Tag Archives: event

In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast Acting Tactics to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month

hit your goals

Want to make sure you never miss a monthly growth goal? Perhaps you need a boost right now to get the month moving in the right direction? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Big companies like Facebook and HubSpot have lofty growth goals and continue to meet them every month. But, exactly how do they do it? Planning of course. That is, planning ahead consistently to meet their goals and then planning for the occasional situation when they need to scrape together their resources and make ends meet. I call this having an ace in the hole. This is…

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In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast Acting Tactics to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month

Design an Insanely Memorable Conference: From Branding to Signage (And Every Detail in Between)

Attendees from last year’s Call to Action Conference

From busy trade show floors to professionally-lit celebrity panels, it seems every marketing brand wants a South by Southwest-style event all their own these days.

But, with so many conferences for your target market to choose from, it’s risky running a large-scale event as a mid-sized brand. It’s the ultimate faux pas to host a forgettable, generic conference, so how can you stand out from the rest and leave attendees smitten?

At Unbounce, we’ve learned that a good conference is a designed experience: your attendees need to feel the effort that went into the event with every single detail. With Call to Action Conference, we work for months to book unparalleled experts and ensure quality talks. But, as an interactive designer here at Unbounce, I’ve learned that the visual branding of your conference, from the typeface to the venue’s wayfinding is just as important. 

This year I’m responsible for CTAConf’s branding and can share that part of our event’s strategy is to stand out. We want you to remember exactly where you were when you heard remarkable speakers on our stage, built important relationships at our after parties and received valuable insights (not to mention cool swag).

In this post I’ll share a behind-the-scenes look at our 2017 branding, and 5 design tips to ensure every event your brand hosts is unforgettable.

CTAConf 2016

1. When branding your conference, prep a solid pitch

To meet our goals this year, our team decided we wanted to create a new image for our event based on last year’s feedback and key learnings. Ultimately, we want to:

  • Increase brand awareness: It’s essential people remember the conference’s name and associate it with us.
  • Deliver a stunning 360 experience: We want to offer an online and offline cohesive experience for our attendees from touchpoint A to Z. Everything should feel integrated.
  • Use resources wisely: We’ve got a large marketing team, and we need to optimize the use of our internal resources to balance time, effort and impact.

If you’ve run an event before and have decided on developing a new visual look (or you’re running your first in-person event), I find it’s useful to start by reviewing last year’s learnings and/or your upcoming conference goals. This review puts everyone on the same page for understanding the reasoning behind your future design choices.

Once you have your art direction concepts ready to present it’s all about how you sell the story of your vision to your key stakeholders internally. People can’t evaluate a design without knowing its intention, so as a designer—or a marketer working with a designer—ensure you use a kickoff meeting to guide your stakeholders with storytelling and a proper visual presentation.

Here’s an example of the presentation I gave to our internal stakeholders around my proposed brand concepts for this year. In this deck I painted a clear picture for everything from concept development to moodboards to an exploration of the Instagram ads:

Pitch deck
Stakeholders pitch deck.

By sharing the rationale behind each concept and putting together some quick explorations I was able to clearly explain my choices. This helped to generate internal buy in for our refreshed look.

This year’s Call to Action Conference is a designed experience you don’t want to miss (and you don’t have to!). You’ve found the blog readers 15% discount — use the code “Blogsentme” at the checkout from May 8 to 12 to join 1,300 of your marketing peers.

When running your branding kickoff, you’ll want to include all stakeholders who have input or final say in the conference’s look and feel. It’s best to get the majority of feedback at the beginning of your design process instead of during execution.

Also, use real content instead of lorem ipsum in the quick explorations of your design. Presenting banners, posters or landing pages with actual words forces you to explore the branding further and will help you present stronger ideas.

2. Details matter: Build a consistent experience

Perfect execution of the visual design for an event falls on the shoulders of the designer, so you’ll want to define the brand guidelines of your conference early and apply these guidelines across every asset. Using a grid system, and agreed upon typography, colors, photographic and graphic styles will help you maintain visual consistency and you’ll increase the learnability of your brand.

Here’s a look at how we planned our consistent visual treatments this year:

Visual treatments
Example of Illustrations and photograph treatment

As you can see, every single detail counts — from the napkins at the snack bar to the precise measurements of the screen on the stage. As we’ve found, if you don’t pay attention to details, your audience will. To catch inconsistencies that don’t make complete sense, we’ve found it helpful to invite people from other teams to review our design and confirm:

  • Is the message clear?
  • Is every asset pixel perfect, with no spelling errors? (When printing massive banners and expensive materials, you can’t afford mistakes.)
  • Is every photograph, illustration and logo in high resolution?
  • Does every asset feel part of the same universe?

When your running an event, start with a massive list of all possible design needs and go from there. Invite people from many different departments who think differently to review and refine.

You’ll often find there are (literally) hundreds of tasks you or your designer needs to work on, so instead of cutting things from the to-do list as you get closer to the event, sacrificing your vision, plan ahead with these design recommendations:

Develop a clear brand guideline document

This offers internal and external direction should other designers or teams need to jump into the project and ensures a cohesive look no matter who helps with design work.

Brand guidelines for CTAConf
Example of logo, typography and color palette guidelines

Create a Creative Cloud asset library

This provides an easy-to-follow, organized structure for files and folders. The libraries are available in every design app and you can even use them when you’re offline.

Asset Library

Use artboards and smart objects in your Photoshop files

Using social channel banners as an example here, having individual artboards for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all in the same document speeds up your workflow. These artboards facilitate fast content replication, ensure cohesive design across platforms and speed up the export process. As a marketer or designer, you only have to modify your smart objects to quickly create completely new banners where needed.

Smart objects

3. Consider online and offline for every attendee touch point

Event organizers and designers must work together to craft an educational and emotional narrative before, during and after the event. This begins online with the conference’s website, landing pages, app and social channels but extends to offline curation: posters, venue wayfinding and swag items.

To plan exciting journeys through physical spaces at your conference venue, you need to jump into your attendees shoes — but also those of the speakers, media, sponsors and staff. This will help you think of every single touchpoint you need to design for, both online and offline. What are the main tasks attendees want to achieve? And how does each step enable someone to get to the next one?

Here are two examples of user journeys we’ve designed this year:

Online:

online journey

Offline:

offline journey

Besides a better understanding of your attendees needs, this 360 approach also indicates where every design element needs to be located and how individual elements can work together in a larger ecosystem.

For this year’s online experience pre-event, we’re promoting CTAConf in our regular owned channels including our website, monthly newsletter, social accounts and blog, but we’re also trying exciting new approaches you can experiment with for your events too. Here are a few we think are especially cool:

  • Lead gen, traffic shaping and rev gen Convertables – we’ve designed overlays to appear on various pages of our site to increase tickets sales and redirect traffic to our conference site.
Convertables
Want to try overlays on your own site? Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Learn more here.
  • Personalized banners for all social media channels. These branded banners appear in Unbouncer Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to help promote the event and link to the conference’s homepage.
social banners
  • CTAConf viewfinders and personalized letters. Recently we sent VIP media invitations out with these custom retro viewfinders. Each wheel contains photos that tell a story from last year so potential attendees can get a sense of what’s just around the corner.
CTAConf Viewfinder

4. Make info prominent to strengthen conference awareness

It’s critical to remind attendees what event they’re attending — verbally and visually.

In our case, it’s tricky because our company’s name is not included in our conference’s name — so many people have called the event the “Unbounce conference.” We want to minimize that awareness gap, which is why this year’s visuals reinforce our conference name (yes, those big letters you might have seen on our emails, banners, landing pages or in our our social channels).

Email banner
Here’s an email banner example.

As a conference planner, look for ways to use all design real estate to communicate key info around the event. When is it? Where is it? Who’s organizing? As obvious as it might sound, always include your company and conference’s logos because this is the only way people will begin associating them together. You want these two things to be synonymous.

Finally, look for ways to ensure all the conference details are clear. Make the session titles, speakers, times and locations very prominent, accessible from multiple locations and keep them up-to-date.

5. Integrate design in your event strategy from the start

Designers are a key part of conference creation, so it’s best to involve us early, often, and continuously instead of turning to us as asset generators on a whim. Involve designers from day one to discuss the message and feeling you need to convey with your event. Additionally, ensure designers feel free to explore new ideas for accomplishing goals.

A key part of a successful collaboration is feedback and how it’s delivered so create a process that works for both parties and stick to it as this will strengthen your communication and boost the quality of your work.

As an example, in early designs of our conference, name badges were focused on communicating the attendee’s category (speaker, sponsor or attendee). This was a communicated requirement, but we realized it’s way more important to facilitate personalized conversation at an event, so for the next round of name badges we made everyone’s name prominent and legible. As simple as this example sounds, it illustrates the importance of focusing on the function of assets rather than just the visual.

Overall, avoid telling a designer exactly how to design, but instead, communicate the key goals of an asset.

Tip: Consider gathering feedback from your attendees, too. Gathering instant feedback is a great opportunity to continuously improve your conference design and branding. This year we’re going to run concise face-to-face surveys to dig deeper and understand which design aspects worked or what could be improved. We’ll ask questions like: What was memorable about this year’s design? Was anything unclear or confusing? What was your favorite piece of swag?

Don’t miss this incredible experience

Overall, designing a conference for 1,300 attendees is not an easy task, but when you see every detail connecting to create a delightful experience, it’s totally worth it. Hopefully my tips have inspired you to design your very own large-scale event and pay careful attention to opportunities you have as a host.

As I mentioned, this year’s CTAConf is truly a 360 experience, and you you’ll want to see it with your own eyes. You can join us and your marketing peers on June 25th – June 27th in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. It’s going to be full of exciting takeaways and well-planned surprises. Hope to see you there.

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Design an Insanely Memorable Conference: From Branding to Signage (And Every Detail in Between)

How Unbounce Used Overlays to Get 3,000+ Leads [Case Studies]

You’re a marketer, and a dang good one at that. You follow best practices. You always send campaign traffic to a dedicated landing page. You make data-driven decisions. You do post-mortems on all your campaigns and record your learnings.

But still, your visitors are dropping off your website without converting, leaving you with no way to nurture or convert them at a later date. And it sucks.

abandoning-visitors
No, wait, don’t go! Image via Giphy.

Things are no different for us at Unbounce. Despite our best efforts, we still miss out on a ton of conversions. Whether folks aren’t ready to hand over their information, or they simply aren’t finding what they’re looking for, they just. Don’t. Convert.

We knew there had to be a solution…

Overlays allow you to show relevant offers to specific users at the perfect time, making them less likely to leave your website without converting.

It’s a win-win really. You want the sale, they want the bargain. You want the email, they want the ebook.

But just like with any marketing tool (landing pages, emails, etc.), overlays need to be relevant, timely and valuable in order for them to be effective.

As you may have heard, Unbounce recently launched Convertables, a suite of easy-to-install overlays which can be triggered on-arrival, after delay, on scroll and on-exit. But before releasing Convertables to the masses, we were diligently testing overlays on our own web pages.

Two experiments in particular stand out, in which we used overlays to collect leads for online partnership events. In total, we were able to collect 3,200 leads and signups. We also learned a thing or two about how to maximize conversions, while at the same time respecting the goals of the user. We’d like to share our results and learnings with you.

Digital Agency Day: Sign up to get the recordings

On January 28, 2016, Unbounce and HubSpot co-hosted a brand new online event just for digital agencies. We called it Digital Agency Day (and sometimes, internally, “DAD,” because we’re goofs).

Digital Agency Day consisted of a combination of in-person and virtual events, bringing together expert speakers from the world’s top agencies and agency partners to share actionable advice on analytics, reporting, growing retainers, new business strategy, conversion rate optimization and much more.

In total there were 18 online events, with 6,500+ participants across 101 countries. Yep, you read that right — 6,500 participants. Many of which were captured via a hyper-relevant lead gen overlay.

The problem

The main goal of the Digital Agency Day microsite was to get people to register for the live event. But anyone who’s hosted a webinar or similar online event knows that getting attendees can be tricky. People just don’t want to commit, for fear they’ll be too busy to attend or have scheduling conflicts. Digital Agency Day was more than a single webinar, but the same perceived friction existed.

cro-day-microsite-cropped
The Digital Agency Day microsite. (Click for full image.)

We had to find a way to capture those visitors who just couldn’t commit to the live event before they left the site.

The solution

An overlay triggered on exit was the perfect solution. But rather than asking for visitors to sign up to attend the event, as was the goal of the microsite, the overlay prompted visitors to enter their contact info in exchange for the recordings.

dad-overlay

How it performed

We weren’t all that surprised that the overlay worked, due to its high level of relevance. That said, even we were a little surprised by the whopping 19.03% conversion rate.

dad-rooster-results

In the end, we chalked up its success to relevance, value and timeliness — the trifecta of effective overlays.

  • Relevance: The offer was similar yet complementary to the on-page offer.
  • Value: Rather than blocking a day off in their calendars, visitors could simply sign up for the recordings to watch at their leisure and cherry pick the ones that were relevant to them.
  • Timely: The offer was presented on exit, as visitors were about to abandon. Had it been triggered on arrival or after a delay, visitors who wanted to participate in the live event may have been confused.
Pro tip: While best practices indicate using no more than two form fields on your overlay to maximize conversions, you may opt for more should you require additional information to qualify or disqualify leads. At Unbounce, for example, we often qualify leads based on a four-field form. The trade-off here may be fewer conversions but with the benefit of qualifying or disqualifying leads right off the bat. Of course, this is something you’d want to test for yourself.

Want more overlay best practices?

Download Unbounce’s free guide: Best Practices for Creating High-Converting Overlays
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CRO Day: Click through to get the recordings

After the success of Digital Agency Day, we decided to adapt the format for CRO Day — a full day of webinars for conversion-driven digital marketers.

Featuring five webinars, two panel discussions, one AMA, one Slack workshop and one… Five-Second Landing Page Showdown, CRO Day was a smashing success — thanks to amazing participants, dedicated team members and one kick-ass overlay.

The problem

Like Digital Agency Day, the goal of the CRO Day microsite was to get people to register up for the live event. But not everyone can commit to a full day of events.

We included some fine print on the page indicating, “Can’t make it? No worries! Sign up anyway and we’ll send you the recordings.” but it would be easy to miss.

digitalagencyday-microsite-cropped
The CRO Day microsite. (Click for full image.)

Again, we needed a way to isolate the message that if you couldn’t make the online event, you could still get the recordings.

The solution

Overlays are so effective because they focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer… like getting free recordings.

cro-day-overlay

Unlike the overlay for Digital Agency Day, we experimented with a traffic shaping overlay, which directed visitors to a secondary signup page focused just on getting the recordings after the event.

Typically, traffic shaping overlays are used to move visitors from low-converting pages (like your blog homepage or ecommerce category pages) to high-converting pages, but in this case we used a traffic shaping overlay to entice abandoning visitors with an alternate offer.

The flow looked like this:

cro-day-traffic-shaping

How it performed

Pretty. Darn. Good.

Using the traffic shaping overlay, we directed 27.31% of abandoning visitors to a secondary sign up page.

cro-day-overlay-results

Once on the page, 67% of visitors converted, filling out a six-field form!

cro-day-overlay-lp-results

Again, this overlay was relevant (a similar yet complementary offer), valuable (forget blocking off your calendar — watch the recordings you want, when you want) and timely (visitors were shown the overlay on-exit after they had seen the initial offer).

However, there’s another key principle at play here: Specificity.

specificity-cro-day
When will I get the recordings? The very next day. Can’t get much more specific than that!

By specifying that the recordings would be emailed to visitors the day after the event, we were able to boost our credibility, presumably resulting in more signups.

Tips, tricks and takeaways

Using the Unbounce overlay guiding principles, you can build overlays that convert like crazy… but not at the expense of visitor experience.

When planning your own overlay campaigns, keep in mind the following:

  • Make it relevant. If your visitor is reading a blog post about waterproof watch reviews, your overlay better not be about bikes. Rather, it should be complementary, like an overlay that directs the visitor to a features page about one of the watch models.
  • But don’t present the same offer. Presenting the exact same offer on the overlay as on page is annoying and needy. Don’t be that dude.
  • Make it valuable. Asking visitors for their personal info is a big deal. Make sure what you’re offering in exchange is of equal or greater value.

Make it timely. Choosing when to trigger your overlay depends upon the goal. (Psst: With Unbounce, you can trigger your overlays on-entrance, after delay, on-scroll and on-exit.)

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How Unbounce Used Overlays to Get 3,000+ Leads [Case Studies]

What to expect at B2B Marketing Forum 2016: An interview with Ann Handley

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In two weeks, Chris Goward will be teaching a workshop and speaking at B2B Marketing Forum 2016 in Boston. Put on by the good folks at MarketingProfs, the Forum is one of the best annual events for business-to-business marketers.

I sat down with MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer, Ann Handley, to talk about what attendees can expect at this year’s conference and what B2B marketers can expect going into 2017. Here’s what she had to say.

Attending Chris Goward’s workshop or session at #MPB2B Forum 2016?

Get prepared with a free chapter from his best-selling book, You Should Test That! Ann Handley says, “You can use this book to ensure your website isn’t a slacker. On the other, you can also use it on a broader level, to guide decisions based less on gut, and more on real insight.”



By entering your email, you’ll receive bi-weekly WiderFunnel Blog updates and other resources to help you become an optimization champion.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, MarketingProfs, and the MPB2B Forum?

Ann: I’m an actress, supermodel, fashion icon, and magician.

Kidding. I’m a marketer, author, speaker, and the world’s first Chief Content Officer.

MarketingProfs is a training and education company with more than 600,000 marketer-members. We’ve been around since 2002, and we’re a fun crowd.

The B2B Marketing Forum is the highlight of the B2B marketer’s year.

It’s their Chrisma-kwazaa-kah-ly! It’s the place where B2B marketers can go to be understood – because no B2B marketer wants to see another marketing case study about Zappos. And it’s the place to build a squad of like-minded marketers that you can rely on all year long.

Q: This is the 10th B2B Marketing Forum! What can attendees to this year’s event expect compared to previous years?

Ann: Here’s what we try to do every year:

  • Create a sense of community–a kind of foxhole mentality, that we’re all in this together.
  • Create moments worth sharing.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Get out of the hotel and find the gems in the city.
  • Add shenanigans.
  • Create friction-free online and on-site processes.
  • Understand that ridiculously good content is table stakes. Great education, top-notch sessions, and access to speakers, sponsors, partners and networking are givens.

The 10th anniversary year is affectionately nicknamed the B2B Marketing Forum the “Marketing Muffin Top.”

Much like an actual muffin top in an actual muffin tin, it overflows in appealing ways with a ton of education and networking. But also lots of heart, soul, warmth, humor, fun, swag, surprises, and shenanigans.

Q: Why should a B2B marketer attend this particular event (versus the myriad other marketing conferences)?

Ann: Because you won’t see the same-old case studies from other big B2C brands that I see at every other event. Because you’ll find your people. Because it’ll feel like coming home.

But here’s the biggest reason: Because we have a track dedicated to “Teach Me How” that’s all about real-world tactics and things you need to know to advance in your career.

This is a conference for marketers who want to embrace the opportunity of digital marketing, and who want to stretch and grow.

This is an event for the aspirational: The aspirational CMO, CEO, or business owner who wants to tee themselves up for success.

Q: When you were planning the B2B Forum agenda, what were your goals for takeaways from the event?

Ann: I want the audience to leave Boston with three things:

  1. Real tools and tactics they can put into use immediately.
  2. A squad of like-minded marketers they can count on as friends and colleagues.
  3. Inspirationa to build something that lasts – whether that’s a marketing program, or a career.

Q: What do you think the biggest trends in B2B marketing will be going into 2017?

Ann: I could talk about the expansion and evolution of social media here (“Facebook at Work” is a good example of that, so is the expansion of Snapchat aka Snap).

But I think the biggest, broader trend is that marketers are becoming a little more patient.

They are recognizing the value of “slow marketing” in our fast-paced, always-on, agile, want-it-yesterday, mile-a-minute world. They see critical need to slow down in some areas. Why? Because doing so allows us to achieve real results—faster.

What do you believe are the most important marketing strategies that today’s B2B marketer should invest in?

Ann: Marketers need to invest in themselves: They need to hone customer empathy.

They need to uncover the why of their marketing programs.

They need to align the customer experience and journey.

And they need to get the necessary tools and training to thrive in 2017 and beyond.

Q: What do you believe the role of conversion optimization should be in content marketing and marketing as a whole?

Ann: If you are asking me about the value of conversion optimization in content, I think it’s hugely important. That’s why I’m a huge fan of customer empathy, buff writing, killer headlines, audience-centric tone of voice, and the rest – all of which I wrote about in Everybody Writes.

The point of better, more customer-centric content is ultimately to get them involved in your point of view and story… so that those individuals convert into fans and customers.

Q: What is one piece of wisdom or advice you would share with today’s B2B marketer?

I think Tina Fey said it best: “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”

Tina wasn’t talking about B2B marketing. But she could have been, when you think about it.

The post What to expect at B2B Marketing Forum 2016: An interview with Ann Handley appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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What to expect at B2B Marketing Forum 2016: An interview with Ann Handley

Web Development Reading List #146: Peermaps, Passive Event Listener Note, And A Shift Of Focus

So, what do we have this week? Well, it’s quite a lot actually. For example, there’s now a deal that might make Opera’s browser a Chinese business, leaving all privacy and security efforts that have recently been made in the browser uncertain.

“HTTPoxy,

If you want to dive into learning ECMAScript 6, Wes Bos has published a huge series of ES6 screencasts this week that are absolutely worth the money. Besides, there are a few other recommendations for you to read this week. Let’s get started.

The post Web Development Reading List #146: Peermaps, Passive Event Listener Note, And A Shift Of Focus appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Web Development Reading List #146: Peermaps, Passive Event Listener Note, And A Shift Of Focus

Why Performance Matters, Part 3: Tolerance Management


When technical performance optimizations reach certain limits, psychology and perception management might help us to push the limits further. Waiting can consist of active and passive phases; for the user to perceive a wait as a shorter one, we increase the active phase and reduce the passive phase of the wait. But what do we do when the event is a purely passive wait, with no active phase at all? Can we push the limits even further?

Why Performance Matters, Part 3: Tolerance Management

Waits without an active phase happen quite often in the offline world: waiting in a checkout line to the till, waiting for a bus, queuing in an amusement park, and so on. It is widely accepted that the longer the user has to wait, the more negative the reaction to the wait. User reaction to a wait online is no different from that in the offline world. Studies based on the analysis of more than a thousand cases identify 14 distinct types of waiting situations on the web. Being dependent on our users’ loyalty, we cannot leave them facing a passive wait.

The post Why Performance Matters, Part 3: Tolerance Management appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Why Performance Matters, Part 3: Tolerance Management

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Web Development Reading List #111: Preconnect, Dynamic Responsive Images, DOM Event Listeners


What’s going on in the industry? What new techniques have emerged recently? What insights, tools, tips and tricks is the web design community talking about? Anselm Hannemann is collecting everything that popped up over the last week in his web development reading list so that you don’t miss out on anything. The result is a carefully curated list of articles and resources that are worth taking a closer look at. — Ed.

Ava

Each week when reviewing links I’m grateful that so many people write such great articles. Useful technical articles that help you resolve front-end issues, inspirational articles that motivate you to enjoy work again, and sort of “social” articles that reveal that there are still start-ups out there that do their best to be meaningful, and not just seeking an exit strategy to sell out. I’d love more people in the world think like that, embrace their employees’ work time, try to force workaholics to stop working, and build health monitors in the team.

The post Web Development Reading List #111: Preconnect, Dynamic Responsive Images, DOM Event Listeners appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Web Development Reading List #111: Preconnect, Dynamic Responsive Images, DOM Event Listeners

Using Video in Your Event Marketing: Before, During and After

Anyone who’s attended a lot of conferences knows that energy drives success in the event world. A feeling of excitement and inspiration prompts people to attend in the first place and then come back each year. It’s also the reason people share their experiences afterwards.

A great way to foster this energy amongst conference-goers (and potential conference-goers) is to incorporate video into your conference promotion strategy. Just check out this video from the Email Design Conference — everything from its pace to its music conveys energy and excitement:

Equally important is a feeling of intimacy.

Regardless of whether you have 10 people or 10,000 people attending your conference, every attendee should feel connected with each other, with your brand and with speakers on a more personal level.

Ready to create more feelings of intimacy, energy and enthusiasm among your attendees and get people coming back for more year after year? Let’s look at ways you can successfully use video to promote your conferences – before, during and after the event.

Before the event

Using video before your event is all about generating enthusiasm for people who have already purchased tickets as well as persuading those who are on the fence about attending.

By offering a conference sneak peak, you give people a feel for what their experience will be like.

Take a minute to watch this video produced by Moz for last week’s MozCon. Not only will you get goosebumps from watching the video, but you’ll probably also feel a bit of regret if you missed out on it:

Keep these best practices in mind when using video before your event kicks off:

  • Include plenty of B-roll footage. B-roll refers to footage that’s distinct from the primary content of the conference. It’s the footage of people chatting, sharing a beer, having lunch. It might be paired with a voiceover about how the event brings people together for learning, as well as fun. It’s the B-roll that really gives people a feel for the tone of the event.
  • Include testimonials from many different voices and personas. You want your potential attendees to be able to imagine themselves participating.
  • Don’t try to do too much with a single video. If you’re trying to generate enthusiasm, keep the video short and sweet and focused on that single goal.

What should that single goal be? Here are some examples of how video can play a role before your event begins.

Save the date

Create a fun and compelling video to remind people to save the date for your upcoming event. More compelling than just text, this video can inspire people to sign up for more info, and eventually, purchase a ticket.

Check out this “save the date” video we made for WistiaFest:

Conference landing page

Many events now have their own landing pages or microsites — dedicated pages that focus in on the event alone, so as to minimize distractions and encourage more sign ups. Check out this page for AWeber’s ASCEND Summit:

ascend-landing-page
This page for AWeber’s ASCEND Summit includes a video sneak preview of the conference to entice visitors to buy tickets.

With video’s potential to increase landing page conversions by up to 80%, marketers should be paying attention. Coupling your conference landing page with an enticing video like the one on AWeber’s page could be just what you need to score more registrants.

Start testing videos on your conference landing pages today.

Woo speakers

It can be difficult to convince thought leaders to speak at your event, but video allows you to woo them in a unique way. When you reach out to them initially via email, you can show them exactly what the event is like, have past speakers give testimonials and provide a personal connection that written text just doesn’t offer.

You can also continue to woo them after they’ve accepted. Here’s an example of a video Wista has used when people have signed on to join us:

During the event

One of the best ways to use video during an event is to get people talking about the conference’s content, both in person and online.

For instance, take a look at this four-minute video of the keynote with Danny Sullivan and Amit Singhal from SMX West last year:

Releasing a video like this during a conference — especially online — will get people who aren’t even attending chiming in and creating more momentum and enthusiasm.

Additionally, by recording all of your sessions, you can reuse that content and possibly even sell it if you’re looking for more ways to drive event revenue.

To make your in-conference videos as effective as possible, remember this one critical best practice: prepare ahead and test early and often.

This means getting stakeholder buy-in about whatever videos you plan to show. This also means testing your equipment and connections before the event begins and then again during breaks. Nothing feels as awkward (for the speaker and the attendees) than seeing someone on stage falter when something fails to play or display properly.

Speaker intros

Giving your speakers a proper introduction creates hype and sets the mood for a really great presentation. Consider this video we made about Moz’s Rand Fishkin for WistiaFest 2014. It was played in the main conference hall, right before he walked up to deliver his talk:

You can tell before Rand even comes on stage that he’s a fun, playful guy who likes educating others. You can tell he loves his mission, which helps set the stage (and the room) with the perfect energy for his talk.

If you choose to go this route, there are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • It’s ok to poke fun a bit, but tread lightly. Don’t risk offending any speakers or attendees.
  • Don’t use too many inside jokes. These kinds of intro videos work best when everyone feels included in the fun.
  • Last, look for photos or video footage online for inspiration. Most speakers have a lot of content online, often dating back year and years. You can find some great stuff (read: hilarious former hairstyles) by digging through publicly available content.

Examples during talks

Most speakers want to use video during their talk, but due to “technical difficulties” are often afraid to take the risk. Truth is, though, audiences love videos, and they allow the speaker to show, rather than just tell.

People love being shown how something works; 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. So work with your technical team to make sure you can confidently offer speakers the ability to show videos during their talks.

Real-time video during parties

As much as we love conferences for their content and networking opportunities, we also all love attending the parties.

Offering video in real-time is a fun way for people to record memories and highlights. The content can then be turned around and shared on social media to generate even more buzz for your event.

Here’s an example from the Boston Content group’s bash last fall, which was edited in real-time and shared with people during the party. Much of the content was recorded in an ad hoc video booth set up in a corner of the party, earlier in the evening:

After the event

When an event ends, people usually (hopefully!) leave feeling inspired to take action.

But over time, that inspiration loses its luster, and people tend to fall back into the mundane.

With video, though, you can extend the memories and consistently remind people why they attended, what they learned and more importantly, what they intended to bring back to their daily lives. It’s almost like renewing vows, in that you’re helping people hold themselves accountable to be the best possible version of themselves.

Conferences that leverage video well after the fact tend to follow two best practices:

  1. Make sure some video content is freely available. Even if you want to monetize recorded talks, don’t put everything behind a paywall. Share at least some of your video content for free, so that people get enough of a taste that they want to engage further.
  2. Create different kinds of videos for different contexts. Make short, teaser content to share on social media. Share longer, uncut recordings of the talks on your website. Edit together testimonials and feedback for a high-energy video to promote the event among new audience members.

Here are some specific ways you can leverage video post-conference.

Recaps and highlight videos

For those people who didn’t attend, offering a highlight video is one of the best way to drive future sales via FOMO (fear of missing out). This highlight video from MozCon 2014 reinvigorates the feelings attendees experienced in person.

mozcon-highligh-video
A still from the MozCon 2014 highlight video. Click here to watch the video.

If you didn’t attend, this video might just be enough to get you there the following year.

As a bonus, it allows Moz to generate additional revenue by teasing people with this highlight video before asking if they want to pay for the video recording bundle.

mozcon-recording-video

Speaker recordings

Regardless of if people attended a specific session or not, they’re going to want the recordings.

Whether to re-watch themselves, share with their teams or show colleagues, make sure you record as many of the speaker sessions as you can. You’ll be glad you did.

unbounce-ctaconf-2014-videos
Unbounce offers the full recordings on their 2014 Call to Action conference website.

Sneak peak offering for next year

The best way to drive future ticket sales is to give people a sneak peak of your next event/conference.

You can show sneak peaks of the city, venue, speakers, sponsors, activities… anything that’s compelling about the experience you’re offering future attendees.

Lights, camera, call to action

By now, you should have tons of inspiration for using video for your next event.

As with anything you do, make sure to customize all of these tips and recommendations to best suit the needs of your company.

Start with your goals — whether it’s the number of attendees, revenue or attendee satisfaction rate.

Then think about all of the ways that video can potentially help attain those goals. You just might find that video can play a key role in the success of your conference campaign strategy.

Read the article: 

Using Video in Your Event Marketing: Before, During and After

Around the CRO World in a Day: The Epic Story of Unbounce’s Biggest Campaign Yet

international croday

On March 4, 2014, Unbounce Event Marketing Manager Stefanie Grieser started an email thread with Unbounce’s co-founder Oli Gardner and VP of Marketing Georgiana Laudi. She wrote:

Another idea I’ve been toying with was declaring an International Conversion Day. Similar to Mashable’s International Social Media Day.

We would round up a bunch of experts, partners and companies and make a huge digital scene. We’d have a day full of webinars, Google Hangouts, AMAs and Twitter chats. And lastly, we’d encourage in-person world-wide conversion meetups.

A little more than a year later, Unbounce hosted the first ever International Conversion Rate Optimization Day (CRO Day).

The event featured almost 60 conversion rate optimization experts in 30 different webinars that revealed the art and science behind effective copywriting, A/B testing, landing page design, email marketing and other aspects of the online marketing universe.

The webinars were attended by more than 4,000 people and included industry experts like Andy Crestodina, Joanna Wiebe, Talia Wolf, Bryan Eisenberg and Larry Kim. And by the end of the day, almost 6,000 tweets went out with the hashtag #CROday, making this a day of learning and conversation that exceeded every single one of the KPIs that we had set out to achieve.

As you might expect, putting together something like this was not easy. Along the way there were many hiccups, roadblocks and challenges.

But in the end, there were smiles, cheers, congratulations, songs, high fives – and many lessons learned. We gleaned a lot of insights along the way, and are sharing them here in hopes that it will inspire you in your own campaign planning and execution.

Why CRO Day?

Stef’s initial email appealed to Oli’s longstanding desire to beat the record for world’s largest webinar, set by Hubspot in 2011. But as more people joined in, they realized they could do something even more epic.

Since webinars had proven to be a key acquisition tool for Unbounce in the past, the idea of holding a day’s worth of webinars was an easy sell to stakeholders.

More than just a lead generation campaign on a grand scale, it was important to everyone at Unbounce that it celebrate a specific topic that marketers of all stripes could get behind. If it could do that, then brand awareness and lead generation would follow.

The topic we chose was conversion rate optimization; it was about time that CRO had a day to call its own.

Getting CRO Day started

With Campaign Strategist Courtenay Ledding managing the internal team that would make CRO Day a reality, Customer Success Manager Tia Kelly became Unbounce’s point of contact for partners.

In the end, Tia exchanged an astounding 1,193 emails with representatives from WordStream, Hanapin Marketing, Copy Hackers and more to make sure everyone knew what they should be doing, when it should be done and how to go about it. Says Tia:

I just reached out to a ton of potential partners to see who would be interested in presenting, but the response was so overwhelming that I ended up with way more people than I thought I would.

If every partner had their own time slot, it may have ended up being CRO Week. In order to make it more manageable, Tia went through the unenviable task of matching up webinar presenters speaking on the same subject.

Meanwhile, Stefanie Grieser was helping to coordinate a meetup in Vancouver on the day of the event. Although CRO Day was a virtual event, there were also 12 offline meetups that day. Stef explains:

CRO Day was a way for us to celebrate something international — something as far reaching as conversion rate optimization. And there’s a real value to face-to-face meetups, just as much as the online webinars. Whether it’s just a few people getting together for a drink, or a 60-person conversion event, there is great value in meeting people in person.

Building the foundation and dealing with snafus

Even with strained resources and a tight schedule, Courtenay wrangled the internal team and got the website finished on schedule.

But then things got tricky.

The original name for the event had been Conversion Marketing Day. “Conversion marketing” was a term that Unbounce had been using to describe results-oriented marketing that revolves around optimizing for conversions. But when Oli saw the first iteration of the site, things came to a halt. The term “conversion marketing” was not sitting right with him.

At this point Corey Dilley, Unbounce’s Director of Campaign Strategy, stepped in to help mediate between Oli and the rest of the team. “There was a lot of swearing about Oli,” Corey told me as he sat back in his chair and laughed.

I asked Oli where the term “conversion marketing” came from in the first place. “My disdain for the name leads me to believe it’s my fault,” he said with a wink and a smile.

Oli recalled that this started a more fruitful discussion with Stefanie and Tia about rebranding the event, which eventually led to the name International Conversion Rate Optimization Day (CRODay for short).

Luckily, Courtenay had budgeted time to deal with potential snafus. The team was able to pivot, start again from the wireframe stage and come up with a design and copy that worked for everyone involved – and, more importantly, served the goals of the campaign. Courtenay gave credit where credit was due:

Everyone definitely pulled together and worked really hard on it. Interactive Designer Alejandra Porta was a key part of the success, and the entire team was just outstanding.

Despite the setback, the team was able to launch the website on time. Partners began signing up to take part, and attendees started signing up to attend webinars. Crisis averted.

Building a CRO community

As D-Day drew closer, promotion began in earnest. Unbounce’s Community Manager, Hayley Mullen, began promoting the event on our social channels about two months out, but it was the community who really took over and started pushing the event with about a month to go.

The first mention of the hashtag #CROday went out on March 7 in a conversation between Talia Wolf and Joanna Wiebe.

croday-hashtag

As the days went by, more and more people from the marketing community started tweeting about CRO Day. From speakers to attendees, #CROday began to snowball. As bigger names like Larry Kim, Joanna Wiebe, and Alex Harris started signing up, others gained the confidence to come on board. And then they began to come in droves, looking to get in on the action. With a week to go, the final schedule was set, and the last push for promotion began. A special edition of #bufferchat, the popular Twitter marketing chat, was held featuring Oli, who discussed conversion rate optimization.

Inbound.org began promoting an AMA that they would host on their site on April 9 that featured 20 of the CRO Day experts and garnered 58,853 page views on the AMA thread.

The day before CRO Day, there were hundreds of tweets promoting the event and the excitement was palpable.

By April 9, there were 13,531 total registrations for the 30 webinars.

The challenges had been met, the team had risen to the occasion, and CRO Day was ready to kick off!

CRO Day at last!

CRO Day kicked off with a bang at 6am EDT with two webinar for attendees to choose from. For most of the day, there were two webinars per hour, in order to make enough room for all of them.

Webinar topics ranged from design to copy, and from lead generation to A//B testing. There was, literally, something for everyone in marketing happening that day.

Anxious to ensure that everything was running smoothly, Community Manager Hayley Mullen was up at the crack of dawn, making sure that everything was ready to go. Said Hayley:

I prepared nothing else for that day. I did nothing else that day. CRO Day was my whole world from 6am to 9pm.

She started monitoring social media activityjumping in on conversations, helping people with questions, keeping the conversation going and making sure that Unbounce was a part of as many conversations as possible.

Meanwhile, while on vacation in Mexico, Tia began checking Twitter on her phone at 8am local time.

I was so worried that it would be a dead hashtag, but it was crazy! I couldn’t even scroll down to the end. I started getting emails from all kinds of people that #CROday was trending, which was such a relief. I hadn’t relaxed at all up until then.

Tweets rolled out fast and furious, with people tweeting what they learned during webinars, or promoting upcoming sessions.

In total, 549 people were tweeting about CRO Day, with 2,508 total tweets sent with that hashtag, which resulted in 30.5 million impressions worldwide.

As the cherry on a rather deliciously satisfying cake, Stefanie Grieser had organized a special meetup at Unbounce’s Vancouver office. Stef says:

We knew we wanted to do something different, and someone came up with the idea of a CRO trivia night.

Teams of people, who didn’t necessarily know each other, were matched to compete for the CRO knowledge crown in a trivia contest much like what you’d find at your local pub, including the beer.

Other meetups took place in places as close to Unbounce HQ as Seattle, and as far away as China.

With the day behind the Unbounce team, all that was left was to look at the results — examine successes, look deeper into the challenges faced along the way, and assess what could be done differently next time.

Wins, challenges and takeaways

CRO Day had two marketing goals:

  1. Creating leads through a channel (webinars) that had been proven successful for Unbounce, and
  2. Branding Unbounce as a leader in CRO.

Here are a few of the wins from the first International CRO Day:

  • #CROday was trending on Twitter worldwide all day
  • 2508 tweets about #CROday on the day of the event
  • 5963 tweets about #CROday in the month leading up to it
  • 30.5 million Twitter impressions worldwide (we had people tweeting in Australia, Europe and Asia along with North America)
  • 549 people tweeting about #CROday (including hosts and us)
  • Tons of love for the idea — great for brand awareness and placing us at the center of the CRO conversation

Overall, the biggest win was the number of people who were involved, both internally and externally, and the enthusiasm they had for the event. Even though challenges in planning and execution cropped up, they could not have been handled as well as they were if not for the fact that so many people had bought into the idea so wholeheartedly.

Without the love for the idea from the people in the marketing community, CRO Day could never have been the success that it was. It feels great to know that so many people are willing to get involved in sharing their knowledge to such a vast group of people, and that the online marketing community can come together to support and educate each other.

The next CRO Day

Will there be a CRO Day next year? Maybe. Probably. We’re not sure yet. Everyone I spoke to expressed their hope for an even bigger CRO Day next time around, with more countries involved, more languages and more participants. To sum up: even more epic.

The discussions I had with people during the interviews were all positive. Even when discussing setbacks and challenges, it was with a smile and fond remembrance.

Stefanie summed it up nicely in our last conversation.

At the end of the day, the most important thing was the concept. The concept was to get a huge group of people to celebrate conversion rate optimization.

Mission accomplished.

…But don’t take our word for it. Check out the recordings below.


See original article: 

Around the CRO World in a Day: The Epic Story of Unbounce’s Biggest Campaign Yet

4 Stupid Mistakes You’re STILL Making On Your Landing Page

stupid-mistakes-landing-page-650
Are you still making these landing page mistakes? Image by Brandon Grasley via Flickr.

Believe it or not, many of the world’s most aesthetically beautiful landing pages fail miserably when it comes to conversion.

Why? Because when you focus too much on design and not enough on your customers, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and fall into common conversion-killing traps.

In this post, I go through four of the worst mistakes you can make on your landing page, with real-world examples. Fixing even one of these mistakes should result in a serious conversion rate improvement – so let’s get started!

1. Not showing the product

Let’s take a look at this landing page for iMenuPro – an app that allows restaurant owners to design menus online:

imenu-pro-650
Click for full-length landing page.

It’s a nice enough page, right? Solid design, pretty engaging content and it even has a bit of personality. But there’s one crucial thing missing: they never show the product.

iMenuPro is a menu designer, yet we never see any actual menus that have been designed with the tool. Believe it or not, this is an incredibly common mistake.

If this seems like a huge oversight to you, it should. Neglecting to show your product is the #1 cardinal sin of landing page design, and here’s why: humans aren’t just visual learners, they’re visual purchasers.


Do you show & tell? If I can’t see myself using your product, I can’t see myself buying it.
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If I can’t see your product or what it does, how in the world am I supposed to want it? Imagine trying to buy a car that has only been verbally described to you.

The solution

Show your product up-front and clearly. Make it the hero shot of your page.

And when possible, show your product in action.

This technique, called context of use, helps show prospects how your product works and helps them envision themselves using it:

This is precisely the reason that ShamWow has become a household name – they show their product in action with real people, in real situations you can relate to.

Showing and telling will help you convert browsers into customers.

2. Not explaining what you do

It’s all too easy to forget one of the main purposes of your landing page: educating your prospects.

Many prospects who visit your landing page know nothing about you, your company or what it is that you do. It’s your landing page’s job to fill in the blanks. When you don’t do that, you get a page like this:

marketing-genesis-live-650
Click for full-length landing page.

Marketing Genesis is a paid seminar for aspiring marketers – or, at least, that’s what I think it is. They never actually say.

If you carefully read a few hundred words into the text, you’ll eventually infer what Marketing Genesis is, but it takes some effort. They’re assuming that I know something about their business, but I don’t.

They make this same mistake dozens of times throughout this page:

  • The main headline on the page tells me to “Register Now,” but I don’t know what I’m registering for yet.
  • The CTA asks me to click for tickets, but again, what am I getting tickets to?
  • They even assume that I know where the event is taking place (hint: I don’t).

If you’re thinking, “how could someone possibly forget those things on a page?”, you should know that this sort of thing happens with shocking frequency.

When you’re elbow-deep in the goings-on of your own company, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to not know about your company.

The solution

When in doubt, treat your clients as though they know truly nothing about you.

Explain what you do, why you’re better than your competition and how your product can improve your potential customers’ lives.

The people at Webflow do a brilliant job of this – take a look at their homepage:

webflow-650
Click for larger image.

Even though they’re selling a relatively high-tech product, their opening headline tells me exactly what they’re all about in just a few words: “Professional-looking websites without writing code.”

That’s the kind of quick sales pitch we’re looking for.

Note: explaining what you do does not mean telling prospects about everything you do. As we’ll see below, you want to test making your copy as minimal as possible.

3. Using lots of paragraph text

If there’s one immutable truth about your customers, it’s this: whether you’re Apple or a mom-and-pop shop, nobody wants to read the long paragraphs of text on your landing pages.

Take for example this page from Newschool of Architecture and Design in San Diego:

newschool-architecture-design-650
Click for larger image.

They seem like a lovely university, but they fall into a common trap: they’re over-explaining.

In order to get my questions answered, I need to read through at least a few paragraphs of relatively dry copy. I’m willing to bet that many potential students would rather leave the page than put in the effort.

It might feel like your business is too complicated to explain quickly but in reality, even the most complex businesses can be to be boiled down to a series of short, benefit-driven sentences.

If you absolutely need to write a longer page, communicate your unique value proposition up front and don’t write a word more than you have to.

The solution

Be kind to skimmers and impatient users by cutting down on text, focusing on the key points of your service and providing visual examples.

If you routinely have issues with including too much copy, try writing your copy first before even looking at a landing page template.

That way, you’ll be sure to design a page that complements your copy and only includes the words you absolutely need. Not sure what you need? You should test that.

4. Making users choose (or even think)

Many businesses have multiple buyer personas, which makes marketing to them kind of tough.

How do you tailor a landing page to drastically different groups of people while still resonating with your ideal customers? We’ve all heard it before: Try to appeal to everyone and you’ll appeal to no one.

As a solution to this, many companies add a click-through page that asks users to self-select what kind of customer they are. For example, take a look at this landing page by PerfumesForABuck, an ecommerce outlet for cheap fragrances:

PerfumesforaBuck

Before you can see any product, you’re forced to choose between jewelry for men, women and gift baskets. Until you choose, you can’t see anything about the business or their products – and that’s problematic.

When you force users to choose before seeing content, a strange thing happens: many prospects leave and don’t come back.

Forcing choice adds friction – you’re putting extra work on the visitor, and the visitor doesn’t like work. They shouldn’t have to think.

The solution

Even if you have a segmented customer base, you can market to all of them individually without forcing them to make choices. It just takes a little finesse.

If you’re marketing to multiple personas, create separate ad campaigns for each one and drive those separate campaigns to customized landing pages.

Instead of buying clicks for “perfume” in AdWords, buy clicks for “men’s perfume” and send the traffic to a dedicated landing page. This eliminates choice from the equation and helps drive more targeted, valuable traffic to your site.


Don’t make users self-select. Do the heavy lifting with PPC & customized landing pages.
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Wrapping things up

It’s tempting to run tests on granular stuff such as your call to action and headlines.

But doing so can lead you to lose site of the bigger picture: at the very least, are you explaining what you do and showing people what you have to offer?

If you’ve made one of these mistakes, count yourself lucky. An error like this is a huge opportunity for improvement. And many of the mistakes outlined above are relatively easy to fix.

So fess up. Are you making any of these mistakes? I want to hear in the comments!

Link:  

4 Stupid Mistakes You’re STILL Making On Your Landing Page