Monica Madsen

Find me on:

Recent Posts

3 Ways to Segment Your Contacts for Email Marketing

Segmenting and managing your contacts is an essential part of email marketing. You wouldn’t want to send a potential customer an email about something unrelated to his or her industry or job function – doing so wouldn’t help you obtain leads or grow your contacts. Most likely, you would lose contacts because your audience won’t find value in your message and unsubscribe.

Segmenting Email Contacts
Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

4 Great Ways to Manage Your Email Contacts

email contact managementDo you have an overwhelmingly long list of all your email contacts? Do these contacts receive every single email you send out? You know you should go through the list and segment them into different buyer personas and categories, but don’t have the time. Managing your contacts is important for your business, and can even help bring in new leads and sales. Here are a few reasons why you must manage your contacts:

  • Because of the different lifecycle stages, each email recipient should be receiving emails that contain information for where they are in the buying cycle.
  • Help reach your SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) marketing goals by segmenting and targeting specific audiences – making the message personalized.
  • See better results by achieving the goal of the emails, and get a higher click-through-rate and ROI.

Overall, sending emails is all about building lasting relationships with current and potential customers by providing value and helpful tools and resources.

Make a Good Contact List

It’s important to keep thorough list hygiene.

  • Remove unengaged emails based on the data – opens, clicks, or web visits.
  • Have an opt-in process for specific email types – let the email recipient choose what types of emails they would like to receive
  • Maintaining list hygiene keeps a good reputation with mailing IPs and helps you avoid getting blocked or blacklisted as an email sender
  • Your email performance metrics will be boosted, along with your SenderScore, because the unsubscribe rate will be lowered when you have segmented lists.

You should have an understanding of email deliverability. Deliverability is the ability to get an email into the intended recipients inbox. Be aware of these email rules and traps:

  • CAN-SPAM Laws –
    • Email must have a legitimate physical address; needs to be visible
    • Clearly tell how someone can opt-out of the email list
    • Even if you’re paying someone to do your email marketing, you are responsible! Not the person creating and sending the emails for you.
  • SenderScore –
    • SenderScore is similar to a credit score, in that it signifies the trustworthiness of an email source
    • The score reveals how mailbox providers view you sending reputation and how it compares to other email senders
    • Information is obtained from internet service providers such as Comcast, Gmail, or
    • Low SenderScore means you have a harder time getting mail into a person’s inbox – meaning you’re not seen as a trustworthy sender and you email may not be delivered
    • It can take days or weeks to fix a low score
      • 90 or greater is good
      • 50-80 means something is wrong
      • 50 or lower is bad
    • SenderScore can go down because of:
      • Inconsistent volume of sends
      • Being on a known black list
      • SPAM reports – when someone labels email as spam
      • Getting caught in a Honey Pot or Spam Trap
  • Honeypots –
    • Emails and forms are set up for the sole purpose of tracking unsolicited emails
    • Spammers fill their database with invalid targets and you are then caught in a spam trap when these fake emails are used
    • Exact reason why you should not buy email lists
  • Spam Trap –
    • Spam traps are a tool Internet service providers use to identify and track email spammers. They are email addresses that shouldn’t be receiving email.
    • The email addresses are set up with the sole purpose of identifying spammers.
    • Email addresses could be valid at one point but no longer are, or they are fake addresses
    • For a period of time, any email that is sent to the address will return as a hard bounce.
    • Eventually, it stops returning hard bounce for the known bad address, and instead accepts the message and reports the sender as a spammer.

Maintain Opt-Out Lists

Having the option to opt-out of emails respects the privacy of the individuals, which keeps good rapport for your business. People tend to opt-out of emails for various reasons:

  • Frequency of the emails
  • Content is no longer relevant or of interest
  • Receive too much email in general
  • Content was never relevant
  • Signed up for one-time offer
  • Found they could get the same or better information elsewhere

To help minimize opt-outs:

  • Have a clear value proposition in your email opt-in process
  • Optimize and test all components of your email message – not just the subject line
  • Segment your lists to match your marketing and sales priorities

Manage Contact Churn

Contact churn is a measure of customer attrition, or the number of customers who discontinue a service, or in this case, unsubscribe from your emails or bounce. 

Check your hard and soft bounces. To keep your SenderScore from going down, and to remain a trustworthy email sender, it’s important to manage your email list. Remove addresses that continually bounce. Keeping bad email addresses can put you on the blacklist and not be able to send future emails. If possible, follow up with the contact to ensure the email is correct or invalid.

  • A hard bounce can be an invalid email address that either expired or is non-existent, or the recipient blocks the mailing domain. Hard bounce is typically irreversible without manual action by the mailer or recipient.
  • A soft bounce can happen when the recipient’s inbox is full or the mail server is unable to be reached or is not responding at that time. Typically, the recipient will be mailed to again during future emails.

Remove Unengaged Contacts 

If you have contacts that aren’t interacting with you after you send emails, they may not be interested in what you have to offer or the message content. Continually sending email to unengaged contacts runs the risk of having the emails marked as spam, affecting your SenderScore. Instead of spending time on unengaged contacts, focus on the engaged contacts because they are more likely to turn into leads and customers.

Go through your contacts and remove contacts based on their open, clicks, and website visit data. If they haven’t interacted in any way with you in more than a year, there’s a good chance they never will.

By going through this process, you’ll be on your way to building out segmented contact lists that will help you send specific email messages based on the individuals needs and lifecycle stage.

Do you have a simple process for managing your lists? Share it with us!

Stay tuned for ways to create segmented contact lists.

Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

3 Key Factors in Measuring Your Website Performance

Your website is an essential marketing tool for your business. For this reason, your website performance should be continually measured, analyzed and updated.

Measure Website Performance
Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

A Method for Developing Calls-to-Action and Landing Pages

One of the goals of marketing is to generate qualified leads to increase sales. Small business owners are always thinking about prospects and ways to capture those that come to their website. Information is continually being shared with visitors so they feel the need to fill out a form, and provide their contact information to begin the buying process and become a customer. One of the best ways to share content and obtain visitor information is by using calls-to-action (CTAs) and landing pages.

Optimized Landing Pages and Calls-to-Action
Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

Build an Online Resource Center for Your Website

Website Resource CenterDo you have various types of content scattered throughout your website – in blogs or landing pages? Do you have a place where all this content can be organized? Such a place would be a resource center – a library of all your content. Every website should have a resource center for these reasons:

  • Provide educational information to your audience in an easy-to-find and consumable format. After all, education is the future of marketing. Education builds trust with your audience because you are showing yourself as the industry expert.
  • Resource centers demonstrate your thought-leadership, as well as creating a unique visitor experience – allowing visitors to find relevant content quickly.
  • Resource centers show the value of your information, which can help with lead generation. It also encourages content sharing.

Resource centers should guide the buyers’ journey. Adding top-of-funnel content to the resource center, you are building awareness of your products/services, as well as attracting traffic. Using your middle-of-funnel marketing educates your audience through your content and show products and services that are valuable and beneficial for businesses. And finally, the solution and its value are revealed with bottom-of-funnel marketing and content, which is where a sale will hopefully be made.

Building the Resource Center

The overall goal of the resource center is to provide educational relevant content that will help generate leads.

 1. Gather and organize your content.

  • Use a spreadsheet to track and categorize your content – whitepapers, webinars, ebooks, etc.

2. Create a resource center homepage.

  • List all your content by types.
  • List any and all new content.
  • Explain, in a professional manor, the purpose of the resource center and its overall goal.
  • Incorporate links to blogs next to relevant content.

3. Build out the content structure.

  • You need a homepage for each content type.
  • Add calls-to-action to content homepages.
  • The CTAs should link to related landing pages.
  • Use thank you pages. Add CTAs to continue guiding through the buying process.
  • Follow this structure:
    Resource Center --> Content Homepage --> Landing Page --> Thank You Page

4. Allow social sharing.

  • Include social sharing buttons to encourage the sharing of your content.
  • Social sharing helps spread thought-leadership and brand awareness.
  • Include buttons on content homepage, landing page, and thank you page.

5. Promote the resource center.

  • Create CTAs and include them on:
    • Homepage
    • Product/service pages
    • Blog
    • Emails
    • Thank you pages
  • Add resource center to main navigation on your website.
  • Include it in your lead nurturing emails.
  • Instruct your sales reps and customer service team to utilize the page and direct prospects and current customers to the page.

6. Find and create new content.

  • Create a landing page and ask what type of content your audience needs or wants.
    • Doing this engages with your community and will show that you’re interested in their feedback and serving them.
    • You’ll also be sure that you’re finding and creating the right content.

7. Measure the page.

  • Measure the page on a monthly timeframe.
  • Analyze the landing page conversion rates.
  • Track the visits to each content type resource page.
  • Track the CTA performance.
  • Rate the content.
  • Get feedback from your audience to help improve the content.
  • Check the bounce rate of resource pages using Google Analytics.

Remember that content is key. By continually providing new content, you’ll be helping spread your brand name and increasing web traffic. All this helps lead generation and will grow your sales. So, why wouldn’t you want to have a resource center?

12 Essential Tips and Tricks for Link Earning

Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

5 Ways to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

Small businesses are always looking for opportunities to grow their network and build strong lasting relationships. Having a solid network helps to increase awareness and build your brand, which can help bring in more website traffic.

guest blogging opportunities
Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

The HubSpot Way to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

HubSpot is a leader in the inbound marketing world. They know the ins-and-outs of online marketing, and have created amazing all-in-one marketing software. The marketing software makes all these things possible:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Calls-to-Actions
  • Landing Pages
  • Lead Management
  • Email
  • Marketing Automation
  • Closed Loop Analytics

HubSpot Website OptimizationThose are a lot of awesome features in one product, so you can see why we use it here at Stream Creative. HubSpot has built their brand and made themselves a credible expert in marketing and website growth and development. They are our go-to source for information and resources. Because we think so highly of them, we wanted to share their guide to optimizing your website for search engines.

Importance of Website SEO

First off, an explanation of the importance of website optimization, or search engine optimization (SEO), is needed. SEO is about focusing and narrowing the topics on the pages of your website, making each page unique. Having unique pages based on one topic, or keyword, helps search engines to track and index your website pages, and thus include them in search results. The goal of search engines, such as Google and Bing, is to serve the right content to the right person at the right time. Search engines also want to provide relevant and credible results, which ties in with SEO fundamentals. SEO fundamentals are what help determine your ranking in search engine results, and include:

  • Off-page SEO: building trust and authority through inbound links
  • On-page SEO: creating two different types of content through blogs, landing pages, ebooks, etc.
    • Branded content: general information about your business
    • Non-branded content: specific about your industry, services, or products

Website Optimization Guide

When going through this guide and working on your SEO, remember that the ultimate goal is to get found by using keywords that are relevant to your business.

  1. Choose your keywords
    1. Read the page’s content
    2. Identify one primary keyword per page
    3. Identify one variation of the primary keyword
    4. If you can’t identify one keyword, rewrite the page content or create a new web page
    5. Optimize the page for the one primary keyword
  2. Create the page title
    1. Should be less than 70 characters, so the whole title can be seen in search results
    2. Primary keyword should be first word followed be the keyword variation separated with pipes – straight vertical line | ( shift \ )

      Website Page Title


    3. Each page title needs to be unique
    4. Don't include the business name in every page title
      1. Business Name should be included on homepage and contact us page
  3. Add the meta description
    1. Appears under page title in search results

      Website Meta Description




    2. Should be less than 150 characters
    3. Incorporate the primary keyword
    4. Give a valuable compelling reason to visit the website
    5. It's important to note that Google will sometimes display a different meta description than what you may have put.
  4. Optimize the URL
    1. Include the primary keywords
    2. Separate each word with dashes ( - )
    3. Keep the keyword close to the root domain
  5. Create heading tags
    1. Create an H1 heading tag that incorporates the primary keyword
    2. Place the heading at the top of the page – above the fold, so you don’t need to scroll to see the heading

      Website Heading Tags

  6. Optimize page content
    1. Include the primary keyword in the content 3-4 times
    2. Keep the primary keyword above the page fold
    3. Don't keyword stuff, or overuse the word - keep it conversational
    4. Write for your readers, not for search engines
  7. Add calls-to-action (CTA)
    1. Have at least one CTA related to the content and keyword
    2. Keep CTAs above the page fold
    3. The CTA should be an internal link to a landing page
    4. Optimize the alt text of the CTA image and the image file name

      Website Call-to-Action


  8. Include internal links
    1. Create a text link to a page using the primary keyword
    2. Create 1 or 2 internal links
    3. Link to other pages from the page
    4. Build a spider web of related content
  9. Add images
    1. Search engines need to "read" images
    2. Add alt tags to your images using the primary keyword
    3. Use the primary keyword in the image filename
    4. Link the images to web pages and landing pages

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’re on your way to having an optimized website and increasing your search engine rankings. Optimizing your website it a great way to draw more traffic to your website because search engines will have an easier time finding your content and delivering it to search results.

Learn more about Search Engine Optimization from HubSpot or contact us for information or help. We offer SEO help as part of our inbound marketing services. Get started today!

12 Essential Tips and Tricks for Link Earning

Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

How to Create Educational Product/Service Pages that Increase Sales

One goal of your website should be to promote your products and services. Having a page for each product or service you offer will achieve this goal. A product page is so important because it showcases what you can offer your visitors. These pages are about educating visitors on the various ways you can provide successful solutions for your customers’ challenges. This will also help you to build trust and credibility, growing your brand identity. Aside from the website's homepage, the product and service pages are the most visited pages on your website. These pages are the virtual sales rep for your business, with an overall goal of educating visitors so they take some type of action. Creating pages that have a lasting effect are important for the potential of customer retention and sales growth.

Website Product Pages
Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

4 Ways to Start Earning Links to Your Small Business Website

Small business are always looking to increase their search engine rankings and website traffic through various search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Link earning is a great way to expand your reach, bring in more website visitors, grow your rankings, and develop online authority. There are four simple steps that should be followed to help you earn inbound links and be seen as a credible resource by Google.

website link earning
Read more
Author: Monica Madsen

Why Your Link Building is Missing the Mark (And How You Can Fix It)

Inbound linking and off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) make up 75% of your site SEO, with the last 25% being the on-page optimization. (HubSpot) Pretty interesting statistic, huh? Makes you think about stepping up your link building game and revaluate your plan, doesn’t it?

Link Building, SEOEarning links is so important not only for SEO purposes, but also because it builds your online authority. Being an online authority means you are considered a thought leader on a specific topic. If you’re an online authority, the odds are in your favor of increasing your search engine rankings. Search engines consider inbound links as votes – the more votes (or links) the higher your website will rank. If you have bad inbound links, it takes away from your authority, you’re no longer trusted as a credible resource, and your rankings decrease. It’s also important to note that not all inbound links are created equal. Links with online authority are going to have more value and help your website.

Examine your current inbound link building plan to ensure you’re not making poor link building mistakes, and retain your online authority.

  • Submitting your site to directories isn’t necessarily a good tactic anymore. Avoid link farms (black hat links). Don’t post your content on article sites. Do not pay for links.
    • Only submit your site to directories that are credible and will provide value to your company.
  • These are groups of website that link to each other. They’re only going to hurt your website ranking because they don’t provide any value.
    • Simply post your content on your own site and share it via social media. Use links within the article as well, to help it go viral.
  • Don't pay for links.
    • Google will catch you and your rankings will decrease. Google won’t think you are a credible source. Just don’t do it.
  • If what you’re doing feels unnatural or wrong, that most likely means it IS wrong. And when in doubt, ask before doing anything you’re not sure about.

Let’s say that (hypothetically) you’ve made some of these mistakes. How can you recover your online authority?

  • First and foremost, make sure you’re connected to Google Webmaster Tools and that you’re signed up to receive their email notifications.
    • Webmaster Tools analyzes your site and lets you know of bad and/or broken links. They will show you any inbound links you are receiving.
  • Cease and desist all unnatural link building. Just stop doing it if it doesn’t feel right!
  • If necessary, deny any spammy links. Get rid of them!
  • After completing the above steps, send Google your site for reconsideration. This can be done by using Google Webmaster Tools. Your site must be registered in Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for consideration.

If you’re still not sure if you’re website has spammy links, look for a steady decrease of traffic or rankings around the time of Google’s Penguin release (first released in April 2012). The recent algorithm updates are related to inbound links, and attempts to remove any bad untrustworthy links.

Have you made any of these link building mistakes? How did you recover? Share your helpful tips with us!

P.S. Stay tuned for ways to earn valuable inbound links!

12 Essential Tips and Tricks for Inbound Link Earning

Read more
Author: Monica Madsen