Get into motion graphics – come learn what Adobe After Effects CC can do! Adobe After Effects CC software lets you deliver cinematic visual effects and motion graphics faster than ever before with new Global Performance Cache. Extend your creativity with built-in text, shape extrusion, and new mask feathering options. The industry-standard motion graphics and visual effects toolset now brings you better ways to work, connecting your desktop and mobile apps with all your creative assets, so you can create your most stunning visuals yet..
This course will teach participants how to:
Learn fundamentals of motion graphic
Learn how to create basic animation using effects and presets
Work with masks
Learn how to animate text
Learn how to work with shape and layers
Learn about other effects and tools
Learn how to render an output
Introduction to Adobe After Effects CC is for video, animation and graphics professionals who need a working knowledge of Adobe After Effects CC.
When starting out in content marketing, the answers of how to get content, how much, how often, how to share it and many other factors are daunting. Is it possible to start from scratch and be good at content marketing right away? Unfortunately the answer is no. But that shouldn’t stop you. Success stories such as Hubspot, Buzzfeed and Reddit all started with little recognition and are now known as industry standards of where to go for information. Similar to those is how CMO.com from Adobe has cultivated its content to become a resource for digital marketers.
Traditionally Adobe is known for its design tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but the creative side is only one part of marketing. Strategy and return on investment (ROI) need to be integrated with creativity in order to have successful campaigns. Adobe identified that they wanted to be in the forefront of the mind of “smart marketers,” but knew that pushing their products and sales pitches on chief marketing officers would not succeed. In comes CMO.com.
CMO.com started with curated content and an occasional post by Adobe-employed editors. They had some in-house resources, but not nearly the army or budget it takes to produce GOOD content on a regular, let’s say daily, basis. Once they got a following with site traffic, they started hiring or contracting good writers to create original content for them. One of the regular features they created was having a journalist conduct an interview with a CMO and then transcribe it into a blog post. It’s a simple concept, but it wasn’t being done by other industry outlets. These features are now one of the most popular articles on the site and called their CMO Exclusives.
The other noteworthy concept of CMO.com is that it’s not heavily branded. People have commented that they didn’t even know it was produced by Adobe. Why wouldn’t Adobe be proud of their new work and put their logo everywhere? It’s not about the brand identity, and they aren’t trying to be sneaky either. If you look for who hosts CMO.com, it’s easy to find Adobe. However, Adobe knew that if they targeted marketers with the backing of a known brand, a large portion of readers would reject the content they were creating based on the idea that it was biased – even though it wasn’t.
What Adobe accomplished was they created a relationship with potential (and current) customers that went deeper than the B2B sale of software licenses. If you dig around on the site, you won’t see Adobe promotions or product values. It’s all information that resonates with the digital marketer on a strategic and creative side.
So what can we learn from Adobe?
Content marketing takes time to work. Start with what you can do well with curation and then move into original content if that aligns with your business goals.
When trying to provide information to your users, clients, or customers don’t shove a brand down their throat. They don’t respond to it, and you’ll get more long-lasting and returning visitors.
Do you have a great content marketing strategy? Let me know so I can write about it via Twitter @kcothran!
There could be a number of reasons for a site redesign – you do not like the look and feel of it, bounce rates have gone up, traffic has gone down, engagement is minimal or an obvious one – visitor complaints. Here are some considerations that may tell you it’s time for a change with your website:
Ask your users
When it is time to do a new site, not everything necessarily needs to be thrown out. There is no magic formula to redoing everything from scratch. Realize there may be some things about your site that users love, and be careful to not stray too far from that in your redesign. A good place to start is to simply ask the users. This can be with a short survey on the site that asks them if they found what they wanted and provides information about their experience.
Too many features
Too many features added to a site over time results in an experience that is no longer a good one for the user. They become frustrated and overwhelmed with the significant number of options available on the site. If they are confused by too many features, they may click away from your site. In that case, a redesign helps a brand reset and make sure they have not strayed too far from their core business messaging.
As marketers, we’re asked to wear several hats. Occasionally, one of those hats is designer. But without the right Photoshop skills, your graphics can come out looking…well let’s just say you were better off paying a designer. With our series of “Design for Marketers” demos, you will be provided with a complete toolbox of design skills needed to wow your manager with your next HTML email, image ad, or website banner.
Next up in our series is a step-by-step demo on how to remove the background from and existing image.
Are you creating a banner for an image ad, email, or promotional campaign? Do you have a great image that you want to fade into a background color but don’t know how? Here’s an easy, 3-minute method for using layer masks in Photoshop to fade an image into a background color.
A/B testing is a critical component of any marketer’s arsenal these days. Marketing as a whole is becoming much more reliant on data-driven decisions that are derived from split testing, which provides insight into what we should and shouldn’t do. Conversion rates are becoming much more important to all levels of management, especially as testing tools get easier to implement and allow us to be extremely agile in our marketing efforts. Here are seven A/B testing lessons that may give you some ideas of what to test to help increase your conversion rate.
1.Good title vs. a title that will always get clicked
In marketing it is important to evaluate how you showcase your product in front of potential buyers. In fact, there is a common saying: “Sell benefits, not features.” While writing the title of your landing page, ask yourself if it really sells the benefit.
Recently, Neil Patel launched an all-in-one SEO analyzer on his personal blog, QuickSprout.com. Though the tool created a buzz around Digital Marketing circles, Neil A/B-tested the title of the landing page of that tool.
Title A: Are You Doing Your SEO Wrong?
Title B: Do You Want More Traffic?
Both the titles were good, but the second one is catchier. Neil Patel hasn’t revealed how much impact this test had in his conversion rate. Maybe it is too early to reveal
Another great example: Movexa, a natural joint-relief supplement by Vitamin Boat Corp. has done an A/B test on its product page. Earlier, Movexa’s title was too vague. Later, the company improved its title to catch people’s attention.
Title A: Natural Joint Relief
Title B: Natural Joint Relief Supplement.
Test hypothesis & the impact: The ideas behind these tests were to improve the clarity of the titles. As titles are one of the first things seen by the users, improving it will have a big impact on conversion.
Movexa has reported that improving clarity of their title on the product page has increased its sales by 90 percent.
Lesson to learn:
Think like your customer. Make sure you are selling benefits and not features. Split test with different elements and find which works best for you.
1.Description vs. Overview
A recent study about how users read on the web reveals that users read, at most, 28 percent of the copy on the page. This means, instead of reading the full copy, users will typically scan the content.
A couple of months ago, Keep&Shareconducted an A/B test with 4 variations of titles and descriptions.
Variation 1: Longer title with brief overview
Variation 2: Longer title with longer overview
Variation 3: Longer title with brief but different overview from above 2
Variation 4: Shorter title with shorter overview
Test hypothesis & the impact: The objective is to analyze which of the 4 variations work better in terms of conversion. The test will be fast to run and easy to analyze as the title and descriptions have changed.
The winner? Variation 4 with a conversion rate of 103 percent.
Lesson to learn: It doesn’t matter how good you describe the product, unless the users are really interested in reading it, results won’t vary. Try to give a brief overview of what you provide. Make sure the copy is easily digestible. Remember, less is better almost always.
2.Making your call to action prominent
Fiverr.com is the world’s largest marketplace for small services. Unlike other websites, in a service-based marketplace, users are more likely to learn how the website works before creating an account.
Having said that, the above fold of the previous Fiverr homepage design was more intended to teach people how the site works.
At first, on the homepage I clicked on the “how does it work” button. That was a better explanation. I was amazed. On the home page, if you click on the how it works button, you get a much better explanation of the product.
As you browse through different categories, you can see interesting gigs and read purchase reviews. There is no need yet to create an account. Therein lies the problem. The call to action on the homepage was not prominent on the previous design.
The nice news is that, unlike the older page, the call to action on the current design is prominent.
Similar to Fiverr, the old design of Consolidated Label didn’t have any call to action on their page. So they A/B tested by placing a prominent call to action on their test page.
Test hypothesis & the impact: As call to action is prominent on the new design, obviously the expectation from the test is increased conversion.
Fiverr hasn’t revealed conversion rate of its new design yet. Consolidated Label confirmed a huge increase in conversions by 62 percent.
Lesson to learn: You may want to let your users know more about your product or services. However, make sure your call to action is prominent on homepages.
1.Checkout process – Single step vs. multiple steps
Recently, HostGator.com reduced the checkout process from 2 steps to 1 single step. Earlier, users were required to choose the domain name and discount coupon on the first step and enter the billing information on the second step. Currently, all the steps are merged together.
Test hypothesis & the impact: The idea here is to simplify the checkout process as much as possible to reduce the possibility of hitting the back button or going elsewhere.
A study conducted by Getelastic.com has revealed that a single page checkout process has increased the conversion rate by 21.8 percent.
In fact, reducing the number of steps does not always increase the conversion rate.
CrazyEgg.com had a 10 percent hike in its conversion rate when it changed the checkout process from 2 steps to 3 steps.
Lesson to learn: Research shows that single-page checkout outperforms the multi page checkout in terms of conversion rate. However, it depends on the type of the product and the target market. Make sure you split test and learn what works for you. For a multi-page checkout, it is better to provide a visual indicator, which shows the user’s checkout progress.
2.Explanation – Slide vs. videos
If a picture speaks a thousand words, how many words does a video speak? After all, we are lazy. As mentioned earlier, users read at most 28 percent of web copy on a given page. So why not to create an explainer video instead of putting all your efforts on writing and improving the copy?
A nice explainer video not only showcases what your product is all about, but it makes your product stand out from your competitors.
Test & the impact:
According to a Statistic Brain study, the average attention span of a visitor on a web page is 8 seconds. However, it would be harder to explain the purpose of a product in 8 seconds, especially if the idea behind a product is somewhat complicated.
This is why an explainer video is vitally important. Research shows that, on average, explainer videos are watched for more than 2 minutes. Hopefully using an explainer video will be helpful with increasing conversion rate.
Crazyegg.com has reported an increase in conversion rate by 64 percent.
Work.com and Dropbox.com have also found increases in conversion rates by 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Lesson to learn: No matter if you use slides or explainer videos, make sure the end users understand what your product is all about.
Explainer videos are great, however there are some exceptions where the videos would be less than ideal.
For instance, videos might not be ideal when:
·Visitors have poor Internet connectivity
·Products are simple and it is easy to convey the main message
·Visitors are in a hurry and don’t want to watch the entire video
3.How long the landing page should be?
A common way of attracting a younger generation is to bring the prospects to a smaller squeeze page with fewer or no distractions. However, in some cases, you may want a longer sales page for further convincing the users to signup. Syed Balkhi, the founder of WPBeginner.com uses both the concepts together in a single landing page.
Users can click on a CTA button and they are directed to a contact form that needs to be filled out. Users are also able to click on information that will show them more details of the services provided before signing up.
Test and the impact: Longer pages will be needed if it is harder to convince the prospect to buy a product or if the product is costlier.
Quicksprout.com has observed an increase in conversion rates of 67.2 percent with a shorter squeeze page, where the prospects were just asked to submit their email address.
FitnessWorld.dk has found 11 percent more conversions when they reduced the size of the page where the gym is well known and the offer is simple and inexpensive.
Lesson to learn: You should split test between different kinds of landing pages and use the one that works better for you. If you are not sure, you can combine both the concepts of smaller and longer page into a single landing page so that users can easily choose from it.
1. Split testing- the down side
Split testing can be a nice way to learn what works best for your website, however there may be some drawbacks if you don’t use it effectively.
Duration: Make sure you conduct A/B tests long enough. Shorter duration tests may not hold true for the long run.
Number of conversions: For better results, you shouldn’t stop the test unless you receive a specific number of conversions for each variation. This means if you have a low-traffic website, you’ll have to keep the test until statistical significance is achieved.
SEO: Rumors are spreading that split testing can hurt SEO. One of the major problems for the long term A/B tests is the duplicate content issue. Make sure your test URLs are not indexed on Google.
Lesson to learn: Despite having some drawbacks, A/B tests are vital for conversion rate optimization. Tools like Visual Website Optimizer can give you a rough idea of how long you should run the A/B tests by inputting elements such as the number of visitors, number of variations and expected improvements in the conversion rate.
It is common to have negative results when you run A/B testing on your website. Don’t be discouraged from further testing. Remember, options that worked for someone else may not always work for you.
There is an old article on problogger.com that talks about a blog mentoring program created by Yaro Starak, a well-known Australian blogger and internet marketer.
To tell you the truth, I found nothing special in the post. It was just another post with the lone purpose of promoting Yaro’s mentoring program. However, when I scrolled down I found interesting and rather nasty discussions in the comments section.
The discussion starts when one of the readers mentioned that there were some credibility issues with the design of the site because it looks like a quick, get-rich scheme.
Things didn’t stop there. More people came forward and started arguing that there are existing credibility issues with that long landing page.
Yet, Yaro explained the need of such a long landing page. He says the length mattered especially because the mentoring program covered internet marketing. Obviously, while launching a product, decisions are critical – in this case using either a landing page or microsite.
This article is a head-to-head comparison between a landing page and a microsite.
Landing Page and Microsites – Explained
In online marketing a landing page is referred to as a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement.
In simple terms, a landing page is a single page where the user lands from search engine results page or from an online advertisement.
A microsite is an individual web page or a small cluster of pages which are meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity.
A microsite is a multi-page site to sell or promote a product, which can exist within a website or as a separate website. Think about a targeted multi-page brochure inside digital steroids.
Product description: Crazy Egg is a tool that analyzes how visitors are engaging with a website and provides heat maps and scroll maps of how they use the site.
Why Crazy Egg prefers long landing as homepage?
As there are many SaaS tools available on the web, one of the biggest challenges the Crazy Egg team faces is to explain how Crazy Egg differs from other popular tools, including Google Analytics.
For this purpose, Crazy Egg uses a long sales page as its homepage. Here are some reasons why Crazy Egg prefers long landing page.
1.The product needs more explanation
Crazy Egg is a product that is somewhat harder to explain. Because of its complex nature, visitors are not going to be a customer without a lengthier description.
It is true that a video has been embedded above the fold of the landing page. However, not everyone is going to watch it. And, even if they do, they still need to be convinced to create an account.
2.Convincing is a lot more harder
It doesn’t matter how much you explain your product, convincing people to trust you is vastly harder. Visitors are not going to use your product unless you make them understand how using it can change and improve their lives.
Nonetheless, explaining and convincing are entirely different processes.
In addition, web users are lazy. So, if you could not instantly convince your users to take a specific action, they will likely leave your website before opening extra pages to learn more about it. This means you are losing a potential customer!
Crazy Egg does a good job here. They strike while the iron is hot.
On the landing page, right after explaining the product concept and how it works, Crazy Egg shows how the product can have an impact on the user’s website by optimizing their conversion rate during a 30-day free trial. This makes the visitor feel like the product is worth trying. There is also no downside, as the tool is free for 30 days.
What if Crazy Egg uses a microsite instead?
For microsites, learning more is optional. Since there are several pages, users can decide whether to read them. This may be good for those who don’t want to read a lot of content at that moment.
Why AdWords Prefers Microsites for its ad campaigns?
After clicking on an AdWords ad in Google, the user is redirected to a microsite that promotes AdWords advertising.
Here are some of the possible reasons why AdWords prefers microsites to single landing pages.
1.Easy to convey the main point and underlying points: Pages are easily digestible due to short page length. Images are used effectively and users do not need to read complete paragraphs or long pages of text to understand the idea behind it.
2.Users can decide if they wanted to read more: One of the best things about this microsite is that users can choose if they wanted to read more. This seems to be great for visitors who hate to read a lot of content.
3.Stronger call to action (CTA): Another great point about this microsite example is that the CTA buttons are placed above the fold on every page, so that it gains maximum attention of the visitors.
What if they used a single landing page instead of a microsite?
“How to promote my product” is one of the toughest questions every product manager or marketer faces. Another tough decision they have to make is determining whether to spend money on advertising. AdWords wants to help them make a better decision and encourage them to test drive AdWords advertising.
It would be difficult to provide valuable information on a single landing page.
How these lessons can work for you?
If you have launched a product or created an ad campaign before, you most likely have asked yourself whether you need a microsite or a landing page. The answer depends on many factors. Here are some of them:
If you find it harder to convince a visitor to use your products or services, you may want to use a long landing page. You may want to create a longer landing page if the product you offer needs more explanation.
2.Length of the copy
From various case studies, it has been found that the longer version of the homepage converts better. Similar to Crazy Egg’s case, Marketing Experiments reported that its longer variations convert 40 to 50 percent more than its shorter variations. Please note that one option may work for one company, but may not work as effectively for your company. You must have a test run first.
Some niches will need a long landing page, while others can work with any kind of pages.
For example, if you are promoting a product on the health niche apart from explaining the product, you’ll have to persuade the reader to buy. Also, you will need to effectively explain things like if it is safer or if it has any side effects and have to show that you are a person who can be trusted. In this scenario, a long landing page may work better.
After all is said and done, there is no right answer, nor a best practices example that you can put in place as a cookie cutter for your business. The end result stems from good customer research, the right persona development and a lot of a/b testing to find out what works. Whether you are a B2B Company or B2C e-commerce site, your landing pages and microsites will only succeed with great content and a lot of testing.
1. The continual search algorithm change — We will see Google monitoring the time it takes for a user to click on a listing in the search engine result page and then click back to Google. It will also take into account if the user refines their search and then chooses an alternate listing.
2. Higher penalties for link manipulation — Google will still place value on natural link building and will continue to adjust its algorithm to identify the difference between natural shareable content versus paid, unnatural link building.
3. The Disavow Tool — Google will continue to put stock into the disavow tool in order to allow companies to identify potential spammy links. Google is very good at identifying these. However, with the amount of SEO companies out there creating spammy links, it’s a great way for companies to help identify these links that will hurt their overall search ranking.
4. Guest Blogging — Google is starting to crack down on people doing guest blogging in order to just get good links back to their site. They will identify these guest blog posts that are just regurgitating content for the sake of link value instead of building content that will actually benefit users.
5. Google Authorship — While we have seen some impacts regarding Google Authorship, look for this feature from Google to greatly improve and see many enhancements in regards to SERP rankings based on one’s Google Authorship status.
6. Page Centric Search — Since Google decided to not pass keyword information to Google Analytics anymore, marketers will now have to depend more on Google Web Master Tools as well as take a more topical or themed approach when optimizing for search.
7. Google Plus & Social — These factors will continue to play an important role in Search in 2014. Google Plus is now the second largest social network and is the backbone for many Google products.
8. Mobile SEO Factors — One thing that Google is seeing is a definite rise in mobile search. While it will scramble to figure out what needs to happen on the PPC side of the house for mobile, expect to continue to see updates regarding mobile optimization
9. Hummingbird — With the increase use in voice search and the rise in mobile, Hummingbird’s main goal will be to give the user the best experience possible. You will start to see semantic search for the masses catch on really quickly and a better experience with Knowledge Graph.
10. Better Content Creation — Everyone has been talking about content is king. With content saturation at an all-time high, content creation is not something that just needs to be done in 2014. It needs to be done better than everyone else. It’s not about 300 to 500 words anymore. The content that is getting ranked is well over 2,000 words per post and ultimately is shared through several social channels.
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Trust, authority and high conversion rates are the essential ingredients for any successful online business. Unlike other businesses, ecommerce-based businesses specifically tend to rely solely on their websites in the beginning as many of them do not have a physical office or retail location. All of their customers come from the Internet, which means that their websites must be on par with other business websites from day one. In this day and age, it is no longer enough to simply build a website and expect people to show up. In order to get customers, your site needs to look trustworthy, authoritative and convert well.
Potential customers want to see that you are serious and committed to building a great company. Your site should reflect the time, money and effort that you put into it. If it looks reputable, you should get customers and earn revenue from that. Here are some ways to establish trust, authority and high conversion rates for both customers and investors.
Adobe Flash has been a dominant player in Web Development since its release in 2005. It’s most popular use has been in online video and games. In November of 2011, Adobe announced that they will no longer build or release new versions of Flash for mobile browsers. Why is this? What caused such a dominant web player to fall?
Flash was handed its death certificate when Apple refused to support it on their devices, including the iPhone and iPad. The first generation iPhone was released by Apple in 2007. Adobe did not release a mobile version of Flash until 2010. By this time, the iPhone was the most popular phone in the world and had apps where Flash did not matter. Adobe was not able to keep up with the technology for mobile devices and, therefore, missed their window of opportunity. Now you may ask, why can’t Flash still survive on desktop browsers? Well you are correct in that thought. Adobe Flash can still be used on desktop browsers, but its future does not look bright.
Mobile devices are currently the most popular and efficient way of connecting to the web. People do not need desktop browsers to connect to the web anymore. Eventually, any program unavailable on a mobile browser will no longer exist. Flash will exist for now, but only until developers learn new skills and can abandon Flash, if they haven’t already.
I have already seen changes in Flash from an education standpoint. I am currently a senior at North Carolina State University minoring in Art and Design. In my Multimedia and Digital Imaging course we have been using Flash all semester. I believe that it is great for students to have a background and understanding of Flash methods, but I also think it will become irrelevant. From listening to professors and professionals in the design field, I think Flash will eventually be erased from design curriculum.
What are you thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment and let’s keep the conversation going.