesn't show the girls night out pictures that your friends posted to your personal wall, and it certainly isn't going to ask anyone to help them move the pink cow out of the road.

Here's the Rule from Facebook:  If anyone has a Business Page set up as a Personal Profile, Facebook can at anytime disable your account.  Yes, this means that without warning your contacts will disappear.  Protect your efforts of getting followers and create a Business Page

How can you get your "Business Page" from your "Personal Profile".
First, create a Business Page from your profile (Applications, Pages and create from there.  You can also scroll to the very bottom and click on help and then click on pages).
Once you have it all set up, send a Wall Post to all your "Friends" and tell them that you would like them to "Fan or Like" your business and provide a direct link for them.  I would do this a couple of times in the next few weeks and then you can either get rid of the "Personal Profile/Business Page or keep the Personal Profile Page and remove anyone who has moved over that is not actually your friend.

I really do encourage anyone who is not running their Facebook Business Page correctly to fix it before something happens to your content and your contacts.

I hope this helps you get on the right track.. Consider that you have gone to great lengths to evolve to where you are.. Don't you want to do it right?

If I missed any tips, please leave a comment.

Is Social Media A Fad, Like Home Computers Would Never last

Kim Kolb - Thursday, May 13, 2010
I hear people making this comment often "This Social Media Stuff isn't going to last". Really? Sounds like a similar comment that people made back in the 80's about Personal Computers not making it. So, knowing what we know about computers these days, that everyone has one or maybe two in everyone home, I would rethink that comment about Social Media and start the acceptance process.

Social Media is not a fad, in fact it grows every day.  Watch this video and leave a comment on what you think about Social Media.  As someone who is doing Inbound Marketing through Social Media daily, you should be rethinking your online marketing strategy. If you are not in tune with what is being said then you are out of the conversation, it is like being stranded on an island by YOURSELF!

Please leave a comment (hint: it provides an Inbound link to your site)

If you like what you read, please subscribe to our blog as we put out Tips, Tricks, and all around good ideas for you to use in your business.  Make sure you turn up the volume on this video.. The Music alone is inspiring.

Who Are You and What Do You Do

Kim Kolb - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How many times has someone asked you this question, "Who are you and What do you do?" And how many of us can nail the answer each time without causing a blank stare from the person who asked the question?  This should be easy to answer, right?  It is the elevator pitch that every good Speaker tells us we should have. 

Being a Web Design & Inbound Marketing Firm, we tell our clients that "Content" is King.  Even all the expert Bloggers and Social Media Consultants will tell you this.  It is a true and valid fact.  The problem is, is that it is really easy to tell someone that content is King and that you should have no problem coming up with "Who You Are and What You Do, after all it is YOUR story, right?  WRONG!

We recently redesigned our website and going back over all the content we had to "Freshen" up, was a big process.  Oh, I can tell you exactly what we do and who we are, if you are standing in front of me so I can speak to you.  Writing it is a different animal all together.  When we get a new client and tell them that they need to go through their content and get rid of stuff that doesn't matter or outdated and replace it with new, fresh content, it is one of those items that gets put off until the very end.  Or worse... A client has no website and then has to come up with ALL the content for the site.

I have a new appreciation for this process.  It is always easier to tell someone how to do it, but when it comes to actually doing it, that is the problem.  Here are some tips I tell my clients to help in the process:

  • Start with the pages you have or think you want, the Contact Us is a good place to start.  Why?  Because you know the answer!  It is an easy score.  
  • Move onto the About Us page.  Most people can talk about themselves.  Just tell us everything there is to know about you. Then go back and weed out the wordiness and stuff that really isn't important, like the time you were in the Boy Scout's and you actually got the fire started with 2 sticks.
  • If you have a portfolio of projects, this is usually easy, especially if you are showing a picture or even adding a little text about what the project was.
  • If you offer services, this can be a hard or easy page.  Start with what you know and are confident about.  Then fill in the rest
  • The Home Page should be last unless you just have that one down.  The Home Page brings all of what you do and who you are together.  It is the page that needs to be the most captivating and inviting.  You want people to get to this page and say "Wow", I want to know more.  This will probably be the hardest page to complete.
My advice for any page you start, is just puke it out onto the screen and then re-read, fix, and repeat.  Have someone else read it to see if it makes sense. Sometimes we know what we are saying because we actually do the work, but get someone who doesn't and you will have a different perspective.

Hopefully this helps.  I would love to hear other people with their best ways to write content.  Like the saying goes "A Gardner's garden is never green, but the rest of the neighborhood is beautiful."

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