Tag Archives: setinterval

Thumbnail

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

clicks-are-people-podcast-th
Image via thestoacks.im.

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

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

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

You will learn:

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

Listen to the podcast

ifra,e

Download via iTunes.
Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chelsea: The conversion carrot, Dan.

Dan: Oh, of course.

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

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

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

Dan: She’s great.

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

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

Chelsea: Yeah, definitely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chelsea: Yeah.

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

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

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

Chelsea: Amen.

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

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

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

Chelsea: Exactly.

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

Chelsea: Yep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: So that was your goal.

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

Dan: Wow, that’s awesome.

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

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

Chelsea: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chelsea: Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome.

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

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

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

Chelsea: Besides hitting the gym more often?

Dan: That counts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chelsea: Yes!

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

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

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

Chelsea: Yes.

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

Chelsea: No problem.

Dan: Great to chat.

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

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

Transcript by GMR Transcription.


Read More:

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

Thumbnail

The Hip Hop Guide to Landing Page Domination

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

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

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

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

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

Everything.

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

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

hip-hop-landing-pages-paid-ads

Paid advertising gets a bad rap… pun intended.

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

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

The key is understanding the searcher’s intent.

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

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

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

To create successful high-intent paid ads:

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

hip-hop-landing-pages

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

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

Two principles are paramount:

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the robot side, get analytical

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

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

hip-hop-landing-page-funnel

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

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

3. Only have one call to action

99-buttons

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

The truth is more buttons do not mean more conversions.

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

morebuttons-a-b-test

What does this mean for your landing pages?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Don’t neglect the backend

back-ends-hip-hop

What makes a landing page convert over the long term?

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

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

A tight backend includes at least four parts:

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

5. “One shot” isn’t enough

landing-page-hip-hop-one-opportunity

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

Enter remarketing.

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

As Johnathan Dane of KlientBoost points out:

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

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

A couple quick pointers

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

Applying hip hop to your landing pages

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

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

Oh, and don’t forget to add a meme.

Continue reading: 

The Hip Hop Guide to Landing Page Domination

Thumbnail

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

lazy-copywriting-joanna-wiebe-podcast-650
If you want to write copy that converts, you can’t afford to be lazy. Image by Martie Swart via Flickr.

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

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

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

You will learn:

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

Listen to the podcast

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

Mentioned in the podcast

Transcript coming soon.


Link: 

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

Thumbnail

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

Weird-and-Wonderful-Cover
There’s more than one way to make a great landing page.

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

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

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

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

Event marketing

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

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

Click to see the full page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to see the full page.

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

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

Hiring (and applying)

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

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

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

Click to see the full page.

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

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

Click to see the full page.

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

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

PaySavvy-Apply-Unbounce

Contest submissions

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

Andrea-Getman-Ad

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

Click to see the full page.

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

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

Click to enlarge.

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

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

Liveblogging

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

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

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

Click to enlarge.

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

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

Conf-Notes-CTA

Idea validation

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

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

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

mention-example

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

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

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

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

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

The unexplored frontier of landing pages

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

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

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

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

Or you could just make the next great Squint Eastwood.

Original link:  

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

Thumbnail

Kick-Start Your International Marketing Strategy by Leveraging Your Content

localized-marketing-650

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start with what has worked in local markets

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

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

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

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

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

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


An international marketing strategy ≠ starting from square one. What has worked locally?
Click To Tweet


Leverage content that has performed well

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

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

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

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

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

1. Prioritize and identify opportunities

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

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

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

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

2. Hire a unicorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Look at your data and identify popular content

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

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

  • Dig into your traffic data to see which evergreen blog posts are performing well. Translate those posts or write original content on a similar subject.
german-5-essential-elements
  • Evaluate which of your ebooks has brought you the most leads. Don’t forget to ask yourself if the content is still relevant to the market you’re expanding to.
hubspot-ebook-landing-page-german
HubSpot, the masters of lead gen, translated and localized an ebook to grow their Latin American leads and customers.
  • Instead of subtitling webinars, get local experts to hold webinars in the language of the market you’re expanding into.

4. Translate and localize content pieces

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

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

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

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

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

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

german-blog-unbounce
Unbounce’s German blog homepage.

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

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

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

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

5. Create localized landing pages to generate leads

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

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

  • Blog subscription landing page: Don’t forget to give people an opportunity to subscribe to regular blog updates, whether in the blog sidebar or on a dedicated blog subscription landing page.
german-blog-newsletter-unbounce
The email prospects receive upon signing up for our German Newsletter.
  • Lead gen pages for ebooks and webinars: Just as you would on your current blog, be sure to optimize posts for lead gen. For example, have a look at this CTA our German community manager Ben placed at the end of a German blog post:
german-blog-post-cta
A CTA on the bottom of our blog post promoting a German webinar.
unbounce-german-webinar-registration-page
The corresponding landing page, localized for the DACH market and in German.
  • Pricing page/trial sign up page: Building out an entire localized website can take some time. If you don’t have the development time (who does?) or budget to fully translate your website site at first, get your local marketing manager to build and localize a simple landing page that they can send traffic to in the meantime.
unbounce-german-pricing-page-650
This is our product page for the DACH region. While we localize our website to give our DACH region a dedicated web experience, we send traffic to this. Click for full-length landing page.

6. Build localized communities around your content

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

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

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

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

Are you ready to take on the world?

yeah-1431459310

Moving into different markets can feel daunting and intimidating.

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

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

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

More:  

Kick-Start Your International Marketing Strategy by Leveraging Your Content

Thumbnail

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

cta-conf-ab-testing-cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figure out where and why you’re losing conversions

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

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

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

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

image00

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

image02

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

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

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

Peep summed this up nicely:

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

Conduct qualitative research by asking questions

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

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

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

Ton agreed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unsure if it works in your country?

image01

Worried it’s not for you?

image05

Failed before and not sure what will be different now?

image04
Images sourced from ConversionXL

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

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

Don’t be afraid to take big risks

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

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

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

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

image03

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

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

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

You never know until you try.

Stop stressing and start testing

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

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

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

From – 

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

Thumbnail

The Power of Vulnerability in Copywriting [PODCAST]

4128142407_2059483112_b
Embrace your vulnerability.

Good copywriters aren’t afraid to put themselves out there. They write from the heart and let their true voice shine through in their work.

But being authentic shouldn’t come at the expense of writing clear, helpful copy. So how do you make your boss and clients happy without sacrificing your voice?

In this episode of the Call to Action podcast, we chat with Unbounce writer Brad Tiller about reconciling your company’s (or client’s) voice and your own. Then, we speak to Brian Lenney, copywriter at Inbound.org, about how you can use the power vulnerability in your copy to connect with prospects and push them toward conversion.

You will learn:

  • How a man with a gun taught Brian a priceless marketing lesson.
  • Why you should take more risks with your copywriting when seeking employment or contracts.
  • Why saying “no” to certain contracts is okay — especially when it’s a question of honoring your integrity.

Listen to the podcast

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

Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews Brian Lenney, copywriter at Inbound.org.

Dan Levy: You start your post off with a story about something kinda traumatic that happened to you on your way back from a wrestling tournament back in high school. Can you set up that scene for us?

Brian Lenney: Yeah. So when I was a teenager I was a pretty wild kid, always getting into trouble, kind of like a Bart Simpson-type kid, causing problems, stuff like that. And it usually had to do almost every time with opening my mouth. So I was always that kid. So I was in wrestling in high school. One night we got back from a tournament and on the way home, driving home with buddies, we saw two cars getting into an accident. So my natural inclination in the backseat was to yell out the window at these guys, “Learn how to drive a-holes.” You know? I don’t know, 16 years old, right?

So it just entered my mind. I said it no filter, just yelled at them with no thought about what that might lead to. And what it did lead to was both of the guys getting back into their car, because apparently it looks like they knew each other, and chasing us, cutting us off, boxing us in. You know, this is after about a ten minute chase, if you want to call it that, of them trying to run us off the road, stuff like that. So they ended up cutting us off, blocking us so we couldn’t go forward. We couldn’t go backwards.

And one guy got out with a huge ass gun, I believe it was a 357 Magnum. It was a big revolver like Dirty Harry type thing, started walking towards me. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, Tombstone, when Kurt Russell walks across the river and he’s just pointing the gun at people walking – but started walking looking right at me. And he said, “You want to open your big mouth again?” Which I didn’t.

Before the guy got too close, my buddy slammed the truck into reverse, drove through – literally reversed through three to four people’s lawns who, thankfully, didn’t have their cars in their driveway. And we got out alive, obviously. So it was pretty intense. Glad he didn’t shoot.

Dan Levy: Whoa. Yeah. That’s something straight out of Compton stuff right there.

Brian Lenney: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Dan Levy: That’s – yeah, that’s a really intense story. Listeners are probably wondering though what it has to do with marketing. You say that you learned a priceless marketing lesson that day. What was that?

Brian Lenney: Yeah. Well, you know, to be honest, I didn’t learn the lesson that day. I had a series of events like that going forward, but I did learn the lesson years later as I grew up and kinda matured a little bit, looking back at that day. So my entire life I’ve been told that I can’t do this or you can’t say that or that’s crossing the line, stuff like that. So I always got an A in the classroom and like a F in the playground. That’s how my elementary school teachers graded me.

So always in trouble because of my mouth, but at the same time, always excelling in the classroom because of it, too. So it’s kind of like a double-edged sword. So I think the lesson I learned kind of looking back at that and over and over again is when you open your mouth you take a risk. Now, typically, ideas have consequences, right, when we say something.

A lot of people, though, look at risk taking as negative but it doesn’t have to be negative like getting a gun pulled on you. It can be good. I’m on the team at Inbound.org and that’s one of the products of HubSpot Labs. So I got that job when I literally applied for the job with a quote from Anchorman. And –

Dan Levy: What was the quote?

Brian Lenney: So they had the job posting up for a copywriter and one of the sentences they had in the job description was how much awesome can you pack into one sentence? So literally I emailed them and I applied. I said, “This job description stings the nostrils. If you want to know more, email me back.” And Sam, who’s the team lead over at HubSpot labs, he sent me a email back. And he said, “I love lamp. Let me see some of your writing.”

So it was a risk they were gonna think I was an idiot and tell me to pound sand. Or they would say, “Oh, this guy’s kinda different. Let’s see if we can bring him on.” So opening your mouth literally, verbally or when you do it online, it’s risky. But the risks can be good and they can be worth if it you get to go to bed at night knowing that you got to be yourself. But also I have that issue of crossing the line sometimes.

Dan Levy: Right. It’s a double-edged sword, I guess.

Brian Lenney: Definitely.

Dan Levy: I want to ask you a little bit about your copywriting prowess later on. But first, you cite in your post that famous Ted Talk by Brené Brown on vulnerability. What doe being vulnerable as a marketer look like to you?

Brian Lenney: For me, her Ted Talk really – I saw that when it first came out when I was working at an agency actually. And that really connected like a final dot for me of like, “Oh, okay. This is what we’re missing in marketing.” So in my experience, a lot of people in marketing pretend like they’re not real people, you know, just because you’re a marketer doesn’t mean you don’t have opinions, views, quirks. It doesn’t mean you don’t have something to say about politics and religion. Obviously, you want to do that wisely, but being vulnerable as a marketer just means that you get to be you. And that’s okay if you get to be you.

Or as Brené Brown puts it in her Ted Talk and in her books, she talks about being vulnerable — when you’re letting yourself be seen, the real you. That doesn’t mean it has to be all of you or complete you, but it’s letting people kind of look into your life and letting yourself be seen.

So as far as vulnerability goes, we all struggle, we all have issues. And when you can incorporate that into your marketing — kind of letting the struggle show a little bit, stuff like that, letting the issues maybe peak through, quirkiness, weirdness — people identify with that because, like I said, we all have stories. We all struggle.

So when you talk about it or you write about it or you can even – sometimes it’s difficult, though. When you can incorporate that into your marketing you kind of earn the right to be heard because you’re building trust, you’re building relational capital and people appreciate that. And when they trust you, they’ll do business with you.

Dan Levy: Can you think of an example of a particular company or a marketing campaign that you’ve either been involved with or come across recently, in which being vulnerable led to surprising results?

Brian Lenney: Yeah. The last job I had before I jumped ship from the corporate world and started freelancing was at a hospice agency, which is really weird marketing hospice because it’s end of life and you’re meeting with families who have a dying loved one, stuff like that. So my –

Dan Levy: Talk about being vulnerable, wow.

Brian Lenney: Yeah. Yeah. It’s – and you wouldn’t think there’s competition in hospice, which is end of life care. Typically, someone who has a terminal illness whose – a doctor has given them six months or less to live. But my step dad died four years ago and we got to experience that as a family. So when just by pure chance a friend of a friend type thing got a job at a hospice agency in a marketing – which I thought was odd, but I did that.

So one of the campaigns we did, we called it, “Have you had the talk?” And what we did is – the only thing we did is we went out to the community, doctors, offices, hospitals, literally inbound, outbound, door-to-door, online and we just shared stories about our own families, the actual marketing team, and experiences we had caring for loved ones while they were dying, me getting to say goodbye to my stepdad while he was on his death bed and how I wish we would have called hospice sooner, stuff like that. We had family members of our patients who had died already, passed away, we had them come back and say, “Wow, hospice did this for us.”

But it was really intense, really intense, stories, lots of tears, lots of crying. But we did video, copy, everything. And the result was we had a lot of people sign up for Hospice. We had a lot of inbound calls. We had a lot of referrals because people identified with our stories. When people are facing struggle, a lot of times they feel like they’re alone.

But when you’re coming to them sharing your story, saying, “Hey, I’ve been there, too, and I’ve struggled with this, too. And I know what it’s like,” and you’re just kinda sharing your story, they trust you. And that’s when you’re being authentic and you’re essentially giving them a piece of your life. And when you do that people tend to give back.

So we – it’s an awful way to look at it as business, but it really is. I mean, we got a lot of business. We had a lot of people sign up for hospice after that because of our stories.

Dan Levy: Wow. What a powerful example. What do you think the consequences are of not being vulnerable as a marketer?

Brian Lenney: That’s a really good question. I’m actually reading Brené Brown’s newest book right now called Rising Strong, which is about bouncing back after failure. So she has three books. This is kind of like the capstone, like, “Hey you failed. You’ve fallen down, time to get back up,” type thing.

And in that book she talks about people who are always compartmentalizing their lives or hiding parts of themselves or editing their stories in an attempt to look better or not let people see them. But I think the consequences of not being vulnerable as a marketer is you’re being fake. You’re not being genuine, I think. Part of that is – I think it’s an integrity issue because people want to see and get to know you. They want to know who you are. They want to hear your stories, your struggles, your flaws.

One of my favorite copywriters – I’m not sure if you’re familiar with her. Her name’s Ash Ambirge. She runs the copywriting gig, I guess you could call it, called the Middle Finger Project, which is a great name. But she’s a master storyteller. The stuff she writes about, she talks openly, writes openly about the good, the bad, the ugly, her struggles, her failures, when she’s blown it as a marketer, as a copywriter. She’s just a really, really vulnerable, amazing storyteller.

But because of that, she’s built a tribe around herself and she’s letting people see her. And people love her for it. She’s killing it business-wise. She’s just – she’s doing really great. And I think that’s because she’s a great storyteller. She lets herself be seen and people appreciate that. But if we’re not vulnerable, if we don’t let ourselves be seen, I think we’re just – we’re kind of selling ourselves short, I think.

Dan Levy: Well, you’re a copywriter, and conversion-centered copywriter at that. I’m wondering if you could think of an instance where you’ve used vulnerability – and not to make it sound crass, but you’ve used vulnerability as a persuasion principle either on a landing page or other form of marketing copy, put it another way, can vulnerability and conversion work together?

Brian Lenney: Yeah, I think they can. This one kind of happened on accident so I wasn’t trying to be vulnerable but I think part of being vulnerable is you’re not technically trying. You’re just being you, letting the chips kinda fall where they may. So I’ve gotten a lot of – on my website I have – it’s pretty minimal. I just redid it with Unbounce landing pages, by the way, so good product there.

Dan Levy: Good to know. Thanks.

Brian Lenney: My About page is just – it’s not a typical About page. It’s not just like, “Here’s who I am, here’s how long I’ve been writing, here’s how you get ahold of me.” It’s just kind of my story, so on the top of my About page it’s my story of how I became a freelance copywriter, kinda short version. And I just tell my story about frustration in the corporate world and I know it’s not – freelancing, obviously, it’s not for everyone. But for me I felt like the 9:00 to 5:00 kind of office job at a typical agency or marketing firm, it almost drove me crazy.

So I have had a lot of clients contact me. Unsolicited, they’ve said, “Hey, I read your About page. I love your story. I want you to write like that for us.” And on my About page, it’s just me saying I hated the corporate world. It wasn’t for me. I wanted to be my own boss type thing. And it’s gotten me a lot of clients. I’ve had one-time gigs off of that. I’ve had a couple retainer clients that were really long-term retainer kind of projects.

So it was vulnerable. It was being me. It was kind of like — I’m just gonna tell my story about, like, “Who is this guy? How did he become a writer? What’s his deal?” And it was a bit of being vulnerable, but people appreciate it. And I’ve had more comments on my About page than anything else on my site, so.

Dan Levy: Yeah. It seems a bit counterintuitive, I guess, to reduce things like vulnerability and being yourself into persuasion tactics or like actionable tips because I think once you do that you get away from the genuineness of it. But that being said, being human marketing to other humans, people tend to recognize that and actually gravitate towards that, so.

Brian Lenney: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Hubspot is team-based but one thing we say on our team, I’m pretty sure it’s kind of a team-wide thing we say at Hubspot is: “We’re marketers marketing to marketers about marketing,” you know, with Inbound.org specifically.

Dan Levy: Yeah. We can relate to that at Unbounce.

Brian Lenney: Yeah, definitely, so I mean, kind of what you said — if you take out marketer and put human in there, we’re humans marketing to other humans and when we can really, truly be ourselves and act human and share ourselves with other people, people appreciate it. And I think it’s especially with this millennial younger generation coming up, the 18 to 34 kind of category, they’ve grown up with the internet. They’ve grown up with technology, marketing, sales, buy this, click here, do that. And I think they’re sick of it.

I mean, all the data and things I’ve read on it, people just want – you know what I mean? People just want to have a human connection. They’re sick of being sold to and marketed at. And I think when they come across something that’s human and is real, that’s – it really speaks to people.

Dan Levy: I want to shift gears just a little bit because I’d like to get into some of the copywriting that you’ve done. You’ve taken part in a couple different copywriting contests that we’ve held here at Unbounce in the last few months, I guess. And one of them ended up actually winning you a free trip to Vancouver for our Call to Action conference last month. Can you tell us a little bit about the landing page copy that you wrote for that contest that won you the grand prize and how you went about it?

Brian Lenney: Yeah. That was – the Unbounce CTA conference was just amazing. I had a great trip up there. You guys are amazing hosts. I’ll just – short version.

Dan Levy: Thank you.

Brian Lenney: So yeah, that one, it was the DJ Roomba. For people who weren’t familiar with the contest, it was writing a landing page copy for a product from Parks and Rec that doesn’t actually exist, a robotic music playing vacuum cleaner.

Dan Levy: This is like the second or third Parks & Rec reference on this podcast.

Brian Lenney: Yes. Yeah, true. I’m a huge fan. I was sad when it ended. So yeah, with that one, that was tough. So I mean, looking back, I think was a little bit verbose as far as the length of it. But what I was going for there was quirky, funny, trying to get people to identify with humor. I think reading through all the other contestants, there was a lot of really great stuff. It’s tough. It was actually really tough writing copy for something that doesn’t exist.

But I think my style, my natural voice, I like to write like I talk. So I’ve had several people say, “I read your copy for — I felt like we were just having coffee and you were just sharing with me.” So on that one I used humor to kind of break down barriers to make it sound like a real conversation. And I used, of course, I used a Ron Swanson testimony, which Demian Farnworth thought was great. So I scored some points with the judges there.

And I think using humor and writing like you talk, that also connects with people. That was a tough contest, though. I mean, the judges were ruthless. I think you were one of the judges weren’t you?

Dan Levy: I think I was one of them, yeah.

Brian Lenney: Yeah. So I mean –

Dan Levy: We didn’t pull our punches there.

Brian Lenney: But it was helpful. People learned a lot. The thing I learned from that and from Joanna from Copy Hackers and a lot of the people in the Unbounce kind of posse is that I need to be clear. I need to focus on clarity more than cleverness. When I first started copywriting, I tried to be too clever, which is obviously you know what means, but tried to be too witty or too clever. But all that does is end up confusing people.

Dan Levy: Do you remember what your headline was for the fictional DJ Roomba product on the landing page?

Brian Lenney: Yeah. It was – what was it? It was, “No More Dirty Floors, Way More Dirty Dancing.” You know? And the subhead said – I pulled it up right here – the subhead says, “Do you dream of dancing around your house naked to an endless loop of the Black Eyed Peas while someone else cleans your house? Meet DJ Roomba.”

Obviously, it’s a little click baity kind of funny humorous, but if it gets people to keep reading that’s the goal of good – the goal of a headline is to get people to read the first sentence. The goal of the first sentence to get them to read the second, third, fourth and so on until you hit the button.

Dan Levy: And yeah, maybe it’s more humorous than vulnerable in this case, but it’s still taking a risk, which I think is the main takeaway of your post there.

Brian Lenney: Yeah. I mean, there’s a client I have right now and I have someone I’m working for right now who happens to be in Canada also. And I’m about to submit some stuff. And some of it is really – it’s taking a risk because some of the headlines are like, “Oh, we can’t say that.” But I’m like, “We kinda can, like let’s test it.” So it’s taking a risk, especially in B2B copy when you’re business to business.

A lot of people are afraid of taking risks but I think the people who have I immediately think of MailChimp. They do some really funny stuff and it’s B2B stuff mostly, but they’re killing it. And they’re doing really well because they take a risk and they kind of inject humor and personality all throughout their site that’s conversational and funny. And people love them.

Dan Levy: So you’re obviously a copywriter who knows how to convince people to convert, but you’re also someone who prides himself on being a marketer with integrity. How do you make sure your copy remains conversion-centered without selling your soul in the process?

Brian Lenney: Weirdly enough, I’ve had a few people ask that question. And it is – it’s a great question because people – when you say “copywriter” to people who aren’t familiar with marketing or digital marketing, a lot of people think of, oh, Mad Men and Don Draper and these guys who would just do anything to sell anything. But weirdly enough for me, personally, it’s not tough.

And what it ends up being is I end up saying no to a lot of people. I choose who I work with very carefully because for me it really is about integrity. I want to go to sleep at the end of the day knowing, “Hey, I did this for this client and that’s valuable and it’s gonna help people.” But I just can’t put myself into a situation that’s gonna force me to compromise my values or my beliefs or my integrity. And I just take a very hard stand on that.

Obviously, if a client or someone who might want to work with me contacts me, I’m not gonna say, “Well, no, I don’t believe in what you’re doing. Sorry.” I’ll just tell them, “You know, I don’t think we’re a good fit. I just – I kind of draw a line in the sand with a lot of the internet marketing niche, like Make a Million Dollars from Your Kitchen Table in Your Pajamas. I don’t write for those types of niches — the guru type people who are trying to make everyone millionaires in a week.

So for me I just – I know the types of people I want to work with and I only work with those people. Because if you say yes to a shady client or someone who might be kind of like, oh, I don’t know if what they’re doing is really great. It just doesn’t sit well with me. You know?

Dan Levy: Yeah. I guess if you really believe in the product and you really believe that people clicking that button on the landing page that this is something that’s going to make their life better or this is a product or service that they really need, then those two things aren’t really mutually exclusive. Right? Like you’re persuading them to do something that you actually believe in.

Brian Lenney: I mean, I couldn’t – yeah, I couldn’t say it better. So I mean, you can use persuasion and like you guys and Oli at Unbounce talk about a lot. You can use psychology and persuasion to convince people to do something, but if what you’re convincing them to do is going to make them a better person and like we say in marketing a lot, make them a better version of themselves, then I don’t mind doing it.

Dan Levy: Can you leave us with one actionable tip for writing copy that’s both persuasive and perhaps a little bit vulnerable?

Brian Lenney: Yeah. So what I do when I write most of my posts, the ones that are particularly vulnerable and where I really, really let myself be seen, what I do is I write as fast as I can, not necessarily speed, like I’m not sitting there like the keyboard’s burning up, but I just write as fast as I can without editing. And I don’t hold back on anything.

What I do is I pretend that the only people who are gonna see this is me and god and I’m writing in a journal. So I treat it like a diary entry, like this is what happened, this is what I did, this is how I felt. I do start to finish without stopping. I leave nothing out. I write from the heart. And then when I’m done, I’ll walk away sometimes for a day, maybe two, sometimes depending on what it is maybe for a few hours.

And then I’ll come back and I’ll correct the typos, edit the grammar, make sure that – check for clarity, make sure it flows well, but I usually end up keeping about probably – I don’t know, probably about 90 percent of what I write. And I think when you write like that, if you’re treating it like a journal or diary, you’re being authentic and you’re being raw. And people don’t typically edit their journals or their diaries.

But I think the flip side of that is if you try too hard, then you’re not really being you. You know what I mean? Like if I’m sitting there I want to try to be vulnerable. And I’m just sitting there like what can I say? What can I do? Then it’s coming from the head, but when you let it come from the heart and just let it flow, it usually ends up being pretty powerful.

Dan Levy: Well, I think that’s really good advice and I really appreciate you putting yourself out there on behalf of the rest of us. So thank you so much, Brian.

Brian Lenney: Yeah. No problem.

Transcript by GMR Transcription.


More here:  

The Power of Vulnerability in Copywriting [PODCAST]

The Ultimate Guide to Running a Holiday Email Campaign [Free Ebook]

holiday-guide-image-650

In 2014, 35% of holiday shoppers relied on promotional emails to keep track of all the sweet deals. Can your customers count on you to keep them informed? And when your customers do open and click your emails, are you sending them to the right place?

Eliminate the guesswork with The Ultimate Holiday Email Marketing + Landing Page Guide, a free ebook written by Unbounce and the email experts at Campaign Monitor. It’s packed with the essential advice for running a delightful – and delightfully-successful – holiday campaign.

In this free ebook, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write subject lines that cut through the holiday chaos and make your message heard
  • Deliver personalized recommendations that encourage additional purchases
  • Craft high-converting landing pages for every single campaign
  • Ensure your content looks perfect on any device of any size

At 27 pages, you can finish reading it in the morning, plan your campaign in the afternoon, and reward yourself with some hot cocoa at night. (I recommend a dash of cayenne.)

Continue reading:  

The Ultimate Guide to Running a Holiday Email Campaign [Free Ebook]

Bring Your AdWords Campaigns Back from the Dead with Keyword Insertion

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

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

spooky-ooc-650
*Screams of terror.* Image by d.loop via Flickr.

We’re talkin’ consequences including:

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

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

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

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

First thing’s first…

Keyword Insertion: Serving up relevant ads

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

keyword-insertion-img

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

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

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

Selecting especially relevant keywords

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

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

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

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

all-campaigns-tacktik

Then, type in search terms relevant to your campaign.

keyword-planner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus tip:

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

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

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

Adding Keyword Insertion to your text ad

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

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

ad-group-haunted-castle

From there, you can enter your copy.

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

keyword-haunted-house

Dynamic Text Replacement: Serve up a relevant landing page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relevance is key

Great marketing is about creating seamless experiences for prospects.

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

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

How’s that for a win-win?

Link:

Bring Your AdWords Campaigns Back from the Dead with Keyword Insertion

Get More from Social by Doing Less [PODCAST]

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

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

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

You will learn:

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

Listen to the podcast

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

Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan: Yeah.

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

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

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

Ryan: A huge opportunity, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely, not sexy.

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

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

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

Ryan: It makes a difference.

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

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

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

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely.

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

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

Dan: Got to respect the platform.

Ryan: Got to.

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

Ryan: Yeah, any time.

Stephanie That was Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS.

Transcript by GMR Transcription.


See the article here:  

Get More from Social by Doing Less [PODCAST]