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Dec

1

2016

15 Cheerful Examples of Holiday Homepage Designs

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A lot of eyes are going to be on your website in the upcoming weeks. A National Retail Foundation survey found that more than 56% of holiday shoppers will purchase gifts online. What’s more, almost 80% of shoppers are heading to the internet to research gifts, even if they end up actually purchasing the item in-store.

Those numbers are only going up. The smartest marketers will prepare for this not only by prepping their website for higher-than-normal traffic and optimizing it for mobile devices, but also by giving their website design a dose of holiday cheer. Download more holiday resources to help your business succeed this season from  HubSpot's #HolidayHub

It all starts with the homepage: The first page many people will see when they come to your website. How have other companies redesigned their homepages for the holidays? Let’s take a look.

Note: Businesses change their homepages on a regular basis. The examples below may not be current.

15 Holiday Homepage Designs to Get You in the Spirit

1) Free People

When your business has a loud personality like American bohemian retail company Free People does, making a big first impression on your homepage can be a great thing. Free People’s redesign is all-encompassing, starting with a large, high-definition image of models wearing some of its latest festive holiday apparel.

We especially love the whimsical, fun font it used in the headline, “The Gift Shop 2016.” For certain brands, decorative fonts like these can be a great seasonal touch to the style of your homepage. (Get tips for using fonts in your web design in our free do-it-yourself design guide.)

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2) PayPal

Who ever said online money transfer websites can’t have fun at the holidays?

PayPal’s holiday homepage works because it still looks like PayPal — just a little more festive. It’s still easy to navigate but adds seasonal flair with a clever spin on a lyric from “Jingle Bells” as its holiday slogan. The whitespace encourages visitors to focus on the happy models in the image, putting human faces to an industry that’s businesslike and technical.

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3) Sephora

Like PayPal, Sephora didn’t make many changes to the overall look and feel of its website. What it did do was feature a holiday edition of its highest-rated products and editors’ picks, specially curated for different gift recipients, price ranges, categories, and so on.

By putting editors’ picks front and center, Sephora is reminding customers how much the company values customers’ success. Plus, we love the sprinklings of gemstones throughout the page — it’s a cute, festive way to separate modules on the page.

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4) Baudville

While seasonal website redesign is often dominated by B2C companies, a few B2B businesses have been known to dress up websites a bit too. Baudville, an employee recognition solution, is one.

While some web designers like to add a ton of new elements to their holiday designs, Baudville shows you don’t have to. Something as simple as adding a holiday gift shop slide to your homepage photo banner can be enough to warmly welcome users to your site during this time of year.

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5) La Colombe

La Colombe’s holiday homepage design features soft, wintry hues and festive lighting. Visitors are greeted with high-definition photography of people enjoying La Colombe coffee products around a shared table. This webpage is another example of a business staying true-to-brand with an added holiday touch.

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6) L.L. Bean

For a U.S. outdoor retail company like L.L. Bean, the holidays mean winter … which means cold. (For most of us, unfortunately.) It keeps the holidays out of the seasonal redesign completely: The featured photo on the homepage is a model wearing apparel in front of pine trees covered in show, which is in keeping with the brand’s outdoorsy theme.

L.L. Bean shares a list of holiday gift ideas featuring some of its most popular and beloved products. The seasonal homepage slogan — “Gifts That Last Beyond the Present” — reminds visitors of L.L. Bean’s amazing satisfaction guarantee.

If you’re more attracted to a winter-themed seasonal redesign, consider using winter-themed stock photos for your homepage. You might also consider cooling down the color scheme of your whole site for the holiday season. This means using cooler tones like blues, purples, and greens to give it a more “wintry” feel. (You can read more about cool color schemes in this blog post about color theory.)

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7) The Container Store

This homepage is a fantastic move for the holidays because it is chock-full of goodies for visitors. Every module on this homepage has something helpful to offer customers — stocking stuffers, gift ideas, luggage for holiday travel, party favors, and DIY projects.

The various CTAs on the homepage are clear and tell visitors everything they need to know about what’s on the rest of the site. The geometric shapes organize all of the content cleanly, so despite the fact that the homepage has several different offers on it, it’s not cluttered.

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8) Xfinity

Between sporting events, holiday movies, and making your family binge-watch your new favorite TV series, with holidays comes lots of screen time. This homepage reminds visitors to be prepared for fun with their families.

The primary CTA isn’t just “Deals to save you money!” or “Deals to get you to buy from our website!” Instead, this homepage advertises its “Ready for the Holidays Sale” alongside images of families having fun spending time together, some with screens.

Thanks to this positioning, the message feels less like a way to make money, and more like an nod to holiday family time that includes a lot of togetherness, and probably some TV in between.

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9) J. Crew

J. Crew’s holiday homepage goes above and beyond expectations for a clothing store. The whitespace on the page is simple and lets the clothing and accessories stand out on the page to prospective shoppers while keeping the website true to brand.

Its homepage advertises “Present-Topia,” a Gift Guide that breaks down J. Crew products by age, gender, and price for ease of shopping. The black callout box advertises a sale it’s running that includes seasonal clothing. J. Crew also published curated looks that visitors can browse or directly shop from to make the shopping experience easier and more visual. This homepage redesign prioritizes the user experience while still keeping the site beautiful and on-brand.

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10) Microsoft

We like Microsoft’s minimalist holiday homepage because it stays true to brand and uses whitespace to showcase the new products it’s promoting this season. The simple red banner draws attention to their holiday shopping CTA and reminds people to think about products their friends and families might want. Then, there’s another CTA reading “Shop Now” that drives home the need to click around and start shopping.

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11) Fitbit

The dark background of Fitbit’s homepage lets the festive gold color scheme and the products shine. The photography styling positions Fitbits as a gift similar to jewelry in beautiful boxes, rather than a piece of sporting equipment, to make Fitbit products appeal to a wider variety of shoppers and not just athletes.

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The primary CTA is to “Shop The Gift Guide,” which leads visitors through all of the products with descriptions that suggest who they might purchase it for, making it easy for shoppers to imagine their family and friends using the product.

Additionally, the site has a neat feature where visitors can hint to someone that they themselves want to get a Fitbit as a gift.

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12) John Lewis

British retailer John Lewis didn’t give its homepage a holiday makeover, but by tailoring each module to the season, it makes it hard for site visitors to navigate away before looking at the brand’s products and projects ideas.

The main module above the fold features festive holiday decorations with a suggestion to look into the kitchen and home goods to prepare for big family meals. Just below, John Lewis features helpful information about delivery dates for ordering holiday gifts and the bonus that it offers free shipping.

We also love the “Be Inspired” section featuring travel and style ideas that don’t advertise John Lewis products outright but instead, provide helpful content in the true inbound marketing way.

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13) HP

We can’t guarantee that HP’s holiday homepage video won’t make you cry, but we can say that it’s a unique and heartfelt spin on traditional holiday marketing. HP’s homepage is another example of a site keeping the page minimally decorated with only their featured video, “Reinvent Giving,” above the fold.

The touching video features a brother using HP technology to come up with the perfect gift for his brother, who is hard of hearing — a guitar set that displays flashing lights when played so his brother can see himself playing music, even if he can’t hear it. Emotion in advertising is effective, especially around the holiday season — everyone has a friend or family member they want to find the perfect gift for.

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14) Madewell

The image and header on Madewell’s homepage are very much in line with the company’s typical branding: a model wearing a gorgeous dress in front of a neutral background, accompanied by a holiday spin on their name in festive, embellished font.

This is both attractive to first-time visitors who are greeted with simple imagery and user experience, as well as returning users, who expect a design like this but still appreciate the added holiday touches. The #giftwell hashtag prompts visitors to start a conversation about their shopping experiences on social media, which fosters a sense of brand loyalty.

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15) Warby Parker

Warby Parker stuck to the basics of beautifully simple design in its seasonal homepage redesign. “Winter 2016” is the simple headline, which showcases a man dressed in winter apparel, set with a whole lot of negative space to draw attention to the details of his outfit — and namely, his glasses.

While the primary CTA is still its usual “Shop Now,” you’ll notice a secondary CTA as you scroll that introduces “We Like It, We Love It: Warby Parker Editions.” This social proof compels visitors to click, leading them to a curated list of fun holiday gift ideas, such as dog toys and books, including one the brand published called “50 Ways to Lose Your Glasses.” This section is unique because Warby Parker is selling items different from what it usually sells to help valued customers fulfill their holiday shopping lists, which is a neat way to foster brand loyalty.

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Finally, Warby Parker’s responsive design gives mobile users a pleasant holiday shopping experience. According to Google, 53% of people who shopped online in 2014 used smartphones or tablets, and mobile searches about products while shoppers are still in the store have increased 30%.

The numbers are expected to rise this year, especially now that more people are searching Google on their smartphones than on desktop, so be sure your website is mobile-friendly in time for the holidays.

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(To see more examples of ways ecommerce businesses have redesigned their websites for the holidays, check out this library of examples on Crayon.co.)

Oh, and one more thing: As you plan your own website design strategy for the holidays, be sure to plan and prepare your site for higher-than-normal traffic. The last thing you want is for your site to go down during a time when you hope to be doing great business.

What great homepage redesigns have you see this holiday season? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Visit the holiday resource hub for all your holiday marketing needs.

Nov

23

2016

The 34 Best Tools for Improving Your Writing Skills

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Words are hard.

Whether you’re a published author or just getting started with blogging, it’s not always easy to string words together in a way that makes sense, sounds good, and makes the reader feel something.

But every marketer should be able to write — and, more importantly, every marketer can write. It’s just a matter of finding the writing environment that works best for you, expanding your vocabulary, asking for feedback (and listening to it), and practicing. Download our free guide here for tips to become a better writer. 

Luckily, there are a slew of great tools you can use to help improve your writing. Check out the list below, and feel free to add the most helpful ones you use in the comment section.

The 34 Best Tools for Improving Your Writing

1) Daily Page

“Writer’s block is a comforting lie we tell ourselves so we can stop writing and go do other, more pleasurable things,” said Beth Dunn, HubSpot’s UX writer and editor. “If your fingers still work, you can write. Sit down at the same time every day and start typing.”

Want to get into the habit of writing every day, but don’t know what to write about? Daily Page emails you a writing prompt every morning, and you have the rest of the day to write your response. Once you’ve written your response to the prompt, you can either share it or keep it private.

2) 750 Words 

Another way to practice your writing is to do a “brain dump” exercise using a tool like 750 Words. “Brain dumping” means getting all that stuff in your head down on paper — without having to worry about incomplete ideas, tangents, and private stuff.

It’s not blogging or status updating — it’s just you, writing whatever you want on a totally private account, without ever having to title your content or tag topics or share with your friends.

What it does do is track your word count so you’re sure to write 750 words (about three pages of writing). Plus, it’s gamified, which makes it kind of fun: You get a point for writing anything at all, two points for writing 750 words or more, and more points if you write consistently. And every time you write, it’ll give you some cool statistics on how much time you spent writing, the feelings and themes of your words, and so on.

Image Credit: 750 Words

3) Twords 

Publishing content on a consistent basis is crucial in the blogging world. Our own research concludes that companies that commit to regularly publishing quality content to their blogs tend get the most website traffic and leads — and those results continue to pay out over time. Tools like Twords can help bloggers commit to writing consistently.

Twords calls itself “the app that nudges you to write.” It notifies you when you haven’t written in a while so you can keep yourself accountable — and even gives you the option to connect with others who will help keep you accountable. It also tracks your writing so you can start to see patterns for the days you’re blogging more versus less, and so on. Finally, it includes some cool resources like a prompt library and articles about habit formation, writing resources, and so on.

Image Credit: Twords

4) Your Own “Swipe File” 

I read about a “Swipe File” on the “Kopywriting Kourse” blog and loved the idea. Basically, a swipe file is just a folder where you can curate cool stuff you come across, like advertisements, copy, emails, etc. “Save things that make you click, sign up, laugh, or go ‘whoa!'” says the post. The purpose? To flip through it for inspiration.

A swipe file can be physical or digital.

  • A physical swipe file would be something like a folder or envelope where you can keep print ads, pieces of copy, letters, and so on for inspiration.
  • A digital swipe file on desktop would be a digital folder, like one on your desktop. Whenever you see something interesting, screenshot it (by pressing Command + Shift + 4 on a Mac or Ctrl + Shift + 4 on a PC) and dragging that screenshot to your swipe folder.
  • A digital swipe on your mobile device is good for all the stuff you see when browsing the internet on your phone or tablet. The author of the post, for instance, created a specific folder in his iPhone and made a Phone Swipe File there. He stores screenshots when he sees something on mobile that grabs his attention.

Image Credit: KopywritingKourse.com

5) Help me Write 

What better way to make sure you’re writing about stuff your audience actually wants to read than by actually asking them? When you create a profile using Help me Write, you can post ideas of what you’re thinking about writing about. Then, you can share those ideas with your network via Twitter, Facebook, email, and so on — and ask your networks what they’d like to read most. They’ll be able to vote on their favorites, and you’ll be able to pick topics and better manage your time. 

Image Credit: HelpmeWrite

6) Blog Topic Generator

Do you have an overarching theme or keywords in mind for your next blog post, but you’re not sure at which angle to tackle it? HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator could come in handy. Simply type in three keywords, and the tool will auto-generate five potential topics for your post. If you’re not keen on the suggestions, you can always click “Try Again” and it’ll give you five more topics.

7) Trello

Writing efficiently and organizing well is a part of writing well. Use a tool like Trello to collect content ideas, assign them to different members of your team, attach due dates, collaborate with other team members, track their progress, and move them from conception to completion.

Here at HubSpot, we add all our blog post ideas to Trello, turning each idea into a card that we can expand on with notes and move from list to list with a simple drag-and-drop.

8) Google Docs

There are many ways you can use Google Docs to improve your writing. For example, you can use the research tool to do online research on the topic you’re writing about, find quotes or educational information, and so on (see #4 on this list). You can use it to request edits or comments from your peers. It even has a built-in dictionary.

One of my favorite ways to use Google Docs to improve my writing is by crowdsourcing ideas from my coworkers. Here at HubSpot, the blogging team uses this method all the time — and it shaves off a significant portion of research time that goes into curated posts. The result? Better examples and more comprehensive posts with less effort.

9) Quora & 10) inbound.org

Speaking of crowdsourcing, Quora is a great place to go for crowdsourced answers if you want to reach outside your network. Simply search for a keyword, follow topics related to the topics you’re interested in, and/or post your own questions.

If you’re looking for answers from inbound marketers specifically, inbound.org is a great place to source answers from professionals. Here’s an example of a post where the author asked about people’s productivity and time management habits.

11) Blog Post Templates & 12) Ebook Templates

If you’re all set on a topic but need help with organizing your writing so it’s interesting to read, you may want to check out our free, downloadable blog post templates or ebook templates, depending what you’re writing.

  • The blog post templates will give you an outline of five different types of blog posts: how-to posts, listicles, curated collections, SlideShare presentations, and newsjacks.
  • The ebook templates are available as both PowerPoint and InDesign files. All you have to do is paste in your text, drop in your images, add your company’s logo, and voila — a finished ebook.

13) HubSpot Composer

For HubSpot customers, Composer is a new distraction-free writing tool that helps writers easily turn their brainstorm ideas and research notes into a blog post. Composer handles the work of formatting drafts into blog posts — users can copy and paste text from Microsoft Word or Google Docs into Composer, and Composer will automatically reformat them for blog publication with the press of a button.

Other team members can collaborate and share comments on documents in Composer so bloggers can get team feedback prior to publishing content on their blogs. Check it out in action below:

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14) oTranscribe 

If you’re writing something that includes an interview with someone else, oTranscribe is a great tool that’ll make the transcription process much less painful — allowing more time for your own writing and analysis.

There are a lot of transcription tools out there, but this one is one of my favorites. It’s a web app for transcribing interviews created by Elliott Bentley, a graphics writer at Wall Street Journal. The audio player is integrated with the editor meaning you won’t have to click back and forth. You can pause, play, rewind, and fast-forward using keyboard shortcuts. Every second, it automatically saves the transcription to your browser’s storage. You can export it to plain text or Google Docs. Finally, it’s open source under the MIT license.

15) Coffitivity

Ready to start writing? Here’s a tool that’ll boost your productivity. A study out of the University of Chicago found that a moderate level of ambient noise, or “white noise,” helps people be more creative. While there are a lot of white noise generators out there, Cofftivity is my favorite. It offers non-stop café background sounds at varying intensities, from “Morning Murmur” and “University Undertones” to “Lunchtime Lounge” and “Brazil Bistro.”

16) E.ggtimer.com & 17) Tomato Timer

If you like to write with a little pressure (or you’re just on deadline), then tools like e.ggtimer.com and Tomato Timer are useful (and free). Both of these tools offer a “pomodoro” option, which refers to the Pomodoro technique: a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo based on periods of distraction-free work followed by short breaks — which is supposed to be optimal for productivity.

18) ZenPen 

If you don’t do well with distractions while you’re writing on a computer, then use a tool like ZenPen to help block out all the distractions and focus on your writing. It’s a web app that gives you a “minimalist writing zone.” There are a few, minimalist features available to help you stylize the text, add hyperlinks, and block quotes. Once you’re done, simply copy the text and paste it in your blog editor or wherever you’d like it to go.

19) Power Thesaurus & 20) Thesaurus.com 

Power Thesaurus isn’t just any thesaurus: It’s a crowdsourced thesaurus that provides alternative word choices from a community of writers. The word suggestions are totally original, and are based on the editorial work of a team of writers and years’ worth of reviews visitors’ suggestions.

But hey, when you want a good ol’, regular Thesaurus, you can’t beat Thesaurus.com.

21) OneLook Thesaurus

In addition to its thesaurus functions, OneLook Thesaurus also has a “reverse dictionary”: users can type in a definition or group of words related to the word they’re searching for and find the right word for their piece. Users can also type in a category of items, and OneLook will serve up multiple words that fall under that umbrella.

For example, here’s what happens when you search for “study animals.” OneLook then ranks synonyms according to how related or distance they are from the original search query. This is a great tool for when you have that “what’s the word for this?” moment and can’t bug your deskmate.

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Image Credit: OneLook Thesaurus

22) Twinword Writer 

Here’s another help that’ll help you if you get stuck on a word and don’t want to leave your browser or skim through synonyms. If you type using Twinword Writer, it’ll automatically sense if you pause because you’re stuck on a word. Then, it’ll analyze the context of your writing and open a box suggesting alternate words you can use. You can also click any word to get suggestions.

23) Prompts 

If you like typing out posts or ideas using your iPhone and tend to hit a wall in the middle of a thought or idea, this $2.99 iOS app may be worth the investment. It uses an algorithm to make suggestions for what you should write next. It also tracks stats about your writing habits, can remind you to write regularly if you allow it, and lets you schedule the best day and time to write based on your writing history.

Image Credit: Prompts

24) BrainyQuote 

You may also find you want to include a quote from a famous author, politician, celebrity, or other public figure to strengthen your writing or inspire your readers. BrainyQuote is a library filled with millions of interesting quips that you can search by speaker (from Aristotle to Dr. Seuss to Audrey Hepburn) or by topic (like peace, success, leadership, and more).

25) Hemingway App

Ernest Hemingway, admired for his succinct writing style, is the namesake for this handy editing app. Want to make your content more easily readable? Paste your text into this free web app and it’ll assess your writing and identify opportunities to make it simpler. First, it sums up how readable your writing is with a grade. Then, it suggests how to improve readability. (Read this blog post for more tips on simplifying your writing.)

26) AtomicWriter 

Here’s another tool that’ll assess your writing — but this time, it’ll assess it depending on your specific target audience’s reading level and which content they relate to the most. After all, writing for your target audience is an important part of content marketing.

How? Simply hook up your Google Analytics and social media accounts to AtomicWriter, and then paste your content into the app. It’ll analyze your historical data and engagement data from those accounts, and then tell you whether it’s suitable for your target audience. 

Image Credit: Jeff Bullas

27) ProWritingAid

Here’s another tool that evaluates your writing, but it boasts some unique features that differentiate it from the tools above. For example, ProWritingAid highlights overused words, redundancies, plagiarism, and sentence length, making it easy for writers to identify trouble areas and strengthen them. 

The free version of this tool only analyzes 3,000 words at a time, so the $40 investment per year for Premium may be worthwhile if users publish multiple pieces of content per month. 

Here’s an example of what ProWritingAid looks like in action:

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Image Credit: ProWritingAid

28) Grammarly & 29) Correctica

Once the actual writing part is done, it’s time to edit. While human editors will be able to catch most grammatical errors, editing tools like Grammarly and Correctica are great tools for triple-checking before you press “publish” or “send.” Both free tools check for grammatical errors — and Grammarly even checks for plagiarism.

30) Draft 

When you upload your document to draft (from cloud services like Dropbox, Evernote, Box, or Google Drive), there’s a lot you can do with it. You can edit your document, share it with colleagues or friends, and manage your friends’ suggestions — much in the same way you can with Google Docs.

One big differentiator, though? It calls itself the “Uber for copyediting”: Draft lets you call on a staff of reviewers to get suggested edits, for a price. (Learn about more features here.)

Draft Screenshot.png

Image Credit: Draft

31) Cliché Finder 

Unleashed too many clichés in your most recent piece of content? To help your writing be more specific, it’s generally best to avoid clichés. To ensure you leave no stone unturned, paste your text into Cliché Finder and it’ll highlight any you missed so you can replace them with more specific text.

32) Listly

When you’re creating list posts — like this one — it’s easy to hit a wall. Sure, you know there are other great examples out there, but you’ve already exhausted the ones you know of. With Listly, you can invite your audience to contribute to your list. The Listly community can then vote on list items to move them up the list. 

You can either embed the interactive list in your post or use it do conduct research before you publish to ensure that the examples, items, or tips you’re including are the best of the best.

33) Style Guide

The more content your business puts out, the more consistent that writing and messaging should be. This includes everything from what official names to call your products or services, down to whether to use an Oxford comma.

At some point, most companies accept that they’ll need to develop a writing style guide: a document that indicates the basic rules of writing we’ll all agree to follow (like whether I should’ve capitalized the “a” after the colon in this sentence).

Most businesses adopt either the AP Stylebook, or the Chicago Manual of Style. If you want to customize your style guide, you can download the writing style guide template we’ve created here.

34) WritePls

If you type “how to improve writing skills” into Google, you’ll notice that there are almost six million search results. WritePls has organized the best of the best articles about writing into specific categories for different writing types (fiction, nonfiction, and emails), as well as articles about general writing, growth hacking, and resources for ebooks and online education.

This is a great home base for new and experienced writers alike. Blogging and email writing are two very different crafts, and WritePls has collected a variety of great resources to help any writers working on any type of project to refer to in a one-stop shop.

Which tools for improving one’s writing would you add to the list? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide: how to be a better copywriter

 
free guide to writing well

Nov

16

2016

SEO Basics: The 6 Most Important Things Marketers Need to Know [Infographic]

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Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t all about focusing on keywords anymore. Search engines are getting smarter and better at understanding a searcher’s intent and how they can provide them with meaningful content.

Over the past few years, marketers have lived through everything from changes in search behavior (like the serious increase in mobile search queries) to search engine algorithm updates (like Google’s rewarding more secure websites). Nowadays, following and adapting to these changes has been a big key to a business’ success.

If you’re struggling to keep up with the changes in SEO and what you as a marketer need to do as a result, you’re in the right place. Check out the infographic below from Digital Marketing Philippines for a crash course in the most important parts of SEO marketers need to know to be successful in 2016 and beyond.

You’ll learn which ranking factors are the most and least important, how to optimize your website for mobile search, how to figure out what searchers are looking for, how to optimize for local search, the content length that’s best for search, the place website security has in good SEO, and more.

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Increase SEO Traffic

Nov

16

2016

SEO Basics: The 6 Most Important Things Marketers Need to Know [Infographic]

become-better-at-seo.jpg

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t all about focusing on keywords anymore. Search engines are getting smarter and better at understanding a searcher’s intent and how they can provide them with meaningful content.

Over the past few years, marketers have lived through everything from changes in search behavior (like the serious increase in mobile search queries) to search engine algorithm updates (like Google’s rewarding more secure websites). Nowadays, following and adapting to these changes has been a big key to a business’ success.

If you’re struggling to keep up with the changes in SEO and what you as a marketer need to do as a result, you’re in the right place. Check out the infographic below from Digital Marketing Philippines for a crash course in the most important parts of SEO marketers need to know to be successful in 2016 and beyond.

You’ll learn which ranking factors are the most and least important, how to optimize your website for mobile search, how to figure out what searchers are looking for, how to optimize for local search, the content length that’s best for search, the place website security has in good SEO, and more.

become-better-seo-infographic.jpg

Increase SEO Traffic

Nov

11

2016

The Anatomy of a Lead-Generating Website

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Your website is the most important tool you have for turning prospects into customers.

There are plenty of ways to increase the number of people visiting your site, but unless you convert these visitors into leads, you won’t be able to ultimately get new customers. As a result, your business won’t be able to grow at a healthy rate.

That’s why it’s so important to design your website with lead generation top-of-mind. Download the beginner's guide to converting website visitors into leads for  your business here.

Think about what your website looks like in its current state. Do each of your webpages clearly guide visitors to take action, or does they leave them wondering what to do next? Do you use a tool that automatically pulls the submissions from your forms and puts them into your contact database? Are you creating custom landing pages for every single campaign that you run? Do you have lead generation CTAs on each of your blog posts? (Do you have a blog at all?)

If you’re starting to think hard about the opportunities you have to increase conversion on your site, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we’ll cover the most critical components of a website optimized for lead generation. You’ll find useful tips in here whether you’re coming from a startup generating leads from scratch, or from a well-established business looking to tighten up your website to increase conversions.

The Anatomy of a Lead-Generating Website

1) Lead generation forms

Forms are the crux of any business’ lead generation efforts. Without them, you won’t be able to get contact information that your site visitors actually opt in to give you. The opting in part is important: When people voluntarily hand over their information by filling out a form, they’re actively showing interest in your business, your products, or your content. These leads are valuable because they’re more likely to turn into customers down the road.

Embedding lead generation forms directly on your website makes it easy for visitors to convert into leads. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create forms right in HubSpot and either add them to your webpages or embed them elsewhere. Non-HubSpot customers can turn to form-embedding tools like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms.

Although landing pages are the most popular places to put lead generation forms, you can embed them anywhere you’d like on your site. Here are a few examples of forms from different businesses that have with different goals, starting with OfficeVibe’s homepage:

officevibe-homepage-form-1.png

On AdmitHub’s homepage, they’ve embedded a form for a demo request:

admithub-form.png

The folks at American Songwriter embedded a subscribe form in the footer of their website:

american-songwriter-form.png

Below is the form on ChoiceScreening’s “Contact Us” page. You’ll notice it’s relatively long, but for a business that runs background checks of all kinds, the form fields are likely necessary to help organize inquiries.

choice-screening-form.png

When you’re thinking about how long your forms should be, consider whether you’d rather have more inquiries coming in, or higher quality inquiries coming in. As long as you have other, easier avenues for folks to contact you, a longer form can be okay for some businesses.

2) A form scraping tool

Once you’ve created and embedded your forms, how are you going to collect and track submissions? You’ll need a tool that scrapes your forms, meaning it automatically captures the form submissions on your website and puts them into your contact database.

By consolidating your leads in one place, it’ll be much easier for you to follow up with those leads — whether it’s by sending them lead nurturing emails, tracking their future behavior on your website, or some other action.

We recommend using our free Collected Forms tool, part of HubSpot Marketing Free. Collected Forms enables you to detect form submissions on your website as they come in — even if the forms are not built with HubSpot. Then, it’ll put those submissions right into your contacts database.

collected-forms-screenshot.png

collected-forms-leads.png

3) Primary and secondary calls-to-action on every page

When people go to a website, they’re usually trying to take some action. Sometimes, they know what that action is — like when you’re looking for a coffee grinder to buy for your spouse’s birthday and you plan to make a purchase as soon as you find one that’s good enough. Other times, visitors simply don’t know what they want to do on a website and they’re just there to browse or research.

It’s your job to guide these people forward in their research and/or buying process through calls-to-action (CTAs). Remember, your website exists to compel visitors to dig deeper into your business and offerings and move them further down the funnel. CTAs tell them what to do next so they don’t feel lost or overwhelmed. In this way, CTAs turn your homepage into a lead-generating machine.

You’ll want to create multiple CTAs for your site that speak to different parts of the buying funnel. But it’s important to have a primary CTA — one that exists above the fold of your site pages, sticks out from the others, and leads people to do the #1 thing you want them to do on each page.

What that CTA leads to will depend on your end goal. What do you want your site visitors to do most — do you want them to sign up? Create an account? Request a demo? Defining what a “lead” means to you will make your analytics goals much clearer and will help you build a more intuitive funnel.

Here are two examples of webpages that effectively use primary CTAs to direct visitors to the next logical step. The first is Mint’s homepage, where you’ll notice the free sign-up CTA immediately draws your eye:

mint-homepage-headline-example.png

Here’s another example from FreshBooks’ homepage:

freshbooks-homepage.png

Common CTA examples include “Free Trial,” “Schedule a Demo,” “Buy Now,” or “Learn More.” (Here are 30 examples of great CTAs for more inspiration.)

4) Gated offers on landing pages

We already went over the importance of embedding forms on your website in a more general sense, but landing pages deserve a section of their own. Landing pages are the hub of your lead generation efforts — which is why every marketing campaign you run and every offer you create should be tied to a custom landing page.

The more landing pages you have, the more opportunities you have to convert site visitors into leads. There’s also a huge SEO benefit to having more landing pages, which can have an impact even before visitors land on your site.

There are many elements that a top-notch landing page needs, from design to form length to navigation, share buttons, social proof, and so on. If you’re looking for detailed information on building well-designed landing pages that are optimized for lead conversion, here are a few helpful resources:

Below is a great example of a landing page from WebDAM. While it’s a solid example overall, the form might be the best part — especially the little icons in front of the text that refer to the information needed to complete it.

webdam-landing-page-example-1.png

If you’re looking for ideas for valuable content to put behind those landing pages, read this list of 23 lead generation content ideas to start you off.

5) Pop-up forms

I know, I know. “Pop-ups” can sound like a dirty word nowadays. Inbound marketers everywhere are asking themselves whether they should be using pop-up forms — and the short answer is yes, as long as you use them in an inbound-y way.

To do that, you’ll want to make sure you’re:

  • Offering something valuable and relevant so they add to your website visitors’ experience, rather than interrupting it;
  • Timing their appearance so they’re triggered by certain actions or time spent on a page in a way that feels natural and not interruptive;
  • Using language that’s actionable and human;
  • Not ruining the mobile experience.

In addition to embedded forms and traditional call-to-action buttons, you’ll also want to pick and choose pages on your website where you can place pop-up forms, which we call lead flows here at HubSpot. There are a few different types of lead flows you can choose from: welcome mats, overlay modals (which is what most people think of when they hear the term “pop-up”), banners, and slide-in boxes:

Popup-Types-801.png

Here’s an example of a banner on Basecamp’s homepage, which appears when you scroll a certain percentage of the way down the page:

basecamp-dropdown-banner-1.gif

This overlay modal from Aquaspresso’s blog offers blog readers an avenue toward their paid products in a way that’s helpful (providing a discount):

aquaspresso-blog-pop-up.png

If you’re looking for a good free tool to get started with pop-up forms, we’d recommend you try HubSpot Marketing Free. We built the Lead Flows feature within this free tool to help marketers generate more leads across their entire website without sacrificing the user experience.

6) Intuitive design and thoughtful CTA placement

The point of your website is to guide site visitors toward the actions you want them to take. Your conversion efforts will be far more compelling when assets are easy to find and are built with a reader-centric mindset. Think about how you can use layout, CTA placement, whitespace, colors, fonts, and other supporting elements to clearly communicate your value proposition, help visitors find specific information easily, and build trust.

Most importantly, you’ll want to make sure your webpages — especially your most popular ones, like your homepage — are designed beautifully, intuitively, and with lead generation in mind. In other words, you’ll want to direct your visitors’ attention to the areas of the page that will convert them into leads.

For example, according to an eye tracking study, a website reader’s natural eye path starts in the upper left-hand corner of a website and moves on from there in an F-pattern. To take advantage of this pattern, you may want to place your most important calls-to-action somewhere within that F-pattern. (Read this blog post to learn more about designing webpages for lead generation.)

In the example below, the business’ name is in the top left, followed by the horizontal navigation bar placed on the top, and a primary call-to-action (by #4) in the second row.

f-pattern-with-content-1.jpg

Image Credit: Envato Studio

7) A blog with lead-generating CTAs

If you don’t have a business blog or aren’t using it consistently, then you’re missing out on a huge traffic- and lead-driving engine. There are many business benefits to blogging, which not only include helping drive traffic to your website, but also converting traffic into leads for your business. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. And thanks to the compounding value of blog posts over time, every post you write will drive value for you in the form of traffic and leads not just when you first publish it, but for years to come.

Here at HubSpot, our blog is responsible for a significant percentage of our marketing team’s incoming leads — and 76% of our monthly blog views come from posts published prior to the current month.

But in order to generate leads from your blog, you can’t just write, hit “publish,” and call it a day. You’ll need to add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post that points to free content gated behind a landing page (see #4). To help you create these long-form offers more easily without worrying about the design component, try downloading these 386+ free content creation templates for ebooks, infographics, and other offers.

Once you create lead-generating offers, promote them by blogging about subject matters related to them, and then put CTAs that lead to the asset’s landing page on every one of those blog posts.

8) Social proof and other trust-builders

In order for a site visitor to turn into a lead, they need to hand over some personal information — their name, their email address, and maybe even their phone number or company name. Why would they give that information to you unless they felt some sort of trust in your brand and what you’re offering them?

That’s where establishing credibility comes in. If you want to earn people’s trust enough to compel them to opt in to your emails or otherwise put their personal information into your database, you’re going to need to prove yourself somehow — especially to people who don’t know who you are quite yet. The most meaningful form of advertising is recommendations from others, and it can have a big impact on conversion rates.

There are many ways to establish credibility on your website. One effective way to show trustworthiness is by adding social proof — like customer testimonials, case studies, and prominent client logos — as well as trust seals to your site.

  • Customer testimonials are quotes from real customers you can place on landing pages, your homepage, and anywhere else on your website. Place these quotes below forms, and be sure to include a photo, name, company, and job title. Here’s a great example from Codecademy’s homepage:

codecademy-homepage.png

  • Case studies are full-fledged customer stories, either written or in video. They’re longer and more detailed than customer testimonials, and often include success metrics and positive results. You can learn more on how to create compelling case studies here.
  • Prominent client logos are when a business places the logos of some of their more well-known clients on their homepage or elsewhere on their website to show them off. According to ConversionXL, logos from prominent clients tend to be memorable to site visitors.
  • Trust seals are symbols that reassure site visitors that their sensitive information is secure with the company they’re giving it to. (Read this post to learn more about adding trust seals to your website.)

trust-seals-1.png

There you have it. Now, these are by no means the only components of a website that can or should be optimized for lead generation. But this guide will help you get started with the fundamental components you’ll need to generate more and higher quality leads.

And although we’ve gone over some overarching best practices, remember that you’ll need to continuously test and tweak your site to optimize it for leads based on your own, unique audience. If you aren’t doing that already or want to learn more about optimization, read this post to learn about A/B testing your website in more detail.

What else makes up a lead-generating website? Share with us in the comments.

Intro to Lead Gen

Nov

11

2016

The Anatomy of a Lead-Generating Website

lead-generation-website-anatomy.jpeg

Your website is the most important tool you have for turning prospects into customers.

There are plenty of ways to increase the number of people visiting your site, but unless you convert these visitors into leads, you won’t be able to ultimately get new customers. As a result, your business won’t be able to grow at a healthy rate.

That’s why it’s so important to design your website with lead generation top-of-mind. Download the beginner's guide to converting website visitors into leads for  your business here.

Think about what your website looks like in its current state. Do each of your webpages clearly guide visitors to take action, or does they leave them wondering what to do next? Do you use a tool that automatically pulls the submissions from your forms and puts them into your contact database? Are you creating custom landing pages for every single campaign that you run? Do you have lead generation CTAs on each of your blog posts? (Do you have a blog at all?)

If you’re starting to think hard about the opportunities you have to increase conversion on your site, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we’ll cover the most critical components of a website optimized for lead generation. You’ll find useful tips in here whether you’re coming from a startup generating leads from scratch, or from a well-established business looking to tighten up your website to increase conversions.

The Anatomy of a Lead-Generating Website

1) Lead generation forms

Forms are the crux of any business’ lead generation efforts. Without them, you won’t be able to get contact information that your site visitors actually opt in to give you. The opting in part is important: When people voluntarily hand over their information by filling out a form, they’re actively showing interest in your business, your products, or your content. These leads are valuable because they’re more likely to turn into customers down the road.

Embedding lead generation forms directly on your website makes it easy for visitors to convert into leads. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create forms right in HubSpot and either add them to your webpages or embed them elsewhere. Non-HubSpot customers can turn to form-embedding tools like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms.

Although landing pages are the most popular places to put lead generation forms, you can embed them anywhere you’d like on your site. Here are a few examples of forms from different businesses that have with different goals, starting with OfficeVibe’s homepage:

officevibe-homepage-form-1.png

On AdmitHub’s homepage, they’ve embedded a form for a demo request:

admithub-form.png

The folks at American Songwriter embedded a subscribe form in the footer of their website:

american-songwriter-form.png

Below is the form on ChoiceScreening’s “Contact Us” page. You’ll notice it’s relatively long, but for a business that runs background checks of all kinds, the form fields are likely necessary to help organize inquiries.

choice-screening-form.png

When you’re thinking about how long your forms should be, consider whether you’d rather have more inquiries coming in, or higher quality inquiries coming in. As long as you have other, easier avenues for folks to contact you, a longer form can be okay for some businesses.

2) A form scraping tool

Once you’ve created and embedded your forms, how are you going to collect and track submissions? You’ll need a tool that scrapes your forms, meaning it automatically captures the form submissions on your website and puts them into your contact database.

By consolidating your leads in one place, it’ll be much easier for you to follow up with those leads — whether it’s by sending them lead nurturing emails, tracking their future behavior on your website, or some other action.

We recommend using our free Collected Forms tool, part of HubSpot Marketing Free. Collected Forms enables you to detect form submissions on your website as they come in — even if the forms are not built with HubSpot. Then, it’ll put those submissions right into your contacts database.

collected-forms-screenshot.png

collected-forms-leads.png

3) Primary and secondary calls-to-action on every page

When people go to a website, they’re usually trying to take some action. Sometimes, they know what that action is — like when you’re looking for a coffee grinder to buy for your spouse’s birthday and you plan to make a purchase as soon as you find one that’s good enough. Other times, visitors simply don’t know what they want to do on a website and they’re just there to browse or research.

It’s your job to guide these people forward in their research and/or buying process through calls-to-action (CTAs). Remember, your website exists to compel visitors to dig deeper into your business and offerings and move them further down the funnel. CTAs tell them what to do next so they don’t feel lost or overwhelmed. In this way, CTAs turn your homepage into a lead-generating machine.

You’ll want to create multiple CTAs for your site that speak to different parts of the buying funnel. But it’s important to have a primary CTA — one that exists above the fold of your site pages, sticks out from the others, and leads people to do the #1 thing you want them to do on each page.

What that CTA leads to will depend on your end goal. What do you want your site visitors to do most — do you want them to sign up? Create an account? Request a demo? Defining what a “lead” means to you will make your analytics goals much clearer and will help you build a more intuitive funnel.

Here are two examples of webpages that effectively use primary CTAs to direct visitors to the next logical step. The first is Mint’s homepage, where you’ll notice the free sign-up CTA immediately draws your eye:

mint-homepage-headline-example.png

Here’s another example from FreshBooks’ homepage:

freshbooks-homepage.png

Common CTA examples include “Free Trial,” “Schedule a Demo,” “Buy Now,” or “Learn More.” (Here are 30 examples of great CTAs for more inspiration.)

4) Gated offers on landing pages

We already went over the importance of embedding forms on your website in a more general sense, but landing pages deserve a section of their own. Landing pages are the hub of your lead generation efforts — which is why every marketing campaign you run and every offer you create should be tied to a custom landing page.

The more landing pages you have, the more opportunities you have to convert site visitors into leads. There’s also a huge SEO benefit to having more landing pages, which can have an impact even before visitors land on your site.

There are many elements that a top-notch landing page needs, from design to form length to navigation, share buttons, social proof, and so on. If you’re looking for detailed information on building well-designed landing pages that are optimized for lead conversion, here are a few helpful resources:

Below is a great example of a landing page from WebDAM. While it’s a solid example overall, the form might be the best part — especially the little icons in front of the text that refer to the information needed to complete it.

webdam-landing-page-example-1.png

If you’re looking for ideas for valuable content to put behind those landing pages, read this list of 23 lead generation content ideas to start you off.

5) Pop-up forms

I know, I know. “Pop-ups” can sound like a dirty word nowadays. Inbound marketers everywhere are asking themselves whether they should be using pop-up forms — and the short answer is yes, as long as you use them in an inbound-y way.

To do that, you’ll want to make sure you’re:

  • Offering something valuable and relevant so they add to your website visitors’ experience, rather than interrupting it;
  • Timing their appearance so they’re triggered by certain actions or time spent on a page in a way that feels natural and not interruptive;
  • Using language that’s actionable and human;
  • Not ruining the mobile experience.

In addition to embedded forms and traditional call-to-action buttons, you’ll also want to pick and choose pages on your website where you can place pop-up forms, which we call lead flows here at HubSpot. There are a few different types of lead flows you can choose from: welcome mats, overlay modals (which is what most people think of when they hear the term “pop-up”), banners, and slide-in boxes:

Popup-Types-801.png

Here’s an example of a banner on Basecamp’s homepage, which appears when you scroll a certain percentage of the way down the page:

basecamp-dropdown-banner-1.gif

This overlay modal from Aquaspresso’s blog offers blog readers an avenue toward their paid products in a way that’s helpful (providing a discount):

aquaspresso-blog-pop-up.png

If you’re looking for a good free tool to get started with pop-up forms, we’d recommend you try HubSpot Marketing Free. We built the Lead Flows feature within this free tool to help marketers generate more leads across their entire website without sacrificing the user experience.

6) Intuitive design and thoughtful CTA placement

The point of your website is to guide site visitors toward the actions you want them to take. Your conversion efforts will be far more compelling when assets are easy to find and are built with a reader-centric mindset. Think about how you can use layout, CTA placement, whitespace, colors, fonts, and other supporting elements to clearly communicate your value proposition, help visitors find specific information easily, and build trust.

Most importantly, you’ll want to make sure your webpages — especially your most popular ones, like your homepage — are designed beautifully, intuitively, and with lead generation in mind. In other words, you’ll want to direct your visitors’ attention to the areas of the page that will convert them into leads.

For example, according to an eye tracking study, a website reader’s natural eye path starts in the upper left-hand corner of a website and moves on from there in an F-pattern. To take advantage of this pattern, you may want to place your most important calls-to-action somewhere within that F-pattern. (Read this blog post to learn more about designing webpages for lead generation.)

In the example below, the business’ name is in the top left, followed by the horizontal navigation bar placed on the top, and a primary call-to-action (by #4) in the second row.

f-pattern-with-content-1.jpg

Image Credit: Envato Studio

7) A blog with lead-generating CTAs

If you don’t have a business blog or aren’t using it consistently, then you’re missing out on a huge traffic- and lead-driving engine. There are many business benefits to blogging, which not only include helping drive traffic to your website, but also converting traffic into leads for your business. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. And thanks to the compounding value of blog posts over time, every post you write will drive value for you in the form of traffic and leads not just when you first publish it, but for years to come.

Here at HubSpot, our blog is responsible for a significant percentage of our marketing team’s incoming leads — and 76% of our monthly blog views come from posts published prior to the current month.

But in order to generate leads from your blog, you can’t just write, hit “publish,” and call it a day. You’ll need to add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post that points to free content gated behind a landing page (see #4). To help you create these long-form offers more easily without worrying about the design component, try downloading these 386+ free content creation templates for ebooks, infographics, and other offers.

Once you create lead-generating offers, promote them by blogging about subject matters related to them, and then put CTAs that lead to the asset’s landing page on every one of those blog posts.

8) Social proof and other trust-builders

In order for a site visitor to turn into a lead, they need to hand over some personal information — their name, their email address, and maybe even their phone number or company name. Why would they give that information to you unless they felt some sort of trust in your brand and what you’re offering them?

That’s where establishing credibility comes in. If you want to earn people’s trust enough to compel them to opt in to your emails or otherwise put their personal information into your database, you’re going to need to prove yourself somehow — especially to people who don’t know who you are quite yet. The most meaningful form of advertising is recommendations from others, and it can have a big impact on conversion rates.

There are many ways to establish credibility on your website. One effective way to show trustworthiness is by adding social proof — like customer testimonials, case studies, and prominent client logos — as well as trust seals to your site.

  • Customer testimonials are quotes from real customers you can place on landing pages, your homepage, and anywhere else on your website. Place these quotes below forms, and be sure to include a photo, name, company, and job title. Here’s a great example from Codecademy’s homepage:

codecademy-homepage.png

  • Case studies are full-fledged customer stories, either written or in video. They’re longer and more detailed than customer testimonials, and often include success metrics and positive results. You can learn more on how to create compelling case studies here.
  • Prominent client logos are when a business places the logos of some of their more well-known clients on their homepage or elsewhere on their website to show them off. According to ConversionXL, logos from prominent clients tend to be memorable to site visitors.
  • Trust seals are symbols that reassure site visitors that their sensitive information is secure with the company they’re giving it to. (Read this post to learn more about adding trust seals to your website.)

trust-seals-1.png

There you have it. Now, these are by no means the only components of a website that can or should be optimized for lead generation. But this guide will help you get started with the fundamental components you’ll need to generate more and higher quality leads.

And although we’ve gone over some overarching best practices, remember that you’ll need to continuously test and tweak your site to optimize it for leads based on your own, unique audience. If you aren’t doing that already or want to learn more about optimization, read this post to learn about A/B testing your website in more detail.

What else makes up a lead-generating website? Share with us in the comments.

Intro to Lead Gen

Nov

10

2016

63 Stats & Tips to Help You Become a Better Twitter User [Infographic]

twitter-stats-tips.jpeg

Although Twitter’s growth rate has slowed down over the past year, it’s still one of the most popular — and powerful — social media networks around. It has 313 million active users, 79% of accounts outside of the United States.

With reach like that, businesses around the world are smart to continue using and innovating on Twitter — and adapting to the way people use it. Nowadays, 82% of active Twitter users log on using the mobile app rather than logging on via desktop. Just under 63% of U.S. Twitter users get their news on Twitter. And, impressively, Twitter’s paid ad engagement grew 208% from 2015 to 2016.

How else are people using Twitter nowadays? How are businesses using Twitter? How does the network impact people’s purchasing decisions, and how do promoted tweets boost offline sales? And does it change how connected people feel to a brand?

For answers to these questions and more, check out the infographic below from WebpageFX. It includes some great research and insights into user behavior and how Twitter affects businesses. Keep scrolling, and you’ll find some great, practical tips on the best times to tweet, what to tweet, and how to optimize your Twitter profile. (And for more ideas on how and what to tweet — including 12 tweet templates to get you started — check out this post.)

twitter-stats-infographic.png

free guide: how to get twitter followers

Nov

10

2016

63 Stats & Tips to Help You Become a Better Twitter User [Infographic]

twitter-stats-tips.jpeg

Although Twitter’s growth rate has slowed down over the past year, it’s still one of the most popular — and powerful — social media networks around. It has 313 million active users, 79% of accounts outside of the United States.

With reach like that, businesses around the world are smart to continue using and innovating on Twitter — and adapting to the way people use it. Nowadays, 82% of active Twitter users log on using the mobile app rather than logging on via desktop. Just under 63% of U.S. Twitter users get their news on Twitter. And, impressively, Twitter’s paid ad engagement grew 208% from 2015 to 2016.

How else are people using Twitter nowadays? How are businesses using Twitter? How does the network impact people’s purchasing decisions, and how do promoted tweets boost offline sales? And does it change how connected people feel to a brand?

For answers to these questions and more, check out the infographic below from WebpageFX. It includes some great research and insights into user behavior and how Twitter affects businesses. Keep scrolling, and you’ll find some great, practical tips on the best times to tweet, what to tweet, and how to optimize your Twitter profile. (And for more ideas on how and what to tweet — including 12 tweet templates to get you started — check out this post.)

twitter-stats-infographic.png

free guide: how to get twitter followers

Nov

8

2016

9 Places to Find Quality Email Newsletter Templates

emailnewsletter.jpg'.jpg

If you had to guess, how many email newsletters do you think you’re subscribed to? Ten? Twenty? Fifty?

To be honest, I’ve lost count … and I know I’m not alone.

Email marketers have a lot to compete with in their subscribers’ inboxes. If done well, though, email newsletters can do wonders to help you build an engaged subscriber base, keep your business top-of-mind, and nurture leads that are already making their way down the funnel.

However, “done well” means more than just serving up great content. In fact, an often overlooked component of the newsletter creation process is the design. Download this free guide to learn how to write, design, optimize, and measure  a successful email newsletter. 

Don’t have time to build out a custom template from scratch? We’ve scoured the internet for the best resources for email newsletter templates and compiled them below. Once you find one you like, download the template and customize it to fit your needs.

9 Places to Find Email Newsletter Templates Online

1) Email on Acid 

Price: Free

Email on Acid offers a free template with a basic, fluid design that’s also responsive to mobile devices. In other words, the three different “layouts” you see below trigger based on the width of the recipient’s screen.

Although there’s only one template here, you can actually mix and match each section of the layout to fit your specific design needs. The layout supports one, two, or three columns, and recipients on mobile devices will see the version that converts to a one-column layout for easy reading.

Email on Acid Newsletter 

Image Credit: Email on Acid

2) ZURB Ink 

Price: Free

ZURB Studios has five responsive email templates available for free, including the newsletter one below. It has a great, fluid layout you can customize with your own colors, images, and wording. If you want to see how each template looks on different email clients, you can check out screenshots from each template’s email client tests, which are on available the site. These layouts are optimized for most email clients — except for Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013.

The template comes with a separate CSS stylesheet and HTML file to ease the editing process, and most clients put the CSS inline with the HTML itself after both are uploaded separately. If you’re going to add images to your newsletter, keep in mind you’ll have to create a separate folder and compress with the CSS stylesheet when uploaded. 

Zurb Studios Newsletter

Image Credit: ZURB Studios

3) 99designs

Price: Free

99designs is a growing online community and collaboration platform for designers and small businesses, and they have a great designer blog and business blog. To celebrate the launch of their Email Design category, the company ran a contest asking designers to create three email templates — a newsletter template, a promotional template, and a template for email notifications — using a set color scheme (green, blue, orange, and grey) for people to download. The folks at 99design then chose their 12 favorites and made them downloadable for free on their website. They’re compatible with all major email clients.

99Designs Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: 99designs

4) ThemeForest

Price: $6-23/template

ThemeForest is an awesome resource for email templates if you have some budget to spend. Their library has over 460 newsletter templates in all different colors, styles, and themes. They’re rated using a four-star system, and you can filter by rating, price, recency, and popularity.

There are a lot to choose from, but here are four of our favorites:

Market – Responsive Newsletter with Template Builder ($19)

This template has eight prebuilt layouts, 24 color variations, 24 full-layered PSD files, and more. Plus, it’s supported by all major email clients.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

FreshMail, Responsive Email with Template Editor ($18)

Want a more minimalist look? This is a great template with minimalist design that’s also flexible and repeatable, so you can easily arrange the layout and use it to build your own unique template. Even better, it comes with helpful documentation and video tutorials to help you make the most of the design. It works for all major email clients and is responsive to mobile.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

FancyMail – Responsive Email Template ($19)

If you’re looking for something more elegant and sophisticated, this might be the template for you. It comes in seven layout options and eight colors, along with six, fully-layered PSD files so you can customize as you wish. It works with all major email clients, is responsive to mobile devices, and includes helpful documentation so you can make the most of the template.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

Rocket Mail – Clean & Modern Email Template ($16)

This template is great for marketers who are going for something that looks like your classic, basic newsletter design. It comes with 72 variations comprised of six color themes with six layouts each, and two backgrounds (light and dark) for each color. It has well commented HTML code to make it easier to follow along and customize. It works for all major email clients.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

5) Antwort

Price: Free

Antwort offers three newsletter templates: one single-column, one two-column, and one three-column. They’re all responsive to mobile devices, so columns on desktop automatically condense on mobile devices. You’ll notice they’re pretty minimalist in design, which helps if you want to do a lot of customization work. They were also designed with dynamic content in mind.

On desktop, they work for major email clients like Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, and AOL. On mobile, they work for Mail on iOS and Email on Android.

Antwort Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: Julie Ng 

 

6) TemplateMonster

Price: $11-$19/template

TemplateMonster offers a variety of email newsletter templates, such as the cat-themed template pictured below, available for relatively low prices. Their templates are clean, customizeable, and easy-to-use, and they’re compatible with most major email clients, such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Additionally, the templates come with built-in responsive layouts for screen adaptability, such as on the mobile phone pictured below, and PSD sources for a litany of customization options.

cats.png

Image Credit: TemplateMonster

7) Themezy

Price: Free

Download sixteen free HTML, CSS, and PSD sources of customizable email templates on Themezy. You don’t have to submit an email address to get started, and there are various color schemes and layouts to meet your email list’s needs. Plus, they’re designed to be responsive across devices to ensure that your subscribers can read your newsletter.

themezy.jpg

Image Credit: Themezy

8) Litmus

Price: Free

Litmus offers a free email template collection — from newsletter templates to account management templates. The marketing-specific theme — referred to as “Pook” — is modern and sleek, while still being kind of fun. All of the templates have been tested with Litmus, and you can easily check out how the email will appear in different email clients here.

While you are required to create a Litmus account with your email address to access the templates, the templates themselves are free of charge.

pook.png

Image Credit: Litmus

9) HubSpot Template Marketplace

Price: Free & paid options available

For those of you who are HubSpot customers, HubSpot offers a great collection of email templates you can download or purchase from our template marketplace. Paid templates are available for as low as $1, and once you buy a template, you can start using it immediately right in HubSpot — no HTML or CSS required.

HubSpot Template Marketplace.png

Where else can you find email newsletter templates online? Share them with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide to creating email newsletters

 
free guide to creating email newsletters

Nov

8

2016

16 Stats That Prove the Importance of Local SEO [Infographic]

local-seo-stats.jpg

When you’re looking for a local business that’ll fix your favorite pair of shoes, sell you the book your friend recommended, or bake a spaceship-themed cake for your kid’s birthday — how do you find it?

You pull up your favorite search engine for a little online research, of course.

Your customers are no different. When they’re looking for a product or service similar to what your local business sells, they’re going online to find it. Download our free guide here to learn more about 301 redirects and common SEO  mistakes to avoid.

Did you know that 50% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day? Same with 34% of consumers who searched on a computer or tablet.

A strong local SEO strategy is key to driving more people to your store, whether you have one storefront or five hundred. Check out the infographic below from GO-Globe to learn more helpful local SEO statistics and trends. (And to learn which parts of your site to optimize for local searches, check out this post.) 

local-seo-stats-infographic.jpg 

Increase SEO Traffic

Nov

8

2016

16 Stats That Prove the Importance of Local SEO [Infographic]

local-seo-stats.jpg

When you’re looking for a local business that’ll fix your favorite pair of shoes, sell you the book your friend recommended, or bake a spaceship-themed cake for your kid’s birthday — how do you find it?

You pull up your favorite search engine for a little online research, of course.

Your customers are no different. When they’re looking for a product or service similar to what your local business sells, they’re going online to find it. Download our free guide here to learn more about 301 redirects and common SEO  mistakes to avoid.

Did you know that 50% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day? Same with 34% of consumers who searched on a computer or tablet.

A strong local SEO strategy is key to driving more people to your store, whether you have one storefront or five hundred. Check out the infographic below from GO-Globe to learn more helpful local SEO statistics and trends. (And to learn which parts of your site to optimize for local searches, check out this post.) 

local-seo-stats-infographic.jpg 

Increase SEO Traffic

Nov

7

2016

20 Types of Lead Generation Content to Put Behind Your Landing Pages

landing.png

What does being in a “content rut” mean to you?

Perhaps the words remind you of writer’s block, when you couldn’t think of fresh topic ideas. (We’ve all been there.) Or maybe it makes you think of those days, weeks, or even — horror of horrors — months when your content seems to be falling kind of flat.

There’s one other thing it might make you imagine — the kind of content rut with the same types of content getting created over and over again, instead of mixing it up. Build and promote landing pages that generate more leads with the help of this  free optimization guide.

A big part of building a strong content strategy is experimenting with new types of content. Your audience may love your podcasts, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you should create. Fresh content types can expand your reach and attract more, and possibly even better leads.

To help you shake up your content balance, here are 20 things you can put behind a landing page to help you collect new leads — and ways you can optimize your landing page for each type.

20 Types of Lead Generation Content to Put Behind Your Landing Pages

1) Ebooks

Ebooks are a popular type of offer used to generate leads, educate customers and prospects, and gain credibility in your industry. But they can take time to become a reality, so be sure to choose a topic that will help a prospect go from downloading your ebook to having a productive conversation with a member of your sales team.

Here’s a good example from LiveCareer. The company created a piece of content that aligns with its brand — a job search handbook — and built a landing page around it. Plus, it’s sharable. The social sharing icons below the form make it easy for users to tell their friends and colleagues about the content.

Demo Screenshot

For more detailed tips, click here to learn how to create ebooks from start to finish.

2) Courses

Your audience may also be excited to fill out a form in exchange for a video course or tutorial. It’s up to you whether to produce, shoot, and edit the video in-house or hire a professional. You can hold the course live, or post a recording. Either way, ask participants to share their email address in exchange for the tutorial, so you can send them an email with the video recording that they can access forever.

Lynda, LinkedIn’s learning platform, does that well with its course previews. Users are able to watch the first minute of a lesson and when that preview is over, a prompt appears to start a free trial.

Course Screenshot

3) Trials

Trials aren’t just limited to things like courses. Sometimes, your prospects will want to try out your product or service before deciding whether they’re a good fit. That’s a good thing — you want to grow a base of customers that are convinced and loyal, and that can take a little more work than trying to sell your stuff to everyone who will listen.

That’s why it can be helpful to provide a free trial of your product or service with no risk, no obligation, and no credit card required — the only thing the prospect needs to do is fill out a form.

Here’s how Geneious used a form for a free trial of its research software for biologists. Notice how the form is followed by images of the program and FAQ, in case the user scrolls before committing to the form.

Course Screenshot

4) Demos

If visitors are ready to learn more about your product or service, make it easy for them to schedule a demo with your team. You can place demo calls-to-action on key pages of your website, including your home page.

These are particularly valuable on sections of your site that explain the different highlights and features of your product or service. Once the user is intrigued, make it seamless to schedule a demo. Here’s a look at HubSpot’s demo landing page:

Demo Screenshot

5) Contests

People love contests. They can teach you a lot about your audience while engaging them, growing your reach, driving traffic to your website, and — drum roll, please — generating leads. You can run contests on your website, or on pretty much any social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. They can be as simple as you’d like:

…or as complicated as you’d like. Notice how Brytor Designs uses its lobster gauge giveaway — I mean, who doesn’t need one of those? — to pull off a double whammy of lead generation. To enter the contest, the user has to both follow the brand on Instagram and fill out a form. But Brytor made it easy. When I clicked the Instagram icon on the page, it took me directly to the brand’s profile in a new tab, so that I could easily go back to the landing page and fill out the form.

Contest Screenshot

Want to learn more about running a successful social media contest? Check out our guide here.

6) Cheat Sheets

Cheat sheets are a type of short, concise offer that someone might bookmark for future reference. Think of them as comprehensive guides to terms, commands, symbols, or other things. They should be formatted for quick reference, which means clear headers and not too much detail. And the more visual, the better.

Here’s one way that Nusii pulled that off with the landing page for its proposal cheatsheet. It’s colorful and visual, with the imagery suggesting that the downloadable itself will be equally easy to follow. The only thing we’d change here? Consider removing navigation from your landing page — you can add it back in on your thank you page. Be sure to limit the text and visuals to the valuable content you’re providing.

Cheat Sheet screenshot

7) Checklists

Checklists are another type of short offer that you could put behind a landing page, which readers can print out or download to their desktops. Include clear headers, a colorful design, and keep copy brief.

Notice how there’s no navigation on Bonafide’s landing page below, which gives the visitor less of an opportunity to navigate away from the form (and the content). The text explains why the user should download the checklist, and personalizes the benefits to make the brand relatable.

checklist-screenshot

8) Email Series

An email series is a multi-part series of emails sent to an individual who specifically opted in to receive them. It’s different from an email subscription — it has a finite number of emails sent.

These programs are especially popular around the holidays, when many brands do “12 days of”-themed promotions. Microsoft, for example, executes one each year. And notice how even though I was a bit early for this year’s holiday email series, Microsoft still used the landing page to encourage me to shop its current sales, or look at last year’s prizes.

email series Screenshot

Another example is HGTV’s Urban Oasis, in which a lucky winner receives a completely refurbished home. Users are allowed to submit one entry per day, and can opt in to receive daily email reminders to enter until the contest is over.

email series Screenshot

9) Email Subscriptions

Business blogging not only drives more traffic to your website, it also can become a major source for lead generation down the road. But how do you convert blog readers into leads?

First, turn them into dedicated subscribers by simply asking for their email address in exchange for sending them new blog posts daily, weekly, or monthly. Make it easy for them to subscribe by including a one-step form on your blog, like the American Writers Museum does with its blog here:

Email subscription

Learn more about converting visitors to subscribers here.

10) Guides

Guides come in many shapes and sizes. There are “ultimate guides,” which are long, in-depth, and usually include detailed explanations, screenshots, and step-by-step instructions. Then, there are “simple guides,” which are shorter and much more concise. There are also tactical guides, pocket guides, introductory guides and advanced guides. The list goes on.

What’s the common denominator? They’re all tutorials of some sort, and many of them include step-by-step instructions. Below, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority uses a landing page for its “Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Domain Name.” It’s simple, well-branded, and concisely explains what the user is getting out of this download.

Guides screenshot

11) Kits

Kits are pieces of content grouped together into one offer. They’re great for repurposing existing content by aggregating multiple offers on similar topics into a cohesive collection. For example, HubSpot offers an Inbound Marketing Kit that includes an interactive presentation, a report that includes original data and research, and glossary.

But this content also works well with things like media kits. Not only are you providing a user with more information and media about your company, but you’re also offering it in exchange for contact information. See how Her Campus Media does that below. It helps the brand follow up with potential advertisers, which is especially valuable in digital publishing.

Guides screenshot

12) Original Data & Research

Data and metrics are have become especially valuable as many fields become more data-intensive. If your team has the bandwidth, original and data-heavy industry reports can build authority and trust with your audience. The trade-off is that curating them takes a lot of time, resources, and expertise.

One of the least expensive ways to curate original data and research is to conduct a survey among your subscribers, leads, customers, and industry professionals. Then, share the results in the form of a downloadable report, study, or infographic. For example, the data in our annual State of Inbound report is taken from a survey of over 4,500 marketing and sales professionals. We asked the questions, and the answers provided us with great insights that our audience is interested in learning about.

Data and research screenshot

Annual reports are similar to original data and research, though they usually focus on information pertaining to a specific organization, rather an industry at-large. And while these reports are often written with the intended audience of shareholders, they can actually be helpful resources for a number of users, like potential non-profit donors or members of the press.

13) Podcasts

Podcasts can build an audience and establish your brand as a source of expertise, while also showing off your company’s personality. They put a voice to your brand, so to speak. And creating one can even be relatively low-budget — all you need is a decent microphone and a smart — but fun — host who can keep your audience listening in each time a new one is released.

When it comes to using a podcast for lead generation, one of the best ways to do that is to ask your listeners to subscribe to updates about it. Subscribing to a podcast alone is already easy to do through apps that don’t ask for contact information, like iTunes and Stitcher. But by offering a “latest news” subscription, you can keep your audience up to date on related information like industry trends and sneak previews of future episodes. Here’s how we do that with HubSpot’s The Growth Show podcast:

Podcasts screenshot

Learn how to build a successful podcast here.

14) SlideShare Presentations

Because SlideShares, like blog posts, are great for traffic, some marketers choose to share them without hiding them behind a form. But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a download of your SlideShare in exchange for some information. If your SlideShare is good enough, it can be a low-effort way to convert readers into leads.

Here’s an example for a particularly nice design from Collision Latitude. Notice how there are bullet points to outline exactly what knowledge the user will gain from this download — as well as those handy social sharing icons.

Slideshare screenshot

15) Templates

Templates are great offers because they provide readers with a backbone for creating original things on their own. Templates often take different forms — calendars, worksheets, and other outlines can all benefit different audiences in the form of a template.

For example, one of our most popular offers is our “15 Free Infographic Templates in PowerPoint,” which we promoted with blog posts that teach our readers how to create great infographics in more detail. Check it out:

Templates screenshot

16) Events

Holding a happy hour at your office, a meet-and-greet at a local eatery, or a conference in a major city? Whatever your event, ask attendees for their information so you can send or email their tickets ahead of time and have an ID badge waiting for them upon arrival.

Here’s how LIVE Magazine SA did that with registration for one of its free events. Notice how the brand used a Google Forms — a free and easy way to collect registration data without navigation or other distractions. Just make sure to direct your visitor to a thank you page where he or she can start navigating your site again.

Events screenshot

This way, you can follow up with attendees to let them know about similar occasions, ways to connect with people they may have met at the event, and where to download content they may have come across there. You can even add calls to action in follow-up communications that invite users to follow you on social media or subscribe to other types of content.

17) Tools

Interactive tools can be difficult and time-consuming to create, but if they’re truly helpful for your audience, the payoff is often worth it.

Take HubSpot’s Marketing Grader, for example. The landing page form below is simple and only requires a website URL and email address. The feedback that the marketer gets from this tool is worth a lot compared to the amount of information we ask for. That makes it a compelling exchange.

Tools screenshot

18) Free apps

Who says a free product doesn’t earn business? They’re actually a great opportunity for lead generation. Try giving out free versions of your product or service — it can be lighter or have fewer features than the full-blown version — with no risk, no obligation, and no credit card required. The only thing they need to do is fill out a form.

Check out how booking.com does this below. The brand could just post links directing individuals to the App Store or Google Play. Instead, it also provides the option to receive a link to download the free app via email or text. For the sake of convenience, some users are willing to provide that information, so think about how you can provide that ease of use in exchange for information from your audience.

Apps screenshot

19) Webinars

The webinar is a useful content format for introducing prospects to thought leadership around your industry, and it establishes you as an expert in the discussion. A successful webinar takes a lot of work — especially with regard to planning and promoting it — but with the right strategy, it can be a great way to generate high quality leads.

Here’s one that Sprout Social did about Instagram with a special guest. The registration page is fairly simple in design, but still has enough information about the webinar leaders to pique the interest of prospective attendees.

Webinar screenshot

To learn more about planning your own webinar, check out this post.

20) Whitepapers

Ebooks are informal, fun, design-heavy pieces of in-depth content. Whitepapers are more academic and persuasive reports. They’re structured to present a problem, then provide a solution to it. People download them because they are authoritative, detailed, and informative. And since every audience could use a good hold on their respective industry details, whitepapers can be quite valuable to them.

The cool thing about whitepapers is that they can be created around almost any industry. Here’s one that HookLogic created for the buying behavior around beauty products. Notice that the landing page allows users auto-fill the form using information from LinkedIn. Letting visitors auto-populate this data makes it easier for them to get to your content quicker, encouraging them to complete the form.

Whitepapers screenshot

Make a Smooth Landing

From ebooks, to apps, to templates, each type of content you put behind a landing page has a specific job. By experimenting with different types of offers, you can observe which ones resonate with your audience and convert the most leads. Of course, you can always do more of what works, but never get too comfortable — keep you audience alert and intrigued with new topics and formats that are groundbreaking, but relevant.

What other types of offers have you put behind a landing page form? Share with us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free ebook: optimizing landing pages


how to design landing pages for conversion

Oct

28

2016

9 Lead Generation Mistakes Marketers Need to Stop Making

lead-generation-mistakes.jpg

For many businesses, the key to making sales is to first generate leads.

Leads are valuable because they’re the people who have indicated organic interest in your content and your business by giving you their information in some way, whether it’s by filling out a form to download an ebook, completing an online survey, or something else.

But leads don’t grow on trees. Some marketers have trouble generating enough leads to feed their sales team. Others generate plenty of leads, but they’re not good leads, and your sales team is having trouble closing them into customers. Others just have no idea where their leads are coming from. Download the beginner's guide to converting website visitors into leads for  your business here.

These are all common problems marketers have with lead generation. In this post, we’ll go over many of these problems and talk about how to fix them.

(P.S. – Need help diagnosing your website’s lead gen issues? The folks at IMPACT Branding & Design are providing expert website critiques live at this year’s INBOUND event with the help of special guests like Marcus Sheridan and HubSpot’s Luke Summerfield. Sign up here to reserve a slot.)

9 Lead Generation Mistakes Marketers Need to Stop Making

1) You’re buying leads, not generating them organically.

If you’re having trouble generating leads, it can be tempting to buy email lists so you can feed your sales organization with something — anything. But buying or renting contacts out of desperation will cause you more long-term (and short-term) harm than good.

There are a lot of reasons buying email lists is never a good idea. Not only will sending emails to purchased lists harm your email deliverability and IP reputation, but there’s a good chance the people on your purchased list have never heard of your company — making them far more likely to mark you as spam. They’ll also think you’re super annoying. And you’re not annoying, are you?

Bottom line here is that quality email addresses simply aren’t for sale. The whole point of generating leads is to eventually nurture those leads into customers. In order for your leads to become customers, the leads you generate need to actually want to hear from you.

How to Fix It

Your leads need to opt in, plain and simple. This means your contacts chose to give you their information in exchange for something valuable, like a content offer, webinar, event, and so on. Focus on creating offers that are valuable in some way for your target audience, and then package that value and put it behind a lead capture form.

Growing a healthy, opt-in email list takes time, but it’s worth its weight in gold down the line. And once you have people to email, be sure you’re creating remarkable email content that makes people want to actually open your emails and stay subscribed.

2) You don’t offer lead gen content for people in different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Not everyone who visits your website is going to be in the same stage of their buyer’s journey. Think about the folks who are landing on your website for the very first time. Do you think they’re ready to see a demo of your product? Or do you think they’d be more likely to want to download a helpful piece of content, like a step-by-step guide?

Some of your site visitors might be ready to buy, but most won’t — and you need to give them the opportunities to learn more about your business and what you’re selling before asking them take any sort of purchase action.

Creating valuable content to teach and nurture your leads down the funnel is time-consuming, which is why so often you’ll browse a business’ website and see nothing but “Buy Now!” and “Click Here for a Free Demo!” all over the place.

How to Fix It

There is no one-size-fits-all CTA for everyone who visits your website. To maximize clickthrough rates, you’ll want to cater to visitors who are at all different stages of the buyer’s journey using CTAs.

So, yes — you’ll need to spend time creating a variety of offers you can put behind landing page forms that cater to people at different stages. Folks who are just starting to get to know you might be interested in offers like checklists, contests, and templates. Visitors who are a little further down the funnel might be interested in email courses, kits, and whitepapers. Folks even further down might be ready for a demo.

Make sure you’re creating content that cover the whole funnel, and that you’re offering this content on your website so there’s something for everyone. (Need ideas for lead gen content? Here are 23 ideas for you.)

If you want to take personalization a step further, use smart CTAs. Smart CTAs are CTAs that change depending on the person viewing the page — his or her interests, location, pages viewed already, items or services bought before, and so on. Unsurprisingly, personalized CTAS actually convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. They make for a better user experience for your user, and higher conversion rates for you: a win-win! You can learn more about smart CTAs here.

3) You aren’t using your blog to generate leads.

HubSpot’s blog is responsible for a significant percentage of our marketing team’s incoming leads. In fact, we found that 76% of our monthly blog views come from “old” posts (in other words, posts published prior to that month). We always joke that if the entire blogging team went on vacation for a month, we’d still hit a good portion of our leads goal. (We’re still working on that one.)

But we find that marketers aren’t fully taking advantage of blogging as a lead generation powerhouse. Either folks aren’t blogging at all, or they’re not putting lead capture forms or CTAs on their blog — sometimes because they don’t have any valuable content offers to put behind a form.

But one of the biggest benefits of business blogging is converting the traffic it brings you into leads. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. Here’s what that looks like in numbers: If each one of your blog posts gets about 100 views per month, and your visitor-to-lead conversion rate on the blog is about 2%, then you’d get two leads from a single blog post each month. If you write 30 blog posts per month, you’d get 60 leads in a month — two from each blog post.

Keep blogging consistently like that for a year, and thanks to each blog post’s compounding value over time, each post you write will drive value for you in the form of traffic and leads. By the end of 12 months, you’ll end up getting 4,680 opt-in contacts per month, not just 720 opt-in contacts (60 leads*12 months).

blogging_compounding_returns-5.jpg

How to Fix It

Generating leads from your blog posts is simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post. Most of the time, these CTAs will lead to landing pages offering free content like ebooks, whitepapers, checklists, webinars, free trials, and so on. Promote your content offers by blogging about subject matters related to them, and then put CTAs that lead to the asset’s landing page on every one of those blog posts.

What that CTA looks like on your blog posts is up to you. On HubSpot’s blog, we use three main types of CTAs on our blog: end-of-post banner CTAs on every single post, and slide-in CTAs and anchor text CTAs on select posts. Read this post to learn when it’s appropriate to use end-of-post banner CTAs, anchor text CTAs, or both.

end-of-post-cta-banner-1-1.png

anchor-text-cta (1).png

As for slide-in CTAs, we’ve found these to perform better than end-of-post CTAs — which makes sense because visitors see them sooner since they slide in at about 25%-50% of the way down the post. Learn how to add slide-in CTAs to your blog posts here.

slide-in-cta-example-1.png

4) You aren’t using the best lead generation tools.

You know that people are coming to your website, but do you know what who they are? How about what they’re doing once they get there, or what they’re doing before and after taking certain actions? If you’re unable to answer these questions, then you’re going to have a hard time connecting with the people who are visiting your site or learning what’s resonating with them and what’s not.

But these are questions you can and should answer — but you need the right tools to do it. There are some great tools out there that can help you learn about your website visitors and convert them into leads.

How to Fix It

The trick is finding the best combination of tools that’ll give you the most insight and the best bang for your buck. There are a few different tools and templates out there that’ll help you create different lead gen assets you can put on your site.

At the simplest level, these 50+ free, customizable CTA Templates will help you create clickable buttons you can put on your blog, your landing pages, and elsewhere on your site. Use them to create CTAs that lead to a landing page form.

Speaking of forms, a form embedding tool will come in handy when it comes to actually collecting information from your site visitors and converting them into leads. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create and embed forms using HubSpot. Non-HubSpot customers can use a tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use Leadin’s free Collected Forms tool to automatically capture these form submissions on your website.

Finally, a lead capture and contact insights tool like Leadin by HubSpot (which is free) will help you capture leads using pop-ups, dropdown banners, or slide-ins (called “lead flows”). It’ll also scrape any pre-existing forms you have on your website and add those contacts to your existing contact database.

Here’s an example of a slide-in CTA created using Leadin, HubSpot’s free conversion tool:

slide-in-lead-flow.gif

5) You have a “right vs. wrong” testing mindset.

Knowing that you should test your website and constantly work on improving it is one thing. What most marketers have trouble with is seeing testing and experimenting not as a way to prove your ideas, but as a way to find something better.

I like the way Andrew Anderson put it in his post on ConversionXL: “The real challenge is in getting yourself and your organization ready to accept one really simple truth: Being wrong is far more valuable than being right.”

Often, this will manifest itself in someone having an idea for how to improve a part of their website. Perhaps they think removing distractions from a landing page will increase conversion rates on that page, for instance. What happens here is that most marketers will limit what they test in a way that skews the data to help them reach that conclusion, often without meaning it. After all, it feels bad — and might look bad — to have an idea or make an assumption and have it proven totally wrong.

How to Fix It

“The first and most vital step to dealing with this is to focus all discussions on the comparing of actions and not on validating opinions,” writes Anderson. “It isn’t about if Tactic A or B works, it is how well does Tactic A or B or C or D and so on compare to each other.”

In other words, treat every idea that’s brought to the table the same, whether or not you think it’ll “win.” This makes the testing program less personal and encourages a more holistic approach. Remember: by nature, a program that tests your website is meant to prove yourself and others wrong, and that’s a good thing.

You and your teammates need to check your egos and adopt this mindset to avoid finger-pointing. Instead of rewarding people for being right, which reinforces that toxic mindset, focus on the system and the outcomes more holistically.

6) You aren’t optimizing your top pages for lead generation.

Not all webpages should be treated the same. In fact, if you look at traffic numbers to specific pages on your website, you’ll probably find that the vast majority of your traffic is coming in to a few, very specific pages — maybe your homepage; your “Contact Us” page; maybe one or two popular blog posts. With so many people landing on those pages, why would you treat them like any other ol’ page on your website?

Because so many people are landing on those pages, it’s very important that you create opportunities for people to convert on those pages, lest you leave potentially massive lead numbers on the table.

How to Fix It

First, figure out which of your webpages are the four or five most popular for traffic. (HubSpot customers: You can do this in HubSpot by going to Reports > Page Performance, then filter the report by Views.)

Then, optimize those pages for leads. This means making sure you create calls-to-action (CTAs) that stand out from the page, and then place them where people naturally look on your website. Our natural eye path starts in the upper left-hand corner of a website and moves on from there, according to an eyetracking study.

Another way to increase the conversion rate on a page that already gets a lot of traffic? Create special offers specifically for your most popular pages, and gate them behind landing page forms. I know, I know, creating a brand new offer can time-consuming — but it could be much more effective for lead generation than optimizing button color, language, images, and so on. For example, the folks at Eastern International College created a quiz for students on which college major they should choose, which they linked to on their popular Careers page.

eastern-international-college-quiz.png

At the end of the quiz, they promised to send the quiz results in exchange for people’s name, phone number, and email address as a lead capture tactic.

Read this blog post for more tips on how to generate leads from your most popular webpages.

7) You’re not using social media strategically for lead generation.

Although social media is most effective for top-of-the-funnel marketing metrics like traffic and brand awareness, it can still be helpful as a source for lead generation — and a low-cost one, at that.

If you’re finding that social media isn’t generating very many leads for you, there’s a chance you’re not doing it strategically enough. At least that’s what Jeremy White, a serial entrepreneur and conversion consultant, wrote in a post on CrazyEgg’s blog.

“It’s not that you can’t get leads on social media; it’s that we’re not taking what’s there,” he wrote. In other words, you might be doing it wrong. If your social strategy is to post your new ebooks to all your social media channels and that’s about it, then don’t expect to bring in a whole lot of leads from those posts. The spray-and-pray technique isn’t enough.

How to Fix It

One way to generate more leads from social media is to sprinkle blog posts and offers that have historically generated higher-than-average leads numbers for you in with the new posts and offers your team is creating.

At HubSpot, we’ve found that one of the best ways to generate leads is simply to link directly to landing pages for blog posts and offers that have historically performed well for lead generation. (Learn how to do your own blog lead generation analysis here.)

We’ve also found that linking directly to an offer’s landing page can be more effective — as long as your post copy sets the expectation that you are, in fact, sending people to a landing page. In the Facebook post below, we set that expectation by putting “Free Template” in brackets in front of the offer title.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using some of the features on each social network that are specifically designed to help you generate leads.

On Twitter, your lead gen tweets should contain a value proposition, a short URL linking to the landing page with a form, and an image to ensure the post stands out. (Here are some social media image templates you can use to create those images.)

Twitter also offers lead generation cards that can help you generate qualified leads at a lower cost than most of the other major ad platforms. Twitter cards let you embed rich media that don’t count toward your tweet character limit that allow your fans and followers to do things like download an app, visit a landing page, give over their email, or use a coupon — all without leaving Twitter. (HubSpot customers: You can connect your Twitter lead gen cards to HubSpot by following these instructions.)

On Facebook: There are a number of great ways to generate leads from Facebook, the best of which I’ve rounded up in this blog post. For example, one way to easily generate leads is by simply using the call-to-action feature available for Pages. The feature lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, and it can help drive more traffic from your Facebook Page to lead generation forms like landing pages and contact sheets.

Here’s an example from Tough Mudder’s Page, and you can learn how to insert your own Facebook CTA button here.

tough-mudder-facebook-for-lead-gen.png

On LinkedIn, B2B businesses can take advantage of the perception that LinkedIn is the most sophisticated of social platforms, and a place where B2B relationships are most likely to be built. Like on Facebook, you can publish your lead-generating content directly to your business’ Facebook Page alongside actionable copy and a compelling image.

8) Your forms are too long or too short.

How long should your lead capture forms be? Striking a balance between asking too much and too little on your forms is a common problem marketers gripe with.

If your form’s too short, more people might be willing to fill it out, which is great for leads numbers — but the quality of those leads might not be very high. If your form’s too long, though, fewer people might be willing to fill it out, meaning you’ll get fewer leads out of it. On the bright side, the people who do submit their information could end up being higher quality leads.

So what gives? What’s the “magic number” of questions to ask on your forms?

How to Fix It

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how many fields to put on your forms. Your “sweet spot” will depend entirely on your goals: Do you need more leads, or do you need better leads? Essentially, the length of your form will lead to a tradeoff between quantity and quality of the leads you generate. In general, shorter forms usually result in more overall leads, while longer forms will result in fewer, but higher quality leads.

“Think of every field in your checkout as a hurdle your prospect has to leap over,” writes Copyhackers’ Joanna Wiebe. “Then ask yourself if it’s worth the possibility of losing a sale — or thousands of sales — because you want to fill a database.”

You can’t possibly know how many form fields you can pull off without conducting conversion research and running your own tests. Even then, you have to compare the ROI of additional information with the ROI of increased conversions. How much does having a phone number really help the sales team? Is it enough to warrant a potential decrease in conversions?

It’s important that you don’t make this decision without involving your sales team. They have a better idea of what information will actually help them close deals. How much does asking for a phone number actually help your sales team — and is it enough to potentially lose leads over? Speaking of talking with your sales team …

9) Your definition of a qualified lead isn’t well communicated with Sales.

You know the definition of a lead in the general sense of the term: It’s a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service by giving you their information in some way, like by filling out a form to download an ebook or completing an online survey.

A marketing qualified lead, or MQL, is a lead that’s been deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other leads, based on lead intelligence. MQLs have metaphorically raised their hands and identified themselves as more deeply engaged, sales-ready contacts than your usual leads, but who have not yet become full-fledged opportunities. In other words, from a marketing perspective, your sales team should be talking with them.

But sales teams tend to have their own system for qualifying leads. Sales qualified leads are leads your sales team has accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up. Agreeing on that quality threshold is where things tend to get muddy. Both the quantity and quality of leads needed and the sales process are mutually agreed upon by both Marketing and Sales.

How to Fix It

That’s exactly where the conversation begins. To align Marketing and Sales on what constitutes a qualified lead from both sides, you’ll have to learn to speak each other’s language. Similar to your marketing qualified leads, Sales has its own definition of “qualified”: sales qualified leads are leads they’ve accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up.

Both teams need to align on their definitions of a marketing qualified and sales qualified lead. And there’s no one-size-fits-all definition for one, either — an MQL at one company may be completely different than an MQL at another company. You should do your own internal analysis of your leads and customers to create your business’ definition of an MQL. Read this post to learn how to get started defining an MQL for your business and communicating that definition with Sales.

There are plenty more lead generation mistakes I could add to this list, but these are some of the most important ones we see marketers make often. For our readers out there who want to get more and better quality leads, we hope this post will help you prioritize where to focus your time and resources.

What other mistakes can you add to this list? Share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments.

Intro to Lead Gen

Oct

25

2016

15 Easy Ways to Make Your Commute More Productive

commute

It’s easy to think of commuting as a total waste of time. When you’re standing on the train platform or waiting at a traffic light, every minute that ticks by can seem like a minute lost from an already jam-packed day at work. But there’s good news for those of you who wish you could spend that time more productively.

There are a lot of fun, creative apps out there that help you make use of that time — whether it’s a 10-minute walk or a 60-minute bus ride. (Drivers: We don’t advocate the use of any of the apps on this list that involve reading or typing.) Download our complete guide here for more tips on improving your productivity.

Check out this roundup of 15 easy ways to make your commute more productive, and the apps that will help you make it happen. Try them out, and hey — you might even start looking forward to your trips to and from the office.

15 Ideas for Increasing Productivity on Your Commute

1) Create your to-do list for the day.

Apps: Wunderlist, Evernote, Dragon Dictation

If you’re the kind of person who likes to get organized first thing in the morning, spend some time listing the things you need to accomplish that day. Taking that extra time to think about each task can help you prioritize and set realistic expectations.

There are a number of to-do list apps out there, but Wunderlist and Evernote are among the best. They sync between your mobile devices and your personal computers and allow you to drag and drop tasks between days and categories, as well as set alerts and due dates. You can even share lists and notes with others. Here’s a look at the Wunderlist app:

IMG_0897.png

For you drivers out there, you can use the free app Dragon Dictation to get your to-do list (and any other thoughts) down on your phone. Simply speak while the app is recording, and your text content will appear. If you’re an avid Evernote user, note that Evernote also has a voice recording function, too.

dragon-dictation-screenshot

Source: OT’s with Apps & Technology

2) Clear your inbox.

Apps: Gmail, ASAM

There’s something so satisfying about arriving at the office with a clean inbox. That’s why I like to go through emails and delete anything extraneous before I even get in to work. It saves me at least a half hour and a loss of momentum during my most productive time of day.

If you’re driving, you can use ASAM — a free app from AgileSpeech — to “read” your emails. The app will read your emails out loud and word-for-word. (And when I say word-for-word, I mean it reads everything — disclaimers, signatures, and other information you might’ve skipped otherwise.) When the message is finished, the app will “ding” and you have the option to dictate a reply.

ASAM screenshot

Source: Google Play

3) Set and check in on your goals.

App: Coach.me

Believe it or not, there’s a new year right around the corner. And if you’re into resolutions, checking your progress regularly and finding ways to stay motivated is key to maintaining them. The free version of the Coach.me app lets you set personal and professional targets, get reminders, and choose whether to make your achievements visible to a community of active users so you can give and receive support. And starting at $15 per week, you can hire a coach to actually help you achieve them.

coach-me-appcoach-me-app

Source: iTunes

4) Learn a language.

App: Duolingo

Once upon a time, maybe after college, you were almost fluent in Spanish. Or French. Or something else you learned in school. But then, you stopped practicing.

Want to get your language skills back on track? Duolingo is a fantastic (and free) app that makes (re)learning languages fun. Each lesson is short, painless, and super visual. Slate called it “the most productive means of procrastination I’ve ever discovered.” Be warned, though — it can get addictive.

duolingo-screenshotduolingo-screenshot

Source: iTunes

5) Listen to a podcast or audiobook.

Apps: Stitcher, Podcasts, This American Life, Audible

If you’d rather not spend any more time staring at a screen during your commute, then listening to a podcast or audiobook can be a really pleasant way to spend any length of time. Plus, you’ll learn a lot of really cool information you can impress your friends with later.

The free app Stitcher lets you make playlists of all your favorite podcasts.

Stitcher-1.png

As for which podcasts to listen to, our favorites include:

Looking for something else? Take a look at Stitcher’s list of Top 100 Podcasts.

6) Read an actual book.

Apps: iBooks, Kindle, Zinio, Apple News

I don’t know about you, but I constantly lament how little time I spend reading. You know, actual books, newspapers, or print magazines. And while I also enjoy turning a physical page, I always forget to pack my print materials before I leave for work.

Luckily, there are numerous apps that address that issue, and let you read any book, newspaper, or magazine you choose from a mobile device.

For news and magazines, we like Apple’s News app, which lets you choose from a vast catalogue of publications that you can read right from your phone. You can store your favorites and choose from them with a simple tap.

Apple News.png

But for actual books, there are the Kindle and iBooks apps, which let you download full reading materials and enjoy them from your phone or tablet. Kindle transfers any ebook purchases you’ve made on Amazon right to your device, so you can take in whatever great literature you please, right from the bus or subway.

Kindle1 Kindle2.png

7) Read the articles you’ve bookmarked.

App: Pocket

Using the Pocket app, you can save articles (and videos, and pretty much any type of content) in one place for easy reading on your commute. You can save content directly from your browser, emails, or from over 500 apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite. So while Evernote is a great app for long-term content storage, Pocket is perfect for bookmarking stuff to read later.

Pocket app.jpegpocket-app-screenshot

Source: iTunes // Just the Best Apps

8) Read the newest posts from your favorite online sources.

Apps: Feedly

We’ve covered how to catch up on the latest content from your favorite publications. But what about your favorite blogs or other online news sources? Feedly is an RSS reader that lets you subscribe to the publishers whose posts you never want to miss. You can separate them into different lists, mark articles as “read,” share your favorite pieces, and even browse for new content.

Feedly1Feedly2

Source: Google Play

9) Get your social media fix out of the way.

Apps: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more …

Not all of us are lucky enough to include browsing and posting on personal social media accounts in our job descriptions. Help resist the urge to check your news feeds and notifications at work by doing it to your heart’s content during your commute.

Instagram fix

10) Brush up on your marketing & sales progress.

App: HubSpot Mobile

Remember those days when you absolutely had to be at your desk to get your work done? Those days are close to being gone, thanks in part to the new HubSpot Mobile app. 

With this app, you can take advantage of your HubSpot software, even if you’re on the go. It starts with a customizable dashboard that gives you an at-a-glance breakdown of the most important metrics to you — landing page, blog, and email performance, as well as deals and sales tasks.

You can also easily access your contacts database, marketing insights (like email analytics) and your sales pipeline. For that last part, you can use the app to add notes, activities, or tasks, and keep track of deal stages.

HubSpot Mobile contacts  HubSpot Mobile Email

11) Clean your house.

App: iRobot HOME

Weekends: The perfect time to catch up with friends, family, the TV you missed last week and house-cleaning. Okay, how many of us really get around to that last one? (Hint: I don’t.)

But my colleague, Eric Peters, let me in on a little secret about the internet of things. Thanks to its HOME app, if you own a iRobot device like Roomba, you can remotely clean your house from your mobile device.

“My new favorite productivity app is from iRobot,” he told me. “I can turn on my Roomba and clean my floor, and not have to vacuum later.”

What’s more? You can even set a cleaning schedule for the week, in case you forget to spontaneously turn on your devices.

iRobot2 iRobot1 iRobot3

Source: iTunes

12) Clean up your Twitter feed.

App: Twindr

Ever scrolled through your Twitter feed and realized you’ve been just a bit too generous in how many people you follow? Twindr is a free app that works kind of like Tinder, but for unfollowing people on Twitter. All it takes is a few quick swipes to clean up your follower count.

twindr-screenshot

Source: Gizmodo

13) Get zen.

Apps: Insight Timer, Personal Zen, Headspace

Mondays, amirite? Suddenly, in the midst of pre-workday standing nap among the subway masses, you find your mind flooding with a mental to-do list of all the stuff you didn’t get done when you left the office early last Friday.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you’ve got to breathe — which can be tough to do on a Monday morning. But there are apps out there that can help you get zen during your commute, no matter how long it is.

We especially like Insight Timer, since — as its name suggests — you can actually set a timer for the window you have to meditate and select a combination of ambient sounds to use in the background. Or, you can select from any number of the app’s guided meditations. Om…

Insight Timer Custom Insight Timer Guided

14) Set a step goal for the day.

Apps: Fitbit, Withings, Jawbone UP, Apple Health

A great way to get more exercise and burn more calories throughout the day is by building incremental physical activities into your daily routine. If that sounds like your style, use an app like Fitbit or Withings to set step goal for each of your commutes. (While these companies sell expensive devices that sync with their apps, they have the ability to measure your steps for free.) And if you have an iPhone, the Health app will track any steps you take when you have your device with you.

Each morning and afternoon, try to hit your goal. If you drive, park your car some distance away from the office and walk the rest of the way. If you take the train or a bus, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. If your mode of transportation gets delayed, get your steps in by walking back and forth on the platform.

UP24goals.png

Source: Jawbone

15) Plan your meals.

Apps: Eat This Much, Pepperplate, BigOven

You work hard. Your days are long. That’s why it’s so easy to resort to something that’s quick and already prepared for dinner. But you don’t have to fall victim to the easy way out — if you plan ahead. There are apps out there that can help you do that, by making it simple to plan your meals for the week in advance.

We get especially geeked-out over the Eat This Much app, in part because it’s linked to grocery-delivery apps, if they’re available in your area. Plus, it lets you set nutrition goals and set parameters for any dietary restrictions you might have, like vegan, gluten-free, or specific food allergies.

EatThisMuch2 EatThisMuch1

Source: iTunes

Get Appy

See? Your commute doesn’t have to be so bad, after all. 

And even if you’re lucky enough to love your work, it never hurts to have that time to yourself to take care of the things that these apps are made to do. So get happy, get healthy and get “appy” — it’s one of the best ways to make the most of your precious time.

What do you do to make your commute more productive? Share with us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free productivity tips

 
free productivity tips

Oct

14

2016

How to Generate Leads From the Most Popular Pages on Your Website

generate-leads-from-popular-webpages.jpg

From blog posts to landing pages to job postings, your website may be made up of tens, hundreds; even thousands of individual pages.

But regardless how many pages you have on your site, you’ll find that the vast majority of your traffic comes in to a few, very specific pages — often your homepage, your “About” page, your “Contact Us” page, and maybe one or two of your most popular blog posts.

And because so many people are landing on those four or five pages, it’s very important that you take special care to optimizing those pages for conversions. Get data-backed conversion rate optimization tips from HubSpot & Wordstream  here.

Otherwise, you’re leaving potentially massive lead and sales numbers on the table. Research shows that companies that take on a structured approach towards conversion optimization are 2X as likely to see a large increase in sales. Trust me: Optimizing these pages can pay off big time in the long run.

So, how do you figure out which pages on your website get the most traffic? And once you’ve found that out, what are the best ways to optimize those pages for leads — and which tools can help? Let’s start with the first question.

Which Pages Get the Most Traffic?

Which pages get the most traffic will vary from website to website. Typically, you’ll find that the most-visited pages on a given website include the homepage, the ‘About Us’ page, the ‘Contact Us’ page. But to figure it out for sure, you’ll need to turn to your marketing software.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, simply log in to your main HubSpot dashboard and go to Reports > Page Performance, then filter the report by Views. (Pro tip: Click the “Optimization” tab inside of each of your top pages to learn how to further optimize different aspects of your page.)

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You can also use Google Analytics to find your most popular web pages by looking at your “Top Content” report. To get this report, log in to Google Analytics and go to Content Optimization > Content Performance > Top Content. This’ll give you your top webpages based on the visits and pageviews for each page, as well as the average amount of time visitors spend on each page and the page’s bounce rate (i.e. how frequently visitors left your site after viewing the page).

How to Generate Leads from the Most Popular Pages on Your Website

Once you’ve identified which pages on your site get the most traffic, it’s time to optimize them for leads. (There are ways to optimize them to get even more traffic, too, which you can read about here and in section #10 below.)

1) Make sure these pages pass the “blink test.”

If you want the people who visit your site to convert into leads, first thing’s first: You have to keep them on the page once they get there. You have only a few seconds to grab their attention, get your message across, and spark their interest.

The “blink test” refers to those few seconds when a visitor lands on your webpage, judges it, and decides if they want to either stay there and take an action or leave.  There are many ways to make sure a webpage will pass a “blink test,” but I’ll go through two of the most important factors here.

For one, you’ll want to test how long the page takes to load and make adjustments if needed. Slower page load time leads to poor user experience and can result in an increase in page abandonment. You won’t be able to generate leads from your high-traffic pages if people are visiting the page but not spending time on it. (Plus, Google also uses load times as a ranking factor for search, so the faster your page loads, the more traffic it’ll get in the first place.)

To test your top pages for load time, plug their URLs into Google’s Page Speed Testing tool. If you’re finding these important pages are taking more than two or three seconds to load, you might need to compress the images on those pages, minify your code, and load videos in the background (or not at all). (Learn how to do these things here.)

You’ll also want to make sure these specific pages are designed beautifully, intuitively, and with lead generation in mind. In a perfect world, every page on your website is designed beautifully and looks exactly how you want it to look; but in reality, you’ll have to prioritize the most important pages on your website — both when you first design them, and in subsequent redesigns.

The right design and layout will help you focus your visitor’s attention on the areas of the page that will convert them into leads. You never want your visitors to be wondering what they should do next — you need to show them the next step to take. To learn more about designing webpages for lead generation, take a look at this blog post.

Here’s a collection of beautifully designed site pages divided by category to help give you inspiration for your own high-traffic pages:

2) Use the right tools.

Your website might look good, but is it getting you leads? And if you are getting leads from it, does your website make it easy for you to identify and quality those leads, segment them into appropriate lists with the rest of your marketing toolset, nurture them, and close them into customers?

That’s where using the right tools becomes really important for your bottom line. If you want to build a website that captures leads effectively, you’re going to need to figure out which tools are worth investing in — and which free tools to add to your arsenal.

It all starts, of course, with investing in a Content Management System (CMS) like HubSpot’s, which’ll integrate your website content with all of your marketing channels. That’ll make it much easier for you to not only track who’s visiting your site and what they’re doing once they get there, but also which parts of your site are converting visitors into leads — and then track, nurture, and close them when the time comes. (Among other things.)

Along with a CMS, you’ll want lead capture tools to help you, you know, make business out of the people visiting your site. Here are a few you might like:

  • CTA Templates: 50+ free, customizable call-to-action (CTA) templates in PowerPoint that you can use as guidelines when creating your own calls-to-action for your website.
  • Leadin: A free lead capture and contact insights tool from HubSpot that’ll scrape any pre-existing forms you have on your website and add those contacts to your existing contact database. It also lets you new pop-ups, hello bars, or slide-ins — called “lead flows” — that’ll help you turn website visitors into leads immediately.
  • Hotjar: A great tool to help you understand what users want, care about, and do on your site using heatmaps, visitor recordings, analyses of your forms, feedback forms and surveys, and more.
  • A form embedding tool so you can capture leads from forms embedded right on your website, like the one below from Officevibe’s homepage. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create and embed forms using HubSpot. Non-HubSpot customers can use a tool like Contact Form 7,  JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use Leadin’s free Collected Forms tool to automatically capture these form submissions on your website.

officevibe-homepage-form.png

3) Place your CTAs where people’s eyes naturally go on your site.

The leads you generate from your webpages have to come from somewhere. For the most part, they’ll come from the CTAs you place on your webpages. Without them, you won’t gain any leads or sales from all that traffic you get to your popular site pages.

Designing effective CTAs for each webpage depends on what action(s) you want your site visitors to take when they get to that webpage. For example, on your home page, you may want to place CTAs that prompt visitors to sign up, log in, or learn more. On a blog page, perhaps you want people to download an ebook or subscribe to your blog.

Regardless what your CTA is for, placement is key for driving conversions. When users land on your site, where do they look first?

Turns out our natural eye path starts in the upper lefthand corner of a website and moves on from there, according to an eyetracking study

place-ctas-strategically.jpg

Image Credit: ConversionXL

From that top left corner, eyetracking studies also show people often read site content in an F-shaped pattern. They’ll read from left to right twice in a row, in two horizonal stripes, followed by a vertical stripe.

f-pattern-eye-tracking.jpg

Image Credit: KISSmetrics

Here’s what that looks like in a barebone wireframe:

f-pattern-wireframe.jpg

Image Credit: Envato Studio

What does this mean for CTA placement? To take advantage of where your readers are looking first, you’ll want to think carefully about which important information to place in these key spots. In the example below, the business’ name is in the top left, followed by the navigation bar placed on the top, horizontally.

From there, the second row of the F-pattern includes a primary call-to-action (by #4).

f-pattern-with-content.jpg

Image Credit: Envato Studio

You’ll want to test and tweak the layout to see what works best for you, but we recommend using the F-pattern scanning behavior to dictate the overall layout and design of these pages and placing CTAs strategically along the site lines.

4) Make sure your CTAs stand out from the page.

In addition to placing your CTAs in places where people will find them quickly, you’ll also want them to stand out visually. This’ll help draw your visitors’ eye on top of their natural scanning patterns — especially for people who are scanning your page looking for an action to take.

One way to catch people’s eye is to use contrasting colors in the CTA from the rest of your site. Try a tool like Canva to create images for free easily, quickly that you can use as your CTA images.

Another way is to make good use of white space. In the example below of Dropbox’s homepage, you’ll notice they’ve used simple design and negative space to make that blue “Sign up for free” CTA pop. Also, because both the CTA and the Dropbox logo at the top of the page are the same color, it’s easy for the visitor to interpret this CTA as “Sign up for Dropbox.”

dropbox-homepage-1.png

You might be wondering, What about using large text to get people’s attention? Actually, larger text doesn’t necessarily draw people’s eye, according to data from Eyequant. In some cases, it even has negative effects on drawing attention. Here’s an example of an eye tracking study that shows how readers’ eyes aren’t automatically drawn to large text on a page:

eyequant-eye-tracking-large-font.png

Image Credit: EyeQuant

Want to see more examples of compelling CTA design? Here are 31 CTA design examples to look through for ideas.

5) Create offers specifically for your most popular pages.

If a few of your webpages are getting a whole lot of views every month, it might be worth it to create a special content offer aligned with those pages. Most of the people who go to your website aren’t ready to buy right off the bat, so offering them content that’s super relevant to what’s on the site they’re already on, you’re playing off of a pre-existing interest.

Although creating a brand new offer can time-consuming, it could be much more effective for lead generation than optimizing button color, language, images, and so on. To save time, you might consider repurposing existing content into a gated offer by aggregating multiple, small pieces of content on similar topics into a cohesive collection.

Here are two examples of businesses showing site visitors relevant content. This first one is from Aquaspresso, which added this pop-up CTA on their main blog page. Here, they wanted their blog readers to check out what they’re actually selling — and hopefully buy from them:

aquaspresso-CTA-example-1.png

(Created using HubSpot’s free conversion tool, Leadin.)

Here’s another example from Eastern International College. They created a quiz for students on which college major they should choose, which they linked to on their popular Careers page.

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This quiz was used to capture leads, which they did by asking quiz-takers for their name, phone number, and email address to see their results. 

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There are many other ways you can use specific content offers to capture leads. If one of your most popular pages is a product page, for instnace, then you might consider creating a content offer teaching people how to use that product. If you goal is growing your email list via blog subscribers, your relevant CTA can be as simple as a blog subscription CTA. Here an example from Beebom:

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6) Make sure your CTAs, forms, and fonts are optimized for mobile.

Regardless what you’re doing to capture leads on your website, it needs to work well for your mobile site visitors. After all, the number of people searching Google on mobile surpassed the number of people searching on desktop over a year ago — which means a whole lot of the people who are visiting your website are doing so on their smartphone or tablet.

If your website is hard to navigate on mobile, you run the risk of losing all those people before they have a chance to turn into leads. Research from Adobe shows nearly 8 in 10 digital device users would switch devices or stop viewing altogether if the content doesn’t display well on their device.

The best marketers not only optimize their websites for mobile users to offer a good experience, but they also optimize their avenues for lead generation. A few ways to optimize for mobile that relate to your lead generation efforts include:

  • Making your CTAs easy to tap on a mobile device. Make your buttons a minimum size of 44 px by 44 px, and put them front-and-center so they’re easy to see and reach. Also, make sure there’s plenty of space around the CTAs so people don’t accidentally click on something else.

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  • Enlarge and shorten your forms on mobile. Filling out forms on mobile can be frustrating, and people may not complete your forms if they’re too long or too hard to type in. Here at HubSpot, for example, we experimented with shorter forms for mobile users and saw our mobile leads increase by 5X in just two weeks. If you’re a HubSpot Professional or Enterprise customer, you can show a different form to mobile users than you do desktop users by following these steps. For both HubSpot and non-HubSpot users, ensure that your website is responsive to mobile devices so it functions properly on any device.

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  • Enlarge your fonts and links on mobile pages so it’s easier for mobile users to read and click instead of pinching-and-zooming. We recommend font sozes of 22 px minimum for headlines and 14 px minimum for body copy. (Note that iOS automatically resizes fonts under 13 px, making them larger on your behalf. Thanks, Apple!)

Want to see some good examples of mobile-friendly websites? Here’s our list of 18 of the best mobile-friendly website design examples you can borrow ideas from.

7) Make your CTAs and forms “smart.”

Smart CTAs are CTAs on your site pages that change depending on whom they’re being shown to. That means every single person who lands on your page will see images, buttons, and product options that are specifically tailored to their interests, locations, the pages they’ve viewed already, the items or services they’ve bought before, and so on.

Not only does this give people a better experience on your site, but it also gives you the chance to upsell your pre-existing customers and continue to answer their questions with fresh content and offers. Unsurprisingly, personalized calls-to-action CTAS convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. Dynamic content and on-page personalization helps you generate more leads.

Here’s an example of a smart CTA in action on one of our product pages here at HubSpot. Notice the CTA displays a specific CTA just for HubSpot customers that invites them to try the product (Social Inbox) in their own HubSpot account, versus a free trial CTA for non-HubSpot customers.

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You can learn more about smart CTAs and how to use them here.

8) Add social proof.

Another way to boost conversions on your popular site pages? Add social proof to encourage people to click on your CTAs, fill out your forms, and otherwise become a lead. Social proof refers to testimonials from people who are vouching for whatever you’re selling, and it’s based on the idea that consumers will adapt their behavior according to what other people are doing.

In doing our own research, we’ve seen that testimonials featuring photos perform best, thanks to a study from ConversionXL. Here’s a great example of using photos as social proof from Codecademy’s homepage. It features three different versions of social proof, one after another: a case study video, links to stories from folks who’ve taken the courses, and a reference to the impressive number of people who’ve completed the course:

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In addition to including photos and stories, the folks at ConversionXL found that readers remember press mentions featuring company logos more than press mentions featuring quotes. Prominent client logos in testimonials are also highly memorable.

When you review your most popular pages, see where you might add in social proof, whether it’s in the form of a simple statistic, or whether it’s as detailed as customer success stories. Here’s a great list of social proof examples to get you started.

9) Test these ideas for yourself.

As much as you might wish there were a one-size-fits-all solution to conversion rate optimization, every business is different. Every audience is unique, and what works for one business may not work for yours. You’re going to have to test these ideas for youself.

If you’re new to optimizing your website for leads, then you may want to start with A/B tests, which are the easier (and most common) types of the conversion rate optimization tests. An A/B test simply tests one variable in a piece of marketing content against another, like a call-to-action buttons with two different phrases on it, to see which performs better. Here’s a checklist that’ll walk you through what to do before, during, and after an A/B test.

10) Find more ways to increase traffic to those pages.

Finally, in order to increase leads on your popular pages, you should always be looking for opportunities to increase the traffic to those pages even more. There are many ways to increase traffic to specific site pages, but two of the most critical ones are optimizing these pages for the keywords they’re ranking for, and linking to these pages internally and externally.

Remember that your top webpages for traffic are likely so popular because they’re already ranking for certain keywords and people are finding them on Google. To rank these pages even higher in search, you’ll want to figure out which keywords these pages are ranking for, and then optimize them for those keywords to give them a boost.

To identify which keywords your pages are getting found for, use a combination o fkeyword research and a keyword tracking tool (like the ones on this list of the best keyword tracking tools). Then, prioritize your keyword list based on the one or two keywords the majority of each post’s traffic seems to be coming from. After that, optimize these pages for those target keywords by incorporating those exact keyword phrase(s) into your posts’ titles, headers, and CTAs. (Learn more about general on-page SEO tactics that’ll help your website pages rank higher in search by reading this blog post.)

Linking to your already-popular webpages will also help give them a boost in search engine results because links tell search engines that your website is an authority on a certain subject or keyword. The more backlinks you have from high quality, high authority sites, the better your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).

If you’re ready to build links to those popular webpages, read this list of 33 “white hat” ways to get legitimate links to your website, and apply those tips to help you get more traffic to your top site pages.

There you have it, folks. We hope this list will give you some good ideas for generating a whole lot of leads from your already-popular pages.

What tips can you add to this list? Share with us in the comments below.

CRO Webinar

Oct

14

2016

What Successful Marketing Looks Like Today: 8 Foundational Principles [Infographic]

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When you think of the basics of marketing, you might be thinking: Okay, create an awesome website; design and send some cool emails; post strategically to social media; maybe supplement with some advertising.

But what about the principles behind your campaigns? When you’re planning and doing all of these marketing activities, what motivates your decisions?

Today, the most successful marketers aren’t just crossing items off their to-do lists; they’re taking a holistic, adaptive approach to their marketing. They’re elevating the customer experience, building personalized connections, adapting to the evolution of technology, attracting customers to them using inbound marketing, and more.

When marketers take this approach, they start creating a better brand experience and driving real business results. To learn more about the eight pillars of modern marketing, check out the infographic below from Olive & Company.

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free intro to inbound marketing ebook

Sep

7

2016

Are You Addicted to Work? [Flowchart]

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How many of you out there wrestle with the urge to work outside of normal working hours?

If you have a hard time taking a break from work to the point where your physical and mental health are on the decline, it’s very possible you’re actually addicted to work. And you wouldn’t be alone: 27% of workers claim to be workaholics, and an estimated 10% might be clinically considered work addicts.

Working too much might not sound like a serious problem. In fact, nowadays, complaining about how much work you have has become a mark of social status for some people. But letting your job take over your life can have serious health repercussions — not to mention hurt your relationships with others.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to break your work addiction if it’s becoming a problem, like asking your friends and colleagues to keep you accountable, practicing mindfulness, and redefining what “success” means to you.

So, are you addicted to work? Quiz yourself using the flowchart below from The Business Backer. If it looks like you’re addicted to work or are at risk from becoming addicted, then keep reading for helpful tips on taking control and learning to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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free productivity tips

Sep

6

2016

The Best Time of Day to Do Everything, According to Science [Infographic]

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We often talk about optimizing your website and optimizing your marketing … but what about optimizing your day?

Think about all the things you do in a given day, from eating meals and cleaning your apartment to brainstorming ideas and holding meetings. Believe it or not, there’s an optimum time of day to complete every single one of these activities.

A lot of it has to do with taking advantage of your body’s natural rhythms. For example, neuroscientists recommend waiting until 9:30 a.m. to drink your morning coffee because that’s when your stress levels tend to drop, and you really don’t need the caffeine boost until afterward. Others have to do with weekly schedules: Studies also show that scheduling meetings at 3:00 p.m., especially on Tuesdays, increases the likelihood of high attendance.

What other activities have an optimum time in the day? Check out the infographic below from NetCredit for a full list.

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free productivity tips

Sep

2

2016

Are You Actually a Good Listener? [Flowchart]

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When you listen to someone speak, are you really listening to them … or are you listening to the voice in your head?

Hearing someone and listening to someone are two very different things. It’s all too common for people to wait for their turn to speak or think about what to say next instead of truly listening to someone. 

But being a good listener is a sign of emotional intelligence and social awareness. It means really, truly paying attention to what people are saying — and it’s a skill that’ll set you apart in both your professional and personal life. The good news is, becoming a good listener isn’t all that difficult — it just takes some practice (and self-awareness).

So, what do you think: Are you really a good listener? Quiz yourself by following the flowchart below from CT Business Travel. Then, keep reading for nine helpful tips for improving your listening skills.

good-listener-infographic.png

free ebook: leadership lessons

Aug

30

2016

How to Get Caught Up on Email After Vacation: 9 Helpful Tips

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There’s nothing that squashes vacation bliss quite like coming home to a crazy inbox.

One minute, you’re reminiscing about the stunning sunset you caught on your last night. The next, you’re scrolling through an overwhelming number of unread emails, desperately trying to discern which ones you actually need to read and wondering why on earth you thought it was okay to take vacation in the first place.

But taking quality time away from the office — and away from work email — is actually good for you. It’s good for your physical health, your mental health, and your productivity and creativity when you actually get back to work.

In fact, a study from the University of California, Irvine found that the very act of checking email increases our heart rate and stress level — and that spending just five days email-free makes us objectively calmer.

The key to recovering a healthy inbox quickly comes down to planning your time and organizing smartly. Read on for nine tips for cleaning up your inbox after vacation.

How to Get Caught Up on Email After Vacation: 9 Helpful Tips

1) Set up a filtering system before you even leave.

While most of the tips on this list are about how to deal with your email after vacation, there are things you can do to set yourself up for success before you leave that can make a big difference. My favorite? HubSpot’s Director of Marketing Rebecca Corliss‘ awesome email filtering system on Gmail that she sets up before every vacation, which you can read about in detail here.

Here’s the short version: Before she leaves for vacation, Corliss creates a whole bunch of filters that sort her incoming emails into specific folders as they come in. For example, one filter puts all of the emails sent by her immediate team members into a single folder so she can find and read those first. She also has filters that delete automated emails she doesn’t need to read, like daily traffic and leads dashboards.

The result? She’s effectively ensured that when she gets back from vacation, her immediate inbox will be at or near zero.

2) Set expectations with an out-of-office auto-reply message.

If you don’t already set up out-of-office auto-replies when you go on vacation, you should start now. Whenever someone sends you an email when you’re out of town, they’ll receive an automated email you’ve written that lets them know you’re out of the office and won’t be checking email until a certain date.

Your message could be as simple as:

Hey there,

Sorry I missed your email. I’m currently [traveling/celebrating my friend’s wedding/hiking in the Alps] and won’t be checking email until [date]. If it’s urgent, please reach out to [name] at [email]. Until then, why not check out [link to piece of interesting company content]?

Thank you!

If you want to really set expectations for the people while also making your life easier when you return, then I recommend adding a short paragraph similar to the one below, which I borrowed from my colleague Sam Mallikarjunan:

If you want to make sure your message gets a response ASAP when I return, please send it again on [date]. I recommend using this free email scheduling tool to schedule it now, while you’re thinking about it.

Not only does this help set expectations, but it’ll mean the most important emails will be at the top of your inbox when you get back.

If you’re looking for different wording, here are a few other auto-reply templates to try.

Pro Tip: Leave your auto-reply message on for an extra day while you’re catching up on email. It’ll help prevent an influx of requests the day you get back, while also keeping people’s expectations of a response to a minimum while you’re working through everything.

3) Block 2–3 hours for going through your inbox on your first morning back.

This is something you should book on your calendar before you leave for vacation. Go into your online calendar and block off at least two or three hours on the morning of the first day you’re back at work. Since mornings tend to lend fewer distractions, it’ll be easier for you to crank through your emails without multitasking, which can really hurt your productivity. (See #4 for more on how to stay distraction-free.)

I usually name that block of time something like “Hold for catch-up” so people know not to book me. 

4) Use the Pomodoro technique to get through emails faster.

When it finally comes time to clean your inbox post-vacation, the best way to stay productive is to hone in on those emails — and only those emails. But you have to be realistic about how long you can concentrate at any given time before you start getting distracted. That’s where a time management technique like the Pomodoro technique can come in handy.

The Pomodoro technique is one of my favorite time management techniques. It’s based on periods of distraction-free work followed by short breaks. To easily monitor time, I recommend using desktop timers like Pomodoro One for Mac or Tomighty for Windows. To use the technique, it’s as easy as pressing “start” and “stop.”

Pro Tip: To get the most out of your distraction-free work, turn your cell phone on silent and remove email and social media notifications and other distractions from your computer and work atmosphere.

5) Organize your emails into folders.

Creating folders (or labels, if you use Gmail) within your inbox can help you categorize the various types of emails you receive on a daily basis so that you can more easily sort and see who is emailing you and what it is about. Having a place to put archived emails will make you much more likely to actually archive them, and having a system in place will help you get through an overwhelming inbox a lot quicker.

If you use Gmail, I highly recommend Andrea’s Klinger’s “inbox zero” methodology, which I live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy inbox. The methodology uses two built-in features in Gmail: “special stars” (a slightly fancier labeling system than Gmail labels) and multiple inboxes.

Here’s what your inbox will look like once you get through them all:

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Don’t be intimidated by the unfamiliar set-up — it’s actually quite easy to do. Since publishing this step-by-step guide to his methodology last year, many people have told me it’s changed the way they use email — and has made their lives a lot easier.

If you don’t use Gmail or you’d rather stick to a more classic labeling system, take the time to actually think about the emails you receive and how you might sort and categorize them efficiently. Focus on creating folders based around the various roles you take on at your job, the automated emails you receive, and the people you work with. For example, you might have a folder dedicated to all the email exchanges you have with your direct reports.

6) Delete and archive ruthlessly.

Some people hoard household items — clothing you haven’t worn in years, for instance. You know you probably aren’t going to wear it, but you keep it anyway on the off-chance someone throws an ’80s-themed party.

It’s the same way with emails. A lot of people have a strange attachment to emails solely because they’re afraid to “let them go” — i.e., move them to a folder, archive them, or (gasp!) delete them. (That’s why it pays to have some sort of system for organizing your emails. See #5.)

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But when you get back from vacation, you’re probably facing hundreds, maybe thousands of new emails in your inbox. The hardest part is figuring out which ones of those are actually important, and which ones you really don’t need to respond to — and can either archive or delete. Ruthlessly. Trust me, once you get started, it’ll actually feel good.

Pro Tip: If you have a little more time, you may want to unsubscribe as you delete automated emails. After all, the easiest way to have a cleaner inbox after time away is simply … to get less email in the first place. Use a free tool like Unroll.Me to mass unsubscribe from every single newsletter that doesn’t provide you with value on a regular basis. (In fact, my recommendation is to unsubscribe from everything. Take a few days to let it sink in, and then re-subscribe only to the newsletters you really, truly miss.)

7) Don’t try to respond to everything.

As tempting as it might be to be the most selfless, helpful, and perfect version of yourself 100% of the time, it’s important for your inbox (not to mention your sanity) to think of email messages not as precious, but as perishable, as Merlin Mann once put it. As “[p]erishable, time-stamped milk that becomes a little less fresh every day until it smells kind of funny and just needs to be dumped.”

There’s simply no way you’ll be able to respond to every single email that arrives in your inbox — let alone even read them all. This is especially true when you come back from a vacation and are dealing with hundreds of unread emails.

So archive emails. Delete them. Whatever you do, don’t respond to every single one.

8) Reply faster using canned emails and templates.

For some of the emails that do require a response, you might be able to make the process of responding more efficient. For example, do you ever find yourself typing out very similar email responses to different people over and over again? This happens to me a lot — like when people ask me how to submit a guest post to the Marketing Blog. I used to manually type out my responses to these emails, which required finding and copying the link to our guest blogging guidelines page, crafting a few sentences, and so on.

Then, I discovered “canned responses,” a features in Gmail, Outlook, and several other email clients, which has probably saved me hours of time copying-and-pasting over the course of a few years. Here’s how to set that up in Gmail and Outlook.

To Set Up Canned Responses in Gmail:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and choose “Settings.”
  2. Click the “Labs” tab, find Canned Responses at the top, and click “Enable.” Scroll down and click “Save Changes.”

To create a canned response, compose a new email and click the little arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the new email. Choose “Canned responses,” and then “New canned response.” From there, you can name your new canned response, write it, and save it. Anytime you want to use it, simply go back to that little arrow, choose “Canned responses,” and click on the one you’d like to use. (Learn more on Google’s website.)

To Set Up Canned Responses in Outlook:

In Outlook, the best option I could find was to set up your canned responses as “Signatures.” That way, when you reply to an email, you can choose the appropriate “signature” and the whole canned reply will appear. Here’s how to do that:

  1. On the Outlook menu, click “Preferences.” Under “E-mail,” click “Signatures.”
  2. Click the plus icon to add a new signature.
  3. A new signature will appear under “Signature name” with the label “Untitled.” Double-click “Untitled,” and then type in a new name for your canned response.
  4. In the right pane, type the text that you want to include in the signature — in other words, type in your canned response.

Once you create the canned response as a signature, you can add it to a new email by clicking in the message body, choosing the “Message” tab, clicking “Signatures,” and choosing a signature from the list. (Learn more on Outlook’s support page.)

Or, if you use HubSpot CRM, you can use the built-in email templates to easily send personalized emails right from your email tool.

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9) Use Boomerang to resurface emails when you need them.

As for those emails that will need a response eventually, but just not right now … When you’re dealing with a full inbox, it can be easy to forget about them entirely. (Or, worse, accidentally get rid of them.) That’s where a free tool like Boomerang for Gmail can be really, really helpful.

Boomerang lets you archive an email, but choose the exact date and time you want it to re-emerge in your inbox — as an unread message. In other words, it removes messages from your inbox until you actually need them. All you have to do is click the “Boomerang” button when you have an email open and choose when you need it again. It’ll archive your email until the time you choose.

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(Read this blog post for a list of 14 email organization tools including Boomerang that’ll help you keep a clean inbox.)

Remember: A full inbox is inevitable after you take some time off. You don’t have to let it overwhelm you; you just have plan for it. Set up that out-of-office auto-reply message, create filters to organize your incoming messages more clearly, and block off time on your first day back to clean your inbox. When it comes time to dig in to all those unread emails, trust your instincts and be ruthless about archiving and deleting.

Until then, relax and enjoy that well-deserved vacation. 

How do you recover from your post-vacation inbox? Share your tips with us in the comments.

free email productivity tips


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