Tag Archive | "Awesome"

Link to my awesome content, please!

Your content may be terrific, but if you lack a smart outreach plan, you’re going to fall short, says contributor Jeremy Knauff. Here are several tactics and email templates you can use to execute a thoughtful link-building outreach campaign.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Free Workshop *Today* on an Awesome New Content Tool

First things first: Brian Clark is co-hosting a free workshop today (in a few hours, at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time / 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time), all about getting started with chatbots. If you don’t know much about chatbots, or even think they might be weird or creepy, check out my post from Monday explaining why
Read More…

The post Free Workshop *Today* on an Awesome New Content Tool appeared first on Copyblogger.


Copyblogger

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Can An Awesome Product Overcome Reputation Issues?

Amazon-LogoHere at Marketing Pilgrim, we are especially sensitive to stories about corporate reputations. Our founder Andy Beal and his Trackur product specialize in helping companies keep track (get it?) of what is being said in the online space.

In most cases, when there is some concern or issue around a product or service, many are quick to jump on the reputation crushing bandwagon to express their concerns, be they real or imagined. People like to be part of a group especially when they can get some sense of making a difference, no matter how artificial it is. But how far will they go to bring a brand down if it is something they really like?

We have a test case of sorts brewing around Amazon. In the UK there are reports surfacing of working conditions that could be perceived as being a bit ‘overdone’. Consumeraffairs.com reports

With holiday gift-buying season upon us, retailers are hiring extra temporary workers to help handle the rush, and a BBC reporter who went undercover to work in an Amazon warehouse in Swansea, England, discovered working conditions that would cause “mental and physical illness,” including layouts requiring workers to walk up to 11 miles per shift, to fill orders at a rate averaging one every 11 seconds.

Considering this is a relatively low-paying hourly job it seems a bit rough and the BBC seems hell bent on making an issue of it. The obvious reason is to ‘uncover’ the difficult conditions that exist for workers just so the world can get anything and everything through Amazon in a timely fashion. How unfair!

The question them becomes, will people even care? Amazon is so important to the buying habits of so many that it may create a sort of Teflon veneer on the company and its reputation. Ask yourself the question, would you stop using Amazon on principle because they push workers pretty hard? I seriously doubt it, at least to the level that there would be a real impact on Amazon’s business.

Why? Well, let’s face it. Online activism is the absolute weakest form of ‘striking back’ there is. Internet muscles can be flexed in posts and tweets while the next browser window would be the next purchase of a book or a blender through amazon.ocm and no one would be the wiser.

I feel for the workers at Amazon but at the same time I think that they can make the choice to not work there. In fact, I didn’t even consider that Amazon was in the wrong here because these people are working there of their own doing. It’s not child labor, it’s just hard work. Granted it’s work I wouldn’t want to do but then again I really do need that car charger for my smartphone tomorrow by 10:30 am so I am sure glad someone does.

What about you? What would Amazon need to do in order to make you protest the company and stop ordering from them? Is this kind of ‘story’ enough to tarnish the reputation of the top ecommerce player on the planet? Would you consider inconveniencing yourself for the rights of someone walking a lot in a warehouse?

Pilgrim’s Partners: SponsoredReviews.com – Bloggers earn cash, Advertisers build buzz!

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Awesome Characters (And Coco) Made From Words

Have you every heard that saying that the pen is mightier than the sword? well, what if those words you wrote were used to make characters that kick serious butt? That is what we get with these new art pieces.

Artist Josh Mirman has created very vivid characters using the words found from each of them. The Mario one features words like Mushroom, Plumber, and Goodguy. While Mega Man features words like Charge Shot, Blue Bomber, and Protoman. By far my favorite though is the Conan O’Brien one. It features words like Pale Force, Go Team COC, and SNL.

Check out the stuff below and hit up Josh’s website where he has other great characters like Leonardo the Ninja Turtle and Mario and Luigi together and also his Society 6 page where you can buy some select items:

Mario

Mega Man

Conan O’Brien

The Count


WebProNews

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Building Awesome Relationships For Links, Likes, and Love

Posted by Fryed7

Link building isn't really link building. It's relationship building. Links are just the proof of the relationship, as are the tweets, likes, sales… relationship building is link building. Your social graph is your linkerati.

Tom Critchlow encapsulates this with one of these Distilled Pro Tips:

Here's a few tactics and strategies to build and leverage relationships that lead to links, likes, sales and more. Outreach is for tomorrow. Relationships are for life. Let's go!

First, Work Out Why You Do What You Do

The single most important concept in SEO, marketing, business and life can be summed up with Simon Sinek's talk here. His theory of 'The Golden Circle' is central to everything you and I do, and yet is remarkably simple to understand.

Watch the following TED talk, if not now then today at lunch…. (I promise, it's worth it!)

Read more at Start With Why.

Everyone knows what they do. Some people know how they do it, whether that be a unique selling point, proprietary process or secret tactic. But very few people know why they do what they do. Very few people know why they get out of bed in the morning (it's not to make money or profit: that's a result). People who know why they do what they do prove their belief in what they do.

  • Rand and the folks at SEOmoz believe in making the internet, and internet marketing better. They firmly believe this is possible by advocating inbound marketing. They so happen to make and promote SEOmoz PRO software
  • Apple was built around the idea of challenging the status quo. They do this by creating products that are beautifully designed, easy-to-use and user friendly. They so happen to make computers.
  • 37signals believe in simplicity. They do this by creating software that anyone can use and understand "out of the box". They so happen to make productivity software.

What do you believe in?

It's incredibly frustrating working with people, doing SEO or anything, who don't know why they do what they do. It's also incredibly frustrating working with link prospects who don't know what they do!

This is your big action point before you move forward. Find your why. Use your why to identify other people and organisations who share your why. Find people who share your beliefs, and if you clearly understand your why, you don't necessarily need Followerwonk, Buzzstream or any of these link prospecting tools to find people who share your belief. Connect with people who share your why, who share your mission.

You need a reason to get in touch that isn't totally selfish ("gimme a link" just doesn't cut it). Find something they believe in and orchestrate a message, event or project around that. An interview for a blog post or guide, product review or maybe just some advice on a project? Of course, you could get your in by pointing out broken links to a webmaster. Ask yourself, if they knew what you were doing and knew you didn't reach out to them, would they be upset?

So, how to get in touch with these people…?

First Touch Contact Methods That Work A Charm

First touch methods

Your first touch needn't be as weird as this…

First touch methods should never interrupt or inconvenience your prospect, so I'd avoid cold calling (no matter how successful folks say it is, it ain't long haul!). Don't pin your prospects to the spot when you barely know them. Become respected by respecting your link prospects. Remember, you're building the relationship now. The links all come later :)

So…

Don't use email. Not for your first touch. Your inbox is bomb-proof fortress, as is your link prospects. Email from relatively unknown senders is just as bad as anonymous email (why should they care?). With email, it's too easy to be lazy and become less authentic.

As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, it's as if we're all 19-year old dudes in a bar. We try to close on the first encounter. Don't. You've got to put a ring on it. You've got to get in the long haul game. Get their respect as well as their attention.

That was an extract from Gary Vee's Q&A at Inc500 Seminar 2011. You should *totally* watch the full thing here :)

Of course, events are a great way to acceptably meet your link prospects, without appearing as an unknown contact. To casually introduce oneself over a drink is not just acceptable, but welcomed. Of course, this is even better is to have already had your first touch.

In the SEO world, attending events like LinkLove London has been incredible for building relationships. It's not too often you get to casually talk SEO with a guy like Wil Reynolds (and all the speakers really loosen up at the after parties! :D ). But that's where relationships were formed…

LinkLove 2011 was in March. September 1st 2011, the Distilled Linkbait Guide went live and I called back upon those relationships to help get the word out. That's the not-so-amazing secret to getting links from places like Seth Godin's blog!

Pssst! If you're coming to LinkLove London and want to build deep and meaningful relationships with dozens of other smart SEOs showing up there (seriously, that's half the reason for going) then do what I do and try hovering around the registration desk where Distilled SEOs tend to gravitate to, and the nearest door to the main congress hall where speakers tend to stand between sessions. The Distilled guys will really thank me for that… :p

Oh, and at the after party, just make sure you're the first guy to get a drink into the hands of whoever you want to talk to, and you're away. You really can get one-on-one time with a speaker… you just have to be the one in front of them. See you there! ;)

There are plenty of opportunities where people are reaching out publicly for a response; there's a goldmine of relationship building opportunities at search.twitter.com. (You've read the awesome diet coke story on SEOmoz? And the response?) As a link building professional, you need to get as familiar with Twitter advanced search as you are with Google advanced search. There's a goldmine of relationship building opportunities on Twitter, and you don't have to be huge to make it work. Anyone can do this!

Alternatively, you can try an "inside job". Scour your Facebook friends, LinkedIn Contacts and Twitter followers for useful names and organizations to be introduced to. Names that share the same beliefs you do, then politely ask for the brief introduction. Again, make sure you have a reason, be it an interview, business deal or some way you can help them out.

When was the last time you checked where all your Facebook friends worked (oh, and your non-facebook "real life" friends too)…? I discovered a cousin of mine had ended up at Google. Through various Facebook messages, phone calls and emails I managed to fix a lunch in their London Victoria office with the Head of University Programmes there. Eating deliciously seasoned steak and ice cream whilst talking with folks at Google.

As an SEO, you're conditioned to spotting all sorts of link building opportunities… now you need focus yourself on relationship building opportunities. Think long haul :)

You can do this!

But if you really are out of ideas to get a 'strangers' attention…

…like, if I put a gun to your head and asked you if you had ANY other way of contacting this person…

Then try some of these tricks….

Invariably, you've got to initiate the conversation and the relationship. And for that you've got to send something physical.

Send a box. Yes, a box. A package in the mail. Spend your link building budget with FedEx. You can ignore emails… You can hang up the phone… You can shred letters… But it's really, really hard to ignore a box. People simply can't ignore a mysterious package marked "express delivery" sitting on their desk. *ooooh* shiny package!

So long as they don't think it's a bomb (!!), it's brilliantly effective for getting positive attention. Put something in the box that proves your belief, and don't ever be afraid to go bold with your budget here. You're making friends for life, remember? I tested this with Distilled last year, by shipping a 3D-printed model of their logo with messages in the package. Here's a (bad!) picture of it still in production…

Distilled 3D logo

This was produced via a 3D-printer before the final lacquer was added.

The great thing with couriering goods is you know whether or not they've received it (tracked delivery for the win!). The big bonus of a box is you get the *WOW!* effect. Naturally, surrounding people will come and have a look for themselves. Suddenly, you've sparked a conversation which will only lead to them reading your message with that degree of fascination.

Letters I've found to be less effective, since they can quite literally be mistaken for spam and you don't get the "WOW! Gather Round!" factor of a box. You'll have to make your letter stand out such that it doesn't look like a commercial too.

Take a leaf out of direct marketers books and try handwriting your addresses rather than mass-mailing, mass-printed stickers. Try varying the size, colour and shape of your envelopes. And please try my personal favourite – origami envelopes – just make sure you print onto good thick paper!

Don't mislead your prospects. "Traditional" outreach etiquette that Mike King talks about here still applies. Make sure you indulge in sharing your beliefs – prove your why – and show some enthusiasm for what you do. And since you share something in common, talk about something related, but off-topic to what you're mentioning.

Heck, you're an SEO consultant so maybe something to help them out with their marketing. That's a really easy win to show you care about them, what they do and are kind and human enough to offer help. You care about them, remember?

And of course, always make sure you personalise each method of outreach and give a very, very clear call-to-action with ideally just a yes/no decision needed from them. Something like "if you're interested in meeting on 1st April at 9am at The Epic Sandwich Shop, drop me an email at … or call me at …". Do the thinking for them, and people love it.

Next, use these relationship building tools.

Once you've established a relationship with someone, its kinda rude to use form letters. You don't form letter your mum, so don't form letter your link prospects. We live in a world where authenticity rules. It cuts through the noise and clutter. Caring about people and relationships really does build links! So throw out your f-ing form letters and start writing some real messages and building a real relationship.

Nothing… nothing beats a real face-to-face meeting. Meet someone for lunch or a coffee. They'll relax and you'll be able to have a casual conversation about whatever. Don't call it a meeting if you don't have to.

Why not ask if you can spend some time in their offices or with them actually working? Ask to help them out some day… you share the same beliefs and mission, and you have the rest of your working life to seal these kinds of relationships, don't you? Besides, it's fun!

Go out of the way for your new friends. My favourite link building tools aren't Google Docs or Buzzstream, but train tickets and a telephone. I travel the length of the country, and these days you can still get work done whilst travelling (gotta love midday off-peak first class fares!). Yes, this can be practical too!

Link building with trains

This is how I build links (and yes, those trains are supposed to tilt!).

For busier people, this may be difficult, but assuming you've identified people who share your why and your beliefs, the only resistance should be the logistics of where and when. If you run out of options, there are always relevant industry events to take people to.

Even better, if you've got many link prospects in one location, then run an event and meet them face to face. Spend budget on hosting an awesome party, and your link prospects will never, ever forget you. I think this was one of Tom Critchlow's tips again, but for $ 5k (about the budget of a decent infographic project?) you could put on a really, *really* awesome party!!

Keep in touch. Write (short!) emails now and again. Banter over Twitter. Share interesting links. Keep people in mind, like you do your friends.

Writing for Likes is Writing for Links

Remember, your social graph is your linkerati. Keep them happy by writing content they'll read and love sharing over time. Don't count on them "just reading it" either… ask them what they thought. Solicit comments from them. Get them involved, in a follow-up or response post or something. How can you provoke regular, positive responses?

The big point to building relationships is the benefits over time. You're not just shooting for one link like you might in your previously outreach emails, but hundreds over several years to the day you retire… and invitations to countless events. And sales. And referrals, Christmas cards, bottles of wine… you're not changing the status of a contact in a spreadsheet – you're making genuine friends!

Seth Godin sums it up…

Would your link prospects be happy putting you up for a night? And vice versa?

One of my favourite ways to create intrinsically social pages is to create pages about individual people. It's egobait, and it works. Write detailed, flattering content about people and they'll pick it up and be over the moon. They'll share it, their social graph will see it and share it and you'll begin to build momentum.

Pssst… you don't have to target the page around a person. You can still target it around a keyword, but make it about a person. Case studies like "How Barry Learnt Ruby in 4 Weeks" work well! You gain the social shares as well as the keyword focused page. Double-win :)

It's slightly more difficult to do with brands, since few brands are treated like people. Make pages about individuals. If you're targeting a bigger brand, then pick a big name from that brand. You don't know how a brand might react (there may be protocols to control tweeting etc.) but a person is much more likely to react in the way you want. It's easier to flatter a human than a brand.

Comb through your keyword lists and work out how you can make a page about a person. This can work with product pages, case studies, blog posts, landing pages, sales pages… pretty much anything :)

"Hmmmm… I'm Not Convinced…"

Maybe you can't be bothered to commit to such long term results. Maybe you've got to deliver by tomorrow to get your next paycheck, or renew your SEO contract or win budget or whatever…?

Or maybe it just sounds too much like hard work…?

Maybe, just maybe you're one of those guys who still uses comment spam, article spinning and other grey or "black hat" tactics day to day that make Rand sad. And maybe they even work! That's kinda cool, right? Covertly breaking the system?

I'll tell you what's cool. Being undisputed king of a SERP for years and years to come. Links are just one part of the signal, the signal of a relationship and approval. Google's algorithm is changing and Google's algorithm is all around us. Making friends is such a central part of what we SEOs do (and arguably, the most fun part!), but we don't pay nearly enough attention to it.

You're In It For The Long-Haul, Aren't You?

You've got to have the relationships around you that will last for years and years on end. The internet is still incredibly young (Google's just hitting puberty). And don't worry… you've got plenty of money to do this, because your marketing budget stretches for many years to come, as will your future relationships.

How long is your endgame? You've got to start thinking how you can build a system that build links. If you want to dominate in 5, 10, 20 years time then you need to set out the signals now.

You've got to start thinking long haul. If you're not "in bed", so to speak, with all folks in your industry, someone else is going to take your cake and eat it. You know your industry, so imagine your fiercest competitors cosying up with key industry figures over some joint venture, collaborative linkbait or something else.

Google+, Pinterest, Twitter…

The rise of all these social networks isn't the point. The point is you can now connect easier with these tools to people who share your why and your beliefs. You can build and maintain these incredible relationships that will make you win in the long run. Aim for where the game is going to be, not where the game is now.

This is how I build links, get jobs and make sales. These tactics and strategies will only become more effective over time, not less. Use them to chase your dream links…

…then let me know how it goes in the comments. :)

Thanks for reading!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

A Marketer’s Guide to Accumulating Awesome Online Reviews

how to get positive reviewsintroductory3

The results of the Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) are in, and Search Engine Land pulled out some interesting pieces of data around the impact of online reviews on consumers’ purchasing decisions.

So, how important are online reviews to consumers? Survey says: Very! Let’s dive into some of the most interesting results to learn why consumers are relying on online reviews more, and why it’s critical that your business has an expansive arsenal of positive reviews. Or, if you’re already convinced of how crucial online reviews are to your business, skip past that section to read how you can generate more positive online reviews for your business.

Why Your Business Needs Quality Online Reviews

If your business relies on customers that value quality over price, this first bit of data should make you happy. 52% of consumers reported that positive customer reviews make them more likely to use a local business compared to just 28%, who make their selection based on other factors like location and price. Even more encouraging for businesses, 52% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations — provided they look authentic, of course. A Bazaarvoice survey published some interesting complementary survey results of its own just a couple months back, citing that 51% of people actually found user-generated content more important than the opinions of their friends and family.

That’s good news for marketers and business owners, because it means you have more control over how your business is represented. If you choose to take an active role in generating online reviews, that is.

The survey’s findings also revealed that 76% of consumers regularly or occasionally use online reviews to determine which local business to use. And consumers are getting more savvy at parsing reviews for quality, too. Take a look at how consumer research behavior has changed in just the past two years.

reviews needed for busines trust

Most people look at 2-10 reviews to establish which business to use, with the majority falling in the ’2-3 reviews’ range. This doesn’t mean you can stop at just 10 reviews, though. The study noted that having a large number of reviews gave users more confidence in the legitimacy of the star ratings and in the few reviews they do actually read. It makes sense — the bigger the sample size, the more legitimate the results, right?

How to Generate Online Reviews for Your Business

So how do you capitalize on this to generate more positive online reviews for your business? Here are some ideas that businesses of all types can utilize.

Dominate Search Engines With Your Review Presence

Before we get into the creative ways to generate reviews, you must start with the basics — setting up your presence on external review sites and social media. Socialnomics reports that for the world’s largest brands, 25% of search results return user-generated content from review sites, blogs, and social media updates. Additionally, eMarketer reports that 65% of users age 18-24 consider information on social networks when making a purchasing decision. If people are writing about your brand on external review sites and on social media anyway, don’t you think you should be in control of the conversation, and even encouraging it?

Grab hold of your presence on external review sites like Yelp! (you can learn how to optimize your presence in this blog post about improving your Yelp! presence), Google Places, and Insider Pages, and give your social media accounts some real estate dedicated to online reviews. Then — and this is the key to your success here — ask people to give you reviews.

That’s right, it’s just like getting an inbound link or closing a sale. You might get some organically, but if you expect perpetual success, you need to ask customers to write reviews of your business on these sites. But that’s why taking charge of generating online reviews is so important — you can focus these efforts on the right people! Would you ask a website that has no relevance to your business to link to you? Would you ask someone to buy your product or service if they didn’t want or need it? Ask the happy customers to write reviews for you on these sites, and their presence will outweigh the occasional Negative Nancy that crops up with even the best companies. Incorporate your request whenever you interview a happy customer for a case study or when your customer service team comes across a particularly exuberant one.

Create a Designated Review Space on Your Website

External sites are important for generating online reviews, but your leads and customers are on your website all the time! Why not create a dedicated place for happy customers to submit their stories — and where other site potential customers can also read those stories? Having reviews of your product or service readily accessible when site visitors are in the research phase is key — do you really want to send them off-site to look for reviews? Housecleaning franchise Molly Maid executes this well with its dedicated testimonial section.

website reviews

Make it easy for current customers to submit their reviews so you always have fresh content for this section of your site. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can do this quickly for your own website by setting up a landing page with a form prompting customers to share their experiences with you. You don’t need a lot of fields — just ‘Name,’ ‘Email,’ and ‘Write a Review.’ If you’re in a service-oriented business, I recommend linking to this form on your website’s homepage so your customers don’t have to dig deep to find where they can provide feedback.

Not only does this let you easily collect content for a dedicated review section of your site, but it also lets you generate feedback from unhappy customers so you can resolve their issues before they take to social media and external review sites to publicize their unhappy experiences.

Send an Email Marketing Campaign Dedicated to Generating Reviews

After a customer completes a purchase (and if you sell products, has received it and had time to use it), send a follow-up email marketing campaign asking them to write a review. Give them the option to share their opinions publicly or privately. If you have a weekly or monthly newsletter to update customers on new offerings, consider including this as a call-to-action in those emails, too. You can even create a survey to get more detailed feedback that helps you make product and service improvements!

Include Links to Your Review Properties in Your Email Signature

Speaking of email, companies that get plenty of customer love are those who take advantage of every opportunity to generate new customer reviews on all their properties. Links should be included in the email signatures of everyone in your company, especially those interacting with customers on a daily basis. Be sure to provide links to all of the places someone can give a review; it gives customers the option to choose the review site they use most frequently, the social media account they feel more comfortable with, or simply to submit a review to you via email or on a landing page on your website.

Leverage Your Blog

If you’re the awesome inbound marketer I know you to be, you’re an avid blogger who is always looking for a hot new article topic. Take a cue from sites like UncommonGoods, which aggregates user-generated content for blog content. UncommonGoods encourages its customers to send in comments about their products and picks some of them to feature in blog posts. They tag these blog posts ‘Product Reviews,’ or you could choose something like ‘Customer Reviews’ for your own business.

ucg reviews

Aggregating comments in this manner not only feeds your blog, but it also lets you bring in reviews from all your online properties — Twitter (don’t forget to embed those tweets in your post), Facebook, the comments section of your blog and product pages, etc. Creating a blog post around these reviews will also give them more permanence than they receive in social media. Just think if someone typed the query ‘company x customer reviews’ into a search engine, and your blog post appears in the top of the SERPs!

Tailor it to Your Point of Sale

Alright, this sounds all well and good for online businesses. But when I close business, it’s not online! If you close business on the phone, in person, with pen and paper, behind a cash register, or anywhere else that’s not on the internet, you still have recourse to generate online reviews!

In fact, Search Engine Land cites CustomerLobby CEO Ted Paff saying, “Comment card reviews solicited at the time of service can see completion rates of 80-90%.” It makes sense; the point of sale is the height of customer euphoria. Take advantage of these feelings by verbally asking your customer to write out his or her experience via a feedback or comment card. Include it on the back of their receipt. Staple it to their contract. Verbally direct them to your website, an external review site, or a social media account. Just be sure to ask permission to share the feedback on your website.

(Tip: Incentivize your sales and customer service team to collect positive customer reviews. Making this part of their bonus program is well worth the investment!)

Create Case Studies

Take serious control over generating reviews for your business by creating case studies. Often, businesses think of case studies as long, written documentation of the results customers see with their business — but it doesn’t have to be that complicated! HubSpot loves to create written content around its current customers, but we also love to create video content around them. In fact, we have an entire section of our site dedicated to case studies — many of which include a video component — that detail how customers from all types of industries use our product to their advantage.

We also create shorter videos called “I HubSpot Because” and promote them using the hashtag #hubspotting, where we ask customers in a more informal setting why they HubSpot — to get more leads, to make more money, to watch the orange sprocket spin when the log in — whatever!

If you don’t have the resources to dedicate to creating case study videos but you meet with customers on a regular basis, ask the happy ones if you can take a quick 30 second video with them about why they use your product or service. Not all case studies have to be long and stuffy; just feature one or two things your product or service is capable of doing from your customer’s perspective.

Leverage Your Lead Generation Content

Many businesses who try to generate online reviews focus on their customers (we have for the most part in this blog post ourselves). But have you ever considered generating reviews from your leads?

You create remarkable content to generate and nurture leads. The leads that consume your content frequently, you can infer, find it extremely helpful. So ask them to tell the world! Consider adding links to your review properties to your thank-you pages — you know, the pages that appear after a lead downloads a new piece of content from your website. You can even include it as a secondary call-to-action in your lead nurturing content. A review from someone that talks not about your products or services, but you — as a company that provides helpful information — is still hugely valuable for your brand’s reputation.

How do you generate positive online reviews for your business? Share your creative ideas in the comments!

Image credit: rzrxtion

blog-cta-25-must-haves

Connect with HubSpot:

HubSpot on Twitter HubSpot on Facebook HubSpot on LinkedIn HubSpot on Google Buzz 

 


HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

5 Awesome Landing Page Lessons From Real Life Examples

landing pageOn a previous blog post about marketing tests, a commenter asked for some examples of great landing pages. We’ve received that request more than once and figured it’s about time to deliver! So I set out to find some of the best landing pages out there, and to get started, I went to some of my favorite companies. I figured they might be a great place to start because as a marketer, my favorite companies have to not only have a great product or service; they have to be great inbound marketers. Whether you’re B2B, B2C, a product or a services business, these five companies have created great landing pages from which we can learn some serious lessons.

To help hammer those lessons home, I’ve also included suggestions for how these landing pages can be improved even more. These suggestions are based on landing page best practices, and don’t take into account that sometimes, you can shirk the best practices based on the results of A/B and multivariate tests. I have no insight into whether these companies have run tests to reach these designs (many probably have!) but the lesson for all marketers is to build something according to best practices, then test, test, test until you get the best version possible.

ModCloth

ModCloth is a retailer of retro women’s clothing. This landing page prompts visitors to sign up for its mobile communications and offers.

modcloth landing page

What they’re doing right: ModCloth’s landing page rocks for two reasons. First, notice the consistency between the page headline, the form headline, and the button; they all mention joining ModMobile (glad to see you’re in on the mobile movement, guys!), so it’s very clear what you’re on this page to do. It’s important to have this consistency in all your headlines so your visitor doesn’t get confused about what action they can execute on that page.

ModCloth is also successfully explaining what happens if you join ModMobile through its page copy. Notice the use of bullets to break up each point they want to convey so the information is digestible.

How they can improve: Two page elements a ModCloth marketer might consider changing on this landing page are the color of the bulleted text and the “Join ModMobile!” button. The bulleted text is awfully light, making it hard to read, and the button could stand out more from the rest of the page, as the blue blends in with its site skin. Or hey, maybe they’re in the middle of some A/B or multivariate tests!

Salesforce

Salesforce is a CRM and cloud computing software company (with whom you may be intimately familiar if they are your CRM of choice!). This landing page offers a free download of a Gartner research report on sales productivity and automation.

salesforce landing pageWhat they’re doing right: First, take a look at the top of the landing page. Notice how there’s no navigation? This is a wise move, as it prevents the visitor from getting distracted and abandoning the landing page for another area of the site. Salesforce is also leveraging the use of relevant images on the landing page, including a screenshot of the research report the visitor will receive if they complete their download. They back this up with a relevant quote from the report that continues to engage the visitor and entice them to download the report.

How they can improve: Salesforce should follow ModCloth’s lead and include the name or subject of the report that the visitor will download. This should be in the form headline, and in the button copy. For example, the headline can be modified to read ‘Get Your Complimentary Gartner Report,’ or’ Get Your Complimentary Salesforce Automation Report’; the button can be modified to simply say ‘Download Your Report Now.’ These changes will help solidify the purpose of the page, leading to more conversions.

YouSendIt

YouSendIt provides secure online file-sharing software so anyone can easily send large files and attachments. This landing page lets visitors sign up for a free trial with the software.

yousendit landing pageWhat they’re doing right: Like ModCloth, YouSendIt is doing a great job using consistent language from its page headline to its form headline to its button. But also notice that they’ve selected a green button for their form. Using the green helps it stand out from the rest of their site, which is mostly blue and white. Aside from having a remarkably short form to redeem the free trial, there’s one more page element that is probably helping their conversions: the TRUSTe seal of approval. Including verification signs from third parties like TRUSTe, the BBB, or VeriSign helps instill trust in the visitor that they can safely enter their information to redeem the offer.

How they can improve: YouSendIt is rocking a pretty sweet landing page for their free trial, but there’s one area they can definitely improve. They have a navigation along the top and bottom of their site, increasing the likelihood that a visitor will get distracted and click away to another part of their site before filling out the free trial form. You can bring back your navigation and keep the visitor moving through the site with other offers on the thank-you page after the form has been completed.

Jetsetter

Jetsetter is an invitation-only travel community that provides its members with access to exclusive deals and insider information on amazing vacations.

jetsetter landing page

What they’re doing right: Between the headline and the images used at the top of this landing page, it’s clear as day what you’re supposed to do here. Buy a travel gift certificate for someone. They also lay out the steps of the process clearly, highlighting that you are on step one currently, and graying out the next two but still including the copy that explains what happens during those steps. For an ecommerce site, an easy and clear shopping cart experience is crucial to getting your visitors to move through all the stages necessary to complete a purchase.

How they can improve: Jetsetter’s form falls below the fold of the web page, which can impact conversion rates for some sites. If you had a page with a similar layout to Jetsetter, one place they can cut space is the size of the image at the top. Alternately, a two column layout can help condense space and fit everything above the fold. To be really nitpicky, the copy on the “Proceed to Purchase” button is also quite small and light. Making it bigger, bolder, and brighter may help increase conversions.

SEOmoz

SEOmoz is a thought leader in search engine marketing and provides SEO software. This landing page lets visitors sign up for a free trial of their software.

seomoz landing page

What they’re doing right: SEOmoz is also making use of a third-party verification badge to instill trust in the visitor and using consistent language from its header to the copy in its button. The best part of their landing page, however, is the inclusion of the chat icon, which follows the user as they scroll down the page. Along with removing the navigation, this chat icon helps mitigate the chance of page abandonment by giving visitors the opportunity to get answers to questions that are preventing them from completing the form.

How they can improve: While the red bubble on the top right corner of the landing page explains what the free trial is for, the header could benefit from the inclusion of the software’s name. Visitors will be happy to easily confirm via the page heading that what they clicked through to download is in fact on this page!

When you’re creating landing pages, what best practices do you think contribute the most to a higher conversion rate?

Image credit: Beth Kanter

intro-to-landing-pages

Connect with HubSpot:

HubSpot on Twitter HubSpot on Facebook HubSpot on LinkedIn HubSpot on Google Buzz 

 


HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning an AWESOME Flash Mob

HubSpot Thriller ZombiesWhat the heck is a flash mob? A flash mob is getting people to come together in a public space, surprising unsuspecting viewers with a choreographed performance/dance routine, and then walking away as if nothing happened. 

Flash mobs, when executed well, can be a great way to generate buzz, express your business’ creativity, and even garner some media attention and coverage. Want to inject some personality and creativity into your company’s marketing strategy? Consider orchestrating a flash mob! Last week, HubSpot employees did just that, dressing up in orange HubSpot track suits, sporting zombie makeup, and taking over the food court at the local mall to dance to the spooky Michael Jackson hit, “Thriller” in our very own Halloween flash mob. Here’s a step-by-step guide to planning and executing your own flash mob, using our own experience as an example.

Step 1: Be Creative

There’s nothing more exciting than watching or partaking in a surprise flash mob that interrupts people’s mundane daily routines. Flash mobs are a great way to stir up attention and create some buzz. Be creative, and think of ways to make your performance unique from previous flash mobs. There needs to be more to your flash mob than just a dance routine to make it stand out. Some flash mobs involve the performers’ hidden talents, some singing, theatrics, or getting hundreds of people to stand still for a few minutes. Your flash mob can be flashy, thought provoking, artistic, or even be used as an advertisement.

Step 2: Pick a Fun Tune

Pick a song that will catch everyone’s attention. Purchase a loud, portable stereo and cue up your upbeat dance song, classic throwback, or even a holiday related Christmas carol.

Step 3: Learn the Moves

Gather a group of your friends and/or coworkers who are willing to participate in the flash mob. Find someone who is an experienced dancer or choreographer who can breakdown the moves for everyone. Practice regularly. The key is to really perfect the routine if you want to impress onlookers.

Step 4: Choose a Date, Time, and Location

The best places for flash mobs are large, high-traffic public spaces where people wouldn’t expect something out of the ordinary. Whether you choose to target a local beach, a food court at the mall, or a train station, pick a day and time of the week during the location’s busiest hours.

Step 5: Surprise Everyone

An important thing to consider is that your performance needs to have the element of surprise. A well-executed flash mob performance should be kept secret up until the moment it begins. Catching your audience off guard is crucial. Make sure you video tape not just your performance, but also everyone’s reaction.

Step 6: Be a Cinematographer

Pack your cell phones and some HD video cameras, and capture some high quality video footage. A multi-camera shoot will provide sufficient coverage with wide shots, close-ups, and plenty of reaction shots of unsuspecting viewers. Make sure you have a camera operator that is part of the action and on the same level as the dancers. Have another camera operator shooting a wide/establishing shot from a higher angle looking down on the dancers. Your wide shot will show the scale of your flash mob. THE BIGGER, THE BETTER.

Step 7: Upload & Promote Your Masterpiece

Your flash mob may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t milk more from the performance. Edit and share your video on your website, blog, YouTube account, and Facebook page. Tweet links to the video or your post about it on your blog. You can still generate a ton of buzz from people who weren’t lucky enough to be present for the live showing. As we said before, staging a flash mob is a great way to generate brand exposure and a ton of buzz. Have fun with it! And check out the final product of our own flash mob below!

Are you yet motivated to organize your own flash mob?

marketing-quotes-ebook

Connect with HubSpot:

HubSpot on Twitter HubSpot on Facebook HubSpot on LinkedIn HubSpot on Google Buzz 

 


HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Creating Awesome Landing Pages

Landing pages are an extremely critical component of lead generation in inbound marketing. Are your landing pages optimized to their best visitor-to-lead conversion potential? If there’s any question in your mind about whether your landing pages are up to snuff, take a look at following cheat sheet. Does the anatomy of your landing pages include all of the following crucial elements? If not, it might be time to conduct a few landing page makeovers…

The Anatomy of an Effective Landing Page

landing page examplelanding page example

1. Headline: As the first thing your visitors will likely see when they ‘land’ on your landing page, having a clear and concise headline is critical. Use your headline to sum up your offer as clearly as possible. If it’s an ebook, say it’s an ebook. If it’s a webinar, say it’s a webinar. What kind of ebook or webinar is it? What will visitors who convert on your page receive?

2. Hidden Top/Side Navigation: Reduce friction as well as your landing page’s bounce rate and increase the chances your visitors will stay on your page by hiding any top and side navigation bars from your page. The last thing you want is for something else to catch their eye and distract them from completing the form.

3. Context: Below your main headline, consider using a sub-header to provide a little bit of information about the benefits and value. If your visitor decided not to read further, would it be enough to entice them to complete the form anyway? Next, add some context to your offer. Why should this offer be valuable to your visitor? In our example above, visitors discover that landing pages are effective for 94% of B2B and B2C companies. This should help them to understand why they are important and why they should learn how to build effective landing pages, setting them up nicely for the ebook offer.

4. Value: In many cases, your sub-header and context won’t be quite enough to motivate your visitor he or she should download/register/sign up for your offer. Use the rest of the text on your landing page to explain the value of your offer clearly and simply. Use bullet points to demonstrate clear takeaways and break up large blocks of text, and keep it brief and to-the-point. What will the person get out of your offer? Will they learn how to do something? Become more knowledgeable about a specific topic? How will the information be presented to them? In our example, visitors will receive a “26-page guide.” No question about it!

5. Image: It’s always wise to include a relevant image on your landing page. Try to match that image with the offer. For example, if you’re offering an ebook or a webinar, show a cover of the ebook or a screenshot of the webinar’s presentation cover slide. This will give your landing page visitors a tangible idea of what they’ll receive: “If I complete this form, I’ll get a 26-page guide that looks like that.” Images can also make a landing page much more visually appealing.

6. Lead-Capture Form: This is the element your landing page simply cannot function without. Your lead-capture form is the place where your page visitors will supply information in exchange for your offer. It’s also what converts those visitors into precious little sales leads. As a best practice, only ask for information you need from your leads in order to effectively follow up with and/or qualify them. It’s ultimately up to you to decide how many or how few form fields to include. Generally, longer forms will result in fewer but more qualified leads, and shorter forms will result in more but less qualified leads. Determine what works best for your business by testing and solving for your specific lead generation goals. Just keep in mind: visitors are very protective of their contact information, so the more form fields you require, the less likely people will convert.

7. Privacy Policy Link: Include a link to your business’ privacy policy on your landing page or directly within your lead-capture form to give your visitors peace of mind. As we just mentioned, visitors are protective of their personal information. Providing them with information about your company’s privacy policy will help to quell any fears that you’re not a trustworthy source or that you’ll sell their information to other vendors. This should positively impact the performance of your landing page.

8. ‘Submit’ Button: At the bottom of your lead-capture form (and as the call-to-action at the top of your form as well), use specific action words so your visitors clearly understand what they have to do to obtain the offer you’re presenting. On the button they click to submit their information, avoid using a general word like ‘submit.’ Eliminate any vagueness, and instead indicate exactly what action your visitors must take. If they’re going to receive an ebook, use a word like ‘download.’ If visitors are signing up to attend a live webinar, use a word like ‘register.’ Will they be receiving a free product trial? Try using the phrase ‘sign up.’

9. Social Sharing Buttons/Links: Enable visitors to easily share your landing page with their connections, too by including social media sharing links or buttons for social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter! Don’t miss out on this simple opportunity to extend the reach of your landing page and the content it offers beyond your direct network and reach. More visibility will lead to more landing page traffic and, ultimately, more leads!

10. One Single Call-to-Action: It’s important to understand that your landing page should be focused around one single offer. Including calls-to-action for other offers on your landing page is a sure-fire way to confuse and distract landing page visitors from completing your form.

The Anatomy of an Effective Thank-You Page

landing page thank youb resized 600

1. The Offer Itself: Once your visitor submits their form information, they should be redirected to a thank-you page that explains the next step. If you were offering an ebook, the thank-you page should include a link to the ebook or provide instructions on how they’ll be receiving their ebook copy (perhaps you’ll be emailing it to them, for example). If it’s a webinar they registered for, maybe you will present them with login information. Either way, never leave them hanging. You need to make good on the promise you made by requesting their information. Make the process as simple and easy as possible for your new lead.

2. More Social Sharing Links: Just as you did on the landing page, slap some social sharing links/buttons on your thank-you page, too! Just be sure the link you give them to share directs other visitors to the landing page, not the thank-you page. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on some precious leads.

3. Social Media Follow Links: In addition to social sharing links, consider also including social media follow links to boost your social following. These links will encourage leads to follow you via your social media accounts on such networks as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The thank-page is a great place for this, since people who end up there were already convinced your offer was worth the form submission in the first place. There’s a good chance then, that they might want to be informed about some of your other offers via other channels, too.

4. Middle-of-the-Funnel CTA: If you’re regularly offering top-of-the-funnel, educational content such as ebooks or webinars, there’s a chance you’ll have some repeat downloaders. If someone has downloaded ebook after ebook from you, perhaps they’re a little bit further down your sales funnel than the average bear. Consider adding a more middle-of-the-funnel offer like a free trial or product-focused offer to capture those leads who might be ready for that stage in the game.

Other Important Landing Page Factors to Consider

While all of the above elements are extremely critical to the success of your landing page, there are a few other factors to consider during your quest for landing page domination.

1. Testing: In marketing, there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach to things. While the above anatomy highlights important elements, the best way to create the best-optimized landing pages for your business is to test these various elements. Perhaps one layout (form on the left vs. the right) works better for you than another. Test every variable possible to help you come up with the best solution for your particular business.

2. Analytics: Always consult your analytics during testing to evaluate results as well as in general to determine the effectiveness of your landing page overall. Refer to metrics such as bounce rate, traffic, visitor-to-lead conversion rate, and overall leads. Use the information you gather from your analytics to make decisions about how to structure your page or tweak certain elements to make them more effective. For example, if your page is generating tons of traffic but just a small number of leads, you likely have a conversion problem. Perhaps you need to shorten your form or make your messaging clearer.

3. Promotion: How are people ending up on your landing page? Which sources are generating the most traffic, and where are you lacking traffic? The only way to generate traffic to your landing pages is to promote them! Optimize it with keywords so it gets found in search, share it in social media, create calls-to-actions for it to use on other web pages and blog articles, and link to the landing page in paid marketing efforts such as in display ads.

4. Message Consistency: As you’re promoting your landing pages through these other channels, make sure your messaging aligns with the messaging on your landing page. The best way to confuse the heck out your readers is to send them to your landing page expecting something different. Be consistent in your language, tone, and expectations.

How are your landing pages faring? What can you do to improve your existing landing pages‘ ability to convert traffic into leads?

intro-to-landing-pages

Connect with HubSpot:

HubSpot on Twitter HubSpot on Facebook HubSpot on LinkedIn HubSpot on Google Buzz 

 


HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

How To Make Awesome Landing Pages for Local PPC

Am I the only one who gets a warm, fuzzy feeling from a well-crafted, super-targeted landing page? Right, I didn’t think so :)

Landing pages tend to suck more often than they inspire.

Local landing pages are even worse in many cases; with hapless advertisers throwing Google AdWords coupons away by simply sending you to their home page for every single ad :(

Why Local PPC Matters

I firmly believe that local PPC (and SEO) is still an untapped resource for those looking to make client work a part of their business portfolio.

It’s quite hard enough for a local business owner, specifically one who has little experience in web marketing, to be expected to get a 75$ AdWords coupon and magically turn that into a quality PPC campaign that lasts.

Google tried that mass approach to marketing and failed. The result of that failure has brought about things like:

Google recognizes the market for helping small businesses reach customers on the web as do Groupon, Restaurant.Com, and all their clones.

Local PPC, especially when used in conjunction with local SEO, can really make significant differences at the local business level and many of those businesses need help to do it.

Landing Page Quality Matters

I really dislike hitting a generic landing page after I make a really specific query. It’s kind of like going to Disney and asking where Space Mountain is, only to be told that “we have lots of attractions sir, here is a map of the entire resort”.

Generally speaking, I believe most people like being led around by the nose. People typically want things yesterday so it’s your job to give them exactly what they are looking for; after all, is that the point of search?

I think anyone who’s worked with PPC campaigns can attest to the fact that targeted landing pages are quite high on the importance totem pole. Tailoring your landing pages to your target market matters a lot.

Solid Local PPC Landing Pages

Designing a good landing page for local queries is not hard at all. There are many different layouts you can use and you should test as many as is practicable, relative to your traffic levels, to understand which ones will work for you.

One area where local PPC is ripe for local business owners is insurance. I’m going to share a good example of a local lander below but if you are doing local PPC, before you get to the landing page design, utilize Google’s address links like this advertiser did (green arrow mine)

The above can help you stand out from the crowd where you are one the few local advertisers and it helps create that local experience right from the start.

So I came across a couple of examples of good ways to tie in local content with your landing page design.

Here’s one from the insurance industry targeting terms around “wisconsin car insurance” followed by some tips on why I feel it’s a good example (green arrows are mine):


Why is this a good example?

  • Use of the local modifier in key spots (doesn’t appear stuffed)
  • The Wisconsin Badger college football team’s main color is red (not sure if that factored in but it helps to tie stuff like that in)
  • Icon of the state in the main header
  • Good use of badges to display authority in the insurance niche
  • Lack of other navigation options, focused on the offer and the benefits of using their service
  • I might have bolded “we only do business in Wisconsin” though

In the above example you see a problem with many insurance agents locally though, quite a few do not have the ability to offer live quotes so they have to use a contact form. In a web of instant gratification this is something that can be an issue.

Any good example is in another area where local customization works well, travel!:

This was for a search around the keyword “boston hotels”. The imagery is great here. A couple things I would have done would have been to eliminate the left navigation and make the main content area more bullet-point oriented rather than a set of paragraphs.

Overall, they have a set up here where they can do the same approach across a bunch of different locations.

Not So Solid Local PPC Landing Pages

While searching for the above examples I also found some that were examples of being really untargeted approaches to local keywords. Here’s an example of a brand just throwing out a really basic lander:

Absolutely no local customization at all. Good landing page basics though (clear CTA, clear benefits). Perhaps bigger brands don’t need to, or fail to see the value in, making landing pages local-specific on local queries.

Liberty has no excuse not to either. They have local offices in every state, they could easily make their pages more local but they, for whatever reason, choose not to.

In keeping with the same theme, I found this landing page for “boston hotels” to be underwhelming at best:

It’s a list of information in an otherwise coldly designed table. Perhaps this works well enough, just give people the info I suppose.

As a user, especially if I’m traveling, I’d like to see pictures, brief info about the area, why choose here over the hundreds of other providers, etc.

Quality Landing Page Foundations

Typically, I would recommend starting out with a base layout and designing the page according to your market and then layering on local criteria. If you look at examples of good landing pages the layouts themselves don’t change all that much.

Some local elements you can include are:

  • Local imagery
  • Locations and hours
  • Integrated map with directions
  • Proximity to local landmarks (good for things like hotels, bed and breakfasts, etc)
  • Local phone number and contact information
  • Membership in any local group (rotary club logo, Better Business Bureau, chamber of commerce logo, logos of local charities or events you are involved with, etc)

As discussed before, design should also speak to your audience (more tech savvy or less tech savvy, age, gender, market, and so on).

Consider these 2 examples of landing pages for online invoicing. This is a market where design should be fresh, modern, “web X.X” if you will (like market leader Freshbooks).

Here’s a win for good landing page design:

I really like the free sign up bar at the bottom. Your call to action is always available if you have to scroll or not. Good use of headlines, solid list of benefits, and super-easy sign up.

Compare that to something like Quickbooks which requires quite a bit of info to get started:

Then you have another example of, usually, what not to do. Too many navigation options here, run on paragraphs, lack of bullet points, outdated design for this market in my opinion:

So the layouts don’t change drastically and I’d recommend coming up with a layout first, a base design, and base copy. Then you can easily turn any landing page into a targeted, local page pretty quickly with small design and copy tweaks.

Landing Page Resources

A few places I have bookmarked for landing page references are:

A couple of tools to help you with cranking out solid landing pages would be:

  • Unbounce (hosted)
  • Premise (WordPress plugin from Copyblogger which comes with a ton of custom graphics and built in copywriting advice + tips)

It’s not that difficult to create awesome, locally targeted landing pages. It’s a really simple process:

  • Check out the resources linked to above and make a swipe file of nicely designed landing pages (design and layout)
  • Incorporate the base layout and copy layout (headings, graphics, CTA’s, etc) into a wireframe
  • Minimize distractions (focus on getting the clicker to complete the desired task)
  • Get the UI and graphics in order
  • Think about all the ways you can sprinkle in a local feel to the page, like we talked about above (colors, locations, hours, local connections, imagery, and so on)
  • Add in the local components to your base page

What are some of your best practices when putting together landing pages for local PPC campaigns or landing page tips in general?

Categories: 

SEO Book.com

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Advert