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Sunday, December 30, 2012

8 Content Marketing Trends for B2B

 
social media researchAre you wondering if content marketing can help your business?
If so, look no further.
In this article, I examine a recent study involving 1,416 B2B marketers from North America from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
You’ll discover how B2B marketers were leveraging content marketing in 2012 and where their focus will be next year.

#1: Producing Enough Content Is Top Challenge

In years past, the biggest challenge for content marketers has been creating engaging content. But this trend changed in 2012 with 64% of marketers saying that producing enough content was their number-one challenge.
challenge content marketers
Producing enough content is now the top challenge for content marketers.

It is quite conceivable that this challenge will help to create more business and employment opportunities for content developers. In a related conversation, Nate Riggs, director of social business at the Karcher Group, put it this way:
“This is great news for displaced journalists and (content) producers looking to reinvent.”
Key Takeaway: If your plan is to produce more content next year, think of ways to recycle what you already have.
  • Spread existing content across different formats; for example, create an FAQ for quick tips or turn popular blog posts into a podcast, infographic or ebook.
  • Curate awesome customer letters, testimonials and positive feedback into a relevant, real-world information packet about “Why customers love our brand.”
  • Go back and see what was popular once-upon-a-time that is now buried in your online archives. Focus on evergreen content and republish as posts that speak to current problems in your industry.

#2: Marketers Using Average of 12 Content Marketing Tactics

The study revealed that large organizations (with 10,000+ employees) used 18 content marketing tactics on average, while small companies used 11. Companies of all sizes used an average of 12 content marketing tactics.
average number of tactics
Study found that the larger the company, the more the tactics used.
While it’s clear that resources dictate the number of content marketing tactics employed, it’s a good idea for you to evaluate your budget and figure out how many tactics you can commit to next year. Keep in mind that the more tactics you use, the greater your chances of amplifying your voice and extending audience reach.
Key Takeaway: As you brainstorm your content delivery strategy, become a “real publisher” and try to move away from web-only tactics. Figure out how you can distribute content through various devices and platforms including print. For example, use printed white papers – and yes, even books – as free giveaways after client meetings, workshops or conferences.

#3: Social Media – Most Popular Promotion Tactic

The study revealed that 87% of marketers used social media to distribute content – more than they used articles, email newsletters, blogs and other tactics.
This makes sense because their audiences (existing and potential customers) typically use social media for personal reasons – a typical case of “fishing where the fish are.”
use by tactics
Social media climbed into first place as the most popular content marketing tactic.
Key Takeaway: As you think about the most effective tactic(s) to use for your content distribution, think about where your audience hangs out and focus on those social channels. If Facebook and Pinterest are major distribution channels for your brand, remember too that images are eye candy and the time to sharpen your image-based content campaigns is now.

#4: LinkedIn – Most Popular Social Media Channel

This was a surprising find. It turns out that LinkedIn was the most popular social media channel for content distribution. More marketers (83%) are using it compared to Twitter (80%), Facebook (80%) and YouTube (61%). Even if the difference in usage between Twitter and LinkedIn is very slim, it still says a lot about a platform that is not considered as sexy as the others.
linkedin
LinkedIn is now the most popular social media channel for content distribution. Image source: iStockPhoto.
Key Takeaway: Marketers should learn how to leverage LinkedIn because key decision-makers are more likely to hang out there than on other platforms. One of the best ways to do this is to become more active on LinkedIn groups.
Find discussions that you can contribute to by adding something helpful and valuable. Then once in a while, modestly mention in an “oh-and-by-the-way” fashion that your business solves this or that problem and attach some relevant content to back it up.

#5: Brand Awareness – Top Content Marketing Goal

Another surprise was that increased website traffic was not the top goal for B2B content marketers. The study found that brand awareness was the number-one priority for 79% of content marketers, followed by customer acquisition (74%) and lead generation (71%).
content marketing goals
As far as content marketing goals, brand awareness trumped website traffic by 19 points.
Nevertheless, website traffic was found to be the most important measure for content marketing success. This presents an interesting juxtaposition, as content marketing success is typically linked to organizational goals. When it comes to brand awareness, website traffic was seen as the measure of success.
website traffic
Website traffic was still the most important measure of content marketing success.
Key Takeaway: Businesses looking to increase brand awareness will benefit if they track specific website indicators such as number of unique visitors, page views, amount of traffic that’s referred to their sites from search engines and even how much time visitors are spending on their site. Google Analytics gives you lot of data to analyze trends and new insights on your website.

#6: Most Content Made In-House

The study showed that 56% of companies are creating content in-house, while only 1% are relying exclusively on outsourced content. But there’s a nice balance of 43% who are developing both in-house and outsourced content.
outsourcing
A good number of businesses are relying on both in-house and outsourced content production. Image source: iStockPhoto.
Key Takeaway: This trend reflects the reality that outsourcing vs. hiring decisions are tough when it comes to content marketing. Content marketing is something that has to be nurtured on a regular basis. If your organization has the resources to produce enough content in-house, then outsourcing may not be needed unless a particular skill set is lacking internally.

#7: Content Marketing Budgets to Increase in 2013

More than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets for 2013.
budget increase
Notice that only 2% of B2B marketers will decrease their content marketing budget in 2013.
While the report was not specific about in what areas of content marketing budgets would increase, we learned that currently, the average amount of budget spent on content marketing is 33%, which is up from 26% in 2011. This is yet another indicator that the future of B2B content marketing is bright.

#8: Most and Least Effective B2B Content Marketers Compared

The study also found that the most effective B2B marketers spend a higher percentage of their marketing budget on content marketing than the least effective B2B marketers.
comparison chart
There is a direct correlation between content marketing spend and efficiency. However, least effective marketers plan to increase their budgets almost as much as most effective marketers.
Most effective content marketers also:
  • Use more tactics
  • Tailor content to specific customer profiles (or personas)
  • Are far less challenged in terms of producing engaging content
  • Are less challenged by lack of buy-in from top management
Key Takeaway: This is an eye-opener for those who are still on the fence about content marketing. Just as “practice makes perfect” says, we see here that the most successful marketers are those who invested the most resources on trying new tactics to produce compelling content.
Final Wrap-Up
The state of content marketing is bright and B2B marketers are looking forward to doing more with content in the coming year. Content budgets are also set to increase and B2B organizations will be using both in-house and external sources to increase content production.
Over to you. What are your content marketing plans for next year? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Storytelling: Why Stories Attract More Customers

 
What’s the story of your business?
Are you wondering how storytelling can help your marketing and sales?
To learn about the power of storytelling, I interview Dave Kerpen for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner
The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.
It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).
In this episode, I interview Dave Kerpen, author of Likeable Social Media. He’s also the co-founder of Likeable, an INC 500 social media marketing firm. His newest book is Likeable Business: Why Today’s Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver.
Dave shares his story of how a creative idea for his wedding turned into a successful business. You’ll learn how your story can help your business connect with people, both prospects and customers.
Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now


You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Business and Storytelling

Dave’s story
Dave shares his story of how the creative idea he and his wife had for their wedding led them into starting a business.
Both Dave and his wife have a traditional sales and marketing background and both were working in radio sales and sales management at the time.
They decided to have their wedding at a baseball game. So they pitched their idea to a minor league baseball team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, an affiliate of the New York Mets. The deal was that they would take over the inventory from the game and do sponsorships in exchange for being able to get married at the end of the game and create the promotion. They created a promotion called Our Field of Dreams.
our story likeable
From wedding to business.
Just from getting sponsors for the event, a total of $100,000 was raised in goods and services and $20,000 for charity. The advantage for the sponsors was they received a large amount of media attention. Not only did the sponsors get in front of 8,000 people at the game, they also were featured in CBS The Early Show, ABC World News Tonight and CNBC, plus thousands of blogs.
One of the sponsors, 1-800-Flowers, was then featured on 86 television stations, all from a $6,000 trade sponsorship. Dave and his wife generated $20 million worth of earned media for their sponsors. It wasn’t until 1-800-Flowers contacted Dave afterward and asked what he was doing next that he and his wife decided to start a company.
Dave believes that telling their story showed their prospects that it’s not just about understanding the tools, it’s about understanding how to be creative and think outside of the box. Just because you understand the tools of social media, radio or television doesn’t mean the idea isn’t just as important. You still have to do marketing.
By being able to tell a story, you’re able to bring some real personality to what it is you do, and at the same time, convince people that you know what you are doing.
Listen to the show to hear how they worked all their sponsors into the game so the wedding itself could be sponsor-free.
Why should your businesses care about storytelling?
Dave believes that storytelling is important because people don’t care about you. It’s really important to truly listen because people would rather talk about themselves.
Storytelling is much more effective than going through data or any kind of sales pitch. It connects people, and gets people engaged and interested. The reason why people love going to the movies and reading books is because we love to be engaged by stories.
Whether you are at a boardroom talking to your staff, or pitching to a prospect or putting content out there to the world, storytelling can bring your business alive. It can help you connect with your audience. And it can eventually persuade people.
Listen to the show to find out how storytelling can help generate leads for your business.
Why my story?
An example that Dave shares in his book is a story about a woman named Angela Shaefers, who was diagnosed with cancer and started writing a book just for her children. She showed it to her friends, who thought it was amazing and encouraged her to share it with the world.
Angela printed 500 copies, which sold very quickly through word of mouth. This made her realize that her story matters. From this, she started a company called Your Story Matters. Today, she helps people tell their stories and show people that their story matters.

Dave believes that everyone in business has a story to tell about how they started. Even the largest companies in the world can tell a story of how they were founded. For example, Mark Zuckerburg was in a dorm room at college and the founders of HP were in their garage. Wherever a company is started, no matter how big it is, it has a humble start.
It’s the story of your founding that can often humanize you and make your company more likable and more appealing, no matter how big or unlikable the company is today.
Listen to the show to learn how you can use different types of stories within your company or organization to make your company much more interesting.
What makes a good story?
When Dave thinks about storytelling, he goes to the analogy of a movie, book or television show. If he is crafting a story, he wants to think like a director or an author. Stories should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The story should also have some conflict and have at least one, preferably more, interesting characters that people can believe in.
Your ability to take a piece of history and turn it into a story has to do with applying the traditional elements of storytelling with what really happens. You need to be truthful, but you can embellish a little bit. Make the characters come alive. Make sure you set the stage and build a story that resonates with people.
Storytelling today is a lot easier, cheaper and a lot less of a risk. With today’s technology, if it doesn’t resonate with people, you can recut it or try something new. We can all keep practicing storytelling until we get it right.
Listen to the show to find out different ways you can share your story.
How do you cross over from storytelling to selling?
Some of the most successful business books of all time at their core are a collection of stories. Although Likeable Business is a business book and Dave is a business owner, to him it’s like social media—you can use all the best content in the world, but if it doesn’t drive sales, none of it matters.
It’s the same with storytelling. You can be the best storyteller in the world, but if you’re a business owner and you are telling that story and you are not converting people to becoming customers, then it’s virtually meaningless.
The process of taking people from actively listening to a story to actively listening to a sales pitch has to be subtle. If you’ve done a good job with prospecting and listening, then this process can be natural. But if you have the wrong people in the room and they don’t have a need for what you sell, then the best story in the world is not going to mean anything.
The first step is making sure you’ve done your homework, you’ve listened and you’ve prospected right. The next step is to help to connect the dots for people from the start.
When it opened up beyond college students, Facebook became a much better way to create buzz. It helped Dave connect the dots between great creative marketers to great creative social media consultants.
As powerful as your story is, it still needs to convey “I can solve your problems.” Your overall goal isn’t to become the best storyteller in the world, but to grow your business. You’re going to develop a story that helps people connect the dots between what their problems are and how you can solve them.
Listen to the show to hear why Dave believes that everyone is a salesperson.
How can social media impact the delivery of stories?
Dave shares how social media has changed the barrier to entry to tell stories at scale. It used to be that if you wanted to tell your story at scale, you had to buy your way in through media; for example, television or radio. You used to have to spend a significant amount of money on storytelling.
likeable media case studies
A few of Likeable's past social campaigns and promotions.
Now social media makes it easy to tell your story and for people to share it. You can have hundreds, thousands and even millions of people see your story. This has an impact.
Listen to the show to hear how Dave Carroll’s YouTube video, “United Breaks Guitars” turned his story alone into a business.

Dave’s Tip

Dave’s advice is to write down whatever you think your story is, share it with somebody whom you know and trust and start talking about how to make it into a better story.
Listen the show to find out what you need to look at to craft your story.

Cool Resources

Are you thinking about New Year’s resolutions for next year? Do you need more balance in your life? You might want to check out Michael Hyatt‘s podcast called This Is Your Life, where he talks about intentional leadership. There’s everything you need to know from how to keep your life balanced to how to be a good leader.
this is your life podcast
Michael Hyatt's "This Is Your Life" Podcast.
One of the cool things Michael does at the end of his show is to take caller questions. So we have decided to follow Michael’s lead and we now have a voicemail hotline at Social Media Examiner.
sme voicemail center
Leave a social media–related question at Social Media Examiner's Voicemail Center.
Simply visit our voicemail hotline from your computer to leave a message with your social media marketing–related questions. When you leave a message, don’t forget to mention your blog or the name of your company. It will add an interesting dynamic to the podcast.
Listen to the show to learn more and maybe leave your questions so we may include them in a future show.

Other Show Mentions

Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.
As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.
Check out this amazing new video showcasing all the event has to offer, PLUS you can save $300 if you register by Dec. 31.

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Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

Instagram Loses 25% of its Daily Active Users, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

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Happy New Year!introductory3
2012 is wrapping up, and 2013 is cruising in, full speed ahead! Have you gotten your marketing plan all sorted out to start the new year off with a bang?
We'd like to help you out by sharing these top marketing stories of the week so you can get your marketing plan in order and catch up on what you might have missed over the holidays.
But we also know that coming up with your 2013 marketing plan -- including your strategy, goals, and schedule -- is way easier said than done. So how about we lend you a hand? Please feel free to submit a request to talk with one of our inbound marketing specialists, and we'll be happy to run through your plans for 2013.
What do you say? Are you ready to hop in and read about the top marketing stories this week? Let's get started!

Google+ Now Allows Pages to Interact With All Users, Analytics Coming Soon

Before I give you this little recap, just hold on one second while I … YAHOOOO! Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into exactly what this new update means for Google+ Business Page owners. Previously, Google+ Pages could only +1, share, or comment on posts from users who had already added the page to one of their Circles. But now, Google+ Pages can interact with any post from any user without these Circle limitations. A-mazing. This opens up so many doors for marketers wishing to grow their reach and generate more leads through Google+. Remember this update while you’re monitoring brand mentions and interactions on Google+, because now you’ll want to take a peek at specific hashtags (just as you would on Twitter) and Google+ Communities as well.
+1 for better Google+ engagement! But how about that second part of the announcement, marketers?! How long have we been asking for Google+ analytics? Um, probably since the moment the platform launched business pages back in November, 2011. According to Google+’s “Measure” page, Google+ explains, “Data trumps guessing every time. That’s why in the coming weeks, we will be launching tools to give you access to as much data as possible about your Google+ Page and +1 activity.” Google+, you had us at “data trumps guessing.” The page activity data will include information about who’s interacting with your page (and how), your users’ demographics, and information about their social activities (this includes +1’s, shares, and comments). Now, not only is Google+ a great SEO booster and internal business tool, but it's also coming through as an excellent platform to help you market your brand, become a thought leader in your industry, and successfully measure your results. If you’d like to learn more about these new Google+ updates, read the full story here.

Gangnam Style Makes YouTube History: First Video to Hit 1 Billion Views, From The YouTube Blog

By now, you must have heard PSY’s "Gangnam Style" -- a song that completely blew up the internet and has now officially amassed 1 billion views on YouTube. The music video was YouTube's top rising search of 2012, and on October 6th, there were more than 5 million searches for the term “gangnam style” in a single day. Absolutely incredible!
Back in September, we fell in love with "Gangnam Style" ourselves and released a parody of our own called "Inbound Style." Before creating this parody, we took some tips from marketing strategist and author David Meerman Scott about how to newsjack our way into the media. He even had a cameo in our parody video -- see if you can spot him here. The original video was catchy, hilarious, and easy to parody, which is why it went completely viral. Do you want to create a viral video to help your marketing in 2013? You might want to take some pointers from PSY! To see more "Gangnam Style" stats, check out the full post on YouTube’s blog here.

A New Year Brings New Marketing Opportunities: Complementary Marketing Consultation

What are your marketing resolutions for 2013? Do you want to create a viral video like "Gangnam Style?" Increase your blogging frequency? Automate some of your social media posts? I’m sure you’ve already got a great list piling up, but that list can seem awfully daunting if you’re not sure where to start or how to focus your marketing efforts.
That’s where HubSpot comes in! We’d love to chat with you about your plan (or possibly lack thereof) for 2013 to help you get more out of your marketing budget, determine how you stack up against competitors, send more traffic to your website, and more! Just let us know what you want to talk about and what you’re hoping to achieve in 2013. We’re ready to answer your toughest marketing questions. So fire away! Ready to zero in on those marketing goals? Submit your request to chat with a HubSpot inbound marketing specialist about your marketing right here.

Why Instagram’s Reported Drop in Daily Users Is Probably Not Due to Terms Of Service “Revolt,” From Marketing Land

You might recall last week’s marketing round-up post where we mentioned Instagram’s updated privacy policy, which led to some serious backlash from users -- which then led to a rollback and replacement of the originally publicized privacy policy. Well, it turns out that Instagram recently lost 25% of its daily active users (DAU). Wow! Without any further information, one would assume this loss is due to the new privacy policy update and the uproar that came from it. But when you look at the data, the “revolt” took about a week to show a noticeable decrease in DAU. And with the announcement around December 17th, a week later would put us at December 24th: Christmas Eve. Interesting. But there’s even more data to consider. Flickr’s DAU recently increased from 30,000 to 60,000 (as compared to Instagram’s 16,400,000 to 12,400,000). So did Instagram’s users flock to Flickr? It’s possible.
Data is great, but the marketing takeaway here is that the way you analyze data can make a huge difference in how you move forward with your efforts. If Instagram had only considered the data gathered during the “revolt," they would have completely missed the fact that Christmas could have played into the DAU data. Just remember that data shows the facts, but you have to connect the dots. If you’re interested in seeing more data regarding the Instagram “revolt,” take a look at the full post here.

Randi Zuckerberg Not Happy About Facebook Photo Privacy Breach, From Mashable

Over the holidays, Randi Zuckerberg, the former head of marketing for Facebook, posted a photo on Facebook (how fitting!) of her family goofing around with the new Poke app. Sounds like a pretty normal thing any Facebook user might do, right? Well, this photo was posted to a private group of Facebook friends, but was somehow found circulating around Twitter, the blogosphere, and other unexpected places.
Awkward.
Randi was not happy about this discovery and got caught publicly complaining about a Facebook privacy breach. Oh, the irony! In reality, another member of the group had taken the picture and posted it to Twitter. Of course, Randi then covered up her complaint by sending a tweet that said, “Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.” Whether you agree with Randi, or you’re siding with the idea that this is a privacy policy issue, we can all take an important marketing lesson away from this debacle. Don’t steal people’s content on the internet. Are you taking steps to ensure you give credit where credit's due with shared content on the internet? It’s something to seriously think about when implementing your 2013 marketing plan. Would you like to read more about the Zuckerberg photo controversy? Read the full story here.
Did you come across any other interesting marketing stories over the holidays? Share them in the comments below


Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33992/Instagram-Loses-25-of-its-Daily-Active-Users-and-Other-Marketing-Stories-of-the-Week.aspx#ixzz2GZGuiTvw

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to Promote Your Business Events on Facebook

How to Promote Your Business Events on Facebook
image credit: Little Jack Marketing
Creating events on Facebook can be an effective, low-cost way to market your business event. But business owners may not get the sales and new leads they're hoping for if they overlook the many small details involved in event creation and promotion.
Here's how to set up an event and what works best to promote it far and wide.
How to set up your event: First, let's look at events as they appear to your Facebook fans.
Click on the Events link in your homepage sidebar to see the calendar view of all upcoming events. These will include friends' birthdays, suggested events your Facebook friends have created and events you were invited to on Facebook. You can click on any event for more info, or to join or decline.

Related: 3 Strategies for Using Facebook's Promoted Posts
To create your own event, first you need to add the Events App to your Facebook Page. Here's a cheat sheet:
1. Click the Edit Page button at the top of your Facebook page.
2. Choose Update Info in the drop down menu.
3. Click the Apps link on the left sidebar to see all the apps you have available on 
your Facebook page.
4. Find the Events App and click the Edit Settings link. A pop-up box appears.
5. Click the (Add) link next to the (Tab: Available) text and then click the Okay 
button.
6. The pop-up box disappears and you now have the Event app showing where all of your apps appear on your Timeline.
7. Now you can click on the app and create your event.
The devil is in the details here -- specifically, the "more info" section of your event. A few quick tips for making your event listing stand out:
How to Promote Your Business Events on Facebook
More info: Follow a quick description of the event with a URL to register. Include it several times in the event description, with calls to action in ALL CAPS. (Users may join on Facebook but be sent elsewhere to register, so be clear about such details.)
Where: Be specific -- if it's an offline event, give the exact address so Facebook users see a map. If it's online, say so.
Time: Facebook doesn't show time zones, so you should note yours.
Images: Create two -- a large, compelling image for the event page and a thumbnail for your event app.
Extras: Don't check the radio button for "only admins can post on event wall," or attendees won't be able to ask questions or post on your event wall.
When you create an event via your Facebook Page, there's no way to invite all your fans and friends with a simple click of a button. Facebook prevents that so you can't spam everyone with your event. Although Facebook doesn't have a feature for inviting your fans, you can invite profile friends with the "invite friends" button on the event page. In addition, you can promote your event to your fans with ads and Timeline posts.

Related: How to Make Facebook Ads Work for You

How to promote your event: These strategies can help maximize lead generation and sales.
• Share the event on your Timeline with a call to action and a compelling image.
• Create a registration page (or sales page if it's a paid event) outside of Facebook. Then you can direct your Facebook fans who are interested in your event to a site where you can talk more about it, add more photos and branding elements, and most important, capture leads from your registrations and RSVPs.
• Involve your other presenters by tagging them -- and asking them to talk about it. Try giving them some posts with images, information and links.
• Promote until the very end. Keep your fans updated on new speakers, registration information, discounts and maybe teasers of what's to come through frequent Facebook updates right up until the event itself or the last call for registrations.
• Turn some updates into Promoted Posts to snag more views. You can create a short promotional video or some fun images, teasing fans about the event. Videos and images always get more clicks than text posts.
• Advertise the event. Turn your event into a Page Post Ad by clicking "export event" and creating an ad for your target audience.
• Get attendees talking. Respond to RSVPs, "likes" and questions by welcoming guests, answering questions, and asking what they are looking forward to or want to hear more about. Create some word-of-mouth excitement. (Everyone who joins an event can "suggest" the event to others, admin or not.)
• Leverage your Timeline cover photo. You can't include a call to action on a company page image, but you can create an eye-catching, branded Timeline photo.
Related: 3 Ways to Supercharge Fan Engagement on

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beach vacationintroductory3
One of the great things about inbound marketing is that your content keeps paying dividends over time, long after it was originally promoted. Just consider what HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe said during his session at the LeWeb'12 Paris conference earlier this month:
“We’ve built up these big marketing assets that continue driving an ROI for our business. So I could send the whole marketing team on vacation at HubSpot, and our new lead flow wouldn’t actually drop by that much because of all these assets we’ve built up.”

What Facebook's New Messaging Products Mean for Brands

 
Facebook has made several changes to its messaging system including both a filtering system and a paid service for contacting Facebook users outside of your friend network.
The filtering system allows users to restrict messages in their inbox to be only from friends or “people they may know” (friends of friends). All other messages will go to the “other messages” inbox. The two options for filtering are “basic” and “strict”.
“Basic Filtering” is the default filter and permits only messages from friends or people you may know to go to your inbox.
“Strict Filtering” allows only messaging from people with whom the user has a direct connection with.
A screenshot of the messaging filter prompt is provided below:


Additionally, Facebook has begun testing a program where users pay a small fee to have urgent messages delivered to someone with whom they are not connected. This is intended to cut down on unwanted messages. This pay-to-send service is only available for users, not brands.

Messages can still be sent from users to non-friends without paying the $1 fee, but these messages will be delivered to the “other messages” folder.

Why this is important

The message filtering is interesting because the defaults include “people you may know” – which are users that could have as few as ONE friend in common with a user and users who may not be friends but may both be members of the same Facebook group.
Though Facebook has not indicated whether or not liking a page counts as a shared connection, the fact that defaults allow for messages from those other than just your direct friend connections opens the door for engagement with a user from someone who works on behalf of a brand, with some form of relevance and social context to the user.
Think of it this way – If your brand has identified a group of users organically having conversations about your brand in a Facebook group, and a representative of the brand is a member of that group, you could conceivably message group leaders for potential influencer and ambassador programs.
The paid service option could be leveraged by brands in a similar fashion. If a representative of a brand identifies an active user group on Facebook, the $1 fee for delivery of the message could be worth it in messaging the admin of the group and starting a conversation about ambassador activities and influencer programs.
This communication would have to be user-to-user and would require someone working within the brand to make the connection to preserve transparency, rather than an agency or third party.
The key things to watch here over the next several weeks as this is rolled out are whether or not Facebook allows common pages to be considered a shared connection between users (I can’t imagine they would as it would result in tons of spam) and whether or not this signifies the rise of Facebook groups in marketing campaigns.
Facebook groups by nature are made up of sub-sections of passionate fans of some idea, interest, or brand. They are community driven and are ripe with potential ambassadors and public brand advocates. These new messaging products appear to leave open a way for marketers to leverage groups as a shared connection to engage with passionate users they may not be friends with personally

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

6 Email Tests That Matter More Than Your Subject Line

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small dog big dogintermediate
A/B testing is one of those techniques that, if you have enough volume to give you significant results, is pretty much guaranteed to generate better results from your marketing. Email marketers have known this for ages, but what drives me nuts is that they waste their time on tiny little tests -- instead of tackling some of the bigger, more exciting tests that yield real insights and improvements.
In fact, MarketingSherpa's email survey found that subject lines are still the most commonly tested element in email marketing. Meaning that those few words that get your subscribers to open your emails and see your wonderful offers are what marketers focus on most in their attempts to optimize their email marketing. And while I'm sure this strategy can end up getting you the most tested, optimized subject line that will ever reach an inbox, the impact of these tests are minimal compared to all the other things an email marketer could be testing.
marketing sherpa email survey chart2 resized 600
So ... are you ready to run some big, exciting tests? Time to think big!

6 Variables to Test Instead of Just Your Subject Line

1) The Offer

Possibly the biggest lever you have in your email marketing is not the few words you use to describe your offer, but rather, the offer itself. Whether you're testing two ebooks against each other, or an ebook versus a webinar, this test is bound to get you better results overall. The reason this is particularly important is, while you may think your offer is the best thing since the iPod, you may also be wrong.
We started doing this sort of testing religiously back in the summer of 2010 and saw dramatic results. Instead of taking our email list and sending them all our latest ebook, we would take a smaller portion of the list, split it in half, send them each two different offers, and then send the better performing offer to the (larger) remainder of the list. This testing alone increased our monthly email leads 4-8x instantly.

Email leads increase

Here are some more specific offer elements you can consider testing:
  • Topic: Do certain offer topics resonate better with your audience? For example, we might test one of our ebooks on Facebook against one of our ebooks on Twitter.
  • Format: Which offer format does your list prefer? Do they love webinars? How does that compare to their interest in ebooks, kits, free trials, etc.?
  • Length/Size: Does your audience prefer smaller, bite-sized offers like tip sheets, or are they hungry for more, like an 80-page ebook? Try testing longer forms of content vs. shorter offers, or one offer vs. a set of offers.
  • Name of Offer: Sometimes the way you position your offer can make a difference with your audience. Think ebook vs. guide vs. whitepaper, or factbook vs. slideshow vs. download.

2) The Landing Page

The goal of your email is not just to get someone to open or click through; it's also to take some action. For example, to download your offer. So don't think of your email in a vacuum. Think of it in the context of driving that particular action, which means optimizing where the action takes place: the landing page. After all, if you create this great email that drives lots of clicks to your website but then you lose those potential leads at the last stage, it's like you've run the first leg of a marathon but then decided to drop out of the race during the very last mile.
Here are some important landing page elements to test:
  • Description of Offer: The way you position your offer may have an impact. Calling out that a consultation is free, or referencing testimonials of people who have downloaded that offer, for example, can be interesting variables to test.
  • Length of Description: Do you go on and on about your offer, providing testimonials and screenshots, or do you keep things short and sweet in bullet point form?
  • Image/Preview of Offer: Using a supporting image is great, but what do you show? An image of the ebook cover, a sample page of the ebook so people can see what's inside, or a preview of the first few pages?
  • Form Placement: Do you put the form on the left? The right? Below a block of text? Best practices say make it visible on immediate page load (above the fold), but feel free to play around with the placement.
  • Number of Form Fields: What data do you really need from your prospects? Fewer form fields usually leads to a higher conversion rate, but you should always test asking the bare minimum versus asking for every personal detail -- and somewhere in between. We've also published some great advice about this debate here.
  • Which Form Questions to Ask: In addition to the number of form fields, which questions you ask on your form can have a big impact. Asking for Social Security Numbers or visitors' first born child's name is very different from asking for size of company or industry.
  • Form "Submit" Button Text: Do you use a straightforward, action-oriented phrase like "Download Ebook Now," a fun option like "Let's Go!" or a standard "Download" button? Test out the text of the button you know each lead is clicking on.

3) The Audience

The success of your email is not just dependent on what you're emailing or how you're emailing it, but also *who* you're emailing. For HubSpot, an offer called, Agency Kit: How to Create Effective Ebooks for your Clients may get a great response from marketing agency owners, but it'd probably get a terrible response from the nonprofit marketers interested in our content. The simple act of segmenting your email list to narrow your audience down to one that would find your content more relevant can have an amazing impact on your results.
Here are some audience segmentation tests you can run:
  • Interest: Has someone downloaded an ebook on this topic before? Do you know they have a particular challenge based on their website browsing history? Target the offers around those interests for a boost in response rate.
  • Persona: Identify your main business personas, and target your content to each one. At HubSpot, this means we send different content to small business owners than what we send to nonprofit marketers, for example.
  • Recency or Level of Engagement: Did this subscriber come to your site recently, or has it been a few months? Did they download a dozen ebooks, or just one?
  • Other Demographics: Try segmenting on other demographics collected by marketing or sales - things like industry or role or company size.
  • Lifecycle Stage: Where is this person in the sales and marketing funnel? Did they just start engaging with you, or are they in the last stages of the sales process? This article provides suggestions on what to send at each stage of the funnel.
Check out this blog post for even more examples of how you can slice and dice your email list for better segmentation.

4) The Format

Changing up the format of your email can also have a surprising effect on your response rate. This could mean everything from the length of the email, to including a lot of images, to creating a simple, plain text email. Keep in mind that your results may differ depending on the type of offer. For example, our new ebooks perform best when sent in a nicely formatted html email, while our free consultation offers perform better when sent as a simple, plain text email.
Here are some formatting elements you can test in your email marketing:
  • Plain Text vs. HTML: Simply try changing your pretty HTML email into a plain, personal-looking email to see how that changes your response rates. You might be surprised at the results!
  • Content in Text Only vs. Text and Images: At HubSpot, for example, we tend not to rely too much on images because many subscribers don't enable or download images in their emails. That being said, some companies have had great success with using visuals to tell stories that you simply can't convey through words alone.
  • Number of Calls-to-Action: Do you go with a newsletter style with a lot of calls-to-action, or zone in on one single offer?
  • Length of Email: Do you go short and sweet, include meaty content, or go on and on about the value of the offer?

5) Timing & Frequency

Timing is one of the most popular things marketers try to optimize. But it seems like there's more talk about the best time to send in general, and not enough testing going on to determine the best time to send email to your own subscribers -- or even a specific segment of your subscribers. Even within HubSpot, we have segments of subscribers who respond more to emails on Mondays, Saturdays, mornings, afternoons -- on top of that, all in their own timezones. Instead of sending email at every marketer's favorite time (Tuesdays at 10 a.m.), break away from the pack and see what works specifically for your audience in order to optimize for your particular business -- and to have a better chance of breaking through the clutter of other businesses' emails.
Consider conducting the following timing/frequency tests in your email marketing:
  • Day of the Week: If you always email on Tuesdays, try mixing it up and sending on a Monday or Saturday.
  • Time of Day: Do you always send emails in the mornings on the East Coast? Try an afternoon send -- or even go for after work hours.
  • Triggered by Specific Behavior: It's not just about when you want to send an email, it's about when your subscriber has taken some interesting action. Try targeting your follow-up around when they take an action using marketing automation.
  • Timing Around Trigger Event: How soon after the triggering event should you send that email? Immediately? An hour later? A day later? Longer?
  • Frequency: How much should you email someone, and how much time should you leave in between? Once a month, once a week, once a day? Check out this article to help you determine your optimal email frequency.

6) Sender Name/Address

If you haven't tested a different sender name or address yet, definitely add this to your list. While best practices still apply (in other words, using a name that recipients will recognize as well as a real email address that your prospects can respond to), you can always try out different names to see how it affects your open and clickthrough rates.
Here are some sender name tests to try out:
  • Consistency vs. Change: Should you use the same name for consistency, or try changing it up email to email to garner more attention?
  • Personal vs. Company: Should you use an individual's name, your company name, or some combination? (e.g. 'Ellie Mirman,' 'HubSpot,' or 'Ellie Mirman, HubSpot')
  • Category-Related Name: If you have a subscriber in a particular segment of your business, you can try sending an email from the name of that segment (e.g. 'Small Business Team'). If your subscriber signed up for a particular type of content, try using a name related to that specific content type (e.g. 'HubSpot Webinars)'.

Reminder: Test Just One Thing at a Time

The key with any of these tests is to test just one element at a time so you can isolate your variables and thus tie the difference in results is to that particular change. And if you crank through this list of BIG email tests, here are some great ideas for quick, smaller tests to always be optimizing.
Happy testing!


Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33966/6-Email-Tests-That-Matter-More-Than-Your-Subject-Line.aspx#ixzz2GBxP7PQN

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Instagram Responds to Privacy Policy Backlash, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

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Cozy Christmas CatHappy Holidays, marketers! :-)
Are you enjoying your cozy, festive weekend with family and friends?
We know many of you are off having a jolly ol' time rockin' around the Christmas tree, but we also don't want you to fall behind on your marketing news of the week!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


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personalized marketing contentintermediate
I like going to a coffee shop and being asked “the usual?” I can smile, nod, and pay for my drink. It's more than the convenience of not even having to place an order -- it's also nice to be remembered.
That almost never happens, though. I usually hear something like, "Hi. Welcome to Unicorn Coffee. Would you like to try our ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Peppermint Latte Mocha?" That’s more like an advertisement than a conversation. The message is totally impersonal, and a little annoying.


Before and After: 3 Real-Life Landing Page Makeovers


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secret sauce intermediate
Landing pages are the secret sauce to lead generation. But just having landing pages alone isn’t enough. No siree! They need to have all the right elements in order to generate high conversion rates. In fact, that’s why we recently wrote about "11 Simple (But Critical) Tips for Creating Better Landing Pages."
But we wanted to take those tips one step further and apply them to real-life landing pages. So to find those real-life landing pages, we reached out to our fans in social media and asked them to send us a landing page of theirs that they thought was in need of a little optimization love. We then selected three landing pages to analyze and improve right in this post.
But first, a small disclaimer. Keep in the mind that these recommendations are based on my years of testing which have resulted in positive effects on landing page conversion rates. That being said, I am not a master of every single industry, and only you know what resonates with your audience. In other words, keep in mind that it's still important to A/B test your landing pages to determine what really works for you.
Okay then. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started ...

What We Analyzed

When we looked at each of these three pages, we analyzed the following:
  • Clarity: Is the page confusing? Is it clear what's being offered and who it's intended for?
  • Value Proposition: How strong is the offer’s perceived value? In the visitor’s eyes, is this offer's value worth providing contact information via the form in order to redeem it?
  • Page Design: Do you use all the right elements in the right place? Are there too many design elements, or not enough?
  • Friction: Are there certain elements -- or lack of -- that get in the way of conversion?
  • Form Best Practices: Are your forms too long or too short? Do they ask the right questions?
  • Miscellaneous Goodies: These are other tidbits of advice we can offer to help increase conversion rates.

Landing Page #1: Health Dialog

Health Dialog is a company that provides population analytics, interactive decision aids, and healthcare decision programs to over 17 million people around the world. The landing page below is for a free whitepaper download called From Theory to Practice.

Before:


HealthDialog BEFORE From Theory to Practice resized 600 resized 600

What Works:

What’s great about this landing page is that it's very simple (there's no page clutter), it's focused on one offer and objective, and it's reasonably clear that it's a content offer. It also includes many of the landing page must-haves, including a headline, body content, a supporting image, and a lead-capture form.

Suggestions for Improvement:

  1. Remove the top navigation. One of the simplest yet best ways to increase conversion rates is to remove any other site navigation from your landing pages. This will keep the visitor from getting distracted and browsing other part of your website. When someone arrives at your landing page, your main goal should be to keep them there so they take the desired action -- completing the lead-capture form. Because this is the case, all of your page elements need to support that very goal.
  2. Highlight the value in the headline. It’s a good practice to make your landing page headline the title of the offer it's promoting, but sometimes using only the title results in some vagueness about that particular offer's value. I’m not exactly sure whether Health Dialog's audience clearly understands what “From Theory to Practice” means, but if they don't, it makes sense for them to improve the strength of that title. In addition, the fact that this is a whitepaper is buried within the body copy. I would emphasize that near the top of the page so it's immediately clear to visitors that they'll be receiving a free whitepaper.
  3. If the author is a benefit, tell us why! Who is Peter Goldbach? Is he an industry-leading expert? Best-selling author? A healthcare executive? If you're going to mention the whitepaper's author in your copy, tell people why he is so awesome, and how he adds value to this offer.
  4. Use bullet points to highlight the benefits of the offer. There is a lot of great stuff in these two paragraphs, and while it’s short (which is great!), the benefits of what the visitor will get by downloading the offer are buried in here. Instead, Health Dialog should use short and simple bullet points to highlight the best qualities of their whitepaper so visitors can quickly scan the page and understand why they should convert.
  5. If a field is not required, make it extra clear! This is a simple tip, but it can help immensely. Asking someone for their phone number in a form is a huge point of friction, simply because it screams, “Submit this form and get contacted by Sales!” In fact, if people so much as just see that phone number form field -- whether it's required or not -- they may automatically get turned off and avoid the offer. Even though this field doesn't have a red asterisk (meaning it’s not required), the fact that it's an optional field isn't as obvious as it could be, especially considering all the other fields are required. To help reduce friction, Health Dialog should add “(not required)” or something similar next to the 'Phone' label.
  6. Make the ‘Download’ button more graphically appealing. Studies have shown that button colors and sizes do affect conversion rates. While this button isn’t bad, try testing bigger, more colorful buttons that stand out. Try A/B testing different images and colors to see what works best for your particular audience.

After:

This is an example of a redesign for Health Dialog's landing page, with the above suggestions applied:

HealthDialog AFTER From Theory to Practice resized 600 resized 600

What Was Changed:

  1. Removed the top navigation so people stay on the page.
  2. Added a clear headline with a strong offer title. I felt that the sub-headline of Health Dialog's whitepaper, “Implementing Shared Decision Making at the Point of Care,” was far more powerful than the primary headline, “From Theory to Practice,” simply because it's more descriptive and actionable, and less vague. I may be wrong, and the Health Dialog audience may know exactly what the previous headline means and why it’s important, but let's assume they don't. To make the title even stronger, I added “X Tips” as in “15 Tips for Implementing…” to the existing title, although you can spin it in other ways (X Ways for…, X Examples for…, etc). People LOVE numbers (such as in the title of this blog post!) because it clearly indicates exactly what they'll get, and creating a really sexy title for your offer is one of the best ways to increase its landing page's conversion rate. In a nutshell, make your titles and headlines so attractive that it's impossible for people to ignore.
  3. Added a sub-head that adds credibility to the author. I used “by industry-leading author” here, which is just an example. But again, if you plan to use the author as a main selling point, tell your visitors why he or she adds value and credibility.
  4. Added short bullet points that highlight the offer’s main benefits. I took the great copy Health Dialog already had and just turned it into a bullet format. This makes it easier to scan and digest. Additionally, I added a (fake -- although you’ll want to use a real one) testimonial from the author himself. This adds even more credibility. I also included his picture, because it always helps to prove someone is a real person (never use stock photography in these cases). Instead of the author, you could also use a quote from an influential thought leader or someone who resonates with your audience about how great the offer is. This adds social proof.
  5. Reduced friction in the form. This is another simple addition, but I added “(not required)” next the 'Phone' label. Now, when visitors quickly scan the form before they decide to fill it out, they know they don’t have to give up their phone number to redeem the offer.
  6. Added a bigger, more colorful button. As I mentioned in my recommendations above, Health Dialog should test different button colors and images to see what works best for their particular audience. For example, some studies have shown that red or orange buttons work better than blue or green, but every website and its audience is different. I used the color blue in my design only because it matches the Health Dialog branding. However, it also makes sense to test other colors that don’t match your site colors to see if a color that stands out more moves the needle. In addition, test the text you use on your 'submit' button. For example, instead of just "Download," you may also want to try “Download Now,” “Get Your Free Whitepaper,” or “Access Your Whitepaper Instantly.”

Bonus:

I also noticed that this landing page's page title (what gets shown at the top of your browser, and in search engines) is simply “From Theory to Practice.” From an SEO perspective, this is simply too vague to get found online. Health Dialog should make sure its page has a strong page title that includes the page’s primary keyword in order to increase organic search traffic to their page.

HealthDialog BEFORE PageTitle resized 600

Recommendation:

I'd change the title from “From Theory to Practice” to “Free Whitepaper: Shared Decision Making for Your Healthcare Practice – by Health Dialog” or something similar, to make it keyword-rich and targeted. But don’t go overboard here. Only include the keywords that are most applicable to this page and your industry, and place the whitepaper title before your company name. In general, think about what your audience is searching for, and focus on that.

Landing Page #2: Charmed Design

Charmed Design is an online shopping center for unique and beautiful jewelry. The landing page that was submitted below is for an email subscription. I chose this page because I come across so many businesses that use an email subscription or newsletter as an offer.

Before:


CharmedDesign BEFORE EmailSub Annotate1 resized 600 resized 600

What Works:

The page is fairly simple, and it’s clear what the page is offering. I LOVE the email format option (yay for mobile!) and that the form is short and simple.

Suggestions for Improvement:

  1. Remove the top navigation. Same as with the Health Dialog example above, Charmed Design should remove the main site navigation so people don’t feel tempted to wander off. I would also reduce the size of the header and remove the social media links that are at the top of the page (again, to reduce distraction).
  2. Make the headline more actionable. “Email Sign Up – 20% Coupon” isn’t bad because it tells people what the page is for, and they're also adding an incentive. That being said, it could be stronger and more actionable, as in the structure "Do X to Receive Y."
  3. Expand upon the sub-headline. I think Charmed Design's sub-headline is actually better than its main headline because it contains that action-packed language. Instead of duplicating this copy, they should try adding more clarity.
  4. Shorten the horizontal length of the form, and add more supporting elements. Even though the form is short, the fact that it expands across the entire page looks a bit overwhelming. As a usability issue, the fact that the "required" asterisk markers are to the far right and not directly next to the field labels is also a bit odd. It also increases the chances users won't notice them. Also, considering this is just a subscription landing page, should last name really be required? If so, that’s fine, but if not, Charmed Design may want to make it optional to reduce additional friction. Additionally, when shrinking the field sizes, adding more supporting elements to the left and right of the form such as body copy, bullet points, testimonials, or an image of what a subscriber email might look like, can add more value to the offer.
  5. Make the submit button stand out. This is the same advice as in our Health Dialog example. Charmed Design should make the button more colorful, bigger, and sexier.

After:


CharmedDesign AFTER EmailSub Annotate resized 600 resized 600

What Was Changed:

  1. Removed top navigation and social media links so people stay on the page. As a best practice, save the social media sharing and follow buttons for AFTER they convert on your form -- such as adding them to the thank-you page or in your auto-responder email -- as a next step.
  2. Revised headline to focus on the benefit of the email subscription first, and provide the incentive second. Receiving a 20% off coupon is nice, but you want your email subscribers to have a long-term relationship with you, not just take the coupon and bail afterward. As such, it might be best to highlight the value of the email subscription itself and then add the icing on the cake with a coupon or discount (the incentive). Consider what is valuable to your audience. Do they really want “news,” or do they want “to be the first to see the latest trends and products in jewelry” instead? Also, is 20% off enough? I would suggest trying bigger discounts, as 20% may not be valuable enough to fork over their email address. To create urgency, you might also want to offer the discount for a limited-time, or offer a limited quantity, as in, “Get a 75% off coupon -- only available for the next 100 people who sign up!” This technique is particularly effective during times of seasonality to push more sales during slower periods.
  3. Added more supportive elements. In this case, I added a couple of bullet points about what people will receive (besides the coupon) by subscribing. In addition, I added images of jewelry as a visual element, although it’s worth testing which types of image works better (e.g. images of products vs. a screenshot of the email they'll receive).
  4. Reduced form length and optimized form elements. There are a few important changes here. First, I added a header to the form to urge visitors to “Subscribe Now.” It might also be interesting for Charmed Design to test a multimedia counter with its limited-time offer, to create a sense of urgency. If you don’t have the technical resources for a counter, adding static text such as “Subscribe Now to Receive Your Coupon” would also do the trick. Additionally, I made 'Last Name' optional (again, do this only if it’s not really an important data point for you to capture) and added "HTML" as the pre-selected option for 'Email Format.' The reason for this is that some people might not notice an option is not selected by default. By pre-selecting it, you make the decision easier for them. Another thing for Charmed Design to consider is that the option “mobile” is a bit unclear. Do they mean mobile-optimized version? Try to circumvent as many questions as you can on the landing page to reduce friction.
  5. Added a brighter, bolder “Subscribe” button. Using a dull grey button doesn’t look very exciting. One way to increase conversion rates is to make your button brighter and bigger. Try testing different colors as well. You'll notice I also changed the text on the button to "Subscribe Now" to repeat that sense of urgency I created in the form headline.

Landing Page #3: Curata

Curata is a software platform that enables you to easily find, organize, and share content. The landing page below is for a demo request of the software, which is one of the company’s primary offers.

Before:


Curata BEFORE DemoRequest resized 600 resized 600

What Works:

This is a fairly good landing page in the fact that it’s simple, clean, and to-the-point. When visitors arrive at this page, they know the offer is to see a demo of the software. Furthermore, there is little design friction, and the page contains many of the key elements of great landing pages. However, there is a lot of hidden friction, which I will address in a moment. I also love the use of the testimonial as well as the graphic of the software. I only have a few recommendations here, but I think they could make a big impact.

Suggestions for Improvement:

  1. Remove the main navigation. This is the same lesson from examples #1 and #2 above. Removing the main site nav will keep visitors on the page and focused on this particular offer.
  2. Use the headline to continue selling the demo and address pain points. Just because someone visits this landing page doesn't mean they're already sold on the offer or convinced it addresses their pain points. Continue the conversation on the landing page from previous pages or channels, and use the headline to pull them further into the page.
  3. Add benefits and value copy. What will prospects learn, or get in return, by requesting a demo? How long is the demo? Is it an on-demand demo or does someone speak with Sales? Why should prospects spend their time demoing your software instead of with your competitors'? Why should prospects request a demo now and not later ... or ever? All of these are the types of questions prospects will be asking themselves when they visit this page. The goal is to reduce the amount of questions a visitor has, because when there are questions with unclear answers, it creates friction and doubt. It'd also be helpful to add a sub-headline or brief body copy that informs the visitor why it is valuable to see a demo -- and incorporate elements that create a sense of urgency.

After:


Curata AFTER DemoRequest resized 600 resized 600

What Was Changed:

  1. Added a more beneficial headline. How does Curata solve the prospect's top challenge? This is where you’d want to address that. I took a stab at a revised headline as an example, but I see far more opportunities to make this better. Other examples that include quantifiable data also work very well, such as, “Discover How 5,000 Business Use Curata for Content Creation.” Or “More Than 5 Million Pieces of Content Created and Shared With Curata.” Basecamp is a good example of a company that does this well: “Last week 6,078 companies signed up for Basecamp to manage their projects. Today it’s your turn.”
  2. Added a little more information about what prospects will receive. Again, it’s important not to overdo it, but a little more descriptive information about the demo will help address visitors' top questions and concerns. To create a sense of urgency and a desire to continuing researching your product, adding some bullet points and benefits can really help increase conversions. With an offer that’s closer to the bottom of funnel, such as a demo request, it’s even more important to nail the page copy so it really resonates with your audience.
  3. Reduced the form size. This is a minor change, but I reduced the size of the form fields and spacing so that, even when adding extra content above the form, the page length is exactly the same. Sometimes it helps when a form just appears shorter, even if it contains the same number of fields.
What else would you change about these landing pages? If you’d like to see your own landing page optimized, add your URL and your top challenge in the comments!


Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33968/Before-and-After-3-Real-Life-Landing-Page-Makeovers.aspx#ixzz2Fou6mlE8