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Archive of ‘Marketing Strategy’ category

7 Best Practices for Landing Pages

Landing pages are an important part of your conversion funnel and that’s why you may want separate landing page for every marketing campaign you do.  But not any landing page will do.  There are seven best practices for creating landing pages that convert.

Back up “free”

If there’s a free offer on your landing page, show what the value actually is. Is it a trial for a course that normally costs $299? If so, you want to say that. Otherwise “free” is not meaningful to the visitor since they cannot determine the value.

Use videos and images

Show the benefits of your offer visually. Videos can help clarify any benefits that are written.  But make sure they are relevant to the specific offer rather than something added to the page to take up space. You want your visitors to imagine how using your product or service will benefit them.  For example, if you’re selling a cruise vacation, show images from the ship and destination rather than only explaining through text. An image of beautiful scenery has a lot more impact than the words “beautiful scenery”,

Happy people

Use pictures of people on your landing page that look happy. Even if you’re selling something that’s not necessarily uplifting, such as a drug rehabilitation center, you want to show people after they’ve achieved recovery rather than people who are rock bottom. Remember you’re selling a solution.  Visitors already know they have a problem.  Showing people can build that element of trust and make them feel positive about your offer. When people feel good about a solution, they are more likely to invest in it.

Contrasting colors

Include contrasting colors, such as a blue button on a white background.  It helps your CTA stand out so visitors can quickly convert.   And make your button very obvious since it’s the most important part of your page. The ultimate goal is for people to convert and to convert, they need to see the button immediately that will enable them to do so.  Even if the button location seems obvious to you, you might still use an arrow to point to it. If you have a video, the person in it can look at the button or point to the location on your page.

Obvious benefits

Show that your offer will meet their needs. Make it very clear what they will receive if they purchase what you offer.  But do this in a list or a very short blurb. I’ve seen pages where a company wants to list everything they offer and includes the type of information you might see in a corporate document. People don’t care. You only have a few short seconds to convince them that you are their solution and frustrated visitors who have to scroll through a lot of information probably will not be convinced.

Remove distractions

If there is something on your landing page that is not about the primary offer on the page, you can remove it such as the navigation bar and outside links. Too many options of what they can do on your page will only result in confusion. If they have to think about what to do next, they may get overwhelmed and just leave.  Have only one action.

Connect to your PPC campaign

You want the keywords in your paid campaign to match the content of your landing page. When people come to your page from an ad, it should be an obvious extension of that ad.  You may even want to try different landing pages for tightly themed ad groups. It may be the same offer but presented differently depending on the targeted audience.  Speaking about the benefits differently on two separate pages for two separate ad groups can help you determine which segmented audience converts the best.

Your ultimate goal with all of your marketing efforts is to influence someone’s behavior and landing pages are a very important part of that strategy.

How to Optimize Your YouTube Campaigns

youtubeAfter your YouTube ads run for a while, you have access to valuable data about their effectiveness.  You can measure views and clicks as well as actions that happened at a later date but were initiated by your YouTube ad. Using these available metrics, you can measure performance and make decisions about what to optimize in the campaign moving forward.

Below are some considerations in optimizing your YouTube campaign.

Start with automatic placements

When selecting a targeting method, such as the topic, Google will select the relevant placements for you. Give this some time to run before adding managed placements to the campaign.  This gives you time to learn which types of sites perform well for you.

Remove low performing placements

After a period of time, compare your views and conversions for the different placements where your ad is viewed. If there are some placements that do not do well, you may want to exclude them from your campaign. Even if a particular site seems relevant to your business, it does not guarantee your audience is there.


Web Seminar Recap: You Can’t Ignore Email Marketing: It Still Works!

We’re inundated with too much email! From past purchases to new promotions, we receive a steady stream in our in-box which is not always desirable. Yet, if people still do email marketing, it must work. This web seminar  explored successful email marketing campaigns, reviewed the components of a good campaign, and talked about what to measure.

This 1-hour web seminar was presented by Tina Arnoldi on November 3, 2015. Some topics covered in this presentation include:

  • Click/Open Rate
  • Customer Retention Methods
  • Types of Successful Emails
  • Components of a Good Message
  • And Much More!

Missed it? Catch up by downloading the presentation slides and recording.

Combining the Powers of Peers and Incs


Zipcar, Uber, AirBnB. Companies we’re familiar with now, but were unimaginable years ago. What they have in common is they are all part of the new Peer Inc model which is about sharing physical resources by using these platforms.  In Peers Inc, Robin Chase shares her experience starting Zipcar and how the internet has changed the way we do business. The reason Robin Chase co-founded Zipcar is because she found that many urban dwellers, including herself, do not need to own a car on a full-time basis.  With Zipcar, they can rent a car for as little as a few hours at a time and do the renting through a user friendly platform.

Many of us have excess capacity that we often don’t think about.  If you drive your car to and from work by yourself, you have three passenger seats frequently unused and perhaps 20+ hours when your car is parked each day.  Your guest bedroom is occupied occasionally when people visit from out of town but is mostly unused.  The power of Peers (individuals) combined with the power of Inc (corporations) makes it possible for property to be a shared resource rather than individually owned.

As we look into the future, the vision is not one where machines replace humans. It is one where machines and humans work together. Our devices are the platforms but we are still needed to determine different ways of using these platforms and we make the decision about whether a solution, such as Zipcar,appeals to us or not. And for it to work, it needs to be simple.  Complicated solutions decrease the appeal for both the Peers and the Incs. (more…)

How to Optimize your Email for Mobile Devices

These five steps will help you successfully optimize your email campaigns for mobile devices:


1. Go easy on images:

Some email providers (like Outlook) do not immediately load images when the user opens the email. For example, if you have a promotion going on, and the promotion is only advertised on the header image, then a lot of your viewers may not see it because the image may not download automatically.

According to MDG Advertising, “94% total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images.” While mobile download speeds are increasing every year, if you have a huge image file trying to download, your viewer is going to become irritated quickly. “Every 1 second delay in loading time results in an average 7% drop in conversions.”

Optimize your emails by reducing the file size. Services such as FastStone Photo Resizer and JPEGmini can reduce the image size by as much as 80% without losing image quality. This allows you to still use quality images within your emails and keeping your viewer’s attention.

An easy way to maintain your images proportions when being viewed on a mobile device is to set the image max-width. Within your email’s HTML editor, edit the style portion of the code so that your image size is defined by the proportion of the screen, not the pixels. See below for an example.

<img style=”max-width: XX%; max-height: auto;” class=”alignCenter” src=”YOUR IMAGE SOURCE.JPG”/>

Set the width of the image to the ratio of the screen that you want to take up (for example, an image set to 60% of the screen width). Make sure to set your height to ‘auto’ so that the image will automatically adjust according to the width, avoiding any distortion.

2. Consider your layout & design:


Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: Lyft

The ridesharing trend has skyrocketed in the past couple years in the United States. Specifically, Lyft has taken the streets by pink moustache and impressed marketers with their content marketing, earning them this week’s Content Marketing Campaign of the week. While slightly older rival Uber has more social media followers, Lyft outshines its main competitor for one simple reason:  memorable storytelling.

From its home page to the blog, Lyft focuses on people. It only makes sense considering the prime resource and the customer are both people, and each person has a story. Lyft has capitalized on the value of human interactions between drivers and passengers by posting funny and sentimental stories on their blog, and then sharing those stories and more via social media.

The Passengers

People use Lyft for a variety of reasons:  a ride to the airport, a safe way home, Lyft Line is even beginning in some cities as a commuting rideshare program. But we all know there are plenty more unique reasons, and Lyft loves to share them. The weirder, the better – their logo is a pink moustache, would you expect anything else? Here is one favorite:



The Differences between Native Advertising and Sponsored Listing

This post was originally published on

Native advertising and sponsored listing are two terms that you may have come across recently, especially if your company is involved in any form of paid advertising.

But unless you have been paying close attention to how online advertising has evolved over the last couple of years, you may have missed the distinction between the two. (There’s no shame in that; even AOL and Yahoo are playing catch up.)

To get you up to speed on the differences between native advertising and sponsored listings, we offer you a concise explanation that you can just as easily adapt for the next stakeholders meeting or impromptu networking.

Native Advertising

The simplest way to explain native advertising is that it is paid media that takes on the feel and function of the site where it exists, almost always a publisher or platform like Facebook, The Wall Street Journal or Mashable, for example.

Now, because not all sites are the same, how one site integrates native ads may be completely different from another site.

Case in point: Facebook native ads are placed in the newsfeed, whereas Google’s native real estate is within search results – although ads are placed along the top and sidebar.

The reason: it flows more naturally with the rest of the content. Rather than disrupting the user experience, native advertising caters to it.

Native advertising is about how the content looks rather than what it does.

Sponsored Listing

Sponsored listings, on the other hand, are paid ads that are prominently featured on websites in order to drive traffic to specific landing pages.

In many cases, the website that hosts the sponsored listing will place it naturally within existing, non-paid, content so that it mimics the qualities of the site.

If you noticed, we said that the content takes on the characteristics of the website…remind you of anything?

That’s right; sponsored listings can also be a form of native advertising.

The sponsored listing is more about what the content does rather than how it looks, although it can be considered native if the ad is placed accordingly.

Have any questions?

We invite you to ask us any questions about paid advertising in the comments below, or just leave a comment as to your thoughts.

Why Customer Personas Matter

Consumers expect you to talk to them.  Not them as a group, but as individuals.  Marketing to the masses with a single message for everyone is a tactic of the past.  Remarketing campaigns were introduced in recent years, but even they are not perfect, not always reaching the right customer.

In Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You, Kelly McDonald reminds us that one size does not fit all.  Simply recognizing this fact is a win because businesses are moving into the right mindset to beat their competitors and show they are ready to think in terms of personas.  Once customers are treated as individuals, they become loyal to a brand.  It’s about the pre-purchase experience all the way through the post-purchase care.  When you understand who your customers are, you can create a great experience for them.

The Obama campaign is a perfect example of collecting individualized data for decision making.  His team was able to send out messages that were relevant, personalized, and delivered in context.  Mainstream media and research organizations discussed his ability to “reduce every American to a series of numbers”.   In Converge, Bob Lord and Ray Velez talk more about Obama’s campaign and that the personalization of an experience is what positions anyone – a company or a presidential candidate – as the right one to meet a consumer need.  With millennials especially, personalization is not an option, but rather a necessity.   Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton write in Marketing to Millennials that this particular audience wants to engage with brands who offer personalized conversations.

Segmenting and targeting go hand in hand with building personas.  These personas represent your customers and are ideally based on real data, like demographics, education, and online activities.  Fortunately, Google Analytics can also help with some of this demographic data to develop personas, but the best source is your internal data from your CRM.

Personas are based on real people so a one-dimensional description isn’t enough.  They’re not rich, poor, male, female – they have a lot more to them.  Take multiple aspects into consideration and base this on existing research or through interviews with customers.   It can also help to talk to non-buyers.  It may be tough to recruit prospects who went to a competitor instead, but it is a valuable source of data.  Some people may even want to provide this feedback because they may have really wanted to buy from you initially.

If you are launching a new brand or product, you may not have the benefit of existing CRM data so your personas will be fictional creations of who you think your users will be.  This needs to be established early on – especially if you are developing something new.  Aim to do surveys or interviews with different types of buyers so you know who to target when you are ready to launch.

You can take this a step further with negative personas. These represent who you do not want as a buyer.  When you segment these personas out of your marketing plan, you may find lower costs in both leads and customer acquisition.  Although it can be hard to admit, “everyone” is not the audience so by owning that early and ruling groups out, it can be a time-saver in the long run for everyone on your team.

Once you can identify your target audience by developing personas, only then can you market to them with appropriate messaging and through use of the right channels.  In addition to helping marketing staff with their role of creating content, personas help the sales team know what a good lead looks like, and your software developers will know which features matter to different users.

When you have your personas, you are in a better mindset to determine how buyers’ lives might improve as a result of your product or service.  This is the opposite of an advertising strategy focused on why you think your offer is great.  When the audience is not identified, much time is wasted trying to convince people to buy what you have.

The better you know your audience, the better you can serve them beyond the point of sale.  When you view things from their perspective, you can maintain the relationship with them and ideally build them as advocates for your brand.   Building personas is much more than a theoretical exercise.  It has implications for your day-to-day work across the organization.

AdWords Tips for Ecommerce Sites

Your goal with AdWords varies based on the type of website you have.  Sometimes it is to drive people to a lead capture form where the conversion happens offline.  Other times it’s to bring someone into your brick and mortar location, like a restaurant. With e-commerce sites, the purpose is clearer since someone can make a purchase directly upon landing on your site.  Although there are best practices to follow for AdWords in general, here are a few tips specifically for your commerce ads.

Using call-out extensions

Call-out extensions highlight special features you want people to know about your company with a short phrase, or call-out.  For e-commerce, some good call-out phrases include “free shipping” or “next day delivery”.  You may be in a very crowded market so you need to point out something about your business that would encourage people to buy from you.  Experiment with different call-outs so you can discover what appeals to shoppers.  Some people may not care about the speediness of delivery, but free shipping is turns them into a new loyal customer.