Tag Archives: product-marketing

Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time and Money? Data and Lessons Learned from 20 posts in 30 days.

Before I address the burning question in the headline, let’s rewind to the start of product awareness month for some context.

I kicked 2018 off with a bold, self-inflicted challenge to write 30 blog posts in 30 days in a bid to increase adoption of our two new products, Popups and Sticky Bars.

The initial thinking was to call this effort Product Marketing Month, with the content based on our (and my) journey to become more proficient product marketers. As I shared at the start of the journey, the adoption of the new products had been disappointingly low; only 6% of our customers were using them when I first started looking at the numbers in August. That number was probably around 7% or 8% at the start of January.

Being a marketer who hadn’t actually practiced the discipline of product marketing, I thought that by talking about our products more directly in the content – including interactive demos and interesting use cases – coupled with a redesign of the blog just for this new content, we’d crush those numbers with ease.

I was incredibly naive

Boy oh boy was I wrong. Not only did I misinterpret what product marketing is: an expansive role that includes customer insights, data analysis, product validation, positioning, and market research, but I assumed that top of funnel content alone could solve our problems.

In my moment of hubris, I even bought the domain whatsproductmarketing.com where I intended to have a blank white page with the word “Marketing” on it. Cos that’s all product marketing is, right? Nope. In the end, I decided against that brazen approach.

It quickly became clear that what I was actually doing was more closely tied to product awareness. As with many other SaaS content marketers, I had little control or influence over what happened to people after they sign up. So we repositioned the challenge as Product Awareness Month.


I also inadvertently caused offense to some folks in the company by including a question in the first blog post that posited “Do we suck at product marketing?”.

While I’d intended it as a question (to start the post with a provocative buzz-generating bang), it came across more as a statement, and pretty offensive one at that. Especially when the social team latched onto the power of that statement (rightly so) and started tweeting about it.

I think it was co-founder Carter Gilchrist who helped me understand the impact by asking me “If you’d said ‘Do we suck at design? Or do we suck at engineering?’ how do you think the team would feel about it?” Pretty shitty I imagine. I removed that line from the post. The talented people on our product and product marketing teams deserve better than that.

The 30-Posts-in-30-Days Challenge

The best part of this challenge was getting back to writing. Because I’ve been on the road so much as a public speaker recently, it turns out I hadn’t written a single word on our blog (or Unbounce marketing content in general) for two years.

30 posts was an audacious goal. Especially when you consider how much of it was designed to be an exploration of an approach to marketing that was completely new to me. The posts ranged from 700 to 7,000 words in length and included many interactive demos of our new products baked right into the blog posts – including many hacks that required custom code.

Fortunately, I had the help of some incredible Unbounce developers:

  • Sam Shen – who, with Sabrina Chan’s mockups, built a redesign of the blog (just for the new product marketing category) in two days.
  • Noah Matsell & Brian Burns – who saved my ass by providing many custom workarounds, use case examples, and interactive demos. The most impressive of them being a way to communicate across domains to set and read cookies so that I could demo the cookie targeting feature of the new products.
  • Luis Francisco – one of our designers who is rapidly becoming one of the best hackers of Unbounce. Including the mind-blowing augmented reality demo in my 5 Legitimately Cool Use Cases for Website Popups post.

Not to mention the guidance, brainstorming, reality checks, and content planning help of the awesome Jen Pepper, and five designers who took turns creating the majority of the blog post hero images under the guidance of Cesar Martinez.

The craziness of the challenge was important to me. I don’t get inspired by normalcy. I love chaos and ridiculous ideas, and honestly, if I’d planned on writing three blog posts I probably wouldn’t have written any.

Turns out I was a bit too ambitious, and after ten consecutive sixteen hour days (weekends included) I decided to remove weekend posts from the schedule because they get little traction anyway, and focus more on quality than quantity, resulting in this post being number 20 – still pretty damn good.

Pretty sure my wife Nicole would’ve left me if I continued at that pace with the neglect that came with it. #alwaysbeoptimizing


Content Marketing Performance: Was I Wasting My Time?

Given that I was now dealing with pure product awareness, the topic of content marketing in general became top of mind. In particular, how does our blog perform as an agent of customer acquisition?

Digging into Kissmetrics I was shocked by what I uncovered.

As an attributable part of customer acquisition, the content I’d written on the blog in January was converting readers to NTS (new trial starts) at the paltry rate of 0.3%. Let me repeat that. Zero point three percent.

The blog converts at 0.3%. WTF?! How can that be the case?

What am I (and/or we) doing so wrong that this number is a possible reality? Content has been the hallmark of our marketing since we started Unbounce 8 years ago.

Time to dig deeper into the data.

The Data Insights & Lessons Learned I’ll be Sharing in This Post

In the interests of transparency (one of our six core values), I’ll be sharing all of the data I could find that helps shed light on the performance and effect of my month of madness.

It’s important to note that the full impact of this endeavor won’t be visible for a few months for a couple of reasons: we measure a customer as someone who’s paid us three times, and true product adoption can occur at any time.

Here’s a linked list of the data, insights, and learnings that you’ll find in the remainder of the post.

  1. The number of NTS (new trial starts) attributed to Product Awareness Month
  2. Historical NTS attributed to the blog
  3. How other companies content marketing performs. I reached out to:
    1. Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media
    2. Cyrus Shepard formerly at Moz
    3. John Bonini from Databox
  4. Impact of the blog redesign
    1. Sidebar
    2. Header
    3. Blog posts with old design
    4. Individual blog post interaction
  5. Blog traffic
  6. Blog Subscription Conversion Rates for different popup trigger types
  7. The impact of changes to our highest organic traffic page
  8. SaaS app login data
  9. Product awareness and adoption numbers
    1. Visitors
    2. Users
    3. Customers
  10. How many words I wrote
  11. Impact on writing quality
  12. What I should be writing about next

I’ll also discuss what I learned as a marketer, writer, and SaaS co-founder, after living the past 30 days like this.

Insight #1 – Blog Conversion Rates to NTS attributed to Product Awareness Month

Here’s a look at the funnel report in Kissmetrics that shows the conversion rate from visits to the new content to new Unbounce trial starts (NTS).

As I mentioned, I was really shocked by this number. Only 37 NTS from all that effort? I was starting to think that my content simply wasn’t interesting or relevant enough to convince people to sign up.

Was it just me?

Insight #2 – Historical Blog Conversion Rates

Then I looked at some historical data to make a comparison. The chart below is for the previous 9 months of blog content. I would’ve looked further back in time, but since we switched the website to HTTPS the reporting gets a little more complex.

Turns out that our blog converts at that rate in general. It’s important to note that the second chart is based on every single blog post on the blog, for that 9 month period, which is why the actual number of signups is so much higher.

At least it’s not just me.

Now, you may be inclined to think that given the low numbers, the blog doesn’t have the efficacy to warrant its existence or at least the amount of effort that goes into maintaining it. I know I started having some doubts.

But then I reached out to some industry folks who I deeply admire for their content marketing prowess, to see what their experiences and thoughts were on the topic.

Insight #3 – Content Marketing at Other Companies

The first person I contacted was Andy Crestodina, co-founder of Orbit Media a Chicago web development a design agency. Andy is a good friend, an incredible speaker, and a genius content marketer whose expertise I value highly. Here’s what he had to say:

This is an awesome question that gets to something that a lot of content marketers may not understand: it’s the indirect benefits of content marketing that drive results. And in a lot of cases, it’s about SEO. The content drives the links, which drive the authority, which drive the rankings, which drive qualified visitors who searched for a “commercial intent” keyphrase …and now you have a visitor who is highly likely to convert, unlike your typical blog reader.

Here’s the data on our analytics. We had just over a million visits last year. (yay!) And 91% of those visitors started on a blog post.

But do these people ever really turn into business leads?

…not really. Almost never actually. But obviously, we’d have a lot less traffic (brand awareness) if we didn’t publish anything. Our site would be just a brochure. We wouldn’t have followers or subscribers. But the other downside of not having a blog (and maybe the most important benefit of blogging) is the links.

According to Open Site Explorer’s “Top Pages” report, there are virtually no links to our service pages. The top 217 linked-to pages, except for the home page, are blog posts and authors.

So without these pages, we’d have no authority …and no ranking for the “money phrases”.

If you want to attract visitors who have strong intent, who have their wallets out, you have to have a lot of content, links and authority so you can rank for the phrase. I bet the Unbounce analytics and rankings look a lot like this.

If you want the fortune, you’ve got to get the glory first!

Genius.


I also reached out to Cyrus Shepard, the former Director of SEO & Audience Development at Moz. Here’s what he had to say:

Our content with the highest conversion rates were always surprising and very specific (posts about title tags and how to run a site audit). The problem was, while these pieces had a 5x conversion rate over other content, the number of overall conversions they drove was actually small compared to our total. In other words, if we would have focused on these micro-problems exclusively, our overall sales would likely have been much smaller.

Counter-intuitively, we found we did better on big content with corresponding ridiculously low conversion rates, because it raised awareness. Awareness raised brand interest/queries, and 2-3-4 months down the line we close the sale when they are ready to purchase. In other words, our content with the actual highest conversion rates—as it is with all companies—was our homepage and “about” pages (and also our tools, but that’s another story). So raising brand awareness long-term always trumped short-term content-specific conversions.

Some similar sentiment to Andy where the long-term thinking, and believe that if you publish exceptional content you will benefit in indirect ways.


Finally, I reached out to John Bonini from Databox, who explained how they use dashboards (created with their own product which looks awesome) to keep a close eye on blog attribution. Here’s the one John shared with me. I embedded it in an iFrame so I’d suggest clicking inside it to scroll inside the different data blocks.

And here’s what he had to say about how their blog benefits their business:

1. For us, the blog plays a pretty powerful role in getting readers into the product. We transitioned to freemium last year, so the barrier to entry into the product is low. What works well for us is covering the challenges that marketers and salespeople are having in tracking performance and making sense of their data. Rather than rely on premium content like ebooks and webinars (we use these more for customer marketing) we’ll include free templates for dashboards that help solve the problem we’re writing about. It’s a fairly straight line from problem>>solution, which is why the blog is such a powerful lever.

2. Content attribution is hard. And the reality is that monthly reporting decks are binary–were the goals hit or not? Are we growing at or above the rate we need to…or not? Gross revenue was X. ARR is Y. So when you start talking about the importance of multi-touch attribution in order to measure the effectiveness of the blog, you run the risk of seeming like you’re “in the clouds.” I’ve had heated debates with executives who felt strongly against “being a publishing house.” Because attribution in many cases wasn’t a straight line, the content to them was fluff, and the time spent on it was sunk cost. The best thing to arm yourself within those cases is specific examples. Measuring the aggregate success of your blog is hard, but when you’re tracking the success of specific blog posts you know see a lot of traffic, you can better illustrate the value in producing more and optimizing for the long-term. That’s why I use the attached chart to keep an eye on our top visited pages (most of which are blog posts) and track the number of signups coming from each. As organic traffic grows, so does the output from each post. If you can convey that quickly and succinctly, you make a strong case.

Who’s Reading Your Blog?

We need to also recognize the fact that sometimes the person reading your content isn’t the person who ends up paying for it. There’s a difference between a functional user and a functional buyer, and that’s why attribution is the single biggest challenge in marketing today.

Connecting the who with the what with the when and the why is very difficult, for almost everyone.

Takeaway – It’s all yo’ blogs too!

We need to think a little differently when choosing the metrics we assign to our content marketing. I’d love to hear about how your blog performs in regard to similar metrics. Jump in the comments if you’d care to share.

It’s worth discussing a few other factors when thinking about the value of a blog. I know that personally, when I’m looking at the website of a software or service provider, if they don’t have a team page with photos of the company’s employees, a physical address for the office, and a blog that’s active, I won’t give them my business – unless they are the only option.

In many ways perception is reality.

If you don’t appear to be active or don’t appear to be a thought leader in the space you’re selling in, you simply don’t appear as credible as a company who is.

So Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time & Money or Not?

No. Clearly not. You just need to understand the nuances of how you measure your ROI so that you’re not thrown off by the metrics and numbers I’ve just shared with you.

In the rest of this post, I hope you will learn enough to persuade you if you’re not persuaded about the value of content marketing, and if you already are, I hope you learn some brilliant tactical ideas for 2018.

Insight #4 – Impact of the blog redesign

In this section, I’ll cover the impacts a new blog design (just for this month’s posts) impacted interaction behavior. I’ll break it down into three sections:

  1. Sidebar: How did a new product focused sidebar perform?
  2. Header: We introduced a new header navigation bar with a different focus.
  3. Old posts: A comparative look at how the header and sidebar interaction was on posts with the old design.
  4. Individual posts: How did interactions with the header CTAs vary between different post topics?

Insight #4a – Impact of the blog redesign: analyzing the new sidebar

Part of the redesign included a new sidebar dedicated to the two new products. You can see the before and after designs below.

Blog Design Before and After

I was pretty excited to see how this would perform as we’ve never been that blatantly promotional on the blog before.

Here’s a click heat map based on traffic to the first few posts. The screenshot background is auto-generated from the first post, but the sidebar and header were constant elements that show cumulative clicks.

Out of 1,481 (desktop) visitors and 3,428 clicks, only 3 people (0.09%) clicked the sidebar CTA. More people clicked on the statement beneath the button than on the button itself.

My first instinct was to think that the subtext read as a clearer and more actionable statement than the button copy, so I reversed them (putting the subtext as the button copy), but it changed nothing.

Nobody cared about the sidebar CTA.

Something to note is that it wasn’t a sticky sidebar (it disappears as you scroll) which no doubt had an impact on the low engagement numbers, but the content was too long to make it a persistent sidebar because the CTA wouldn’t be visible in most browsers.

Takeaway – Nobody cares about your sidebar

After a week with little to no interaction with the sidebar, we decided to simply remove it. I think the reading experience is significantly nicer without it.

Insight #4b – Impact of the blog redesign: analyzing the new header

The more significant change to the blog was the new header. Removing the standard SaaS navigation with features, templates, integrations, pricing etc. allowed the content to be the focus, with a greatly simplified expression of our product’s value proposition.

Here’s a wireframe for the new header.

I loved nerding out with my new reMarkable tablet to sketch many of the diagrams and illustrations throughout the month. Apologies for my terrible handwriting, but if you’re a visual thinker and communicator it’s the best product I’ve ever used.

Let’s take a look at some heat maps for the header.

Week One

The heat map below is for the first four blog posts and shows quite a lot of activity on the three product CTAs.

Number of clicks
[Landing Pages: 26] [Popups: 39] [Sticky Bars: 43]

Total clicks on product CTAs
108 out of 1,481 clicks = 3.15%

Week Two

The next one is for the middle part of the month after the sidebar had been removed.

Number of clicks
[Landing Pages: 106] [Popups: 124] [Sticky Bars: 99]

Total clicks on product CTAs
329 out of 7,596 clicks = 4.42%

Week 3

Week 3 is missing because I’m an idiot and forgot to start the heat map recording in Hotjar.

Week 4

Later in the month, the heat map tells a slightly different story. Note that this is a smaller sample size as it’s not been collecting data as long.

Number of clicks
[Landing Pages: 16] [Popups: 28] [Sticky Bars: 33]

Total clicks on product CTAs
77 out of 2,387 clicks = 2.56%

The lower % of clicks here might be explained by repeat visitors not having a need to click again. Or it could be the topic and quality of the posts, or it could be a sampling issue.

Insight #4c – Click Map Data From Old Posts

To gain some comparative perspective, I dug out some heat maps from blog posts that have the original design, to see how they fared. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison as the CTAs are not the same in both designs.

But it is interesting to note that on this blog post about 35 landing page design examples (our highest traffic blog post of all time), the combined number of clicks on the top CTA and the sidebar CTA was 2 out of 1,844.

And a similarly high-traffic landing page examples post only received 6 clicks out of 1,777 visitors.

It seems you have to work really hard to get people to click your product CTAs from a blog post.

Insight #4d – Interaction Based on Blog Post Topic

If we look at individual posts from Product Awareness Month, we can see some really interesting patterns based on the topic of the post. For the five posts below, all of them have a dominant percentage of clicks going to the product being discussed in the post.

In the examples below the values represent the number of clicks each CTA received.

Popup Post 1: A Blueprint for the Perfect Popup


[Landing Pages: 4] [Popups: 13] [Sticky Bars: 2]

Popup Post 2: “Maybe Later” – A New Interaction Model for E-commerce Entrance Popups


[Landing Pages: 9] [Popups: 20] [Sticky Bars: 12]

Popup Post 3: 11 Awesome Popup Design Examples – Scored by the Delight Equation


[Landing Pages: 11] [Popups: 16] [Sticky Bars: 2]

Sticky Bar Post 1: 9 Creative Sticky Bar Examples – Plus 21 New Unbounce Templates

Super low traffic on this one, but the pattern remains intact.

[Landing Pages: 1] [Popups: 3] [Sticky Bars: 9]

Sticky Bar Post 2: How to Build a Sticky SaaS Product

This one’s not really even about sticky bars per se. It just has the word in the title and an equal measure of mentions of the sticky bar and popup products.

[Landing Pages: 4] [Popups: 5] [Sticky Bars: 9]

Takeaway – Context Matters

Now it might seem obvious that it would be the case that the blog post topic would dictate product interest, but it’s still really nice to confirm it through data and to know that the content is indeed driving the intended behavior from the audience.

Insight #5 – Blog Traffic

One of the things we’ve been learning of late is the importance of getting back to basics with SEO, and writing content that people are actually searching for. Obvious enough. But that’s not what I had in mind when I started this month of content production. I was stuck in my own head, with my own concepts, and my own ideas of how I was going to change things.

As a result, about half of the content I wrote has an easily identifiable search term to optimize for. But the other half don’t.

I’m okay with that, to an extent, because I firmly believe you can’t spend all of your time answering people’s search questions. That’s a critical path to business success, but in order to rise above your competitors, you also need to invent things. To come up with new ways of thinking – actual thought leadership.

I have an innate need to create things that not only scratch an itch in myself, to expand my intellect, and thought process, but also because I want to inspire someone else to care or grow, or experiment, and think in ways they hadn’t previously considered.

It’s similar to the concept of breaking content marketing into two buckets of lead gen and awareness. You need inspiration as well as resolution.

I digress. What’s the traffic to the blog been like this month? Well for starters, when I made this crazy challenge to myself, I didn’t realize that our blog traffic has taken a big hit in the past year. I’m not sure what my decision-making process would have been had I known. Do I get more excited because I want to re-energize the blog? Or do I think that it’s not worth the effort if we don’t get much traffic anymore?

Here’s a GA chart of traffic to our blog since we started Unbounce in 2009.

You can see that in early 2017, things changed, pretty dramatically.

(You can also see that we’ve got a decent boost this month).

If we segment this by organic traffic and compare April 2017 to January 2017, you see a graph like this, where we lost around 35% of our organic blog traffic in one quarter.

I reached out to Cody Campbell, our Marketing Manager of Funnel Growth (and resident SEO pro) for an explanation. Here’s how he described what had happened:

We have 1250 posts published on the Unbounce blog.

In 2017, those posts drove 1.6 million sessions to our blog. That’s 18% of total website traffic.

Of that 1.6M sessions, 77% was Organic. Yay for SEO…but this was also an incredibly terrifying fact at the same time. We had all our eggs in one basket. And lucky for us, that basket was performing really well. Until it all came crashing down.

The Largest Traffic Drop of 2017
In the 4 month period between January and April, blog traffic dropped 74,000 sessions.

Here’s the breakdown:
Organic: 60k decrease
Direct: 7.3k decrease
Social: 2.2k decrease
Email: 5.3k decrease

After digging deeper, we found that the majority of the traffic drop came from 23 posts. Wait. What? 1.84% of our posts were driving the bulk of our blog traffic? Yup.

…Holy sh!t. What happened?

Most of those high traffic blog posts were written between 2012 to 2016 and we hadn’t touched them since. Meanwhile, numerous competitors entered the market and content marketing hit its climax.

The spreadsheet below shows some of the posts, and the impact this period had on them.

The result?
We’re now competing against a ton of other companies in the Google SERPs all of whom are trying to rank for the same keywords.

Our competitor’s content was far more up-to-date than ours (and in some cases even better), so, naturally, it started to get more attention from readers. Google took notice and started dropping us from position #1 to position 2 or 3.

Moving from position #1 to #3 lost us up to 50% or more of our traffic per post. And when that happens and you only have a handful of posts holding up your blog, you’re in trouble.

Takeaway

In a highly competitive space, it’s critical that you maintain your organic rankings by updating and optimizing your important blog content so it doesn’t fall below the quality and impact of what others are doing.

Insight #6 – Blog Subscription Conversion Rates for Different Popup Trigger Types

In order to explore the concept of two-step opt-in forms, I set up two methods for people to subscribe to the weekly email digests we created for those interested in following along with Product Awareness Month.

Version 1 used an exit-triggered popup to present the subscribe form, and version 2 used a click-triggered popup to create the two-step opt-in experience.

Here’s the popup people were shown:

Trigger Method #1 – Exit Popup Subscribe

Exit popups are great in that almost everyone sees them, but they don’t have the intelligence to know whether the visitor was enjoying the content or not. In our experiences, the conversion rate depends highly on the perceived value of the offer.

When we give away video recordings of events we put on (webinars or conferences) the conversion rates are fantastic, between 15 and 30%.

When you’re offering a blog subscription, it’s typically in the 1-5% range. In this instance, we were offering a subscription to the blog, but the value was described as following along with our product awareness experiment, as opposed to the blog in general. Limiting the value even further.

The conversion rate for the exit popup hovered around the 2% range, dipping to 1.86% overall.

Trigger Method #2 – Click Popup Subscribe

The click trigger is the absolute best option if you want to create a valuable experience, as the popup you show is based on an explicitly expressed intent. I set up links throughout the blog posts, asking people to subscribe. When they clicked the link they got the popup.

The conversion rate for the click-triggered popup varied from around the 20% range, dipping to 15.57% overall.

So for this example, the click-triggered popup outperformed the exit popup by 722%.

Declining Conversion Rates

The reason I mention the dips in conversion rates is that I found the change really interesting. The sample sizes are not very big (120 and 52 conversions respectively), but the conversion rates held fairly steady for weeks, dropping closer to the end of the month.

This could be entirely based on sample size, but another hypothesis I had was that the motivation to subscribe was waning with every day because the value was diminished as the month went on. If you’re being asked to subscribe to a one-month content experience, and there are only 1 or 2 weeks remaining, it makes perfect sense that fewer people would care.

I can’t prove or disprove either explanation, but it’s definitely food for thought when designing time-based experiences like this.

Takeaway

It’s important to consider whether the value of your offer changes over time – either increasing or decreasing – so that you can better understand the subsequent motivation.

Insight #7 – Call to Action Clicks on Our Highest Traffic Content Page

As part of my post about the highest-traffic page you’re neglecting, I rewrote the content on our “What is a Landing Page?” page that receives over 10,000 unique visitors per month.

As part of the exercise, I experimented with three options in a choose-your-own-adventure format, as a learning exercise so we can study what these visitors are actually looking for.

Option 1: “I’m new to landing pages, and want to learn more.”
CTA >> [ Watch The Landing Page Sessions Video Series ]

Option 2: “I have a landing page, but I’m not sure how good it is.”
CTA >> [ Grade Your Page With The Landing Page Analyzer ]

Option 3: “I need to build a landing page.”
CTA >> [ Try The Unbounce Builder in Preview Mode ]

When I looked at the scroll map data it showed that fewer than 50% of visitors were scrolling far enough to see the three CTAs.

So I moved them up to the top of the post, right beneath the opening description of what a landing page is – based on the fact that 86% of visitors scroll that far, and that the needs of most visitors have been met at this point (answering their question about what a landing page is).

Then I recorded the clicks that the three CTAs were getting to measure the intent and experience level of the audience. The values in the heat map below show the percentage of all clicks on the page.

Out of 983 desktop pageviews, the numerical distribution of 141 clicks was as follows:

[I’m New: 111] [I Have an LP: 15] [I need to build an LP: 15]

It’s really clear that the beginner level CTA is most relevant to visitors to this page. Makes total sense. But when we were looking at this, Cody wondered if the order of the CTAs might be an influencing factor.

So I flipped the order and ran it for another 1,000 pageviews.

This time, out of 1,013 desktop pageviews, the numerical distribution of only 83 clicks was as follows:

[I need to build an LP: 48] [I Have an LP: 1] [I’m New: 34]

Really interesting that the number one slot retained its position as the click leader, but the overall number of clicks dropped from 11.94% to 6.33%, a decrease of 89%.

I’d like to run this again as an A/B test with a larger sample size, but my hypothesis for why the number of interactions dropped is that the first option is too aggressive for the majority of visitors to this page, resulting in them not going to the effort of reading all three options.

To add a little confirmation to the experiment, I reverted to the original order and ran the heat map again.

This time, out of 835 desktop pageviews, the numerical distribution of 116 clicks was as follows:

[I’m New: 94] [I Have an LP: 10] [I need to build an LP: 12]

Which is very close to the first one in terms of distribution.

Takeaway

Choose-your-own-adventure navigation is a really fun and interesting way to learn about the intent of your visitors, and the order and magnitude of the action you’re asking people to take can influence how much interaction takes place.

Fascinating stuff!

Insight #8 – SaaS User Login Visits

This one is a bit tangential, and came to me when designing The Login Hijack concept in my post about cool use cases for popups.

For SaaS businesses, it’s very common for people to visit your website for the sole purpose of logging in to your app, and if you don’t take this into account your metrics can be way off.

You can see that for Unbounce 35.04% of website sessions are used to log in to the Unbounce app.

I reached out on Twitter to inquire about the numbers at other SaaS companies and found a lot of similarities:

  • Stefan Debois‏ reported that for SurveyAnyPlace.com it’s 45% of homepage visits
  • John Bonini from Databox shared that their number is 28%
  • Jon Davis from Shape.io reported a number of 30%

All of these numbers represent significant potential for incorrect reporting, and opportunistic product marketing to your customers who are showing up for this reason.

Takeaway

I ran a Twitter poll to extend the question:

What’s particularly interesting is that the majority of people who answered don’t know. We all need to know this number. Go find yours and report in the comments.

Insight #9 – Product Awareness and Adoption Data

In this section I’ll cover the levels of awareness increase based on three segments of people:

  1. Visitors: new folks coming to Unbounce.com who have never used the product
  2. Users: those with an Unbounce account of some type who have not paid us three times
  3. Customers: those who have paid us three times

Insight #9a – Product Awareness: New Visitors

Looking in GA, there were 8,036 new visitors who were exposed to the new Product Awareness Month content – who were not current users or customers.

This will be an interesting chart to follow over time to see which content continues to produce organic traffic.

Looking at Kissmetrics we can look at the cohort who have reached a product touchpoint including documentation, features pages or campaign landing pages specific to popups and sticky bars (but not the new PAM content):

Visitors have seen awareness content (excl. PAM)

Visitors have seen awareness content (with PAM)
These are visitors who have found their way to the product touchpoints AND also saw the PAM content.

What this shows us is that 274/3762 = 7.3% of total new aware visitors in January came from the Product Awareness Month content.

Insight #9b – Product Awareness: Users

Let’s use a different lens for a moment. The previous section was an analysis of Unbounce customers based on our definition of a customer being someone who has paid us three times.

But what if we look at overall users?
Our user count is much larger than the customer count because it includes those still on their free trial as well as plans like free / student / startup / not-for-profit.

In the past 30 days, changes in product awareness look like the chart below. That’s an increase of 2,031 people (10.7%) in the total population based on the activities and campaigns of the awareness squad.

Now if we include folks who’ve seen the Product Awareness Month content, the number rises by an additional 374 people.

In essence, what this tells us is that the Product Awareness Month content contributed 18.4% of the total user awareness increase in January.

That’s pretty damn cool. And because it’s content, it will continue to live on and continue to increase awareness. At least the portions that speak to search intent, and those that inspire backlinks.

Insight #9c – Product Awareness & Adoption: Customers

When we first began marketing popups and sticky bars we were focused on both prospects and customers. But adoption is largely dependent on customer awareness of the products, and so one of our teams in Customer Success got to work.

Knowing awareness was the goal, they launched a campaign designed to make sure our customer base knew we weren’t just a landing page builder anymore.

They created an epic video, embedded it on this landing page, and ran their campaign, which included redesigning our login screen to take advantage of a placement every customer sees multiple times:

The results? The team’s had 3,473 visits to the landing page (about 27% of our active customer base) and 52,603 views of the new login page ad above.

For the purposes of this campaign, the team defined “aware” as anyone who had reached a product touchpoint including documentation, features pages or campaign landing pages specific to popups and sticky bars.

The data below represents awareness changes over time as defined above. It currently doesn’t filter for customers only, but does include criteria that someone has accessed the builder in addition to the other touch points aforementioned:

As you can see, corresponding to the launch of two major customer campaigns, there has been a steading increase in encounters with these touchpoints, and thereby awareness.

There has been a 51.49% increase in awareness in just the first week following the launch, as seen in the day-by-day view below:

Regarding adoption, our product adoption funnel looks like this in simple terms:

Created -> Published -> Installed -> Evaluated -> Adopted

The chart below shows the growth of the various stages since we launched the limited beta at the end of 2016.

Zooming in below, you can see that some of the adoption funnel metrics are a bit flat, but the exciting thing is that the number of popups and sticky bars being created and published is showing a great improvement which will naturally lead to adoption. And it looks like the lift started right around the time of the January 15th campaign launch.

We have a phase 2 campaign going out soon focus on driving people all the way through the adoption funnel, which will hopefully amplify these early successes.

Takeaway

While the blog could work to increase awareness with those who’ve never heard about us, customer campaigns are still very necessary.

Insight #10 – How Many Words Did I Write?

Including this post my tally sits at around 37,000 words.

According to research into the page count of recent NYT bestsellers list books, 300 pages is about the right length. At an average of 250 words per page, that totals 75,000 words.

Basically, I’m halfway to having people read about popups and sticky bars on a plane, in my book they bought in an airport bookstore.

Takeaway

Write 20 more posts then stick ‘em all together and call Wiley and Random House.

Insight #11 – The Impact Quantity Has on Quality

I put out some seriously awesome content this month. Stuff I’m really proud of in terms of creative thought and interaction design. But there’s one thing that’s missing (I think) from the writing, once I started to get tired from all the writing.

I lost my edge in terms of personality and humor.

It just wasn’t possible to write that many posts, with that many words, and find a way to make it as entertaining as I expect my content to be. But that’s because there were no second drafts, no editing, virtually no QA on mobile. It was always a 2am battle to finish the day’s post to publish it before I went to bed.

Add. Rinse. Repeat.

Another important factor was that because I was so rushed, and creating so much content, I had no time to do any image optimization. There are no alt or title tags on the images and links, so there’s a big missed opportunity for image search. Having an extra day per post, would have made a big difference.

Takeaway

I love the quantity. I guess I’m vain that way, but if we want our content to live on past the typical 3-5 day window that blog posts have to be seen, then they either have to be so special that everyone links to them, or so on point with the search intent of your ideal customer that it’s find time and time again.

One of the biggest drivers of traffic to our blog from organic search is to a post about email subject lines, which has absolutely nothing to do with our target audience. We used to have a very broad full-stack breadth to our content which was great, it has a ton of value. But it doesn’t attract our ideal customer, which makes it a waste.

Tough lesson learned. We’ll be focusing our content (aside from this month’s insanity) in a much more targeted manner this year, and I’m excited to see how much of an impact it has on our key metrics.

Insight #12 – What Should I be Writing About Next?

I’ve learned a lot in the past 30 days about what is and isn’t important when it comes to impactful content, and I’m re-energized to continue creating value for our now and future customers. But what form will it take?

Based on the highest organic traffic content, there are two places that need an urgent overhaul:

The Landing Page Conversion Course (LPCC)

The Landing Page Conversion Course has always been great at attracting traffic, however, it’s very out of date, and the product videos are now 5 years old and not representative of what Unbounce has become as a product. It was also purposely targeted at top of funnel signups for our old free account. The focus of the new iteration will be much more targeted at NTS and getting much higher value from the content.

The landing page articles section

The landing page articles section is sooooo old. I wrote it in 2010 and only managed to rewrite one page of it this month (as part of insight #7 above). It’ll be great to freshen this up and provide better value for all those visitors looking for help with their landing page learning.

How do I Feel About Product Awareness Month Now?

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve felt so exhausted at any point in my professional career. This was a barn burner of a month. But it’s been such a rich and valuable journey for me, both as a marketer, and a co-founder. Hopefully it’s also been enriching for those who have followed along throughout this crazy experiment.

What’s next? Well before I dive into those two other projects, I need to get my butt to Mexico for a brief honeymoon with my beautiful bride Nicole. My plane leaves at 10:30am.

Adiós amigos! See you in a week.

Cheers,
Oli Gardner

Continue at source: 

Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time and Money? Data and Lessons Learned from 20 posts in 30 days.

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No-Touch CRO: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Website without Touching Your Website

Wait a minute, no-touch website optimization? How on earth can you optimize your website without touching it? That’s absurd. Insane even. Have you gone stark raving mad, Oli?

Who me? Never! Or at least, not all the way crazy. I’m talking about ways that you can experiment, learn, and change behavior simply by using page and UI elements like Popups and Sticky Bars. An approach I call no-touch CRO (conversion optimization).

What is No-Touch CRO?

Kinda like the title suggests, no-touch CRO is about uncovering, exploiting, and maximizing the conversion opportunities that exist on your website. It’s all about velocity, getting results, and learning quickly and easily so you can make informed updates and optimizations to your website backed by data.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell. You install the Unbounce script on your site once, and then you have access to creating experiences on every page, without touching any code or design on the site.

Think of it as a layer of abstraction that exists above your site. Like literally.

“Are you doing that product awareness thing again, Oli?” Yup. I most definitely am. But only because I think the 11 ideas below are badass, and it’s how I like to work.

(Skip to the 11 website optimization ideas).


Navigating the Politics of Website Optimization

The reason I like this approach is because the politics of website development, design, and optimization are a complicated and slow-moving pain in everyone’s ass. The number of stakeholders, sign-offs, reviews, and revisions that are necessary to get a change implemented are always underestimated. Not to mention budgets, different departmental priorities and needs, and of course time. It’s basically a giant cluster that needs to be navigated proactively.

Which is why, if you can come to the table with some evidence that your ideas can affect positive change, those same naysaying stakeholders will become advocates for your work.

Now, I’m not suggesting the first thing you do is to start hammering your pricing page visitors with popups. You have to be smarter than that. Starting small, on low-traffic pages, and using techniques that are legitimately useful for your visitors, and provide as much evidence and learning as possible. The more successes you can show, the greater the bounds of your website optimization freedom will be in the future.

I’m going to share 11 ideas for you to get started with no-touch website optimization using popups and sticky bars, but first, you need to get your web developer to install the script on the website.

Your developer may have some questions such as: How big is the script? Which pages does it need to be added to? We interviewed two of our web developers at Unbounce to understand these concerns, and it was enlightening to hear about their process, and what they check when considering adding another script to the site.

We found that it’s typically a 1-2 day turnaround to get a new script installed, based on the research they need to do regarding page speed and bug testing etc. But one of the most interesting parts to me was simply the desire for the web developer to be included in the process. They didn’t want marketers installing it on the site themselves because it’s a serious concern that needs to be handled properly.

A big positive insight was that the amount of features available in the Unbounce platform (for triggers, targeting, and timing) allows significantly more functionality, interaction, and marketing campaign content without any requests of the developer’s time – making it a big win-win overall.

Just make sure you involve your developers.

If you have Google Tag Manager set up on your site, it’s even easier to get the Unbounce script added. Send this post about adding the Unbounce script using GTM to your web developer now.


11 No-Touch Conversion Optimization Opportunities You Can Take Advantage of on Your Website

Alright! Time to start optimizing your website without touching your website. Here are eleven creative ways to increase the number of conversions, and insights you get from your website.

#1: What on earth are you clicking on?

If you are a frequent observer of heat maps you’ll have no doubt seen big splotches where many people are clicking a page element (word, image etc.) when the element isn’t even clickable.

There can be several reasons for this:

  1. It’s just what people do when they read
  2. They are expecting something to happen

In the case of option B, there’s an opportunity to learn why they are exhibiting this behavior and ask them what they expected to happen.

You can do this by using the click trigger to launch a popup with a simple open-ended question such as “What did you expect to happen when you clicked that?” or “What are you looking for?”.

Conversion Implications

The responses from these research questions could inform you as to a missing part of the experience which you can then consider adding to the website, either directly, or after an A/B test of some kind.

An Unbounce Example

When I was researching behavior on our “What is a Landing Page?” page, I noticed interesting behavior on the first paragraph, where the first word was really strongly highlighted. I had two theories about this:

  1. It’s just a thing people do when they start reading.
  2. People were clicking on the first word and then dragging their mouse to the end of the first or second paragraph to copy the text. Because the page is a very well written and simple definition of what a landing page is, I hypothesized that people doing research who needed a definition to include in their content were copying the definition.

    To confirm this I watched some session recordings and observed someone doing this. I also searched Google for my newly written definition and found over twenty sites had done exactly that. Inbound links FTW.

#2: Create a Custom 404

Wouldn’t you like to know what people are thinking when they’re on your 404 page? If you dig into your analytics you’ll be able to figure out where they came from, but where should they go next?

By using a popup on your 404, you can take advantage of several conversion opportunities:

Option A: Research & Redirect

If you can establish where people are coming from (in order words, where the broken link is), you can use the referrer URL targeting in Unbounce to create a custom experience for them.

If the broken link is on your own site, you can get that fixed, or a 301 redirect put in place to a relevant page and if the broken link is on someone else’s site you can reach out to them for an update.

However, both of those options take time and resources to accomplish. You should put them in motion regardless, but in the meantime, there’s plenty you can do to learn and optimize.

This is a great place to experiment with a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) experience to see what the preferred next step is. If you can show a pattern of next step desire here you’re ready to make a more permanent 301 redirect to the popular choice.

An open-ended question like “What were you looking for?” coupled with a few large buttons that redirect people to some of your critical path conversion pages.

Option B: Replace

Something you might not know is that if you use the Unbounce WordPress plugin for your landing pages, there’s a way to replace a broken link with a landing page.

When using the WordPress plugin, any URL you set up on your domain in Unbounce will assume dominance over an existing page. Now you most likely don’t want to do this with a legit page that’s working. But for a broken link you could publish a landing page using the very same URL to present an experience that you are in full control of – no developers required.

Warning! Don’t simply go overriding pages all over your website (unless you own it fully). Let your web and marketing coworkers know what you’re doing.

#3: The Login Hijack

I introduced The Login Hijack in my 5 Legitimately Cool Use Cases for Website Popups You’ve Never Considered post. The concept is to create an experience based on the information that you (probably) have a large % of visitors (customers in this case) only showing up to click the login link.

Note: You need to drop a cookie on your login page to identify customers, then you can use the cookie targeting in Unbounce to show the popup when they return next time.

This is a perfect place to insert some product marketing content. Here are two ideas:

Idea #1

Run a “did you know?” survey to measure new feature awareness. This could take the form of a series of large buttons with product or feature names on them, and a request to “Click all of the features you were not aware of.” The heatmap on this could be fascinating. Don’t forget to also include a login link so customers don’t have to click to close the popup before proceeding.

You could also include a login redirect after the question is answered to prevent the need for an extra click.

Idea #2

Present a popup with a 50-50 vertical split. The left side can present information about a new product or feature with a “Learn More” button, and the right half can provide a large login button. Not only does this allow you to get product messaging in front of your customers, it also makes the login link/button bigger that it would have been.

#4: Advanced Video Interactions

If you have any videos on your website you probably have a call to action at the end. This is great. Until you look at the engagement data and realize that 50% of people never get to the end.

You can get around this problem with a very cool interaction model that Unbounce Noah Matsell built.

Using this method (requires a little Javascript – ping me at oli@unbounce.com if you’d like it), you can present your visitors/customers with a popup based on 3 different levels of interaction.

On completion

When the video has been watched to the end. Note that a popup presents a significantly large area to present an offer than the typical text/button CTA that appears in the middle of the video window. You can even instruct people to watch the whole video to get a special offer.

You can see a demo here.

On pause

This idea ups the cool factor for me. You can present an offer if someone pauses the video. A great place to ask a question (“Why did you stop watching”), or to present your offer right away.

You can see a demo here.

On series completion

Saving the best for last, this implementation allows you to monitor the viewing of several videos, show a live progress bar, and then present a reward/prize/offer when all of the videos have been watched.

This is great if you have a series of videos that you want to encourage people to binge watch Netflix-style, like The Landing Page Sessions, or a set of instructional videos that guide a new customer through a training or onboarding sequence.

You can see a demo here.

#5: Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) entrance experience

Do you have different target customer segment? At Unbounce we consider agencies and in-house marketing teams to be our ideal target customer archetype.

Given that you most likely have multiple ideal customer types, should they all be getting the same experience? No, of course they shouldn’t. But designing multiple experiences can be difficult. Which is why some experimental experiences can be incredibly eye-opening.

I’m a big fan of the Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) approach, and it’s not hard to create a few custom flows for your visitors.

By using an entrance popup with a simple self-identification question, you can drop cookies that help you create more customized experiences in other areas of your website.

I’d start with an “I’m an Agency or Marketing Team” type question.

Once you’ve dropped the cookie(s), you can take that knowledge and create experiences elsewhere on your site (or other web properties), and you can redirect the visitor to the best experience you have on your site for that persona.

For example, if someone self-identifies as working at an agency, you could provide an agency-specific resource or offer if they try to exit your site on the pricing page. For example, “Did you know we offer an agency program that includes a, b, c ?” or “Would you like a demo of Unbounce with one of our agency specialists?

There are almost infinite ways you can leverage this approach just by asking once for people to identify themselves.

And once again, you didn’t have to change anything on your website.

#6: G2 Crowd awareness

Got good reviews on G2 Crowd or Glassdoor? Embed some of the details on an entrance sticky bar for visitors to your “About Us”, “Team”, and “Careers” pages as social proof.

You could take your rating, a badge, or a review to use as social proof.

#7: G2 Crowd reviews

Ask customers (use the cookie you dropped on the login page for the login hijack example) to rate you on G2 Crowd. As you’re dealing with customers and they already do a lot for you, I’d suggest making this a subtle sticky bar and not an in-your-face experience.

#8: Welcome back MVP

If you know what your most important pages are you can use cookies and cookie targeting to drive people to them.

In my Advanced Triggers and Targeting post, I presented the “You Didn’t See My Most Valuable Page (MVP)” concept, where you set a cookie when visitors see your most valuable page(s). That way you can check for the existence of the cookie whenever someone leaves your site, and show them a popup directing them to the important content.

Using a similar approach, you can provide an entrance experience that welcomes them back and drives them to the important content.

To do this you’d combine cookie targeting (doesn’t have the MVP cookie) with a frequency trigger set to second visit. That way you know they are a repeat visitor and haven’t seen the MVP – as opposed to a first time visitor who hasn’t seen it which could mean they are already on their way there.

Create a Google Analytics report that tells you what % of visitors see your MVP, then observe if your Welcome Back MVP influences the number.

#9: Best Blog Content

In tomorrow’s final Product Awareness Month post, I’ll be sharing a lot of lessons I’ve learned over the past 30 days. One of those revolves around the topics of content that you’re writing about, and making sure they are things that people are A) interested in, and most importantly B) searching for.

To help you with this, you can use an exit popup to ask people which content they’d like to see more of. Then use this data (in combination with your SEO research) to guide your writing.

You can embed a simple Typeform in the popup to capture the responses.

Note: to add a Typeform survey in Unbounce, simple paste the embed code (from Typeform) into a “Custom HTML” element that you drop onto your popup in the Unbounce builder.

#10: Product Awareness Clicker

If you want to collect data about the levels of product awareness you have, at the same time as increasing product awareness, this tip is for you.

While similar in terms of the question to the login hijack, your goal here is to target new visitors as opposed to existing customers.

Trigger a popup on your homepage or features page after a time delay, presenting a series of product/feature icons with the request: “Which products/features did you NOT know we provide?”.

To select the appropriate time delay, look at your analytics for the average time on page for the pages you’re targeting, and set it accordingly. You want to set it just below the average so people see it, but still have time to read your content.

You can measure the results with a click heatmap, or by embedding a Typeform survey in the popup like the previous example. I like Typeform because they have some beautiful and simple big-button layouts that are perfect for this concept.

This is a good way to measure movement in your awareness metrics. For more clarity, segment customers from non-customers. You could do this with a second question on the Typeform survey that simple asks are you a customer. Or you could drop a customer cookie on your login or login success page and remove this cohort using the cookie targeting in Unbounce.

#11: Discount on 3rd exit

Just like shopping carts, pricing page abandonment is big deal, but you probably don’t want to give a discount the first time people leave, just because they’re leaving.

But if they repeatedly visit and leave your pricing page, it could be a signal that there’s an issue with them pulling the trigger. It might be the price point, and it might be worth experimenting with a discount using Popup or Sticky Bar.

You should be careful with discounts (if you’re a SaaS business) as they can affect your metrics in negative ways, but there is always a time and a place where it makes sense.

You can choose your own number, but I’d say that the third time someone visits and leaves your pricing page means it’s time to offer either a question (WTF dude?) or an offer/discount.

To do this with Unbounce, just use URL targeting for the pricing page, and show the popup on visit number 3.


So there you have it. A whole bunch of ways you can get into website optimization without bugging your web developer (more than once).

Aaaaand now, tomorrow marks the end of my 30 posts (that became 20) in 30 days product awareness challenge. This will be a transparent deep dive into everything I’ve learned over the course of the month, data from conversions, leads, clicks, adoption, awareness, and every interaction I’m able to consolidate in the next 24 hours.

See you tomorrow. I promise some very interesting learnings and results.

Cheers
Oli Gardner

p.s. Don’t subscribe to “Product Awareness Month”, because it’s over. Instead you should just read the entie epic 20-post collection when you have time for some binge-reading.

Excerpt from:  

No-Touch CRO: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Website without Touching Your Website

5 Mind-blowing Use Cases for Website Popups You’ve Never Considered (Includes Augmented Reality)

Okay, so perhaps only one of these use cases will blow your mind, but it’s worth risking being labeled as click-bait to get this in your hands. Read on for the coolest things you can do with website popups. Ever. Including augmented reality. Yup.

Example #1: The Augmented Reality Customer Postcard

Alright, people. Prepare to have your minds blown. This example comes from one of our designers, and chief hackers, at Unbounce, Luis Francisco.

Imagine the image below is a postcard you sent to your customers.

They visit the URL printed on it, and then this happens!

Watch me blow my own mind

Try it yourself

Note: This demo uses your laptop’s camera (it won’t work without one). Follow these instructions to see how it works!

  1. Print out the postcard image (opens in new tab)
  2. Open this landing page (opens in new tab)
  3. Grant access to your camera when asked by the browser.
  4. Hold the postcard in front of your camera to see the magic! (Stand a few feet back).

Example #2: The Website Login Hijack

35% of all visitors to Unbounce.com are only there to log in to the app. You read that correctly. Thirty-five percent. You can see the details in this GA screenshot from the month of January 2018.

This is an incredibly common thing for SaaS businesses, where customers will visit the homepage to click the login link. You’ll want to create a segment in Google Analytics for this, so you can remove it from your non-customer website behavior analysis.

It’s a huge opportunity for product marketing.

If you drop a cookie on your login screen that identifies the visitor as someone trying to log in, you can then use the cookie targeting built into Unbounce to target returning account holders with a website popup containing new product release info, along with a large login link that makes their experience even easier.

Click here or the image below to see an example popup.

Example #3: Social Referral Welcome

Are you doing as much as you can to convert your visitors from social? Probably not, but that’s okay. For this idea you can add an extra level of personalization by detecting the referring site (an Unbounce popup feature) and present a welcome experience relevant to that source.

You can take it a step further and have custom URL parameters on the social link that populate the popup with relevant content.

This is made possible by the Dynamic Text Replacement feature in Unbounce.

Check out the Tweet below. When I shared the blog post on Twitter, I added a URL parameter to the end of the URL so it reads:

https://postURL/?postTitle=“Maybe Later” - A New Interaction Model for E-commerce Entrance Popups

Try clicking the link in the Tweet. It will take you to our blog, and will show you a popup that’s only triggered when the referrer is Twitter (specifically a URL that contains t.co which is the Twitter URL shortener).

This is a really powerful way of connecting two previously disparate experiences, extending the information scent from one site to another. All without writing a single line of code.

Example #4: Preferred Social Network Share Request

If someone comes to you from twitter it’s a strong signal that Twitter is a social network of choice – or at least somewhere where they look for and respond to, socially shared content. As such you can give them a customized tweet ready for that network when they’ve demonstrated some engagement with your blog.

Using the referrer URL targeting option in Unbounce you can easily detect a visit from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Which is what I showed you in the previous example.

You can use different triggers for this concept that are likely to be more indicative of someone who’s engaged with the post. I’d suggest the scroll trigger (either up or down), time delay, or exit.

The reason I like this approach is that most people have a preferred social network. Mine is Twitter. If you give me a specific task, such as “Would you share this on Twitter for me, please?” with a Tweet button and prepared Tweet text, I’m more likely to engage versus having 5 social share buttons at the side or bottom of the post with no instructions.

Click here or the image below to see this concept in a popup.

You’d then craft a really good Tweet, with text or links specific to this tactic so you can measure its impact.

BTW: the button in that popup is functional and will actually Tweet about this blog post. I’d really love a share from you, just so you know. Show the popup again so you can Tweet it.

Example #5: Joke of the Day

Let’s end the post with a fun one. I’m sure you’ve all seen those messages or jokes that appear on Slack as it’s loading (it’s a thing). It can be fun to have that unusable time filled with something delightful.

Well, this is kinda like that, except that it’s not appearing during a loading sequence, it’s just straight up thrown in the face of your visitors. Because we need to experiment, people!!!!!!!!!

For bonus points, only show this to folks who have the cookie set in example #2 – “The Website Login Hijack” cos they’re customers and might appreciate it.

To do this, I took Unbounce co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Carter Gilchrist’s pet project “Good Bad Jokes” and embedded a random joke into an iframe in a popup. Boom!

Fair warning, some of these jokes are a little NSFW.

Click here for your Joke Of The Day.


Now go back to the top and try the augmented reality example again, and then share it on your preferred social network because it’s awesome, and that’s an awesome way to do business!

Cheers my dears,
Oli

Original source – 

5 Mind-blowing Use Cases for Website Popups You’ve Never Considered (Includes Augmented Reality)

5 Legitimately Cool Use Cases for Website Popups You’ve Never Considered (Includes Augmented Reality)

Okay, so perhaps only one of these use cases will blow your mind, but it’s worth risking being labeled as click-bait to get this in your hands. Read on for the coolest things you can do with website popups. Ever. Including augmented reality. Yup.

Example #1: The Augmented Reality Customer Postcard

Alright, people. Prepare to have your minds blown. This example comes from one of our designers, and chief hackers, at Unbounce, Luis Francisco.

Imagine the image below is a postcard you sent to your customers.

They visit the URL printed on it, and then this happens!

Watch me blow my own mind

Try it yourself

Note: This demo uses your laptop’s camera (it won’t work without one). Follow these instructions to see how it works!

  1. Print out the postcard image (opens in new tab)
  2. Open this landing page (opens in new tab)
  3. Grant access to your camera when asked by the browser.
  4. Hold the postcard in front of your camera to see the magic! (Stand a few feet back).

Example #2: The Website Login Hijack

35% of all visitors to Unbounce.com are only there to log in to the app. You read that correctly. Thirty-five percent. You can see the details in this GA screenshot from the month of January 2018.

This is an incredibly common thing for SaaS businesses, where customers will visit the homepage to click the login link. You’ll want to create a segment in Google Analytics for this, so you can remove it from your non-customer website behavior analysis.

It’s a huge opportunity for product marketing.

If you drop a cookie on your login screen that identifies the visitor as someone trying to log in, you can then use the cookie targeting built into Unbounce to target returning account holders with a website popup containing new product release info, along with a large login link that makes their experience even easier.

Click here or the image below to see an example popup.

Example #3: Social Referral Welcome

Are you doing as much as you can to convert your visitors from social? Probably not, but that’s okay. For this idea you can add an extra level of personalization by detecting the referring site (an Unbounce popup feature) and present a welcome experience relevant to that source.

You can take it a step further and have custom URL parameters on the social link that populate the popup with relevant content.

This is made possible by the Dynamic Text Replacement feature in Unbounce.

Check out the Tweet below. When I shared the blog post on Twitter, I added a URL parameter to the end of the URL so it reads:

https://postURL/?postTitle=“Maybe Later” - A New Interaction Model for E-commerce Entrance Popups

Try clicking the link in the Tweet. It will take you to our blog, and will show you a popup that’s only triggered when the referrer is Twitter (specifically a URL that contains t.co which is the Twitter URL shortener).

This is a really powerful way of connecting two previously disparate experiences, extending the information scent from one site to another. All without writing a single line of code.

Example #4: Preferred Social Network Share Request

If someone comes to you from twitter it’s a strong signal that Twitter is a social network of choice – or at least somewhere where they look for and respond to, socially shared content. As such you can give them a customized tweet ready for that network when they’ve demonstrated some engagement with your blog.

Using the referrer URL targeting option in Unbounce you can easily detect a visit from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Which is what I showed you in the previous example.

You can use different triggers for this concept that are likely to be more indicative of someone who’s engaged with the post. I’d suggest the scroll trigger (either up or down), time delay, or exit.

The reason I like this approach is that most people have a preferred social network. Mine is Twitter. If you give me a specific task, such as “Would you share this on Twitter for me, please?” with a Tweet button and prepared Tweet text, I’m more likely to engage versus having 5 social share buttons at the side or bottom of the post with no instructions.

Click here or the image below to see this concept in a popup.

You’d then craft a really good Tweet, with text or links specific to this tactic so you can measure its impact.

BTW: the button in that popup is functional and will actually Tweet about this blog post. I’d really love a share from you, just so you know. Show the popup again so you can Tweet it.

Example #5: Joke of the Day

Let’s end the post with a fun one. I’m sure you’ve all seen those messages or jokes that appear on Slack as it’s loading (it’s a thing). It can be fun to have that unusable time filled with something delightful.

Well, this is kinda like that, except that it’s not appearing during a loading sequence, it’s just straight up thrown in the face of your visitors. Because we need to experiment, people!!!!!!!!!

For bonus points, only show this to folks who have the cookie set in example #2 – “The Website Login Hijack” cos they’re customers and might appreciate it.

To do this, I took a fun joke site called “Good Bad Jokes” and embedded a random joke into an iframe in a popup. Boom!

Fair warning, some of these jokes are a little NSFW.

Click here for your Joke Of The Day.


Now go back to the top and try the augmented reality example again, and then share it on your preferred social network because it’s awesome, and that’s an awesome way to do business!

Cheers my dears,
Oli

Read this article: 

5 Legitimately Cool Use Cases for Website Popups You’ve Never Considered (Includes Augmented Reality)

Product Marketing Lessons Learned: An Interview with Shopify’s Hana Abaza [Video]

Hana Abaza runs the marketing show over at Shopify Plus, the enterprise arm of e-commerce software giant Shopify. In the interview, we unpack some of the ways they’re increasing product awareness and adoption of a new product – including the genesis of the idea for Shopify Plus, and some product marketing lessons learned.

We also talk about MacGyvering, crazy startup ideas, and a ton of resources you can use for your own product marketing efforts.

Watch My Interview with Hana Abaza on Product Marketing Lessons Learned

Show Notes

Here are all the resources we talked about:

  1. 09:03 Jobs to be Done (JTBD) Framework | Framework
  2. 15:45 Product adoption tips
    Some of Hana’s presentation slides.
  3. 18:00 Partner Marketing
    How Shopify leveraged their partners to create content to influence organic search for a new product.
  4. 20:08 Marketing a product with no pricing on your website
    Is it harder or easier to market an enterprise product when you only have a demo request?
  5. 24:10 Who does product marketing well?
  6. 25:15 First Round Capital Interview with Joanna Lord
  7. 27:14 Intercom Product Marketing
  8. 30:13 MacGyvering
  9. 31:10 Who would Hana take to a deserted island?
    The Unpublished David Ogilvy.
  10. 33:50 Hana’s favourite dad joke
    What do you call cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho Cheese!

Cheers
Oli Gardner

Get back here on Monday where I’ll be showing you how to use Sticky Bars to craft really cool mobile user experiences.

See the original post: 

Product Marketing Lessons Learned: An Interview with Shopify’s Hana Abaza [Video]

9 Creative Sticky Bar Examples – Plus 21 New Unbounce Templates

alt : https://unbounce.com/photos/sticky-bar-condoms.mp4https://unbounce.com/photos/sticky-bar-condoms.mp4

Sticky Bars are the less intrusive cousin of the noble Popup. They appear at the top or bottom of the page (and sometimes the sides) when a visitor arrives, leaves, scrolls down or up, stays on the page for a certain time period or clicks a link or button. They have a million useful use cases, some of which you may not have considered.

In today’s Product Awareness Month post, I’ll be sharing:

  • 9 Sticky Bar Examples From Out in the Wild: These are examples the team has found on other folks websites, and a couple of our own.
  • 21 New Unbounce Sticky Bar Templates: Check out our latest designs that you can use today.

To get things started, here’s an example that I’ll talk about later in the new templates section. Click to show a Sticky Bar with a countdown timer.

I’d love to see your Sticky Bars too, so drop me a link in the comments, please.

9 Creative Sticky Bar Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign

Discounts and newsletter subscriptions are valid, common and effective use cases, but I want to explore different types of interaction design, or campaign concepts that can compliment what you’re already using them for.

#1 Maybe Later

If you’ve been following along with Product Awareness Month (PAM), you’ll have seen the “Maybe Later” concept. This is where an entrance popup morphs into a persistent Sticky Bar when your visitors click the middle “Maybe Later” button instead of yes or no.

You can see a live demo of how it works here. A popup will appear when you arrive. Click “Maybe Later”, then refresh the page and a Sticky Bar will appear, and can be configured to show up site-wide until you convert or say “No Thanks”.


#2 Sticky Bar to Popup

This concept is the exact opposite of “Maybe Later”, and it uses a concept known as a two-step opt-in. Instead of showing a form on the Sticky Bar, it just shows a button to express interest.

Click-Through Sticky Bar

When you click the Sticky Bar CTA it launches a popup to collect the email address. This two-stage concept can increase conversions because the first click establishes intent and a level of commitment to continue – while not showing a scary form right away. I’ll be discussing the two-step opt-in in a future post.

Lead Gen Popup


#3 Sticky Video Widget

You’ve seen these on many blogs I’m sure. It’s really cool functionality for increasing engagement in your videos. You can see a demo here. And instructions on how to implement it can be found in the Unbounce community here.


#4 E-commerce Product Reminder

This example is really cool. As you scroll down a product page on an e-commerce site, an “Add to Cart” Sticky Bar appears when you scroll past the main hero image.


#5 E-commerce Checkout Discount Nudge

This Sticky Bar sticks with you for every step in the photo creation and checkout process. Clearly, they are comfortable with the coupon being applied to the sale because it’s an incredibly competitive business niche and let’s face it when you see a coupon code field you go searching for one. So why not just offer it straight up.

For the record, trying to buy canvas prints to deliver to family in the UK is a freakin’ nightmare. I had to try 8 different sites before one of them would allow me to put a Canadian address in the billing info fields. They are losing a TON of money by not realizing that customers can be in other places.


#6 On-Click Side Slide

On-click Sticky Bars and Popups are the best kind when it comes to a permission-based interaction. You make something interesting and ask people to click on it. In this example, there is an element on the left side of the page which slides in from the side when clicked.

Unbouncer Noah Matsell created a similar thing in Unbounce (see demo here). It doesn’t actually use a Sticky Bar. Instead it’s just a box with text in it. I love how it works. Try it out, and think about all the cool stuff you could stick in a sidebar.


#7 EU Cookie Policy

European Union laws around privacy are some of the toughest in the world, and for the last few years, the EU Cookie Privacy Law required that all EU businesses, as well as international businesses serving EU customers, show a privacy statement with a clickable acknowledgment interaction. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know all the ins and outs, but needless to say, it’s a great use case that you may not even know that your web team or legal team actually needs.

Coming up in May is the new GDPR legislation which will usurp this law, but offer its own needs and requirements, so stay tuned for more on that, and how you should be dealing with it. In fact, I did a quick poll on Twitter to see what people thought about the cookie law and got an interesting mix of responses. Don’t be in the “Haven’t dealt with it yet” camp when it comes to GDPR. That could get you dinged.

We released a new Cookie Bar template below that you can use until you deal with the new legislation.

#8 Microsite Navigation

Another example from earlier in Product Awareness Month. You can use a Sticky Bar as the connective global navigation that turns a group of landing pages into a microsite.

A really simple way to create a multi-page marketing campaign experience.

#9 Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score surveys are a method of measuring how your customers feel about your product or service. Based on a scale from 0-10 and the question “How likely are you to recommend company name to a friend?”

Co-founder Carter Gilchrist made this NPS demo to show how it works:


Follow our Product Awareness Month journey >> click here to launch a popup with a subscribe form (it uses our on-click trigger feature).


21 New Unbounce Sticky Bar Templates You Can Use Today

We just released a whole bunch of new Sticky Bar and Popup templates which you can see inside the Unbounce app screenshot below. I chose a few of them to showcase below based on some of the examples I discussed above.


Sticky Bar Template #1: Countdown Timer

Countdown timers are great for creating a sense of urgency, and can have a positive influence on conversions as a result.


Click to show this Sticky Bar at the bottom | at the top.


Sticky Bar Template #2: Location Redirect

If you have multiple websites or online stores, you can use Location Targeting (Unbounce supports city, region, country, and continent) to let people know there is a local version they might want to switch to.


Sticky Bar Template #3: Product Release

Announce product releases on your website to drive people to the features page of the new product.


Sticky Bar Template #4: Cookie Privacy Law

As I mentioned earlier, this is big for companies in Europe, and also businesses who have European customers. On May 25, 2018 this law will be usurped by the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Sticky Bar Template #5: Product Beta Access

Build an email list for an upcoming beta release.


Sticky Bar Template #6: Product Hunt Launch

Product Hunt can be a great place to launch new products. To be successful you need to get upvotes and you can use a Sticky Bar to send people there from your website.

Check Out Our Sticky Bar Live Demo

We built a cool tool that shows what Sticky Bars and Popups look like on your site. Simply enter your URL here to preview. It even grabs your brand colors and in this case, Amanda from Orbit Media makes a cameo appearance.

Cheers
Oli Gardner

p.s. You should check out The Landing Page Analyzer. Why? Because – hyperbole alert – it’s the single greatest tool in the history of the world when it comes to grading your landing pages.

Jump to original:  

9 Creative Sticky Bar Examples – Plus 21 New Unbounce Templates

How to Turn a Long Landing Page Into a Microsite – In 6 Easy Steps

Landing pages can get really long, which is totally fine, especially if you use a sticky anchor navigation to scroll people up and down to different page sections. It’s a great conversion experience and should be embraced.

However, there are times when having a small multi-page site, known as a microsite (or mini-site) can offer significant advantages.

This is not a conversation about your website (which is purely for organic traffic), I’m still talking about creating dedicated marketing-campaign-specific experiences. That’s what landing pages were designed for, and a microsite is very similar. It’s like a landing page in that it’s a standalone, controlled experience, but with a different architecture.

The sketch below shows the difference between a landing page and a microsite.

The landing page is a single page with six sections. The microsite has a homepage and 5 or 6 child pages, each with a persistent global navigation to conect the pages.

They are both “landing experiences”, just architected differently. I’ve noticed that many higher education landing experiences are four-page microsites. The pharmaceutical industry tends to create microsites for every new product campaign – especially those driven by TV ads.

What are the benefits of a microsite over a long landing page?

To reiterate, for most marketing campaign use cases, a single landing page – long or short – is your absolute best option. But there are some scenarios where you can really benefit from a microsite.

Some of the benefits of a microsite include:

  1. It allows more pages to be indexed by Google
  2. You can craft a controlled experience on each page (vs. a section where people can move up and down to other sections)
  3. You can add a lot more content to a certain page, without making your landing page a giant.
  4. You can get more advanced with your analytics research as there are many different click-pathways within a microsite that aren’t possible to track or design for on a single page.
  5. The technique I’m going to show you takes an Unbounce landing page, turns it into a 5-page microsite.

How to Create a Microsite from a Long Landing Page

The connective tissue of a microsite is the navigation. It links the pages together and defines the available options for a visitor. I’ll be using an Unbounce Sticky Bar as the shared global navigation to connect five Unbounce landing pages that we’ll create from the single long landing page. It’s really easy.

First, Choose a Landing Page to Work With

I’ve created a dummy landing page to work with. You can see from the zoomed-out thumbnail on the right-hand side how long it is: 10 page-sections long to be specific. (Click the image to view the whole page in a scrolling lightbox.)

The five-step process is then as follows:

I’ll explain it in more detail with screenshots and a quick video.

  1. Create the microsite pages, by duplicate your landing page 5 times
  2. Delete the page sections you don’t want on each microsite page
  3. Create a Sticky Bar and add five navigation buttons
  4. Set the URL targeting of the Sticky Bar to appear on the microsite pages
  5. Add the Unbounce global script to your site
  6. Click “Publish” << hardly a step.

Step 1: Create Your Microsite Pages

Choose “Duplicate Page” from the cog menu on your original landing page to create a new page (5 times). Then name each page and set the URL of each accordingly. In the screenshot below you can see I have the original landing page, and five microsite pages Home|About|Features|FAQ|Sign Up.

Step 2: Delete Page Sections on Each Microsite Page

Open each page in the Unbounce builder and click the background of any page section you don’t want and hit delete. It’s really quick. Do this for each page until they only have the content you want to be left in them. Watch the 30 sec video below to see how.

Pro Tip: Copy/Paste Between Pages

There is another way to do it. Instead of deleting sections, you can start with blank pages for the microsite, and copy/paste the sections you want from the landing page into the blank pages. This is one of the least-known and most powerful features of Unbounce.

The best way is to have a few browser tabs open at once (like one for each page), then just copy and paste between browser tabs. It’s epic! Watch…

Step 3: Create the Navigation With a Sticky Bar

Create a new Sticky Bar in Unbounce (it’s the same builder for landing pages and popups). Add buttons or links for each of your microsite pages, and set the “Target” of the link to be “Parent Frame” as shown in the lower-right of this screenshot.

Step 4: Set URL Targeting

This is where the connective tissue of the shared Sticky Bar comes together. On the Sticky Bar dashboard, you can enter any URLs on your domain that you want the bar to appear on. You can enter them one-by-one if you like, or to make it much faster, just use the same naming convention (unique to this microsite/campaign) on each of the microsite page URLS.

I used these URLs for my pages:

unbounce.com/pam-micro-home/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-about/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-features/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-faq/
unbounce.com/pam-micro-signup/

For the URL Targeting, I simply set one rule, that URLs need to contain “pmm-micro”.
For the Trigger, I selected “When a visitor arrives on the page.”
for the frequency, I selected “Show on every visit.” because the nav needs to be there always.

Step 5: Add the Unbounce Script

We have a one-line Javascript that needs to be added to your website to make the Sticky Bars work. If you use Google Tag Manager on your site, then it’s super easy, just give the code snippet to your dev to paste into GTM.

Note: As this microsite solution was 100% within Unbounce (Landing Pages and Sticky Bar), you don’t actually have to add the script to your website, you can just add it to the each of the landing pages individually. But it’s best to get it set up on your website, which will show it on your Unbounce landing pages on that domain, by default.

Ste 6: Hide the Sticky Bar Close Button

As this is a navigation bar, and not a promo, we need to make sure it’s always there and can’t be hidden. It’s not a native feature in the app right now, so you need to add this CSS to each of the microsite pages.

 .ub-emb-iframe-wrapper .ub-emb-close 
  visibility: hidden;
 

Click Publish on #AllTheThings!

And that’s that!


You can see the final microsite here.
(Desktop only right now I’m afraid. I’ll set up mobile responsive soon but it’s 2am and this blogging schedule is killing me :D).


I’ve also written a little script that uses cookies to change the visual state of each navigation button to show which pages you’ve visited. I’ll be sharing that in the future for another concept to illustrate how you can craft a progress bar style navigation flow to direct people where you want them to go next!

A Few Wee Caveats

  • This use of a Sticky Bar isn’t a native feature of Unbounce at this point, it’s just a cool thing you can do. As such, it’s not technically supported, although our community loves this type of thing.
  • As it’s using a shared Sticky Bar for the nav, you’ll see it re-appear on each new page load. Not perfect, but it’s not a big deal and the tradeoff is worth it if the other benefits mentioned earlier work for you.

Aall in all, this type of MacGyvering is great for generating new ways of thinking about your marketing experiences, and how you can guide people to a conversion.

I’ve found that thinking about a microsite from a conversion standpoint is a fantastic mental exercise.

Have fun making a microsite, and never stop experimenting – and MacGyvering!
Cheers
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates for the rest of Product Awareness Month.

From – 

How to Turn a Long Landing Page Into a Microsite – In 6 Easy Steps

6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

If you want to craft a delightful marketing experience and you’re using popups, you need to make sure you hold them to the same high standards as the content they are covering up. You can learn a lot by looking at bad website popup examples.

Once you understand what not to do, you’ll default to starting your own popup designs from a better baseline.

What does a bad popup design actually look like?

Well, it depends on your judging criteria, and for the popup examples below, I was considering these seven things, among others:

  1. Clarity: Is it easy to figure out the offer really quickly?
  2. Relevance: Is it related to the content of the current page?
  3. Manipulation: Does it use psychological trickery in the copy?
  4. Design: Is it butt ugly?
  5. Control: Is it clear what all options will do?
  6. Escape: Can you get rid of it easily?
  7. Value: Is the reward worth more than the perceived (or actual) effort?

The following popup examples, each make a number of critical errors in their design decisions. Take a look, and share your own worst popup design examples in the comments!


#1 – Weather Channel Rudeness

What’s so bad about it?

Okay, I get it Weather.com, ads are one of, or your only, revenue stream. There are plenty of sites who ask you to turn off an ad blocker to read the full article. I don’t have a problem with it, and the main paragraph of text here is okay.

What I *do* have a problem with is the copy on the CTA. “Turn off your ad blocker”.

Really? You can’t even say please? That’s just obnoxious.

Fun fact, the Canadian version of the site doesn’t have this popup. Go figure. ;)
(I had to VPN to get the U.S. version.)

Submitted by Ramona from Impact)


#2 – Mashable Shmashable

What’s so bad about it?

If you peer into the background behind the popup, you’ll see a news story headline that begins with “Nightmare Alert”. I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what’s happening here.

  • Design: Bad. The first thing I saw looks like a big mistake. The Green line with the button hanging off the bottom looks like the designer fell asleep with their head on the mouse.
  • Clarity: Bad. And what on earth does the headline mean? click.click.click. Upon deeper exploration, it’s the name of the newsletter, but that’s not apparent at all on first load.
  • Clarity: worse. Then we get the classic “Clear vs. Clever” headline treatment. Why are you talking about the pronunciation of the word “Gif”? Tell me what this is, and why I should care to give you my email.
  • Design: Bad. Also, that background is gnarly.

#3 – KAM Motorsports Revolution!

What’s so bad about it?

It’s motorsports. It’s not a revolution. Unless they’re talking about wheels going round in circles.

  • Clarity: Bad. The headline doesn’t say what it is, or what I’ll get by subscribing. I have to read the fine print to figure that out.
  • Copy: Bad. Just reading the phrase “abuse your email” is a big turn off. Just like the word spam, I wasn’t thinking that you were going to abuse me, but now it’s on my mind.
  • Relevance: Bad. Newsletter subscription popups are great, they have a strong sense of utility and can give people exactly what they want. But I don’t like them as entry popups. They’re much better when they use an exit trigger, or a scroll trigger. Using a “Scroll Up” trigger is smart because it means they’ve read some of your content, and they are scrolling back up vs. leaving directly, which is another micro-signal that they are interested.

#4 – Utterly Confused


(Source unknown – I found it on confirmshaming.tumblr.com)

What’s so bad about it?

I have no earthly clue what’s going on here.

  • Clarity: Bad. I had to re-read it five times before I figured out what was going on.
  • Control: Bad. After reading it, I didn’t know whether I would be agreeing with what they’re going to give me, or with the statement. It’s like an affirmation or something. But I have no way of knowing what will happen if I click either button. My best guess after spending this much time writing about it is that it’s a poll. But a really meaningless one if it is. Click here to find out how many people agreed with “doing better”…
  • It ends with “Do Better”. I agree. They need to do a lot better.

#5 – Purple Nurple

What’s so bad about it?

  • Manipulation: Bad. Our first “Confirm Shaming” example. Otherwise known as “Good Cop / Bad Cop”. Forcing people to click a button that says “Detest” on it is so incongruent with the concept of a mattress company that I think they’re just being cheap. There’s no need to speak to people that way.
  • I found a second popup example by Purple (below), and have to give them credit. The copy on this one is significantly more persuasive. Get this. If you look at the section I circled (in purple), it says that if you subscribe, they’ll keep you up to date with SHIPPING TIMES!!! Seriously? If you’re going to email me and say “Hey Oli, great news! We can ship you a mattress in 2 weeks!”, I’ll go to Leesa, or Endy, or one of a million other Casper copycats.


#6 – Hello BC

What’s so bad about it?

Context: This is an entry popup, and I have never been to this site before.

  • Relevance: Bad. The site is Hellobc.com, the title says “Supernatural British Columbia”, and the content on the page is about skydiving. So what list is this for? And nobody wants to be on a “list”, stop saying “list”. It’s like saying email blast. Blast your list. If you read the first sentence it gets even more confusing, as you’ll be receiving updates from Destination BC. That’s 4 different concepts at play here.
  • Design: Bad. It’s legitimately butt ugly. I mean, come on. This is for Beautiful Supernatural British Columbia ffs. It’s stunning here. Show some scenery to entice me in.
  • Value: Bad. Seeing that form when I arrive on the page is like a giant eff you. Why do they think it’s okay to ask for that much info, with that much text, before I’ve even seen any content?
  • Control: Bad. And there’s not any error handling. However, the submit button remains inactive until you magically click the right amount of options to trigger it’s hungry hungry hippo mouth to open.

Train. Wreck.


Well, that’s all for today, folks. You might be wondering why there were so few popup examples in this post. Honestly, when the team was rallying to find me a bunch of examples, we all struggled to find many truly awful ones. We also struggled to find many really awesome ones.

This is where YOU come in!

Send me your terrible and awesome popup examples!

If you have any wonderfully brutal, or brutally wonderful examples of website popup design, I’d really appreciate a URL in the comments. If you could share the trigger details too that would be rad (e.g. exit, entrance, scroll, delay etc.).

Tomorrow’s Post is about Awesome Popup Examples! YAY.

So get your butt back here same time tomorrow, where I’ll be sharing my brand new Popup Delight Equation that you can use to grade your own popup designs.

Cheers,
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

View original post here:  

6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

Technology isn’t the Problem, We Are. An Essay on Popups + 5 Horrific Popup Examples

Before I bring the heat, I want to talk a bit about what it’s like, as a marketer, to be marketing something that’s difficult to market.

You see, there’s a common problem that many marketers face, and it’s also one of the most asked questions I hear when I’m on the road, as a speaker:

“How do I great marketing for a boring product or service?”

That’s a tough challenge for sure, although the good news is that if you can inject some originality you’ll be a clear winner, as all of your competitors are also boring. However, I think I can one-up that problem:

“How do I do great marketing for something that’s universally hated, like popups?”

We knew we had a big challenge ahead of us when we decided to release the popups product because of the long legacy of manipulative abuse it carries with it.

In fact, as the discussion about product direction began in the office, there were some visceral (negative) reactions from some folks on the engineering team. They feared that we were switching over to the dark side.

It makes sense to me that this sentiment would come from developers. In my experience, really good software developers have one thing in common. They want to make a difference in the world. Developers are makers by design, and part of building something is wanting it to have a positive impact on those who use it.

To quell those types of fears requires a few things;

  • Education about the positive use cases for the technology,
  • Evidence in the form of good popup examples, showcasing how to use them in a delightful and responsible manner,
  • Features such as advanced triggers & targeting to empower marketers to deliver greater relevance to visitors,
  • And most important of all – it requires us to take a stance. We can’t change the past unless we lead by example.

It’s been my goal since we started down this path, to make it clear that we are drawing a line in the sand between the negative past, and a positive future.

Which is why we initially launched with the name “Overlays” instead of popups.

Overlays vs. Popups – The End of an Era

It made a lot of sense at the time, from a branding perspective. Through podcast interviews and public speaking gigs, I was trying to change the narrative around popups. Whenever I was talking about a bad experience, I would call it a popup. When it was a positive (and additive) experience, I’d call it an overlay. It was a really good way to create a clear separation.

I even started to notice more and more people calling them overlays. Progress.

Unfortunately, it would still require a lot of continued education to make a dent in the global perception of the terminology, that with the search volume for “overlays” being tiny compared to popups, factored heavily into our decision to pivot back to calling a popup a popup.

Positioning is part of a product marketer’s job – our VP of Product Marketing, Ryan Engley recently completed our most recent positioning document for the new products. Just as the umbrella term “Convertables” we had been using to include popups and sticky bars had created confusion, “Overlays” was again making the job harder than it should have been. You can tell, just from reading this paragraph alone that it’s a complex problem, and we’re moving in the right direction by re-simplifying.

The biggest challenge developing our positioning was the number of important strategic questions that we needed to answer first. The market problems we solve, for who, how our product fits today with our vision for the future, who we see ourselves competing with, whether we position ourselves as a comprehensive platform that solves a unique problem, or whether we go to market with individual products and tools etc. It’s a beast of an undertaking.

My biggest lightbulb moment was working with April Dunford who pushed me to get away from competing tool-to-tool with other products. She said in order to win that way, you’d have to be market leading in every tool, and that won’t happen. So what’s the unique value that only you offer and why is it important?

— Ryan Engley, VP Product Marketing at Unbounce

You can read more about our initial product adoption woes, and how our naming conventions hurt us, in the first post in the series – Product Marketing Month: Why I’m Writing 30 Blog Posts in 30 Days.

Let’s get back to the subject of popups. I think it’s important to look back at the history of this device to better understand how they came about, and why they have always caused such a stir.

Browser Interaction Models & the History of the Popup

The talk I was doing much of last year was called Data-Driven Design. As part of the talk, I get into interaction design trends. I’ve included the “Trendline” slide below.

You can see that the first occurrence of a popup was back in 1998. Also, note that I included Overlays in late 2016 when we first started that discussion.

Like many bad trends, popups began as web developers started trying to hack browser behavior to create different interruptive interaction modes. I know I made a lot of them back in the day, but I was always doing it to try to create a cool experience. For example, I was building a company Intranet and wanted to open up content in a new window, resize it, and stick it to the side of the screen as a sidebar navigation for the main window. That was all good stuff.

Tabbed browsers have done a lot to help clean up the mess of multiple windows, and if you couple that with popup blockers, there’s a clear evolution in how this type of behavior is being dealt with.

Then came the pop-under, often connected to Malware virus schemes where malicious scripts could be running in the background and you wouldn’t even know.

And then the always fun “Are you sure you want to do that?” Inception-like looping exit dialogs.

Developers/hackers took the simple Javascript modal “Ok” “Cancel” and abused it to the point where there was no real way out of the page. If you tried to leave the page one modal would lead to another, and another, and you couldn’t actually close the browser window/tab unless you could do it within the split second between one dialog closing and the next opening. It was awful.

So we have a legacy of abuse that’s killed the perception of popups.

What if Popups Had Been Built Into Browsers?

Imagine for a moment that a popup was simply one of many available interaction models available in the browsing experience. They could have had a specification from the W3C, with a set of acceptable criteria for display modes. It would be an entirely different experience. Sure, there would still be abuse, but it’s an interesting thought.

This is why it’s important that we (Unbounce and other like-minded marketers and Martech software providers) take a stance, and build the right functionality into this type of tool so that it can be used responsibly.

Furthermore, we need to keep the dialog going, to educate the current and future generations of marketers that to be original, be delightful, be a business that represents themselves as professionals, means taking responsibility for our actions and doing everything we can to take the high road in our marketing.

Alright, before I get to the really bad website popup examples, I’ll leave you with this thought:

Technology is NOT the problem, We Are.

It’s the disrespectful and irresponsible marketers who use manipulative pop-psychology tactics for the sake of a few more leads, who are the problem. We need to stop blaming popups for bad experiences, and instead, call out the malicious marketers who are ruining it for those trying to do good work.

It’s a tough challenge to reverse years of negative perception, but that’s okay. It’s okay because we know the value the product brings to our customers, how much extra success they’re having, and because we’ve built a solution that can be configured in precise ways that make it simple to use in a responsible manner (if you’re a good person).


Follow our Product Marketing Month journey >> click here to launch a popup with a subscribe form (it uses our on-click trigger feature).


5 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

What does a bad popup actually look like? Well, it depends on your judging criteria, and for the examples below, I was considering these seven things, among others:

  1. Clarity: Is it easy to figure out the offer really quickly?
  2. Relevance: Is it related to the content of the current page?
  3. Manipulation: Does it use psychological trickery in the copy?
  4. Design: Is it butt ugly?
  5. Control: Is it clear what all options will do?
  6. Escape: Can you get rid of it easily?
  7. Value: Is the reward worth more than the perceived (or actual) effort?

#1 – Mashable Shmashable

What’s so bad about it?

If you peer into the background behind the popup, you’ll see a news story headline that begins with “Nightmare Alert”. I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what’s happening here.

  • Design: Bad. The first thing I saw looks like a big mistake. The Green line with the button hanging off the bottom looks like the designer fell asleep with their head on the mouse.
  • Clarity: Bad. And what on earth does the headline mean? click.click.click. Upon deeper exploration, it’s the name of the newsletter, but that’s not apparent at all on first load.
  • Clarity: worse. Then we get the classic “Clear vs. Clever” headline treatment. Why are you talking about the pronunciation of the word “Gif”? Tell me what this is, and why I should care to give you my email.
  • Design: Bad. Also, that background is gnarly.

#2 – KAM Motorsports Revolution!

What’s so bad about it?

It’s motorsports. It’s not a revolution. Unless they’re talking about wheels going round in circles.

  • Clarity: Bad. The headline doesn’t say what it is, or what I’ll get by subscribing. I have to read the fine print to figure that out.
  • Copy: Bad. Just reading the phrase “abuse your email” is a big turn off. Just like the word spam, I wasn’t thinking that you were going to abuse me, but now it’s on my mind.
  • Relevance: Bad. Newsletter subscription popups are great, they have a strong sense of utility and can give people exactly what they want. But I don’t like them as entry popups. They’re much better when they use an exit trigger, or a scroll trigger. Using a “Scroll Up” trigger is smart because it means they’ve read some of your content, and they are scrolling back up vs. leaving directly, which is another micro-signal that they are interested.

#3 – Utterly Confused


(Source unknown – I found it on confirmshaming.tumblr.com)

What’s so bad about it?

I have no earthly clue what’s going on here.

  • Clarity: Bad. I had to re-read it five times before I figured out what was going on.
  • Control: Bad. After reading it, I didn’t know whether I would be agreeing with what they’re going to give me, or with the statement. It’s like an affirmation or something. But I have no way of knowing what will happen if I click either button. My best guess after spending this much time writing about it is that it’s a poll. But a really meaningless one if it is. Click here to find out how many people agreed with “doing better”…
  • It ends with “Do Better”. I agree. They need to do a lot better.

#4 – Purple Nurple

What’s so bad about it?

  • Manipulation: Bad. Our first “Confirm Shaming” example. Otherwise known as “Good Cop / Bad Cop”. Forcing people to click a button that says “Detest” on it is so incongruent with the concept of a mattress company that I think they’re just being cheap. There’s no need to speak to people that way.
  • I found a second popup example by Purple (below), and have to give them credit. The copy on this one is significantly more persuasive. Get this. If you look at the section I circled (in purple), it says that if you subscribe, they’ll keep you up to date with SHIPPING TIMES!!! Seriously? If you’re going to email me and say “Hey Oli, great news! We can ship you a mattress in 2 weeks!”, I’ll go to Leesa, or Endy, or one of a million other Casper copycats.


#5 – Hello BC

What’s so bad about it?

Context: This is an entry popup, and I have never been to this site before.

  • Relevance: Bad. The site is Hellobc.com, the title says “Supernatural British Columbia”, and the content on the page is about skydiving. So what list is this for? And nobody wants to be on a “list”, stop saying “list”. It’s like saying email blast. Blast your list. If you read the first sentence it gets even more confusing, as you’ll be receiving updates from Destination BC. That’s 4 different concepts at play here.
  • Design: Bad. It’s legitimately butt ugly. I mean, come on. This is for Beautiful Supernatural British Columbia ffs. It’s stunning here. Show some scenery to entice me in.
  • Value: Bad. Seeing that form when I arrive on the page is like a giant eff you. Why do they think it’s okay to ask for that much info, with that much text.
  • Control: Bad. And there’s not any error handling. However, the submit button remains inactive until you magically click the right amount of options to trigger it’s hungry hungry hippo mouth to open.

Trainwreck.


Well, that’s all for today, folks. You might be wondering why there were so few popup examples in this post, keep reading and I’ll explain why.

Coming Up Tomorrow – Good Popups, YAY!!!

One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed of late is that there is a shift in quality happening in the popup world. When the team rallied to find the bad popup examples above, we found at least 10x as many good ones as bad. That’s something to feel pretty good about. Perhaps the positive energy we’re helping to spread is having an impact.

So get your butt back here tomorrow to see 20+ delightful website popup examples. More importantly, I’ll also be sharing “The Delight Equation”, my latest formula for measuring quantifying how good your popups really are.

See you then!

Cheers
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

Continue reading:

Technology isn’t the Problem, We Are. An Essay on Popups + 5 Horrific Popup Examples

Technology isn’t the Problem, We Are. An Essay on Popups.

Today I want to talk a bit about what it’s like, as a marketer, to be marketing something that’s difficult to market.
Stop blaming the popups for what bad marketers do.
You see, there’s a common problem that many marketers face, and it’s also one of the most asked questions I hear when I’m on the road, as a speaker:

“How do I great marketing for a boring product or service?”

That’s a tough challenge for sure, although the good news is that if you can inject some originality you’ll be a clear winner, as all of your competitors are also boring. However, I think I can one-up that problem:

“How do I do great marketing for something that’s universally hated, like popups?”

We knew we had a big challenge ahead of us when we decided to release the popups product because of the long legacy of manipulative abuse it carries with it.

In fact, as the discussion about product direction began in the office, there were some visceral (negative) reactions from some folks on the engineering team. They feared that we were switching over to the dark side.

It makes sense to me that this sentiment would come from developers. In my experience, really good software developers have one thing in common. They want to make a difference in the world. Developers are makers by design, and part of building something is wanting it to have a positive impact on those who use it.

To quell those types of fears requires a few things;

  • Education about the positive use cases for the technology,
  • Evidence in the form of good popup examples, showcasing how to use them in a delightful and responsible manner,
  • Features such as advanced triggers & targeting to empower marketers to deliver greater relevance to visitors,
  • And most important of all – it requires us to take a stance. We can’t change the past unless we lead by example.

It’s been my goal since we started down this path, to make it clear that we are drawing a line in the sand between the negative past, and a positive future.

Which is why we initially launched with the name “Overlays” instead of popups.

Overlays vs. Popups – The End of an Era

It made a lot of sense at the time, from a branding perspective. Through podcast interviews and public speaking gigs, I was trying to change the narrative around popups. Whenever I was talking about a bad experience, I would call it a popup. When it was a positive (and additive) experience, I’d call it an overlay. It was a really good way to create a clear separation.

I even started to notice more and more people calling them overlays. Progress.

Unfortunately, it would still require a lot of continued education to make a dent in the global perception of the terminology, that with the search volume for “overlays” being tiny compared to popups, factored heavily into our decision to pivot back to calling a popup a popup.

Positioning is part of a product marketer’s job – our VP of Product Marketing, Ryan Engley recently completed our most recent positioning document for the new products. Just as the umbrella term “Convertables” we had been using to include popups and sticky bars had created confusion, “Overlays” was again making the job harder than it should have been. You can tell, just from reading this paragraph alone that it’s a complex problem, and we’re moving in the right direction by re-simplifying.

The biggest challenge developing our positioning was the number of important strategic questions that we needed to answer first. The market problems we solve, for who, how our product fits today with our vision for the future, who we see ourselves competing with, whether we position ourselves as a comprehensive platform that solves a unique problem, or whether we go to market with individual products and tools etc. It’s a beast of an undertaking.

My biggest lightbulb moment was working with April Dunford who pushed me to get away from competing tool-to-tool with other products. She said in order to win that way, you’d have to be market leading in every tool, and that won’t happen. So what’s the unique value that only you offer and why is it important?

— Ryan Engley, VP Product Marketing at Unbounce

You can read more about our initial product adoption woes, and how our naming conventions hurt us, in the first post in the series – Product Marketing Month: Why I’m Writing 30 Blog Posts in 30 Days.

Let’s get back to the subject of popups. I think it’s important to look back at the history of this device to better understand how they came about, and why they have always caused such a stir.

Browser Interaction Models & the History of the Popup

The talk I was doing much of last year was called Data-Driven Design. As part of the talk, I get into interaction design trends. I’ve included the “Trendline” slide below.

You can see that the first occurrence of a popup was back in 1998. Also, note that I included Overlays in late 2016 when we first started that discussion.

Like many bad trends, popups began as web developers started trying to hack browser behavior to create different interruptive interaction modes. I know I made a lot of them back in the day, but I was always doing it to try to create a cool experience. For example, I was building a company Intranet and wanted to open up content in a new window, resize it, and stick it to the side of the screen as a sidebar navigation for the main window. That was all good stuff.

Tabbed browsers have done a lot to help clean up the mess of multiple windows, and if you couple that with popup blockers, there’s a clear evolution in how this type of behavior is being dealt with.

Then came the pop-under, often connected to Malware virus schemes where malicious scripts could be running in the background and you wouldn’t even know.

And then the always fun “Are you sure you want to do that?” Inception-like looping exit dialogs.

Developers/hackers took the simple Javascript modal “Ok” “Cancel” and abused it to the point where there was no real way out of the page. If you tried to leave the page one modal would lead to another, and another, and you couldn’t actually close the browser window/tab unless you could do it within the split second between one dialog closing and the next opening. It was awful.

So we have a legacy of abuse that’s killed the perception of popups.

What if Popups Had Been Built Into Browsers?

Imagine for a moment that a popup was simply one of many available interaction models available in the browsing experience. They could have had a specification from the W3C, with a set of acceptable criteria for display modes. It would be an entirely different experience. Sure, there would still be abuse, but it’s an interesting thought.

This is why it’s important that we (Unbounce and other like-minded marketers and Martech software providers) take a stance, and build the right functionality into this type of tool so that it can be used responsibly.

Furthermore, we need to keep the dialog going, to educate the current and future generations of marketers that to be original, be delightful, be a business that represents themselves as professionals, means taking responsibility for our actions and doing everything we can to take the high road in our marketing.

I’ll leave you with this thought:

Technology is NOT the problem, We Are.

It’s the disrespectful and irresponsible marketers who use manipulative pop-psychology tactics for the sake of a few more leads, who are the problem. We need to stop blaming popups for bad experiences, and instead, call out the malicious marketers who are ruining it for those trying to do good work.

It’s a tough challenge to reverse years of negative perception, but that’s okay. It’s okay because we know the value the product brings to our customers, how much extra success they’re having, and because we’ve built a solution that can be configured in precise ways that make it simple to use in a responsible manner (if you’re a good person).


Get your butt back here tomorrow to see 20+ delightful website popup examples. More importantly, I’ll also be sharing “The Delight Equation”, my latest formula for measuring quantifying how good your popups really are.

See you then!

Cheers
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

Continue reading: 

Technology isn’t the Problem, We Are. An Essay on Popups.

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