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Ranking in Search in 2018: A Q&A With SEO Pros Rob Bucci and Cyrus Shepard

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he’d say there are only three things certain in life: death, taxes, and Google changes.

As search behaviour evolves and machines get smarter, Google naturally adjusts what it serves up. And these changes are often quick enough to feel a bit overwhelming (we’re right there with ya)! But in light of information we have about what Google actually values these days, we have more to work with than ever before. If we know how to execute.

Two people who know a lot about Google’s ranking factors are Rob Bucci, CEO of STAT Search Analytics and Cyrus Shepard, Partner at Zyppy and former Head of SEO and Content Development at Moz. Both speakers at this August’s Call to Action Conference, they’re bona fide search experts who spend their time demystifying the ways of our ranking overlords for marketers like you and me.

So we peppered them with a few questions we couldn’t wait until August to find out—like what’s changed, stayed the same, and how to best achieve SEO success in 2018. Get the goods below and learn more about their upcoming talks at CTAConf right here.

Want to get incredible insights from Rob and Cyrus in person? Use the code “CTAConfSEO” at checkout to get 15% off all ticket rates for the conference until July 31.

Rob Bucci on local search and getting snippeted

SEO-obsessed Rob founded STAT Search Analytics, a rank tracking and SERP analytics platform, in 2011. Since then, he’s worked with clients like eBay, Pinterest, Cars.com, and Thomas Cook Airlines to understand their unique search opportunities and win more business.

He’s also a frequent speaker on search, data mining, and all things analytics. In his Call to Action Conference talk, What Google Serves Up For Local Searches, he’ll dive into the nooks and crannies of (you guessed it) local intent, local search, and how to adeptly navigate Google’s interpretations of both to get in front of the right audience. Read below for a peek at what he’ll share on stage.

Hayley Mullen: Your talk at CTAConf is all about interpreting how Google handles local search. So, how are they doing?

Rob Bucci: Knowing that, with location tracking, etc., you can’t always rely on searchers to explicitly state when their intent is local, you need to look at keywords where that intent can be implied. The question then—before you can optimize accordingly—is whether Google is actually any good at interpreting that implicit local intent. And is it comparable to stated local intent?

For example: [sushi near me] would indicate that close proximity is essential; [sushi in Vancouver] seems to cast a city-wide net; and just [sushi] is largely ambiguous—are you hungry for knowledge about sushi or actual sushi? And what happens with a query like [best sushi], which indicates that quality takes priority over proximity?

It’s Google deciding what those queries mean, so it’s important to understand that decision. There’s no point in optimizing for something that Google can’t or isn’t doing. What we’ve found is that Google is doing a decent job of it, and that there are definitely different ground rules when it comes to different kinds of local intent.

HM: Knowing what you do about Google’s interpretation of local intent, what is the biggest mistake marketers can make when it comes to localized ads?

RB: This isn’t a mistake that’s been made, rather, a heads up based on findings from the research I’ll be presenting. But something to keep in mind is that ads are more likely to appear when a location is specified in the search query, like the city name or neighbourhood. So, if you’re looking for less paid competition, it’s a good idea to target keywords that aren’t geo-modified.

HM: Should local search be a priority for everyone? When does it matter more than less, depending on a business’ needs?

RB: For Google, every SERP is a localized one. We know that it’s one of the more influential factors that Google filters its search results through. So, even if local isn’t important for your business, it’s still worth tracking a sample of your keywords in specific locations so you can see what your searchers are actually seeing.

HM: Let’s talk featured snippets. You’ve said they’re rising in importance, appearing in just 9% of searches two years ago compared to 31% by the end of last year. When creating content, what can we do for the best chance at being “snippeted”?

RB: Focus on creating great content and optimizing that content to appear on the first page. At STAT, we’ve found that 99% of snippets are sourced from ranks two through ten, with a majority coming from ranks three through four (when rank one is the snippet).

You’ll also want to research the types of formats appearing in the featured snippets for keywords you’re targeting, for instance paragraph, list, or table, and match them.

HM: Say I only have one day to try and improve my rankings. What should I focus on first to make the biggest impact?

RB: First thing’s first: spend the time making sure that your Google My Business listings are all accurate, consistent, and complete.

Want even more actionable marketing tips? Read our interview with fellow CTAConf 2018 speaker and product positioning genius April Dunford for advice on successfully launching a new product or offering into a noisy market.

Cyrus Shepard on what matters now for ranking in 2018 (and beyond)

Cyrus Shepard has been in the SEO game for nearly ten years, most recently heading up SEO and Content Development at Moz before founding his own digital agency, Zyppy. He’s written on pretty much every facet of search optimization (check out his Moz profile) and spoken at conferences around the world—with Call to Action Conference up next.

In his talk, SEO Success: One Engagement Metric to Rule Them All, Cyrus will cover what Google’s really watching when it comes to rankings and how to use that information to turn clicks into conversions. So we mined his SEO brain for a preview.

Hayley Mullen: It can feel like Google’s constantly updating its ranking factors. What should always be a priority when we’re trying to rank?

Cyrus Shepard: Google updates its algorithms hundreds of times a year, although only a few of those could be considered major core algorithm updates. That said, the critical SEO success factors stay incredibly consistent. These include:

  • Content that answers the user query
  • Content that’s crawlable and accessible to search engines
  • The quality and quantity of links

HM: What’s been the most significant change in Google’s ranking factors, in your opinion? What do you anticipate for the near and distant future?

CS: The most significant change in the past couple of years, in my opinion, has been the rise of featured snippets. For the first time, we’re actually seeing fewer clicks per impressions as Google is more frequently delivering answers directly in search results.

For websites that win featured snippets, they can often expect more traffic and less visibility. For everyone else, they can expect traffic and visibility to slightly decrease.

HM: Oof—what does that mean for marketers overall?

CS: It’s definitely a dilemma that I don’t have an answer for right now. On one hand, the “no click” search is a growing risk. On the other hand, Google continues to send billions of visits to publishers.

The challenge is that Google maintains monopoly power over search results, so we’re forced to play by Google’s rules and, say, optimize for featured snippets. We continue to give away more data to Google with the understanding that they will reward us with more web traffic, but the amount of data we give keeps rising while Google keeps more of the traffic for themselves.

HM: How much of a difference does speed really make, specifically in regards to AMP (accelerated mobile pages)? What are the top three things we can do to satisfy Google’s need for speed?

CS: Speed is hugely important and not only for AMP. Speed is a huge ranking factor because it impacts so many other elements that impact your search visibility. For example, bounce rate is highly correlated with speed—a site that loads a second slower is abandoned at a much higher rate. This will affect multiple aspects of SEO down the line.

In regards to AMP, they actually have advantages beyond speed that some folks aren’t aware of:

  • These pages can qualify for Google News carousels
  • Google marks them with an AMP symbol, which can increase clicks
  • Chrome pre-renders AMP results, making them load instantly

HM: Your talk at CTAConf is all about what Google’s watching in terms of how people interact with your site. Without giving away the most important point, what’s the one thing Google’s always taking into consideration (and one thing that doesn’t matter as much as we may think)?

CS: Google is likely always evaluating user satisfaction. User satisfaction goes by different names, including task completion, pogo-sticking, dwell time, and more. The basic idea is “does this page answer the user query?” or “does this user need to search other webpages for the right answer?” Exactly how Google does this is up for debate.

A metric that likely doesn’t matter as much as people think is bounce rate. That doesn’t mean it’s not a useful metric—but bounce rate alone doesn’t tell us much.

And with that, our search for answers on search just got a little easier. There’s a lot more knowledge to be shared at Call to Action Conference from both Rob and Cyrus—just two of the many reasons you should totally come! “Use the code “CTAConfSEO” at checkout until July 31, 2018 for 15% off all single, group, and customer ticket rates. You’ll not only learn how to tame the search beast, but hone your chops in every facet of digital marketing too.

Originally posted here: 

Ranking in Search in 2018: A Q&A With SEO Pros Rob Bucci and Cyrus Shepard

11 Surprisingly Awesome Popup Design Examples – Scored by The Delight Equation [Tool]

I admit it. I’m a geek. Or am I a nerd? Definitely not a dweeb, but probably a keener (that’s a Canadian term).

One of my favorite things to do (as a marketer) is to reverse-engineer marketing experiences – good and bad – to define an equation that can be used to score them. It’s primarily a heuristic exercise, but I find it’s an incredibly helpful way to analyze a design, especially when it has the ability to leave you with a simple checklist of things to consider to make it better.

In the past, I’ve created The Clarity Equation (for value propositions), and The Testimonial Equation (for customer social proof).

For today’s post, I focused on popup design examples that exude positive characteristics, to create The Popup Delight Equation.

What Makes a Popup Design Delightful?

Hands up if you thought “That’s an oxymoron.”? I know, I know, how can a popup be delightful? Well, just like any other aspect of marketing and web design, it’s all about the details, and finding those magical ways of combining what makes your brand special, with a dose of responsible interaction design.

I see delightful popups all the time, usually because the copy is hilarious, or the design is surprising.

If your perception of a popup is one of those ugly WordPress template type things with three big green checkmark bullet icons (see below), and a Johnson box (those fat dashed red lines that resemble a coupon cutout), then no, that’s not delightful. That’s just shitty.

It is possible to make a popup delightful, and it’s not that hard if you know which aspects of interaction and visual design are required to do it right. Which brings me to…

The Popup Delight Equation

The equation (shown in the image at the top of the post) is broken down into 7 principles; Clarity, Control, Creativity, Relevance, Charm, Value, & Respect.

Each principle has a few checklist questions that build up a score between 0 and 1 (you can choose 0.5 for any of them if you like) for a maximum score of 7. These are then combined and turned into an overall percentage score as shown below:

EXAMPLE POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0 1 1 1 0 1 0 57%

I’ll explain each of the delight principles, and then I’ll get to the popup designs.
(skip to the examples)

Principle #1 – Clarity

The clarity principle represents how easy it is to understand the offer presented by the popup. First, there’s the immediacy factor, can you read and understand it very quickly. The second part concerns the use of a primary “hero” image and whether it helps or hinders visual communication.

Clarity = ( Immediacy + Hero ) / 2
Immediacy Can you explain what the offer is after looking at it for only five seconds? Yes 1, No 0
Hero Is there a primary image (not a logo) that shows what you will get (or who you will get it from)? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a generic site-wide offer like a discount that doesn’t need an image, score 1.

Principle #2 – Control

The control principle represents a visitor’s ability to fully control the experience. This includes being able to easily accept, reject, or discard the interruption.

Control = ( Close [On] + Close [Out] + Close [Esc] + Continue + Cancel ) / 5
Close [On] Is there a close button (typically an x) on the popup? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a fullscreen “Welcome Mat” you can take a 1 here unless there’s no “No thanks” button.
Close [Out] Does the popup close if you click on the background surrounding it? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a fullscreen “Welcome Mat” you can take a 1 here.
Close [Esc] Does the popup close if you press the escape button on your keyboard? Yes 1, No 0
Continue Is it clear what you need to click in order to accept the offer? Yes 1, No 0
Cancel Is it clear what you need to click in order to decline the offer? (Score 1 if there’s only one option) Yes 1, No 0

Principle #3 – Creativity

Like any type of marketing communications, a creative popup will be more likely to be well received. This principle is comprised of visual design esthetic, the inclusion of (non-tacky) animation, and how on-brand it is.

Creativity = ( Design + Animation + Brand ) / 3
Visual Design Esthetic Is it unique looking (non-rectangle), or just look awesome to you (some subjectivity is okay here)? Yes 1, No 0
Animation Does it include some motion as it appears that makes it more noticable. Yes 1, No 0.5, Yes, but it’s annoying 0
On Brand Does it match the site’s design or look like a cheap template that could be from any site? Yes 1, No 0

Principle #4 – Relevance

A popup that isn’t highly relevant will convert poorly and moves you closer to the wrong end of the interruption spectrum. This principle includes congruence (how aligned the offer is with the page you are visiting) and targeting.

Relevance = ( Congruence + Targeting ) / 2
Congruence Does the offer feel related to the page you’re on? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s somethng like a site-wide discount it’s a 1, but if it’s a blog subscribe popup on a homepage, product or pricing page etc. (not your blog), that’s a 0.
Targeting Score 1 unless one of these scenarios is true: it doesn’t apply to you (such as wrong country), or it’s referring to you coming from a page/partner/place that you didn’t come from (and in general if it’s making assumptions about you that are incorrect), in which case it’s a 0

Principle #5 – Charm

You know a charming marketing experience when you see one. Same goes for popups. If the design and/or copy make you laugh, or smile, or want to share it with someone, it’s a winner.

Charm = ( Smile [Design] + Smile [Copy] ) / 2
Smile [Design] Does the visual design make you smile? Yes 1, No 0
Smile [Copy] Does the copywriting make you smile? Yes 1, No 0

Principle #6 – Value

Some popups only contain information, some have a discount, others ask you for personal information in order to claim the offer. The value principle is concerned with how fair of an exchange it is, and it’s completely binary. If the reward is equal or greater than the ask/effort, you win.

Value = ( Reward >= Ask )
Reward > Ask Is the offer worth more than or equal to the requested information/effort? Yes 1, No 0
Score a 0 if it seems unfair, such as a ton of form fields for very little in return.

Principle #7 – Respect

The respect principle leans on the concept of “a responsible use of technology”. The biggest offense in this regard is the idea of “Confirm Shaming”. This is where there are two options (continue or cancel), but in order to cancel, you have to click a button/link with offensive copy – such as “I don’t like free money”. You get penalized extra for this offense.

Respect = 1 – 2*(Confirm Shaming)
Confirm Shaming If this is a two-button Accept/Decline popup, and the decline button is offensive in any way, it’s confirm-shaming. Yes 1, No 0
A 1 here results in a -1 score for principle 7.

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Brands Appearing in Today’s Popup Design Examples

Thanks to these awesome companies/people for inspiring me to include them: Tim Ferriss, Leesa, ClassPass, How-To Geek, Groupon, Tasting Table, Get Response, Lemonstand, PetSmart, Travelzoo.

Note: None of these popup designs score 100%

I’m sure you’ll like some, and dislike others. I’m including a wide variety of examples because they each show different aspects of the delight criteria.

Popup Design #1: Tim Ferriss

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.75 0.8 1 0.5 0.5 1 1 83%

Analysis

This fullscreen “Welcome Mat” popup takes over the screen when you’re leaving. I dislike this style when it happens when you arrive, but on exit, it’s totally cool. It’s a simple and classy design. Let’s score it!

  • CLARITY:
    I gave it 0.5 for immediacy as I had to figure out what the content was (fortunately I just bought a book about Seneca so I caught on). Having Tim in the background makes it very clear it’s coming from him.
  • CONTROL:
    The only failing here is the lack of the escape button working, which is my favourite way of dismissing a popup (I’m a big keyboard shortcut fan). It’s much faster than hunting for a close icon/button.
  • CREATIVITY:
    I love the design. It’s fresh and open. The visual hierarchy of the buttons is perfect: dominant continue, secondary cancel.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It loses out a bit on relevance, as it’s a speaker contact page, making this popup incongruent.
  • CHARM:
    Visually, yes. His authentic smile makes you feel welcome.
  • VALUE:
    It’s a 2-step opt-in form (email address if you click “Unlock”), which is a fair deal.
  • RESPECT:
    “No thanks, I’m not interested.” is great. It’s all you need to do on your cancel button. No confirm shaming here.

Popup Design #2: Leesa Mattress – Countdown Timer

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.83 1 0 1 1 80%

Analysis

There are so many mattress 2.0 companies out there now, it’s hard to tell them apart aside from the colour. This one’s really plain, and quite boring, but it does get bonus points for the countdown timer, and not breaking any of the fundamental delight rules.

  • CLARITY:
    Easy.
  • CONTROL:
    Full control.
  • CREATIVITY:
    It got it’s creativity 1/3 only for being on brand, but I added a 0.5 bonus for the countdown timer, which is a nice touch for ecommerce.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Timely and on point.
  • CHARM:
    Nah. They could do way more with the copy and the visuals are kinda bleh.
  • VALUE:
    Hard to argue with a discount.
  • RESPECT:
    No problems here.

Popup Design #3: Tasting Table

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 0.8 0.17 1 0 1 1 71%

Analysis

I like the use of a question headline in this popup. If you aren’t then you probably shouldn’t be on the site, so they’re helping to self select their ideal customer/subscriber. I’m not a foodie, however, so I’m closing it ;)

  • CLARITY:
    Get an email, about food. Easy.
  • CONTROL:
    No escape button close on this one either. Grrr.
  • CREATIVITY:
    It gets a few points for being on brand, but nothing original otherwise.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s food.
  • CHARM:
    Lots of potential, but doesn’t deliver.
  • VALUE:
    I was going to ding it for asking for a zipcode, but it probably increases the value so it get’s a pass.
  • RESPECT:
    Great.

Popup Design #4: Get Response

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.67 1 1 1 1 95%

Analysis

Simple and a bit weird (and basic) looking, but it rocks the scores beacuse it doesn’t break the fundamental delight rules, and adds some playfulness to stand out. Give it a little wiggle animation to go with that cute little alien thing and it would get a perfect score.

  • CLARITY:
    Pretty clear, and they get a few extra seconds of reading because it’s cute.
  • CONTROL:
    Full control.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Not the slickest design, but I think it’s got a lot of fun in it.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s SaaS, and this is for a free trial. Totally relevant.
  • CHARM:
    This one made me smile based on the copy and the design. Nicely done.
  • VALUE:
    It’s no different than clicking any other signup button on the site, so it’s regular ol’ fair.
  • RESPECT:
    Yes.

A quick contrast break…

Some pretty amazing score so far, and that’s because they’re doing it right. Before I continue, I just want to run one of the examples from yesterday’s “6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples” post through The Popup Delight Equation to provide some perspective.

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.5 0.6 0 0 0 0 1 30%

NOT delightful.

Popup Design #5: Groupon

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.75 0.4 0.67 1 0 1 1 69%

Analysis

  • CLARITY:
    I would’ve given it a higher score if there had been a photo of Vancouver in the popup, as it gives that immediate sense of locale.
  • CONTROL:
    Neither the escape key or clicking the background close the popup, which is really annoying when the “No thanks” link is so tiny. I dinged it extra for that.
  • CREATIVITY:
    This is what I’m referring to re: looking different from a shape perspective. Yes, it’s a circle and not a rectangle, but that’s the point. 99.999999% of popups are rectangles. So this simple change makes a world of difference. And the transparency allows lots of breathing room, and for it to not look like it’s completely shutting out the site.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Perfect.
  • CHARM:
    None.
  • VALUE:
    Hard to argue with deals.
  • RESPECT:
    Good job.

Popup Design #6: How-To Geek

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.17 1 0.25 1 1 77%

Analysis

I bet you didn’t expect a score like that. Which just goes to show that when you do some of the fundamentals correctly: it’s very clear, it’s easy to control, relevant, fair value, and respectful. It looks pretty awful, but that’s why it scores so poorly on creativity and charm. The fundamentals matter a lot. Get those right, and you can spend your time being exceptional.

  • CLARITY:
    Super obvious.
  • CONTROL:
    All functional.
  • CREATIVITY:
    On brand but nothing else positive from a creative standpoint.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Yup.
  • CHARM:
    I gave it a tiny bit cos of the nerdy logo guy.
  • VALUE:
    Standard newsletter value.
  • RESPECT:
    All good.

Popup Design #7: ClassPass

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.5 0.4 0.33 1 0 1 1 60%

Analysis

I thought this would do better when I first saw it, then after playing with the interaction it let me down a bit.

  • CLARITY:
    This is an entry popup, so the visuals are covered. Having a photo in the popup would help with the clarity around what kind of class they’re talking about for a first-time visitor.
  • CONTROL:
    no on, out or esc. The reason having no visible close button is undelightful is because it forces you to choose (and read) one of the buttons to close it. That’s too much effort when I’ve decided I want to get rid of it.
  • CREATIVITY:
    On brand, nothing else.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Yes.
  • CHARM:
    A bit cold.
  • VALUE:
    Without question.
  • RESPECT:
    Good job.

Popup Design #8: Lemonstand – Squishy Animation

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.67 1 0.25 1 1 85%

Analysis

I stuck an animated GIF in for this one so you could see the animation. It’s a prety plain looking popup aside from that, but you can see how it does add that extra attention-grabbing effect.

  • CLARITY:
    Ebook with an image of a book. Done.
  • CONTROL:
    Full control.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Scores for animation and being on brand. Mix in a different shape or a design like a lemon stand for bonus points :D
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s on the blog, so full points.
  • CHARM:
    Only the squishy animation saves it here.
  • VALUE:
    Fair indeed.
  • RESPECT:
    No confirm shaming here.

Popup Design #9: PetSmart

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0 1 0 1 1 71%

Analysis

Granted, this is the lamest of the bunch, but I included it because of its simplicity. Sometimes an offer is just an informative statement.

  • CLARITY:
    Crystal.
  • CONTROL:
    Complete.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Nope. Sorry.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s an ecommerce store. Yes.
  • CHARM:
    Nope. Add some kittens!
  • VALUE:
    Definitely.
  • RESPECT:
    All good.

Popup Design #10: Travelzoo << The worst!

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 0 0.67 1 0 0 -1 24%

Analysis

Looks sure can be deceiving. At first glance I really like this one. Then I started playing with it. And it became the worst popup of them all.

  • CLARITY:
    Yep, super clear with the photo of Ireland.
  • CONTROL:
    Can’t click the background to close. Oh, and wait, no matter what you do, IF you manage to close it you get turfed to the homepage. Horrible.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Minor points for the rounded corners.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Very.
  • CHARM:
    Started with zero, got worse from there.
  • VALUE:
    See respect, below.
  • RESPECT:
    Wow. If I were critiquing this solely on a screenshot, I’d have given them a 1 for respect. But I just tried to interact with it. If you close the popup (without signing up) it redirects you right back to the homepage. You can’t even see the deal. That’s seriously gnarly. Shoulda put this one in yesterday’s post.

Popup Design #11: Tim Ferriss

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 0.6 0.67 1 0.5 1 0.5 75%

Analysis

We close it out with another from Mr. Ferriss. It’s from the same page as the first one, but instead of being an exit popup, it’s triggered when you click a small banner that appears in the lower-left as you scroll down the page. Because it’s an on-click triggered popup, you typically get full points for relevance and clarity as you asked for it specifically.

  • CLARITY:
    Super clear
  • CONTROL:
    No escape key function, and the close (x) button doesn’t always show up.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Looks great,and on brand.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Perfect.
  • CHARM:
    As before, the friendly photo works.
  • VALUE:
    As expected.
  • RESPECT:
    Not quite as nice as the other one on the cancel link, so I’m dinging him a little.

Alrighty then, that’s a wrap for those 10 delightful popups, and one most certainly not delightful (Travelzoo) popup. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my ratings.

How Delightful are Your Popups?

I showed you mine, now show me yours! I hope you enjoyed learning about the delightful side of the website popup. I’d really love to see some of your popups, and how you score them, so drop a URL in the comments with your score and we can see if I agree.

Cheers
Oli

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

Taken from: 

11 Surprisingly Awesome Popup Design Examples – Scored by The Delight Equation [Tool]

Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

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I know you’re busy, so let’s cut to the chase.

Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference is back on June 25th – June 27th in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.

What’s in it for you?

First off, we’ve carefully curated a star-studded speaker lineup that includes the likes of Mari Smith, Scott StrattenKindra Hall and Rand Fishkin. See the full agenda here. (Fun fact: We made a pledge to have 50% female speakers this year, and we stuck to it.)

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Additionally, unlike other conferences where you’re torn between tracks, this conference is single-track. No need to miss a thing or weigh up your love for PPC or CRO. You can have it all and bring back stellar takeaways to your team on each of their respective specialities. #Teamplayer

We’re also working closely with our speakers to ensure talks are as actionable as possible. (This is our conference’s promise).

Explore the topics below to see featured talks and get a sense for the ones most exciting to you:

PPC
SEO
Copywriting
Social
CRO

Jonathan Dane — The PPC Performance Pizza

Jonathan DaneIn this session, Johnathan will cover 8 ways to make any PPC channel work with positive ROI. He’ll guide you through a simple framework, The PPC Performance Pizza, that will double performance on any PPC channel, from Google Adwords to Facebook.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use search, social, display, and video PPC to your advantage
  • Which channels and offers work best in tandem for more conversions
  • The frameworks KlientBoost uses to double your performance within 90 days

Rand Fishkin — The Search Landscape In 2017

Rand FishkinMuch has changed (and is changing) in SEO, leaving us with an uncertain future. In this talk, the one and only Rand Fishkin will share his view on the search landscape 2017, dive into data on how users behave in search engines, explain what the election of Donald Trump means to site owners and, most importantly provide you with the essential tactics every marketer should embrace to be prepared for the changes.

You’ll learn:

  • How has search behavior changed and what does it mean for marketers seeking organic search traffic
  • What new tactics and strategies are required to stay ahead of the competition in SEO
  • How might new US government policies affect the web itself and future platform and web marketing opportunities

Amy Harrison — The Customer Disconnect: How Inside-Out Copy Makes You Invisible

Amy HarrisonWhen you write copy, there are 3 critical elements: What you KNOW about your product, what you WRITE about your product, and what your customer THINKS you mean. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to have a disconnect between all three, and when that happens, customer’s don’t realize the true value of what you have to offer. In this talk, you’ll identify any disconnect in your own marketing, and learn how to write copy that breaks through the noise, differentiates your brand, and speaks to your customers’ desires.

You’ll learn:

  • How to recognize if you even HAVE a disconnect
  • How to beat the blank page – know what to include for every piece of copy you create
  • How to make even commoditized products sound different and fresh to your customer

Mari Smith — Winning Facebook Advertising Strategies: 5 Powerful Ways To Leverage Your Results & ROI

Mari SmithFacebook is constantly adding new features, new products and new ad units. What works today and what’s a waste of time and money? How should marketing teams, agencies and brands focus their ad spend for maximum results? In this dynamic session, world-renowned Facebook marketing expert, Mari Smith, will answer these questions and more.

You’ll learn:

  • Simple processes for maximizing paid reach to build a steady flow of top qualified leads
  • How to make your Facebook advertising dollars go much further, and generate an even higher ROI
  • The top ten biggest mistakes marketers make with their Facebook ads and how to fix them

Michael Aagaard – Your Brain Is Lying To You: Become A Better Marketer By Overcoming Confirmation Bias

Michael AagaardHave you ever resisted or ignored a piece of info because it posed a threat to your worldview? If you answered “yes,” you’re like most other human beings on the planet. In fact, according to the last 40 years of cognitive research, favouring information confirming your worldview is extremely common human behaviour. Unfortunately, being biased towards information confirming what we already believe often leads to errors in judgment and costly mistakes in marketing. But how can we overcome this?

You’ll learn:

  • The facts about confirmation bias and why it is such a dangerous pitfall for marketers
  • A framework for becoming aware of and overcoming your own confirmation bias
  • Hands-on techniques for cutting through the clutter and getting information rather than confirmation

Did we mention the workshops?

We’re bringing back workshops (see Sunday’s tab on the agenda) and we’ve tailored the topics based on your feedback. We’ll be talking hyper-targeted overlays, how agencies can leverage landing pages and getting people to swipe right on your landing page. The best part? They’re all included in your ticket price. Most importantly, marketers who purchase CTAConf tickets, get notified first once registration for workshops opens. Workshops were standing room only last year and we’re bringing them back bigger than ever, so first dibs on registration’s a real bonus.

Finally, we want you to have a ton of fun while you learn. We’re talkin’ 8 food trucks, incredible after parties, all the dog hoodies you can handle, wacky activities and full access to the recordings of every session. SPOILER: we’re looking into renting a Ferris wheel (seriously, this is a thing).

Convinced? Grab your tickets here.

(Hey, blog reader. Yeah, you. We like you. Get 15% off ticket price when you use discount code blogsentme.” That’s cheaper than our early bird price.)

Want to see the excitement in action?

Here’s a peek at what we got up to last year:

The countdown is on

Regardless or whether you’re a PPC specialist, conversion copywriter, full-stack marketer or living that agency life, we’ve got something in store for you. Our workshops and talks touch on everything marketing: pay-per-click, agencies, copywriting, conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization, branding and storytelling, email marketing, customer success, search engine optimization and product marketing.

Check out the full agenda here.

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See you at the conference (and on that Ferris wheel)!

Grab your tickets here and remember to use discount code “blogsentme” at checkout for 15% off that ticket price!

Read the article: 

Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

How to get your users to take action with compliance gaining

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Cars are scarce in my group of friends.

Most of us are in our late 20’s, living in Downtown Vancouver, where there’s plenty of public transit, parking is difficult, and expenses are high. Owning a car doesn’t really make sense.

Until one of us needs help moving, of course.

My boyfriend, Andre, owns a 1997 GMC Sierra 1500; needless to say, he gets hit up constantly for truck-related favors.

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This truck is a hot commodity during moving season.

We hear a lot of:

“Hey Dre, can you help me move on Saturday? I’ll buy you beer!”
“Dre! Can you help me move on Saturday? I hate to ask, but you’re my only option.”
“Andre, can you help me move on Saturday? No pressure, of course, if you can’t do it…”

The initial request (“Can you help me move?”) is almost always accompanied by something else: a bargain (“I’ll buy you beer”), a reason (“you’re my only option”), an out (“No pressure”).

For our friends, it seems instinctual to cushion the request somehow, to urge Andre to say “Yes” and dissuade him from saying “No”.

Think about all of the times you’ve asked a friend for a favor. Do you ever simply ask for the favor, or do you find yourself negotiating in some way? I, for one, try to frame my requests in ways that make them almost impossible to refuse.

As marketers, we do the same thing. After all, most of what we do revolves around trying to get our users to take an action. In the social science community, these ‘negotiations’ are referred to as compliance gaining techniques.

Four compliance gaining techniques you should test

Get this list of 4 of our favorite “Loss Aversion”-specific compliance gaining techniques. Learn how these techniques work and get ideas for how to test them on your website.



By entering your email, you’ll receive bi-weekly WiderFunnel Blog updates and other resources to help you become an optimization champion.

In this post, I’m going to examine the concept of compliance gaining through a marketing lens.The question is: How can you leverage compliance gaining techniques in your marketing to get your users to say “Yes” rather than saying “No”?

What is a compliance gaining technique?

In laymen’s terms, compliance gaining interactions occur whenever a message source tries to get a person to do something they might not otherwise do.

When your mom gently advises you to wear your helmet or when a friend asks you to set him up, the message source (mom, friend) are trying to get you to do something.

To clarify, compliance gaining is often confused with persuasion, but they are different. While persuasion is often concerned with changing a person’s attitudes or beliefs, compliance gaining seeks to change behavior.

There are numerous (read almost 900) strategies you could categorize as compliance gaining, from “bargaining”, to “complimenting”, to “persistence”, but here are some of the more pervasive compliance gaining techniques you may have heard of as a marketer:

Types of compliance gaining techniques

Foot-in-the-door:

compliance gaining_foot-in-the-door
Foot-in-the-door: start with a small request and build to a larger request.

You ask your user for something small first that they will most likely say yes to, then ask for something larger (the actual action you want them to take) at a later time. Researchers have several theories as to why this is effective, one of them being your user’s desire to remain consistent with what they previously said.

Example: If your web page features a form, you can break the form into multiple steps. Start by asking for easy-to-give information; save bigger asks for later steps when there is more to abandon. Once your user starts saying “yes”, they are more likely to continue to do so.

Door-in-the-face:

You ask your user for something big that they will most likely say “No” to, followed by a smaller, more reasonable request (the actual action you want them to take). Guilt and self-presentation help explain why this is effective: Your user has already said “No” once, and won’t want to say “No” twice.

Example: On a non-profit website, you might start off by asking your user to sponsor a child for $20/month. This is a fairly large request. Your user may feel badly for saying “No” to this initial request, making them more receptive to your next request for a smaller, one-time $20 donation. This is your intended request.

Disrupt-then-reframe:

You ask your user for something in a confusing or strange way the first time around. You immediately follow-up by re-framing your request or giving your user a reason to say “Yes”.

Example: Some brands use a catchy, clever headline that isn’t clear at first, that they reframe with informative copy just below the main headline.

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A disruptive headline from Apple.
Apple-persuasion-copy
The subsequent copy reframes the offering with appealing adjectives.

In this example from Apple, the headline reads “Light. Years ahead.” The dots disrupt our thinking framework and the copy below helps reframe with adjectives such as “lighter”, “better”, “thinner”. We are less likely to resist the reframe because our brain is busy with the initial disruption and the adjectives help to convince us.

Note: Be careful about making your content too disruptive. You could lose visitors due to a reduced information scent.

Dump and Chase:

You ask for something and your user says “No”. You respond by asking “Why not?”, repeating your request in a slightly different way. Urgency and guilt are at play here: You’ve created a sense of obligation by asking “Why not” and the repetition of your request can make it seem more important, more urgent.

Example: Your user may decide they are not ready to buy from you. That’s where mailing lists come into play. If they sign up for your mailing list, you are able to repeat your offer (via email) in various ways until that user’s concerns have been met and they finally do buy.

There are many more compliance gaining techniques. But my favorite of the moment is referred to as But You Are Free or BYAF.

But You Are Free to refuse…

But You Are Free refers to a situation where I ask you for a favor followed by a gentle reminder that you are free to refuse my request.

Wording can vary, but the key to this technique is to acknowledge the target’s freedom to say “no”.

In 2000, French researchers Guéguen and Pascal published a study that demonstrated the BYAF technique for the first time. In the study, experimenters asked passersby if they could have some change for the bus, followed by the statement “But you are free to accept or to refuse”. The Control group of passersby was simply asked for change for the bus, sans compliance gaining technique.

compliance gaining_but-you-are-free
“Will you give me change for the bus? You are free to accept or refuse.”

Their findings showed that passersby who heard the follow-up phrase were more likely to comply with experimenters’ request and gave twice as much change as those in the Control.

This experiment was based on psychological reactance theory. Introduced by Jack Brehm in the 1950’s, the theory states that “individuals have certain freedoms with regard to their behavior. If these behavioral freedoms are reduced or threatened with reduction, the individual will be motivationally aroused to regain them.”

Freedoms once granted will not be relinquished without a fight.

– Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Guéguen and Pascal proposed that the phrase, “but you are free to accept or refuse”, weakens the target’s perception that their freedom to say “no” is being threatened by the initial request. Instead of being motivated to refuse, in order to protect their own freedoms, the target is reminded that their freedoms are still in tact, allowing them to say “yes”.

Recently, I asked a coworker for a favor via Slack, followed by the phrase “No pressure, of course.” Even though I really needed this favor, I added the phrase “No pressure” to my request—it was automatic. It was the BYAF compliance gaining technique. (My coworker said yes.)

Now, before you go adding a “You are free to accept or refuse” sub-head to all of your calls-to-action, let’s go a little deeper…

BYAF in a marketing context

In 2013, Christopher Carpenter published a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of the BYAF compliance gaining technique in Communication Studies. He wanted to know, given the research that has been published on this technique, whether or not BYAF is effective in a sales situation (among other questions).

Carpenter cited past researchers who theorized that “people are more suspicious of self-interested requests and cognitively process such requests more thoughtfully,” which would render the BYAF technique less effective when a request is being made in a sales context.

However, when Carpenter completed his meta-analysis, he found that the effect of BYAF on a target was equal for both prosocial requests (compliance benefits some worthy cause rather than the requester) and self-interested requests (compliance benefits the requestor) e.g. a sales request.

The BYAF technique has the virtue of being adaptable to potentially any context. That the effect size was consistent for both prosocial and self-interested requests in a variety of contexts…is reflective of a technique that has widespread value. All that is required for the BYAF technique is that the key phrase is added to the request.

– Christopher Carpenter

So, is BYAF a compliance gaining technique you can use when you’re talking to your prospects? Quite possibly. You should test that!

A BYAF spin-off test

Have you heard the term “Locus of Control”?

In personality psychology, individuals with an internal locus of control believe that their behavior and actions are guided by their decisions and efforts, while individuals with an external locus of control believe their behaviors and actions are guided by external forces.

People with an internal locus of control are more proactive and self-motivated, while those with an external locus of control are often more passive.

compliance gaining-locus-of-control
Internal vs. External Locus of Control

One theory as to why BYAF works is that the requester is giving control back to the target by adding the phrase “but you are free to _____” to a request.

For one WiderFunnel client, DMV.org, our Strategy team wanted to test giving control back to the prospect, just like the BYAF technique does. Rather than emphasizing a prospect’s freedom to refuse, however, the team wanted to emphasize the prospect’s freedom to choose.

DMV.org is a privately owned publisher of helpful information about the DMV. The company earns revenue through performance-based advertising on their thousands of content pages. For example, on a license renewal information page, a banner within the content offers visitors an opportunity to check car insurance rates.

When we tested the BYAF spin-off, we were testing on the second step of DMV.org’s funnel, where visitors select a provider.

We tested a single sub-headline isolation on this page, adding the phrase “The one you choose is up to you!” This phrase was meant to remind visitors that they are in control, they are free to choose exactly what they want to choose. Our Strategists were targeting the same mental sweet spot that the BYAF technique targets.

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“The one you choose is up to you!”

The addition of this phrase led to a conversion rate lift of 28.9% for DMV.org.

Testing compliance gaining in your marketing

Persuasion principles and compliance gaining techniques are extremely helpful to consider when you’re planning your digital experiments. Of course, persuasion principles are just one source of information you should look to when planning a test.

Related: For more sources of information, check out Chris Goward’s post outlining WiderFunnel’s Infinity Optimization Process. Pay particular attention to the section on “The Explore Phase”.

It is always helpful to de-construct the persuasion principle or psychological trigger itself to try to get at the heart of what is actually motivating someone to act. In the case of BYAF and “the one you choose is up to you”, the motivating factor might be the simple fact of reminding a visitor that they are in control of their decision.

What might your users respond to?

What are your favorite compliance gaining techniques to test? Have you seen success with the BYAF technique in your testing? Tell us about it in the comments!

The post How to get your users to take action with compliance gaining appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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How to get your users to take action with compliance gaining

Do You Believe in… Conversion Magic?

conversion elixir
Do you believe in… conversion magic? Image via Shutterstock.

Like any potions master would attest, the secret to a great elixir lies in the measured combination of its ingredients.

Over the years, Titan PPC, a full-service pay-per-click advertising agency based in Vancouver, has developed a “magic formula” for designing lead generation landing pages that convert at average of 15% or higher.

The secret ingredient? For company founder, Patrick Schrodt, it doesn’t boil down to just one.

Read on to find out what key ingredients make Patrick’s lead gen landing pages so powerful. Then test them yourself with the new, kick-ass Hyperion template in the Unbounce app.

1. Make your landing pages relevant

Any smart marketer knows that when visitors reach a landing page, they won’t all have the same intentions for being there. Some may have clicked an ad looking for a plumber in West Seattle where others may have clicked one looking for a plumber in Capitol Hill.

But if your client is a plumbing company that serves the entire Seattle metropolitan area, your landing page should show both the visitors from West Seattle and Capitol Hill that you’ve got the service they need in the location they want it.

In other words, you want to use geo-targeting to make your landing pages especially relevant to your prospects. As Patrick explains:

There’s always been geo-based searches and there always will be. For our own campaigns, we’ve gone as targeted as including a map on every landing page. We highlight a visitors location on the map depending on the where their search is coming from — people go crazy for it!

And the conversion rates don’t lie.

Watch this clip to hear how Titan PPC used geo-targeting to increase a client’s on-page conversion rates from 6% to 33%, practically overnight.

Interview with Patrick Schrodt, founder of Titan PPC.

2. Use (awesome) images to break up your body copy

Never judge a book by its cover… right?

Well, fact is, when a prospect reaches your lead gen landing page, the first thing they’ll do is judge your offer or product by the way you’ve presented it to them. And they’ll do it within seconds.

That’s why you want to make sure it looks so good they won’t want to leave.

The key to keeping prospects interested? Great photography. According to Patrick:

Images help prospects get a clear picture of your client’s product or offer, and it shows them you’re a professional.

Titan PPC adds full-page horizontal image galleries throughout their lead gen landing pages.

It helps break up a visitor’s attention as they scroll by giving them something nice to look at.

But you can’t just slap a bunch of images into a gallery and hope that it all comes together.

If you’re going to source images for clients, you have to make sure you grab photos from a series. I’ve seen landing pages where it’s obvious that each image belongs to a different suite and it’s not coherent or nice to look at.

Check out this example of cohesive image galleries on one of Titan PPC’s lead gen landing pages for a lawn mowing client in Philadelphia:

GrasLawn

Screenshot of cohesive image galleries, landing page designed by Titan PPC.

3. Remind visitors why they are on your page

Remember that bit about making sure your landing pages were super relevant to your visitors? Well, that sometimes means reminding them exactly why they are on your landing page.

For Titan PPC, the best way to do that is by adding a smooth scroll call-to-action (CTA) bar right below the horizontal image gallery.

Why? Because it brings a prospect right back to where you want them: the form.

It works because every time a visitor sees something visual and eye catching [like the image galleries], they’re then prompted to fill out the form.

4. Make the form match the offer

Speaking of taking prospects back to where you want them, the design of a form on your landing page should never be an afterthought. That means weighing, measuring and sifting every item from the questions to the CTA so it’s fully optimized to ensure a conversion.

It’s so key that the form matches the offer. Otherwise a prospect will just be turned off.

So if your client is offering a 100% free quote on plumbing services, then the form on your landing page should reiterate, loud and clear, that the offer comes at no price.

Sounds pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it?

But matching a form to an offer also means making sure you have a solid understanding of your target audience. As Patrick explains:

For real-estate clients, the CTA is always to download a free floor plan. But for clients that are service based, like plumbers or roofers, the CTA is always to get a free quote.

It all comes back to personalization: different types of prospects want to see different kinds of offers. According to Patrick, real-estate prospects want the feeling of exclusivity, whereas service-seeking prospects are probably just looking for the cheapest way to fix a runny faucet or leaky roof.

Titan PPC’s last tip for optimizing the form? Make the form catch your prospect’s attention.

We always put a starburst or icon in the corner of the form. It’s usually something like ‘100% free’ so it pulls a visitor in and reminds them why they want to fill it out!”

Here’s an example of what Patrick means:

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 2.28.41 PM
Screenshot of a high-converting landing page form, designed by Titan PPC.

From showing your visitors ultra-relevant content to making sure that content has awesome design and flow, the landing page magic formula is all about giving prospects exactly what they’re looking for and expecting to see when they land on your page.

Care to try some of Patrick’s tricks yourself?

Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Unbounce and try the Hyperion template, a design inspired by Titan PPC’s powerful elixir for high-converting landing pages.

More here: 

Do You Believe in… Conversion Magic?

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The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a barber say you’re only as good as your last haircut. In marketing, this couldn’t be more accurate — using last year’s tactics just won’t cut it.

Surely, you’re staying up to date on the latest marketing trends with blog posts, AMAs and webinars. But sometimes, in order to level up, you need to step away from your desk and get a front-row seat to the action.

people having fun at Unbounce’s CTA conference
Knowledge learned in the flesh will help you reach new heights in 2016. Image via Unbounce CTA Conference.

With so many digital marketing conferences to choose from, we’ve selected the top marketing events we think will inspire and educate you in 2016.

These marketing conferences cover a variety of topics: content marketing, conversion optimization, design, email marketing, entrepreneurship, innovation, mobile, performance marketing, search, social, growth marketing, video marketing and local marketing.

If you’re on a mission to get some real life knowledge and socializing under your belt, here’s an epic list of the 20 most thought-provoking, engaging digital marketing conferences 2016 has to offer.

Bonus: to help with you whittle down your conference wish list, we found out what people had to say about last year’s conferences.

1. MozCon: September 12–14, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

MozCon Logo

MozCon promises three days of actionable sessions, speakers sharing first-hand advice and fun networking events that won’t disappoint. If you’re looking to get exposed to what’s new in SEO, CRO, content marketing and community building, don’t wait too long to sign up.

Bonus: Roger, the cutest and cuddliest robot, will be there to give you a hug.

What last year’s attendees said:

2. Unbounce Call to Action Conference: June 19–21, 2016 (Vancouver, Canada)

CTA digital marketing conference

Our very own Call to Action Conference brings together experts in conversion optimization, pay-per-click, email, copywriting and UX design. If your goal is to become a faster, better and stronger marketer, we have amazing hands-on workshops that will expand your skill set and help you get there. Vancouver is at its most charming in the month the June, not to mention the parties and the swag are pretty awesome! Come pay us a visit in Vancouver.

What last year’s attendees said:

3. ConversionXL Live: March 30–April 1, 2016 (Austin Area, Texas)

CXL image 2016

ConversionXL Live brings the top conversion optimization experts in the world together to teach you all their processes and methods. Unlike other conferences, networking is underlined and emphasized so you can further your learning while building relationships with your peers. If you’ve read Peep Laja’s ConversionXL blog, you know this is one of the most informative blogs on conversion optimization out there. And if this is an area you want to dominate, ConversionXL Live is one of the best marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

4. MARTech: March 21–22, 2016 (San Francisco, CA) and October 20–21, 2016 (London, UK)

Digital Marketing Conference Martech

As the name MARTech implies, this conference is for hybrid professionals that are both marketing experts and technology savvy. This event blurs the lines between marketing and IT and introduces conference goers to new technologies that will influence the data science, growth-hacking and digital marketing landscapes.

What last year’s attendees said:

5. Hero Conf: April 25–27, 2016 (Philadelphia, PA) and October 24–26, 2016 (London, UK)

Hero Conference

Hero Conf is one of the top marketing conferences for marketers who want to focus on improving their PPC skills. This PPC theme allows for actionable takeaways focused on improving your strategy around paid ads and data on LinkedIn, Bing, Google, Facebook and more. A low speaker-to-attendee ratio means that networking and nightly events are both fun and informative.

What last year’s attendees said:

6. WistiaFest: June 5–7, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Wistia image

WistiaFest delivers you three days of video marketing insights, data, analytics content and more from some of the industry’s top professionals from around the world. This is an important event for marketers who use video in their marketing efforts and want to see where the future of video lies, and who want to catch up with their peers at one of the best video marketing conferences.

What last year’s attendees said:

7. MozCon Local: February 18–19, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

Mozcon local image

If you’re part of a local business and want to gain insights and knowledge on local SEO and other marketing tools, this is a great event that will feed your SEO and marketing hunger. MozCon Local will arm you with knowledge as well as tactical tips in the form of talks, workshops and cool networking events in lovely Seattle. What more could you want in a conference?

What last year’s attendees said:

8. ad:tech: November 2–3, 2016 (New York City, NY)

Adtech image

ad:tech is an event held in eight countries that covers the changing landscape of advertising technology. The event is for marketers, brand strategists, agencies and publishers. ad:tech helps you navigate the evolution of key technologies and keeps you ahead of the curve so that you can drive innovation within your brand or agency.

What last year’s attendees said:

9. Marketing United: April 18–20, 2016 (Nashville, TN)

United image

Marketing United is bringing some of the world’s top marketers to Nashville to share their tips, tricks and stories to help inspire you. Each session promises to be informative and exciting, not to mention the venue is steps away from great food and music à la Nashville.

What last year’s attendees said:

10. Advocamp: March 7–9, 2016 (San Francisco, CA)

Advocamp image

If you’ve got customer growth and development on the brain then Advocamp is one of the best marketing conferences for you. Advocamp is the only conference that focuses on customer delight all while providing you with the tools to build a viable business strategy. Not to mention they take the conference’s name seriously and pair attendees into smaller “camp” groups. This is Advocamp’s second year, and it’s sure not to disappoint.

What last year’s attendees said:

11. C2 Montreal: May 24–26, 2016 (Montreal, Canada)

C2 logo Marketing Conference

C2 focuses on creativity and commerce by bringing together some of the most innovative thought leaders across various disciplines. Not only does creativity take center stage, it also makes an appearance after hours. C2 has created some of the most engaging and entertaining networking events all with the help of Quebec’s own Cirque du Soleil. Get exposed to innovation and creativity from all facets of the business world.

What last year’s attendees said:

12. Searchlove: May 3–4, 2016 (Boston, MA) and October 17-18, 2016 (London, UK)

Searlove Logo

This two-day event attracts some of the world’s top online marketing talent and covers a variety of topics from search, analytics and paid to content strategy and optimization. With actionable advice, tips and processes, SearchLove is filled with the information you need to push your career forward.

What last year’s attendees said:

13. SXSW Interactive: March 11–15, 2016 (Austin, Texas)

SXSW logo

Considered one of the top marketing events out there, SXSW Interactive has historically been the place to launch your product and boost your career. With a guest list brimming with the who’s who in the industry, this event is usually packed with stars from the digital world as well as Hollywood. It’s also one of the best conferences work on your networking skills. SXSW Interactive puts an emphasis on innovation and the changing digital landscapes. If you’re a startup or looking to launch your product, SXSW Interactive may be the place for you.

What last year’s attendees said:

14. Intelligent Content Conference: March 7–9, 2016 (Las Vegas, NV)

ICC Best Marketing Conference 2016

If you’ve been looking to improve your content strategy skills, ICC is that best marketing conference to help you up your game. With topics covering how to scale content production, reusing and repurposing legacy content and diffusion of content on different platforms, ICC is one of the most on-point content marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

15. Inbound: November 8–11, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Inbound logo 2016

Inbound’s four-day event has over 170 training sessions, five keynotes and lots of entertaining and fun activities at night. Past entertainment has included the likes of Amy Schumer and Janelle Monáe. With 14,000 attendees, the event is a huge opportunity to network and see some of the best professionals in the marketing industry.

Pro tip: Inbound is a huge event with lots of great workshops and speakers happening at the same time. Make a list of the events that you’d like to attend in advance to get the most of out of your experience.

What last year’s attendees said:

16. Search Marketing Summit: May 30–June 3, 2016 (Sydney, Australia)

SMS logo 2016

If you’re living down under or you’ve always wanted to visit, Search Marketing Summit is the number one event of its kind in Australia. This five-day event is packed with advanced workshops that cover topics from mobile, search and email marketing. Search Marketing Summit is a great way to update your skills and advance your knowledge in just a few days.

What last year’s attendees said:

Time to step it up

Attending conferences is important because they push you out of your professional habits and routines and expose you to new technologies, trends and people.

We’ve armed you with the a list of the best digital marketing conferences of 2016 that will provide you with the right tools and knowledge to level up your marketing game. It’s up to you to make the next move.

Your personal growth and that of your agency or company depend on it.

Read More: 

The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

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The Landing Page That Won Our Hearts (And Won Its Creator a Trip to CTA Conf)

A couple weeks ago we announced a contest on our blog. It wasn’t the type of contest where the winner just gets an iPad. Nope, not here.

The winner would be sent to Unbounce’s Call To Action Conference in Vancouver this September 13th – 15th. The grand prize was a trip to Vancouver: including the flight, hotel and two conference tickets. The whole shebang!

cta-conf-contest-featured-650

The challenge was simple. Build a landing page in Unbounce (for free) that answers one question:

Why should we send you to the Call to Action Conference?

We were blown away by the amount of thought, creativity, effort, love and landing page expertise that went into these pages. Unbounce’s Senior Conversion Optimizer Michael Aagaard spoke for all the judges when he said, “Wow – it’s difficult to pick a winner!”

Indeed, it was. But the tribe has spoken.

In this post we’ll recognize the winners, their pages, their chops — along with some insights from the judges. We hope you’ll be as inspired as we were.

Gold Medal Winner – Andrea Getman

Andrea - Gold
Click on the image to see Andrea’s landing page in all its glory.

Mission possible! Andrea’s spy-themed landing page has it all.

On top of an action movie trailer that grabs your attention right off the bat, Andrea’s page has a strong headline, clever call to action and strong testimonials to really seal the deal.

Here’s what Kyrie Melnyck, Event Marketing Coordinator at Unbounce, had to say about the page:

We’e putting a ton of effort into this year’s Call to Action Conference, but Andrea looks like she’s putting even more effort into attending! Loved her page, video, testimonials and retargeting (she Facebook stalked me for days…).

What’s Kyrie referring to?

In a stroke of marketing genius, Andrea ran a delightful retargeting campaign that hit up almost everyone who works at Unbounce:

Andrea - Retargeting

Tia Kelly, Customer Success Manager at Unbounce, also thought this idea was neat:

Knowing how much work goes into launching even a simple marketing campaign, I can appreciate the effort Andrea put into her submission. She managed to stay clear about her goal while mixing in some personality. Driving paid social to the landing page was a nice little touch!

There’s more, too. As a landing page optimization veteran, Andrea also conducted an A/B test to see if more explicit directional cues would result in a conversion lift.

Andrea Directional Cues 2
See that little arrow pointing to the CTA button? That’s a directional cue if we ever saw one.

The result?

The variant with the directional cues resulted in a 5.2% conversion lift over her original page without them. Boss.

Congrats Andrea, you’re coming to the Call To Action Conference!

Silver Medal Winner – Syed Raza

Syed - Landing page
Click on the image to see Syed’s landing page and watch his rendition of “People Say I Eat Too Many Chocolate Bars.”

At first glance, Syed’s page had a clean visual aesthetic – but it was his video parody of “People Say I Eat Too Many Chocolate Bars” that really got us. Cody Campbell, Unbounce’s SEO Manager, couldn’t get enough:

Do you remember that acne commercial? I used to imitate it all the time. His video was perfect.

The judges also loved how he used an attention-grabbing picture of himself as a directional cue that focuses the eye on the call to action button.

In the words of Stephanie Saretsky, Multimedia Content Producer at Unbounce:

Syed’s landing page is pure humor. With little images of himself pointing to every call to action, he makes himself the directional cue and makes the CTA hard to avoid.

Syed was another clever contest who retargeted us on Facebook – but he took things a step further by including additional incentive to fill out the lead gen form.

Further down the page prompted people to submit their name and email to receive “The Top 10 Reasons Why Syed Should Be At CTA 2015.”

The email you received after filling out the form was quite simply hilarious:

Syed Email

But it wasn’t all just fun and games – his landing page did its job by converting at a healthy 16.96%. Congrats Syed!

Bronze Medal Winner – Thomas Lerch

Thomas Landing Page
Click on the image to see Thomas’ landing page and watch a true conversion hero.

In a Reddit thread, Thomas said his took almost 50 hours of work. If you watch his hilarious video, you’ll understand why. His video goes over everything he’ll do to make sure the conference is amazing for attendees. As judge Talia Wolf, CEO of Conversioner and CTA Conf speaker put it:

I really like the way Thomas directed his pitch to you. He really kept people engaged and answered the question: what’s in it for Unbounce to have him at the conference versus why it’s good for him. #winner!

But Thomas did a ton to show off his landing page optimization chops, too. As Dan Levy, Content Strategist at Unbounce, pointed out:

Thomas employs a bunch of neat persuasion tactics like urgency/scarcity, social proof and directional cues. It’s clear that Thomas knows his conversion stuff and would add as much to CTA Conf as he’ll get out of it.

Indeed, Dan. We can’t wait to meet you, Thomas!

Honourable mentions

Part of the reason choosing a winner was so difficult was that we had so many awesome submissions. We would be remiss to not highlight some of the other beautiful landing pages and creative ideas.

Tim Ruof

Tim Landing Page
Click the image to see Tim’s entire landing page.

Tim’s call to action went right to Google flights, searching Buffalo to Vancouver. Very clever.

Bethany Bauer

Bethany Landing Page
Check out Bethany’s landing page and you’ll want to go to CTA Conf too.

Bethany, last year’s landing page champion, is already going to this years conference, but she submitted a landing page just for fun? #amazing. As Bethany explained in her submission,  “I wasn’t really trying to win. I just wanted to make something for you since I enjoyed last year’s conference so much.”

Ben Nesvig

Ben Landing Page
Click the image and check out Ben’s landing page in full.

Knowing that not everyone will watch a landing page video, Ben put his video splash image to work – look at the way he points to the call to action button above. #directionalcues

Allison Otting

allison-otting-lp
Click the image to check out Allison’s awesome landing page.

The real star of Allison’s landing page is the awesome copywriting. From her headlines and subheads to her call to action button, her page had us all nodding our heads “yes!”

Clay Coomer

clay-coomer-full
Click the image to see Clay’s landing page in full.

Clay’s landing page included a ton of personality, memes and dancing. And his kids are so cute! We especially loved the “data doesn’t lie” section.

Meagan Smith

meagan-smith-full
Click the image to see Meagan’s landing page.

Meagan’s landing page is hilarious and full of personality! If you choose to accept the mission she puts forth, you’ll see what we mean.

Ian Chapman

ian-chapman-full
Click the image to see Ian’s landing page in its full glory.

Ian’s landing page is well-rounded and persuasive, and if you skip down to his “About me” section, you’ll see a pretty adorable testimonial from his wife. Priceless.

Ian Testimonial

See you at the Call to Action Conference!

Cheers to a seriously badass group of landing page builders – we were blown away by your expertise and creativity.

And congrats to our top three winners: Andrea, Syed and Thomas. We can’t wait to spoil y’all with knowledge, food, beer, adventure and Unbounce hugs. Congratulations!

We hope to see you all at the Call to Action Conference from September 13th – 15th.

Read this article:  

The Landing Page That Won Our Hearts (And Won Its Creator a Trip to CTA Conf)

Win Your Way to CTAConf [Prize Package Valued at $4000]

call-to-action-conference-contest-650
Tell us why you’re excited about coming to CTAConf… and we’ll send you fo’ free.
TL;DR: Create a landing page telling us why you deserve to go to CTAConf and you could win an all-expense trip to Call to Action Conference in Vancouver (a prize valued at over $4000).

You read the Unbounce blog regularly. You’ve taken the landing page conversion course, know the recipe for the perfect landing page and have seen many landing page examples.

Now it’s time to show us what you’ve got.

Your challenge

Create and publish a landing page in Unbounce (sign up here – it’s free) that answers one very simple question:

Why should we send you to the Call to Action Conference?

You can start from a template or just piece together a page from scratch. Surprise us. Impress us. Anything goes! Create your page and then submit it via the form at the bottom of this post.

What are we judging you on?

We are judging you on your landing page chops. #duh

But what does that really mean? Let’s break it down. We’ll be looking at:

  • The persuasive power of your copy
  • The clickability of your call to action
  • The expanse of your creativity (really, go wild and impress us!)
  • Your conversion rate. What are you doing to make us click? Or better yet, what are you going to do to make a bunch of people click? Drive a bit of traffic to your landing page and we’ll be really impressed. *hint hint*
  • Bonus: The early bird gets the worm. The earlier you get us your awesome landing page, the more time we have to look over it.

Mark your calendars: The deadline for entries is Friday, August 28th.

Our panel of judges will pick the best overall page (using our top secret algorithm) and we’ll post them on our blog in early September, just in time for the conference. Look out for a roundup of awesome reader-submitted landing pages (with a landing page optimization tip or two from some of our expert speakers and in-house marketing experts).

What does the Ultimate CTAConf Package Include?

In other words, why should you put your blood and sweat into making the best landing page ever?

First of all, you’ll win your way to Call to Action Conference (ticket, airfare, accommodation and more), hosted by Unbounce this September 13th – 15th.

The prize package includes:

  • One CTAConf ticket and one ticket to give a friend
  • One flight to Vancouver (up to $1000)
  • Three nights stay at the Granville Island Hotel
  • Your choice of a white water rafting excursion, stand up paddle boarding or a craft beer tour around Vancouver during the “Sunday Funday” before the conference

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention. Second and third place will also win free tickets to the Call to Action Conference.

Need inspiration?

Last year we held a similar contest and asked conference hopefuls to submit a landing page. If you need some inspiration check out some of the awesome submissions we received:

Ready?

Create and publish a landing page in Unbounce (sign up here – it’s free) telling us why we should send you to CTAConf, and submit it via the form below.

Happy landing page building!

PS: If you don’t want to make a landing page but still wanna come to the conference, we’ve got a special discount for our blog readers. Get an exclusive 30% discount at checkout by using the promocode “UnbounceBlog” until the landing page contest submissions end on Friday, August 28th.

Taken from – 

Win Your Way to CTAConf [Prize Package Valued at $4000]

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Show Off Your Copywriting Skills and Win a Ticket to CTA Conference

Copywriting Contest

We’re looking for the most awesome copywriter ever. And we’re really hoping that it’s you.

If it is, you’ll soon be on your way to the Call to Action Conference, our 3-day mega-event in Vancouver featuring talks from — and parties with — the world’s top conversion experts.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it

In our Conversion Copywriting Contest, you’ll be tasked with writing about the world’s most adorable robot vacuum cleaner that also lays down the sickest beats: DJ Rumba.

Your mission is to write compelling landing page copy that will persuade visitors to sign up to a mailing list in order to to hear more about DJ Rumba in the run-up to its official release. (It doesn’t actually exist, but this is a trivial detail.)

Awesome copy calls for awesome judges

We’ve assembled an all-star team of conversion copywriters, including Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers (and the author of the Conversion Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Copywriting), Demian Farnworth from Copyblogger, and Henneke Duistermaat from Enchanted to help us select and critique the top 10 landing pages.

These top 10 pages (and their accompanying critiques) will be posted and opened to public voting on May 12. Whichever page has the most votes by May 18 will be declared the winner.

And awesome prizes, too

If your page garners the most votes, you’ll win a free ticket to the Call to Action Conference, along with $500 to get you there.

Two runner-ups will win free tickets to The Conversion Road Trip, 1-day events jam-packed with actionable advice from CRO experts. Attend an event in the city of your choice: Boston, Chicago, New York or Toronto.

Ready to get started?

There’s no design involved — you only have to write the copy and insert it in the DJ Rumba Unbounce template — but submissions are only open until May 4, 2015.

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the full contest details with instructions on how to enter.

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Show Off Your Copywriting Skills and Win a Ticket to CTA Conference

Corporate Website Design: Creative and Beautiful Solutions

What do corporate websites have in common with other people’s children? Three things: they have their charm, like finger-paintings on the refrigerator; they can be useful, if infrequently; they are usually admired only by the people who created them. [Last updated: Dec/22/2016]
While designers know that a user’s experience on a website has a large impact on the way that customer will interact with them, impressing that concept on the corporate establishment has taken a very long time.

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Corporate Website Design: Creative and Beautiful Solutions