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Revenge of the Social Media Manager: What’s YOUR Time Worth?

time commitment

We all know that social media is a black hole for time… Sucking us in… forever lost in the continuous newsfeed messages and Pinterest pins. So when I say “time commitment,” I can almost see your eyeballs roll as you nod in agreement. Mornings are started late after we take a quick scroll through our newsfeed and check our personal accounts. And yes, personal accounts usually come before business ones. Then afternoons disappear after we follow one hashtag on Instagram, and end up looking at some interesting photos on Tumblr. Source: Placeit.net Professional social media managers, however, knows how to…

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Revenge of the Social Media Manager: What’s YOUR Time Worth?

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The Hip Hop Guide to Landing Page Domination

I was eleven when I first heard Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” and — despite being a prepubescent, white kid from the less-than-hard-knock streets of Pueblo, Colorado — my life was never the same.

Hip hop struck a chord in me: a rebellious, artistic and just-go-out-there-and-get-it chord.

However, it wasn’t until last month that hip hop struck a new chord… one that I never saw coming. Growling through my $20 earbuds at the gym, DMX put it like this:

X gon give it to ya. [Forget] waitin’ for you to get it on your own. X gon deliver to ya.

Suddenly, it all clicked. What does hip hop have to do with landing pages?

Everything.

That’s why I’ve put together these five data-driven lessons (and oh-so-sharable memes) straight outta hip hop’s most iconic lyrics to prove to you that everything we both know about landing pages, we learned from hip hop.

1. Bring qualified visitors to you with high-intent ads

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Paid advertising gets a bad rap… pun intended.

There’s myth running around that free traffic (i.e., SEO, email marketing, social media marketing) is the “smart” conversion rate expert’s go-to strategy. Why pay for leads when you can get ‘em for free?

Because paid advertising can buy you higher-converting leads… when you know how to use them right.

The key is understanding the searcher’s intent.

What is the best way to [specific product feature]?” and “How much is [specific product or service]?” are two very different searches and require different ads. The first is a research question and your ads should be offer educational content. The second reveals a person who is ready to buy, but is concerned about price, which is where guarantees and comparisons shine.

Using specific products as keywords — rather than a general category — targets people who are already close to purchase. As SparkPay’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to PPC explains:

Think about what people are searching for when they are going to buy your product. Don’t come up with keywords like “best online golf store.” Nobody searches for that. They are searching for a product, and we want to bid on product-based keywords.

To create successful high-intent paid ads:

2. Focus on your buyer’s real-life journey

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Optimizing your landing pages isn’t just about optimizing your landing page.

It’s about stepping into the shoes of your leads and guiding them through a journey (i.e., your funnel): moving someone from your paid ad, to your landing page, to your follow up, to your offer.

Two principles are paramount:

  1. Craft this real-life journey like a human and
  2. Track it like a robot.

On the human side, think of your funnel like a conversation

Your paid ad is the opening gambit. This means it all starts with them — high-intent keywords — rather than you. Your landing page — especially, its headline, subheads, and CTA — must all build on that opener.

That singular thread is what Unbounce’s Oli Gardner calls conversation momentum: maintaining the same conversational style and tone across all campaign channels.

This means matching the phrasing of your ad with that of your landing page copy (message match), and maintaining the same tone and design.

And as obvious as it might sound, your messages themselves have to be authentic. Real-life journeys are full of emotions. Avoid jargon, and, above all, tell a story.

On the robot side, get analytical

Start by tracking your entire funnel with Google Analytics Goals. In a previous post, I wrote about the “fatal mistake” marketers make when it comes to funnel focus: namely, losing themselves in the “wide end.”

Setting GA Goals allow you to create easy-to-use visualization to measure each step in the journey:

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At a glance, GA funnels allow you to see where people are dropping off. In this example, CTR is being tracked from an initial page, to a second goal (such as a pricing page), to the final goal: the checkout.

This allows you to determine which parts in the journey have the highest drop off rate, and give you the information you need to optimize areas with the biggest potential for improvement.

3. Only have one call to action

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A powerful CTA button is the acme of CRO. Knowing that, the temptation is to overdo it. If you’ve created multiple CTAs but struggle with conversions… I feel bad for you son.

The truth is more buttons do not mean more conversions.

In fact, when Unbounce reduced the number of registration options for their Master Unbounce in 30 Minutes webinar by eliminating just one excess CTA, conversions increased by 16.93% with 100% confidence.

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What does this mean for your landing pages?

If you’re drowning viewers in buttons, one of two things is happening:

  1. You’re not being clear about what the exact next step is.
  2. You’re paralyzing them with too many choices. Barry Schwartz, the master of choice, revealed the counter-intuitive truth of too many options in his TEDx Talk:

With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all… even if we manage to overcome the paralysis and make a choice, we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from.

When it comes to landing pages, Oli Gardner calls this “attention ratio:” the ratio of links on a landing page to the number of page goals. And Oli explains that it should always be 1 to 1. Why?

Because every campaign has one goal, every corresponding landing page should have only one call to action – one place to click.

On top of selecting a single, clear, and driving CTA, high-converting buttons also follow these two basic rules:

  1. They look like buttons that can be clicked, with contrasting colors and other affordances.
  2. They answer the question, “Why should I click?” Use the “I want” formula presented by Joanna Wiebe: have your buttons complete the sentence “I want to ____.”

4. Don’t neglect the backend

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What makes a landing page convert over the long term?

The secret is mixing in a lot (wink wink) of targeted follow-up, based directly on the information you gathered from your leads.

In a word: the backend. Backend is a sales and marketing term that refers to what happens after your customer’s initial opt-in or first purchase. This includes lead nurturing, customer retention and upselling.

A tight backend includes at least four parts:

  1. The initial opt in and follow up: When a visitor opts in, any information they submit needs an immediate response. More than that, because selling is a process, not an event, you’ll also need a multi-step follow-up. Why? As Oktopost recently pointed out, “nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.”
  2. Cart abandonment: The average ecommerce site can expect cart abandonment rates of around 55% to 75%… so why not send personalized emails to give prospects a friendly reminder? In a classic case study by Marketing Experiments, Smiley Cookie was able to regain 29% of its abandoned carts by reaching out within 24 hours.
  3. First purchases and upselling: Crossing the threshold from lead to customer is huge. And in the excitement of that moment, many business fail to keep the purchase-ball rolling. Immediately follow up with customers, guide through the onboarding process, and think of ways you can upsell them with items that supplement their purchase.
  4. Reviving the “dead” lead: Dead leads — visitors who opt in but never actually purchase — can give marketers anxiety. But there are simple thing you can do to rekindle your relationship (it could be as simple as a magic nine word email).

5. “One shot” isn’t enough

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While designing your landing page with a “one shot, one opportunity” mindset might sound inspirational… it’s decidedly bad business.

Enter remarketing.

Remarketing is a form of advertising that uses pixel or cookie-based technology to “tag” specific visitors and present ads to them based on their previous visit. Essentially, these ads “follow” your visitors when they leave your site and are displayed to them on other sites, most notably, on YouTube, Google Display Network and Facebook.

As Johnathan Dane of KlientBoost points out:

Retargeting ads have a 10x higher click-through rate than display ads – and visitors subject to retargeting are 70% more likely to complete a conversion compared to non-retargeted visitors.

If you’re just getting started with retargeting, check out this post by Johnathan or grab HubSpot’s A Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting Ads.

A couple quick pointers

  • Create remarketing ads with as much specification as you do PPC ads: focus on retargeting ads that highlight specific products based on specific pages. In other words, don’t retarget your brand or site… retarget exactly what your visitor showed interest in.
  • Use psychological tactics like social proof and urgency to draw clicks from pre-exposed leads.
  • Select your channels strategically. Place remarketed ads where your audience is most likely to be thinking about your product.
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid to retarget converted leads with upsells.

Applying hip hop to your landing pages

Fun, games and punning aside, hip hop is an amazing resource for learning how to dominate your landing pages and entire online sales process.

I’d love to hear your own favorite lyrics and lesson in the comments.

Oh, and don’t forget to add a meme.

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The Hip Hop Guide to Landing Page Domination

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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. 

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How to Charge Your Clients for Landing Page Services

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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Kick-Start Your International Marketing Strategy by Leveraging Your Content

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Global marketing. Localization. International marketing. Entering emerging markets. Basically, world domination.

These are large, terrifying words because they represent an even bigger, intimidating marketing strategy. And when you think of putting that strategy into action, the reasons (excuses) start to pile against it:

  • “Global marketing is for deep-pocketed Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola or Salesforce.”
  • “It’s just too large of a project to take on right now.”
  • “We really don’t have the bandwidth or time or budget.”

So you shy away from the thought of expanding beyond the borders of where you set up shop. Until eventually, you hit a ceiling and your company stops growing…

But the fact is that doing the same ol’, same ol’ won’t allow you to continue to grow (how do you think you become a Fortune 500 company, anyway?). There are massive opportunities to be explored in different markets — opportunities that others may see as obstacles or risk.

And investing in a global marketing strategy isn’t as daunting as you might think.

There are small steps you can take to develop a global digital marketing strategy — starting with your content marketing — and they’re all pretty digestible and straightforward.

Start with what has worked in local markets

At its core, international marketing strategy isn’t rocket science. It’s about taking what works and doing more of it.

Think about how you grew your current marketing channels, drove leads and ultimately got more customers. Then replicate that strategy and localize it in other markets.

From the beginning, at Unbounce, we’ve focused on growing our content channels and distributing that content through an engaged online social community. As co-founder Oli Gardner puts it:

Unbounce has been a content-driven company since day one.

So when we set out to tackle international marketing, looking beyond our North American customer base, we knew that focusing on the content strategies that brought us growth over the last six years was a great place to start — from writing epic blog posts to comprehensive ebooks and revenue-generating webinars.

Knowing that these content marketing campaigns brought us growth in North America, we set out to replicate them for the German market.


An international marketing strategy ≠ starting from square one. What has worked locally?
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Leverage content that has performed well

A study of Fortune 500 companies showed that those that localized their content were two times more likely to increase profit and 1.25 times more likely to grow earnings per share year over year.

As Heidi Lorenzen, Chief Marketing Officer at Cloudwords puts it:

Localization of content is critical for engaging audiences outside company headquarters because it represents marketing personalization in its purest form.

You can’t just translate all your landing pages and pricing pages and call it a day. Like any other leads, leads in other markets expect you to deliver value.

So how do you get started on localizing content and driving leads?

1. Prioritize and identify opportunities

If you think of about creating localized marketing campaigns for the world, you’ll easily get overwhelmed and it will seem like a massive undertaking. Take it country by country, step by step, and you’ll see results faster.

Which markets represent the biggest opportunity for you? To determine the potential of various countries, you should ask questions like:

  • How many customers do you currently have in specific regions and how much success have you had in that market?
  • How much revenue do you pull in from that country? How much revenue per user?
  • What’s churn like in that region?
  • How easy it will be for your company to do business in that market? What are your emerging markets?
  • How mature is the market? Will you have to educate the market about your product/service and create more top-of-the-funnel activities?
  • How easy will it be for people to pay you? Do they readily use credit cards? This article about selling through a subscription model in Brazil shows how laws, politics, taxes and bank rules can all represent hurdles for SaaS companies looking to expand their reach.

Make it a goal to identify your top three growth markets. Once you have a clearer picture and a deeper understanding of where you should go… well, go there.

2. Hire a unicorn

Once you’ve chosen a country, you’ll want to hire a local marketer.

Ideally, this person will be a full stack marketer who has a deep understanding of that specific region (whether they’re originally from there or physically living there).

You’ll want a marketing ambassador who can communicate effectively with that regional market while simultaneously driving results for your business. In short, you’ll want someone who gets sh*t done.

Meet Ben Harmanus, our Community and Content Marketing Manager for the DACH region
Meet Ben Harmanus, our Community and Content Marketing Manager for the DACH region

Fabian Liebig has quickly become the face of Optimizely in Germany, just as Inken Kuhlmann has become the face of HubSpot in the German, Austrian and Swiss region (DACH). At Unbounce, we’ve got our very own DACH marketer too: Ben Harmanus.

Locals value being able to interact with an ambassador for your company — whether via email, Skype, webinars or live events — in the language of their choice.

The day a brand gets a local ambassador is the day they truly become a local player.

(Psst. We are hiring a Content and Community Marketing Manager for Brazil right now).

3. Look at your data and identify popular content

Once you’ve got your country and your marketer, it’s time to start marketing. But where to start?

When it comes to content marketing in these new markets, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Think of the the current content that attracts new visitors to your website and converts them into leads and customers:

  • Dig into your traffic data to see which evergreen blog posts are performing well. Translate those posts or write original content on a similar subject.
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  • Evaluate which of your ebooks has brought you the most leads. Don’t forget to ask yourself if the content is still relevant to the market you’re expanding to.
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HubSpot, the masters of lead gen, translated and localized an ebook to grow their Latin American leads and customers.
  • Instead of subtitling webinars, get local experts to hold webinars in the language of the market you’re expanding into.

4. Translate and localize content pieces

Equipped with a list of content validated by your original market, it’s time to start preparing content for your new market by translating it. But translating your content word-for-word isn’t enough for it to resonate with new markets. You’ve also got to localize it.

What exactly does this mean? You need to be flexible and react to trends in the particular region. For example, while North Americans love football, baseball and ice hockey, everyone in Europe is talking about soccer (or football – you need to localize language as well!).

This will determine which pop culture references you make in your content, but also which tactics and strategies you should write about. In the words of our DACH marketing manager Ben:

The knowledge level in Europe or Germany is very different. All the marketing trends from North America take 2-3 years or even longer to become some kind of trend over here; 4-5 years to become a best practice.

I have to be careful what topics I pick to position the brand. You need to adapt. Choose your topic and combine your content with trending topics in your local market.

From there, create a new category or WordPress install for your new, translated blog content and get to posting.

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Unbounce’s German blog homepage.

Once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll also want to email your current customers from that region and invite them to read your blog content, subscribe to a webinar or download an ebook in their native language.

german-leads-blog-announcement
This is the email we sent to our German customers, telling them about the launch of our blog and inviting them to subscribe.

Chances are they will be delighted to find content in their native language, which could potentially lower churn and increase customer lifetime value. They might even share the piece with their friends.

You know what that means, right? Leads on leads on leads!

5. Create localized landing pages to generate leads

It’s nice to think that if you create content, people will come, but you need to give people opportunities to convert.

To get started, you’ll want to translate a number of your landing pages:

  • Blog subscription landing page: Don’t forget to give people an opportunity to subscribe to regular blog updates, whether in the blog sidebar or on a dedicated blog subscription landing page.
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The email prospects receive upon signing up for our German Newsletter.
  • Lead gen pages for ebooks and webinars: Just as you would on your current blog, be sure to optimize posts for lead gen. For example, have a look at this CTA our German community manager Ben placed at the end of a German blog post:
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A CTA on the bottom of our blog post promoting a German webinar.
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The corresponding landing page, localized for the DACH market and in German.
  • Pricing page/trial sign up page: Building out an entire localized website can take some time. If you don’t have the development time (who does?) or budget to fully translate your website site at first, get your local marketing manager to build and localize a simple landing page that they can send traffic to in the meantime.
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This is our product page for the DACH region. While we localize our website to give our DACH region a dedicated web experience, we send traffic to this. Click for full-length landing page.

6. Build localized communities around your content

Once you’ve got your content and lead gen landing pages in place, you want to drive as much traffic as possible.

Ideally, you’ve hired a local marketer who can now begin to help you build a community and audience around a specific region.

localized-social-media-communities
Eventbrite, HubSpot and Hootsuite have individual, region-specific social accounts to target a localized audience.

Have your unicorn run these accounts — their deep understanding of the market will help them speak to audience members in language they can really relate to.

Are you ready to take on the world?

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Moving into different markets can feel daunting and intimidating.

But if you take it one step at a time, leveraging past content marketing campaigns that you’ve run, it starts to feel much more manageable.

And then you no longer feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Want to know more about how to approach global expansion? HubSpot has an amazing ebook titled The Global Marketing Playbook that dives into Global Marketing even further. Be sure to check it out.

More:  

Kick-Start Your International Marketing Strategy by Leveraging Your Content

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Ask a CRO: 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.

From – 

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Get More from Social by Doing Less [PODCAST]

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So many social networks, so little time. Image via Flickr.

Facebook users react to and interact with content differently than Twitter users, and you won’t see results from your social media campaigns if you’re blanket publishing across all networks. But with all the social media platforms out there, it can be a real pain in the booty to tailor every piece of content to each specific network.

But as we learned in the latest episode of the Call to Action podcast, there’s plenty that can be done to streamline the process; Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS, shared some analytics hacks to help you see better results without having to work harder.

You will learn:

  • Why you should use UTM codes to keep track of the performance of your content on social media.
  • How data can help you determine which social media network is right for each piece of content.
  • How Ryan got a marketing post to go viral on Reddit (hint: he started by collecting tons of data).

Listen to the podcast

Listen on iTunes.
Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS.

Stephanie Saretsky: With all of the different social media platforms out there, it can seem like a pain in the booty to tailor every piece of content to each specific network. But if you’re mass posting links and not seeing great results, then you probably subconsciously know the answer to your problem.

So, how do you figure out where’s the best place to share that awesome post on 9 Marketing Tips From Your Office Dog?

It’s all in your data, my friend. Unbounce’s Content Strategist Dan Levy spoke with Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS, about the analytic hacks you can use to beef up your social presence and maximize your time.

Dan: You opened your post by saying that social media is quickly becoming one of the most time-consuming marketing channels, what do you mean by that?

Ryan: You know, I’m very big on native content and native publishing. So what I mean by that is when I publish something to my Instagram, I don’t push it to Facebook because it’s not technically native, right? I mean, the content that shows up on Instagram is significantly different than the content that shows up on Facebook. So the strategy that I’ve developed and what I’ve really seen working really well is creating content specifically for each network, specifically on Facebook. I mean, Facebook right now is on a crusade to keep traffic within Facebook. I mean, you look at what’s happening with pages over the last couple of years. You know, the “organic reach” has gone down. Some people view that as a bad thing and kind of jump ship from Facebook. But if you just play by their rules and just try and keep traffic within Facebook — though you have to ask yourself the question, “What matters, is it traffic to your site or is it people consuming your content?” So taking a different approach and actually creating content that lives within Facebook, especially like native video, native long form posts, images — I mean, this type of content just crushes it on Facebook. But it’s a different type of metric, it’s not traffic to your site. It’s content consumed, it’s views, it’s likes, it’s shares… so in that sense, as a business owner, I don’t have time to do that and it’s become a very, very time consuming process, but a very important process nonetheless.

Dan: That’s really interesting. I guess that speaks to the whole conversation about owned media versus earned media.

Ryan: Yeah. You know, it’s crazy because us as marketers, you know, one little thing changes, we get used to doing something. We finally figure out how to rig the site — that we finally figured out how to get that click the rate up — and next thing you know everything has changed, right? And it’s frustrating as a marketer, but as opposed to taking the time to take to a blog and write about it and complain about it, if you just understand that Facebook doesn’t want you to leave. You know, they don’t want you to man your page, but there’s things that they want you do, and just understanding that… I mean, like I said, video right now — Facebook is making a tremendous push to get YouTube off the planet. Facebook wants to be the video hosting platform because video is the fastest growing content on the planet. So instead of posting a YouTube link and obsessing over YouTube views and obsessing over ranking those YouTube videos, just post it to Facebook. If you upload it natively to Facebook you can get like 10, 20, 30 times the reach of a YouTube link. So again — and this is kind of stealing stuff from what I’ve heard BuzzFeed talk about over the couple of years — when they look at their metrics, they look at combined page views. They look at combined views, so they’re looking at Snapchat’s use. They’re looking at Facebook embed views. They’re looking at YouTube views. They’re not looking at traffic pages per se as part of the metric, but they understand that, you know, our attention spans are fleeting and they’re fleeting quickly. And our attention is where we want it to be: it’s on Twitter, it’s on Instagram, it’s on a blog post. So understand that you’re not gonna reach everybody with blog post and one piece of content. You have to repurpose it across channels and take advantage of what those platforms offer. And it’s a lot of work, but you look at somebody like BuzzFeed who has taken over the world with what they’re doing — it’s really the way of the future, especially for content marketing and social, really.

Dan: Yeah. So your blog post is all about how you can streamline that process. But before you can streamline, you need to make sure that you’re tracking things correctly, right? And you talk about using UTM codes.

Ryan: Yeah.

Dan: I don’t want to get too technical here, but can you explain why these codes are so important? And I’m curious to know how many marketers you think are actually using them correctly?

Ryan: That’s a great question. So a UTM code is just – you know, if you’re not familiar with analytics this is gonna kind of sound like Greek – it’s a URL parameter. And what it does is it literally just injects text into the end of a URL stream, so it tells Google Analytics where that traffic is coming from. Because if you post 100 links to Facebook, they’re all gonna show up in your analytics as Facebook unless you look at a pages report of where you sent that content. But still, it’s not effective. Because if you’re posting three links to the same page from Facebook, you’re not going to be able to tell which one of them at what time is driving traffic. What a UTM code does is it breaks down each link that you post into a separate line in your Google Analytics. So you can actually see every single link that you post across Twitter. Wherever you’re posting a link, it tracks it, including internal links on blog posts and stuff like that. So when you’re looking at stuff like, “When should I be posting? What should I be posting? Where should I be posting?” That’s how you really start digging into those answers because you can really nail down exactly which post is driving what. And in terms of how many marketers are using them, I don’t know. If you have any sort of paid search background or paid advertising background, you use them because they kind of auto append from Google Analytics. But I think if you’re in the social space, very few people use them unless you’re working for a big agency. I run a small agency, but I’ve worked with big agencies before, so I understand the difference, and big agencies understand analytics, and their team understands analytics. I would probably say more than 75 percent don’t use them for sure.

Dan: Yeah, so that’s a huge opportunity.

Ryan: A huge opportunity, yeah.

Dan: We’ve talked about on the podcast before how in many ways the world of social media marketing and content marketing are converging with the world of paid marketing and marketers who are able to bring that paid marketing experience and that data-driven outlook to the table are at a huge advantage.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. I’m an organic SEO, “expert by trade.” That’s how I got into this digital industry, that’s where my interests mostly lie. But just because of how dynamic organic search is in the touch points with content, the touch points with social — even understanding how offline advertising plays into organic search — branded search, and increasing the rankings through that, driving demand and stuff like that. I mean, I’ve really learned kind of the full gambit of marketing as a whole, offline and online. But what’s happening right now is really interesting because ads just don’t work anymore. Like, banner ads just don’t work like they used to for a number of reasons. I mean — banner blindness — they’re annoying, they’re obtrusive. You know, we’re at a point where value matters. That’s really why content matters, because it’s about adding value. And when you throw a paid spend in, so like what we’re doing is we’re creating really, really advanced targeting using Facebook. Facebook has just an insane amount of data. I mean, you know where people have shopped. If you think about all the websites that you log into with your Facebook account, Facebook has that data. It’s really valuable data, but like a paid search doesn’t have that type of data. So if you can take a way to combine those two, you know, taking that information from Facebook and retargeting across search — and even across banner if that’s what you want to do — it’s powerful. So what we do is we create like very specific types of content. Very good blog posts. It may be like a gated piece of content, and we take advantage of the paid promotions. I mean, it’s really cheap to promote a post on Facebook, drive a ton of traffic to a landing page and really target a specific audience of people using that Facebook data, get them to a landing page, cookie them, and then retarget across search and social. So we’re building custom audiences using content, if that makes sense, and it’s like ridiculously powerful right now.

Dan: Yeah, we actually just had one guy from an agency in Chicago who is running Facebook ads for New Balance. And they found that once they were able to optimize their ads for Facebook website conversions or landing page conversions, that they were able to get way better ROI out of that than, you know, I guess what you were talking about earlier, which is just keep people in the Facebook ecosystem. So I guess there’s a time where you want to keep people in Facebook and focus on clicks and views. And then when you’re looking at conversions in particular, you want to start looking at pinning them to a landing page, which is actually what I wanted to ask you about next. You know, social media is typically seen, I think, as more of a top-of-the-funnel channel, so are conversions really the right metric to track on social?

Ryan: I think it depends. I mean, in short, yes. I mean, number one, it depends how you’re tracking conversions, right? I mean, if you’re doing last touch attribution, first touch attribution… basically what that means is if, you know, somebody discovered your website through Facebook first and then ended up converting through organic search, or if they came through paid search first and ended up seeing a Facebook post that you didn’t convert to Facebook. So that’s the difference between first touch and last touch, so it depends how you’re tracking it. But just understanding that you can no longer ignore anything if you really want to. You know, you can have success online, or you can have success as a business by just being really good at paid or really good at organic. But if you really want to crush it — like really dominate on the web these days — you can’t ignore anything. Because it’s understanding the customer journey, it’s not just like, “Oh, let me type in, ‘Buy a pair of shoes’ right now and then buy them,” right? That’s just not the way it works anymore, right? I mean, we have so much information available to us. there’s so many different touch points and discovery points of really getting to know a brand and getting to know a product that you can’t just be like – you know, I hear it all the time from clients: “My customer isn’t on Snapchat.” Or like, “I’m not gonna waste my time on Instagram because it doesn’t drive sales.” But you can’t look at it like that. You have to take them all seriously. And I understand if you don’t have the resources to pay somebody full time to post to Snapchat. I get that and I’m not going to force that on you, but I am gonna tell you ahead of time that you can’t ignore it, especially because it’s by far the fastest growing medium on the planet, and whether or not your audience is there right now, you better believe in a couple years that they will be. That’s just the flow of social, right? You know, it’s tough to say. Does social drive an ROI? I’m gonna say yes because for me I source a lot of clients off of Twitter, off of Facebook, Google+, so I’ll say it drives an ROI for me. But again, I also know that they’re not just seeing a Facebook post and calling me up and paying me money to do stuff. That’s just not the way it works.

Dan: And I guess the bottom line is that maybe Snapchat is a top-of-the-funnel channel for people right now. Maybe at some point it will be more at the bottom-of-the-funnel channel. But when it comes down to it, social has a place at all parts of the marketing funnel. You just have to figure out which network makes sense at which stage, I suppose.

Ryan: Yeah.

Dan: So where’s the best place to start when you’re trying to identify whether your social efforts are driving conversions? Should you look at your posts overall and how they’re converting, or really figure out which network is most lucrative for your business?

Ryan: Again, what we’re talking about all lies in your data, right? I mean, I would get active on everything. Tag everything with UTM codes. Even if you don’t have a presence, do what you can and just look at your data. Understand where the value is coming from by looking at black and white data. Is it driving conversions? Is it driving traffic? And again, going back to understanding that while conversions do pay your bills and keep the lights on, they shouldn’t be the only goal. There should be sub-goals, or even separate goals. I mean, branding is kind of a buzzword. It’s’ thrown around, but I think it’s really making a resurgence because of social. I mean, you can create like a mini-BuzzFeed. That just like kind of sprung up over the last couple of years. That’s just a powerhouse right now, and it’s because of social. I mean, they do 80 percent of their traffic from social media. So again, it does lie in your data and understanding just how to dig that out — which obviously I talked about in the post — is incredibly valuable. And it really saves you a lot of time too, so you don’t have to ask these questions. You can just look at a report and you know if it does or not.

Dan: Yeah, and your post goes through lots of really useful reports, which are more interesting to look at and talk about. But I wonder if you could give us an example of how you’ve maybe taken the data that you’ve collected from one of these reports and then used it to optimize your social strategy accordingly?

Ryan: Yeah. I mean, one of the biggest things that I do is optimizing time of day that I post. As an agency owner, that started for me as a consultant and it’s growing really fast. I’m unfortunately still at the point where everything runs through me. I’m building my team, but I’m doing it at a pace that I can keep up with. So my time is absolutely by far, by none, the most valuable asset to my agency right now, because if everything has to run through me, then it’s all dependent on my time. So understanding how to get the most out of social media with the least amount of my time, and even being able to pass that on to a junior person is incredibly valuable. So I really, really, really dig into, you know, not so much conversions, but I look at more front-end data, like engagement on Twitter specifically. You know, what time is my following most active? When are my posts getting the most reach? So that way what I can do is I can just automate it with like a Buffer, or a Hootsuite — whatever suite you wanted to use — and really get the most out of my following. But also understanding that you have to consistently test because if you’re growing your social media following like you should be — you’re getting new followers and they have a different schedule than your existing following when you’ve done analysis. So it’s important to really be mindful of your data and keep a constant eye on it, but it’s really not that difficult. You know, once you understand exactly what to look for, you can get in and out of there in less than three minutes for them, and you’re just setting up one report and looking at it.

Dan: I mean, I guess platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easier to figure that stuff out, but not all channels have that sort of built in analytics function. I read about an interesting case in your post, where you were able to drive — I think it was like more than 1,600 views or something — from Reddit by just optimizing the timing of when you posted on that channel. Can you tell that story?

Ryan: Yeah, Reddit’s tough. You know, it’s funny, if you look at the amount of times that I’ve failed miserably on Reddit versus that, you probably wouldn’t even look twice at it. But yeah, I mean, I understood the power of Reddit as a platform, in terms of how many people were in it and the traffic that it can drive. It’s all desktop too, which is rare these days. So you’re getting desktop traffic, but also just because I had never had success on it before because it’s a very, very difficult platform in its terms of the users, they’re overly honest at times.

Dan: It’s not a place where people appreciate being marketed to all the time.

Ryan: Exactly. That’s well said. But I understood the value of what it could have in terms of link generation, traffic, exposure, all that stuff. And if you get something to go viral on Reddit, I mean, you’re talking traffic in the millions. But, you know, I looked for a lot of resources on how to growth hack it, but what I found was that there really is no growth hacking Reddit. It’s just one of those things where, number one, you have to abide by the rules of Reddit, like post in the right subreddit, post with the right titles, post the right content. As boring and lame as that advice sounds, if you don’t do that you’re never going to have success. But the other big thing was looking at when people were most active. So really, all I did was I just start to research the subreddits that I wanted to post in. and then, in the subreddit, it tells you how many people are online at that time. And all I did — really lame, but I took data for like a week or two. I checked three times a day every day for like seven or ten days: how many people were online in those subreddits that I was targeting? And then I just charted it out and it was easy to see when the most people were online. And I just kind of got lucky by hitting the right subreddit at the right time with the right content. And 1,600 — actually in the grand scheme of things, it’s the best data that I have on it, but in the grand scheme of Reddit, it’s not that much, but it was very targeted traffic. It was coming from marketing business type subreddit, so the traffic actually had some value to me.

Dan: It’s funny, I guess sometimes the most effective tactics aren’t like the sexy growth hacks, but just the, like you said, the lame boring keep a spreadsheet for a week manually and then you might actually have some pretty good results out of that kind of like old fashion police work.

Ryan: Yeah. And I think people really underestimate the value of – you know, I think growth hacker is kind of buzzword for just a really good marketer, really. But the best growth hackers are the ones that really pay attention to data. I mean, they might not talk about it as much because it’s not really that sexy, but you cannot have success, you cannot have explosive success because if you’re just kind of just pulling things out left and right, you’re never going to be able to growth hack that process, because it is a process. If you want to have success in this world, you’ve got to do things the right way. There are no shortcuts. But understanding how to get there quicker is because you know how to get there, and that comes from understanding what works. And that comes from your data.

Dan: Yeah, so the results might be awesome and explosive, but the process itself is actually usually pretty geeky.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely, not sexy.

Dan: There are sexy geeks, but I guess it’s a different story. So the last tactic for streamlining your social marketing that you share in your posts is to zero in on who else is sharing your content on social? Can you break that one down for us? What’s the opportunity here and where’s the best place to start?

Ryan: Yeah, it’s a big opportunity. And this kind of ties into the non-conversion type stuff. But, you know, I’m very very big on building communities. I don’t think it’s something that as marketers we talk about enough, or even deliver to clients. I mean, everybody does it, you know, like building a Twitter following, building a Facebook following, you know, and email this. We all do it, but it’s not talked about enough. And communities are really built from adding value. And a big way to add value is through communication. You know, especially as you grow and people recognize you for being genuine and people care if you talk back to them if they tweet you. They appreciate if you respond to their tweet. If you reply to a comment on Facebook, comments on your blogs, it makes a big difference. And there are tools out there that can help you do it. You know, Mention – I think Moz might do it now. There’s a lot of tools out there that can do it. And within analytics too, even though it’s not the best admittedly, there are ways to track mentions and it’s incredibly valuable, incredibly valuable. Again, it’s not something that you’re gonna necessarily see a dollar sign ROI from, but to me that’s how brands are built, on a micro level anyways.

Dan: Yep. And I think as we talked about, you need to make time for conversion centered tactics, but also not forget about things like community building and brand building because that stuff in the long term is just as important.

Ryan: It makes a difference.

Dan: All these reports you talk about in your posts and all these tactics sound really great, but they still kind of seem like a lot of work. So I’m wondering where the streamlining, time-saving part comes into all of this?

Ryan: Yeah, it’s a lot of work. I mean, like I said unfortunately I work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, but I’m working on that. You know, there aren’t really many shortcuts. I think if you really want to do things — this I just my opinion obviously — but there are very few shortcuts in this world to getting to where you want to be. But, you know, with that being said, like when you look at that post that I wrote, if you don’t actively access analytics or your data, then it’s daunting. You know, before I really started paying attention to data I had no interest in it. I would look at a post like that and fall asleep. And that’s why it would take so long for me to do anything because I was doing it the wrong way. A lot of people look at analytics like it’s Greek, it’s just they’re not comfortable. That’s the biggest thing I hear is, “I don’t know how to use it,” but if it you just put in some time and understand that the answers to so many of your problems are just a few clicks away. You know, answers to major business questions, you know, like, “Where should I be investing my money? Where should I be investing my time? Do I need to hire more people?” All this stuff, I mean, it really truly lays in your data. It might not be your analytics data, but it’s some form of data that you just – you need to consult. So it’s tough to growth hack that process, but you can shorten the process by just learning the tools and understanding the tools a little bit better, I guess. I mean, it’s creating dashboard. You can just click a dashboard and look at all the reports that you need to within 25 seconds and you’re good, and then just dive in deeper if there’s some issues.

Dan: Yeah, I guess when it comes down to it, if you’re doing things that are informed by data and informed by what’s worked in the past, then that’s going to help you focus on only the things that you know work, and that in itself is more efficient and is going to save you time and energy in the long run from doing the wrong things.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely.

Dan: So what’s one step social media marketers can take right now to make their campaigns more streamlined and data-driven?

Ryan: Use the network for what they’re intended to be used for. I mean, I’ve started seeing tremendous growth – I mean, I don’t want to say tremendous growth. I don’t have like a million followers or anything, but I have seen a lot of growth. I built a Facebook community; it’s got about 3,000 people in it now. My Facebook fan page, my Twitter page, my Google+, all of this stuff really started growing when I started creating stuff of value. So creating content I think is a humongous part. And again, content doesn’t have to be a blog post. Content could be, if you’re a designer, like create cool stuff in Photoshop, I don’t know, I mean, that’s a form of content. So understanding valuable content and creating large amounts and consistently, that’s number one. And number two is using the networks for what they’re intended for. Like it drives me nuts when — I unfollow people on Twitter all the time because it’s like, “Dude, I don’t want to just get blasted with links to everywhere you’re posting. That’s not why I’m on Twitter. I don’t go through Twitter to go to your blog. That’s not why I’m there. I’m there to get short stackable whatever, and it’s really a communication tool for me.” So understanding what these platforms are used for and what they should be used for and just playing kind of by their rules, instead of being like, “God, I don’t want to use my Facebook page anymore because every time I post a link to it it goes nowhere.” Well, then maybe you should stop posting links to it. Using them what they’re really meant for, and this is like the buzzword of the year, it’s like native content. You know, create stuff for those platforms. It’s a lot of work, but if you really want to have success? I mean, you look at anyone who has success on any sort of platform, like the people who get huge on Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter, I mean, they’re not just on Twitter posting links to their blog. Like, no, they’re out there communicating with people. They’re talking to people. They’re posting interesting stuff. So again, it’s not a shortcut by any means, but if you really want to have success on social, I think, you need to be social and create that native type content for that platform.

Dan: Got to respect the platform.

Ryan: Got to.

Dan: Thanks so much Ryan for taking the time to chat, this is great stuff.

Ryan: Yeah, any time.

Stephanie That was Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS.

Transcript by GMR Transcription.


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Get More from Social by Doing Less [PODCAST]

How This Agency Used Personalization to Land Their Client $21,000 in New Business

These days, the word “personalization” is bandied about in marketing circles more than a hacky-sack at Burning Man.

We know that personalizing our marketing campaigns brings us better quality leads, but it’s not always as simple as it seems to get started; before you can personalize emails, content and offers for people, you need to get to know them.

landing-page-personalization
You can’t land qualified leads without getting to know them first.

So when Cookie Jar Marketing, a boutique marketing agency based in Tel Aviv, Israel, was given a contract to promote the growth of Cloudyn, a cloud monitoring and management platform, they knew that step one was to gain a better understanding of the platform’s customers.

To achieve that, Johnathan Nimrodi (Yoni for short), Cookie Jar’s Content Marketing Manager, devised a content marketing strategy that would:

  1. Help Cloudyn gain a better understanding of their customers by collecting more information about them on an Unbounce landing page, in exchange for an ebook.
  2. Use those learnings to serve up a hyper-personalized offer that was sure to tickle their fancy.

Was Yoni’s strategy successful? Well, let’s put it this way:

That offer, sent out in the form of a personalized email, got a 51% open rate and generated $21,000 a year in revenue for the client.

Not too shabby, right? Let’s take a look at how Cookie Jar Marketing accomplished that.

Building and promoting the content

Before they could collect prospect information on a landing page, Yoni needed a piece of content to give away. As an easy win, he decided to compile several valuable blog posts into one super-comprehensive whitepaper.

The whitepaper focused on different cloud vendors and broke down the features and pricing that one could expect from each. With a very competitive pricing and features structure next to that of the competition, this was a great way for Cloudyn to demonstrate their value to people looking for a cloud solution.

Once that was in place, Yoni began promoting the whitepaper. Using several channels at first, he finally settled on LinkedIn, where he was able to very accurately target the people he was trying to reach, zeroing in on specific industries and job titles.

linkedin-targeted-ad
Cookie Jar’s most successful ad on LinkedIn promoting their whitepaper.

Each LinkedIn ad pointed to an Unbounce landing page, where prospects were asked for some of their information in exchange for the whitepaper. And while Yoni was off to a good start, he wanted to be sure that this landing page was performing at its best potential.

Optimizing landing pages for more than just conversions

The first landing page that Yoni used to promote the whitepaper was very simple. The form for collecting prospects’ information was limited to just four required fields. This first variant converted at 10.7%:

short-form
The first iteration of Cookie Jar’s whitepaper landing page.

That conversion rate might be in the a-little-low-to-decent range, but there was more than just the conversion rate that needed optimizing.

Cloudyn uses salespeople to follow up with qualified leads, and they were asking for more information on the prospects. Yoni explained:

When I talked to the salespeople who followed up with leads, they told me that they did not have enough information to be able to ascertain which leads were ‘hot’ and should be called right away, and which should just go into a lead nurturing program.

Yoni asked them what kind of information they would require to make that an easier proposition, and quickly built another variant of the landing page in Unbounce with the extra fields the sales team asked for, seen below.

long-form
The longer form on this Cloudyn whitepaper landing page increased conversion by 10%.

On the one hand, adding more fields to a form can sometimes create friction, making prospects feel as though there are more hoops to jump through.

But on the other hand, gathering extra information can help the sales team become more efficient. For example, the new form contained a field called “Annual cloud spend.” If someone were to select $5 million plus, it is probably worth a salesperson’s time to pick up the phone and call them.

Extra fields be damned, the conversions on the page doubled. And not only were there more leads, but the leads they got were far more valuable.

The sales team suddenly had a lot more information to go on, and the leads were doubling with no increase in ad spend, and no delineation from LinkedIn. And this was just the beginning.

When I asked Yoni why he thought the conversion rate had jumped up that much, he replied:

I think that the fact that we were showing them that we cared about who they were made all the difference.

The more questions asked of the visitor, the more they feel appreciated as a potential customer. It creates the impression that they will be offered a personalized service catered to their unique needs and wants. In turn, each of the leads generated through this landing page ended up being far more qualified, creating greater opportunities for the sales team.

Making personal connections

When more information was added into the mix, it wasn’t just the sales team who was better equipped to do their job.

Under the direction of Yoni, the Cookie Jar team was able to use the extra information to personalize emails that went out to prospects who’d filled out the form.

Using Unbounce’s MailChimp integration and field mapping, they tagged all of the fields so when a lead filled out and submitted the form, this information was sent to MailChimp.

Yoni had created an email in MailChimp that would automatically be sent to leads as soon as they filled out the form. And with the information collected on the landing page form, he was able to personalize each email that went out to leads, as you see in the image below:

auto-email

The personalization of the email didn’t just work, it worked beyond anyone’s expectations. The email got a 51% open rate – and while the clickthrough rate was not amazing, they did get replies to the email that resulted in a demo request rate of an astounding 35%.

The salespeople at Cloudyn and the marketers at Cookie Jar couldn’t have been happier. To date, the whitepaper campaign on its own has resulted in $21,000 worth of business, all from collecting more data and personalizing communication accordingly.

That personal touch

The name of the game for any marketing agency is results. No matter how they’re achieved, the way to keep clients is to make sure that they’re getting a healthy return on their investment. And that’s what Cookie Jar Marketing has done for Cloudyn.

Sometimes you have to go against the grain and so-called “best practices” to achieve those results. Yoni was certain that he’d made the right choice by limiting the number of fields prospects would have to fill out. The reality was that adding more fields and creating more friction resulted in more conversions.

The happy result of those extra conversions is that they had supplied more information, which enabled Yoni to create a personalized email that resulted in demo requests and ultimately, sales.

Cookie Jar Marketing’s clever use of the Unbounce and MailChimp integration is paying dividends for Cloudyn, and it could very well do the same for you.

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How This Agency Used Personalization to Land Their Client $21,000 in New Business

How Google’s Customer Match and Instagram Ads Are Rewriting the PPC Playbook

new-ppc-ballgame-650
It’s a whole new ballgame with these ad feature releases from Google and Instagram. Image source.

Recently, Google announced Customer Match, a new method of ad targeting that allows marketers to upload a list of email addresses — which they’ve been collecting in a CRM or a mailing list — and target ads at those users and audiences similar to them.

If that doesn’t really sound so new, well, you’re right. Facebook and Twitter have had this functionality for quite a while. Facebook’s offering in particular is extremely powerful due to the immense amount of information it knows about each user. In this aspect, Google is playing catch-up.

But it doesn’t really matter. The power of being able to target ads across YouTube, Gmail, and Google search cannot be understated. As long as the email address is associated with an account on any of those services, your ads can reach them.

And it’s not just users whose emails you already have. Google is also allowing advertisers to target similar audiences based on a Customer Match list. However, they can be targeted on YouTube and Gmail only. Search, at least for now, is excluded.

There’s one limitation to Google’s Customer Match that doesn’t exist in its more social-oriented competitors: to target a matched list, it needs to have at least 1,000 valid entries. Since the likelihood of all of your leads having Google accounts is pretty low, you’ll likely need a larger list than this in order to run a Customer Match campaign.

With most of the major digital advertising providers now accepting email lists, the trend line is clear: businesses that prioritize collecting information early and nurturing a prospect into converting are at a huge advantage when it comes to remarketing.

Get a head start on collecting leads to match: Check out Unbounce’s free 7-Day Lead Gen Landing Page Course →

Instagram campaigns now available to all Facebook Power Editor users

While Customer Match is an obvious and belated shot across the bow in Facebook’s direction, the social media behemoth has a big announcement of its own. Instagram ads are finally available to all, and better yet, they’re accessible through the same tool you use to run campaigns on Facebook: Power Editor.

Facebook-Power-Editor
Power Editor, Facebook’s self-serve advertising tool for managing many active campaigns at once.

That means all of Facebook’s targeting options — including Custom and Similar Audiences — can be used to target ads at Instagram’s 400 million (and counting) monthly active users.

Instagram-Ads

Instagram ads come in a few different formats, all of which allow clickable calls to action that lead to links or apps.

  • Image ads, which look like a standard Instagram post, except for the CTA.
  • Video ads autoplay in the feed and can be up to 30 seconds long — double the length afforded to regular users for their own video uploads.
  • Carousel ads allow you to attach multiple images to the same ad, which can be swiped through by the user. It remains to be seen if they’ll follow in the footsteps of web carousels, which users generally don’t explore beyond the first slide.

One of the benefits of advertising on social networks is that the advertisements are native; they’re presented largely in the same way as user-generated content, within the stream of content that the user is already viewing.

On mobile devices, the impact is amplified further by the fact that these ads take up the whole screen. While this is hugely beneficial — directing attention towards your advertisements is significantly easier — it’s also a double-edged sword.

Check out this tweet from developer Marco Arment:

A tweet from celebrity developer Marco Arment (Tumblr, Instapaper, Overcast) reacting to seeing ads in his Instagram feed.

This is the perception you’ll be fighting at every turn.

Perhaps more than any other social network, the Instagram feed has a cadence, a unique feel all of its own. Users have spent years curating their feeds into the perfect digital magazines, tailored around who and what they love.

This means your ads should ideally be beautiful, genuine photographs. And in fact, Instagram has taken steps to enforce that: ads on Instagram can’t have overlaid text (which naturally betrays the expectation of a photograph) nor a logo — although a logo printed on a product is A-OK.

More than in any other channel, crafting ads that are carefully tailored and targeted at specific audience segments will be crucial. It’s great then, that Facebook’s Custom and Similar Audiences allow you to do just that.

The final caveat: while Instagram has already become big business for #brands, it remains to be seen whether that same success will materialize for lead generation and non-ecommerce conversions. Instagram’s existing case studies focus almost entirely on ad recall — how likely a user is to remember an ad later — rather than hard conversions. And its unique cadence may make it a tough fit in for certain kinds of products and services.

In the war between Facebook and Google, we’re all winners

Facebook long ago surpassed Google in revenue collected from advertising, and Instagram is set to explode, as well: eMarketer is already predicting that revenue from advertising on Instagram will reach $2.81 billion in 2017.

The success of Facebook’s advertising product for both Facebook and advertisers is largely due to the level of targeting specificity that Facebook offers, enabled by its rich user database.

Now that Google has responded with a nearly identical offering, the stage is set for volumes of the PPC marketing playbook to be rewritten. More than ever, building customer databases and crafting hyper-specific campaigns — in both their targeting and their creative direction — will be crucial to winning clicks and conversions.

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How Google’s Customer Match and Instagram Ads Are Rewriting the PPC Playbook