Black Friday Isn’t Dead. Here’s How to Win More Online Sales in 2020

When you think of Black Friday, you might think of getting trampled at Walmart trying to snag a half-price TV or the latest toy phenom for your kids. (“Baby Yoda purchase, you must.”) This year is a bit different though—COVID-19 has upended the economy and new social distancing measures have changed the in-person shopping experience.

Some experts say the writing is already on the wall: Black Friday, the most important shopping day of the year, is either dying or already dead. Nobody wants a crowd of people rushing around their store in 2020, and small businesses already feeling the pinch from months of lower sales volumes aren’t gonna be able to offer the same level of discounts.

Online shopping though? That’s a completely different story.

For ecommerce and DTC brands, Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020 are poised to be bigger and more competitive than ever before. Not only have online shopping sales doubled during the pandemic, research from Google shows that 69% of holiday shoppers will be doing more shopping online this year. Plus, a whopping 77% of people say they will be browsing for more gift ideas on the internet instead of in-store. Turns out, folks are happy to stay home in their turkey stretch pants and see what’s available, rather than line up outside in the freezing cold at 5 AM and hope they get a doorbuster deal.

Bar Graph Showing Black Friday Revenue Increasing Over Last Three Years
Every year, online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday break new records. 2020 looks to be no exception. (Source: Statista)

This is a major opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses that are already set up to sell online. Shoppers will be actively looking for deals in categories like clothing, health, beauty, food, electronics, and subscription services—and they won’t just be looking on Amazon, either. This year, more people are showing an openness to try new brands, experiment with new products, and make an effort to shop local.

Google trends show online shopping will be up this holiday season
While big name stores get the largest piece of the revenue pie, there’s still a lot of opportunity for small and medium sized businesses. (Source: Is Black Friday Dead?)

But you can’t just put out a simple discount and hope online shoppers take notice. To get the most out of this Black Friday weekend (which is coming up fast, btw!), you need to set up meaningful deals that are worthwhile for your customers, craft compelling messaging to stand out from the competition, and use psychological triggers to get more clicks. This article is the perfect read for marketers who are still working on their strategy for the big weekend, or still mulling over which deal they want to promote. Use these tips from the leading ecommerce experts to develop your game plan and boost your online sales.

8 Expert Tips to Win More Online Sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

1. Set Up Clear Communication on Deals

Like pumpkin spice lattes, every year the Black Friday deals tend to start a little bit earlier. This year is no exception, with brands like Home Depot, Walmart, and Macy’s having already announced their sales would be starting as early as October (well over a month before the actual calendar date).

Home Depot is already starting to tease their Black Friday sales
For some companies, Black Friday is just a state of mind.

Ben Jabbawy, Founder and CEO of Privy, says that while this puts less pressure on the Black Friday weekend itself, it also creates a new challenge for marketers. Online shoppers will be less likely to make a purchase if they think a better deal is still coming down the pipe.

Ben Jabbawy, CEO of Privy

What was all concentrated on one day will now spread out and continue to grow. Because of that, I think the consumer is going to be more numb and confused about Black Friday. If everyone’s emailing their customers earlier this year to try to get the wallet share—as a consumer, I’m like, well, should I wait? Or should I buy now?

Ben suggests the best way to reassure your customers is to be upfront and clear with your communication. Having a popup or sticky bar show up on your website can help you neatly explain what deals will be available, and when they expire.

Ben Jabbawy, CEO of Privy

My common advice is just don’t make the customer think. Immediately greet all traffic in the holiday season with a notification or a screen takeover. Reduce friction and just make it clear what you’re doing up front. Clear communication.

A popup template for Black Friday sales
The flash sale popup template is perfect for letting visitors know about what deals are available. You can easily customize it in just a few clicks to match your brand and offer.

2. Use Dollars Off, Not Percentages

Discounts are the most common perk associated with online shopping during Black Friday weekend. (Well, that and cans of unicorn meat. Yum.) It’s not uncommon to see brands offer site-wide discounts like “40% OFF ALL PURCHASES” or global coupon codes that visitors can apply at checkout.

But Patrick Campbell, CEO of Profitwell, says that in order for your discount to hit the sweet spot it needs to be framed so customers can visualize how much cash they’re actually saving. This is especially important during COVID-19, when so many people are being more prudent with their purchasing.

Patrick Campbell, CEO of Profitwell

With discounts, the instinct is to do a percentage off. But it’s almost always better to use a physical dollar amount off (or a buy one, get one free) instead. Percentages tend to work worse unless you’re doing a really high amount, like 70% off. The reason is the human brain… I can very quickly and very concretely imagine a hundred dollars. Whereas a percentage is harder.

This example from Belk shows how confusing it can be to shoppers when you offer a percentage off instead of an actual dollar amount. Not only am I unsure how much money I’m saving here, but I’m also unclear how to even claim this offer on their website. (It says “Get coupon” in the top banner, but then “Doorbuster prices so low you don’t need a coupon!” below. You’re tearing me apart, Belk!)

It can be hard to understand percentage discounts because they require math skills
65% off + an extra 50% off select brands. So I’m getting… 115% off? Geeze, math is hard.

Compare this to a deal where the savings are crystal-clear, like this one from a Black Friday landing page for YogaDownload built using Unbounce. You see the price you’re going to pay for each product, then the original price crossed out, and then the actual savings in the CTA buttons. No confusion here—which also means no reason to click away.

This example shows how dollar amount off is much more clear
Much better. It almost makes me want to take up yoga.

3. Offer Free Gifts or Bundles

It might be challenging for small businesses to match the steep discounts large retailers are offering this year. So rather than try to beat them in a race to the bottom, there are other types of promotions you might want to consider to attract customers.

Patrick Campbel says free gifts and bundles are often more attractive to shoppers—especially if you’re running a subscription service where you’re trying to hook people into trying more over a longer period of time.

Patrick Campbell, CEO of Profitwell

Think about bundling stuff more than just using the sledgehammer of a discount. If you’re a subscription toothbrush company and you offer an extra tube of toothpaste, those customers retain at a 15-20% higher rate. That means their subscriptions are basically around for an extra month or two compared to your other types of customers. They’re more ingrained within your brand and they’re using more of your products, which gives you more surface area to sell them more.

Offer a free gift example
A free gift can be a great way to entice shoppers to sign up for your subscription service. (Source: BoxyCharm)

This strategy has also worked like gangbusters for food and nutrition companies. Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands, says bundling can be a really effective way to increase your average order value (AOV) while also getting customers to try a broader range of products.

Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands

In 2017, we created this great value deal for Hint Water that was basically nine cases of water for $99. So instead of an AOV of maybe two or three cases, we were able to hit much higher revenue goals. And because we bundled pre-selected flavors, we were able to introduce new flavors to the customer as well.

Hint Water deal example
A high-value bundle can be refreshing for shoppers. (Source: Hint Water)

4. Make a Personal Connection with Customers

COVID-19 has changed the world in so many large ways that we’re still coming to terms with many of its effects. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and over 150,000 small businesses have closed since the beginning of the pandemic. For many entrepreneurs, this means it’s going to be very difficult to offer discounts or free items over the Black Friday weekend.

But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Vivian Kaye, Founder and CEO of KinkyCurlyYaki, says there are other ways to show your appreciation for shoppers during these difficult times.

Vivian Kaye, Founder and CEO of KinkyCurlyYaki

COVID has made everyone feel lonely and isolated. Try doing things that make your customer really feel like you’re paying attention and you did this just for them. Remind them that you are also a human being—you are not Amazon. Customers will remember those personal touches, like a handwritten note you include with their package.

This is something the Vanness Pen Shop does on the regular when they ship out orders, and their customers absolutely take notice. If you’re able to interact in ways the impersonal big box stores will never be able to match, you’ll be able to build stronger long-term relationships with shoppers.

A customer posting about a handwritten thank you note on Instagram
It might seem simple, but a handwritten message can go a long way during a global pandemic.

5. Don’t Overextend Your Offers

While it can be tempting to run your Black Friday promo from October all the way to the end of December, it’s probably not the best look for your brand. Not only does this create less urgency for the deal, it can also reflect poorly on your offer if you keep “extending” the sale. Val Geisler, CEO of Fix My Churn, pointed out on Twitter what happens when you repeatedly try to push the same deal to shoppers.

So how do you maximize your sales throughout the holiday season without annoying your customers or diluting your brand? Nik Sharma suggests mixing up different deals and products on different days of the weekend to keep shoppers curious and interested.

Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands

I always say go for high AOV on Black Friday, go for something that drives volume on Cyber Monday, and give back to the community on Giving Tuesday. You don’t want to always have the same thing, otherwise, people aren’t going to be inclined to come back.”

6. Create a Unique Campaign Message

Everybody loves a great deal. But there are going to be hundreds of thousands of discounts competing for attention on Black Friday weekend. How does your small business get the word out and stand apart from the competition?

This is where it helps to have a compelling message for your campaign. Jeremy Cai, CEO of Italic, says that if you’re able to say something unique and connect it back to your company values, you’ll be able to create a deeper connection with shoppers. It’s a strategy that has worked incredibly well in the clothing and apparel industries…

Jeremy Cai, CEO of Italic

Cut through the noise with a compelling message that’s unique to your brand. Our team always references the ad Patagonia ran in the New York Times a few years back on Black Friday: it featured a Patagonia jacket and the headline ‘DON’T BUY THIS JACKET.’ The ad wasn’t successful in its intended purpose—(sales rose 30% following the campaign)—but it raised awareness of a serious problem, excess consumerism, and reinforced Patagonia’s standing as a values-driven brand.

Patagonia ad telling people not to buy their jacket
Not the usual message on Black Friday.

7. Launch an Exclusive or Timed Product

Another tactic that has worked well (especially for clothing and apparel companies) has been to drop exclusive products during the Black Friday weekend in lieu of a discount. As Ben Jabbawy explains, a limited-time offer creates a sense of urgency for shoppers who fear missing out.

Ben Jabbawy, CEO of Privy

There’s probably nothing better than an exclusive product launch. We’ve seen brands like Allbirds do this in the past where you know that they’re building hype leading up to it, they’re teasing out their new colors or their new material weeks ahead of the product launch. And they’re letting you know specifically that they’re launching a new product on this day and that this is likely the only day that you can get it. That’s actually a great hook.

You don’t necessarily have to go all Beyoncé and keep your launch a surprise, either. Build up the suspense with a pre-launch landing page where customers can enter their email address ahead of time to be first in line for the new product.

Promotion for an exclusive Allbirds shoe style launched on Black Friday weekend
Allbirds doesn’t offer discounts on Black Friday—instead, they release limited-edition styles and colors.

8. Create Focus on the Deal

The ideal customer on Black Friday weekend will give you their full attention. They’re immediately interested in your offer, and they’re waiting cash in hand—ready to place an order.

That’s something that almost never happens. In fact, most shoppers during this holiday weekend are as distracted as a teenager texting their BFF (Black Friday Fam) at the dinner table. There’s so much going on, so many emails coming in from different brands, and so much noise for them to filter out. You’re lucky if you get a few minutes of their attention, let alone enough time for a click-through.

This is why Nik Sharma says the number one way to get more online sales during this weekend is to use a landing page with zero distractions.

Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands

On Black Friday, people want to shop around. Help narrow down their opportunities by building landing pages for your offer. That way, you’re not worried about people getting derailed from the page or checking out other pieces of the site. Put everything they need on that one page and you’ll increase your conversion rate.

But how much difference can a landing page actually make? Nik says directing traffic from your email list, social media ads, or PPC ads to a landing page instead of a website can have a huge impact on your final sales numbers.

Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands

If you look at an on-site conversion rate, you might be hovering between 1-4% on average. But if you look at a landing page click-through to a cart… we’ve seen anywhere from 18-25% end up right in the cart from getting to the page.

Get Ready for an Unprecedented Black Friday Weekend

No matter what happens this Black Friday weekend, one thing is for sure: it’s going to be very different. More shoppers will be staying at home and doing their shopping online, which means marketers have to be ready with their most competitive deals, compelling messaging, and optimized landing pages. (Also, you’re going to need coffee. Lots of coffee.)

Check out our ecommerce lookbook for more campaign inspiration, read more about how to create smarter landing pages for the holidays, or get started now with your free 14-day trial of Unbounce and over 100+ high-converting landing page templates.

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How HIKI Shifted Their Social Media Marketing Launch Strategy During COVID-19

HIKI, a newly launched genderless full body sweat brand, was set to reveal their DTC brand in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. Despite the pandemic, HIKI decided to push forward with the launch by shifting its social media marketing launch strategy to suit the times we were living in. But how did they manage to do so?

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how HIKI shifted their social media marketing strategy for a COVID-19 era and how they leaned on their community to co-create their products. You’ll hear directly from Tinah Ogalo, Social Media Coordinator at HIKI, and you’ll learn:

  • Where to find inspiration for creating social media content for a Gen-Z/millennial audience
  • How to leverage your community to inform your marketing strategy (and to create TikTok content)
  • How to plan for a successful new brand or product launch on social media
  • How to stay up to date on social media trends and updates

This post is part of the #BufferBrandSpotlight, a Buffer Social Media series that shines a spotlight on the people that are helping build remarkable brands through social media, community building, content creation, and brand storytelling.

This series was born on Instagram stories, which means you can watch the original interview in our Highlights found on our @buffer Instagram profile.

Who are you?

Hi, I’m Tina w/ an H. I’m the social media coordinator for arfa, a new consumer goods brand house specialising in personal care products. We co-create every product with real people from all over the country (we call them the arfa Collective) because we believe people should have a say in what they put on their bodies. And in return, we make them stakeholders in the business and give them 5% of profits. We currently have two brands that we launched this summer: HIKI, a genderless full body sweat line, and State Of, a skincare and beauty line for menopausal women.

Where do you find inspiration for HIKI’s social media content?

Our HIKI audience is predominantly Gen-Z / millennials, so I look to platforms and topics that those demos are currently responding to most, like pop culture, TikTok, Giphy, and my Instagram explore page. I also am so inspired by our community’s posts about HIKI. They created the brand with us and they’re so invested in its success, so when they post content to their socials about our products, I am always re-posting or coming up with creative ways to showcase their content.

Our HIKI audience is predominantly Gen-Z /millennials, so I look to platforms and topics that those demos are currently responding to most.

One example was the ‘Put a Finger Down’ challenge on TikTok. We saw that this was a great way to engage with our community so we created our own version to show them and others that sweating is totally normal. We had our Collective members, Noelle and Gabe participate in the challenge. Fun Fact – that’s our UX Designer, Ian’s, voice. We thought a British accent would be a nice added touch LOL.

Every morning I check to see what posts I’ve got lined up for the day, and then I go through all of our notifications that I may have missed from the night before. For the rest of the day, I’m working on the content calendar that’s two weeks out, searching for the latest trends, leveraging audience insights, making creative briefs for assets I want to incorporate into the feed, and working closely with our designers to create custom content for each platform.

HIKI was launched in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. How did HIKI shift its marketing launch strategy to suit the times we were living in?

I joined in June, so I wasn’t at arfa for the initial launch, but the team did an amazing job. They had all of these plans for launch, then when COVID hit, people’s lives and priorities shifted of course, as a business ours did as well. It felt counter-intuitive to what we were trying to build – products and brands that put people first – to launch for-profit as though the world hadn’t changed. We also realized sourcing supplies was a big problem for a lot of folks, so we decided to instead give away all of the products we had ready to sell and ship to healthcare personnel, essential workers, and first responders—we ended up giving away 20,000 products, and I am so proud of that.

It felt counter-intuitive to what we were trying to build – products and brands that put people first – to launch for-profit as though the world hadn’t changed.

It also helped us a lot when we officially launched for sale in July, because we had about 300 reviews on the site and had already gotten some amazing feedback from customers that I could use on social. Beyond that, we really leaned on our Collective, the people from all over the country we built the brand with, and micro and nano influencers to get as much vibrant and fun content as possible to push on our organic and paid channels to spread awareness. And it worked! The response to our branding on social accounts has been overwhelmingly positive.

Launches are always hectic (but so fun!), so it’s important to do as much heavy lifting beforehand so you can sit back on launch day and enjoy the show. Build up your asset arsenal so you have lots of social content to choose from in the first few weeks, gift 50-100 influencers in the 20K-100K range to generate buzz, partner with like-minded brands on social giveaways to build up your email list, and do lots of research on relevant hashtags. And definitely have at least a two-week plan so then you can breathe.

Build up your asset arsenal so you have lots of social content to choose from in the first few weeks, gift 50-100 influencers in the 20K-100K range to generate buzz, partner with like-minded brands on social giveaways to build up your email list.

Our Collective wants us to succeed just as much as we do, getting feedback from them is always great because it’s so inspiring. Creating engaging stories such as polls and questions allows us to see what our community likes and doesn’t like. Right now we know that they’re big fans of product shots and memes. They tell us how they incorporate HIKI into their lives and in turn, helps us share with our community different HIKI Hacks.

Creating engaging stories such as polls and questions allows us to see what our community likes and doesn’t like.

HIKI’s Co-ounders with The Collective members

Be active and listen! Check throughout the day that you’ve answered everyone, pinned tweets, liked comments. Even on the weekends, I check on our page in the morning, midday, and evening. It’s so important to us that our social account feels like a person(because it is! It’s me! :)) and we all are engaging with our feeds regularly, so the same should go for HIKI.

I am always on the platforms, looking at what interesting new brands are doing and what’s trending. (Side note: I LIVE for TikTok trends). I also listen to podcasts and read social media blogs, like Homemade Social, to stay in the know.

What’s your favorite HIKI product and why?

I love all of our children equally, but if I HAD to pick, I’d say the Body Powder because it smells amazing, is talc-free, and rubs into my skin seamlessly. Besides putting some on my lower back to fight my daily back sweat, I also use it as a setting powder.

We hope this interview with Tina w/ an H helps you get started with or double down on your social media efforts. You can follow her journey on Instagram here!

Have any questions for Tinah? Feel free to reply with your questions to the Twitter post below and Tinah or someone from the Buffer team will get to them as soon as possible.

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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Advertising on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become a premium location for advertising, particularly if you’re looking to sell a B2B or SaaS product. The platform has more than 675 million users, which means your LinkedIn ads can reach as much as 12% of the world’s population. And what’s more, you’ll be getting your offer in front of a self-selected audience in a professional context—not 16-year-olds who wanna see their friends do the Toosie Slide.

Bottom line: If it’s not already a part of your marketing plan, LinkedIn is super fertile ground to seed some of your ad budget—but it can be a harsh and expensive channel if you don’t do things right. To make LinkedIn advertising worth your while, you’ve gotta understand the basics. That’s where a guide like this one can help.

Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to take to successfully advertise on LinkedIn.

Why Should You Advertise on LinkedIn?

You might think your money is better spent running a Google Ads campaign or on promoted Facebook posts, but LinkedIn offers a special kind of opportunity. The feed hasn’t been overrun by digital marketers and people don’t yet harbor the same suspicion of LinkedIn ads. That means the platform tends to be pretty effective and cost-efficient for advertisers.

LinkedIn is best suited to B2B products or services because you’re reaching people in a professional atmosphere. Where Facebook users are browsing to pass the time or catch up with friends, users that see your LinkedIn ads are already in a mindset to take action on behalf of their business. If you hit ’em with the right offer, there’s a way better chance they convert here than on Instagram or Twitter.

One more great thing about LinkedIn: You can advertise to almost any segment you can dream up. Target people by their company, years of experience, industry, education, title, age—whatever. You can ensure your advertisements are only seen by the users who are most likely to want what you’re sellin’.

Sounds great, right? Well, how about we get started with our first LinkedIn advertising campaign?

Running Your First LinkedIn Advertising Campaign

Step 1: Get a LinkedIn Advertising Account

You’ve probably already got a LinkedIn account, but if not, go ahead and create one. It just takes a minute or two and it’s totally free.

Next, head to the LinkedIn Campaign Manager. You’ll have a chance to link your account to your company’s business page, plus choose the currency you want to run your advertising campaigns with.

Step 2: Create Your New Campaign

If you’re a new user, LinkedIn should automatically put you into the campaign creation flow. Otherwise, from the Campaign Manager dashboard, click “Create Campaign.” You wanna end up here:

One of the most important parts of creating a new campaign is ensuring that the name is super descriptive. As you build your LinkedIn ad portfolio, you’ll find that consistent name formatting is key to organizing your campaigns and measuring their success.

Consider including some of the following info in your campaign title to help you identify it more easily later on:

  • Reference to the marketing campaign title
  • Business line or product description
  • Type of campaign (e.g., webinar, ebook)
  • Geographic location you’re targeting
  • Date range when the campaign’ll run

For example, you might use a naming convention along the lines of PRODUCT_CAMPAIGNTYPE_GEOGRAPHY. Whatever you decide, make sure to establish a formula from the get-go so you can stay organized and execute the most successful campaigns possible.

Step 3: Set Your Campaign Objective

Right away, LinkedIn will ask you to choose the objective of your new advertising campaign. There are three categories:

  • Awareness: You want to create a campaign that improves the recognition or opinion of your brand.
  • Consideration: Your campaign goal is to drive visits to your website, engagement on your posts, or views of a particular video.
  • Conversions: You’re hoping to generate leads, get job applicants, or have people perform an action on your website.

Your chosen objective will influence the rest of your campaign, so make sure it accurately reflects what you wanna achieve. That said, you can always come back and change your goals depending on the outcome of your campaign.

If you’re a performance marketer (or just someone who doesn’t wanna blow a budget without measurable action), I’d suggest choosing one of the objectives under “Conversions.”

Step 4: Establish Your Targeting Criteria

LinkedIn lets you choose from more than 20 different audience attribute categories, including location, language, education, skills, and so much more.

Accurate targeting is absolutely crucial to the success of your campaign, so think hard about how to best reach your ideal audience. On the other hand, you don’t want your targeting parameters to be too strict—then, you could seriously limit how many people your ads hit.

For example, if I was an American startup selling a software tool for healthcare providers, I’d limit my audience down to product managers (“Job Title”) at healthcare companies with less than 100 employees (“Employee Count”) in the United States (“Location”). It’s specific, but my ads should still be seen by a good number of people.

Here’s another one. Let’s say I run a marketing agency that’s looking for new clients. I’d consider targeting CEOs and VPs of Marketing (“Job Title”) at technology companies (“Industry”) in San Francisco, New York, and Boston (“Location”). That way, I’d be reaching decision-makers at companies that’re likely to have venture capital funding. (And money to spend on my agency!)

You can also enable “Audience Expansion” so that your ads reach other people with similar attributes. (Sorta like an easy-button version of setting up Facebook lookalike audiences.) Or, you could add a “Matched Audience” and generate a target population just by uploading a list of your website visitors or email subscribers.

Step 5: Choose the Type of Ads You’ll Run

You need to pick which type of LinkedIn ads you’ll be running. There’s are a few different kinds (with corresponding ad formats), and the one you use will largely depend on your business needs.

  • Sponsored Content: These are really just promoted LinkedIn posts. They can perform either as native news feed ads or as lead gen forms. If you’re looking to focus on your engagement metrics, this type of ad is a pretty good bet. (Choose “Single Image Ad,” “Carousel Image Ad,” or “Video Ad.”)
  • Direct Sponsored Content: Like sponsored content, except that they’re not published on your business’s LinkedIn page feed. This means you can tailor your messaging to specific audiences and test different iterations without cloggin’ up your own page. (Choose “Single Image Ad,” “Carousel Image Ad,” or “Video Ad.”)
  • Sponsored InMail: This delivers a message straight to the inboxes of LinkedIn users. (And if you’ve been on the platform for any amount of time, you’ve probably received some yourself.) One thing to note: people can opt out of these messages, so your reach can be limited. (Choose “Conversation Ad.”)
  • Text Ads: These advertisements appear in the right rail or top banner of LinkedIn’s desktop view. They include a short headline, subhead, and small square image. (Choose “Text Ad.”)
  • Dynamic Ads: Also appear on the right rail, but these ads have the ability to directly target users with personalized content. (Choose “Spotlight Ad” or “Follower Ad.”)

It might seem overwhelming to choose between all these options, but if you try one and decide it’s not working like you’d hoped, you can always switch to another.

My recommendation? I’ve found that sponsored InMail messages are the most cost-effective, as they let you connect directly with target prospects in a more personalized way. On the other hand, regular sponsored content is the most expensive on a cost-per-lead basis, since people need to click on your ad and then click through to your website. That’s a lot of friction between a user and your desired action.

Step 6: Determine Your Campaign Budget & Schedule

You can set a lifetime budget, a daily budget, or a combination of the two for your LinkedIn campaign. With a lifetime budget, your campaign will keep running until you’ve spent your allotted amount. A daily budget will limit your advertising spend to a certain amount each day.

Next is bidding. Depending on the campaign objective you selected at the top, your “Optimization Goal” will be automatically set to maximize impressions, clicks, or leads. You’ll also have the option to set a “Bidding Strategy,” although LinkedIn can automatically manage your bidding to help maximize your budget.

Once you’ve handled the financials, you can choose to run your campaign continuously or set a start and end date. Of course, you can always cancel your LinkedIn advertising campaign early if you feel like it’s not getting results.

And with that, there’s just one thing left to do before you launch.

Step 7: Build a Campaign-Specific Landing Page

If you’ve done any advertising on social media, you already know how important it is to have a dedicated landing page for each campaign. Landing pages help you reinforce the messaging of the ad that visitors just clicked, letting ’em know they’re in the right place and increasing their likelihood to convert.

But the performance of your page can have a big impact on the overall success of your campaign. Based on an analysis from Unbounce’s Conversion Benchmark Report, the average landing page conversion rate is just under 10%, but lots of pages convert way better. How do you make sure you’ve got one of those?

All of the landing page best practices apply on LinkedIn, too—but there are some specific things you’ll want to consider when creating pages for this platform:

  • You’re reaching your audience in a professional context, so think about the way you frame your offer. Try using more formal language, results-oriented messaging, and cite real business examples where you can.
  • LinkedIn is great for B2B advertising—but as with all things B2B, decisions take time. The people who see your ads will probably want to do some research as they consider your offer. Make it easy for them with lead magnets like white papers and webinars that’ll accelerate their journey through the funnel.
  • Use loads of proof points. If you have customer testimonials or press logos you can include, use them. Any savvy potential buyer will want to know that your product or service is trusted in the industry.

And if you’re looking for an easier way to create landing pages for your LinkedIn campaigns, check out Unbounce’s library of 100+ templates and get started fast.

You’re Ready to Launch Your LinkedIn Advertising Campaign

And that’s it! You’ve created your ads, defined your targeting criteria, set your budget and schedule, and tied it all together with a high-converting landing page. Now you’re ready to let ‘er rip.

Once you’ve launched your campaign, LinkedIn lets you measure campaign performance by tracking things like impressions, clicks, and social actions. Using that data, you can optimize as you go. Refine your messaging, edit your targeting, try new ad formats—keep experimenting and figure out what works best for you.

Trust me—you’ll be a LinkedIn advertising expert in no time. 💪

Landing pages for social media campaigns

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2020 is the Year To Prioritize Equal Pay

Here on the Unbounce blog we’re usually talking about all things conversion intelligence and optimization. And while we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming soon, today we have a call to action of a different kind. It’s one that’s very important to our people-focused company and an issue that companies can no longer ignore—the gender pay gap.

Research from Stats Canada shows that a woman only earns $0.92 for every $1 made by a man even after adjusting for differences in industries, occupations, and rate of part-time work. And this gap is much worse for women facing multiple forms of discrimination, such as racialized women, trans women, and women living with disabilities.

Meanwhile, as economies re-open, we’re now seeing a widening of gender inequities caused by COVID-19. Women unfortunately continue to be more vulnerable to the economic effects of the pandemic due to their increased likelihood of working in service industries and being the primary caregiver of young children. If we’re not intentional about our actions, we could see decades of progress for gender equality in the workforce wiped out in a single year.

At Unbounce, we’ve been working hard to foster real diversity and inclusion in the workplace, both within our own walls and outside of them. Now, we want to help and encourage our peers to address pay parity at their own companies. We believe that even though conversation and debate are healthy contributors to progressing important issues, real change can only happen when companies commit to taking meaningful actions on big issues.

And so—beyond having addressed our own pay gap at Unbounce—today we’re launching Pay Up for Progress, a way of urging companies to pledge to make equal pay a business priority. This pledge is a commitment taken by your CEO or Head of HR/People and Culture (P&C) to complete a gender wage gap analysis and begin taking practical steps towards pay parity.

Several Canadian tech companies including Traction on Demand, Allocadia, Kiite, Thinkific, and Klipfolio have already committed to taking the pledge and making pay parity a priority within their organizations.

Why Make Pay Parity a Business Priority?

Many of you know us as a landing page builder, but you might not be familiar with the team behind our software. From day one, we’ve been consciously building a people-first team with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Embracing diversity isn’t only about doing what’s right. We also know that companies with diverse talent and fair, equitable practices for all employees are healthier businesses overall.

For instance, when organizations make equal pay a priority, they’re 19% more likely to exceed industry-average levels of productivity and 54% more likely to beat industry-average turnover benchmarks. In other words, businesses that value equality end up with less turnover and higher productivity. 

There’s more. We hope 2020 has awoken us all to the vast gender and racial inequities that still exist in the world today. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that we have a chance to re-examine the ways we operate as businesses—and one of the clearest opportunities for us to make a positive impact is by standing for equal pay.

We certainly aren’t the only business taking note of the importance of pay parity either. As part of Salesforce’s commitment to equality for their employees, the company conducted two pay audits, pledged to evaluate compensation on an ongoing basis, and recently adjusted the salaries for 30,000 employees to address statistical differences in pay. Other prominent companies like Starbucks, Adobe, RealSelf, Glassdoor, Boston Scientific, Citi, Microsoft, Gap, and Zillow have all made efforts to close their pay gap and monitor pay parity on an ongoing basis.

Not only are these companies seeing better business results, but we admire that they’re paving the way for smaller companies to start taking action too. Which leads us to our story.

How Unbounce Prioritized Gender Pay Parity

Three years ago, after analyzing compensation throughout our company, we discovered (to our surprise and disappointment) that we had a gender wage gap at Unbounce. From the very beginning, our founders have recognized the importance of treating all employees equally and fairly—so when we learned about our pay gap, there was no question that we would take action to close it.

Looking back, our journey was full of ups and downs. But thanks to the hard work of our P&C team, data team, and founders, I’m pleased to say we took the necessary steps to achieve gender pay parity.

Today, this means both self-identifying men and women at Unbounce with the same managerial status, development level, and geographic location are paid equally. And while we’re certainly proud of the strides we’ve made so far, we still have a long road ahead of us. This work is never finished. 

We realize many companies, especially SMBs, may be under-resourced to do a compensation analysis and tackle prioritizing equal pay on their own.  That’s why we’re sharing some of the tools, resources, and a community of support to help companies begin taking their own steps to reach equal pay. 

If you take the pledge, there are a few ways we’d like to support you. You’ll get:

  1. Access to the “Pay Up for Progress Toolkit”—a step-by-step guide we created based on our experience to achieve pay parity.
  2. An invitation to two live workshops (via remote webinar) with advocates and experts to provide guidance and answer your questions.
  3. Support from a community of fellow pledged companies that can help coach and encourage one another.

Equal Pay Needs to Be Prioritized

Here’s my ask of you, your CEO, your HR or P&C leaders, and anyone else who is part of this journey: commit to making progress today. Don’t aspire to achieve perfection at a distant point in the future. In the midst of the world’s crises and alongside a renewed urgency for action towards dismantling all forms of discrimination, prioritizing pay parity is no longer a ‘nice to have’—it’s a necessity for your team, business, and community. I hope this pledge (and the community of pledgers) will be the galvanizing first step for many. 

You’ve seen the research, you’ve read the reports, you’ve heard the countless stories. You don’t need me to convince you that something needs to be done. The time is now for us all to make our workplaces more fair and equitable for everyone. And if we do this work together, we can close the pay gap for good.

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8 Real Estate Landing Page Examples & Why They Convert

Just as real estate agents need to learn about each individual client to find ‘em the perfect property, real estate marketing requires offering up the right digital content to viable leads online.

Sure, that might sound like a tall order—especially when you don’t know exactly who is visiting your website or browsing your listings.

But that’s the beauty of landing pages. By creating targeted real estate landing pages for specific audiences, you can present the right message to the right people at exactly the right time.

When someone clicks on your ad—whether it’s for a real estate listing, platform, or service—they’re telling you that they’re interested in your offer. (Why would they click if they weren’t?) All you need to do next is show ‘em more of the same with a dedicated real estate landing page.

Wanna get straight to the examples? We get it—let’s cut to the chase. Jump down to the first one and find a little inspiration for your next real estate landing page.

What’s a Real Estate Landing Page?

A real estate landing page is a dedicated web page built around one specific conversion goal. A landing page is separate from the rest of your website and leads can only access it by clicking on an ad or email link.

Whether you’re looking to drum up leads, build your mailing list, or schedule bookings, real estate landing pages are the best place to send someone who clicks on your ad. “Why’s that, Unbounce?” Well, because unlike your website or a generic property listing, a real estate landing page is built specifically to match your ad and drive conversions with a relevant call to action (CTA).

Why Do I Need Real Estate Landing Pages?

If you don’t have real estate landing pages yet, you’re missing out on a whole buncha benefits. Creating a conversion-oriented landing page will help you:

  • Maximize your impact on targeted traffic. When it comes to driving conversions, a landing page is more effective than a basic page on your website. Think about it: if someone clicks on an ad for a Manhattan loft and it takes them to your home page, they might feel like you didn’t deliver on your promise—so they bounce. But if the ad takes them to a dedicated landing page built entirely around booking a private showing of that loft (i.e., around a single conversion goal), you increase your odds of closing the deal.
  • Build and grow your email list. With a simple lead generation form and enticing offer, you’ll gather more contact information that’ll make it easier to follow-up and nurture leads into clients.
  • Showcase properties in depth. Highlight specific aspects of new builds, rental units, or your real estate services that speak to a specific audience. Since landing pages are highly targeted and built around one CTA, you can focus on the details that appeal most to a targeted group of visitors.
  • Create a sense of urgency. There’s nothing like an exclusive sneak peek at upcoming listings or early access to pre-construction floor plans to get potential clients excited. Use real estate landing pages to present a time-sensitive offer that wouldn’t make sense to feature on your homepage—all without updating your website.
  • Accurately measure campaign results. On a general listing site, you can’t tell how effective your ads are because you don’t have access to those metrics. With a dedicated landing page, on the other hand, you’ll see where your traffic is coming from and what percentage is converting—so you’ll know exactly how well your ads are performing and can focus on the most effective channels.

The Basic Elements: How to Create a Real Estate Landing Page

While every landing page should be unique and match the campaign driving that’s traffic to it, there are a few things all effective real estate landing page examples have in common:

A single call to action

The one thing every landing page needs is a call to action (CTA). You’ve gotta tell interested leads what to do next. Your CTA should always support your conversion goal, so start by thinking about what you want to achieve with a particular campaign.

For instance, if your main goal is to generate new leads within a specific house-hunting budget, your CTA might ask visitors to answer a few questions about their down payment (along with their contact information). Or, if you’re lookin’ to book more appointments, you might encourage leads to select a time slot from your calendar and submit their phone number. Whatever the case, craft a single call to action that supports your conversion goal.

High-impact visuals

Real estate is all about selling a vision—so give your visitors something to feast their eyes on. Use visual content to show leads what you have to offer. Include lots of appealing images, like professional photos of properties, videos and virtual walkthroughs, and even GIFs (perhaps to showcase a panoramic view or preview your real estate tech).

Transparent language and benefits

Yeah, you want clients to get excited about a property, but it’s just as important to be transparent about your offer. By using clear, plain language to describe a listing, for example, you’re setting expectations and earning the trust of your leads. This is key when providing details like cost, location, and square footage.

Genuine social proof

Who better to convince leads to work with you than your already-satisfied clients? Featuring reviews and testimonials on your landing page is a great way to highlight your reputation and build credibility (as long as those reviews are genuine).

Even if you’ve built up a killer reputation in the industry, chances are that most of your leads don’t know much about you yet. By including a combination of awards and social proof on your landing page, you give potential clients a chance to learn about your expertise before they contact you.

We used machine learning to analyze the effectiveness of thousands of real estate landing pages. Wanna see what we learned? Check out Unbounce’s Conversion Benchmark Report and find out how to create landing pages that always make the sale.

8 Real Estate Landing Page Examples from Unbounce Customers

Now that you know the basics behind what makes a real estate landing page pop, let’s get into some examples that show these principles in action. These are all from Unbounce customers, selected for their impressive conversion rates, sweet designs, and creative lead gen efforts.

1. Flyhomes

Real Estate Landing Page Examples - Flyhomes
Image courtesy of Flyhomes. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Our first example is from Flyhomes, an agency that takes an “integrated” approach to helping clients buy and sell homes. Since their business model is a bit different than your typical real estate business, this landing page is chock-full of info that explains exactly what they do.

This page is also closely tailored to a location-specific audience: clients who want to enter the high-demand Seattle market. By offering to help buyers “beat competing home offers in Seattle,” Flyhomes speaks directly to a major pain point impacting their clients’ ability to buy—namely, bidding wars driving up real estate prices.

Flyhomes offers three ways to become a more successful homebuyer and each of these three “superpowers” is visible above the fold as soon as you hit the page. As you scroll down, Flyhomes establishes credibility by showing off their track record in the form of statistics, testimonials from clients (with names and photos), and their five-star status on Zillow and Yelp.

Aside from an option to visit the homepage if the visitor clicks “Flyhomes” in the top left (an alternative to bouncing for those who want more background on the brand), the page is built entirely around a single conversion goal. And by using the exact same CTA above the fold and at the bottom of the page, there’s no doubt as to what next steps should be—visitors only have one choice for how to proceed.

One of the biggest lessons to take from this example? 

Consider the story your landing page tells visitors as they scroll. Interlace social proof with benefits, providing more details as the visitor explores the page in-depth. Most importantly, maintain consistent messaging throughout. Make sure every section of your landing page is totally aligned with your brand and campaign.

2. Quarters

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

“Eyy, I’m convertin’ here!” This landing page for Quarters transports visitors into the heart of New York City with a powerful shot of the city skyline. Not only does this get them excited about living in the Big Apple, but it also immediately confirms what the landing page is all about. Paired with a descriptive heading, clear benefits, and inviting language that speaks directly to the target audience, there’s no question for leads that they’ve come to the right place.

The goal is here to attract individuals interested in co-living rentals in NYC, then invite visitors to self-vet by selecting which of the four communities they’d like to explore. To help ‘em make a decision quickly, each option is presented alongside an interior shot and relevant details about the property, including the price, location, amenities, and neighborhood description.

What can you borrow from this real estate landing page example?

Get creative in how you highlight property details and characteristics. We especially love the “Why Live with Us?” checklist on this page. It’s a quick, easy-to-skim overview of the perks and benefits those looking at co-living spaces care about most.

3. Sundae

Real Estate Landing Page Examples - Sundae
Image courtesy of Sundae. (Click to see the whole thing.)

This page does a fantastic job of positioning Sundae as a supportive resource for sellers who are in a tough spot. From the simple tagline and the “Sundae promise” to the repeated benefits (“Sell as-is. Pay zero fees. Move on your timeline”), potential clients are continually reassured that they’ve found a helpful home-selling partner.

Leads are required to enter a street address to proceed, but Sundae does a good job of minimizin’ friction with a drop-down menu that makes it easier to fill out the form. Requiring this key piece of information helps qualify leads by confirming they’re at least somewhat serious about selling a property. And, by revealing exactly where the home is located, it gives Sundae an address to research for easier follow-up and lead nurturing.

How can you apply this lesson to your own real estate landing page design?

Remove any barriers that might prevent leads from converting. Keep your lead capture forms simple and short to avoid overwhelming potential clients. In this example, Sundae is focused on discovery and asks for the address of the house being sold. So, rather than trying to learn everything about leads right off the bat, start with a low-effort ask that will help move sellers through to the next stage of your sales pipeline. 

4. TurnKey

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

TurnKey is a vacation rental platform, and here they’re offering to review potential client listings to generate high-quality leads. This page is effective because it’s built around one specific goal (building a list of vacation property owners who are currently listed on platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway) and provides a single path forward for interested leads (filling out the form to get a free listing review).

Even better, the CTA is stated in the main heading: “Schedule a Free Listing Review.” Without scrolling at all, visitors are greeted with the CTA, several well-known publications that have featured TurnKey, and a list of awards. To build on this name-droppin’ momentum, the page also includes a testimonial with the client’s full name, job title, and photo (to show that, yes, they’re a real person).

You can’t tell from this screenshot, but the image halfway down the page is actually a short GIF playing on loop. This is an easy way to show the platform in action so visitors can understand exactly what TurnKey offers and see how simple it is to use. 

What can you learn from this example?

Videos, GIFs, and interactive content can really elevate your real estate landing page. In this case, TurnKey created a GIF of their real estate platform in action, but this is just one example of how moving visuals can catch a visitor’s eye and show off what you have to offer. For instance, you could create something similar to preview a walkthrough, platform, or listing—and hopefully entice visitors to click n’ see the full thing.

5. Roomeze 

Real Estate Landing Page Examples - Roomeze
Image courtesy of Roomeze. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Roomeze knows exactly who their audience is and what they care about most. That’s why this landing page by Snap Listings places such a heavy emphasis on value. Both the heading (“Looking for a room?”) and the call to action are posed as questions, with the CTA hitting a very strong pain point for renters in NYC: “What can $1000/mo get you?”

To anyone searching for a clean, comfortable, affordable living space in New York, the idea of finding something under the $1K price mark is hard to resist. Plus, the interactive lead gen form sets Roomeze apart from the standard text-only questionnaire most rental companies ask tenants to fill out. It’s more interesting and it seems like less of a barrier to entry.

Feeling inspired by this real estate landing page example? Here’s how you can recreate some of the magic on your own landing page:

Lead gen forms don’t have to be boring, static text boxes. Experiment with visual forms that require different types of interaction, like a slider bar or multiple-choice checkboxes accented with fun visuals.

6. MyLondonHome

Real Estate Landing Page Examples - MyLondonHome
Image courtesy of MyLondonHome. (Click to see the whole thing.)

In this example, MyLondonHome used Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) to show different variants of the same landing page depending on the region they were targeting. That means visitors in Central London would see different results than those from Canary Wharf or Vauxhall.

Since they wanted to show the same CTA (“Get a Free Valuation”) to visitors in different areas, using dynamic content was the most efficient way to present tailored offers without actually having to create and manage multiple pages.

Here’s what you should remember from this example:

Don’t worry, you don’t need to build five separate landing pages to target five different audiences. But you do need to tailor the experience to match the visitor’s expectations. Consider dynamically personalizing your page with DTR, or using A/B testing to see what copy converts best for different target audiences. The goal of your real estate landing page is to convert visitors into leads by convincing them to take action, so the more specific your message is, the better.

7. Minto

Real Estate Landing Page Examples - Minto
Image courtesy of Minto. (Click to see the whole thing.)

One of the first things we noticed about this page from Minto is the high ratio of images to text. Not only does every description have an accompanying visual, but images take up more real estate (heh) than text on this page. That’s important in an industry where emotion is such a big motivation for potential clients.

Minto uses a combination of images to tell the whole story of condo living in downtown Toronto. This starts with a rendering of unit interiors (a sleek kitchen and modern living space; a sunlit bedroom with balcony access), an exterior view of the building itself, as well as the lobby, lounge, and shared outdoor space.

How can you apply this to your own real estate landing pages?

The power of “showing” vs. “telling” is never more obvious than in real estate marketing. Don’t be afraid to lean hard into visual content to showcase your properties and paint the picture your clients are looking for.

8. Destination Homes

We love this page from Destination Homes for its simple copy and design. There’s a clear benefit to filling out the form (“Be the First to Know!”) and there are no competing links or distractions. 

Below the fold, the messaging hits all the right notes and speaks directly to potential buyers by highlighting “what you value most.” Plus, they’re upfront about pricing (providing a range of $290-$320K, instead of just the minimum).

Though the development isn’t built yet, Destination Homes helps potential buyers get the full picture with a realistic rendering of the exterior, brief look at cozy interior brick wall, and a bird’s-eye view of the site location.

What you can learn from this example:

Landing pages can be used to drive interest well in advance so you can nurture leads before the build is even complete.

No photos? No problem. If the focus of your landing page is a pre-construction project, you can (and should) use other types of visuals to give visitors a glimpse of what’s to come. Renderings and maps can be super impactful when it comes to creating interest and getting leads to join your mailing list.

Create Beautiful Real Estate Landing Pages that Convert

Now it’s your turn to put real estate landing pages to work for you. Borrow inspiration from the examples above to customize your own design—or get a head start by choosing from one of our 100+ landing page templates.

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[Experiment] How AI is Changing the Way We Optimize at Unbounce

When I first encountered A/B testing, I immediately wanted to become the type of marketer who tested everything. The idea sounded fun to me. Like being a mad scientist running experiments to prove when my work was actually “working.”

Turns out though, there’s always a long list of other things to do first… blog posts to write, campaigns to launch, and don’t get me started on the meetings! I’m not alone in this, either. A lot of marketers are just too darned busy to follow up and optimize the stuff they’ve already shipped. According to HubSpot, only 17% of marketers use landing page A/B tests to improve conversion rates.

My to-do list
A small glimpse of my ever-growing to-do list. Ain’t nobody got time for A/B tests.

Sure, running a split test with one or two variants always sounds easy enough. But once you take a closer look at the process, you realize just how complex it can actually be. You need to make sure you have… 

But—while there will always be a time and place for A/B testing—there’s also now an easier and faster way for marketers to optimize. Smart Traffic is a new Unbounce tool that uses the power of AI and machine learning to get you more conversions. Every day, more marketers are using Smart Traffic to “automagically” optimize their landing pages. But whenever we launch anything new, we like to test it out for ourselves to learn alongside you (and keep you up to speed on what to try next).

Here’s what I learned after taking Smart Traffic for a test drive myself…

Shifting Your Mindset to Optimize with AI

I know many marketers are (perhaps) skeptical when it comes to promises of machine learning, artificial intelligence, or magical “easy” buttons that get them better results. But AI is all around us and it’s already changing the way we do marketing. Landing page optimization is just one more area of the job where you no longer need to do everything yourself manually.

Smart Traffic augments your marketing skills and automatically sends visitors to the landing page variant where they’re most likely to convert (based on how similar page visitors have converted before). It makes routing decisions faster than any human ever could (thank you, AI magic), and “learns” which page variant is a perfect match for each different visitor. This ultimately means no more “champion” variants. Instead, you’re free to create multiple different pages to appeal to different groups of visitors and run ‘em all at once.

This is very different from A/B testing and honestly—it can feel kinda weird at first. You’ve got to trust in the machine learning to figure out what works best and what doesn’t. Data scientists call this the “black box” problem: data goes in, decisions come out, but you never really get the full understanding of what happened in between. 

For marketers using Smart Traffic, this means shifting your mindset and starting to think about optimization differently. Unlike A/B testing, you’re not looking for those “aha” moments to apply to your next campaign, or a one-size-fits-all “winning” variant. Instead, you’re looking to discover what works best for different subsets of your audience. This gives you unlimited creativity to try out new marketing ideas, makes it easier and less risky for you to optimize, and gives you an average conversion lift of 30% compared to splitting the traffic evenly across multiple variants. (Woah.)

My Experiment with Smart Traffic

I know all this because I recently experimented with variant creation myself to better understand this new AI optimization mindset. I created 15 variants across two separate landing pages using Smart Traffic to discover…

  • How easy is it to optimize with an AI-powered optimization tool?
  • Could I quickly set up the tests in Unbounce while still getting those other to-do’s done?
  • What kind of conversion lift would I see from just a few hours invested?

I took a little bit of my inspiration from Ms. Frizzle on the Magic School Bus. No, not her haircut, her catchphrase: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

Magic School Bus Gif
Oh, so that’s where she got all her good ideas.

Creating 15 Variants in Under Two Hours

The beauty of Smart Traffic is there are no limits to how many variants you can create and it automatically starts optimizing in as few as 50 visits. Just hit the “optimize” button and you’re off to the races. Could it really be that simple?

My guinea pigs for this experiment would be two recent campaigns our marketing team had worked on: the ecommerce lookbook and the SaaS optimization guide. The team had created both of these ebook download pages in Unbounce, but we hadn’t been able to return to them and optimize very much in the months since we published.

The original landing pages would serve as my control variants. (Click to see the full pages.)

Before starting, I consulted with Anna Roginska, Growth Marketer at Unbounce, to get her input on how I should create my variants. She advised:

Anna Roginska, Growth Marketer, Unbounce

You can take the ‘spaghetti at the wall’ approach, where you create a bunch of variants and just leave them to Smart Traffic to see what happens. It’s that ‘set it and forget it’ mentality. That’s interesting, but when you look at a bowl of spaghetti… There’s a lot of noodles in there. You won’t necessarily get to explain why something is working or not working.

The other approach is to be more strategic and focused. I think there’s a huge benefit to going in with a plan. Create maybe only five variants and give them each a specific purpose. Then, you can see how they perform and create new iterations for different portions of the audience.

I had two landing pages to work with, so I thought I’d give both approaches a try. But with only a few hours scheduled in my calendar to complete all these variants, I needed to move fast.

The “Spaghetti at the Wall” Approach to Variant Creation

On the ecommerce lookbook page, I wanted to spend less time planning and more time creating. Whereas in A/B testing you need a proper test hypothesis and a careful plan for each variant, Smart Traffic lets you get creative and try out new ideas on the fly. Your variants don’t have to be perfect—they just need to be different enough to appeal to new audience segments.

This meant I didn’t have to make any hard or fast choices about which one element to “test” on the landing page. I could create 15 different variants that varied wildly from one another. Some used different colors, some had different headlines, some completely changed up the layout of the page.

Some of the variants

This is something you just can’t do in a traditional A/B test where you’re looking to find a “winner” and understand why it “wins.” I had to remind myself I wasn’t looking for that one variant to rule them all (or for that one variant to bring them all and in the darkness bind them). I was looking to increase the chance of conversion for every single visitor. Certain pages were going to work better for certain audiences, and that was totally fine.

I wondered, though: how many variants would be too many? Would the machine learning recognize that some of these were not anything special and just stop sending traffic to them? And how long would it take to get results? With these questions in mind, I checked back on my first set of tests one month later…

Changing up the background color

Usually, color A/B tests are pretty much a waste of time. You need a lot of data to get accurate results, and most marketers don’t actually end up learning anything useful in the end. (Because color by itself means nothing, it always depends on the context of the page.)

That being said, we know there is some legitimate color theory and certain audience segments respond better to certain colors than others. So I thought it might be interesting to switch up the background on this landing page to see what would happen. And color me surprised—these variants are seeing some pretty dramatically different conversion rates:

  • Pink background – 12.82%
  • Green background – 21.43%
  • White background – 21.74%
  • Black background – 31.71%

One might start to speculate from these conversion rates that darker backgrounds perform better than the lighter backgrounds. But hold your horses, that’s thinking about this as an A/B test again. Here’s why Jordan Dawe, Senior Data Science Developer at Unbounce, says you should be cautious about drawing any conclusions from the conversion rates…

Jordan Dawe, Unbounce

Smart Traffic is not sending visitors randomly—it’s trying to get the best traffic to the best variant. So in this case, it doesn’t mean that a black background will always convert higher than a pink background. There are likely portions of the audience going to each color that would be doing worse on others. Here’s what you can conclude: the color black is preferred by a portion of the traffic that converts highly.

It’s hard to shake that mindset of looking for a “winner” and trying to figure out “why” something is working. But I was starting to accept that different portions of the audience would always respond better to different variants—this was just the first time I’d been able to use AI to automatically serve up the best version.

Making big (and small) changes to the headline

For the next group of variants, I switched up the H1 in both small and big ways to see what effect that would have on the conversion rate. In some cases, this meant just swapping a single adjective (e.g., “jaw-dropping” for “drool-worthy”). In other cases, I went with a completely new line of copy altogether.

Here’s how the variants stacked up against each other:

  • See 27 Sales-Ready Ecommerce Landing Pages in Our Ultimate Lookbook – 25.81%
  • See 27 Stunning Ecommerce Landing Pages in Our Ultimate Lookbook – 25.93%
  • Get Ready to See 27 Jaw-Dropping Ecommerce Landing Page Examples – 28.13%
  • Get Serious Inspo for Supercharging Your Ecomm Sales – 35%
  • See 27 Drool-Worthy Ecommerce Landing Pages in Our Ultimate Lookbook – 40%

Again, each variant yielded a different conversion rate. I wondered if I kept testing different variations of the headlines and found one that performed best, could I deactivate all the other headline variants and just go with the “best” one? 

Here’s how Floss Taylor, Data Analyst at Unbounce, responded…

Floss Taylor, Unbounce

Smart Traffic doesn’t have champion variants. You don’t pick one at the end like you would in an A/B test. Although one variant may appear to be performing poorly, there could be a subset of traffic that it’s ideal for. You’re better off leaving it on long-term so it can work its magic.

Trying out different page layouts and hierarchies

The last set of variants I created messed with the actual structure and hierarchy of the page. I wanted to see if moving things around (or removing sections entirely) would influence the conversion rate. Here’s a sample of some of the experiments…

  • Removing the Headline – 16.67%
  • Adding a Double CTA – 21.95%
  • Moving the Testimonial Up the Page – 27.27%

Nothing too surprising here. And because I had created so many variants, Smart Traffic was taking longer than usual in “Learning Mode” to start giving me a conversion lift. Here’s how Floss Taylor explains it…

Floss Taylor, Unbounce

Smart Traffic needs approximately 50 visitors to understand which traffic would perform well for each new variant. If you have 15 variants and ~100 visitors per month, you’re going to have a long learning period where Smart Traffic cannot make accurate recommendations. I’d suggest starting off with a lower number of variants, and only adding more once once you have sufficient traffic.

The “Strategic Marketer” Approach

So throwing spaghetti at the wall turned out to be… messy. (New parents beware.) For the SaaS optimization guide page, I wanted to be a bit more strategic. And I actually had a leg up for this one, because Anna Roginska, Growth Marketer at Unbounce, had already started with a Smart Traffic experiment on this page four months ago.

Anna had set up a test between two different variants. One had an image of the ecommerce lookbook as the hero graphic on the page, while the other used the image of conversion expert and author Talia Wolf. Anna says she decided on this second variant because of research she had seen on how photographs of people tend to convert better than products.

Anna Roginska, Growth Marketer, Unbounce

I put Talia up front because I knew from other tests I’ve run and research I’ve done. [Photographs of] people tend to convert better. I didn’t know if it would work better in this particular case, but I was able to set up a variant and use Smart Traffic to find out. And it just so happens that the algorithm started sending way more traffic to this variant.

Anna seemed to be onto something, too: her variant was converting at nearly double the rate for a large traffic subset. And while I now know we can’t consider this a “champion” variant like in an A/B test and learn from the results, we could iterate based on her design to target new audience segments.

I created a simple spreadsheet to develop my gameplan. The goal was to create five new versions of the page that would appeal to different visitors based on their attributes:

Reducing the word count to target mobile and “ready to download” visitors

For inspiration on my first variant, I consulted the 2020 Conversion Benchmark Report. The machine learning insights here suggested that SaaS landing pages with lower word counts and easier-to-read copy tend to perform better than their long-winded counterparts.

And while the original version of our download page was easy enough to read, it did have a long, wordy intro with a lot of extra detail. Could I increase our conversion rate for a portion of our audience if just focused on the bare essentials? I was ready to kill some darlings to find out…

  • Original Long-Form Version – 10%
  • Low Word Count Version – 21.43%

It seems there’s a segment of our traffic coming to this page who didn’t need to see all that extra info before they decided to fill out the form. I speculated that this variant might also perform better on mobile devices since it would be faster-loading and easier to scroll through. Interesting!

Switching the headline to target different audience segments

Next, I created an additional four page variants to speak to the different pain points and reasons our audience might want to download the guide. (Actually, this is something Talia herself recommends you do in the SaaS optimization guide.) I switched up the headline copy here, as well as some of the supporting text underneath to match. After a month, here’s what the conversion rates look like:

  • Get Talia’s Guide to Optimize – 19.05%
  • You Can’t Just Build – 23.08%
  • Optimization is a Lot of Work – 24%
  • Not Sure How to Optimize? – 33.33%

Each variant is serving a different segment of the audience, by speaking to the particular reason they want to download the guide most (e.g., maybe they don’t have the time to optimize, or maybe they don’t know how to get started). As Smart Traffic learns more about which variants perform best for which audience segments, we become that much more likely to score a conversion.

What I Learned Running These Smart Traffic Experiments

Smart Traffic absolutely makes optimization easier and faster for marketers who previously never had the time (or experience) to run A/B tests. It took me under two hours to set up and launch these experiments, and we’re already seeing some pretty impressive results just over a month later.

While the ecommerce lookbook page is still optimizing, the SaaS ebook page is showing a 12% lift in conversions compared to evenly splitting traffic among all these variants. And this is after only a month—the algorithm will keep improving to get us even better results over time. (Like a fine wine, or that suspiciously old cheese in my fridge.)

At the same time, I did walk away with a few important lessons learned. If you’re planning to use Smart Traffic to optimize your landing pages, here are some things to keep in mind before you get started:

  • There are no champion variants – Unlike traditional A/B testing, you won’t be able to point to one landing page variant at the end of your test and call it a winner. The machine learning algorithm automatically routes audiences differently based on their individual attributes, which means you have to be cautious when you’re analyzing the results.
  • The more variants you create, the longer you’ll wait – While it can be tempting to throw spaghetti at the wall and create dozens of variants for your landing page, this means you’ll also have to wait longer to see what sticks. Try starting out with three to five variations and take a more strategic approach based on research in your industry. (The 2020 Conversion Benchmark Report is a great place to start for some ideas.)
  • It’s (usually) better to leave low-converting variants active – Because Smart Traffic learns over time and continually improves, you’re typically better off leaving your variants active—even if their conversion rates aren’t all that impressive. The AI takes the risk out of optimization by automatically sending visitors to the page that suits them best. If you turn off variants, you may lose out on some of those conversions altogether.

It can be a lot of fun to get creative with the different page elements and try out new ideas. You just might want to come up with a bit of a plan first and be strategic with your approach. Still, it’s better to experiment and optimize with Smart Traffic (even if you make some mistakes along the way) than to never optimize at all.

(And in case you were worried, yep—I managed to get my to-do list done, too. 😅)

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Compare organic and paid results at a glance

In just three simple steps, you can boost a post on Facebook and Instagram.

  1. Choose a post
  2. Select an audience
  3. Set your budget

That’s how easy it is.

As organic reach on social media continues to fall, businesses have started to invest more in social media advertising. For some businesses, that’s creating ads. For smaller businesses, the easier approach is often to boost Facebook posts or promote Instagram posts. Here’s why this works so well:

By putting some money behind our organic posts, we can get more results from the same amount of work.

(And if you aren’t advertising yet, boosting your Facebook and Instagram posts is a quick way to get started with advertising on those platforms—before you move into more sophisticated advertising.)

But simply throwing $5 here and $10 there isn’t enough. You need to have a strategy behind your boosted posts, and you also need a way to measure your results to ensure you get the most return on your investment.

That’s why today we’re introducing boosted post insights to Buffer.

(If you are paying for the analytics solution in Buffer, you should have this in your account already!)

How to get the best results from boosting posts

Before we get to analyzing your results, here’s a tip for choosing the best posts to boost:

Choose the posts with the highest engagement rate.

Boosting your posts is essentially paying Facebook and Instagram to show your posts to more people, according to what you have specified as the audience.

So you would want to pick the posts that will most likely generate the most engagement (or clicks depending on your goals). Posts with the highest engagement rate are proven posts. They have generated the most engagement, given the number of times people have seen it.

By boosting a post with a high engagement rate, here’s a higher chance that people who see it off the back of your ad spend will also engage with it.

Here’s a quick way to find your most engaging posts in Buffer to boost:

1. Head over to your analytics by clicking on “Analyze” at the top navigation in your Buffer account

2. Navigate to the “Posts” tab of your desired Facebook Page or Instagram account

3. Sort your posts in the “Post insights” table by “Eng. Rate”

The top few posts on the list will be great candidates for boosting. You should, however, bear in mind what you want to achieve with the boosted post and consider whether the organic post suits that purpose. For example, it will be timelier to boost a post that is meant for a marketing campaign during the campaign than after the campaign.

How to optimize your ad spend

You don’t want to just dump your money on boosted posts and forget about it. You should pay attention to the results of your boosted posts and compare the organic and paid results of your boosted posts to see how your investment has fared.

Why? By understanding the difference in your organic and paid results, you can adjust your ad spend according to the results you want to achieve. For instance, as your organic reach grows, you might want to cut back on boosting posts to a baseline so that most of your reach is from organic posts rather than boosted posts. That’s because building a brand solely through paid advertising isn’t sustainable.

With boosted post insights, there are now a few new ways to monitor your results in Buffer. Let’s run through them!

1. Overview performance

The simplest way is to see how boosting your posts has impacted your overall results. When you visit the Overview tab of a Facebook Page or Instagram account with boosted posts, you can immediately see a breakdown of organic vs paid for key metrics such as impressions and reach.

You can hover over the bar to see the exact breakdown between organic and paid.

2. Metrics growth

The next way is to track how your key metrics, such as impressions, have grown over time, especially with your boosted posts.

Are your impressions growing because of more organic impressions or paid impressions? Does that align with your strategy?

3. Post insights

The final way, and the most actionable approach, is to compare the organic and paid results of each boosted post in the “Post insights” table.

You can also click on the image to see more details of the post.

Here are a few questions you can think about while you look at these data:

  • How are the paid results relative to the amount spent boosting the posts?
  • Are there any boosted posts with exceptional paid results? Was it the media or the copy that might have caused more people to engage with the post? Or was it the audience setting for the boost? (You might also want to consider boosting such posts again if they are still relevant.)
  • Am I getting the results I want? Should I spend more money boosting posts next month?

If you create monthly or weekly reports, you might also want to include these data. You can simply add them to a new or existing report by clicking on the “plus” button in the upper-right corner of the table or chart.

Make better decisions

There are so many different things to do as a small business. You should be able to have your data at your fingertips so that you can make swift, high-quality decisions. By comparing your organic and paid results in Buffer, you can make better decisions on investing your advertising budget and get more results.

If you value the money you spend boosting your Facebook and Instagram posts, you might enjoy our latest improvement. Try Buffer for free for 14 days and let us know what you think.

To learn more, feel free to check out our help article or join us for our upcoming webinar.

Frequently asked questions

Are ads created through Facebook Ads Manager included?

Not at the moment. After you let Buffer access your ad data, you will only see data for your boosted Facebook and Instagram posts in Buffer. If you would like to see data for your ads created through Facebook Ads Manager in Buffer, let us know!

How often are the data in Buffer updated?

The data for your Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts are updated about every six hours. We are working to improve this so that you get the most updated data whenever you visit Buffer. Also, the data you see in Buffer excludes today’s data.

I’m paying for Buffer. Why do I not see this in my Buffer account?

There are two possible reasons. First, you might not be subscribed to our analytics solution. To get boosted post insights and other analytics and reporting features, you’ll need to add this to your Buffer subscription.

Second, if you are already paying for our analytics solution, you might need to grant Buffer permission to access your ad data. You can do so under settings.

For more specific questions about the feature, see our help article.

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Get More Conversions with 13 Irresistible Call to Action Examples

What’s the difference between a window shopper and a customer?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s the same thing that separates a scroll-by from a click-through. Or an anonymous lurker from a known lead.

The one thing that all your leads, clickthroughs, and customers have in common is that they’ve taken action. More specifically, they responded to a call to action (CTA) on your landing page, website, or ad and actively made a choice to advance through your sales funnel.

If you want to inspire more of your target audience to convert (which, of course, you do), then you need to step up your call to action game. With the right copy, design, and placement, you can create landing pages with powerful CTAs that motivate website visitors to make a move.

A call to action is exactly what it sounds like: you’re literally calling on your audience to take a specific action. This might be clicking a “buy now” button on a sales page or filling out a lead gen form to “download your free copy.”

The Psychology Behind Effective Calls to Action

Knowing the elements that make for a truly compelling offer (and understanding why they work) is the first step to crafting the perfect CTAs for just about every use case.

So, what makes a CTA effective? Let’s start by looking at some of the hard-and-fast rules for creating irresistible calls to action.

1. Grab the Audience’s Attention

Before a visitor can be persuaded to do anything, they need to first notice the call to action. Use a combination of font, design, and placement on the page to ensure your CTA button or form jumps out from the rest of the content—even during a quick skim.

2. Make a Single, Specific Request

Your CTA is not the place to play hard to get. Instead, tell readers exactly what you want them to do. Though there are various ways to use calls to action, the general rule is that it should align with a single conversion goal at the center of your campaign.

3. Present a Clear Path Forward

Use plain language to set expectations and tell users exactly what they’ll get from clicking. People are less likely to click on a link if they don’t know where it’s taking them, so be clear on what the next step will be—whether it’s a pricing page to “compare phone plans,” an account creation page to “start [their] free trial,” or a registration form to “join [your] community.”

4. Motivate Readers to Click

Use action-oriented language that focuses on results. The basic approach is to use action verbs (like “get,” “download,” “start,” “reserve,” and “grab”) to build momentum. You can also experiment with first-person point-of-view (“Give me my deal”), positive affirmations (“Yes, I want to 10X my ROI”), and creating a sense of urgency (“In limited supply. Claim yours today!”).

5. Optimize and Test

Sometimes the best approach to writing calls to action is to test out several variations. When it comes to optimizing copy, a call to action is one of the easiest things to swap out (and even small changes can make a big impact on your conversions). Smart Traffic uses AI to analyze your visitors and automatically display the most effective CTA to each person.

Where Do CTAs Fit into Your Marketing Campaigns?

Your landing page or marketing campaign is most effective when it’s built around a single conversion goal. That conversion goal is represented on the page as a call to action. This might take the form of a single button (click-through page) or a form (lead generation).

There are several different types of CTAs you might leverage at different points of your marketing funnel. Everything from your campaign goal to your audience awareness should influence how you write calls to action for your sales pages, landing pages, and lead generation forms.

These are the most common types of calls to action marketers need to master.

  • Lead Generation: A lead generation call to action helps identify viable leads. Whether the prompt is to download a piece of gated content, register for an upcoming event or webinar, or request a quote from the sales team, lead generation CTAs nudge leads to raise their hand and share details that help qualify them.
  • Click-through CTAs: In many cases, lead nurturing campaigns feature call to action buttons designed specifically to get viewers to click. This could be part of an email campaign, a social media ad, or a landing page, but the aim is always to boost product awareness (“Get a sneak peek at our upcoming release”) and aid discovery (“Click to learn more about this awesome gadget!”).
  • Sales and Signups: In the right place at the right time, calls to action can fuel sales and convert leads into customers. That means targeting leads who are ready to “buy now”—like those who click through to your sales landing page—and using action-oriented language. This applies to account creation (perhaps for a trial, paid account, or freemium version of the service) and ecommerce checkout pages. (Want to learn more about how ecommerce brands are using landing pages to drive sales? Check out 27 Ecommerce Landing Page Examples to Maximize Sales in 2020.)
  • Click-to-Call Buttons: Rather than filling out a form or collecting data about leads, a click-to-call button gives prospects a direct line to reach your team. Not only is this convenient, but click-to-call CTAs can be combined with A/B testing and call tracking to boost lead generation. (For an example of just how well this can work, check out how clever call tracking helped this agency get 219% more leads.)
  • Social Engagement: Brands that successfully promote their products and services on social media use calls to action to drive engagement. By asking viewers to follow, share, like, comment, or smash that subscribe button, you can broaden your reach, increase your following, and build relationships with potential customers.

Next, we’ll explore the most popular use cases using real-world call to action examples from Unbounce customers.

Real-World Call to Action Examples: How Unbounce Customers Use CTAs to Drive Conversions

Here’s how Unbounce customers use CTAs to drive customer actions across a range of industries and use cases. Use these to inspire your next CTA, or A/B test ‘em against one that’s not doing so well. 

CloudSpot | “Get Your App” (App Download)

In this example, CloudSpot uses a lead magnet to attract potential customers, build an email list, and drive app downloads. The entire page is perfectly catered to their target audience (wedding and portrait photographers), which immediately tells leads that they’ve landed in the right place. 

CloudSpot CTA example.
Image courtesy of CloudSpot.

Even the call to action itself is written with the audience in mind. By encouraging readers to “Get YOUR App” instead of “Get OUR app,” CloudSpot cleverly places further emphasis on the reader and draws them into the page. Plus, by promising to help photographers “replace awkward, unnatural moments” with more flattering poses, the benefits are clearly stated in terms related to the audience’s pain points.

The Listings Lab | “Fill Your Calendar with Appointments” (Gated Content)

Here’s an example that reminds us CTAs don’t exist in a vacuum. Even the smartest CTA button copy doesn’t work magic without an assist from a strong headline, supporting copy, and visual cues. Not only is the button itself designed to stand out, but there’s literally an arrow directing readers from the small print to the CTA.

The Listings Lab CTA example.
Image courtesy of the Listings Lab.

By promising to show real estate agents how to “fill [their] calendar with appointments” without “working more hours,” the Listings Lab creates some serious incentive for agents to “get [their] free download.” Plus, the headline serves as a clever way to qualify leads by speaking directly to agents who are “stuck at 6-figures.”

There are tons of ways to match gated content with a simple call to action to generate leads. For more real-world examples like this one, take a look at 8 High-Converting Lead Generation Landing Page Examples.

Waldo Contacts: “Get Ready to See Happiness” (Free Trial)

Waldo CTA example.
Image courtesy of Waldo.

The secret to good copywriting is balancing cleverness with clarity. It’s not always an easy balance, but a tagline like “Get ready to see happiness” is both cute and concise, making it perfect for this contact lens subscription service—especially when paired with a straightforward benefits statement and a direct CTA.

This call to action example by Waldo effectively drives website visitors to start a free trial because even though the tagline leans towards clever, the call to action button itself is 100% clear about the reader’s next step (“Start your free trial”).

Sourcebooks: “Enter to WIN a Signed Copy!” (Contest Entry)

Sourcebooks CTA example.
Image courtesy of Sourcebooks.

Sourcebooks used this landing page to attract leads interested in winning a signed copy of The Similars by Rebecca Hanover. The contest served two valuable purposes: to get people excited for the book (and boost future sales from those who don’t win a free copy) and to build a targeted list of potential leads (by collecting contact info from those who are most interested in this particular genre and author).

An important caveat here is that we typically don’t recommend CTA buttons that simply say “submit.” Although the heading encourages readers to fill out the form (“Enter to WIN a signed copy!”), it’d be worth testing out more actionable copy on the button itself (like “Sign me up!” or “I want to win!”) to see how it impacts conversions.

The round button in the top left corner presents a second, competing call to action (“Click here for an excerpt”). Interestingly enough, this strategy also goes against conventional advice, which would be to focus on one call to action per page to prevent diluting your conversions. However, it works well in this use case because the main CTA is not related to a purchase and because the secondary CTA is an option to preview an excerpt from the book—which actually adds value to the main action of entering the contest, rather than competing.

Athabasca University: “Let’s Get You Started” (Program Registration)

Athabasca University CTA example.
Image courtesy of Athabasca University.

Athabasca University uses landing pages like the one above to drive enrollment for online courses. In this case, they use a soft CTA above the form to get visitors to fill it out and a simple “submit” button at the bottom.

The heading “Let’s get you started…” is less of an order to do something and more of a supportive pat on the back. This tells prospective students, right from the get-go, the school is ready to provide support and help them achieve their goals.

The biggest lesson here is that writing for your audience and speaking to their needs is more important than blindly following any hard and fast rules for call to action writing. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rate for signups or account creation, check out some more of our tips for creating signup pages that convert.

Indochino: “The Tailor Is In” (Appointment Booking)

Indochino CTA example.
Image courtesy of Indochino.

By letting visuals of their suits do much of the selling, Indochino shows potential customers what they can aspire to, rather than telling them why they should book an appointment. In this context, their approach makes sense. Afterall, Indochino doesn’t sell one-size-fits-all clothing—but they do aim to make all of their customers look their best.

The call to action itself (a basic, “Book an appointment”) comes across as more of a low-pressure invitation than a marketing move. However, they also sweeten the incentive and create a minor sense of urgency by mentioning that booking your appointment by a certain date will enter you into a draw for a “perfectly tailored wardrobe.”

Awayco: “Free the Funk” (Equipment Rental)

Awayco CTA example.
Image courtesy of Awayco.

The use case for this example is a bit different, so the approach is a bit different, too. Awayco is an equipment rental company for surfers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The call to action changes a bit throughout the page, ranging from “Free the funk” to “Book the board” to “I’d like to ride that.” It’s this last one, in particular, that’s interesting because rather than simply asking visitors to do something, Awayco is putting words directly into their mouths—and potentially putting ideas into their heads.

On one hand, trying out different calls to action is kind of like A/B testing within a single landing page. (If you have a heatmap set up on the page, you can see which one visitors click more often.) But more importantly, the variety of CTAs give Awayco more opportunities to play with language and show their audience that they’re on the same, ahem, wavelength.

Shoelace: “Download the Deck” (Free Download)

Shoelace CTA example.
Image courtesy of Shoelace.

As a Good Witch once said, if you want a wish to come true you must repeat it three times (I’m paraphrasing here). By repeating the exact same call to action three times throughout this landing page (“Download the Deck”), Shoelace keeps the desired action top of mind and reinforces the visitor’s next step at the end of each benefits section.

We also love this example simply because the landing page and call to action design both embody the pop-art animated aesthetic of the brand perfectly—and you can bet the deck matches it as well.

ClaimCompass: “Claim your compensation” (Clickthrough)

ClaimCompass CTA example.
Image courtesy of ClaimCompass.

Much like the example above, ClaimCompass drives home the audience’s goal by repeating the call to action three times. However, in this case, the wording is switched up in each instance in an attempt to match the reader’s intent.

They start off with the most forward phrasing at the top of the page (“Claim your compensation”) and tailor the next call to action to readers who are scrolling further for more information—perhaps because they’re unsure if they qualify (“Check if your flight is eligible”). At the very bottom of the page, ClaimCompass ends with the most urgent version of the call to action (“Check your flight now”) to re-engage leads who have scrolled to the bottom.

Bonus Tips to Keep in Mind (+4 More Call-to-Action Examples)

If you’re still searching for inspiration, there are plenty of awesome call to action examples out there in the wild. Here are a few lessons you can borrow from big-name brands.

Match the Messaging to Your Product

Wealthsimple CTA example.

At first glance, there’s not a lot going on here–and that’s a big part of what makes this call to action example worth showcasing. The three-word headline and straightforward messaging explain exactly what the product does in the simplest way possible. Not only is this plain old good copy, but the simplicity is also a nod to just how easy it is to “get started.”

This page appeals to those who don’t want to make their own investing choices or actively manage their funds. The clean, simple design and basic language mirror the hands-off user experience offered by this platform. The minimalist messaging aligns with their easy onboarding and low-touch product experience.

The biggest lesson from this example? Keep your page design and call to action minimalist for low-touch products. Or, to apply this more generally, match the messaging to your product and audience pain points.

Use Two-Step User Flows to Gauge (and Grow) Commitment 

This is a great example of how different CTAs can be used at specific points in the customer journey to build momentum and investment.

Glo CTA example part one.

When leads first visit the page above, they’re invited to start a 15-day free trial. Rather than taking those who click “Try us free” straight to the sign-up page, leads are redirected to a landing page designed to learn more about them.

Glo CTA example part two.

Everything about this user flow is designed to increase adoption and retention. By inviting prospects to customize their practice (with a casual, non-committal “Sounds good,” no less), Glo is taking advantage of leads’ interest and drawing them deeper into the app experience before they’ve even taken their first class.

Of course, those who click “No thanks” are simply redirected to complete registration. But if you do decide to “design your unique practice,” you’re telling Glo about your skill level and class preferences—which not only gets you more invested in using the app, but also allows them to provide custom recommendations and keep you engaged with relevant messaging.

Nip Objections in the Bud

We’re highlighting this page because it’s such a simple, smart example of catering directly to your ideal audience. In this case, the target customer is budget-conscious, which is why they’re interested in the product in the first place. They’re looking for savings and likely wary of hidden fees or extra expenses. That’s why the button doesn’t just say “Add to Chrome.”

Honey CTA example.

By clarifying that Honey is free to download, the call to action provides extra context and pre-emptively addresses the most relevant customer objection: the cost (especially for a coupon-finding extension).

Play Up Customer FOMO

How often do people “reserve” shoes before they’re available? Most of us probably don’t—at least, not outside of a compelling Kickstarter campaign. Yet, that’s exactly what Vessi is encouraging website visitors to do in this unconventional CTA example.

Vessi taps into consumers’ “fear of missing out” (FOMO) by urging them to pre-order (or “reserve”) a yet-to-be-released sneaker style. This not only builds excitement and creates a sense of exclusivity around the product, but also motivates shoppers to commit to a future purchase.

In this case, the CTA appears on the homepage to draw attention and send more traffic to a specific store page. You can achieve the same effect by using popups and sticky bars to add clickable CTAs to your website or landing page. Best of all, popups and sticky bars makes it easy to experiment with different CTA language, placement, and design to see what clicks—without making changes to the rest of your copy.

Do More with Landing Pages that Inspire Action

A compelling call to action is a key part of effective marketing. In fact, you might say it’s the key. After all, there’s no action—or conversion—without a call to act. It’s your opportunity to ask readers to take a specific action and frame it in a way that speaks to your audience’s needs.

Now that you know what it takes to create an irresistible call to action, it’s time to take some action of your own! Ready to build a landing page that converts? Start applying what you’ve learned today with one of our 100+ designer landing page templates.

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Shareholder Update: Q2 2020 and July

Note: This is the quarterly update sent to Buffer shareholders, with a bit of added information for context. We share these updates transparently as a part of our ‘default to transparency’ value. See all of our revenue on our public revenue dashboard and see all of our reports and updates here.

It’s been quite the year and it’s hard to believe that the first half of 2020 is already behind us.

I’m happy to share that we’ve come out of our projected revenue downturn in Q2 with good MRR growth in July and renewed optimism.

We’re feeling motivated about what we’ll accomplish these next few months as we continue to focus on product strategy and adding significant value for customers as top priorities. Read the latest from our CEO Joel to hear about the evolution of product over the past 10 years and where we’re going from here. This includes our active search for a VP of Product and our plan to launch Engage, a social engagement product for small businesses that evolved from our experiences growing and sunsetting Reply.

Let’s take a look at the financial result highlights for Q2 and how we’ve been supporting our customers, communities and team.

Financial results from Q2, 2020 and July, 2020

Q2, 2020

  • Total net income: $832,000
  • EBITDA margin: 16.2%
  • MRR: $1,704,768 (down from $1,830,267 MRR at end of Q1)


  • MRR: $1,728,259
  • ARR: $20,739,108

Our bank balance at end of July was $7.2M, with a net cash balance (after paying off our line of credit) of $5.9M. We generally aim to keep three to six months of operating expenses on hand. This position has been instrumental in navigating the uncertainties of 2020 from a proactive position.

We look at revenue per employee from the lens of growth by taking ARR divided by total number of employees and contractors. We generally aim for $200k (or higher) in ARR per teammate.

Supporting our customers, communities, and team

We expected this revenue downturn in Q2, a majority of which is a result of extending payment relief to customers whose businesses have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. We’ve helped over 1,200 customers and extended a total of $191,000 in payment relief.

In May, we experimented with a 4-day work week in response to the added stress and pressures individuals have experienced due to the pandemic. After a successful first month, we decided to pilot this model through the rest of this year.

In June, we committed to anti-racism work in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve donated a total of $100,000 to organizations that our Black teammates selected: The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, The Marshall Project, and Brave Space Alliance, while also doubling the charitable contributions made by our teammates. To date, we’ve made $120,000 in donations to more than 40 different organizations working towards anti-racism.

Looking ahead

In June and July, we’ve seen an increase in new business, expansion revenue, and reactivation revenue along with lower levels of customer churn. We are happy to see that Q2 growth decline shift towards a positive level of MRR growth for July and we’re seeing the same trend for August.

For the rest of Q3, we’re expecting the small growth rebound to continue while we also make an impact on customer retention and value by focusing on product strategy. Metrics and numbers are moving in a conservative, yet positive direction.

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This Marketing Consultant Hit 5x Growth With an AI-Powered Sidekick

“You’ve got to do more with less.” If you’re running a small business or marketing agency, this isn’t some theoretical paradox or Goblin King riddle—this is actual advice you’ll hear on how to grow your revenue. The fastest way to scale up is to take on more clients and customers. But somehow you have to do that without taking on more expenses or sacrificing on the work you’re already delivering.

Sounds impossible, right?

Maybe not. Conversion Intelligence is helping to level the playing field for small business owners and savvy marketers alike. You might not have the same resources as those bigger, enterprise companies you’re competing with—but you do have access to AI and machine learning tools that can help you deliver higher-converting campaigns with fewer resources.

This is something that Mats Moy, digital marketing consultant and founder of Moy Consulting, knows from experience. For years, Mats has been helping roofing companies generate online leads and become authorities in their local markets. But as a one-man show, he has had to spend a lot of his time juggling multiple different clients and projects, while also being responsible for the marketing of his own business.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

Around November 2019 though, everything changed for Mats. (Dun, dun, dunnn.) Since then, he has seen his business grow five times larger with the help of Unbounce landing pages and our AI-powered optimization tool, Smart Traffic. And this level of success is something Mats says he’s still coming to terms with…

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

I haven’t heard too many people speak about this feeling. Have you seen the meme of Elon Musk watching his spaceship launch? Just to see your baby take off and become what you hoped it would become. That’s the feeling that you get. Personally, it’s been life-changing.

Elon Musk Meme
This is how Mats is feeling right about now.

So how did Mats do it? Keep reading to hear more about the lead gen method he used to grow his consultancy, and how he’s been able to keep his operation lean and high-converting with tools like Unbounce.

Lots of Opportunities, But Limited Resources

A roofing landing page example
A single conversion on a roofing landing page can drive anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000 in revenue. That’s a lot of shingles—er, I mean singles!

When Mats first started his marketing consulting business, he immediately saw the benefit of getting his clients to use landing pages. A typical roof replacement will normally run somewhere between $6,000 and $10,000, which makes every PPC ad click incredibly valuable.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

Traffic-wise, this is not an industry where you’ll see thousands of hits a day. Roofing clicks are very expensive, right? Your typical paid ads campaign from Google might be like 10 cents, 30 cents, or maybe a dollar for a click. But in roofing, some [in this industry] are paying like 60 bucks or more per click. So it’s quite pricey.

By creating landing pages that targeted specific local keywords (e.g., “affordable roofing in Calgary”), Mats was able to help his clients earn more revenue from their ad spends and dominate their local markets. It was a super-effective strategy—he could test and optimize much faster on landing pages and get higher conversion rates compared to competitors who were still sending traffic to their websites.

But there was a (metaphorical) ceiling that blocked how much Mats could grow this business. He simply couldn’t be everywhere at once, and hiring loads more people wasn’t an option for him at this stage.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

What were my resources like? Well, I was by myself. A one-man show doing absolutely everything. And I think I was juggling maybe like four or five clients at a time doing all the work using landing pages. You gotta move really quickly when you’re first starting out.

Mats knew that something had to change if he was ever going to expand his business and grow his revenue. So, he started brainstorming some of the different ways he could generate leads to attract more roofing clients—without giving him a ton of extra work on the side.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

Late last year, I set a goal for myself. ‘We’re going to reach X amount of customers.’ And step by step, I set out to make it happen. And it was just bull at that stage, it was just an idea. But then you start working on it and over time you slowly start to see … Whoa, this is working.

A Lead Generation Training Course Powered by Smart Traffic™

The Moy Consulting training program for roofers

To attract even more clients, Mats decided to turn his agency model on its head and start teaching roofers how to market for themselves. He figured that if they could use a mouse, they could build a landing page in Unbounce.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

I needed a tool that would be easy not just for myself, but also for my clients to use. Because when it comes to roofers with computers… it just scares them. Like someone could barely copy and paste or turn on a computer, but here we are creating Unbounce landing pages!

And because Mats was a part of the Unbounce Partner Program, he was able to offer any roofers who took his training program a 20% discount off their first three months using Unbounce. In exchange, he would earn 20% recurring revenue for every referral.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

I launched [the training program] back in November, and that’s been my sole focus. It shows them how to set everything up for their marketing, and that includes using Unbounce landing pages.

It seemed like a super-smart approach for someone as busy as Mats. Rather than get bogged down in the day-to-day management of each new client, he would be able to set them up with the skills, strategies, and tools to be successful online (and then offer his services to help them keep scaling). Like the old adage says, “Give a roofer a fish, and you feed them for a day. But give a roofer a crash course in landing pages, and you feed them for life.”

To get the word about his new training program, Mats decided to use a series of Facebook Ads that would specifically target roofers. He used long-form storytelling to get their attention, and then routed them to a registration landing page to sign up for more details.

An example of a Facebook ad Mats used to attract leads
Mats uses long-form storytelling in his Facebook ads to get the attention of roofers.

But Mats wasn’t sending roofers to any old landing page—he was sending them to a landing page powered by Unbounce Smart Traffic™. This was key because Mats was still juggling a lot of responsibilities in his role. He had to run the training course and manage his clients, so he didn’t want to be running small-scale A/B tests on his lunch break, too.

What’s the Smart Traffic advantage? Using machine learning, Smart Traffic boosts your conversion rates by automagically sending visitors to the landing page variant that’s most relevant. These split-second routing decisions are more accurate than a human-powered test and eliminate most of the manual hassles—and long wait times—marketers associate with traditional testing. Learn more about how Smart Traffic works here.

Instead, Mats whipped up a bunch of different variants to test new headlines and imagery on the page. Then, he used the Unbounce machine learning algorithm to automatically route visitors to the version they were most likely to convert on. No muss, no fuss.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

I just leave it up to the AI to do its thing. If you’re really busy, or you don’t have that optimization experience, Smart Traffic will be your new best friend. It’s using machine learning to help you get those better results.

Blowing the Roof Off With 5x Growth in 6 Months

Six months later, Mats has gone from having 15 clients to over 80. And while this type of breakneck growth might have been unsustainable for him before, the lead gen training course has proven to be a reliable source of new leads for his business. He’s netting an 8% conversion rate on the registration landing page and seeing a conversion lift of over 35% with the help of Smart Traffic. (In other words, he’d be getting less than a 6% conversion rate if he were running these variants in a traditional A/B test.)

This has given Mats the confidence to grow his team and bring on four other marketers to assist with Moy Consulting. (Which means he can also finally put away his juggling gloves, because this is no longer a one-man show.)

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

Clients are happy with the program. I have people raving about it. So they’re seeing leads. It’s unlike anything that’s out there. And that’s the best part, knowing that your success comes from the success of your clients. That’s awesome.

The Unbounce dashboard showing a Smart Traffic conversion lift
Mats is seeing a conversion lift of over 35% (!!!) with Smart Traffic.

Speaking of client success, Mats is also using Smart Traffic on his clients’ roofing pages too. In some cases, he’s been able to bring the cost-per-lead down from $160 to as low as $40, and get conversion rates as high as 19% (with an incredible 70% lift from Smart Traffic). That’s well above the 2.6% median for the home improvement industry, according to the 2020 Conversion Benchmark Report.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

You can hear it in my voice… I’m pretty damn proud of some of the metrics that we’ve been able to gather and get from these campaigns.

For marketers still on the fence about Smart Traffic, Mats says he gets it. These are still early days for machine learning and some folks will still need more time to shift their mindsets and come around to this new way of optimizing and testing. But as a busy marketer with a lot on his plate, Mats has found a ton of value in his new AI sidekick. Smart Traffic is augmenting his natural marketing skills and running in the background to optimize his campaigns with a speed and accuracy humans can’t match.

Mats Moy, Moy Consulting

Smart traffic has given me back so much time on a day-to-day basis, instead of having to constantly split test different landing pages. Especially since I had so many other tasks on my plate. AI is absolutely the way of the future.

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