Tag Archives: math-random

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[AMA] I’m Michael Aagaard, Senior Conversion Optimizer at Unbounce. Ask Me Anything

If you’re serious about conversion rate optimization, then you’ve likely heard of Michael Aagaard: founder of ContentVerve.com, international speaker and, as of this year, the Senior Conversion Optimizer at Unbounce.

His pragmatic approach to conversion rate optimization, focusing more on research and real results rather than mere “conversion lifts,” has made him a respected authority in the field. (Oh, and he’s a handsome and a super friendly guy to boot. He’s been described by his colleagues as a “norse god” and a “lightening bolt in human form.”)

Simply put: he’s the guy you want in your corner when you’re prepping your next A/B test hypothesis.

Well, we’re making that happen.

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Unbounce’s Senior Conversion Optimizer Michael Aagaard.

Now’s your chance to get answers to those burning conversion queries that disturb your slumber (to make sense of the marketing mayhem that fills your waking hours).

All from the comfort of wherever you are right now.

Seriously — now! Scroll down to the comments section and ask your question! Whether you’re wondering about conversion research, formulating a hypothesis or what it’s like to transition from being a consultant to working in-house, Michael will be answering live on the blog on Monday, November 30th at 1 – 4 PM EST (10 AM – 1 PM PST).

OK, so you actually have a few days to ask your question, but seize the day! Carpe diem! (At the very least, set a Google Calendar reminder.)

Source article – 

[AMA] I’m Michael Aagaard, Senior Conversion Optimizer at Unbounce. Ask Me Anything

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Behind Every Click, There’s a Person [PODCAST]

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Image via thestoacks.im.

Every marketer (and their mom) knows the importance of running campaigns that are data-driven.

But if you’ve got your head down optimizing for conversions, you can become blinded by that data — and forget that behind every click, there’s a person.

Creating better marketing experiences for the person behind the click was a recurring theme at MozCon 2015 — and it’s what Chelsea Scholz, Campaign Strategist at Unbounce, discusses passionately in this week’s episode of the Call to Action podcast.

You will learn:

  • The three key ingredients that make up a solid brand strategy.
  • Why content written for everyone really winds up being for no one.
  • Unbounce’s recent outside-the-box marketing campaign idea which has been effective at providing value to people and collecting leads.

Listen to the podcast

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Download via iTunes.
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Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

Unbounce’s Content Strategist Dan Levy, interviews Chelsea Scholz, Jr. Campaign Strategist at Unbounce.

Dan Levy: All right. You wrote in your post that if you’re feeling frustrated by the results that you’re seeing from your campaigns, it might actually be because you’re focusing too much on the medium that you’re using to reach people and not the people themselves. What do you mean by that?

Chelsea Scholz: So we get really focused on doing things like writing emails to see click-throughs or optimizing a landing page so that Google recognizes it. And that really ends up making us forget the who that we’re actually sending these marketing initiatives to. We’re sending emails to our customers and we’re creating customers for our leads. Those are people back there. And they’re ultimately what drives our bottom line; not the metric. So I find it to be kind of like one of those things that seems so obvious. It’s not obvious. We focus on the analytics when there’s a person back there who’s making that happen for us. And the more we understand that person, I think we’d see a better lift. And we do, in fact, see a better lift in our conversions than our click-throughs, what have you, because we’re focusing on the person.

Dan: Right. And you take us through different strategies that you could use to make sure you’re creating more person-centered marketing experiences. The first one was kind of surprising, though. It was developing a solid brand strategy. And I feel like the word “brand” is a bit controversial, maybe; like some use it way too loosely and vaguely while others tend to dismiss it as, like, fluff and not a tactical word. So I was wondering, what does the term “brand strategy” mean to you?

Chelsea: Brand strategy to me means that you’ve developed a solid core reasoning behind why your business does what it does. And you’ve clearly developed the story around that. It’s a bit like building a snowman. Your business is the snow but you present it to the world in a way that’s delightful, recognizable and interactive by creating snowballs. And then you decorate the snowman with a hat and buttons so that it’s uniquely your own. And this is something that I’ve heard from a lot of different people, that you should envision your brand as a person. In my case, it’s a snowman but same dif, you know?

Dan: How about the carrot nose? What does that represent?

Chelsea: The conversion carrot, Dan.

Dan: Oh, of course.

Chelsea: Ho, ho, ho. There are layers, right, like to your brand and it has to be organized in such a way that everyone can buy into it and believe in it, both internally and externally. Otherwise, you just end up with a pile of snow in your front yard that looks like anybody else’s yard, you know?

Dan: Yeah, so at MozCon, Dana DiTomaso said that the idea of a strong brand strategy needs to go beyond what most people think about it, which is like logos and colors and just dressing, and that it involves three key ingredients. Can you take us through what those were?

Chelsea: Sure. So for the record, Dana is one of my favorite marketers on the planet. She is incredible and I loved hearing her talk –

Dan: She’s great.

Chelsea: – at both MozCon and our own CTA conference this year. So her three key ingredients to a strong brand strategy are keeping it as simple as possible, which again seems so obvious. It’s not obvious. It’s not rocket science. Just lay it out there in really clear, simple language. So the second is keeping it consistent across all channels, both online and offline. So for example, if you host an annual conference each year, and that looks and feels nothing like an email you’d send on an average day, there’s an issue there. And number three is make it a living, breathing document that is a true expression of your company and reflects your company’s core values. So this is something that really resonated with me because it sparked a conversation between believing in brand coaching, not brand policing. So there are companies that have one person who lives and breathes the brand and that’s fantastic. But if everyone at your company doesn’t understand why somebody is doing that, it comes off as a brand dictator of sorts. What you want is to be able to explain and embrace the brand among a lot of the people at your company – if not everybody – by coaching them through why you do what you do, as well as things like what colors you should use and what logos go where.

Dan: Yeah, so I mean I guess you said a living, breathing document meaning that it needs to be something transparent and accessible to all people in the company, that they could kind of refer back to and use as a bible, right?

Chelsea: Yeah, definitely.

Dan: Cool. Well, one thing I know you took away from Wil Reynolds is that when you understand the people behind the click, you’re coming up with a solution that can easily be disrupted. Can you unpack that one?

Chelsea: I think what Wil was talking about here is that you get to a point where you know your audience so well that you can picture a face and a name that you’re talking to. That’s personas, right? But when you do that, you’re crafting a message so targeted and so convincing because you’re talking to the person like a human; it seems really, really simple. You can convey a message properly because you know them intimately. And when you do that, the person feels connected to you, to your brand and to your product in return. This makes your service or whatever you’re offering indestructible.

Dan: Right, because I guess the market could change and tools could change, but people fundamentally will always be the same.

Chelsea: Right. Companies pivot all the time, and it’s especially true of startups. So if you establish a brand that’s so strong and you talk to people like you know them, they’re gonna come with you.

Dan: Well, you mentioned personas, so let’s talk a little bit about personalization and segmentation, which seem to be major buzz words this year. Kristina Halvorson, I think, said that if content is for everybody, then it really is for nobody. And you know that resonates with me as a content strategist; that applies to campaign strategy, as well. And Cara Harshman at Optimizely proposed a three-tiered who, what, how framework for personalization. I was wondering if you could break that down and maybe tell us what that would look like in the context of a campaign that you’ve actually worked on.

Chelsea: Yeah. So again, it’s all about relating back to your user. If you know who you’re talking to, it’s going to be a much better experience for everybody involved — as the marketer on this side of the computer, as the recipient on the virtual other side. So the best example I can think of is something that we recently did — the email marketing for CTA Conference. Our goal was to sell tickets in an online medium to attend an offline event. And it can get tricky. But we broke down a series of emails based on target audiences, messages and intent. Big props, again, to our event marketing manager at the time, Stefanie Grieser as this was a bit of her brainchild. Together, we looked at where people were physically coming from to attend the event and came up with an email campaign called “You Fly, We Buy,” and that email had us target people who weren’t in driving distance of Vancouver. And we sent them an email explaining that we recognized that they’d have to travel a long way to get here and would give them a huge discount on tickets if they paid for their flight over. It worked tremendously well because we understood their dilemma; that flights in combination with tickets was going to be too expensive for them. Similarly, we targeted people who were actually in the area or within driving distance of Vancouver, like Oregon and Washington, and gave them also an incentive to buy a ticket because they were so close to us already.

Dan: Oh, that’s cool. So in that case, you used the fact that they were close so you might as well take care of a ticket for them?

Chelsea: Yeah.

Dan: Then what were some of the results of these campaigns?

Chelsea: Those are one of the two highest-performing emails we had had for the Call to Action Conference. I really attribute it to the fact that we recognized what somebody’s problem might be. Because attending events can be expensive and cause a lot of travel. You’ve got to take time off, you’ve got to go through your boss to get some sort of networking budget to cover going to these things and justify your reason to go. So we put that all into a simplified email. Our language showed our solution to their problem was simple and those emails had an incredible conversion rate to people who actually bought tickets.

Dan: It’s funny. I feel like sometimes just letting people know that you understand their problem is half the battle.

Chelsea: Amen.

Dan: Right? Then they’re just more likely to say – especially when it’s an event — “Well, actually these people really understand and they understand where I’m coming from as a marketer so I’ll probably get a lot of value out of this event.” So it actually dovetails pretty well with the content that you were providing.

Chelsea: Yeah. I mean think about it like you were standing on a street corner and you had two different people trying to sell you tickets to the same event. One guy is just repeating the name of his conference over and over and over again at you. And you’re kind of like: oh, that’s weird and robotic. And then you get another guy who is like: hey, Dan, I really want you to come to this conference but I know you live far away. So how about we work out a plan where you buy your ticket to fly here and we’ll help you out on the ticket cost for the actual event? And then we can both hang out.

Dan: Totally, yeah. And you know, that guy’s like: I’m a marketer, you’re a marketer; I understand your problems.

Chelsea: Exactly.

Dan: And I guess that’s one of the benefits of being marketers marketing to marketers is you kind of get that.

Chelsea: Yep.

Dan: So your post is a great distillation of the speakers at MozCon. But you went to Seattle to launch one of your own campaigns, as well, which was live note taking. Can you tell us where you got the idea for that and what it looked like?

Chelsea: Yeah, totally. So earlier this year, around February or March, we were talking about sponsorships for conferences and what we could do that was different that made us stood out as a company but still provided a lot of value for the audience we were hitting (instead of doing something just like a trade show booth). And what we found valuable from one of our last conferences was when you take notes, it’s a really easy way to distribute and pass along information that’s valuable to a lot of people who are there and not there. So what I came up with was a way to turn a landing page into a live blogging tool where we embedded a Google Doc and had a couple of writers live note take the entire conference. And then in return, we would advertise during that conference — on things like social and via word of mouth from networking — that you could download a PDF of these notes at the end of the conference and that there were a couple of writers from Unbounce who were just taking care of this for you. And it was a wonderful campaign because it was a way to highlight different way of using landing pages, how our tool worked, and offering a valuable marketing piece for those who were attending because you always want to take notes back to your boss, or to your other colleagues… or just plain remember what you had listened to while you were there. And what I turned our live note taking into was an incentive for brand awareness, as well as a way for us to capture new subscribers for our blog list.

Dan: And what were some of the results? I know that you did this I think at a couple other conferences as well, right?

Chelsea: Yes. I did this at Hero Conf in Portland –

Dan: Yep, I was there. I was a note taker there.

Chelsea: You were? Traction Conf in Vancouver, which you were also a note taker for.

Dan: Yeah, I was the note taker at that one. That was exhausting.

Chelsea: And then we did it at MozCon and I actually switched roles a little bit and was a writer there, along with our other Unbouncer Cody. That was a different experience for me. I totally understand some of the pain you go through, now. Of course we do it for our own conf, as well. But I think MozCon was definitely the most successful of all of those this year because of the size and the kind of audience that Moz already brings in. they have over 1200 attendees, I believe, and they have a similar audience of marketers to what Unbounce has. And we have a great relationship with them as a partner. So it was all around a great fit and we were a sponsor of that conference. My main goal for the note taking part for that campaign was brand awareness, of course, followed closely by blog signups. And I set a goal for myself of 1400 unique, non-customer users to my landing page which would essentially help hit almost every marketer that was attending and some outside that maybe couldn’t make it. And 250 new subscribers for our blog as a result of people wanting the PDF.

Dan: So that was your goal.

Chelsea: That was my goal. And what I actually ended up with was 2,063 unique non-customers to my page and 372 new blog subscribers in just one month after the campaign had run.

Dan: Wow, that’s awesome.

Chelsea: Yeah. And I’ve also found that these note taking landing pages have withstood the test of time, as people always want to read about conferences even if it’s well after they’re over. So today – I checked back this morning – and we have over 800 unique new blog subscribers as a result of that note taking initiative from Moz alone. They can live forever. They act as a great way for people to come up and search for you if you’re doing your SEO right. And a couple other of my posts had been picked up by other publications so it kind of spread that message again and it’s just been a great way and a great campaign for brand awareness and blog.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah, we’ve used it – talking about conversion carrots, we’ve used that in some of our blog posts and also in some of our blog posts that have been syndicated in other places like Search Engine Journal. It’s a great way to continue to get that content out there and continue to generate leads from it.

Chelsea: Yeah.

Dan: So the year is drawing to a close, believe it or not. And I think now is a time when us marketers get a little bit more reflective. So I was wondering, what would you say were your biggest lessons of this year in terms of what goes into running a successful marketing campaign?

Chelsea: Yeah. For me personally, I think the biggest lesson was that we need to market for the man and not the medium or the metric. And it was a really big wakeup call for me because as marketers, we get really focused on performance reports and hitting KPIs. And you forget that there are people back there that are interacting with your product and paying you for your product. If you can relate to them a little more by interacting with them as a friend and as just a general person, it really helps conversion rates. It’s easy to forget this because we’re shielded by our screens. You wouldn’t talk to your sister or your best friend like she was a stranger, so why would you do that to somebody you want to join your mission?

Dan: So have you taken that lesson and applied that to the way you approach campaigns that you’ve run at Unbounce?

Chelsea: Well, specifically for email I find myself asking, like, if I were to read this cold to my personal Gmail, do I relate to this person? Do I understand, like am I seeing a face, are we using people that are real? Do I feel like this person actually wrote this email and it’s not just coming from somebody as a sign off? Like I really try and work with our copywriters to get to the core of the thing.

Dan: I was just going to say it’s funny because you talk about writing emails as if you’re just a human writing an email to a friend of yours. But at the same time, you mention like multiple reviews. So I imagine that with like multiple people reviewing an email and weighing in, it must be difficult to maintain that singular human voice.

Chelsea: Yeah. I mean this is the challenge marketers face, right? Like if you’re a one stop shop, it could be easier to pull that off. But at the same time, it’s really good to work in collaboration with some really smart people, but you have more cooks in the kitchen. So I’m finding a really good balance between having one copywriter right now and one or two reviewers because we all understand the brand, we all understand the message of the campaign and it’s actually not that bad when trying to solidify a single voice. It comes with challenges, of course, and sometimes you’ll never agree. But again, like I mentioned, the pure thought of just going through that process with the goal in mind of talking like a person and reading like a person helps immensely.

Dan: Right. And I think what you said about actually putting yourself in the position of the person receiving the email, like imagining you getting that email in your own inbox probably helps a lot because you’re not just thinking about your voice and the voice that you’re putting out there, but you’re thinking about the person receiving that message and what they’re hearing. So you are getting back to that singular person in that case.

Chelsea: Yeah, definitely. And we at Unbounce have a really good culture of like talking about other people’s emails and how great they are, and how personalized they feel. Or like, that image was great. And so I think the conversation is always open, which is really nice; we’re not stuck by any means. And we’re even starting to do experimentation with things like plain text emails. So it even just looks like somebody just wrote you a straight up Gmail email.

Dan: Right, something that our copywriter is putting together based on our brand voice and our brand guidelines is like an email specific kind of editorial bible that everybody could refer to.

Chelsea: Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome.

Dan: Any other big lessons from this year that you want to share?

Chelsea: Yeah, I think aside from like doing things like being more personal and getting a really strong brand strategy, I think it’s really hitting home lately that we take more risks and we move more quickly where we can. The internet really waits for no man, right? So digital marketing needs to do the same and the more we can kind of make those quick wins, the better it will be. And it gets harder the bigger we get. But keeping that in mind is allowing us to do exactly that and I think 2016 will be filled with areas for us to take more risk and disrupt ourselves a little bit more.

Dan: I wanted to ask you about that. What are your New Year’s marketing resolutions? What do you hope to do better in 2016 than you did this year?

Chelsea: Besides hitting the gym more often?

Dan: That counts.

Chelsea: I’d like to keep developing our brand in email strategies and keeping them fresh. It’s something I’m very active and passionate about and I can’t wait to keep getting really personal with all of it and working with our team to do that same sort of brand coaching where we all get it, we all understand and we’re getting right there to the point with our emails where it’s one-on-one, it feels like, with our audience.

Dan: Yeah, and that’s a really good point about keeping it fresh, as well. Because once you do have your brand set in writing and guidelines there for anybody to go and refer back to, I guess the danger is that you – they’ve become canonized and they’ve become stuck and you don’t want to get yourself in that situation, either, do you?

Chelsea: Yeah, everyone faces that problem with developing and maintaining a strong strategy for brand. It’s something that needs to remain constant but requires work. It’s like a marriage, in that sense. You put time into developing and growing together and it’s really great when you finally have that bible and you get married. But if you don’t work on the relationship between you and your brand, you’re headed for a big, colorful divorce.

Dan: Right. Yeah, it’s good to keep growing but you need to grow in the same direction.

Chelsea: Yeah. Yeah, I really like it. I really like talking about this stuff to you and I think aside from the additional stuff we talked about, with like what are the biggest things I learned this year, I really hit a point in my career, personally this year, where I think my shtick is like human-centered marketing.

Dan: I like that. Yeah, it’s funny. I’ve been thinking about that and the term I’m using is like humanistic marketing.

Chelsea: Yes!

Dan: I’ve actually been thinking about writing a blog post about that.

Chelsea: Yes, yes, yes. Sometimes it’s really, really hard for me because I’ve worked with people for so long who are so numbers focused. And I get it. I get that it’s important and we’ve got to reach certain targets. But it kills me a lot of the time to think about the person and how they’re feeling, but what is the number?

Dan: I think that’s one of the things that sets us apart, though. Like really important in, like, definitely in content. Andy Cresodina calls it empathetic marketing or empathetic content marketing. It’s like you start with the person’s problem and how you could solve it.

Chelsea: Yes.

Dan: Well, thank you so much for the marriage advice and the marketing advice, Chelsea.

Chelsea: No problem.

Dan: Great to chat.

Chelsea: It was great. Thank you so much for having me, guys.

Stephanie: That was Chelsea Scholz, Jr. Campaign Strategist at Unbounce.

Transcript by GMR Transcription.


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Behind Every Click, There’s a Person [PODCAST]

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How to Charge Your Clients for Landing Page Services

Pricing any service at an agency is tough because of all the variables — unexpected delays, crazy review cycles and borderline-silly-and-sometimes-seemingly-impossible client requests.

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“It needs to pop more! Give it some pizzazz!” Image source.

And when it comes to adding landing pages to your list of services, things can get especially tricky. (Still working on convincing your clients of the value of landing pages? Here’s some help.)

Is landing page design a staple service of yours? Will you offer follow up, maintenance and optimization services? Or are landing pages simply an add-on that you’ll teach clients to maintain themselves?

No matter which pricing model you go with, you want to present landing page services to clients in a way that shows their potential for exponential ROI, while leaving the client feeling like they’re getting a good deal… all while turning a profit.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways that agencies are charging their clients for landing page services, while keeping both their clients and accountants happy.

1. Include landing pages in your retainer fee

A lot of agencies work on a retainer fee model. They get paid upfront to provide specific services over a period of time. For these agencies, a good practice is to build the fees for landing pages into that initial retainer.

Jacob Baadsgaard, the founder and CEO over at Disruptive Advertising in Provo, Utah, uses this pricing model. Says Jacob:

jacob-baadsgaard copyIt’s included in the pricing. That’s just one of the perks that we give them… We just say ‘this is a simple, inexpensive solution that’s included in our pricing anyway, whether you use it or not.’ I’d say 95% of our clients use it.

Clients are often receptive to an agency charging for a third-party marketing tool like Unbounce, as long as it’s clearly outlined in a retainer fee breakdown and they’re aware of the positive impact it will have on their business.

Guidelines for using this pricing structure:

  • Make sure you account for all variables before calculating the fee. Will you offer analytics and optimization services? What level of service is reasonable for your flat rate?
  • Set expectations about the revision process and whether you’ll provide ongoing support. Is your client expecting more advanced functionality, mock-ups, or other things that will be resource-intensive for you? If clients want to go over the bar that you’ve set, work together on additional pricing.

2. Charge your client for landing pages directly

For other agencies, it makes more sense to charge landing pages as a separate line item.

Maybe your campaign requires particularly sophistical landing pages with custom coding and custom design. Or, as Liesl Barrell, CEO at Montreal boutique digital marketing agency Third Wunder has found, different campaigns might require more landing pages than others. Liesl asks:

liesl-barrell-200How many landing pages will they need? Will they require updates to copy or creative? Do they need ongoing support? These are the questions we need to ask to establish pricing and manage expectations.

Based on the answer to this question, Third Wunder establishes a flat fee and then makes additions based on the client’s needs.

Vancouver agency Titan PPC, charges a flat fee of around $500-$700 for a custom landing page. That may sound like a lot, but included in that price are as many variations as the client desires for the lifetime of that page.

Guidelines for using this pricing structure:

  • Start by identifying the scope of your project. How many pages does the campaign call for? Which additional resources (custom functionality, custom design) will be required?
  • Make sure that the client understands what they’re getting and at what price from the very beginning. This will help you manage expectations and keep them happy in the long term.

The best landing page pricing model

It’s worth sitting down with your team and establishing how landing pages fit into your offering. Are they a critical part of the service you provide or are they add-ons? How can you offer continued support without undervaluing any custom work your clients might ask of you?

The best pricing model is the one that works best for your clients and for you — it’s all about finding that sweet spot where clients feel that they’re getting a great deal, and you feel that your expertise is being properly valued. 

View the original here:

How to Charge Your Clients for Landing Page Services

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Joanna Wiebe on What Happens When Copywriters Get Lazy [PODCAST]

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If you want to write copy that converts, you can’t afford to be lazy. Image by Martie Swart via Flickr.

Copywriters walk a fine line between adhering to best practices and thinking outside the box.

On the one hand, you don’t want to mess with what works. On the other, you need to get adventurous if you’re going to stand out from the crowd — nothing kills conversions like lazy copywriting.

In this episode of the Call to Action podcast, Copy Hackers co-founder Joanna Wiebe challenges marketers to take chances with their copywriting, and pinpoints three common mistakes that result in lazy copy that just doesn’t convert.

You will learn:

  • Whether you should build your landing pages starting with the copy or the design.
  • Why discounts and promos won’t always help your copy convert better.
  • How to pitch your bold, adventurous copy to your boss so it doesn’t get rejected.

Listen to the podcast

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Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast

Transcript coming soon.


Link: 

Joanna Wiebe on What Happens When Copywriters Get Lazy [PODCAST]

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The Weird and Wonderful Ways You Never Thought to Use Landing Pages

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There’s more than one way to make a great landing page.

Landing pages are so effective for lead generation because they eliminate all of the distractions of a typical website — navigation, social sharing, and any links that do anything other than convert.

That’s why we never start a marketing campaign without a dedicated landing page. (And neither should you!)

But the unique talents of a landing page aren’t just useful for selling products or generating leads. That they stand alone from a larger website and are designed solely to draw attention to a single goal make them well-suited for all kinds of projects, both personal and professional.

In this post, we’ll go over some unusual landing page use cases along with examples for each. Let’s dig in.

Event marketing

Here at Unbounce, we (of course) use landing pages for all our events, be they for our employees or open to the public. Landing pages are a great fit for events because they let us collect RSVPs on the same page we use to market the event.

Unlike simply adding a page about the event to your website, a landing page has no conversion leaks. Prospective attendees can come to the page, learn about the event, and convert without getting lost.

Click to see the full page.

This page was used to invite employees to the Unbounce 5.0 launch party! This is, crucially, a separate boat party from the one where we crashed a drone into the river.

We used the built-in form to collect RSVPs, along with information on dietary restrictions and additional guests.

Because this page was meant for our own employees, we felt okay with sacrificing a bit of clarity for the sake of surprise and delight. But our pages for public-facing events focus a bit more on the why than the what:

Contrary to what this copy might imply, we actually vacuum at least once every few months.

One notable difference on this page is that rather than collect RSVPs through Unbounce’s built-in forms, we opted to distribute tickets via Eventbrite instead. Eventbrite is a great tool for event ticketing, but the level of customization offered by their event pages is extremely limited.

Thankfully, you don’t have to pick between having a landing page and using Eventbrite’s ticketing: all you need to do is insert Eventbrite’s embed code into your landing page and visitors will be able to book their tickets directly on the page.

It doesn’t have to stop at office parties, either. The Couple’s.co, a wedding design firm run by Unbounce product designer Vivi, custom-crafts wedding landing pages that do more than just tell you when and where to be. They tell a story.

Click to see the full page.

It also tells a lot more, with listings for nearby restaurants, attractions and places to stay. While weddings are all about the lucky couple, it’s nice to see some consideration for those who are traveling from far away!

The biggest advantage of using a landing page for events is their complete flexibility. You can design them how you want, prioritize the content that’s most valuable to prospective attendees, and collect RSVPs and information in whatever way is most valuable to you.

Hiring (and applying)

At Unbounce, we don’t solicit resumes from applicants. Instead, we ask them to build a landing page telling us about themselves and their inspirations.

Asking applicants to throw out their resume and do something new from scratch gives us the opportunity to ask our own kinds of questions and thus determine fit for the role, rather than basing our decision primarily on prior experience.

You could argue that a cover letter accomplishes the exact same goal. But I’ve never seen a cover letter that looks anything like this application from our growth strategist Brian:

Click to see the full page.

Just like with events, the inherently freeform nature of landing pages allows applicants to show the information they feel is important. Most cover letters, for example, don’t include screenshots of Google Analytics, nor do they off-handedly mention an ebook produced about staying fit while sitting inside of a tractor.

Here’s another sweet application landing page: our designer Luis Francisco used his page to show off his design skills:

Click to see the full page.

One applicant even ran a Facebook advertising campaign targeting a list of 20 Unbounce employee email addresses. (And yes, he got an interview.)

Interviews are awarded, then, not on the stature of one’s resume, but by the real-world demonstration of one’s skills and dedication. And we’re not alone: HR and payroll startup PaySavvy is also asking applicants to build an Unbounce landing page for their application.

PaySavvy-Apply-Unbounce

Contest submissions

Job applicants aren’t the only people who’ve used retargeting to get the Unbounce team’s attention. The same thing happened in a contest we ran to give away tickets to Call to Action Conference 2015. And it probably won Andrea Getman the top prize.

Andrea-Getman-Ad

Considering we ran it, you’ve probably already guessed the gist of the contest: create an awesome landing page convincing us that you’re the one to send to the Call to Action Conference. And while Andrea’s clever ad strategy may have sealed the deal, her page was strong enough on its own:

Click to see the full page.

Remember, building these pages is so easy that applicants who’ve never built one before are still able to do a great job of it. Because of the drag-and-drop nature of Unbounce, it’s not much harder than designing a nice slideshow presentation. That makes it a great format for any contest type that combines both writing and visuals.

You can also use landing pages to accept contest entries, like we did for our copywriting contest:

Click to enlarge.

A blog post presented the contest and laid out the full details, but entrants were directed to a landing page that focused on the rules and entry process.

And contests are probably the most fun way to get someone to give you their email address.

Liveblogging

Who hasn’t spent an afternoon feverishly refreshing Twitter for updates on the latest gadget, the newest software, the super-cool conference that’s happening right now? And isn’t that the kind of energy you want to cultivate for your business?

Liveblogging is a powerful content format that can bring you a ton of attention, but where do you liveblog? Of course, you could do your liveblogging on Twitter… where you’re limited to 130 characters per post. Not to mention the opportunities missed by accumulating traffic on a social platform instead of on your own website.

Thankfully, there’s a pretty simple way to set up your own liveblog on your own page, by combining your landing page with Google Docs.

Click to enlarge.

We know it works because we’ve been doing it ourselves for quite a while. We took live notes at MozCon, HeroConf, and CTA Conf; notes were accessible both during and after the talks, written and formatted on the fly so attendees could follow along or use them as a reference later.

It’s easy to embed a Google Doc into a landing page, and it will update live as you edit the document. And because it’s within your own landing page, you can take it as a lead generating opportunity – like we did:

Conf-Notes-CTA

Idea validation

Landing pages offer a distraction-free environment to focus on marketing your product. But what if your product doesn’t exist yet?

Before investing time and money into building a new product or feature, you can actually use landing pages to validate interest in the first place.

That’s exactly what social media monitoring company Mention did to gauge interest in a new kind of mobile interaction, pull to react.

mention-example

By pulling downwards and then sliding horizontally, you can toggle between actions and lift your finger to select them. (I wish every app I used had this.)

Mention emailed their list to drive traffic to a landing page to gauge interest:

reactingIOS
The landing page used by Mention to gauge interest in Pull to React.

They ended up receiving conversions from 250 people who were interested in the feature. Not only that, but of those 250, 43 developers volunteered contributions to the project on GitHub.

Ultimately, Mention used landing pages to validate interest in the feature and refine the product, all while engendering a sense of community.

The unexplored frontier of landing pages

A few of these examples were still designed to generate leads, but I hope this post shows you that they don’t have to be just for that. You can run contests, create fully-featured pages for your personal events, see if your next-great-idea is really that great, and so much more.

In a lot of ways, the power and flexibility of building drag-and-drop landing pages in Unbounce reminds me of when I first started designing websites at 12 years old, using Geocities’ terrible-but-seemed-like-magic-back-then WYSIWYG page builder.

Geocities
I spent several hundred hours building websites in this thing.

Whether it’s for your next campaign or for your dog’s bark-tacular birthday party, I hope you’ll take this as inspiration to push the boundaries of what a landing page really is.

Or you could just make the next great Squint Eastwood.

Original link:  

The Weird and Wonderful Ways You Never Thought to Use Landing Pages

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How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

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How do I optimize my landing page when I don’t have enough traffic to A/B test?

It’s a question that Unbounce customers ask regularly, and one that plagues any marketer who wants to optimize their landing pages but just isn’t blessed with the traffic of a Fortune 500 company.

So it was no surprise when the question came up during the A/B testing panel discussion at the 2015 Call to Action Conference.

Luckily, conversion experts Ton Wesseling, Peep Laja and Michael Aagaard had all the answers. And it turns out that marketers with more humbly-sized traffic streams are going to be okay.. We can all breathe easy, because as Peep put it:

You can still optimize even if you can’t A/B test.

Even if you don’t have the 1,000 conversions per month recommended by our panel experts, you still have options for optimizing your campaigns. Read on to find out how.

Figure out where and why you’re losing conversions

A/B testing isn’t just about figuring out how you can get more conversions. It’s about learning why you aren’t getting more conversions in the first place.

That’s where conversion research comes in: digging into analytics and crunching numbers to determine where your biggest conversion lift opportunities lie. Regardless of whether or not you have enough traffic or plan to A/B test, Michael underlined the importance of this step:

“If you don’t have enough traffic to get proper data out of it, then [A/B testing] isn’t really helpful. But one thing that’s always helpful is doing the research – because you need that anyway.”

Michael related a story about some research that we did on our free trial landing page. When someone arrives at the page, it looks like all they need to do is enter four pieces of information to get a free trial:

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But when someone clicks the CTA button, a whole new set of form fields is displayed:

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When Michael looked at the data, he discovered that a significant number of people were abandoning the process at this step, where the actual signup process is revealed to be more complicated than the first stage of the form implies.

That discovery led to us taking a good, hard look at the process, and Michael is now working on optimizing that page to make it a more delightful, streamlined experience for marketers looking to try out Unbounce.

None of that would have been possible without researching where people were abandoning the process. But by learning the exact point of friction, Michael can continue testing and iterating towards new designs that aren’t burdened by similar issues.

Peep summed this up nicely:

If you don’t know what people are doing on the page, you’re in the dark. You need to record what’s happening on your page in order to identify connections between certain behaviors and conversion rate.

Conduct qualitative research by asking questions

Your landing page has one purpose: to convert visitors to leads or customers. We do that by appealing to our visitor’s needs. But, as Peep says:

If you don’t know what matters to your customers, you have to figure it out, or you can’t  optimize.

If you don’t have enough traffic to get quantitative feedback through A/B testing, you need to spend time gathering qualitative feedback. That means actually speaking with your customers to get to know them and their needs.

Ton agreed:

Talk to your customers. They’ll give you great answers on what they’re looking for that can help you a lot.

During the CTAConf copywriting panel, expert copywriter Amy Harrison of Write With Influence discussed getting to know your customers in order to address their needs.

Amy believes that too many marketers start by presenting the solution, because we know what the solution is – our product – and we know how we want it to be perceived. The problem is that if someone comes to your landing page and you’re not speaking specifically to their needs, they’re won’t relate to your solution.

What Amy does is take a few steps back and start with identifying the symptoms that a person might experience that would lead them to need your product. What problems are they experiencing, and how can you relate to them?

That’s what AppSumo founder Noah Kagan was forced to ask himself when he emailed 30,000 people about his new entrepreneurship course, How To Make A $1,000 A Month Business, and only 30 people purchased it. What went wrong?

ConversionXL reported that he sent a survey to everyone who clicked through but didn’t convert and asked them, among other questions, “Why not?” And then he rewrote and redesigned the page to address the most popular doubts.

Unsure if it works in your country?

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Worried it’s not for you?

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Failed before and not sure what will be different now?

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Images sourced from ConversionXL

Noah adjusted the copy to address all of his prospects’ biggest fears, and used their own language to inspire himself. That strategy echoes back to advice that Joanna Wiebe, the copywriting mastermind behind Copyhackers, wrote on this very blog back in 2012:

If you want to write great copy, swipe it from your visitors, customers and prospects.”

Don’t be afraid to take big risks

When you can test the impact of every change on a page, iterating individual elements for small wins is one way to grow your conversion rate over time. But when you don’t have the luxury of testing against tons of traffic, you’re unlikely to move the needle with mere iteration. As Ton advised:

Most small things make a small impact. You have to take bigger risks to get bigger rewards.

This is actually one of the things that Joanna herself addressed during her Call to Action Conference talk, Death to Fear And Laziness! How to Push Yourself to Write Sticky Landing Page Copy.

In her talk, she presented an A/B test she ran on two sets of ad copy. The one on the left is the control, and the one on the right is the (rather bold) variant. Or as Joanna referred to it, not trying vs. trying.

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The message on the left is what Joanna refers to as “word-shaped air”. There’s words there, sure, but what does it really say? The variant takes a huge risk by using words that might be stereotypically perceived as “negative,” avoiding the empty pleasantries of the control.

But this language is how their real audience actually talks and thinks. And the gamble paid off, with a 124% increase in clicks.

Whether you’re actually running an A/B test or simply changing something on a page and waiting to see the results, there’s one unwavering truth:

You never know until you try.

Stop stressing and start testing

There’s no arguing that testing and experimentation are the heart of conversion rate optimization.

But A/B testing is just one kind of test; you can still make huge conversion gains without it, simply by researching your weaknesses, talking to your customers, and taking real risks. Rarely is there such a thing as a bad test, or a useless result.

If you’re still not convinced, or just want to learn a lot about testing in not-a-lot of time, check out the full Actionable, Practical A/B Testing panel. If every good test starts with research, I can’t think of a better place to start learning.

See original article: 

How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

Bring Your AdWords Campaigns Back from the Dead with Keyword Insertion

If you want to be successful with PPC ads, you need to demonstrate that you understand what prospects are looking for and serve up a relevant ad experience to match.

If you fail to communicate a cohesive message or fulfill the promise you make with your ad, you could face some nightmarish consequences. (Even scarier than that time you accidentally sent out a marketing email with the intro “Hey <FIRST_NAME>.”)

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*Screams of terror.* Image by d.loop via Flickr.

We’re talkin’ consequences including:

To avoid an ad spend disaster, you want your PPC ads to be hyper relevant.

Relevance ensures you get the clicks you deserve, people find what they need, Google trusts your page (because you deliver what you say you do), and you earn a high Quality Score. Your ads could also cost less and  earn better placement.

Fortunately – as we learned in a recent Unwebinar with Bloom Search Marketing’s Martin Perron and Andrew Alkhouri – you can convey relevance from ad to landing page by using AdWords Keyword Insertion. Even better? You can use this AdWords feature in combination with Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) in Unbounce to extend the same relevance through to your landing page.

Brush up on Bloom Search Marketing’s PPC takeaways by watching the webinar recording here, or read on for some distilled wisdom.

First thing’s first…

Keyword Insertion: Serving up relevant ads

Keyword Insertion (the feature formerly known as Dynamic Keyword Insertion) is an advanced AdWords feature that allows you to create an ad that responds to search queries and updates based on Keywords in a specific ad group.

keyword-insertion-img

In other words, you can swap out your ads’ headline or description text based on the keywords prospects actually search for.

This feature is helpful because it takes less time to set up than creating separate ads for each possible query, but also because everyone searches Google differently. While one person might search for “Halloween house,” another might search for “Halloween castle”; still another might look for “ Halloween activities.

If you set up Keyword Insertion correctly, you can appear as an exact match for each of these terms (your headline or description text keywords will swap) and more searchers will see your offer as especially relevant to their needs.

Selecting especially relevant keywords

As Martin pointed out in the webinar, the first step in setting up Keyword Insertion correctly is to decide on the most worthwhile keywords for your business, with the help of Google’s Keyword Planner.

As an example, let’s say you just published a landing page offering 15% off tickets to your annual Halloween attraction, the “ACME Haunted Castle,” and now you need to drive some traffic to your new page.

Ideally, you want some PPC ads to appear when someone searches Google for keywords like “Halloween House,” “Haunted Mansion,” and “ACME Castle,” for example, because people actively searching for these terms are demonstrating high purchase intent (they already know what they’re looking for), and are far more likely to click through from your ad to landing page and convert.

To get started, you’d navigate to the planner from the tools menu in your AdWords account:

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Then, type in search terms relevant to your campaign.

keyword-planner

Here Google will indicate the popularity of the suggested keywords. You’ll see the average monthly search numbers, how competitive a keyword is, and even suggested bids.

As Martin warns, not all of the suggested keywords will be a perfect match for what you offer, so be selective and ask yourself if each term is truly connected to your business.

Select the type of keywords that’ll work for Keyword Insertion

When setting up your ad, you can choose from four different types of keywords: exact match, phrase match, broad match, and modified broad match. In the webinar, Martin focused on exact and phrase match (but you can read about all four types here):

  • Exact match, as it sounds, ensures that your ad is only displayed when the user’s query matches your keyword exactly (i.e. “Haunted Castle”)
  • Phrase match applies to search queries with extra words either before or after the keyword. Phrase match would allow your ad to appear when someone searches “Best Haunted Castle,” or “Haunted Castle in Montreal,” for example.

When using Keyword Insertion, it’s best to stick with exact and phrase match as these types of keywords provide precise targeting and can help you attract those with a clearer idea of what they are searching for (i.e. quality leads more likely to convert). These types of keywords also prevent you from having misspelled or misplaced words in your ads.

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Using broad or modified broad match can make your keywords appear out of intended order in your final ads, leading to some wonky headlines like this.

Once you’ve selected some exact and phrase match keywords to use, you’ll add the keywords to your ad group. At Bloom Search Marketing, Martin noted that he tends to use ad groups containing about 15-20 keywords per group.

As a rule of thumb, if you can swap out one keyword for another in the same ad and still have it make sense, then you’ve got a good group of keywords for a single ad group.

Bonus tip:

Pay close attention to the search terms used in conjunction with keywords related to your business, because they can say a lot about the searcher’s intent.

For example, someone searching for “Halloween costume ideas” is likely to be in the research phase, whereas someone searching for, “Halloween vampire costume” could be ready to buy.

Different sets of keywords with different intent will require their own ad group, ad, landing page and offer to match.

Adding Keyword Insertion to your text ad

Once you’ve selected the keywords you want to target and have added them to an ad group, it’s time to build your ads.

In your ad group, click the big red “+AD” button to get started writing a new text ad.

ad-group-haunted-castle

From there, you can enter your copy.

Add the Keyword Insertion feature by adjusting the headline using the syntax Google recognizes: “KeyWord: Default Text.” (Make sure to replace “Default Text” with something generic that will appear if none of the other keywords do).

keyword-haunted-house

Dynamic Text Replacement: Serve up a relevant landing page

Finally, you’ll add the URL for the landing page your ad will direct to.

This is where the second indispensable PPC tool comes in: an Unbounce feature called Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR).

DTR allows you to swap out the text on your landing page – so that your ads and landing page will present exactly what visitors searched for.

Clicked an ad about a Haunted House? That’s what you’ll find in the landing page headline! This allows you to ensure that your prospect is seeing an exact match to their query, from the ad all the way to the landing page headline.

Maintaining this sort of message match increases conversions because it reassures people they’ve come to the right place.

If you’re using a landing page with DTR, make sure you update with the URL containing the DTR parameter, like this:

url-haunted-house
In this screenshot, “Haunted+Castle” corresponds to the name of the list of keywords in that ad group. “Haunted House” corresponds to the default text that would be swapped out if none of the other keywords in that ad group appear.

From there, you’ll simply set up a dynamic piece of text on your Unbounce landing page (for where you’d like the keyword swap to take effect). Your headline, metadata title, page description and call to action are all great options for this.

Relevance is key

Great marketing is about creating seamless experiences for prospects.

When you match your ad and landing page headline to the keyword that your prospect is searching for, you demonstrate that you understand what they want and are ready to offer it to them.

But you also demonstrate to Google that you’re putting your money where your mouth is — which ultimately increases your Quality Score and CTR, while lowering your CPC.

How’s that for a win-win?

Link:

Bring Your AdWords Campaigns Back from the Dead with Keyword Insertion

Build a Data-Driven Content Strategy by Yourself, for Free, in 1 Day

Content-Marketing-Dan-McGaw-Cover
You can have a solid content strategy up and running in a day. OR, you could trade it all for what’s in this box.

Content marketing isn’t the next big thing. It’s here, it’s happening now, and if you aren’t using content to grow your audience, you’re losing them to competitors who are.

But building a content strategy is a ton of work, particularly if you’re a small team – perhaps even a team of one. Right?

Dan McGaw doesn’t think so. In his recent Unwebinar, The Facts & Fairytales of Conversion-Driven Content, he outlines a detailed framework for building a content strategy in little more than half an hour.

And he has the results to prove that it works: it’s the same strategy that he and his agency Effin Amazing employed to increase ChupaMobile’s organic traffic by 19%, and revenue by 38%.

It can be done by a single person in just one day, all with free tools from Google and a bit of research.

It all starts with finding out what people are already looking for.

Use Google Keyword Planner to assess demand for content

One of the “fairy tales of content marketing” that Dan described is that producing content is an art that is informed primarily by gut instinct. But as Dan put it:

If no one is looking for your content, no one will read the content you write.

So how do you write the kinds of content that your target audience is looking for?

Google’s Keyword Planner is a powerful go-to tool for pay-per-click marketers, who use it to measure search volume for specific keywords and plan their campaigns. But it’s not only useful for PPC. Dan explained that it can be used to learn what kinds of content your prospective audience is demanding in just a few simple steps:

  1. Enter keywords relating to your product and industry. This includes the names of competitors or types of services that might overlap with yours.
  2. Create a list of the highest-volume keywords. Google will let you know the monthly average searches for every term you search. Depending on how niche your subject matter is, what constitutes an acceptable level of traffic will vary, but Dan sets the threshold for content that people care about at 10,000 monthly searches minimum.

    These high-volume keywords form the core of your content direction, since it’s the type of content that your audience is likely to search for.

  3. Generate keyword ideas based on the highest-volume keywords. Take the list of high-volume keywords you created and enter them into the Keyword Planner under Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category. Google will use its omniscient cloudmind to discover related keywords and hand them back to you.

Working these keywords into your content will be critical for generating organic traffic. But the research doesn’t end here; the keywords are just the key.

Generate even more keywords with predictive search results

Now that you have your list of totally-targetable keywords, it’s time to check out the competitive landscape with some good old Googling. But make sure you’re using Incognito mode, or whatever your browser’s private browsing mode is called: Google personalizes search results based on your history, and you don’t want that interfering with your research.

You can then start performing searches of your keyword list, and you’ll realize something wonderful happens: Google will tell you exactly how people are phrasing their searches by displaying the most popular searches as recommendations.

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This is the information that will inform you on what specific subjects people are interested in. After all, “analytics” is just a keyword, but “how to add google analytics to WordPress” is nearly a fully-formed post idea.

Plus, knowing exactly what people are searching for will also let you know exactly what they find.

Content audit your competitors

This is one of the most time-consuming aspects of crafting your content strategy, but it’s also one of the most important. If you don’t know what your competitors are doing, how can you out-do them?

Dan suggests performing searches using your list of keywords and the recommended search phrases, and take note of what pieces of content appear on the first page of results. Then:

  • Read the three most recent articles on the first page. You’re likely to see articles that are anywhere from a few months to many years old. Focus on the most recent ones.
  • Write down three things that suck about each of them. And that doesn’t mean poor formatting or ugly images (though those are important to get right). This is not about being self-congratulatory, but about finding opportunities to capitalize on. If there’s some crucial fact or brilliant revelation missing from your competitors’ content, you want it to be in yours.
  • Then write down three ways your content piece could be better. This can be elaborating on a subject that your competitors glazed over, introducing a new bombshell piece of information, or experimenting with formatting in a way that makes content more engaging.

But you don’t have to stop here. By combining your keyword research with defined goals based on your audience’s needs, you can extrapolate your keyword research into even more content ideas.

Create new content ideas based on your keyword research

These are the tactics that Effin Amazing used when they took on client ChupaMobile, a marketplace for app templates that can be re-skinned and released as new apps. Ultimately, they formed four core blog topics addressing the wants and needs of their audience:

  • Hiring a mobile developer
  • How to launch a mobile app
  • How to make money from apps
  • Building apps with no code

And with the knowledge of both the highest volume keywords and the specific phrases used to search those keywords, they were able to create a series of blog post ideas addressing exactly the questions people were searching for.

Dan-McGaw-Blog-Post-Ideas

And you can do the same.

Combining all of the previous research you’ve done, you’ll now have both a clear list of both which existing pieces of content you need to compete with and what types of new content to create to attract your target audience.

Converting through content, via landing pages

Once you’re growing traffic through smart content production, what do you do with it? Is there a clear pathway from your content to conversion?

Dan recommends an approach we also use here at Unbounce: designating a specific piece of gated content (like an ebook) per post, building a landing page for each, and directing to those landing pages with various calls to action in each post, like at the end of the post or with an exit intent overlay.

Dan-McGaw-CTA

It’s not about exerting pressure, but about creating an opportunity. If you don’t ask, you cannot receive. Create great content, link to relevant “content upgrades” with dedicated landing pages, and nurture the leads you collect from said content. (You can learn more about the nurturing part in the full webinar.)

The white-hat school of growth hacking

Dan ended his webinar with this quote:

Growth hacking isn’t one tactic; it is how you string tactics together and automate them. That’s how you create growth!

“Growth hacking” is a term that has always made me bristle. The word “hack” implies a shortcut or workaround, an easy path to success.

But if the term is to stick around, I feel pretty happy with this interpretation of it. One that views growth not as just a series of quick wins, but of building a sustainable strategy based on data; a definition that benefits our businesses as much as it benefits our readers, prospects and customers.

This article is from: 

Build a Data-Driven Content Strategy by Yourself, for Free, in 1 Day

Fluff is Thy Foe: 6 Insurance Landing Page Examples + Critiques

Fluff-Featured
Fluff can seem harmless, but it’s a conversion killer. Image source.

Insurance is a complicated thing to market: it’s the only product that people will willingly pay for every month yet hope they never have to use. Of course, this is reasonable when you consider that it’s something used only during times of strife, injury or death.

So it’s no surprise that insurance companies find all sorts of ways to minimize the focus on those more unsavoury aspects of the deal, instead opting to push messages of security, reassurance and convenience — or they just skirt the subject altogether, focusing solely on discounts and savings.

But avoiding specifics rarely goes well, as you’re about to find out. Below, you’ll find my analysis of six insurance landing pages, along with critiques and lessons you can apply to your own campaigns within any industry.

1. Amica Home Insurance: It’s not all about you

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Click to enlarge.

I’ll defer to copywriting expert Joanna Wiebe on the subject of using the word “we” in your landing page copy:

“We” is a bad, bad word in copywriting. You should reword every line of copy you have that begins with “we”. […] Because your visitors don’t want to hear about you. They want to hear about themselves – about their problems, about their needs, about their futures.”

The word we is used four times on this page. But even when that word isn’t being used, Amica seems to find it impossible to not talk solely about themselves:

Amica home insurance: Experience the Amica difference.
Extraordinary customer service that makes you feel right at home.

What does that mean? It does nothing to speak to the prospect’s needs. It does nothing to communicate how this service will improve the customer’s life. And it doesn’t make any effort to capture the reader’s attention nor compel them to continue reading.

If you want to talk about your extraordinary customer service, demonstrate it up front: be honest and transparent. In Amica’s case, they should consider communicating the real-world benefits of their service versus other providers, instead of dedicating so many words to saying so little.

2. StateFarm: Remind me how I got here

StateFarm
Click to enlarge.

Can you guess what this page is about?

That it doesn’t explicitly mention insurance might seem unimportant. Surely the person who clicked the link to this page doesn’t need to be reminded what they came for, right?

But message match — how well the message of a landing page matches the message of its gateway, like an ad on Google or Facebook — is one of the pillars of creating an effective landing page. Essentially, the copy of an ad and the headline of its landing page should mirror each other. Why?

  • It’s a reminder. Admit it: you’ve opened new tabs in your web browser only to immediately forget why you had done so. That’s probably because your attention span is literally worse than that of a goldfish.

    It’s not hard to imagine that someone could lose focus on what brought them to the page in the first place.

  • It’s a reassurance. Even if the user doesn’t forget what brought them there, they could think that you’ve brought them to the wrong place, or pulled a bait-and-switch. When ad copy and page headline match, they send a clear message: “This is exactly what you were looking for.”
Message-Match
An example of strong message match, from Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner’s 2013 post on the subject.

Since State Farm’s page would likely be displayed in results for searches for automobile insurance, it’s crazy that the only place those words are even mentioned is in this itty-bitty footer text.

StateFarm-Footer
Crystal clear!

3. AIG Direct: Specificity is a good thing

AIG Direct
Click to enlarge.

So many of the insurance landing pages I came across in my research asked for extremely little information up front — often just a zip code to begin the quote process. So I was surprised when I saw this monster of a form from AIG Direct.

But I actually think this makes a lot of sense. While it’s true that the number of form fields tends to correlate negatively with conversion rates, this isn’t always the case. Introducing more friction up-front can help pre-qualify leads, and in the case of an insurance broker, having to provide that kind of information is almost reassuring.

If the length of the form alone is enough to make the prospect hesitate, AIG’s headline serves to make the task seem almost effortless:

It takes 2 minutes to request your term life quote.

While one could feel overwhelmed by the number of fields, this one line makes it clear that it’s not really that bad. Plus, two minutes is a pretty small investment when we’re talking about life insurance.

This page excels in some other areas, too. Rather than rely on fluff and wishy-washy philosophizing about the nature of life and family, AIG sets concrete expectations, thereby holding themselves accountable for meeting them.

AIG-Direct-Trust

By solidifying their trustworthiness by linking to reviews and security certifications, and keeping the focus on the customer rather than themselves, AIG comes across as credible and transparent. And a real dollar amount, no matter what it is, is always preferable to nebulous “savings.”

4. AAA Life Insurance: Make your form friendly

AAA Life Insurance
Click to enlarge.

I feel confident in saying that most people probably don’t enjoy shopping for life insurance very much. So it’s in your best interest to make the process of doing so seem as easy as possible.

This page from AAA makes this process seem so much worse than it (likely) actually is. And it all starts with the strange visual decisions made in the form’s design.

AAA-Form

In web design, an affordance refers to a visual indicator of a digital object’s function. The most obvious example is adding bevels, borders, and background colors to links in order to make them resemble physical buttons. These details make it easier for the user to understand what these intangible objects actually do.

This form’s affordances are, frankly, all messed up. Not only are many of the form fields — text fields, in particular — nearly unnoticeable, but form labels and form fields are both contained within identical boxes, making the labels also look like fields.

Not only is this confusing, it has the unintended result of making the form appear twice as long as it actually is.

This, combined with the fact that most of the content on this page is dedicated towards explaining all of the subsequent “steps,” make this entire process seem extremely unapproachable.

Maybe they should’ve written that it only takes two minutes.

5. Farmers Insurance: Show me the way

StateFarm
Click to enlarge.

This page from Farmers Insurance is likely to lead visitors in the wrong direction due to inaccurate visual cues and confusing copy. If you’re on this page to get a quote online, where would you think to click?

Would it be, perhaps, this big button-looking-square that says Get a Quote Online on it?

Get-a-Quote

You’re likely already aware that this isn’t the case: the actual call to action is the green Click & Save Today! button. But I actually completely missed it at first.

FastQuote

Why?

  • It’s framed identically to the stock photo next to it, which I glossed over
  • It’s also shares a colour palette with the photo, making it blend into the page
  • The family is both walking and moving away from the call to action, rather than directing attention towards it
  • The copy — both “Get a FastQuote®” and “Click & Save Today” — were both less related to what I was looking for than “Get a Quote Online”

While there’s lots of talk in the conversion optimization world of color psychology and which colors correlate with which emotions, all of this is secondary to the most basic notion of CTA design: make it contrast with the rest of the page. (Psst — learn more about driving conversions through design in our new Attention-Driven Design ebook!)

And with regards to the button copy, it needs to indicate action and also speak directly to the user’s desire. For a smart formula, I’ll quote this oft-repeated advice from Joanna Wiebe:

Write button / CTA copy that completes this phrase: I want to ________________.

6. Health Insurance Sort: Cheap photos cheapen your page

StateFarm
Click to enlarge.

Insurance is a pretty serious thing, let alone insurance that would, in a time of crisis, allow me to remain alive. So I would expect anyone selling it to me to take it equally as seriously as I do.

But everything about this page screams, “we’re not credible.” And while the copy isn’t great, the most glaring issues relate to its design.

Stock photos such as the ones shown above are often used to add “visual interest” to a page. This, despite the fact that usability testing shows that while photos of people are effective at capturing attention, they subconsciously gloss over images that resemble stock photos.

Many of the examples in this post are clearly using stock imagery, but this page is exceptional. Each photo has a completely different lighting and style, and the hero image is so obviously a poor composite of two different images that I can’t believe anyone would ever enter their zip code into that misaligned text box.

Health-Insurance-Sort-Stock-Photo
Now we can recklessly grapple in the middle of this lovely autumn road, knowing any injuries will be fully covered! Thanks, Health Insurance Sort!

Fluff is thy foe

When crafting landing pages, “fluff” is thy foe. Whether it be pointless stock images that desperately try to jazz things up, or copy that talks its way around the real benefits and value of your offering, attempts at obfuscation via feel-goodery are as exactly as transparent to customers as they are to us.

And landing pages aren’t mere repositories for information; they’re designed to be a response to a specific need or expressed intent. If someone comes to your page and finds it confusing or deceitful, you can kiss that conversion goodbye.

Excerpt from: 

Fluff is Thy Foe: 6 Insurance Landing Page Examples + Critiques

Affordance: You Can’t Afford Not to Use This Design Principle on Your Landing Pages

Imagine you’re an extraterrestrial visiting earth for the first time. Upon landing, you stumble into someone’s home and find a toothbrush, which you’ve never seen before.

While you may not immediately understand how to use the thing, there are certain clues about the object that hint at how it can be used. Its handle, just a little longer than your humanoid palm, implies that you can grip it.

Similarly, certain types of door knobs provide clues as to whether a door should be pushed or pulled…

affordance-far-side

These visual clues, also known as Affordances, act as signals that an object can be used to perform a certain action. They’re all around us in the real world, but they’ve also bled into the digital realm.

When your visitor first lands on your website or landing page, they’re much like an alien visiting earth for the first time. You need to show them how to use the page by using familiar visual cues.

PSST. You can read all about Affordances and other conversion-boosting design principles in Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner’s latest ebook, The 23 Principles of Attention-Driven Design.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the world of Affordances and explore how the principle can be applied to your landing pages so you’re not alienating prospects.

What is Affordance?

Cognitive scientist and usability engineer Don Norman first used the term Affordance in his book, The Design of Everyday Things (1988). In it, he quipped:

Affordances provide strong clues to the operations of things. Knobs are for turning. Slots are for inserting things into. Balls are for throwing or bouncing. When affordances are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking: no picture, no label or instruction needed.

So, the door with a handle on it is meant to be pulled, while the door with the plate on it is meant to be pushed. This should be clear without having to expressly inform a user of the purpose of either the plate or the handle.

Perhaps one of the great examples of Affordance in modern digital life is the play button, as you see below.

play-button

There are very few of us who wouldn’t know what to do with that button, and even someone who does not recognize it may be able to easily ascertain its purpose — within a certain context, at least.

The play button drawn on the side of a fence makes little sense, but place it on an MP3 player, and you may be able to guess at its Affordance.

In a nutshell, Affordances should really do two things:

  • Get the attention of the person who should use it
  • Imply its function

With these two principles at play, an object can be used without having to give a user an extensive user manual. Because at the end of the day, your landing page shouldn’t require instructions, right?

Make Affordances on your landing pages explicit

There are certain design features that tell landing page visitors explicitly what they need to do. A blank field begs to be filled in. A three dimensional button begs to be clicked.

As self-proclaimed “massive nerd” and web designer Natasha Postolovski describes in her Smashing Magazine article about the seven types of Affordances on webpages:

Explicit Affordance is signaled by language or an object’s physical appearance. Text that reads “Click here” explicitly affords clicking. A button that appears raised from the surrounding surface seems tactile and affords pushing.

Here’s a good example of that in action on an Unbounce landing page (below). The play button, bold and 3D, explicitly shows that it is meant to be pushed (or clicked).

try-affordance

Similarly, this page from Asana uses a greyed-out mock email address (“name@company.com”) in a box to instruct users on where to put their email address.

asana-affordance

Using visual language that prospects are already familiar provides gentle instruction that makes your landing page easy to navigate. And that sets people at ease.

Beware of Negative Affordance

Just as certain visual cues imply that an object is meant to be used, other visual cues suggest that items are not to be used. Think of a grayed-out “Save” button that only appears once you’ve entered all required information in a form. In her Smashing Magazine article, Postolovski calls this Negative Affordance.

While this sort of visual cue can come in handy in checkout forms, it is more often than not the enemy of conversion on landing pages.

Think of the recent design trend of ghost buttons, for example:

ghost-buttons-affordance

We have been trained to ignore grayed-out buttons, so when a ghost button or button lacking contrast is used, our first instinct is to overlook it.

To add insult to injury, the button copy does a poor job of serving as Explicit Affordance. “Let’s Go” as a call to action does little to inform the user what will happen next.

When in doubt, test your copy. Test your ghost buttons. But err on the side of being as explicit as you can.

Applying Affordance on your landing pages

Affordances are found everywhere. You can see them on your stereo, your iPad, entranceways and on roads.

When used effectively, they show people how to use an object intuitively. When used poorly, you make your visitors feel like aliens from another dimension.

You want your landing page to be so simple to use that even the kid in the Far Side cartoon above could successfully complete and submit a form on your landing page.

Of course, there are many other principles to consider when designing your landing page. To learn more about using design to convince and convert customers, check out Oli Gardner’s latest ebook, Attention-Driven Design: 23 Principles for Designing More Persuasive Landing Pages.

Originally from: 

Affordance: You Can’t Afford Not to Use This Design Principle on Your Landing Pages