How Landing Pages Impact Quality Score on Every Ad Platform


In the world of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, there are few misperceptions as rampant as the ones about the effects that landing pages have on Quality Score. That’s not surprising, given that Quality Score algorithms are “black boxes” that play a crucial role in the success of any PPC campaign. We still have very little insight into how Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads), and the social media advertising platforms calculate and use Quality Score.

Landing pages are often a customer’s first interaction with a brand and set the stage for the relationship going forward. Distilling Quality Score into a number is misleading for PPC advertisers because it undervalues the importance of landing pages on several other crucial components of a campaign, such as brand perception and positioning. 

As a side note, most ad platforms use the term “Quality Score,” while others use “Ad Relevance” or something similar. For the sake of simplicity, I use Quality Score interchangeably with Ad Relevance and Relevance Score metrics unless otherwise noted. Let’s get into it!

What Is Quality Score & Why Does It Matter to PPC Advertisers?

Quality Score is an approximation of your keywords’ and ads’ relevance to your target audience. It’s usually represented in the ad platforms as a number from 1-10. This dramatically oversimplifies the complex and user-specific Quality Score inputs factored into each ad auction, but it’s the best we have. Search engines and social media platforms use this metric to decide which ads to show and how much to charge an advertiser for each click or impression.

Google Ads pioneered Quality Score in their Ad Rank algorithm to reward advertisers that created relevant ads with a lower cost per click. Advertisers that try to show irrelevant ads to uninterested users may receive a lower Quality Score and have to pay a higher cost per click to remain visible.

As you can see in the equation below, providing a great user experience to boost your Quality Score can improve your Ad Rank and lower your cost per click. From what we can tell, most PPC platforms use an equation like the one below to determine where your ads appear.

Ad Rank Calculation

However, each ad platform treats landing pages differently in their Quality Score equations. Savvy PPC advertisers should understand the nuance of each platform to tailor their campaigns for the best results. As a shorthand, the table below shows the similarities and differences between each major ad platform’s version of Quality Score as well as the associated factors:

How Quality Score Is Calculated

In simple terms, here’s the question platforms are asking when they evaluate your ads against these different attributes:

  • Landing Page Experience: Is your ad’s landing page relevant to the visitor’s intent and does it help them accomplish their objectives quickly and transparently?
  • Ad Click Through Rate/Engagement: Are your ads clicked as often as competing ads?
  • Ad Relevance: Do your ads align with your audiences’ interests and intent?
  • Post-Click Conversion Rate: Are visitors likely to convert or take meaningful action after clicking your ad?
  • Recency: Are your ads recently published or updated regularly?

If the answer these questions is “no,” there’s a good chance your Quality Score is suffering as a result.

Landing pages with PPC

How Do Landing Pages Impact Quality Score on Different Platforms?

Landing pages are an important part of Quality Score algorithms and, fortunately, are one of the easiest elements of a PPC campaign to control. The most important part of the “Landing Page Experience” component of Quality Score is providing a positive visitor experience. Answer their search intent with relevant content, provide lightning-fast page speed, and make sure your site looks great on all screen sizes. 

When done correctly, landing pages can have a positive impact on Google Ads Quality Score. That means a lower cost per click and higher conversion rates when compared to sending traffic to a website. And even though some ad platforms do not explicitly factor landing pages into their Quality Scores, marketers shouldn’t ignore the improvement in visitor experience and their likelihood of developing a positive association with your brand.

1. Google Ads – Quality Score

Google Ads’ support content explicitly mentions the importance of landing pages for creating a positive user experience. I want to emphasize the experience portion because most people assume that Google Ads Quality Score only focuses on landing page relevance. Your landing pages must be relevant to keywords and ads that your visitors clicked on, yes, but it’s just as important to Google that your landing page loads quickly, is secure, and looks great on all screens. 

Quality Score Attributes - Google Ads

Here’s Google Ads explaining how Quality Score is calculated.

Landing pages won’t have any direct impact on the Expected CTR or Ad Relevance components of your Google Ads Quality Score, but the domain and URL you show in your ads may indirectly help or hurt your click-through rates. 

2. Microsoft Advertising – Quality Score

Microsoft Advertising Quality Score is nearly identical to Google Ads Quality Score, although they provide significantly less documentation for each of the three components. Unlike Google, Microsoft explicitly mentions that the landing page experience factor is “based on how many times customers leave your ad’s landing page shortly after arriving.” This implies that lowering your landing page’s bounce rate (among other things) will improve your Quality Score.

Quality Score Attributes - Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising’s writeup on the factors that impact Quality Score.

It is a good idea to monitor your Microsoft Advertising Quality Score, but don’t expect to get much helpful information about individual keywords. In this case, I suggest following the best practices for Google’s Quality Score improvements in the hopes that Microsoft will reward the same efforts.

3. Facebook Advertising – Ad Relevance

Facebook’s Ad Relevance is a completely different type of metric than Google’s Quality Score. The three components of Facebook’s Ad Relevance ratings are:

  • Quality Ranking: A ranking of your ad’s perceived quality. Quality is measured using feedback on your ads and the post-click experience. Your ad is ranked against ads that competed for the same audience.
  • Engagement Rate Ranking: A ranking of your ad’s expected engagement rate. Engagement includes all clicks, likes, comments, and shares. Your ad is ranked against ads that competed for the same audience.
  • Conversion Rate Ranking: A ranking of your ad’s expected conversion rate. Your ad is ranked against ads with your optimization goal that competed for the same audience

Notably, Facebook’s audience targeting does not rely on search keywords. So it’s much harder to determine a social user’s intent at any given moment. Many Facebook campaign types also allow users to convert, transact, or engage with content on the platform itself. (So they don’t require a landing page.) In these cases, Facebook relies heavily on the engagement and interactions that happen on its platform to determine if an ad is relevant or not. 

While Facebook Ads’ documentation doesn’t mention external landing pages, they do reference “post-click experience” and “conversion rate” in two of the three Ad Relevance factors. Advertisers using Facebook’s audience and conversion pixels should assume that Facebook Ads can measure engagement and conversion rates on your websites. Adjust your landing pages accordingly.

4. Twitter Ads – Ad Score

Twitter Ads has the least amount of support content related to their Ad Score and no mention of landing pages. 

Quality Score Attributes - Twitter Ads

The factors that affect your Ad Score on Twitter.

Similar to Facebook Ads, most of Twitter Ads’ conversions happen within their platform in the form of likes, retweets, content engagement, and follows. If Twitter does consider landing page engagement, conversions, or experience as a factor, it doesn’t seem to influence your campaign performance heavily.

That said, pairing your Twitter Ads with dedicated landing pages is still a good idea if you expect to re-engage and convert visitors on your site. The best Twitter Ads campaigns aren’t going to reach their full potential if your landing pages don’t reinforce the positioning (and offers) that you tweet.

5. LinkedIn Ads – Campaign Quality Score

Oh, LinkedIn. Nothing is easy in LinkedIn Ads, including finding your Campaign Quality Score. Like the other platforms, LinkedIn rates each sponsored content campaign on a 1-10 scale. Unlike the other platforms, they don’t allow you to see your Campaign Quality Score unless you manually export a .csv file of your historical performance. 

Once you follow the tedious, eight-step process to export your scores, you’ll find a number in the “Campaign Quality Score” column—but no insights or further detail on how to improve it. 

Without this information, the best advice I can give you is to focus on improving your ads’ click-through rates and engagement (likes, shares, etc.). There’s no mention of landing pages. If you send traffic from your ads to an external site, follow the best practices shared by the other platforms and put your users’ experience first. At worst, this will improve your conversion rates. At best, it could boost your Campaign Quality Scores and lower the notoriously high CPCs on LinkedIn Ads.

Pay Attention to Quality Score—But Don’t Obsess Over It

There are several tried and true methods that will improve your Quality Score with landing pages. Most are focused on enhancing the visitor’s experience and don’t require substantial dev support. Unbounce users can take advantage of Dynamic Text Replacement to improve relevance and page speed improvements to create lightning-fast experiences. 

Your landing pages will (directly and indirectly) influence Quality Score. But the algorithms are opaque, so it’s impossible to know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. We’ve seen results vary dramatically by industry and campaign type. I recommend thinking about it as a lagging indicator (not a leading metric) of your efforts. Schedule reminders to review your landing page experience scores once per month or once per quarter. Look for progress.

With a little attention, your landing pages will help take your campaigns to the next level. 

Landing pages for social media campaigns





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When We Need to Move Quickly We Work in Task Forces. Here’s How We Set Them Up


Making and communicating decisions across an organization can be a challenge anytime. Making decisions during a pandemic is a whole new level of challenge.

When the impact of COVID-19 started to grow, we at Buffer, like many others, needed to move as quickly as possible, gather a lot of information, and make big decisions that would ultimately impact our team, our customers, and our business.

This presented a unique challenge. A lot of the decisions spanned the entire company and needed to be discussed at the leadership level, but we didn’t need every member of our leadership team to be involved in every decision.

We decided to combine two frameworks that have worked for us in the past – task forces and the Decision Maker model – to create a setup that would allow us to respond quickly and efficiently. Here’s more about how we used task forces to respond to COVID-19 within our team, and how we plan to continue to use them as necessary.

Buffer’s unique history with task forces

We first introduced the concept of task forces within Buffer at the same time that we began experimenting with how we structured our team. In 2015, we wrote this in one of our investor updates:

Perhaps one of the biggest changes that we have made in the last month is moving away from having long-term, static teams within the company. Instead we have shorter-term, more fluid task forces which are formed for a specific purpose and then disband once that task is completed.

At the time, task forces were fluid and democratic. Anyone could propose one, and teammates chose the task forces they joined. Instead of teams working together forever,  groups worked together until they completed the project and then disbanded.

It was an interesting model and fun experiment, but ultimately this version of task forces didn’t feel as efficient as having longer-term teams work together consistently. When teams work together long-term, they develop their own habits, shorthand, and friendships that facilitate efficient work. So we moved away from the task forces model.

The Decision Maker model

Based on the book The Decision Maker by Dennis Bakke, the decision-maker framework helps teams get more decisions right through leaning on the collective knowledge, experience, and wisdom of a variety of teammates.

In a decision-maker culture:

  • The leader chooses someone to make a key decision
  • The decision-maker seeks advice (often, including from the leader) to gather information
  • The final decision is made not by the leader, but by the chosen decision-maker.

In practice, the decision-maker model looks like:

  1. Being explicit by asking “Who is the decision-maker?” or declaring “I’m owning this” with projects or responsibilities; or
  2. Explicitly designating a decision-maker within an area or on cross-functional projects.

We’ve used the decision-maker model both formally and informally at Buffer over the years and have been happy with the results. This model helps us clarify and communicate about how decisions happen.

Grappling with COVID-19 through task forces

When COVID-19 began impacting our team and company, a lot of the work related to reacting to the pandemic initially fell to our People team. The first big question was whether we would move forward with our annual company retreat.

We ended up postponing our scheduled retreat four months before we were expected to hold it, which was a big decision that involved multiple conversations between our people team, our CEO, and the rest of our leadership team.

As the COVID-19 impact continued to grow, we realized we would have many more moments where we needed to move quickly and make big decisions. Some of our customers weren’t going to be able to pay their bills, and teammates would understandably feel distracted and anxious.

This was the moment when we decided to reinstate the task forces model. We’re a nine-person leadership team, and it didn’t make sense to have the whole leadership team and the entire People team in every conversation. We decided to form temporary task forces which looked like this:

Business and finance task force

This task force watched accounting and finance metrics to make sure that there were no surprises, and weighed in on every significant decision that could impact Buffer financially.

Members:

Customer task force

This task force focused on supporting our customers through the pandemic.

Members:

Teammates task force

This task force centered around how best to support our Buffer teammates.

Members:

Our CEO was a member of all three task forces, which was helpful for unblocking the task forces and making quick decisions – though adding that many additional meetings a week to his calendar wasn’t like a sustainable model for the long term!

The whole leadership team also held twice weekly stand-ups. These provided a space for each task force to report its work to the rest of the team and an opportunity to collaborate or discuss.

The results of our first task forces

The results of this framework were largely positive, with a few successes we’re particularly proud of:

  • The customer task force released our customer relief fund when many customers weren’t able to pay their bills.
  • The teammate task force kicked off the 4-day work week experiment; and
  • The business task force developed a new dashboard of leading and lagging indicators to keep an eye on all things finance.

These task forces ran from mid-March to mid-June, after which we decided to pause the twice weekly stand-ups while we discuss next steps. As the pandemic response has evolved, we no longer need to react quite as quickly, and we’re currently disbanding or adapting each of the task forces.

What we’ll do differently next time

The task force framework and decision-maker model allowed us to spin up teams quickly to respond to rapidly-changing world events. It’s a model we’d like to keep using as needed.

We plan on using this specific task force model in the future for any major crisis, event, or other moment that deeply impacts our customers, the team, and/or the business.

Next time, we might also not necessarily keep our task forces exclusive to leadership; crisis response often requires collaboration across the whole team!

Overall, this is a relatively simple and easy-to-replicate model that has helped us move through an unprecedented time. If you want to read more about our COVID-19 response, all of the team communication that we sent is listed here.





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High-Converting Tips & 5 Can’t-Miss Examples


Sales pages are like the powerlifters of landing pages. Or, if team sports are more your thing, they’re the MVPs.

Where most landing pages provide immense value by setting you up to score a sale—perhaps by generating, vetting, or capturing leads—a sales page makes the touchdown itself. (Am I doing this sports metaphor thing right?)

In other words, sales pages have loftier goals than your average product page or landing page. Rather than aiming for downloads, signups, or click-throughs (all of which play a role in finding and nurturing leads), the purpose of sales pages is turning ad clicks directly into paying customers.

Suffice it to say, the pressure is on. Your sales pages need to come through with the win, which means you need to know how to create a high-converting sales page for every campaign.

In this article, we’ll tell you what makes a great sales landing page and show you how to create a sales page that actually converts clicks into customers. Plus, we’ll look at what you can learn from some of our favorite real-world sales page examples.

But first, let’s answer some of the most common questions related to sales pages for online stores and services.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Sales Landing Pages

What is a sales page, exactly?

A sales page is a dedicated landing page built to convert ad traffic into customers. You can think of sales pages as the modern sales letter, but more targeted and data-driven.

A good sales page is more than just a convenient place to send click-throughs. It’s the best place to send someone who clicks on a targeted ad, whether you’re running paid ads on Instagram or an email marketing campaign.

Why do I need a sales landing page?

Compared to online stores, sales pages convert better in terms of volume and revenue. In fact, landing pages have been shown to convert 2X as many visitors into customers and increase average customer spend 2X. Whoa.

A big reason for this is that online stores have built-in distractions that can pull visitors in multiple directions (things like links to related products, promotions, shipping details, etc.). You use a sales page when you want to maintain momentum and ensure shoppers only have one thing on their mind: making the purchase.

What separates a sales page from a typical landing page?

Like every great landing page, a sales page is built around a specific conversion goal. However, when it comes to sales page design, the objective isn’t just any old conversion—it’s getting visitors to actually buy. In order to close the deal, a sales page might be longer than the average landing page, especially for bigger purchases.

What about product pages vs. sales pages?

If you already have product pages, do you still need sales landing pages? Um, heck yes! Unlike product pages, which highlight features in depth, a sales landing page is built specifically to convert. That means visitors see the exact information they need to make a purchasing decision, without the distractions typically found on a product page.

Plus, sales landing pages are more flexible than traditional product pages. They can be tweaked and tested and updated before you could even begin making changes to the rest of your website.

How Do I Create a Sales Page That Converts?

A sales landing page is a tool to drive, well, sales. As such, it must be carefully designed to motivate leads to take action. Whether you’re creating a new sales page or hoping to optimize an existing page, there are a few key notes you need to hit. So, what goes into crafting a high-converting sales landing page?

Your sales page needs to match the ad so visitors instantly recognize that they’re in the right place. Nothing derails a potential sale faster than a page that has little or nothing to do with whatever was featured in the ad (this is basically the ecommerce version of catfishing).

This is perhaps the most important (and often underestimated) part of an effective sales page, so here’s a quick example.

Let’s say you’re marketing a subscription service for a range of fancy jams and jellies, but this month you’re using paid ads to promote lavender honey from a local farm. It’s seasonal and supplies are limited, so it’s not something you want to add to your website’s regular catalog.

Whoever clicks on that ad has already told you they’re interested in the lavender honey (why else would they have clicked?). That means they don’t want to see that you offer ice wine jelly or canning supplies (at least, not right at that moment).

So, what does your sales page need to do? Show them the honey—and, hopefully, they’ll show you the money. Sweet, right?

  • Use persuasive copy. Your sales page needs to do the job of a salesperson, which means compelling leads to open their wallets. The headline should convey immediate benefits and the body copy should be used to address sales objections, answer potential questions, and compel visitors to click ‘buy.’ 
  • Show the product in action. Sometimes, simply showing the product in use is the best way to communicate value. Include visuals of the product in action to get customers excited about their upcoming purchase.
  • Build trust with social proof. Address potential sales objections with real testimonials from existing customers. This helps potential customers see the value your product provides and adds credibility to your claims.
  • Provide clear next steps. You don’t want to pay for ads that lead to a dead end. Maintain momentum by featuring a single, straightforward call-to-action on a prominent, clickable button so the next steps are 100% clear.

Ready to build a high-converting sales page of your own? Check out our library of 100+ ready-to-use sales page templates and start selling more today.

High-Converting Sales Page Examples Created with Unbounce

1. Dinnerly

Sales Landing Page Examples - Dinnerly
Image courtesy of Dinnerly. (Click to see the whole thing.)

From the creators of Marley Spoon, Dinnerly is an alternative meal kit service for the budget-conscious home chef. Their price per meal is roughly half of typical meal kits, but their recipes still pack a full-plate, high-quality punch. They’re able to pull this off by minimizing costs related to packaging and marketing.

For this campaign, Dinnerly advertised on Reddit and sent click-throughs to the sales landing page shown above.

Why does this sales page convert so well?
This page is built specifically for leads from a single source: Reddit. From the headline to the CTA (“Claim My Reddit Discount”), everything about this page is tailored to the leads who click through from a Reddit ad campaign. Greeting visitors with “Hi Reddit!” immediately tells them they’re in the right place. As we scroll down, the page continues to match both the source and the brand.

What can you learn from Dinnerly?
What can other marketers learn from this example and apply to their own pages? The big takeaway here is to match the message and design of your sales page to the ad. If you want to run similar campaigns across several sources (say, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram), you should consider building and customizing variant sales pages for each one.

2. Ruby

Sales Landing Page Examples - Ruby
Image courtesy of Ruby. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Ruby provides virtual reception and chat services to a wide range of businesses. On this sales landing page, they’re speaking directly to business owners who need live phone support.

Why is this page so great at selling?
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to write a sales page, this is it. Both the headline and supporting copy reinforce benefits in terms relevant to the audience. 

All of the content (including benefits, visuals, and pricing information) is targeted towards businesses that need virtual reception and are concerned about missing customer calls or not being able to handle after-hours conversations.

This landing page also wins because it:

  • Frames customer testimonials as “Success Stories” to add clout to standard social proof. 
  • Features data from customer surveys to demonstrate proven results.
  • Emphasizes their money-back guarantee, which addresses some of the biggest sales objections. (“Is it worth the cost? Will I regret this purchase?”)
  • Minimizes external distractions by focusing on the receptionist services (rather than looping in their live chat offering).
  • Visually divides sections and uses color-blocking to make it easier to scroll for relevant information.

What can you learn from Ruby’s sales page example?
A good sales page provides answers to everything potential customers need to confidently make an informed purchase. Even if you offer tiered services (like Ruby’s monthly packages of 100, 200, or 500 receptionist minutes), you can leverage a single sales page to drive conversions for all of them. The key is to aim for transparency about pricing and packages, so leads don’t have to click away from your sales page to learn more. 

If you need to provide extra information that doesn’t fit on the main page, you can use lightbox popups like Ruby does for their monthly plans. This is a clever way to keep visitors on the page without bogging down the main content with excessive details that might not be relevant to each visitor.

3. Thistle

Sales Landing Page Examples - Thistle
Image courtesy of Thistle. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Thistle is a ready-to-eat meal subscription service that specializes in nutritious, plant-based dishes made from local ingredients.

Why does this sales page get results?
One of the simplest things that makes a sales page effective is focusing on the benefits instead of features. The headline highlights what the visitor cares about most (meals that are “so deliciously easy”) and the rest of the copy uses language that says Thistle truly gets what their audience wants. 

Even though text only takes up a third of the space above the fold (allowing that bright, veggie-filled salad to do much of the talking), all of these heavy hitters are visible before we scroll down: “no more groceries,” “fill your fridge,” “super healthy,” “gourmet meals,” “less cost.”

How can you apply these lessons to your own sales pages?
In a highly competitive space, you need something that makes you stand out. Your sales page should balance speaking to your audience’s needs (which your competitors are likely also doing) and emphasizing your unique selling point (which is specific only to your brand). For Thistle, this means highlighting the traditional convenience and benefits of a meal delivery service, but also leaning into the health benefits that set them apart.

Craving more inspiration for your sales page design? Take a look at how Indochino and Packlane use Unbounce sales pages to fuel their digital marketing strategy and online sales.

4. Solo Stove

Sales Landing Page Examples - Solo Stove
Image courtesy of Solo Stove. (Click to see the whole thing.)

This sales page is part of a retargeting campaign for customers who’ve already purchased the Solo Stove and potentially other accessories.

What makes this sales page a winner?
There are a few reasons why this sales page is so effective. Not only does it appeal to the community that’s built up around their brand, but it also uses visuals that show the product in action.  

Plus, by introducing the shield as their “most-requested accessory,” Solo Stove implies that their customers already want this. This serves two purposes.

First, for anyone who may have actually requested the shield, this page offers pure validation. If you even thought about wanting a shield for your Solo Stove and saw this campaign, you’re pretty much guaranteed to buy into it right away. As for the rest of Solo Stove’s customers retargeted by this campaign, the idea that it’s highly requested primes them to convert by building social proof right into the offer. 

This page also makes use of a clever CTA (“Claim your Shield” above the “Shop Now” button) that suggests Solo Stove customers are entitled to the shield after eagerly awaiting its release.

What can you learn from Solo Stove?
When you offer multiple products, using sales pages creates space to focus on just one item at a time. That said, you can play around with the formula to best serve your campaign. Unlike most of the other sales pages we’re discussing today, this one breaks the mold a little by linking out to three purchase pages instead of driving all traffic to one. 

Solo Stove included three separate “Shop Now” buttons to match the three sizes offered. However, splitting up traffic works here because anyone who clicks on this ad is already a Solo Stove customer. That means they already own a fire pit in one of these sizes—and since the shields are named to match each size, there’s no question of which button each customer should click.

5. The Coffee Network

The Coffee Network is an Australia-based coffee marketplace for bean lovers with an appetite for trying new blends.

What makes this sales page stand out?
Presumably, the audience here is already interested in coffee and likely searching online for the best coffee or, more specifically, the best coffee in Australia. That said, this sale page still has to sell—especially because the target audience is likely unfamiliar with the Coffee Network.

With a focus on benefits and customization (roasting method, strength, and flavor), the copy describes the coffee finder tool both clearly and succinctly. The three steps under “How It Works” are easy to understand at a glance. The call to action repeatedly urges coffee lovers to “try now” and the heading and body copy reiterate how simple it is to use.

Aside from a single link in the footer that leads to their homepage (which prevents leads from bouncing if they aren’t quite ready to buy), this sales page is free of external links and distractions. Including minimal links, offers, and buttons helps keep leads on the page until they’re ready to “Try Now” or grab more information from the website.

What can you learn from this sales page example?
Shorter landing pages work best for products that are simple, smaller purchases (i.e., products that don’t require as much deliberation or persuasion). For most of us, buying coffee isn’t all that complicated. So, in this example, a short and simple sales page hits the spot. The ideal length of any sales page depends on what you’re selling. However, when it comes to deciding what to include on your sales page, quality content always trumps quantity.

Put the Power of Sales Pages to Work for Your Business

It’s easy to assume that whoever clicks on your ad is interested in your business—in which case, it would make sense to take them to your online store or product page to learn more about your offerings. But, as you know, that’s not why shoppers click ads for individual products or services. 

They don’t care about the rest of your product line (at least, not at that moment). They just want to know more about what you promised them in the ad. So, sending ad traffic straight to your website or product page likely isn’t going to lead to a sale.

Even if you have products or services that practically sell themselves, creating a campaign-specific sales page prevents leads from getting lost on your website instead of following through with the purchase.

If you want to grow your online sales without scaling your sales team (and costs), you need dedicated sales pages built to drive revenue. Discover how sales landing pages can take your conversions to the next level.

Ecomm landing pages



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(Guide) How to Choose & Customize a Landing Page Template


Let’s say you’re the owner of a boutique soap store and you’re taking your business online. (Hey, in 2020, you wouldn’t be the only one.)

You’ve already got a simple website, but you wanna run promotions to really lather up some business. So, you get to work on your marketing campaign. You come up with an irresistible offer. You spend your lunch hours building an email list of existing and potential customers. You stay up late learning the basics of Google Ads. Then you start planning the landing page where you’ll send your campaign traffic.

With all the work you’ve already put in, you’re delighted to know you can save some time by starting with a landing page template. But when you go to choose one in your favorite builder (ahem), you don’t see any that look right for your business. There’s a template that seems like it’s meant for realtors, maybe. Another that’d be good for bakeries. But nothing for soap sellers like you. You’re stuck.

“Dangit, Unbounce. Where’re the soap landing pages?” — You, probably.

Not so fast, sudsy—you’re looking at this the wrong way. The idea here isn’t to find a landing page template that matches your business exactly. First and foremost, you want to choose a template that supports your campaign conversion goal. Everything else—your industry, your product or service, your branding—comes second. 

In this post, we’ll show you how to pick out the perfect template for your next marketing campaign. Then, we’ll show you how you can transform it into a custom-branded, high-converting masterpiece.

How to Choose a Template That Supports Your Conversion Goal

What’s a conversion goal, exactly?

Your conversion goal is the action you want visitors to take as a result of your marketing campaign. Maybe you want somebody to buy a product, like fancy soap. Or maybe you want them to sign up for a webinar about… I dunno, making fancy soap?

The point is that some landing page templates are better-suited to specific conversion goals than others. If you just want someone to buy a product, your landing page’s call to action is pretty straightforward. On the other hand, if you’re registering people for a webinar, you’re gonna need their name and email address (at least). That’ll mean a more complex call to action.

Which template is best for your conversion goal?

Broadly, landing page templates fall into one of two categories: click-through pages and lead generation pages. They’ve each got a distinct type of call to action meant to support a certain conversion goal. 

The page on the left is a click-through landing page, while the one on the left is a lead gen landing page.

Click-through landing pages prime visitors for the next step in their journey, like a checkout flow or sign-up page. Since the real ask comes wherever they end up after this page, the call to action here is simple—usually just a button. (“Buy Now” is a classic of this genre.)

On the other hand, lead generation landing pages use forms to capture visitor information that can be used later, like for promotional emails. These pages typically offer some kind of incentive (or “lead magnet”) for filling out the form—a downloadable ebook or webinar registration, for example.

What about the design of a template?

First, you need to decide whether your conversion goal requires a click-through or lead gen landing page. Then, consider how the template’s design spotlights your offer.

If you’re selling soap, you probably want a click-through template that can accommodate lots of photos of your product, like this one. And maybe you think that soap-making webinar we suggested earlier sounds like a great idea. You might want a lead gen template that can share a video of what people can expect, like this one.

Notice that neither of these templates have anything to do with soap. We chose ’em because their call to action supports our conversion goal and their design reinforces our offer. Now, we can start to replace elements of these pages with our own copy and imagery to integrate them into our marketing campaign.

Converting a Landing Page Template for Your Campaign

Every landing page template is different, but they usually have similar elements and follow the same general structure: a header section, a list of features and benefits, some social proof, and a call to action. (Also check out this post on the anatomy of a landing page.)

Follow the steps below to transform your chosen template into a branded landing page that’ll win over your visitors.

1. Your Header Section

  • Add a hero image of your product, service, or lead magnet. If you want to help prospects visualize the benefits, consider showing your offer in the context of use: someone using your product to solve a problem or improving themselves through your service. 
  • Be sure to include your company logo. You want people to know this is your landing page, after all. 
  • Write a descriptive headline that tells people exactly what you’re offering. You can also communicate your main value proposition using a couple of sentences just under your headline.
  • Update your call to action. If you’re using a click-through template, you could have a button that sends people to a product page on your website, a third-party delivery platform, or even add a Shopify integration. If you’re capturing leads, try to keep your form simple—only ask for the information you absolutely need.

2. Your Benefits Section

  • People skim, so provide a bulleted list of the benefits of your offer. If you’re creating a sales page, use this space to highlight how your product or service improves your customers’ lives. If you’re offering a lead magnet (like an ebook), tell people what they’ll learn and how they can apply it.
  • Does your template have icons for each benefit? Make sure they’re relevant to your offer or brand. If not, lots of websites offer free icons you can use to replace ‘em: streamlineicons.com, flaticon.com, thenounproject.com, material.io, icons8.com, ionicons.com, among others.

3. Your Social Proof Section

  • Include a testimonial from a satisfied customer, or maybe an endorsement from an industry leader. The trick here is authenticity: use a real quote that sounds believable. Even real testimonials that are too positive can sound like you’re making ‘em up. 
  • Alternatively, you could showcase other kinds of proof: awards you’ve won, trust seals you’ve earned—that sorta thing.
  • Whatever you include here, remember to ask permission. For example, depending on where you source a testimonial from (Amazon, G2), there may be restrictions on how you can use it. 

4. Your About Section

  • Let people know more about your business. What makes your product or service unique? What’s your mission statement—your raison d’être? This is your opportunity to connect with visitors beyond this particular offer.
  • That said, you don’t want visitors to lose focus. Keep it short and sweet.

5. Your CTA Section

  • If your page runs long, consider including a final pitch for your offer. This is your last chance, so make it count. Pump up the urgency or exclusivity, or remind visitors about the benefits they stand to gain—whatever it takes to get the conversion.
  • Repeat the call to action button from your header section. Or, if this is a lead gen page, include a button that bumps visitors back up to your form. 

6. Your Footer Section

  • Add your logo and any other details you need to communicate (contact information, copyright notice, any other necessary boilerplate) at the very bottom of the page.

And that about covers it. With that quick checklist, you can turn just about any template into an on-brand landing page in just a few minutes. Simple, right?

3 (More) Examples of Landing Page Template Customization

Alright, the soap example is feeling a little played out. Now, let’s take three templates that Unbounce put together in response to COVID-19 earlier this year—FreshGoods, Multor, and Horizons—and switch ‘em up for different industries.

You can do all of this yourself, of course. But just to make sure these examples are absolute fire, I’ve recruited Gus from our design team to help out.

Gus says “what’s up,” by the way. 👋

FreshGoods → UNIQ

First up is FreshGoods, a click-through landing page template that was designed to help brick-and-mortars get online super quick. Small retailers that don’t have a website can use it to launch a basic ecomm page. Restaurants and breweries can use it to link out to delivery platforms or run special promotions. But it can also fit a more general product launch page—say, for a new mobile app.

The design for FreshGoods clearly speaks to a bakery or cafe. You’ve got the hero image of a bread basket, secondary photography of hand-made pastries and specialty coffees, plus icons that imply food delivery. 

Landing Page Template Examples - FreshGoods
The original version of FreshGoods. (Click to see the whole thing.)

But what’s great about FreshGoods is that it’s both simple and comprehensive. You’ve got all the sections you need to communicate your offer in a compelling way, without any of the technical design elements you’d need to spend hours tinkering with. 

Changing it up is super easy. You’ve really just gotta swap in your logo, images, and icons—then you’ve got (what looks like) a totally custom landing page.

Landing Page Template Examples - FreshGoods (Revised)
The new landing page we built with FreshGoods. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Sure, when you compare the two pages side-by-side, you can see they’re similar. But think about the amount of real work that went into this. Swapping in the new logo? Two minutes. Sourcing images… say 10 minutes. (Or even less, considering our in-app integration with Unsplash.) Add a couple other minor tweaks, and what you’re looking at is, like, 20 minutes for a whole new page.

All you’ve gotta do now is write your campaign copy. (And if you want tips on how to write for your industry, you can pull some insights from our Conversion Benchmark Report.)

Multor → PersonalTrainer

The idea for the Multor lead gen template was to help businesses offer digital alternatives to their in-person services. Healthcare clinics and dentists can use it to offer online consultations. Realtors can schedule people for virtual home walkthroughs. Fitness instructors can register people for video classes… which gives us a great idea for a new page.

We’ll get to that in a second, but let’s have a look at the original page first. Multor Senior feels pretty Silicon Valley, right? It’s all photos of people on computers. (We even snuck a coffee in there, which is very tech.) And the blue is evoking logic and dependability. Look, there it goes!

Landing Page Template Examples - Multor
The original version of Multor. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Like FreshGoods, Multor is meant to be easily customizable. To create our new fitness landing page, we just added our logo and hero image, changed the icons, and replaced the old photos and video. Then we tinkered with some of the fonts, colors, and backgrounds.

Landing Page Template Examples - Multor (Revised)
The new landing page we built with Multor. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Lo and behold—we’ve got a whole new page in less time than it takes to finish your morning cup’a joe.

Horizons → MKT Masters

With the Horizons template, we wanted to help brands capture leads and for promotions during a down period. Think travel and hospitality companies that wanna get people booked for events next year, or marketing agencies hoping to attract business with an ebook or webinar.

Landing Page Template Examples - Horizons
The original version of Horizons. (Click to see the whole thing.)

You’ll see that the design fits some kind of outdoorsy company, what with the photos of nature and delightful orienteering icons. We’d originally mocked up the page for a downloadable ebook, but this template is great for any kind of lead magnet.

How about… an online class all about great marketing, hosted by future me?

Landing Page Template Examples - Horizons (Revised)
The new landing page we built with Horizons. (Click to see the whole thing.)

We went a little bit wild with this one. In addition to changing up the imagery and colors, we decided to rearrange the sections to have our video just under the fold. That way, the first thing visitors will see when they scroll the page is a preview of our class—the most compelling piece of promo material we’ve got.

Create Your Next Landing Page with a Quick-Start Template

Are you still building your landing pages from scratch? (Or, worse yet, relying on a developer to code ‘em for you?)

Forget that. Using one of Unbounce’s 100+ templates, you can put together a fully-branded, campaign-customized landing page in just a few minutes. That means you can spend less time creating pages and more time creating artisanal soaps—or, y’know, whatever else you wanna do with your time.

Go on—give it a shot.



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Behind the Scenes for 2020 [Survey Results]


As part of our new Conversion Benchmark Report, Unbounce ran a survey of marketers, working in dozens of industries, in early 2020.

We wanted to know about your plans when it comes to running a high-converting campaign—as well as the role played by landing pages in supporting your post-click strategy. How do our expectations line up with the insights revealed by a machine learning analysis of 19 million conversions? How firm is the average marketer’s grasp on industry conversion rates? And how satisfied are they with their current performance?

Of course, 2020 didn’t exactly turn out how anybody expected. (Boy, that’s an understatement.) But your answers provide a unique window into the “best-laid plans” of marketers and underline how—midway through a beastly year—some things may have changed in dramatic ways, while others remain tried and true

Together with the findings from the report itself, these numbers provide a behind-the-scenes view of what other marketers think when it comes to their landing pages. I thought I’d share some of the results with you today.

Takeaway #1: The most popular digital marketing strategy is a diverse one.

When asked about budgets, the 400 people we surveyed were evenly split in how much they plan to spend on marketing activities in 2020. Answers ranged from less than $5,000 to more than $500,000, and this didn’t always depend on the size of the business. 

No matter the heft of their wallets, though, marketers also told us they planned to fire on all cylinders by taking on a wide variety of marketing activities. Here are the most popular types of campaigns you told us you’re running this year:

The “Other” category also yields some varied answers, from paper mailers to podcasts to push notifications.

In some cases, we expect this mix of activities has changed to match the new normal. A business-as-usual approach to event marketing hasn’t been possible, for instance, and the landscape for PPC and social is different than it was six months ago. (Though PPC experts are nothing if not adaptable.)

These challenging times don’t mean these activities have been completely abandoned, however. While in-person networking is harder, many companies have found ways to achieve similar goals online by running webinars or digital conferences. (Many say this shift to virtual gatherings will have a lasting impact on how they do event marketing.)

Which brings us to another question…

How often are marketers including landing pages as part of their campaigns in 2020? 

Very often, it turns out.

36.2% of respondents told us they use them all of the time, and 41.8% said most of the time—that’s a whopping 77% who see landing pages as an essential part of their post-click strategy.

We surveyed marketers outside our networks, but likely attracted some fans of landing pages (and Unbounce) who may have skewed the results. Still, these responses are an indicator that if you’re not using landing pages to support your campaigns, you’re in the minority.

New to landing pages? One reason they appeal to so many marketers is that they help you squeeze more conversions out of your existing ad budget. If we’ve piqued your interest, take a look at our guide to creating your first Unbounce landing page to learn more about how you can get started.

Takeaway #2: Marketers are doing a whole lot with their landing pages. 

So, yes, marketers are using landing pages quite often. 

When it comes to how they’re using them, we naturally expected lead-gen activities to top the charts. That’s still true, but it was also surprising how many respondents said they also use landing pages to connect more directly with prospects by scheduling appointments (42%) and phone calls (37.2%). Here’s how it breaks down:

Four years ago, when we were working on the first version of the Conversion Benchmark Report, we focused our analysis entirely on lead gen because the overwhelming majority of landing pages on our platform served that purpose. That’s no longer the case.

This year’s findings reveal that what marketers consider to be a conversion has diversified. A conversion can look very different depending on your business, your customers, and your goals.

For example, while CTAs related to ecommerce (like showing off merchandise or adding a product to cart) are still less common than, say, calls to download an ebook, the popularity of these use cases continues to grow. As competition increases and more brick-and-mortar businesses move online, we expect more marketers to adopt pre-cart landing pages. These let them tell better stories about their products or frame their offers in more compelling ways.


Takeaway #3: When it comes to reaching their conversion potential, marketers are an ambitious bunch. 

In advance of publishing the benchmark data, we were curious about what marketers think is an average conversion rate in their industry and what kinds of conversion rates they’d be satisfied with achieving. 

As expected, you’ve got high—but, crucially, not unrealistic—expectations about how you want your landing pages to perform. First, here’s how respondents told us they think the average page performs in their industry:

Marketers rarely expect conversion rates over 10%. More than two-thirds of them told us that the averages in their industry are likely below that impenetrable ceiling. (As we’ll see, their instincts aren’t wrong.)

But here’s where you told us you’d like to be: 

Clearly, marketers crave big numbers when it comes to conversion rates. If we total the numbers, 71.8% of marketers told us they’re trying to achieve conversion rates of 11% or higher. Many have their sights set even higher than that!

Lofty goals like these are good—great even. And our results show they’re definitely achievable, but probably not without knowing your audience very well and taking the time to test and continuously optimize your landing pages and campaigns.

So…

How do landing pages in your industry actually perform?

Drumroll, please… 🥁

According to our analysis of 34 thousand landing pages, the average landing page converts at 9.7% (or 3.2%, expressed as a median).

That’s not the whole story, though. Some industries perform much better than others. For example, the finance and insurance industries convert at 11.6% (average), while real estate achieves average conversion rates of 6.2%.

And when we decided to isolate the top quartile in our conversion data—that’s fancy talk for focusing on the top 25% of performers—we also see much more drool-worthy conversion rates. In finance and insurance, chart-topping pages convert closer to 26%! (So people who told us they wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less aren’t dreaming. There are campaigns and marketers achieving those kinds of results right now.)

Conversion Rate by Home Improvement Type Graph
This graph from the Conversion Benchmark Report shows the median (rather than average) conversion rates for four subcategories in the home improvement industry. 

These are just a few generalities. In the report, you’ll find the specific benchmarks related to 16 industries, including SaaS, e-comm, agencies, and business services. You can also read insights about how long your pages should be, what reading level you should target, what calls-to-action are most popular, and which emotions relate to more conversions.

Why’d we create the report? More than just benchmarks, the data-derived insights from the Conversion Benchmark Report will help you pair your savvy with AI to create the highest-converting campaigns of your career. It’s part of the Unbounce Conversion Intelligence™ mission to bring marketers new ways to optimize and level up their skills.

Takeaway #4: Delivering the right landing page for the right audience remains a challenge.

Let’s sum up what we’ve learned so far. Marketers have big ambitions for their landing pages, and they’re looking to do even more with them in 2020. We also saw that the best-performing landing pages routinely hit double-digit conversion rates. (Yowza.)

So, what’s holding the rest of ’em back? We wanted to know where our respondents saw room to improve their landing pages, and here’s what they told us:

It wasn’t deliberate, but it seems to me that the answers here fall into four broad categories: 

  • First, there are issues with optimization. Marketers feel they don’t have time to optimize their pages using A/B testing. Sometimes they may not have the data or expertise to make meaningful choices when it comes to improving their conversion rates.
  • Second, matching the right page to the right audience can be tricky. Fixing it can involve traffic optimizations further up the funnel. But how do you also make sure that each visitor hits the landing page that’s right for them?
  • Third, whether it’s a matter of talent or time, sometimes marketers don’t feel like the copy and design on their pages are effective. (Testing could help, yes. But see #1 on this list.) For small businesses, marketers may have to play too many roles. And they may not have access to learning material that helps them improve.
  • And fourth are technical hurdles, like slow loading times or ensuring pages look perfect on different devices. (These made up the “Other” category above.) In this case, marketers have risen to the challenge of building lighter, more mobile-friendly experiences.

Today’s marketers have a lot on their plate—you could say they’re young, scrappy, and hungry—but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking for easy ways to step up their game.

How’d we get these numbers? We fielded the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Survey between December 2019 and February 2020. To ensure a healthy sample size, we surveyed 439 people. After a few qualifying questions, we paired it down 400 respondents who identified as marketers.

How can marketers overcome these challenges?

When it comes to getting the most conversions from your landing pages, we’ve been talking a lot about a shift in mindset we’re calling Conversion Intelligence. Again and again, we’ve seen evidence that better performance isn’t an accident. It’s the result of continuously fine-tuning each element of your campaigns.

But when marketers often do this optimization work on their own, they quickly run up against limits—of time and money, of expertise, of insight. By pairing your expertise with Artificial Intelligence, you can overcome these limits. You can create and optimize the highest-converting campaigns possible.

Our teams are working to share opportunities you couldn’t spot without the processing power of a machine. For now, you can check out the Conversion Benchmark Report. Starting with the benchmarks, dig into your industry. Use the machine-derived insights about reading ease, word count, and sentiment to create higher-converting pages.

Better yet, build a low-commitment (as in, quick and easy) variant or two based on the insights in the CBR, then flip on Smart Traffic and see how they perform. This feature uses machine learning to automatically match each and every visitor to the landing page most likely to convert. There’s no need to babysit it or declare a champion variant, and it never stops learning.

Using Smart Traffic is a quick win, especially if you don’t have the time or traffic for the traditional A/B testing. It needs just a little bit of attention to get it up and running on your most important pages. All you need to do is build a few variants, and turn it on. We see an average lift in conversions of 20% for customers who use it, so it’s very much worth the small effort.

Finding a New Normal

The Conversion Benchmark Report Survey was a bit of informal market research before starting on an intimidating project. But your responses also helped us enrich the quantitative data (generated with the help of AI) with some good old-fashioned human intuition.

It continues to be a challenging year, and we’ll run a follow-up survey to see how things have changed for you in 2021. But, for now, I’m curious: how have your plans changed? Have you adjusted? Have you pivoted? Swerved? Tempered your expectations? Adapted your existing campaigns to the new normal? Found new opportunities even?

Let me know in the comments.



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We’re Hiring a VP of Product


We’ve been building Buffer for coming up to ten years now. We’re currently a 90-person fully remote team with over 70,000 paying customers and $20M in annual revenue. We’re proud to be a leader in the space of social media management, and to operate long-term as an independent and profitable business.

As a company, we’ve rallied around serving small businesses. We’re also passionate about challenging suboptimal approaches to how work happens and how employees are treated. Our current 4-day workweek experiment is an example of that.

An important philosophy of our journey has been having the freedom to build our product and workplace the way we’d like to. In 2018, we took an important action to maintain this freedom by spending $3.3 million buying out our main VC investors.

After a great decade with many accomplishments and interesting challenges, we’re looking for an experienced and driven product executive to partner with me as CEO to shape the future of Buffer.

Before I get into why we’re hiring a VP of Product, I want to share a history of product at Buffer, how our team is set up, and our most recent revenue metrics as these are all aspects of Buffer that I know a product leader will have questions around.

A history of product at Buffer

I launched the first (truly an MVP) version of Buffer in late 2010. In the beginning, Buffer started as a solution to my own problemaround consistently sharing content on social media. Ithen put the idea through a customer discovery and validation process to ensure it was a problem others had, too.We launched with a freemium model and were fortunate to welcome the first paying customer on day three. We then added some focused marketing, and over the course of the first year gained thousands of active users of the product. Initially a lot of our product direction came from those customers, listening to their problems and devising unique solutions.

In 2012, it was time to focus slightly more. We narrowed in on bloggers, individuals, and small business owners. We set down our first true product vision, which was to be the sharing standard for the web. We made big progress on this vision, becoming the first social media management solution to create a sharing button and completing integrations with countless news reading apps.

During this time, our acquisition and growth strategy was our freemium model. Ultimately we started to realize that this strategy would only truly work if we became a mainstream product used by millions. As we integrated more widely, the signups we gained from those partnerships led to much lower freemium conversion rates. As a result, by 2014, our growth started to plateau and we felt we reached the upper limits of how successful Buffer could become with this approach.

Since our product was most valued by and most active among small business customers, we leaned into that and launched Buffer for Business with new pricing plans tiered up to $500/mo. We succeeded in finding a new wave of growth, and the journey cemented our intuition that Buffer wouldn’t find success as a consumer product. This brought a level of focus that was refreshing, and pushed us to add more power to the product. We aimed to do this while still maintaining the simplicity our customers had grown to love Buffer for.

In 2015, we explored  a team structure with no managers, and this played directly into our approach to product. With more autonomy on our team, we let our product strategy take a truly organic direction.  During our period of no managers, we launched several new products. This included a “Buffer labs” exploration where we produced Pablo, our image creation product, as well as Daily, a swipe left or right approach to adding suggested content to your social media queue. Finally, the Pablo team shifted to launch Rocket, our first foray into the ads space. Daily and Rocket were ultimately sunset, and we learned a lot from each of them.

In early 2016, we acquired Respondly, a social customer service and engagement product which we relaunched as Buffer Reply. This was our most significant bet and investment to date and took us into the customer service industry for the first time. Customer service had always been a large focus for us as a company, and we were excited to be able to offer a product to help others in this space, too. At the time, the networks were making a big bet on social media becoming a significant channel for customer service. Customer service ultimately did not grow along the path we predicted, and the need for a fully fledged product here was mostly limited to Enterprise scale, which was too mismatched with our existing customer-base and knowledge in the team. We grew Reply from $4k to $70k in MRR, and chose to sunset the product earlier this year.

In the process of becoming a two product organization, we saw an opportunity to separate out social analytics from our main product focused on social media publishing and content planning. We leaned into this multi-product strategy and built our third product, Analyze. This separation gave us a better focus on the separate customer jobs and we have been able to grow this into a very successful product. Analyze currently generates over $1.5m in ARR.

By the second half of 2018, we had grown to $18m in ARR and over 75,000 paying customers. Still being a small team, we started to feel stretched thin, and we increasingly found product prioritization and pace to be challenges. I partnered with our head of research to run a process to determine a singular type of customer for us to focus our efforts around. We arrived at Direct to Consumer (DTC) brands as a type of customer who has built their business on top of social media and has innovated the most with social media marketing and customer engagement. This newly defined Target Customer for Buffer brought us a lot of focus, but at times felt like an over correction and came at a cost to product improvements for our existing customers, who are small businesses of all types.

Something that became clear over a few years, and during our customer research process to arrive at DTC brands as a customer persona to focus on, was that the the world of social media had become increasing visual. To address this shift, we spent most of 2018 and 2019 building out new functionality focused on Instagram. In addition to this work to expand our product offerings, we underwent a significant rebuild project for our main product, Publish. Rebuilds are never fun, but with this now complete we are able to move significantly faster and deliver a much improved user experience.

That brings us to 2020. Our current focus is to become a brand-building platform for small businesses, with DTC brands as one of our primary customer personas. This year, it became clear that the multi-product approach was creating friction for customers, so we are working to adjust our pricing and overall experience towards a single solution. We’re in the midst of launching Engage, a social engagement product for small businesses that came out of our experiences growing Reply. Engage will be bundled as part of existing pricing tiers, at various levels of functionality.

I’m looking forward to this next chapter of Buffer, and to a future where we can become a comprehensive toolkit for small businesses to build their brand, grow, and create great relationships with their customers. We see a path to 100,000 paying customers and beyond, with many opportunities to solve more problems for that audience.

How our product team is set up

We’re primarily structured around the customer jobs we are focused on: Publish, Analyze and Engage. We also have two “shared services” teams focused on authentication, billing and onboarding (Core) and our iOS and Android apps (Mobile). Most teams have a Product Manager, Product Designer and somewhere between two and seven engineers depending on the needs of that product area.

The VP of Product we bring on board will manage Product and Design, and initially have six direct reports (four PMs, Head of Design and Partnerships Manager).

Our current financial metrics

We’ve been profitable since 2016 and in 2018 we chose to leverage that profitability to buy out a portion of our investors in order to retain control over Buffer’s path. We reached $10 million in ARR in May 2016, and $20 million ARR in March 2019.

Here are our most recent revenue and product metrics from June 2020:

MRR: $1,704,768
ARR: $20,457,216Customers: 69,596
ARPU: $24.50 Customer Churn: 4.76%Net
MRR Churn: 3.95%
LTV: $515

Revenue: $1,679,591
Operating Income: $235,375
EBITDA margin: 14.01%

We have a dedicated revenue dashboard (a work in progress!) where you can see revenue over time. Here’s what that looks like:

The COVID-19 impact

Many businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, including us. Buffer is in a strong financial position, we’ve thankfully had no impact on jobs and have remained solidly profitable. The shareholder update we sent in April shares a complete picture of our approach in the midst of the pandemic.

One thing I talked about in that update is that sometimes the best thing we can do for our small business customers isn’t immediately profitable for Buffer – including our COVID-19 support programs for customers with financial challenges. I have no doubt that we’re doing the right thing by focusing on people first. One of my business philosophies is that if we take care of our teammates and our customers as best we possibly can now, we will succeed in the long term.

This graph of our MRR in 2020 shows the impact we’ve seen on revenue:

Though we have experienced some anticipated decline, we are happy to see that it has started to climb again and as I mentioned, Buffer has pulled through in a strong financial position. We’ve spent the last few years building up to our current financial security, which means we can weather extreme levels of uncertainty. We’re fortunate and grateful to be in this position, and are proud of our financial diligence.

We’re hiring a VP of Product

At this point in the journey of Buffer, I’m excited to bring on board a VP of Product.

Before I share more of the reasons we came to this decision, I want to share a key area of weakness up front. While we’ve made great strides over the past few years, and we have a majority female leadership team, our current leadership team lacks diversity.

There’s no doubt that as a result we lack key perspectives and have unconscious biases as a company. It’s a priority for us to change this dynamic and include within our leadership team backgrounds that have been typically underrepresented in tech. This will serve our customers and our team more fully than we have been able to so far.

Since we don’t grow our leadership team often, this is a rare opportunity for us. In addition to looking for a talented product leader, we also want this teammate to bring a new perspective to our leadership team and culture. Making sure we speak to a slate of diverse candidates is critical as we look for our VP of Product.

Below are a few reasons I came to the decision to look for a product leader:

Being a product-minded CEO can become a weakness

As a product-minded CEO, my journey has followed from my innate energy and passion for product development. An engineer by background, I shifted to product development early in our journey, and found a lot of enjoyment in crafting the experience for customers, which I believe has played a large role in where we are today.

Unfortunately, what can happen with a product-CEO, is that product can go from being the strongest area of the company to one of the weakest. At a certain point, product must scale up and become operationalized, and those strengths must become part of how the overall team functions. I believe in recent years we’ve seen some deterioration of product where other areas such as engineering have grown stronger, due to my desire to hold on and shape product more than is appropriate for the size have grown to.

I’ve recognized that I need to take a different approach to fulfill the vision and goals I have, in order to keep the product as a core strength of ours. It needs to happen through someone else, rather than through me alone.

I’m looking to bring more balance to all areas of Buffer

I believe for a company to thrive, all areas in a company need to work in harmony and that my role as CEO is set down vision and support all areas.

Over the past few years, I’ve been very focused on product, which has caused an imbalance in how much I’ve been involved in other areas of the company. This is to the detriment of our customers, team, and all stakeholders.

By inviting this functional leader to our leadership team, it will mean I can be more equally balanced across all areas of Buffer. We will be able to push forward, and I can work more closely with leaders to set vision and strategy, across all areas in tandem.

Therefore, bringing on an experienced VP of Product will help us level up as a product organization. We will be able to introduce more streamlined processes, and by having a person dedicated to this area solely, we will improve the way product interacts with other related and interdependent areas, such as engineering, marketing, and advocacy.

We’re looking for outside perspective

For this role, I am making the choice to bring in someone from the outside instead of considering someone growing from within the company. This is new for us, and I’m excited for the opportunity for growth we have with a fresh perspective on the executive team.

In our journey so far, we have overwhelmingly had leaders grow from individual contributor roles into senior leaders. I believe that it’s beneficial to have a majority of leaders grow from within the company as there is a clear alignment of our values, empathy towards team members, and a sense of loyalty towards our mission.

With that said, having 100% of leaders grow from within creates a lack of diversity in our mindset and approach. Without outside experience, we will have knowledge gaps as a leadership team, and can become set in our ways. The VP of Product role is an excellent opportunity for us to find someone with some extensive outside experience.

A key thing we will be focused on in our hiring process is that a person’s external experience is compatible and additive to Buffer’s approach and values.

More about this role

For this role, I’m seeking a partner in product strategy and execution. Since product is at the heart of Buffer, this is one of the most important roles and one which will make decisions impacting all other areas.

We’re looking for a product leader with deep product management and design fundamentals and expertise, as well as strong people management experience and stakeholder collaboration. I’m aiming to find someone that can both tap into the insights that I have to offer and stand strong and push back when they believe I shouldn’t be involved.

It will be helpful for a potential VP of Product to have experience in a smaller company environment, and ideally has led a product team through significant growth, for example growing a SaaS product from $10m to $50m or more.

The other key difference with Buffer is that we’re focused on SMB, with a large number of paying customers and free users, and we have no sales team. This changes the type of work involved at the product leadership level, and this will be something the right person is energized by.

The new VP of Product will have the opportunity to craft a unique strategy to help us serve customers, differentiate Buffer, and see great growth over the next 5 to 10 years.

Joining Buffer at the leadership level is a rare opportunity. We’re a highly customer-focused team and are squarely on a path of long-term sustainability, and this is the first time we’ll be bringing someone from the outside to our executive team.

I’m looking forward to meeting people who are up for this challenge.

Please reach out through this job posting to apply and someone from our hiring team will be in touch with next steps.

If you want to recommend someone who you think would be great for this role, please fill out this form.

More about Buffer’s journey

If you’d like to learn more about Buffer’s journey over the years, here are a few podcast episodes where I’ve talked about starting Buffer, fundraising, transparency, and profitability.





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How to Create Irresistible Facebook Landing Pages (Examples)


Imagine a potential customer is sitting in their car, waiting to pick up their kids from school. They’ve got 15 minutes to kill, so they pick up their phone and (because they’re 46 and don’t know about TikTok yet) scroll through Facebook.

Between checking out their best friend’s pictures from a tropical vacation and trying to untangle their Aunt Ida’s… uh, “unorthodox” political insights, they see your Facebook advertisement for gorgeous, handmade leather bags.

Your ads reach people like this because of tracking, pixels, lookalike audiences, and all the other technical magic that powers Facebook’s advertising platform. Facebook can see that this potential customer is in the market for a new leather bag (they were just searching for one last night!) and, based on the demographic targeting you’ve applied, shows them your ad.

There are only five minutes left until the school bell rights and children flood out the doors into the car, demanding snacks, Fortnite V-Bucks, and meaningful action to address global climate change. So, your prospect clicks your ad with the intent to buy.

Only… your Facebook ad doesn’t send them where they expected. Instead, it takes them to the homepage of your store. The beautiful leather bag you were advertising is nowhere in sight. Now the kids are in the car, the phone is back in the console, and the sale is lost. Where’d you go wrong?

In this article, we’re going to discuss how dedicated Facebook landing pages help you capture more of these near-miss conversions. Along the way, we’ll highlight ways you can optimize your pages to make ’em more impactful and share some examples of digital brands who’re doing it right.

Landing Pages with Social Media

What Is a Facebook Landing Page?

A Facebook landing page is a dedicated page designed to convert visitors from a specific pay-per-click (PPC) Facebook ad.

These landing pages are different from other pages (like product pages on your website) because they’re tailor-made to complement your Facebook ad. They continue the story—the hook, the design, the call to action that was introduced to the reader as they scrolled through their Facebook newsfeed.

Years ago, Facebook offered landing pages within their own platform. These allowed businesses to gate their content for Facebook likes (earning them the nickname “like gate”), but they haven’t been available since 2014.

In this post, when we talk about Facebook landing pages, we’re talking about the first page someone sees after they click on a Facebook ad—not to be confused with the on-platform landing pages Facebook used to offer.

Why Do I Need Landing Pages for My Facebook Ads?

Everyone’s Facebook newsfeed is unique. The content and pages you like, the friends you’re connected to, the groups you’re joined—these things all influence the way your newsfeed populates. Because prospects’ newsfeeds are personalized and the ads they see are highly targeted, your Facebook landing page needs to be tightly aligned with your ad if it’s going to be successful.

Here are some other reasons that having dedicated landing pages for each Facebook ad is good practice:

Potential customers need more information

Scrollers, readers, and browsers on Facebook need extra nurturing to go from ad click to purchase. These potential customers are in the brand awareness phase. To convert on your page, they’ll wanna see specific information related to whatever got them to click on the ad in the first place. A focused Facebook landing page—with concise info and a consistent message—is the best way to turn them into customers.

Mobile users are distracted users

People don’t log into Facebook for in-depth reading and focused learning. They’re filling time, or just picking up their phone for a quick check-in. And because 94% of Facebook ad revenue is from a mobile device, you should assume everyone who sees your ad only has five minutes or less to make a purchase.

That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible to go from Facebook ad to landing page call to action. Every navigation obstacle or confusing message risks losing your prospect’s attention and having them move on to something else.

Homepages are slow and overwhelming

Homepages are great for solution-aware prospects looking for specific information, but they can be overwhelming for visitors from social media. (Just think of all the distractions: nav bars, calls to action, lists of products and features.) A MECLABS study found that 44% of clicks generated by B2B companies send readers to a homepage and not a dedicated landing page. That’s a lot of businesses that aren’t optimizing for conversions.

An average visitor won’t wait more than three seconds for a page to load. Most websites are heavy with images, scripts, and other elements that make them slower than an optimized landing page. When you send your Facebook ad traffic to your homepage, you’re probably losing more customers than you realize.

How Do I Create a High-Converting Facebook Landing Page?

We’ve got a quick-reference list of Facebook landing page best practices below, but there are two things you really wanna keep in mind as you start building your page:

Know your audience. It’s no secret that Facebook has amazing targeting capabilities, but you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you don’t know anything about your ideal prospects. Before you shell out the cash for Facebook ads, make sure that you know your audience well. Spend time investigating how potential customers search for your solution, what words they use when describing products or services similar to yours, and what features or benefits interest them most.

Keep it consistent. When writing for a Facebook landing page, remember to keep the messaging consistent between your ad and your landing page. Marketers might think that repeating copy is repetitive, but it can help reinforce your message to prospects and reassure them they’re in the right place after they click. Same with calls to action: if someone clicks an ad about earning a doctoral degree, that’d better be the main focus of your landing page.

5 Facebook Landing Page Must-Haves

  1. Clear unique selling proposition (USP). Visitors should immediately be able to tell what makes your product or service a fit for their needs. Don’t bury the most important details lower on your page—show ’em above the fold.
  2. Strong, descriptive headlines. Your headline should make the reader want to know more or see more. The headline on both the Facebook ad and landing page should convey the same offer.
  3. Consistent design elements. The goal here is to continue the story you started on Facebook, and that includes visuals. If the images on your Facebook ad are neutral colors with images of smiling kids, then your Facebook landing page should also have neutral colors with images of smiling kids.
  4. High-quality images or videos. This seems like a gimme, but you’d be surprised how many Facebook landing pages use low-res visuals that scare off prospects right after they’ve clicked an ad. Make sure to use images or videos on your landing page that shows your offer in the best light.
  5. A singular, compelling call to action. You can repeat your call to action throughout the page, but you should only ask visitors to do one specific thing. Plus, your copy should tell them exactly what happens when they do that thing: for example, “get the ebook” rather than “submit” on a form.

Examples of Facebook Landing Pages Done Right

Of course, we’d never give you all this information without providing some concrete examples. Here’s a breakdown of Facebook landing pages from Unbounce customers who really know what they’re doing.


Quarters: Target Your Ads with Demographic Information

Quarters is an all-inclusive community living space in multiple locations around the world. They advertise their service on Facebook by highlighting their transparent pricing, contract flexibility, and included amenities.

This Facebook ad that Quarters is running has five variants. Each features copy and imagery designed to target people looking for housing in a particular city or neighborhood—say, Manhattan—allowing Facebook to surface relevant ads depending on audience location.

Facebook Landing Page Examples - Quarters
Image courtesy of Quarters. (Click to see the whole thing.)

When someone clicks through to the landing page, Quarters encourages them to “Check Availability,” repeating the call to action throughout the page to keep it top-of-mind. This does a great job of guiding visitors to take the next step in the purchase journey.

Choosing a place to live can be a substantial expense (especially in the Big Apple), and Quarters anticipates their prospects will have plenty of questions. The landing page includes tons of useful information, including 360-degree tours of available rooms, details on the neighborhoods (with images and maps), and quick-reference lists of amenities and pricing.


TapSnap + Samuraw: Give Visitors Everything They Need to Convert

Here are a couple of landing pages that show it’s often more important to be clear than clever.

TapSnap is a photo booth rental company and their Facebook landing page makes that obvious. Above the fold, their message is super straightforward: they’re selling photo booths, they’ll deliver them to you, here’s how to get in touch. Boom.

Side note: Check out the arrow at the bottom of the fold that directs your eye to more information. Without it, the page might’ve created a false bottom effect, leading people to believe that they were at the bottom of the page when there’s actually more to read.

Facebook Landing Page Examples - TapSnap
Image courtesy of TapSnap. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Further down, TapSnap provides a concise, skimmable list of features that help prospects quickly understand what they can expect from the product. Plus, the brand shows its booths in action with photos from real events (alongside examples of the different kinds of pictures available) to show off the experience they create.

TapSnap doesn’t leave anything to the imagination—and neither does Samuraw.

Samuraw offers a high-quality mineral and probiotic supplement made from natural ingredients, and this Facebook landing page (built by Webistry) delivers that message right away in the headline. By including the “add to cart” call to action above the fold, Samuraw also gives visitors a clear path to purchase.

Facebook Landing Page Examples - Samuraw
Image courtesy of Samuraw. (Click to see the whole thing.)

If you’re already in the market for a real-food multivitamin and probiotic (who isn’t?), you might choose to purchase right them. But if you’re curious about ingredients and other nutritional details, Samuraw has done a great job of providing all that information further down the page.

Another neat feature of this Samuraw landing page is the sticky call to action that follows visitors as they scroll the page. This helps keep the offer top of mind and makes it easy for readers to purchase the product when they’re ready to convert.

Taboola + TurnKey: Use Proof Points to Establish Credibility

Leveraging proof (like evidence of your supposed benefits or testimonials from happy customers) in your Facebook ad and landing page copy is a powerful way to create trust with your audience.

Take Taboola, an advertising and sponsored content platform that you’ve probably seen surfacing content all over the web. In this Facebook ad, Taboola makes sure to highlight their expansive digital network: “Reach 1.4B users – and get traffic that converts.”

That’s a huge benefit that’s sure to get the attention of businesses who wanna get their message in front of loads of prospects.

Facebook Landing Page Examples - Taboola
Image courtesy of Taboola. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Taboola continues to build trust on their Facebook landing page. Above the fold, they’ve included a banner of some of their most recognizable partners and customers: USA Today, IKEA, and Microsoft, to name a few.

Further down, Taboola even includes concrete results that brands have gotten with the platform. It’s one thing to say you can increase someone’s conversion rate or audience engagement. It’s another thing to prove it with hard numbers.

TurnKey gives us another great example of how to use proof on your Facebook landing page. As a vacation rental platform, the company needs visitors to trust that their properties will be handled with care. They do that by including featured media logos and various awards in a banner above the fold.

Facebook Landing Page Examples - TurnKey
Image courtesy of TurnKey. (Click to see the whole thing.)

But the most compelling proof on this page is a testimonial that TurnKey includes lower down. This customer totally lays out TurnKey’s unique selling proposition: other rental platforms have left their home in shambles and failed to earn them what they expected, whereas TurnKey puts their mind at ease by protecting the property from damage and generating more revenue.

You’ve gotta hire this guy, TurnKey.


CommuniCloud: Convert More with a Compelling Incentive

Sure, your offer is great—but to really get people converting, it can help to give ’em a little something extra. For ecommerce companies, maybe it’s free shipping or a discount. For SaaS brands, it’s usually a no-commitment free trial.

That’s how CommuniCloud is driving registrations on this Facebook landing page. The brand keeps things simple: along with a quick description of their benefits and some social proof, we’ve got a quick form that asks just for necessary information.

Facebook Landing Page Examples - CommuniCloud
Image courtesy of Communicloud. (Click to see the whole thing.)

It’s important to note that CommuniCloud doesn’t require a credit card to sign up for their trial. That’d create some serious friction at this stage, so better to capture contact details and sort out the payment side later.


Schedulehead + HiredHippo: Show Off the Product In Action

Some products are… let’s say, more photogenic than others. It’s easier to get people’s attention with a picture of food or clothing than something like software. Still, showing off your product—whatever it is—can better (and more quickly) communicate what you’re offering than words alone.

Schedulehead is a software platform that helps companies manage their employee scheduling and payroll. On this Facebook landing page, the brand is sure to highlight their user interface right from the beginning—before even getting into the specifics of their functionality.

Facebook Landing Page Examples - Schedulehead
Image courtesy of Schedulehead. (Click to see the whole thing.)

This helps visitors understand that Schedulehead isn’t some overrated spreadsheet. There are at-a-glance graphs and charts, map and calendar integrations, and loads of other features to help track your workforce.

And check out this page from HiredHippo, a job search network that automatically matches professionals with hiring companies. (Love this headline, by the way. Finding job opportunities without updating a dull resume sounds like a dream come true.)

Facebook Landing Page Examples - HiredHippo
Image courtesy of HiredHippo. (Click to see the whole thing.)

After listing some of the benefits and sharing testimonials from users, HiredHippo is sure to include a snapshot of the platform to show visitors what they can expect. Even just from this image, we can see that the dashboard makes evaluating job opportunities way easier by sharing the key details in a bulleted list.


Start Building Your Own Facebook Landing Pages with Unbounce

Ready to create a landing page for your next Facebook ad campaign? Be sure to check out how Unbounce helps digital brands turn more followers into customers. Then head over to our templates to get a head start building a customized landing page that’ll keep your campaigns consistent and convertin’.



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How to Unlock the Next Big Visual Marketing Channel


Remarkable brands are more than a logo.

They are a collection of images and feelings and connections. (Often experienced through social media.)

Take Nike for instance. When you think of Nike, you likely see movement, you feel momentum. You associate Nike with getting things done. This feeling is reinforced by all their imagery and of course by the iconic swoosh logo.

With Skittles, you likely see rainbows, bright colors, and excitement. These are hallmarks of their commercials and their ads.

We associate brands with images and feelings because – as neuroscience researchers have found – our brains love to stitch thoughts together. One thought always brings other thoughts, especially if those thoughts are recalled at the same time over and over. That’s why seeing a brand in a certain context, again and again, trains our minds to think of that brand whenever we randomly see those things in real life.

Our perception of any brand is constantly being reinforced by the images we see … which is why visual marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there.

And it’s why Unsplash is fast becoming a go-to place for brands to be.

In this article, we’ll dive into the Unsplash strategies working today and how you can make the most of this “blue ocean” channel. Keep reading to find out how to build and shift brand perception using visual marketing and Unsplash.

Let’s dive in.


The Real Power of Visual Marketing

There have been numerous studies showing the power of visual marketing for building brand recognition and awareness. We know that content with images is generally more engaging, gets shared more on social media and attracts more attention.

The visual component of most marketing strategies is usually aimed at commanding attention, stimulating curiosity, and prompting immediate action.

Yet, this visual marketing strategy that focuses on immediate gains is very limited. The real power of visual marketing is in creating branded associations and controlling customers’ perceptions of the brand.

As we know, human beings are highly visual, as multiple studies confirm. Consider these two numbers showing how much our brain relies on visualizations:

When we think, most of us picture things. We remember colors, shapes, and symbols. This is where the real power of visual marketing lies – building connections between what you think and feel and what you experience with a brand on social, web, etc.


How brands are using Unsplash as a new visual marketing channel

Unsplash is one of the best places to find free images … and one of the largest: it is used more than Getty, Shutterstock, and Adobe Stock combined.

Social media and marketing teams around the world use Unsplash for beautiful, free imagery.

But brands are finding a home – and real traction – through Unsplash also.

This has happened through organic posting and through paid advertising with Unsplash for Brands. Let’s talk about more about how organic and paid work with Unsplash.

Organic posting on Unsplash

As you might have seen, many brands are uploading their own curated photos to Unsplash, contributing great, free photography to the Unsplash system.

These photos, for instance, are by Sticker Mule.

It’s completely free to upload these photos. The greatest part is that you’re giving back to the community and delivering value to photo-seekers. For your brand, you’re also reaping huuuuge benefits.

This photo from Sticker Mule …

It’s been viewed more than 13 million times!

Overall, the Sticker Mule account has 74 million views on just 15 total photos.

Sticker Mule is just one of many examples of brands doing unique, creative work on Unsplash and seeing huge results.

The furniture company Inside Weather has a very on-brand collection of images, featuring furniture pics that line up beautifully with the brand style on their website.

Brands like Sticker Mule and Inside Weather have a concise collection of photos to choose from (25 or fewer). And then there are brands like Morning Brew (a business newsletter) and The New York Public Library that have hundreds of photos on Unsplash.

For additional inspiration, here’s a list of some brands and institutions doing great things on Unsplash:

Unlike numerous other advertising solutions out there, Unsplash offers a non-interruptive, unintrusive experience: Customers who are seeing branded images don’t have to interrupt their current browsing journeys, while publishers don’t have to compromise on their content quality.

Unsplash Advertising works in three steps:

  • Upload and publish your branded images to Unsplash
  • Align photos with important and relevant search terms
  • Syndicate the images to publishers and creators who use Unsplash to find creative photos that can be used for free in their content and social media channels

Sponsored images appear in the top-left of the homepage and search results. The photographer’s name and avatar show up by default (rather than showing up when you hover over the picture). When you do hover, a small “sponsored” label appears on the image.


Does Unsplash advertising work?

Unsplash advertising program is currently by invite only (you can apply here) but earlier case studies have shown tremendous success, so there’s definitely a huge potential here:

Case studies from Square, Google Chromebook and Boxed Water. See their examples below.

Aggregate results across these early advertiser case studies show Unsplash to be more effective at elevating how people feel about a brand – more effective than even digital, TV, and Instagram campaigns.


Create Visual Content that Captures Your Brand Goals without Being Promotional

This is a fundamental step to creating an effective visual marketing:

  • Your images need to feature your product the way you want it to be perceived
  • At the same time, make sure your images are non-promotional and creative enough for publishers and social media users to want to use them on their sites and social media feeds

In other words, when crafting your visual marketing strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do my images capture my brand’s goals?
  • Are they good enough for people to want to use them?

The key focus here is in building organic imagery around the brand through providing branded visual content that is worth using.

To create high-quality branded photography, brands can choose to

  • Upload their own pictures
  • Work with creative photographers from the Unsplash community

A Few Examples of Unsplash-Hosted Campaigns

Boxed Water was interested in promoting the awareness of plastic bottle alternatives. It is know that plastic is the major pollutant of the environment, Boxed Water has focused on how sustainable their product is, as opposed to commonly used plastic bottles.

In order to build the perception of that contrast, most of their branded photography is outdoors featuring people in a perfect harmony with nature:

unsplash branded photos boxed water
Through branded photography Boxed Water showcases what plastic bottles lack: Sustainability, forest- and ocean-friendliness, pollution-free

Another Unsplash advertiser – Google Chromebook – was willing to become known as a creativity- and travel-friendly solution that is being used by younger generations, so they worked with Unsplash photographers to create pictures reflecting that perception:

unsplash brand photos chromebook
Chromebooks featured here are shown as creativity- and travel-related options for younger users. 

Another example is Square employing visual marketing to shift the audience perception from a very narrow concept of a mobile credit card reader to a broader one of a full-stack financial and merchant service provider.

The goal behind their campaign was to broaden the perception of the brand and capture the attention of small business owners who were not aware of the various business management and growth tools Square had.

Unsplash photographers were tasked to create pictures which would associate Square with business, entrepreneurs, payments, and stores:

unsplash brand photos square
Square’s Unsplash photos feature the product in the wild, being used by small business owners and patrons

Notice how subtle the brand’s presence is in all the pictures, yet how hard it is to miss.

Tips for Creating Powerful Branded Photography on Unsplash

Unsplash has a detailed guide on how to create photography that gets noticed and used through the Unsplash platform, and all of those tips apply for brands, too:

  • Avoid being promotional or self-centered (don’t just post product pictures or selfies)
  • Pictures should be of high resolution with the minimum size requirement of 5 megapixels and 2500 by 2000 pixels (for a landscape picture)
  • Photos should be clear, creative, and original
  • Don’t use watermarks. Your brand identity needs to be a natural and subtle part of the context of the photo, not overlaid on it.

Tip #1: Post your photos around upcoming dates

When creating your branded photography, it is always a good idea to think of upcoming holidays, seasons, or notable dates. Timing your content strategy right is always effective (here’s a quick guide on doing that right).

Note: When planning a seasonal campaign on Unsplash, time everything carefully to upload photos at least one month prior to the holiday or the start of the season, as this when content creators start planning their articles too.

Tip #2: Align photos with important and relevant search terms

While the quality of the actual photography is fundamental to success, you also want those pictures to be discoverable.

Don’t forget that the real beauty of using the Unsplash platform is that it is used by content creators and social media influencers, and you want your branded photos to be found by them.

Unlike other visual advertising solutions (Instagram, for example), with Unsplash you won’t have to set your audience targeting: Your visual content and relevance settings define its visibility in a most organic way.

In other words, this step is where you are able to define who is able to discover your branded images and how wide your audience is going to be.

Tip #3: Use a lot of tags to get your pictures discovered by users & publishers

Unsplash does use automated tagging to help photos  be discovered but you need to also manually tag your images to ensure multi-purpose discoverability of your branded photos.

Here are some tips for properly tagging your branded photos:

  • List the objects within your photo (for example, “snow”, “water”, etc.)
  • Add symbolic and metaphorical tags that reflect what the photo is evoking. These should describe the mood and the atmosphere behind the picture (for example, “motivation”, “nature”, “solitude”)
  • Include tags for content creators to be able to find and use your pictures within their articles (for example, “work at home”, “hobby”, “marketing”, “sustainability”, etc.)
  • When possible, list trending hashtags. Unsplash helpfully offers a “trending search” section that shows which words have been typed into the Unsplash search box recently. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on that section and add tags to older photos when they are relevant to a current hot trend.

Here’s what was trending in July:

To add tags to your photos:

  • Upload your picture and publish it
  • Go to your profile and hover over the picture
  • Select “Edit” and click to the “Tags” tab
  • Add your tags one by one:

When I am stuck and cannot come up with more tags, I use semantic analysis to identify related concepts, brands and places. Here are semantically-related results for [skyscraper], for example:

Additionally, here’s the list of popular topics and keywords that are searched on Unsplash, so pick those that make the most sense:

Tip #4: Don’t forget to add captions

While tags drive visibility inside the Unsplash platform, captions will help expand your content reach even further.

Unsplash images are very well indexed in Google, and rank well in Google Images which is an important visual discoverability tool used by many content creators.

Thanks to its domain authority and high-quality of photographic content, Unsplash ranks incredibly well in Google, so hosting your branded visual content on the platform will also improve your brand’s organic visibility in both Google Images and generic Google search:

Google search for car pictures
Unsplash can bring your branded photos on top of Google for more exposure

Unsplash uses machine learning and image recognition technologies to handle much of its content search engine friendliness. For example, when you upload a photo of a seagull to the platform, it will automatically be named “Free Bird Image”.

So whether you apply any additional efforts or not, once you upload your branded photos to Unsplash, they will start ranking in Google quite well.

Yet, adding more text around the picture will be helpful in generating even more organic presence for your branded pictures. That being said, always add a descriptive 1-3-sentence caption to increase its odds of getting found in both Unsplash and Google.

Tip #5: Add the location information

Finally, if your picture features a certain location, do add it. Location settings make your photos discoverable for location-based search queries. For example, when someone is searching for “NYC”, your picture labeled there will show up in search results.

Tip #6: Syndicate the branded images to publishers

Once your branded pictures are uploaded and tagged, they will now be findable through Unsplash search results, just as regular pictures would, but labeled as “sponsored”:

Unsplash has a huge community of photographers and content creators utilizing the platform to find free images for their articles, videos, and infographics.

But the platform reach doesn’t stop there. By offering the free API for developers to use, Unsplash allows its users’ photos to be integrated into a variety of content management platforms and graphic design solutions, including:

Imagine your visual message to be integrated into all or any of those platforms.

The potential reach includes some best-known publications and media outlets including Buzzfeed and Medium, to name the few.

This means your branded creative photography will be unstoppable bringing your products in front of audiences across the web. Here are just a few headlines organically placing Unsplash advertisers in a highly relevant context on incredibly popular publications:

(Notice the relevant context here: It is all about starting a new business angle that puts the brand’s product in front of the target audience, i.e. those that are looking to start a new business.)


Conclusion

Visual marketing plays a major role in influencing and swaying customers’ perceptions of the brand, and I find it pretty exciting that we finally get a visual marketing solution allowing brands to impact buyers’ buying decisions without forcing their branded imaginary on either customers or publishers.

It’s one of those innovations that promotes creativity and offers something for everyone. As Luke Chesser, Cofounder of Unsplash, put it:

Brands get impact, contributors get paid opportunities, and creators get more images to create openly with. It’s a win-win-win.





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How to Build Your Brand with Landing Page Optimization


Let’s face it: brand marketers get a bad rap. In the last decade, the conversation has focused on technical marketing: growth hacking, conversion rate optimization, SEO, the merging of product and marketing, and data, data, data. At the same time, brand became less exciting—and sometimes an afterthought. It was too “fluffy.”

But that’s all changing. Companies have found their edge by investing in incredible brands, and a company’s brand has become its differentiator. Look to the recent launch of Hey or other companies like Equal Parts, Headspace, Warby Parker, Casper, and Notion as examples. 

It might seem like building a brand doesn’t line up with the idea of being data-driven. But we can apply what we’ve learned about technical marketing over the last decade to build better brands and make better decisions in today’s data-driven world. 

Through customer research, landing page testing, conversion rate optimization, and traditional brand development tactics, you can be smarter about building and evolving your brand. Landing page optimization can serve as your testing ground for this stuff, and I’ll show you how.

What Goes Into a Brand?

Before we dive into how to take a data-driven approach to building a brand, let’s make sure we are on the same page about what makes up a brand. The short answer is “a lot.” But for this overview, I’ll focus on a few critical parts:

  • The look and feel (design, user experience)
  • The voice, tone, and messaging
  • The positioning (versus others in the market)
  • The overall brand promise

The look and feel of a tech brand is mostly encapsulated in the design, feel, and user experience (UX) of both the website and product. Everything (from a company’s color scheme to the feel of its animations) matters when trying to convey a personality. Look to Airbnb as an example of how important the design and feel can be in establishing your brand’s personality:

Here you can see Airbnb’s visuals convey feelings of fun, diversity, and being human. The colors also express a sort of playful yet modern feeling.

The voice, tone, and messaging of a company make up the “written words” of the brand. Pretty straightforward, but it’s important to note that companies should aim to make this attractive to the right person at the right time (and that’s where landing page testing can come in). 

Your company’s positioning in-market versus your competitors is an essential part of your brand. How do you distinguish yourself against the alternatives? Why should someone choose YOU over THEM? You only have so much real estate. What you want to say can vary depending on a variety of factors, like your personas and where they are in the funnel (i.e., people who are just discovering you versus ready to make a purchase).

Figma positioned versus a competitor.

Finally, the overall brand promise represents what you are promising to deliver to your customers. What is that thing you are promising? Sometimes it can be something as straightforward as a promise in your tagline: “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” It’s important to balance: 

  1. how you position yourself against competitors;
  2. what is attractive to your target customers;
  3. and what you can deliver on.
Geico delivers its brand promise in a tagline.

Your messaging and positioning will differ significantly based on these factors above. How your product serves one persona may be far different than how it serves another.

A solid understanding of all of this will result in a successful marketing team and (likely) company growth. But this is also what most marketing and product teams mess up. Without the data, people tend to make assumptions. Or marketers aren’t customer-centric enough in their approach, and they deliver the wrong message, brand, or feel to the wrong person at the wrong time.

The great thing about all of this is that we can use landing page testing and conversion rate optimization to test and validate all of these elements of your brand. Let’s explore a few ways you can get this done (fast).

1. Use landing page testing to validate your personas.

Say you are revisiting your target customers and why they decide to use your product. Understanding what resonates with each persona at each stage may be hard to figure out. It usually takes a lot of research, but you can also get quicker answers with landing pages.

Below are a few examples of how you can do this. For these tests, it’s best to send traffic to these landing pages with an A/B test (which you can do in Unbounce). You can drive traffic to the pages using paid ads on Facebook, for instance, or you can tap into your existing audiences and push traffic via email—in either case, split the traffic for reliable comparisons.

Test different calls to action to let users self identify.

On your landing page, create the isolated options that someone can click to self-identify. For example, describe your product for specific personas and with clear self-identifying calls to action (e.g., “I’m a marketer”). See the example below:

From there, push them into the funnel or purchase page and see which CTAs get the most clicks and have the best conversion rates. You can use this data to see which audience your product resonates with most and validate or invalidate specific personas.

Test different jobs-to-be-done through CTA optimization.

To gather data around which jobs your users are hiring you to do, test different CTAs with those audiences. Allow them to self-select, just like in the example above. But here we put different jobs to be done side-by-side with our product. With this data, you can see the most common and attractive use cases for your product. 

You can also run different landing pages entirely and see which one converts best in an A/B test. These are not going to give teams definitive answers about your personas and why they use your product, but they’ll inform those strategic discussions. And it’s far better than going into this strategy blind.

By running ads or segmented campaigns via email and pushing those users to landing pages with messaging or design that you seek to test, you can stop guessing and learn more quickly.


2. Use conversion rate optimization (CRO) to improve your positioning.

Landing pages are also the perfect way to test your product’s positioning with consumers. One of the best things you can do via landing page optimization is test your positioning against competitors. 

How? Run an A/B test of a page showing you versus your competitors and have different positioning/messaging on each variant. See which one wins by looking at traffic, CTRs, and conversion rates. (Be careful here: a best practice is to avoid direct side-by-side comparisons against your competitors.)

Look to this Zendesk example below for inspiration:

You can also refine other parts of your positioning within your landing pages. For example, you can test headline copy with particular personas to see which positioning of your product resonates better with each. Or, as you push traffic at different funnel stages to landing pages, you can learn when to include a “learn more” versus “buy now” call to action. Testing CTAs will help you better understand what customers want at different parts of the user journey.

Finally, any ongoing testing will likely involve the refinement of your core value prop and product positioning. As you gather data from landing page performance and change the copy and design, note what wins. And, as you discover more winners, share this data with those in charge of your overall product positioning. Based on these opportunities, they can make improvements to the messaging and framing of the product against competitors. 


3. Using CRO to find the best brand promise.

This may be the most straightforward thing you can do with landing page testing. How? Test and validate your main value prop in your landing page headline. Here’s one approach I have taken when trying to validate our best headlines:

  1. Develop your top 2-5 headlines based on your brand factors (personas, position in market, product value, etc.)
  2. Create a short landing page with the same sections below it and the same CTA (e.g., “Learn More”).
  3. Create variants of the page with each headline you’ve devised.
  4. See which one gets the most clicks/leads/sign-ups/purchases.

With this, you should start gathering data on CTRs that resonate best and you will have data that is more valuable than a simple survey: which copy actually got people to convert?

4. Ease tension between technical and brand marketing teams.

There’s always an inherent tension between the teams focused on conversion and those focused on brand. Conversion-oriented marketing teams push the boundaries of the brand to drive sign-ups, purchases, and more. Brand teams seek to rein in this approach to avoid going “off-brand.” 

Data-driven approaches to brand development can smooth out this tension.

The conversion-focused marketing team can build relationships with brand teams by proactively testing messages, designs, and positioning through landing pages. (Brand teams might not know these things are possible.) 

Plus, you can use landing pages to push the boundaries of the brand. Test the “off-brand” stuff by running small scale tests for copy, positioning, and design. The company faces less risk that way, but it may gain some interesting insights that help inform your strategy. 

Build alignment by testing things together and evolving the brand together


Key considerations when using data to inform your brand strategy.

When using A/B testing to iterate on your brand, there are some key things to note. More than anything, the team must avoid making decisions using biased data. Data is only as useful as its source.

Audiences are your most important consideration here:

  • Who are you sending to these landing pages? 
  • What’s their context? 

Careful consideration of these two questions can make or break any data that comes from landing page testing. In general, you should align your ad with your landing page as much as possible to avoid confusing the visitor. 

Here are some other things to think about when evaluating the validity of your landing page tests:

  • How confident are you that an up-funnel optimization will not lead to adverse behavior down the funnel? Or, said more simply, is your messaging deceptive? Use your best judgment here and ensure you tie landing page performance to down-funnel metrics.
  • Are you trying to get in front of new people or existing people? People who know your brand or don’t? Identify the best audiences and find them—push people via email or ads or serve up the landing page(s) in a survey. Choose the right audience based on what answer you are trying to get. Similar to choosing the right audience for research, choose the right audience for landing page testing.
  • If possible, segment the traffic to your landing pages to narrow down what is working for whom. For example, if your company serves both engineers and designers, separate the ads and landing pages for these audiences so you can understand what works for each audience independently.

Tying It All Together

Everything I’ve described here is really just a derivative of research, but you are testing it in a more robust and informative way. By giving people more context and a “real” feel via landing pages, you’ll get better answers to the most pressing questions about your brand. 

Brand and data-driven marketing don’t need to be separate. By working together, conversion rate optimization pros can inform brand strategies and help companies better understand their customers’ desires, needs, and values. 

Try a completely different approach to how you position yourself or even test landing pages against your traditional product positioning. See what sticks and see if you can refine how you speak to your customers across the board. If that doesn’t work, roll things back and try it again. You can evolve your brand over time, but this is a great way to start.



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How to Do a Webinar That’s as Exciting as an In-Person Event


There’s something special about attending an in-person conference or industry event. The adrenaline rush of going to pick up your nametag on the first day. The opening keynote that gets everyone in the room buzzing. The networking breaks where you awkwardly introduce yourself to strangers and mingle over tiny sandwiches. (OK, maybe that’s just me.)

This year though, almost every single conference and event has been either delayed or canceled. COVID-19 has put a pause on large group gatherings of all kinds, and many event organizers have been left scrambling to figure out what they can or should do as an alternative.

One option is to take your event online and run a webinar (or perhaps, a series of webinars), instead. But can you really replicate all that buzz, networking, and opportunity over a laptop screen? How can you possibly do a webinar that’s as exciting as an in-person event?

Charlene Ditch, Founder and CEO of Charlene Kate Events, says the potential is there for marketers who are prepared to put in the effort:

Charlene Ditch, Founder and CEO of Charlene Kate Events

We’re navigating a new world and while we must adapt, we still have to be thoughtful in how we deliver the attendee experience. It’s an exciting time to be an event marketer and I’m confident that if we are strategic and intentional about the way we message, market, and execute—we can deliver something magical.”

Here at Unbounce, we know from experience that Charlene speaks the truth. Our team has years of experience running everything from large-scale, in-person conferences (you can get your tickets to CTAConf21 right here) to smaller-scale virtual events (like Marketing Optimization Week). We’ve learned a lot along the way about what works online—and what really doesn’t.

So to help you out, we put together this guide to make your first experience organizing a webinar way less awkward, and way more awesome. Find out how to pick the right speakers, get set up with the best tools, and make it genuinely exciting for attendees to participate.


How to Run a Webinar or Virtual Event Like a Pro

  1. Align Your Theme and Dates
  2. Track Your Webinar Goals
  3. Recruit a Lineup of Star Speakers
  4. Set Up Your Webinar Platform and Tools
  5. Promote the Event to Create Buzz
  6. Perform Dry-Runs
  7. Make Magic Happen on the Day
  8. Follow Through Post-Event

1. Align Your Theme and Dates

Every great online event starts with a great idea. You want to put something out there that nobody else has ever done before (or do it better than anyone else)—and this can be challenging when there are hundreds of webinars happening every single month.

That’s why the theme you choose is so important. You want to cover a topic that your audience truly cares about and find a unique angle they can’t resist. You’ll want to brainstorm ways you can incorporate this theme into each of your speaker topics, the visual identity of your event, and the actual takeaways that attendees will be talking about afterward.

A webinar example by Unbounce: Digital Agency Day
The theme for Digital Agency Day was growth—how agencies can scale up with tactics from the top experts in their industry.

So how do you choose the theme for your virtual event? Here are some things to consider…

  • Does it relate to a problem your target audience is trying to solve? Always approach your webinar from a customer-first perspective. Look for pain points that they care about, goals they’re trying to achieve, and opportunities they would like to pursue. Test out your theme by asking your current customers if they’d be interested in the topic.
  • Do you have expertise in this space? In order to attract qualified leads, the theme of your event should relate back to your business. Nobody wants to attend a pet grooming webinar put on by McDonald’s, for example. (Although I do wonder how they always manage to perfectly style the fur on Grimace.)
  • Are there industry experts who can speak on this theme? You might get stuck if the theme you choose is too narrow or niche. Ideally, there should be a few experts who can speak on this theme or other companies that you can imagine wanting to partner up for the event.

It also helps if you can tie your webinar to real-world events that are happening in your industry, or other important dates on the calendar. For example, right now many companies are putting on special webinar series to help their customers adapt to COVID-19.

A Virtual Event by Keela
This webinar series was put on by Keela to help non-profit organizations adapt to COVID-19.

2. Track Your Webinar Goals

Webinars are an excellent opportunity to generate leads for your business and build up your email list. Depending on the topic you choose and how heavily you promote the event, this will be an opportunity to reach new leads and get them interacting with your brand for the very first time. That’s why it helps to set a few goals at the start so you can be strategic with your planning and track how much ROI you drive from your efforts. 

Here are some of the most important goals you should think about earl on:

  • Number of Registrants – Set a realistic goal for the number of registrants you’re hoping will sign up for your webinar. It’s OK if this number changes as you start building out your event—the actual number of registrants will depend on your promo efforts, your partnerships, and how much traffic you drive to the sign-up page.
  • Number of Attendees – According to the latest webinar benchmarks from On24, an average of 56% of registrants show up to attend an online event. This number drops to 43% if you’re expecting more than 100 attendees—so be realistic, and expect only about half of your registrants to actually be there on the day.
  • Number of Sales or Sign-Ups – The final goal you’ll want to track is how many registrants or attendees end up becoming customers with your business afterward. You can set a projected goal for this based on your business model and the types of leads you plan to attract.

3. Recruit a Lineup of Star Speakers

Recruit High-Profile Speakers for Your Webinar
For Marketing Optimization Week, the Unbounce team recruited high-profile names and reps from high-profile companies to speak at the event.

This is a big one. Because the first thing anyone does when they see a new webinar or online event is to check who’s going to be speaking. If you don’t have the right name recognition or expertise on deck, then a lot of people just aren’t going to be all that interested.

Rachel Scott, Senior Marketing Manager at Unbounce, says that there are three valuable things to look for when creating your ideal list of speakers:

Rachel Scott, Senior Marketing Manager at Unbounce

Recognizable names are a huge draw, so you’ll want to look for those first. But there are also company names that can be just as important. Try to find a balance between the two, while also actively searching for diversity and different points of view. Check out other industry webinars and see who has been speaking recently—you can find a lot of great presenters that way, and they’ll probably be more keen to participate.

You’ll want to start recruiting early because you need your speaker line-up in place before you can start promoting your event. One other tip that Rachel suggested is to offer a lead sharing opportunity to big-name partners or speakers who would help expand your reach.

Rachel Scott, Senior Marketing Manager at Unbounce

Give speakers and partners the opportunity to generate leads for their business as well. You could offer a one-to-one lead share for example, and for every lead they help bring into the webinar you’ll give them access to another lead who registered. That way, they have an incentive to drive registrations to the event and spread the word. Alternatively, you can set a registration goal for them, where if they bring in a certain number of leads you’ll share the full list of webinar registrations.

In your pitch to speakers, you’ll want to emphasize what’s in it for them. Whether that’s lead sharing, a partnership opportunity for their company, the number of attendees they’ll be able to reach, or who they’ll be speaking alongside at the event.

Do You Need a Webinar Host?

A host or moderator can help make your online event more exciting and easy to follow for attendees. Look for someone within your own company who might be great at this task—charming, friendly, and knowledgeable. You can have them introduce each guest, run Q&A sessions with speakers, and act as the “face” of the event to make it more personal.

4. Set Up Your Webinar Platform and Tools

There are a number of different platforms you can use to run your webinar or online event. Here are a few of the most popular options that integrate with Unbounce landing pages:

Your choice will ultimately come down to the features you need, how much control you want over the platform, and what price point makes sense for your business.Beyond the webinar platform itself, you’ll also want to set up a landing page to promote the event and bring in new registrants. You can use Unbounce to quickly set up a page that highlights your speakers and encourages attendees to sign up. Check out our event landing page templates to get started, or see more webinar landing page examples and best practices for 2020.

5. Promote the Event to Create Buzz

Now that you’ve got your speakers on board and your registration landing page set up, it’s time to start promoting your webinar. You’ll want to build in at least one month of lead time for your promo efforts in order to give visitors enough chances to sign up. 

Send Out Promo Emails

A Webinar Promo Email Example
You can send out promo emails like this one to build anticipation for your webinar or online event.

Here at Unbounce, we’ve found emails to be the single most effective way to promote webinars. Open rates and click-through rates tend to be higher here than any other channel. 

Try to split out some segments of your list you think would be particularly interested in the subject matter, and send out a series of three promotional emails inviting them to attend.

  • Email One (“The Invitation Email”) – Send this one out about a month before your online event. This is the big unveiling of your event, so you’ll want to treat it with the right level of fanfare to get recipients excited. Focus on the customer-centric benefits of your theme, and the big reasons they’ll want to attend.
  • Email Two (“The Speaker Email”) – A week or two later, send a follow-up email that goes into a bit more detail about who will be speaking at the event. This is where you can do some name-dropping and get into more specifics about different topics on the agenda.
  • Email Three (“The Last Chance Email”) – This one should go out a day or two before the event, and really lean on the FOMO of your audience. It would be a shame if they missed out on this event that so many of their peers will be attending.

Build Anticipation on Social Media

How to Promote Your Online Event on Social Media
Use social media to raise awareness and get more attendees excited for your event.

Posting about your event on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can help build buzz for your target audience and make them more likely to attend. That’s because the more times someone sees an ad, the more likely they will be to take action. If it seems like everybody is talking about your webinar on social media, that will help convince some of these folks to get curious enough to attend.

In the weeks leading up to the big day, try sprinkling in more and more posts about the event. Ramp up the frequency as you get closer to create more “buzz” on the timeline and encourage other attendees to post about it as well.

Ask Speakers to Promote Your Event

Speakers Can Help You Promote Your Webinar on Social Media
Ask speakers to promote your event to help bring in new audiences.

Your speakers want the webinar to be as successful as possible too, because their name is attached to the event. So why not tap into their networks and ask them for help with promotion?

This can be a great strategy to bring in new leads who you might not otherwise reach on your own. Because almost everybody has an audience—whether that’s through a blog, an email list, or on social media. And even a simple retweet from the right speaker could provide a significant attendance boost to your online event. 

Make sure to ask speakers early on to get their buy-in, and consider offering some sort of lead share (as we talked about earlier) to give them even more of a promotional incentive.

Use Popups and Sticky Bars on Your Website

The Set a Reminder Sticky Bar Template for Webinars
Use a sticky bar on your website to let visitors know about your virtual event.

You can set up a popup or sticky bar to appear on your website and promote the event. This is a great way to turn any relevant or high-traffic page into a vehicle for getting visitors to your webinar registration page. You could even place one on your website homepage if you’re serious about driving more registrations.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Set a Reminder sticky bar template—the ticking countdown clock gets the attention of folks scrolling, but it doesn’t intrude too much on the page itself.

6. Perform Dry-Runs

What’s the biggest thing that separates a ho-hum webinar from an amazing online experience? Practice. (Sorry—that’s like a way less funny version of the famous Carnegie Hall joke.)

Sure, you can put your faith in your speakers and just hope they do a great job on the big day. But if you want to elevate your virtual event and really make it seem polished for attendees like an in-person event, we would highly recommend doing a dry run with each speaker first.

Set up times with all your speakers a week or two before the event, and ask them to go through their presentation as they would when they’re live. While they’re going through, you should look for opportunities and areas of improvement around…

  • Content Flow – Are they making clear points? Can you follow the flow of the presentation? Do they spend too long on one slide and not enough time somewhere else? Are there any holes or obvious questions they can address?
  • Delivery – Not everyone is a natural-born speaker. Look for opportunities to improve their delivery, and make recommendations based on how they perform the dry-run. If someone’s delivery seems off, you may want to ask them to continue practicing and schedule another dry-run before going live.
  • Visuals – To give your event a cohesive feel, try giving each speaker a slide deck template to use. Look for any style inconsistencies or visuals that could be improved during the dry-runs. (E.g., blurry photos, hard-to-read fonts, etc.) You should also check each speaker’s background to make sure the lighting is easy on the eyes, their microphone is clear, and their connection is stable. (For inspiration, check out some of the behind-the-scenes equipment MozCon speakers are using for their presentations this year. Très fancy!)
  • Technical Requirements – Do they need to play a video during their presentation? Is there a web link they want to show? Better to know about these ahead of time than to be surprised live on the day of the webinar.

You’ll also want to do a run-through with your host, and make sure they know what they’ll be saying before and after each presentation. Go over the pronunciation of each speaker’s name, and hold a mock Q&A session so they get a feel for how they’ll be able to interact with attendees.

7. Make Magic Happen on the Day

On the day of your webinar, you’ll want to go above and beyond to bring some of that in-person excitement to attendees. Here are a few of the things you can do to really put the “event” in your “virtual event.”

Make It Interactive

MozCon is encouraging socialization and networking at their virtual event.
I love how MozCon is building in virtual networking time into the agenda and encouraging socializing online this year.

If you’re not planning to have any audience interaction in your webinar, then why not just play a recording? The whole reason you do it live is because you want people to interact and engage with each other.

This means doing more than just a 15-minute Q&A at the end of each presentation, though. Try incorporating live polls into your webinar to engage with attendees as they’re watching. Get people in the chat room talking by having pre-prepared conversation topics that relate back to the topics you’re covering. Think outside the typical mold of a webinar to get your audience engaged.

Make It Seamless

The backend of a webinar platform.
Use your webinar platform to create a seamless experience for attendees.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” In a great webinar or online event, you don’t see all the work that’s going on behind the scenes. Try to make things as seamless as possible for attendees by paying close attention to what their experience looks and feels like.

Have a welcome message ready for each session, prep your host with some topics of conversation to fill time in between segments, and monitor for audience engagement in the chat and on social media. Depending on the size of your event, you’ll want at least two or three people working in the background to keep things running smoothly.

Make It Surprising

High-fives at CTAConf.
We go all out for in-person conferences. Why not treat your online events the same way?

Think about some of the most memorable moments you’ve had at conferences in the past. It’s usually the stuff that you’re not expecting that sticks out, even years later. A delightful curveball—like when there’s a lineup of over-caffeinated Unbouncers ready to high-five you as you walk into CTAConf.

Brainstorm some ways you can surprise attendees and speakers with swag, giveaways, games, or activities. It can be a great way to break up a busy day, and help you go beyond that regular old webinar experience.

8. Follow Through Post-Event

A Facebook Group attached to an online event.
Thinkific created an online community after their virtual summit to continue the conversation (and keep leads engaged).

Now that your webinar is over, you can put your feet up on the desk and relax, right? No way—there’s still one more important step that would make you smack your forehead if you forgot.

Because you don’t want the experience to just be over and forgotten by everyone, follow up with attendees (and registrants who couldn’t make it) afterward to provide any relevant materials or webinar recordings. This will give you another opportunity to track who is engaged and interested in this content—and who might fit into an email nurture to eventually become a customer.

You might also want to consider creating a Facebook Group or a Slack Community Channel to keep the conversation alive between your speakers and attendees. That’s what Thinkific did after their Think in Color Online Summit—and they now have an additional channel that can reach over 1,700 members. (Check out the full customer story for more details on how they got those numbers.)

Oh, and don’t forget to follow up and thank your speakers too! They can provide valuable feedback on what went well, and what you can improve on for next time.


Your Next Webinar Has So Much Potential

You know what needs to happen next. You just gotta start working on bringing your great idea for a webinar into the real world. Get started today with some of our webinar landing page templates, or keep sharpening your skills with our article on webinar landing page best practices for 2020.

I’ll leave you with another nugget of wisdom from Charlene Ditch:

Charlene Ditch, Founder and CEO of Charlene Kate Events

I’ve always built and designed events around the attendee experience, and moving to a virtual event is no different. Put the attendee first and the rest will fall into place.



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