All posts by Amy Wood

How PPC Agency ParaCore Used Clever Account Management to Save a Client $30k in Ad Spend

Before digging into your or your client’s AdWords account, you might need to do some tidying up first. Image via Shutterstock.

When PPC agency ParaCore started working with a niche inspection company, they realized pretty quickly that before they could start optimizing this client’s AdWords account, they needed to do some necessary housekeeping.

The client — who shall remain nameless due to their highly competitive industry — was already pairing landing pages with their PPC ads. However, because they had so many market segments to target, they were juggling 60 different landing pages. This approach was certainly scrappy, but it was also incredibly challenging to maintain and optimize.

The client also lacked insight into both how many phone call leads they got, and exactly where these leads were coming from. Without this data they were unable to attribute leads to the appropriate campaign, making optimization —  let alone determining the ROI of their ad spend — virtually impossible.

In efforts to better manage this client’s account, ParaCore used Unbounce to reduce the number of landing pages from 60 to just four (while maintaining hyper segmentation), set up CallRail for improved phone call conversion tracking, and implemented a negative keyword approach in AdWords that ultimately saved the client $30k in ad spend and lowered the cost per lead over 40%. Needless to say, their client was thrilled.

Here’s how they did it.

Simplify market segmentation with landing pages

ParaCore’s client was already deep in the PPC game. They were spending $10k monthly on Bing and AdWords ads, and they had the wherewithal to pair their ads with targeted landing pages. But in order to target each individual market segment, they were using 60 landing pages (15 markets x 4 services).

Despite the benefit of better segmentation, juggling this many landing pages has its challenges, as ParaCore founder Adam Arkfeld can attest to:

Updating one thing on all landing pages takes forever. If you want to change content, it’s 60 changes. If you want to change something major like design, that’s a huge effort. It’s also just more difficult to track analytics and keep track of all the pages.

So ParaCore’s first task was to take those 60 pages and whittle them down to just a few manageable (but still high-converting) pages.

Using Unbounce’s drag-and-drop builder, ParaCore built their client four pages, each highlighting a specific service.

Using Dynamic Text Replacement on their Unbounce pages, ParaCore was able to reduce the amount of landing pages to maintain. Image via ParaCore.

To ensure they maintained the same hyper-relevance for each market segment, they implemented Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) on the landing pages, an Unbounce feature which allows you to automatically swap out keywords on your landing page based on someone’s search intent and the corresponding ad clicked.

That is — if someone searches “piano lessons in Arizona” that’s exactly what your corresponding landing page’s headline can read to match their query.

In this example of a landing page for a music school, the instrument type is swapped out depending on which ad is clicked.
Preview DTR in action today to see how it can improve the relevancy of your landing pages.

With the help of DTR, ParaCore could still serve up those 60 hyper-customized messages, but using a much more manageable four pages. Their next move was to set out to optimize those four pages.

Clarify metrics with proper tracking and attribution

ParaCore’s client knew their ads were contributing to massive call volume but they didn’t have insight into the number of calls or which keywords were responsible.

After a bit of initial digging, ParaCore found that 76% of the client’s leads came via phone calls, but according to Adam:

There was so much more we could do to optimize their PPC campaigns if we had more data.

To get said data, Adam et al installed AdWords Call Conversion Tracking and CallRail on the client’s landing pages and set up keyword-level call tracking.

CallRail works similar to DTR, by dynamically populating a unique phone number depending on the original referrer. So when a visitor clicks on an ad and then calls the number on the landing page, that lead is attributed to the appropriate click-through ad.

Attributing your phone call leads to the original ad has never been easier. Image via CallRail.
Don’t know where all your phone call leads are coming from? CallRail integrates with Unbounce landing pages, so you can track which ads and landing pages result in calls. Find out more here.

Not only that, but CallRail allows you to create regional phone numbers, which was especially important to their client. Adam said it was key that their client’s prospects saw “a 480 number for Phoenix instead of an 888 number.”

AdWords Call Conversion Tracking, on the other hand, allowed ParaCore to see which keywords were converting so they could kill the underperforming keywords or ad sets.

For leads that came in through the landing page form, ParaCore also set up AdWords conversion tracking on all Unbounce form confirmation dialogues (a.k.a. thank you pages).

Within four months, this is what team ParaCore had found:

55% of leads came from calls made after seeing the new Unbounce landing pages, 24% came from landing page forms and roughly 20% came directly from ads.

Once they had the data they needed, it was time to actually dig into AdWords.

Optimize ad groups with negative keywords

Now that ParaCore had all the necessary data to determine which keywords were and weren’t working, they could start optimizing in AdWords.

ParaCore’s client had already done a significant amount of keyword research resulting in a robust collection of targeted keywords; however, a review of their analytics revealed not all of them were performing top-notch.

ParaCore added negative keywords to the client’s campaigns, followed by daily negative cleansing (which sounds like something you’d do with a smudge stick and quartz crystal, but is actually just excluding search terms that aren’t relevant).

After the initial cleanse, ParaCore scaled back to periodic reviews to ensure keyword relevancy. They kept an eye on conversion data over the first two months and turned off keywords that were, as Adam put it, “eating up the ad budget without producing good returns.”

Clever Account Management Pays Off

By adding negative keywords to their client’s AdWords account and turning off the keywords that weren’t bringing in results, team ParaCore managed to save their client $30,000 in annual ad spend and reduce their cost per lead by 40.7% in the first three months.

Not only that, with these all of the changes in place, ParaCore’s client was set up to scale. Now when the client wants to add additional markets, the agency doesn’t even have to create a new landing page, they simply “add dynamic text insertion with new phone numbers and local text.”

This kind of progress wouldn’t have been possible had they not first simplified their client’s landing page collection and clarified their metrics. Only then could they turn their efforts toward their client’s AdWords account.

According to Adam, the data collected during that initial exploration “continues to guide our efforts as we optimize the company’s PPC campaigns to bring in the highest quality leads at the lowest cost.”

And ParaCore’s client could not have been more pleased. Their Google+ review says it all:

These guys have been awesome for us so far! We love the reporting metrics they use as it really identifies the important information and tells us a lot about our PPC campaigns. We have also been very happy with how thorough they have been in implementing the crossover from our old PPC manager… All in all, we are very happy to have made the switch and wish we would have pulled the trigger sooner.

Sounds pretty dang blissful to me.

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How PPC Agency ParaCore Used Clever Account Management to Save a Client $30k in Ad Spend

Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

As a travel marketer or agency marketer servicing the travel industry, you have a tricky gig. You need to convince your prospects to spend thousands of dollars and precious vacation time.

Meanwhile, your prospects are increasingly wary of the legitimacy of your offers (thanks a lot, Fyre Fest).

Here’s to hoping your vacation is memorable, but not in a meme-worthy kind of way.

Your challenge then is to effectively convey trust on your travel landing pages. Doing so can help ease prospects’ conversion anxiety, resulting in more travel leads and sales for your business.

The importance of trust on your travel landing pages

We often talk about the importance of trust and credibility on your landing pages — this isn’t a new idea.

But for some industries, a lack of trust can have hugely detrimental effects on conversion rates.

In a recent analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform, data scientists found that travel landing pages can realistically achieve conversion rates of at least 12%. Even more impressive is within the travel and tourism industry, the very best pages convert over 25% of their visitors (schwing!).

Notice the dramatic conversion rate difference between percentiles? If you’re part of that percentile getting 2.1% or lower conversion rates, your pages have lots of room for improvement. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

If you’re not hitting these benchmarks, it might be time to take a hard look at your marketing and ask yourself if you’ve done enough to make your prospects trust you.

And don’t worry if your answer is “No” or “I’m not sure.” We’ve compiled four data-backed ways to boost trust on your travel landing page. Use them as a jumping off point for your optimization efforts.

1. Bolster your copy with trust words

Using an Emotion Lexicon to analyze copy, Unbounce data scientists found evidence that visitors to travel landing pages have slight concerns about the legitimacy of the offers.

However, they also found that using at least 7% (and up to 10%) of your copy to establish trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.

Notice the uptick in conversion rate once trust-infused copy is used more liberally? Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Unbounce data scientists found that these are some of the words that impart trust on travel landing pages:

enjoy, perfect, secret, top, team, guide, save, personal, spa, food, planning, policy, provide, star, award, real, share, friendly, recommend, school

(Keep in mind, though, that these words were generated by an algorithm and should still be applied using common sense. Just adding the word “spa” to your page — especially if you don’t offer spa services — is not going to increase your conversions.)

The travel experts at Nordic Visitor do a great job of using trust words to build confidence on their Iceland site. It’s not a landing page per se, but the same principles apply.

“Team,” “planning,” “provide” and “personal” are all words found to positively convey trustworthiness. Adding these and other trust words to your copy could be the subconscious nudge your prospects need to convert.

Take stock of the trust words you’re using in your marketing, and particularly on your landing pages. If they’re looking a little sparse, test out using confidence-building words to describe destinations in detail.

2. Cut copy that brings up emotions of fear and anger

Just as trust words can drastically improve your conversion rates, words that subconsciously trigger fear or anger will have a negative impact on travel landing page conversion rates.

In fact, Unbounce data scientists found that if even 1% of page copy reminds your visitors of feelings of anger or fear, you could be seeing up to 25% lower conversion rates.

No one wants to be angry while on vacation. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Words that may instill fear or anger in your prospects include:

limited, tree, money, hot, desert, endless, challenge, treat, fee, feeling, rail, stone, bear, buffet, bang, cash, cross, despair

So instead of…

“Feeling endless despair this Canadian winter? Warm yourself up with a limited-time-only vacation in the hot Mojave desert.”

Try…

“Escape the Canadian winter at a five-star award-winning vacation rental in sunny California.”

Get even more industry-specific emotion and sentiment copy suggestions

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how emotion and sentiment may be impacting conversion rates in your industry.
By entering your email you expressly consent to receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.

3. Leverage social proof to build visitor trust

Persuading your prospects to put their trust in you is tricky business, and it’s even trickier when it comes to travel, because they’re likely working with a tight budget and only a few weeks of precious vacation. They don’t want to take a leap of faith — they want a sure thing.

A proven strategy for easing prospect anxiety is to use social proof. It’s the “everybody’s doing it” mentality that helps convince your prospects to convert.

Testimonials

When you let your satisfied customers sing your praises, your credibility goes through the roof. Including testimonials on your travel landing page can have a positive impact on how trustworthy your prospects perceive you to be, but not all testimonials are created equal.

To best enhance your chance of conversion, heed the following testimonial commandments:

  • Be specific
  • Include a photo of the person
  • Avoid hyperbole (i.e., This pedicure literally saved my life!)
  • Choose testimonials that demonstrate the transformative effect of your product or service on the lives of your users

Nordic Visitor takes it one step further with a video testimonial from several happy customers:

Don’t tell your prospects how great you are, show them with real live, happy customers.

Reviews

Similar to testimonials, including reviews on your travel landing page can help convey trust to your prospects.

The luxury travel designers of Jacada Travel have embedded reviews from Trustpilot, a reputable online review community, directly into their landing page.

Awards

If you recall, the word “award” is associated with trust on travel landing pages. So if your company or client has won any reputable awards, be sure to flaunt ‘em.

Tour guide company Kensington Tours not only includes several trust seals on their travel landing page, they also mention in their Adwords ad that they’re a National Geographic award winner.

Highlight awards strategically to build confidence in your offers.

4. Security measures

Persuasive trust-infused copy and social proof are wonderful, but when you’re collecting travel leads and even money, you need to assure your prospects that their data and money is safe.

There are many ways to do this, but the two most impactful strategies are to enable SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and to include trust seals.

SSL

SSL creates an encrypted link between your landing pages and your visitor’s browser. It’s identified by the little lock icon and the “https” (vs. http) in the top left-hand side of your browser search bar.

Enabling SSL on all your web properties (but especially on your lead gen and ecommerce landing pages) assures your visitors that they’re not at risk of being hacked.

Psst: SSL is available on all paid Unbounce plans. Don’t publish a landing page without it!

Trust seals

Trust seals help to reinforce the message that your landing page is secure. These can be obtained by whichever third-party security vendor handles your SSL certificate, and easily added to your travel landing page with a few lines of JavaScript.

Nordic Visitor nails it yet again with a trust seal from GeoTrust and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017, further reinforcing their credibility.

All aboard the Conversion Cruise

A lack of trust in any industry can hurt conversion rates, but in the travel industry the stakes are extra high.

Fortunately, this means the opportunities to improve your conversion rates are plenty. And if you nail the whole trust thing down, you could be seeing some of the highest conversion rates across any industry.

Leveraging a combo of effective copy, social proof and security measures, you can make your prospects forget about the stress associated with booking a vacation. Skip that trip to Poor Conversions-ville and instead put your feet up with a Mai Tai in hand on the Conversion Cruise.

For even more data-backed conversion insights in the travel industry, or for insights into industries such as health, finance, higher education and more, download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Get data-backed conversion insights across 10 popular industries

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how your conversion rates stack up against the competition — and how to improve them.
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Launching a travel landing page from scratch? Try out one of our travel landing page templates, designed specifically to boost conversions.

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Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

437 Digital Marketers Went Head-to-Head with a Conversion-Predicting Machine — Who Reigns Supreme?

Being a digital marketer is an exciting gig. Ad platforms, best practices and tools change at warp speed, meaning you’re always learning and you’re never bored.

But it’s a tough gig, too. As competition stiffens and we spread our time and resources across more and more platforms, it’s harder to get our message seen, and we yearn for the results we once (perhaps) took for granted.

In 2004, the internet became the highest grossing channel in advertising expenditure, and it’s been on the rise ever since.

Image via Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report.

That up-and-to-the-right blue line means that acquisition has become more competitive than ever.

Couple this with a rising average cost per click and cost per conversion, and you’ve got a hefty task at hand: Cut through the search noise, create a compelling digital experience and interpret and apply tens of thousands of data points all while coming in under budget.

President of global digital agency Mirum and 2017 Call to Action Conference speaker Mitch Joel doesn’t see this as a problem though — he sees it as an opportunity:

I’m more of an opportunistic person — I see this and think, ‘Wow, this is going to be a very interesting and dynamic time for people who really want to build better relationships with customers.’

It’s no wonder that marketers are looking at advances in automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence and asking, “How can I capitalize on this opportunity?” 

AI technology is already infiltrating all aspects of society, from the fleet of self-driving cars Google is testing, to the anti-snore wearable Sleep.ai you go to bed with to the Amazon Alexa smart speaker in your living room.

What these machines have in common is that they’re designed to make life better for humans so we can spend less time commuting, tossing and turning or shuffling through our record collections and more time on the things that matter.

To fear or not to fear the machine, that is the question

Pop culture is rife with dystopian visions of a machine-dominated future. But we’re already seeing AI technology being used to complement human ingenuity and serve the greater good.

IBM Watson Health, for example, analyzes vast amounts of data (gathered via peer-reviewed research, doctors, family health history, even your FitBit) and leverages machine learning technology to recommend data-backed patient care plans.

From a marketing perspective, AI technology can be used to help marketers make better decisions about where to focus their efforts, and to create smarter tools that present prospects with the right offer, in the right place, at the right time. To — as Mitch shared with me — “create marketing [using] assumptions and knowledge that I myself may not even be aware of as a customer.”

Mitch says marketing AI goes beyond presenting relevant offers based on past purchases, but rather presenting offers that prospects will definitely act on or — at the very least — that the technology will “leverage and [learn] from to make it better and better each time — that sort of iterative learning that makes it better with each experience.”

Carl Schmidt, Unbounce co-founder and CTO, keeps a close eye on the digital marketing landscape and how AI and machine learning can — and in some cases already is — helping the digital marketer.

Carl says AI is already being used “to automate ad purchasing, create ad copy, score leads, identify customers at risk, select ad creative, run tests and more.”

Tomorrow (or in the near future rather) AI will empower marketers “to offer highly personalized marketing experiences,” says Carl. “Digital touch points (web, mobile, chat, automated voice) will understand the visitor’s context and preferences and construct messaging that is much more relevant; almost like a digital salesperson.”

Beyond that, Carl says AI could be leveraged to “deliver digital personas; online avatars that perfectly exhibit brand values and have a complete understanding of the brand’s products and services.”

Unbounce CTO Carl Schmidt talking about the future of AI and marketing at Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference.

Over the past 12 months, Carl and a team of data scientists and conversion optimization experts at Unbounce have been using machine learning to analyze hundreds of thousands of landing pages built in Unbounce.

The team believed they’d hit a significant milestone when they built a machine learning model that could predict whether landing page conversion rates are above or below industry averages with 80% accuracy.

But Carl and his team were eager to know how impressive that really was. Could human marketing experts do better?

Machine vs. Marketer: The challenge

Ever since chess champion Gary Kasparov’s stunning loss to IBM supercomputer Deep Blue more than 20 years ago, “man vs. machine” matchups have been used to gauge the advancement of AI technology.

In 2011, supercomputer Watson defeated Jeopardy! Champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in an epic two-day match.

And just a few months ago Google’s AlphaGo defeated world champion Ke Jie in the ancient Chinese game Go. The game, which originated some 25 centuries ago, is known as one of the most challenging games ever created — one that you can spend your whole life mastering.

While we believe the future of marketing isn’t a question of “machines vs. marketers”, but, rather, machines helping marketers, let’s face it: everyone loves a good showdown.

A few weeks ago we welcomed 1200+ digital marketers to the fourth annual Call to Action Conference in Vancouver, Canada, just a couple blocks away from Unbounce headquarters.

As Carl said during his opening remarks, it was a perfect opportunity to test our AI technology against some of the savviest marketers in the world. But it also gave us the opportunity to “gauge customer reaction [and] educate and enlighten” (a.k.a. turn AI skeptics into believers).

“We’ve encountered folks who’ll tell us they’ll ‘never trust a machine,’” Carl says. “Or they ‘will always know better than a machine.’”

Marketers trying their hand at beating “The Machine”.

What they came up with was a mobile web challenge for attendees to test their conversion-predicting abilities against the machine they’ve been working on.

Here’s how it worked:

  • Using their phones, attendees were presented with one of 204 Unbounce-built landing pages.
  • Analyzing only the copy, the AI technology predicted whether the page had an above or below average conversion rate, as benchmarked against thousands of landing pages built in Unbounce.
  • Participants analyzed the pages at the same time and were asked to make their own predictions.

In total 427 digital marketers (including conference speakers and experts like Mari Smith, Joel Klettke and Talia Wolf) attempted to outsmart the machine.

But the human marketers were no match for “The Machine”. Like its predecessors (Deep Blue, Watson, AlphaGo) “The Machine” reigned supreme:

Not even the expert marketers were able to beat “The Machine”.

On paper, 2017 CTAConf speaker Joel Klettke is the perfect opponent. His expertise is conversion copywriting, and he promises his copy will “turn skeptics into advocates and prospects into paying customers.”

Because the algorithm only parses copy, you’d think these two would have a pretty fair fight, but no dice.

Joel, who got 57% correct, explains why he found the challenge so tricky:

“The tough thing is knowing what to look for and getting past your own biases. Some niches, offers and designs just hit me as “yuck.” Even as a copywriter, it takes some serious time to get into the shoes of the people you’re trying to write for; to understand what appeals to them or not.”

Kidding! Please don’t do this.

While we definitely do not (I repeat DO NOT) recommend firing your marketing department and hiring robots, the results provide us with a glimpse into the future of digital marketing, and how AI-powered conversion tools and insights will amplify our marketing efforts to build truly outstanding marketing experiences and better conversion growth.

Despite losing to “The Machine,” Joel seemed genuinely excited about what the challenge might indicate for the future of marketing and AI:

I think it tells me there’s room for some AI help out there. It’s not a wholesale replacement for research, critical thinking, empathy… but it’s a good barometer for how well you’ve put those elements together, at least from an algorithmic standpoint.

I’m excited to see what will happen when the machine gets better at accounting for context, like niches or types of offers. Many of the times that I beat the machine, it was because I understood how heavy a commitment the page was asking for and knew it’d drive conversions way down.

But, ultimately it opened my eyes a bit to how AI is going to gun for all of our jobs. Until then, we stand to gain a lot by playing nice with it.

Looking ahead to AI-powered conversion optimization

Yosem Sweet is Unbounce’s Director of Business Optimization. He’s been working closely with Unbounce’s data scientists to develop applications of AI to conversion rate optimization.

I asked Yosem to explain how this was possible:

AI-powered conversion optimization leverages a computer’s capability to process large amounts of data to find patterns. These patterns are then used to help the conversion optimization process by: reducing the time needed to generate winning hypotheses, reducing the effort needed to make better pages and (hopefully) finding unexpected solutions to conversion problems.

It’s interesting, no doubt, but how it might look is the cool part.

Yosem says there are a lot of different forms AI-powered conversion optimization will take, “everything from copy suggestions and auto-layout of content to strategic recommendations on driving specific traffic sources for a campaign.”

“The sky’s the limit,” says Yosem, “but before we get to the utopian future, we’d like to start by using AI to help marketers understand where they should focus their optimization efforts. Traffic? Copy? Design? Offer? And which pages have a lot of opportunity for improvement?”

Ultimately Yosem wants to “free marketers up to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of their job.”

Again, giving marketers back precious time is the key here — augmenting their toolkit to help them provide over-the-top amazing marketing experiences and, ideally, giving them superpowers.

And if you too think that, as Joel puts it, AI will be gunning for our jobs, Facebook marketing expert, author and CTAConf speaker Mari Smith begs to differ. She insists that there will always be a place for real-life marketers:

Us humans can sometimes be unpredictable and will always crave real, human-to-human connecting. Businesses that go the extra mile, that provide extraordinary customer service and excellent post-sales follow-up and that surprise and delight their best customers…these are the businesses that will stand out and thrive in the long run.

(Cue collective sigh of relief.)

What this means for digital marketers

Here’s the thing: Most marketers either don’t know what a good conversion rate is or can’t tell if a particular page can achieve its target conversion rate. This data just hasn’t been available, so even the most seasoned marketers rely on anecdotal evidence and gut instinct to determine these benchmarks.

AI technology can help bridge this gap.

I asked a handful of marketers what this type of technology might mean for them, and no matter how tiny (or robust) there team was, the reaction was the same: AI-powered conversion optimization would amplify their results and multiply their time.

Johnathan Dane is founder and CEO of Klientboost, a fast-paced PPC agency based in Irvine, California.

When he’s not speaking at CTAConf (he’s done so the last two years) he works with his clients to get them the best results for their PPC spend.

For Johnathan et al, AI-powered conversion automation would mean zooming out from the nitty gritty details and spending more time doing the things he loves.

We’d be able to strengthen our retention rate even more than it is now (one of our core focuses behind the curtains).

It would allow us to shift our resources towards other things that help grow our business, like using time to build partnerships, launch new marketing campaigns, create more of the content that has gotten us known on other platforms.

CTAConf attendee and marketing specialist Kelsey McFarlane of Orchestra Software shared a similar sentiment. The company she works for builds business software for craft brewers and distilleries.

Competition in her industry is minimal, since many of their competitors are not currently using digital marketing. But her team is small, so anything to amplify their efforts is huge.

We’re a really small marketing team — there are only three of us. So for us to gather the data to create the landing pages and then distribute [resources] to do A/B testing — we would be able to cut down on how much time is spent doing something that computers can already do for us. So it could streamline our team and make them pay attention to the more important aspects of what’s going on.

Joel on the other hand says he would spend more time not doing work.

A part of me wants to say I’d put that time into building out my other business ventures, trying to future-proof myself and make sure I’m constantly offering services that are relevant and robots can’t steal. But, honestly? I’d probably just get my projects done earlier, and then try to get outside. Life’s short, money is fleeting, and fresh air is important.

Start integrating AI insights into your marketing today

No matter how smart, no matter how scrappy your team is, if you don’t start leveraging the power of AI in your marketing efforts, you will be at a competitive disadvantage.

In the near future, AI will amplify your marketing efforts and multiply your conversions, but more importantly, it will free up your time to focus on the most creative and impactful parts of your job. .

Johnathan explains it best: “Too many people think that they need more money to grow their business (which is easy), carving time is the hard part, and that’s what AI would help us with.”

As Unbounce’s AI gets smarter and we learn more about the variables (copy, images, form fields, traffic sources, etc.) that influence conversion, we will be sharing our learnings and insights with our customers and readers.

We recently released the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report — an analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform this year.

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report is filled with industry-specific data, graphs and actionable takeaways.

The report provides marketers across 10 popular industries — including real estate, higher education, legal and more — with data-backed recommendations around copy length, emotion and reading ease. More importantly, it answers the previously unanswerable question, “What is a good conversion rate for my industry?”

Start working AI technology and insights into your landing page optimization process today — download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and find out what’s a good conversion rate for your industry.

Start implementing AI insights into your landing pages today

Get the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and learn what copy converts for your industry
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437 Digital Marketers Went Head-to-Head with a Conversion-Predicting Machine — Who Reigns Supreme?

8 Overlay Examples to Inspire More Clicks, Sales & Signups [FREE LOOKBOOK]

Need some inspiration for your overlay design? No problem.

overlay-inspiration
Image source.

Oh, sorry, you didn’t mean an inspirational quote?

Let me try that again.

Inspire more clicks, sales & signups with your overlays

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8 Overlay Examples to Inspire More Clicks, Sales & Signups [FREE LOOKBOOK]

Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Launching That Overlay

peter-parker
Be the Peter Parker of overlays. Image via Shutterstock.

You’ve heard it before: “With great power comes great responsibility.

And while Uncle Ben wasn’t explicitly referring to overlays when he said these iconic words to Peter Parker, the same could be said about these handy little conversion tools.

Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

Overlays are powerful marketing tools, not only because they are incredibly effective at snagging conversions, but also because they are so quick to launch.

This combination of power and speed means it’s dangerously easy to launch one without much consideration for user experience. Thus, they’ve developed a bit of a reputation for being effective… and disruptive.

But the disruptive nature of overlays is actually inherent to their effectiveness, because it focuses the visitor’s attention on a single offer. They eliminate the paradox of choice and present the visitor with a simple yes or no question.

However, there are ways to ensure the overlays you launch both achieve your goals and provide value to your visitors.

The first step in accomplishing this is to ask yourself the five Ws:

1. Why are you launching an overlay?

Overlays are most commonly used to accomplish one of three marketing goals: revenue generation, lead generation or traffic shaping.

overlay-goal

Do you want to build your blog subscriber list? Divert traffic to your pricing page? Entice visitors to make a purchase? This is what you need to figure out before you even consider building your overlay.

The marketing team at Hotjar recently implemented an overlay in their lead gen strategy for the first time. But just because it was their first attempt didn’t mean there wasn’t a clear goal. Nick Helm, Director of Inbound Marketing at Hotjar explains:

“We wanted to be able to nurture the new leads coming from different channels and bring them back.”

hotjar-overlay
Hotjar’s premier overlay built with Unbounce Convertables.

If you don’t have a good answer to the “Why” question though, just stop. Overlays, when used irresponsibly, can be intrusive and annoying. So if you don’t have a solid, strategic reason for launching one, hold on until you do.

Nick et al had a clear goal for their overlay and a detailed plan for how to achieve it, and it paid off: “We did get the quantitative results — which for us, measure better than industry standards.”

Your reason for running an overlay might be lead gen, rev gen or traffic shaping (or maybe something completely unique), but just make sure you have one — plain and simple.

Need some inspiration?

Our our latest ebook, 12 Proven Ways to Convert With Overlays, we share a dozen types of use cases you can use today.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

2. Where will you place your overlay?

Overlays offer a reliable way to fill gaps in your funnel, but you need to figure out where those gaps may be.

The easiest way to do this is to visit Google Analytics to determine your highest-traffic pages. Then whittle down the list to only include pages that don’t have a clear call to action — these pages are the low-hanging fruit you can start with to see immediate results.

You should have already determined what the goal of your overlay is; the diagram below will help you decide which of the CTA-free pages pair best with the type of overlay you’d like to launch.

overlay-placement

As you can see, different pages are associated with different levels of buyer intent, and so while a lead gen overlay might perform well on your blog, a rev gen overlay probably won’t.

Now, if you’re a keener and don’t have any high-traffic pages without a CTA then I present you with this anthropomorphic gold star:

giphy-2
Tina star gif via Giphy.

But I also challenge you to consider how you might use overlays on your highest-traffic pages to get even better results (because even though you have a CTA, it doesn’t mean people see it).

Adding an overlay with a complementary offer to your main on-page offer can help bolster the success of your page, because overlays leverage the psychological principle of pattern interruption  to focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer. Your sidebar CTA, on the other hand, can start to blend into the page, so people become blind to it.

Here’s an example from last year’s Digital Agency Day (DAD) signup page:

digital-agency-day

Whereas the signup page’s goal was to get people to attend the digital event, this overlay offered exiting visitors the opportunity to simply get the recordings, even if they couldn’t attend.

The results were some of the best we’ve ever seen: 1,991 full-form conversions on 10,005 views.

3. Who should see your overlay?

The key to high-converting overlays is presenting compelling offers that (1) align with the visitor’s buying intent and (2) are relevant to that visitor’s specific needs or interests. This means targeting, and the more granular you can get the better.

The first thing you want to find out is where your visitors are coming from. If you know that, you can better judge what type of overlay should be presented, because different types of traffic relate to different levels of buyer intent (social traffic, for example, is often less likely to make a purchase than paid traffic).

The following chart further illustrates this.

traffic-sources
Different traffic sources pair better with specific types of overlays.

Another thing you want to think about is whether the traffic consists of first-time or returning visitors, and — if they are a returning visitor — whether or not they’ve already opted in.

Chances are, your page traffic is a mixture of different referral sources and visitor types, so it can be tricky to present an offer that’s relevant to everyone. Fortunately, Unbounce Convertables recently launched referral and cookie targeting, so you can present more relevant offers by customizing the overlays visitors see based on where they’re coming from or what pages they’ve visited before.

4. What is your overlay offer?

By now, you should be seeing a trend — that creating an effective overlay means keeping the visitor experience at the forefront of your mind. And the sweet spot is where your marketing goals align with the goals of the user: you want the sale, they want the bargain; you want the email, they want the ebook; and so on.

So when you consider what your actual offer will be, ask yourself if your overlay is valuable and relevant to your visitor. If it’s not both of these things things, your results will suffer and you risk being obnoxious.

Let’s break this down.

Value

Conveying value means offering your visitor something worth converting for. Here are a few examples:

  1. Offer an exclusive discount, like this lead gen overlay from BustedTees, which offers a generous 40% discount on first orders:
busted-tees
  1. Entice visitors with free shipping, like this rev gen overlay from Diamond Candles:
diamond-candles
  1. Present a free resource visitors can’t resist, like this lead gen overlay from Copy Hackers which offers a free four-part conversion optimization course:
copy-hackers

Relevance

Another thing to consider when deciding on your offer is whether or not it’s relevant to your audience.

Here’s a real-life example: At Unbounce, our analytics showed that a roundup of the 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016 was bringing in a lot of organic traffic. Assuming that people who read about marketing conferences are also interested in attending marketing conferences, we served up this overlay (with a ticket discount to sweeten the pot) that directed people to our Call to Action conference microsite:

cta-conf

And, might I point out, the above overlay is also an incredibly valuable offer — $650 savings? Yes please!

5. When should your visitors see your overlay?

We’ve sorted where your overlays should be seen and by whom, but there’s a final piece in the puzzle: When.

You have a few options around when to trigger your overlay, and depending on the type of offer you’re presenting, different triggers may be more effective than others.

Let’s dig in…

On arrival
On-arrival overlays appear when your page first loads. Use this trigger for offers you want users to immediately see (e.g., a coupon code or an event invitation) or for returning visitors who may no longer notice your onsite calls to action.

On scroll
An overlay using an on-scroll trigger will appear once the user has scrolled through a designated percentage of the page. Use it to present relevant offers to users who have implied interest in a topic after spending time on the page (e.g., a free quote) or to catch the attention of returning visitors who may no longer notice your on-site calls to action.

On exit
Overlays that trigger on exit appear when the user moves to abandon the page. Use them for offers that can “save” a potentially lost conversion (e.g., a coupon code or shipping discount) or for offering free resources or collecting sign-ups that enable you to save a user’s details for future communications.

After delay
Sometimes you’ll want your overlay to appear after a designated time delay, typically between five and 20 seconds. Use this type of overlay to present relevant offers to users who have implied interest in a topic after spending time on the page or for returning visitors who may no longer notice your onsite calls to action.

Psst: Unbounce Convertables include all the above mentioned triggers plus on-click trigger, like this one. Use it to present information or forms on demand without cluttering the page (e.g., “click here to sign up” opening an overlay with a form).

Be a conversion hero

That was a lot of information, I know, but as a marketer it’s your responsibility use your powers for good.

And remember: A thoughtful approach to implementing overlays benefits you and your visitor, because your goals are aligned.

Have you had success with overlays? Tell us about it in the comments!

Excerpt from: 

Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Launching That Overlay

Unbounce Convertables, Now with Advanced Targeting: Show the Right Offer to the Right Visitor at the Right Time

advtarget_blogtop

Imagine you run one of those old-timey candy shops.

It’s packed wall to wall with chocolate, gummies, bubble gum, licorice and everything in between.

Unfortunately, you spent all your money opening the shop, and haven’t the funds to hire someone to help the customers while you tend the register. So when the shop gets busy, you notice many of your patrons become overwhelmed by the selection, often walking out of the shop empty handed.

Now imagine the candy shop is your website, and the patrons your visitors.

Each visitor to your website is unique — one may know exactly what they want while another requires a little more assistance. Your website, however, is simply not equipped to convert all your visitors, and you don’t have the time or resources to make changes to your website, hire a consultant to run a bunch of A/B tests or run a new campaign to attract more prospects.

What do you do?

Overlays can help

In November 2016, we launched Unbounce Convertables, a new conversion tool to help you capture more conversions on any page of your website, blog or online store.

The first type of Convertables is website overlays triggered by visitor behavior: entrance, exit, timed and on-scroll.

Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

If we’re using the candy shop analogy, overlays are the shop helpers that present your visitors with exactly what they’re looking for (or what they didn’t know they were looking for!). And the best part is they’re a fast, reliable and affordable way to add conversion opportunities to any web page, meaning you can launch them effortlessly while looking like a conversion hero.

Overlays work because, when implemented properly, they leverage psychological principles to focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer.

However, just like the rest of your marketing campaigns — be it PPC or email — the better targeted the overlay, the better results you’ll get.

Which is why we’re pleased to announce our new advanced targeting and trigger options.

Here’s what’s new:

These new features, combined with Unbounce’s core offerings — our trusted drag and drop builder, high-converting templates and marketing automation integrations — mean that you can build on-brand overlays quickly and…

Present the right offer to the right visitor at the right time

Has this ever happened to you? You’re killing time surfing the interweb when boom! — you’re presented with the most perfect-for-you offer that you wonder if your fairy godmother really does exist.

There are two possible explanations for this phenomenon: she does (lucky duck) or the offer was so perfectly targeted that it only feels like magic.

The latter is at the crux of Unbounce Convertables’ new advanced targeting: target the right person at the right time with the right offer.

Not only does this approach ensure your prospects see only the most relevant, timely and valuable offers, it ensures that you generate the best quality leads, signups and sales.

Let’s dig in.

Location targeting

Thanks to the internet, we can find what we’re looking for regardless of where we live.

For marketers, this is both a blessing and a curse — a blessing because you can cast a much wider net, and a curse because of differences in language, currency, laws, competitive landscape and preferences.

By pairing your overlay with location targeting, you can guarantee only visitors arriving from a specific country will see it. Here’s how it might look in the real world:

  • Offer region-specific ecommerce promos, like free shipping for UK visitors only
  • Abide by local data collection and age requirement laws, like the US’s CAN-SPAM or Canada’s CASL legislation
  • Promote local events to only local visitors
  • Present the same offer in different languages of origin
  • Highlight the most popular product in a country only to visitors from that country
  • And much more

Referrer targeting

Message Match is a principle we consistently preach at Unbounce. It’s about making sure your visitors see the same message from point A to point B of your funnel, which is important because strong message match increases conversions by reassuring visitors they’ve come to the right place.

With referrer targeting, you can show a Convertable to visitors who have arrived from a specified URL, creating that message match and forward momentum through your funnel. Here are just a few of the many ways referrer targeting can be used:

  • Offer organic visitors popular content, like a 101-level ebook, via a lead gen overlay
  • Present visitors navigating from an internal product page an offer to purchase
  • Show visitors who’ve viewed a technology partner page content relevant to them, like, for example, how your tool integrates with the partner tool
  • And, you guessed it, much more

Dynamic Text Replacement

Like referrer targeting, Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) allows marketers to maintain a consistent message from referral source to overlay.

However, unlike referrer targeting where the visitor’s source triggers the presentation of a unique overlay, DTR lets you customize the actual text of your Convertable using URL parameters.

This means that the visitor sees custom copy, which increases the relevancy of your overlay for each individual user. Here’s what that could look like:

  • Create personalized incentives (e.g., “Hey Judy, how ‘bout free shipping?”)
  • Make relevant offers based on previous account activity (e.g., “You really really really like Carly Rae Jepsen — sign up for our newsletter for more on your favorite artists”)

Forget Cookie Monster, marketers love cookies. But we’re not talking about the ooey gooey chocolate chip kind (though I certainly wouldn’t scoff at one), we’re talking about cookie targeting.

Cookie targeting allows Unbounce users to specify which visitors see (or don’t see) a Convertable based on their browsing history. Here are a few examples of what cookie targeting allows you to do:

  • Hide Convertables from visitors who have already opted in
  • Show only one Convertable per visitor and hide all others (this is key if you’re running multiple Convertables, since you want to avoid bombarding your visitors)
  • Ask returning visitors who have already converted to complete a post-conversion action, like following you on Twitter

But wait, there’s more

You didn’t think that was it, did you?

On top of our advanced targeting and DTR, we’re also releasing a new type of trigger.

On-click trigger

Whereas targeting allows you to specify which visitors see your overlay, triggers determine when they’ll see it. Convertables launched with four triggers (on arrival, on exit, on scroll and after delay) and today we’re rolling out a fifth trigger: on click.

Overlays triggered on click mean you can select any element on your web page to trigger an overlay when the user clicks on it. Use it to build your newsletter subscriber list on your blog or to gather interested contacts for product updates.

Still not sure what we mean? Click here.

The secret to highly effective overlays…

The secret to highly effective overlays is really no secret at all — it’s all about presenting the right offer to the right visitor at the right time.

Using Unbounce Convertables, you can mix and match different targeting and triggers to present the most relevant, timely offers for your visitors.

And you can do it all within Unbounce’s trusted drag and drop builder, loaded with fully customizable overlay templates so you can stay on brand and still launch in mere minutes.

Convertables are available now from Unbounce. Try them for free for 30 days!

Already an Unbounce customer? Log into Unbounce and start using Convertables today at no extra cost.

Excerpt from:  

Unbounce Convertables, Now with Advanced Targeting: Show the Right Offer to the Right Visitor at the Right Time

Design and UX Trends to Boost Conversions in 2017 [INFOGRAPHIC]

As more of our interactions — both business and personal — migrate online, intuitive design and user experience have never been more important.

The fast pace at which the digital world is changing means there’s always a new trend on the up and up promising to skyrocket our results.

Last year we saw the rise of mobile-first design, full-width hero images and user-driven storytelling. This year we’re seeing a big push toward hyper-personalization, bots and even (shameless plug) targeted overlays.

Ultimately, though, we marketers are most interested in trends that make the most impact where it truly counts… conversions.

The brilliant folks at The Deep End Design have whittled down the ever-growing list of design and UX trends to bring you only the most promising ones.

Of course, as with all trends, we don’t truly know their worth until we can test them out for ourselves. So don’t take this list as gospel. Rather, use it as a jumping off point when planning initiatives for the upcoming quarter and beyond.

design ux trends 2017 blog

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Design and UX Trends to Boost Conversions in 2017 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Design & UX Trends to Boost Conversions in 2017 [INFOGRAPHIC]

As more of our interactions — both business and personal — migrate online, intuitive design and user experience have never been more important.

The fast pace at which the digital world is changing means there’s always a new trend on the up and up promising to skyrocket our results.

Last year we saw the rise of mobile-first design, full-width hero images and user-driven storytelling. This year we’re seeing a big push toward hyper-personalization, bots and even (shameless plug) targeted overlays.

Ultimately, though, we marketers are most interested in trends that make the most impact where it truly counts… conversions.

The brilliant folks at The Deep End Design have whittled down the ever-growing list of design and UX trends to bring you only the most promising ones.

Of course, as with all trends, we don’t truly know their worth until we can test them out for ourselves. So don’t take this list as gospel. Rather, use it as a jumping off point when planning initiatives for the upcoming quarter and beyond.

design ux trends 2017 blog

Embed this infographic on your site

Link – 

Design & UX Trends to Boost Conversions in 2017 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Don’t Ever Launch an Overlay Without This Checklist [FREE DOWNLOAD]

24-point-overlay-checklist-650

Did you know I’m psychic? It’s true. Your favourite color is orange. You once lived on Chestnut Lane. You’ve googled “email best practices” at some point in your marketing career.

Okay, so one out of three ain’t bad — amirite?

The point is, best practices are important to marketers. Whether it’s email, landing pages or social media, best practices provide a jumping off point for a lot of what we do. And guess what, overlays — whether you’re already using them or thinking about using them — are no exception.

Overlays can sometimes get a bad rap for being intrusive or irrelevant. Often, though, these UX offenders are simply not designed or targeted with best practices in mind.

So, before you launch a new overlay…

Download the 24-Point Overlay Checklist

Never launch another mediocre overlay.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

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Don’t Ever Launch an Overlay Without This Checklist [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Happy High-Converting Howl-idays from Unbounce [VIDEO]

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-10-46-14-am

Working at Unbounce has its perks. But the best perk by far is working with some of the most talented, friendly people dogs.

There’s Darwin, Gonzo, Winnie, Tribble, Stella, Luna, Billy, Kiki, Carter, Izu, Mango, Leo, Ted, Bruno, Molly, Captain, Falcon, Timmy, Hambone and Lola… just to name a few.

Now you might think the life of an Unbounce office dog is all fun and games, but they’re expected to hit their targets just like the rest of us. In fact, they’ve been working tirelessly on a holiday campaign just for you.


So if you’re running campaigns and need to get a hold of us during the holidays, we’re offering email support during our office closure! Simply shoot an email to support@unbounce.com and the lovely peeps in Customer Success will get back to you. Check out our hours below:

December 24
8AM – 6PM PST / 11AM – 9PM EST

December 26 – December 30
8AM – 9PM PST / 11AM – MIDNIGHT EST

December 31
8AM – 8PM PST / 11AM – 11PM EST

January 2
9AM – 9PM PST / NOON – MIDNIGHT EST

January 5
5AM – MIDNIGHT PST / 8AM – 3AM EST

December 25 & January 1
CLOSED

And while we love delighting you all year long, we’re taking a little break from our regular publishing schedule to spend some time with our loved ones. But don’t fret, we’ll be back in action come the New Year.

So happy holidays, from our family to yours! And may you be blessed with conversions galore this holiday season!

Excerpt from: 

Happy High-Converting Howl-idays from Unbounce [VIDEO]