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Monthly Web Development Update 11/2017: Browser News, KRACK and Vary Header Caching

Editor’s Note: Our dear friend Anselm Hannemann summarizes what happened in the web community in the past few weeks in one handy list, so that you can catch up on everything new and important. Enjoy!
Welcome back to our monthly reading list. Before we dive right into all the amazing content I stumbled upon — admittedly, this one is going to be quite a long update — I want to make a personal announcement.

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Monthly Web Development Update 11/2017: Browser News, KRACK and Vary Header Caching

Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

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

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

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

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

The importance of trust on your travel landing pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Bolster your copy with trust words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So instead of…

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

Try…

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

Get even more industry-specific emotion and sentiment copy suggestions

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

3. Leverage social proof to build visitor trust

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

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

Testimonials

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews

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

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

Awards

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

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

Highlight awards strategically to build confidence in your offers.

4. Security measures

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

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

SSL

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

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

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

Trust seals

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

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

All aboard the Conversion Cruise

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

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

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

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

Get data-backed conversion insights across 10 popular industries

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

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Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

Apple’s WWDC 2017 Highlights For iOS Developers

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) has been running for 34 years, which is 6 years longer than The Simpsons. Like Netflix, Apple likes to drop a whole season at once. When it does, I devote that week and the following weekend to binge-watching as many videos as I can and trying out some of the new technology, especially as it relates to iOS.

From Apple's WWDC 2017 Highlights For Web Developers

In the past 10 years, a big portion of these conferences has been devoted to iOS. This is where we learned about the first iPhone SDK, notifications, share and today widgets, the iOS 7 redesign, iPad multitasking, and other iOS milestones. I was genuinely surprised with some of the announcements this year.

The post Apple’s WWDC 2017 Highlights For iOS Developers appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Apple’s WWDC 2017 Highlights For iOS Developers

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

Need some inspiration for your overlay design? No problem.

overlay-inspiration
Image source.

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

Let me try that again.

Inspire more clicks, sales & signups with your overlays

Download our free Spring Overlay Lookbook, featuring 8 oh-so-beautiful, Unbounce-built overlays.


By entering your email you'll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

Feature image via Shutterstock.

Excerpt from - 

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

3 Scientific Reasons Why Overlays Are So Freaking Effective

Fact: Overlays increase conversion rates.

Why? Because science.

But before we dig into the science, let’s take a look at why overlays are a marketer’s best friend.

overlay-best-friend
Image via Giphy.

A second (and often last) chance to convert

Here’s something no one in ecommerce wants to hear: Prospects abandon websites in droves, and most will never return.

There are many reasons why visitors leave: they’re not swayed by your offer, they’re not the right fit (or they just don’t know it yet), they’re distracted, they’re rushed.

Regardless of why, it doesn’t take a scientist to point out that re-engaging abandoning visitors could dramatically improve your conversion rates.

This is where overlays (a.k.a. your new “bestie”) come to the rescue.

Overlays provide a second chance for your audience to convert. And by focusing the visitor’s attention on just one timely, relevant and valuable offer (the trifecta of effective overlays), your chances of conversion go through the roof.

Here’s an example…

Upon seeing the shipping costs associated with their order, a potential customer may decide to abandon the sale. Implementing an overlay offering a deal on shipping could prevent cart abandonment and close the sale.

happy-conversion-dance
This is our we-just-closed-a-sale dance. Image via Giphy.

But why do abandoning users change their minds?

Back to the science.

#1: Overlays counteract the paradox of choice

Think about the toothpaste aisle of your drugstore. There are whitening toothpastes, natural toothpastes, cinnamon flavored toothpastes… spearmint, peppermint, bubblegum!

analysis-paralysis
Are you overwhelmed yet? Image via Giphy.

With an online store, customers face a similar overload of options. They come in the form of multiple buttons, links and messages calling out for the visitor’s attention.

When they can’t decide, they flee. It seems that while humans are empowered by a little bit of choice, too much choice can result in analysis paralysis.

Author Barry Schwartz further illustrates this in his oldie-but-goodie book, The Paradox of Choice. In it he discusses the negative psychological impact an abundance of choice can have on our well being, and how eliminating choices can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Alleviating anxiety by way of eliminating options, then, is critical to making a sale.

It’s for this reason that landing pages are so effective in converting targeted traffic. By keeping the Attention Ratio at 1:1, landing pages focus a visitor’s attention on a single conversion goal, thus resulting in higher conversion rates than a page on your website.

But what about those web pages — shouldn’t they be optimized, too?

Yes, absolutely.

Overlays take on the role of a helpful salesperson, tapping your prospect on the shoulder and asking if they can be of assistance. They narrow the visitor’s attention on a single, enticing offer, and simplify the decision-making process for potential customers.

SImply put, overlays are effective for the same reason landing pages are effective: they eliminate distractions, provide the user with a last-chance offer and distill the choice down to a simple yes-or-no answer.

#2: Overlays re-engage prospects by using a neuro-linguistic programming technique called pattern interrupt

wait-what
Neuro what? Image via Giphy.

Sorry, let me explain.

Pattern interrupt is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) technique that has been used by salespeople for years. The concept is pretty straightforward: do or say something unexpected to disrupt a person from their normal patterns.

By interrupting patterns we create moments for change, which is why some people use the technique for breaking bad habits. Even something as simple as slapping an elastic band against your wrist can help interrupt a regular pattern

Overlays are driven by a similar logic. Unexpectedly, they show the visitor an offer that sweetens the pot, convincing them to think twice about their predictable path toward the ‘Back’ button.

In essence, you’re using the overlay much like you would the rubber band, to get your visitor’s attention and then focus it on something else, since what they were looking at before clearly wasn’t engaging them.

#3: Overlays leverage effective frequency by repeating and reinforcing your message

Several years ago I began seeing ads for a three-step skin clearing system that shall remain nameless.

At first I didn’t pay much attention to them, but after seeing ad after ad I started to wonder whether their claims had any validity; I was intrigued.

A few months later, I had a nasty breakout. I’d already warmed up to the idea of testing the product out, so I keyed in my credit card info and placed my order. A week later, a package arrived at my home with my first month’s supply.

ups-package
Image via Giphy.

That — what happened there — was the result of effective frequency.

Effective frequency is the number of times a prospect must be shown a particular message before taking the desired action.

There are varying theories on what the optimum number of times to show a message is — the law of seven, for example, suggests that it’s, well, seven. Whatever the case, it’s always more than once.

Overlays leverage effective frequency by providing you with an additional opportunity to serve up and thus reinforce your message. By using an overlay with similar messaging to your web page, you are in fact nudging your prospect toward becoming a customer.

Takeaways and learnings

Overlays don’t work because they’re the shiny new thing. They work because scientific — and particularly psychological — principles are at play.

  • Our brains don’t like complicated scenarios, and given how many we already face in daily life, the last thing we want are complicated consumer decisions. Simplicity of product choice = higher chance of conversion.
  • People are habitual by nature. We have certain patterns that we subscribe to, often unconsciously, that allow us operate on “autopilot”. Disrupting this pattern creates a moment for change, and doing so with an overlay may be just the thing to turn an unengaged visitor into a customer.
  • The more times we’re served up a message, the more likely we are to believe it to be true. By reinforcing the message on your web page with a similar supporting message on your overlay, you are in fact nudging your prospect toward becoming a customer.

Have you experimented with overlays? I’d love to hear about it the comments.

Get overlay ideas you can launch today

Download Unbounce’s newest ebook, 12 Proven Ways to Convert with Overlays
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3 Scientific Reasons Why Overlays Are So Freaking Effective

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]

Why We Started Treating Blog Posts Like Campaigns (and You Can Too!)

presidential-post-recap-blog-image

It’s easy to get stuck on the hamster wheel that is publishing three blog posts a week because that’s what we’ve always done.

At Unbounce, we still fall into the trap of publishing more versus publishing better, even though we know that one 10x post is always better than three mediocre posts.

However, as our team has grown, we’ve had the opportunity to step away from the hamster wheel to consider the most efficient and enjoyable way to spend our time while also providing value to our readers.

One such thing we’re experimenting with is treating specific blog posts like mini campaigns. That is, in addition to simply publishing well-written content, we’re also setting goals, implementing strategy and reporting on ROI. It’s something Joanna Wiebe touched on in her UFX talk.

On the verge of total content production burnout, Joanna and the team at Copyhackers changed the way they looked at, and thus produced, content.

They cut back their content production to just one epic post per month based on the hypothesis that if they made each post so valuable, so 10x, readers would be delighted to share their email address.

Turns out, they were right. According to Joanna,

We actually also got business growth out of it. We doubled the number of freelance copywriters on our list… and we sold out the next two Masterminds.

The blog team at Unbounce took a similar approach with this post by Aaron Orendorff.

Clinton vs. Trump presidential tear down post
In this epic post, Aaron and 18 marketing experts critique each candidate’s home page and donation funnel, offering A/B testing inspiration for campaign managers and curious marketers alike.

Before I get into the how, let me give you a quick recap of the results of the presidential post:

  • 7,536 unique page views, 4,513 new users and 99 new subscribers in first 30 days
  • 6,000+ social shares
  • Ranking first in Google for “presidential marketing campaigns” and “presidential marketing”

Not only that, but the post was trending on Inbound.org and was mentioned in this Inc. and this Huffington Post piece.

So how’d we do it?

Well, it all started with a casual Slack convo:

Slack conversation

Once we got a completed pitch from Aaron, it was clear to us that this post had potential to go, well, viral. But not if we didn’t do a little strategy to go along with it, starting with a detailed pitch…

Produce better content right from the beginning

Download Unbounces blog pitch framework, and ensure all your content is 10x content.
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If you’re not sure if your post is a good candidate for a content campaign, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it timely? Does it have newsjacking potential? Are people already talking about the topic?
  • Is it unique? Does it offer a fresh perspective on a familiar subject?
  • Does it have potential to rank in search engines? (This should require a little keyword research, but we’ll get to the how later.)
  • Are there other people invested in its success? Does it contain original quotes from industry experts? Does the author have a sizeable network?

All clear? Word. Now it’s time to strategize.

Phase I: Determine the goal of the post

Campaign posts require a lot more effort than a standard “3 Easy Ways to X” post does, so it’s important to determine a goal for the post, so that you can measure whether or not it was worth the added effort.

We’ll usually go with one of three options: leads (four-field form), subscribers (email only) or new users (traffic).

In the case of the Clinton vs. Trump post, our primary goal was new users. Because we were leveraging a trending topic, our suspicion was that the post would have great reach, but that the people reading it may be cold to Unbounce and therefore hesitant to hand over their lead info. Thus, this was a true TOFU post, focused on driving new eyes — and ideally prospects — to the blog.

As a baseline, we usually get between 500 and 800 new users on any given post. However, as I mentioned in the bullet points above, this post brought us over 4,500 new users in its first 30 days. Not too shabby, amirite?

hillary-gif
Our completely non-partisan happy dance. Image via Giphy.

Now, if you checked out the post, you may have noticed a few CTAs throughout, and even an exit overlay — all with separate goals!

While it’s not always viable or even smart to have a multiple goals, we decided on a secondary subscriber goal for two reasons: (1) the post was long (6,000 words), so we offered a PDF of the post in exchange for an email address and (2) we wanted to give new users who loved our content an opportunity to sign up for blog updates.

In total, we received 175 CTA submissions, 99 of which were brand new subscribers. If subscribers had been our primary goal, this number would have been disappointing, but since new users and, really, brand awareness was our goal, these 99 subscribers were the cherries on top.

Phase II: Keyword research and implementation

Content Marketer Helen Arceyut-Frixione took on the challenge of finding the juiciest keywords to rank for.

Taking into consideration searcher intent, Helen worked backwards to figure out (a) what might someone learn from the post and (b) what might someone search to find a post like this. Helen explains:

Although the post talks about sales funnels, that’s not what it’s really about. And I would be surprised if Google showed me this post after searching for “sales funnel.” However, if I search presidential marketing (and its variations), landing on this post makes total sense.

Once she had “presidential marketing” and a few other new keywords in mind, she was ready to verify their relevancy.

First Helen used Google Adwords Keyword Planner to get a pulse on monthly search volume. However, because the Keyword Planner only takes into account paid search, she then moved onto MOZ, which allows her to see where the organic opportunities are. She narrowed it down to a few potential keywords, which were then reviewed by our resident SEO expert Cody Campbell.

In the end, we focused our efforts primarily on “presidential marketing campaign.” As you can see below, our efforts paid off.

presidential marketing campaigns google search
You know you’re doing something right when you’re ranking higher than Forbes.

Phase III: Loop in influencers

A key part of this post’s success can be credited to the people involved: firstly, Unbounce Official Contributor Aaron Orendorff and secondly, the 18 influential experts who contributed analyses on each step of the candidate’s online donation funnel.

As a successful freelance content strategist and producer, Aaron is no stranger to writing high-performing pieces. Several of his highest performing posts have also leveraged trending topics, like this Entrepreneur piece, titled “The Mindy Kaling Guide to Entrepreneurial Domination”.

So with the right writer (right righter? write righter?) assigned to the piece, Aaron set out on a seemingly impossible mission: to wrangle 18 professional CROs, copywriters and content producers into submitting their critique on a tight deadline. I asked Aaron how he did it:

Wrangling 18 of the best conversion-rate optimizers wasn’t easy. But a few tricks helped get their contributions.

First, I had buy in from Kyle Rush from the jump — Clinton’s Deputy CTO — so attaching his name gave the piece immediate authority.

Second, the topic itself was killer; having something original for them to write about piqued their interest.

Third, I got granular. Instead of asking for “general” teardowns on each candidate’s site, I gave each contributor a specific section of one site to critique: (1) pop-up, (2) homepage or (3) donation page. Once they agreed, I created separate Google Docs for each section and gave them direct access to write up their notes.

Despite its challenges, getting 18 influential marketers to weigh in on this post was hugely impactful, because they too were invested in the success of the piece and thus shared it on their own social networks.

Andy Crestodina tweet
Neil Patel tweet
Both Andy Crestodina and Neil Patel have sizeable Twitter followings: ~18,000 and a staggering ~214,000, respectively.

Phase IV: Create custom blog assets

At Unbounce, we use Shutterstock for the majority of our feature blog images. Actually, until quite recently we didn’t even use Shutterstock — instead we used free images from various sources (if you use free images, check out this bomb-ass resource).

However, in this case we looped in our designers to give it the ol’ blowout treatment. Not only did they produce a striking feature image, they also made an exit overlay with the same design.

Exit overlay on presidential post

Exit overlays and popups in general are a touchy subject, because they can be abrupt. So when we use them, we try to do it in a way that is both value-added and delightful. In this case, we’ve added value by giving time-constrained readers an opportunity to read the post at their leisure. As for delight, well, did you see the button copy?

exit overlay tweet

Phase V: Distribution (social and otherwise)

The final key piece in your blog post campaign is distribution. I mean, why put all that work into the post if people aren’t going to read it?

Aaron took a lot off our hands by contacting each contributor to let them know the post was live; step one, leverage influencers: check!

I also met with Community Strategist Hayley Mullin to ensure we were were covered on the social front.

Of course, #election2016, #Trump and #Clinton were trending; however, Hayley opted to use those hashtags sparingly, since most people searching them out wouldn’t be looking for a post about conversion rate optimization. Again — as in the case with keyword selection — we took searcher’s intent into consideration.

Instead, she split her efforts between presidential-esque hashtags and marketing-type hashtags, including #CRO and, well, #Marketing. I asked Hayley about her strategy:

We had to strike a balance between taking advantage of the election hype — without making a statement — and staying relevant. So I targeted broad, uncontroversial audiences in both politics and marketing to case a wide net on both sides. As tempting as it was to dive into the more fervorous political communities, it would have been a gimmicky move that wasn’t true to the nature of the post.

One last thing we did, in an effort to get as much juice as possible out of this post, was to share it with our team and ask them to share it in their networks.

Internal email Unbounce
Please excuse the overused subject line.

So if you were wondering: No, we are not above just asking people to share something. Because sometimes a little nudge is what we all need.

Takeaways, tips and learnings

So, that’s it, folks. That’s how we approach our blog post mini-campaigns. If you’d like to give it a go yourself (and I highly suggest you do!) here’s the advice I can offer:

  1. Be in “the know.” Keep an eye out and and ear to the ground for trending topics you can put your own unique spin on.
  2. Establish a goal for your post. Is it leads? Is it traffic? Whatever the case, figure that out early so you can measure whether post was a success or not.
  3. Think about searcher’s intent — and do it in both the keyword research and distribution phase. You want people to find your post, but you want the people who find the post to also stay on it, maybe even share it, because it’s relevant to them.
  4. Involve influencers. Okay, so getting 18 well-known experts in your field might not be doable every time, but asking a few notable peeps for original quotes can go a long way. This gives them buy-in to share when the post is live, and you’re doing them a solid by boosting their professional clout.
  5. Consider custom images. Stock photos have gotten so much better over the years, but they don’t always cut the mustard when you’re championing a piece with viral potential. If you have access to a designer — or have some design chops of your own — consider creating a memorable custom image that you’d like to see in your own social media feeds.

Have any of your own tips for making your content work harder for you? I’d love to hear them, so drop me a line in the comments.

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Why We Started Treating Blog Posts Like Campaigns (and You Can Too!)

Master the Multi-Channel Campaign [Free Digital Campaign Launch Kit]

rocket launching
Think NASA launches without solid preparation? Well, neither should your marketing team. Image via Shutterstock.

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Nobody?

What about when you casually scope a project only to realize halfway through that it’s going to require more time and resources than you originally thought?

No one again?

I’ll stop — y’all know what I’m getting at: proper preparation is key to getting a campaign shipped with minimal friction. This means filling out a detailed brief and scoping the project from start to finish.

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  • Campaign projections worksheet
  • Marketing brief template
  • A start-to-finish process for launching multi-channel campaigns, including how to define roles, determine your target market and messaging, identify the campaign’s objective, strategy, tactics and targets and get buy-in from stakeholders. Oh, and how to launch :)

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Master the Multi-Channel Campaign [Free Digital Campaign Launch Kit]