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Jun

22

2017

The Simple Test That Doubled Leads in One Week

Published by in category Daily, lead generation | Comments are closed

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We’ve talked about the best practice of matching your offer and blog post topic as tightly as possible many times on the HubSpot Marketing Blog. But just in case you haven’t heard of this best practice before, I’ll give an example.

Let’s say you have a post explaining different types of commercial cooling systems that gets a steady amount of organic traffic each month. The best fit offer for this post would be a quiz to determine the right cooling system for your business, or a cooling systems pricing comparison sheet.

Because the offer closely aligns with what brought the visitor to your blog post in the first place — an interest in learning about commercial cooling systems — it’s natural for visitors to want to consume this additional content and convert on a lead form. On the other hand, an ebook on ventilation best practices probably wouldn’t convert traffic as well, since it’s not as well-aligned with the topic of the blog post.

A few years back, we did an audit of our highest organic traffic posts on the HubSpot Blog to see if our offers were as optimized for conversion as they could be. We found several areas to more tightly align blog post topic with offer topic, and saw CVRs climb. For example, conversions from this post increased considerably when we swapped a generic marketing offer for a press release template.

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The bottom of the post CTA

Fast forward to today. It had been a while since we took a look at those posts. After all, all of the optimization work that could be done had been done, right?

But then I started digging into the conversion rates of the offer landing pages themselves … and discovered a whole new gold mine of opportunity.

Here’s the quick and dirty of how I doubled leads from 50 of our top-performing blog posts in one week by analyzing landing page CVRs.

Gathering the Data

First, I created a massive spreadsheet that included data on:

  • Blog post traffic
  • Leads generated from blog posts (HubSpot customers, you can do this via attribution reports. Learn how here.)
  • Conversion rate of offer landing page

Here’s what that looked like (this snapshot features some of our worst-converting blog posts — clearly, there’s some work to be done):

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Blog data: URL, views, leads attributed, and CVR

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Separate tab with offer LP submission rate data

Then, I sorted by highest number of blog post views and highest number of leads generated, and started comparing to offer landing page CVR. This helped me prioritize my optimization efforts so I could see where the potential to move the needle was the greatest — i.e. an offer with a 70% submission rate but 800 monthly views wouldn’t be as good an opportunity to increase raw leads as one with a 45% submission rate and 15,000 monthly views.

The sweet spot was high blog post views + low number of leads generated + low landing page submission rate.

Auditing the Offers

Then, for the top 150 viewed blog posts, I manually audited and noted the URL of which offer LPs were being used. I found that some offers were tightly aligned to the topic of the blog posts while others were not. I also found that some of the offers we were directing visitors to were out of date — not the best experience.

Next up? Some VLOOKUP magic to match offer landing page submission rate to the blog posts that offer was being linked from. It quickly became clear that some of our best-performing blog posts were pointing to some of our worst-performing offers. I also spotted a few trends in subject matter among our lowest performers, such as social media, career development, and content creation.

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Finally, I went through our offers library and identified the content offers with the highest submission rates, and sorted them by topic category. These would be the replacements for the laggards.

The Results

After all this number crunching, I was able to identify 50 blog posts that represented our lowest-hanging fruit. I went through and swapped out these posts’ CTAs (or created new ones from scratch) for the most tightly-aligned offers with the highest submission rates.

The results were even better than I expected. After one week, these posts generated 100% more leads than average — even while post traffic was down 10%. This seemingly small tweak made a big impact on our leads.

We’ll be keeping an eye on how this pans out long-term. But in the meantime, here are a few takeaways and lessons learned I hope will be as valuable for your team as they were for ours:

  • When deciding what offer to pair with what blog post, don’t neglect to check the submission rate of the offer landing page. As we found, this is an easy way to quickly increase the number of leads you’re generating from your best-performing blog posts — especially if you have multiple offers on the same or similar topics.
  • Regularly audit your offers to ensure the content isn’t out of date. Outdated content will create a negative visitor experience and hurt your conversion rate.
  • Regularly audit the conversion paths of your top blog posts. Set aside time for optimization every few months so you can ensure you’re using your content to generate the most possible leads. Optimization isn’t a one-and-done thing.

Have you ever done a similar optimization project? Comment below with your best experiments and hacks to increase conversion rate below (and hey, we might even feature your experiment on our blog).

Intro to Lead Gen

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May

4

2017

How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages [Free Ebook]

Published by in category Inbound Marketing, Landing Pages, lead generation | Comments are closed

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Landing pages are an essential component of any well-crafted, effective inbound marketing strategy. Whether your goal is to generate leads, sell products, or collect data, your landing pages are where the action happens.

With the growing challenge of attracting and holding people’s attention online, it’s more important than ever to design your landing pages to trigger instant conversions. Otherwise, you won’t be able to gather information about the people visiting your website — which will in turn make it very difficult to understand them, market to them, nurture them, determine how fit they are for your product or service, and ultimately convert them into paying customers.

Want to start generating as many leads as you can for your business? Then it’s crucial that your landing pages are planned, designed, executed, and always working correctly. If you want to learn more about how to do just that, then you’ve come to the right place. We just released a brand new guide: How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages. 

This free ebook will teach you:

  • What landing pages are and why they’re important.
  • What an optimized landing page looks like (with examples).
  • How to A/B test your landing pages.
  • How to measure the success of your landing pages.

Ready to build high-converting landing pages for your website? Download our free introductory ebook on landing page design and optimization and you’ll have all the knowledge you need to start boosting your site conversions today.

landing-page-design-ebook

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May

3

2017

How to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

Published by in category Content Marketing, Daily, lead generation | Comments are closed

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I’m a sucker for a good infographic. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to come across a truly remarkable one — one that’s achieved the perfect trifecta of good design, readability, and reliable data. But when they’re well-executed, infographics work wonders, transforming complex topics and dry statistics into visually enticing content. They’re liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. And, as a result, they can be an excellent tool for driving more traffic to your website.

But here’s a fun fact: Infographics can also be a helpful device to generate more leads.

Generally, the same rules apply here as for creating any effective visual content — it serves as a conversion path as a result of shareability and informative nature. New Call-to-action

But what are the specifics there? What are the different ways to create the infographics that are going to generate leads? We identified five of our favorite ways to go about doing that, and outlined them below.

5 Ways to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

1) Represent an offer with an infographic.

How are you generating leads today? You might be creating downloadable content that’s gated by forms, or offering a free trial. Whatever those offers might be, pick one and break down the different ways it can be promoted.

To start, make a list of the 10 most interesting things about your offer, like the problems it will solve and the most important information it contains. Think: helpful bits of trivia, the most outstanding statistics it contains, and the best solutions it offers.

For example, let’s have a look at this infographic that was created by HubSpot Marketing Blog Editor Carly Stec:



Infographic example

This particular infographic could be an excellent lead generation tool for, say, a comprehensive guide to blogging. While writer’s block is just one pain point in blogging, it’s one that many people experience. Isolating that particular challenge and fleshing it out in a well-designed, shareable image is an excellent way to tease and promote the larger piece of content.

2) Know the design resources available to you.

If you don’t have a designer at your disposal, fear not — there are plenty of design resources available, many of them free.

One of them is this package of five free infographic templates. They’re in PowerPoint, and are very easy to customize. Just input the 10 pieces of information you selected in the previous step, and tweak the graphics to fit the data. At risk of sounding like a complete nerd — this part is really fun.

Otherwise, sites like Canva and Venngage are both free and easy to use a variety of visual content, including infographics — both also offer paid upgrades if you’re looking for something a little more advanced. Here’s a silly one that HubSpot Marketing Blog Senior Staff Writer Amanda Zantal-Wiener created — about her dog, not to be used for lead generation — for free using the former:



Lead gen infographic

3) Write a blog post to showcase the infographic.

Now that you’ve created your beautiful infographic, you’ll need a place to host it — ideally, somewhere on your site where people will find it.

Your blog is one such venue, and a post is a good way to exhibit your infographic. Even better, you don’t have to write a ton of copy. The visual content should “speak for itself,” if you will, so a small paragraph above the image with introductory text should suffice.

That said, the title of this blog post should still be interesting and optimized, primarily for two reasons:

  1. You want people to find your content organically with the right search criteria.
  2. Remember, one of the best things about infographics is how much they’re shared on social media. Having a strong title to go with a shared social post can encourage people to click on it.

4) Add a call-to-action to your blog post linked to your offer.

Next, you’ll want to create a landing page for your offer — you can click here to do that in your HubSpot marketing software. That way, visitors can fill out a form in exchange for the content you’ve created, and each completed form is a new lead.

Next, create a call-to-action (CTA) to insert into the blog post that’s hosting your infographic. That should be hyperlinked to your landing page — here’s an example of what that might look like:

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Not sure how to start creating a CTA? Check out this article with steps for doing so in your HubSpot software.

5) Make it easy to share your infographic via social media.

With certain blogging platforms, like HubSpot’s Content Optimization System, social sharing buttons will be added to each of your blog posts by default. But if your blogging platform doesn’t include that feature, AddThis is a great alternative. Simply sign up for an account, configure your social sharing bar, and add a bit of code to your blog.

AddThis

You can also add “Pin It” buttons like we did above, using Pinterest’s widget builder.

Also, consider turning sections of your infographic into ready-made tweetable images, like BookBub did for their infographic, “Using Back Matter to Sell More Books“:

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But remember — shareability isn’t just about including the buttons that make it easy to post content with one click. And while that convenience is important, the content itself has to be worth sharing.

So, just to reemphasize, make sure your infographic also meets a high standard of design and helpful information. After all, 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation, so make sure the information you include is both reliable and beneficial.

Let’s Get Visual

Lead generation accounts for a big portion of many marketing budgets — in fact, 58% of marketers plan to increase theirs in the coming year.

Using infographics for this purpose is one of the most frugal ways to boost your lead generation efforts. And while creating quality visual content can take time, it can also pay off — so make sure what you’re producing is worth the investment.

How have you used infographics to generate leads? Let us know in the comments.

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

New Call-to-action

 
15 free infographic templates in powerpoint

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May

2

2017

58 Best Marketing Tools to Build Your Strategy in 2017

Published by in category lead generation, marketing automation, SEO | Comments are closed

Best Marketing Tools 2017

In the world of marketing, it seems like there are always new tools, tips, tricks, and trends to discover and incorporate into your marketing strategy. How is it possible to keep up with them all?

As a marketer myself, I often wish I had a better sense of all of the tools available to me — and what sets each of them apart — so I can make more informed decisions on how to create and optimize content.

Luckily, I have the privilege of working on a team of 150+ other marketers who specialize in different functions than I do. And because of that, I was able to curate this list of the top 58 tools every marketer should know about and being using in 2017.

I’ll make it easy for you. I broke up my list of recommended tools into different sections so you can get a better sense of what tools are available for different functions of the job. At the end, you’ll see the whole list of 58 tools that you can skim and bookmark for later.

Enjoy!

Automation

Automation is nothing new to marketers. Whether you want to save time doing marketing tasks or simply cut time wasted doing those daily tasks like saving emails and files to spreadsheets, having a tool that makes your life easier and saves you time is ideal.

While there are lots of automation tools out there for specific fields or verticals (for example, the HubSpot workflows tool for marketing automation), there aren’t many tools that allow you to automate the various different tools you use throughout all aspects of your life.

Wouldn’t it be nice to link lots of tasks between different apps together? Like posting your Instagram photos to all your social networks or linking your app reminders together. With IFTTT you can!

IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a  service that allows you to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets. These “if this then that” applets are triggered by a wide range of other web-based services at the choice of the user. Some of the web-based services that work with IFTTT include Gmail, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Fitbit, and much, much more. 

Sounds great, right? Check it out. 

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Closing Deals and Tracking Relationships 

You and your sales team want to sell your product or service — not fight with messy spreadsheets, cluttered inboxes, or clunky tools that slow you down. That’s why using a Customer Relationship Management System — also known as a CRM — is essential. Not only will it help your sales team manage relationships, but a CRM will also give you a place to deliver those leads you generated to your sales team.

CRMs are such an essential part of any good marketing and sales team that we think everyone should have one. That’s why the HubSpot CRM is completely free. 

HubSpot CRM automates the tasks salespeople hate and takes minutes to learn — not months. That means doing more deals and less data entry. 

Check out the HubSpot CRM Now

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Content Creation

In the world of content creation, there are admittedly tons of different tools you could use to create various types of content. Whether it’s social images, logos, blog posts, or ebooks — the options and tools are endless. 

That said, a newcomer among the Adobe Suite of tools is winning the hearts of many marketers, including this one, for its ease of use to create stunning webpages, awesome videos, and eye-catching graphics. The best part? It’s completely free and impossibly easy. 

Adobe Spark is a suite of three web or mobile apps – Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video — that allows marketers to easily create graphics, webpages, and videos in a variety of themes in minutes.

You can completely avoid the hassle of page layout, video editing knowledge, or a CMS and start creating content that looks remarkable immediately. For example, we use Spark Page at HubSpot to create some of our online guides and promote them with Spark Videos and Posts. You can too!

Check out Adobe Spark 

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Other Content Creation Tools: 

  • Venngage
  • Piktochart
  • Canva
  • Recordit
  • Kap
  • Adobe Color CC 

Video 

It’s 2017 — haven’t you heard? Video is the thing everyone is talking about. But how do you actually implement it into your marketing? 

Maybe your strategy is just to put a YouTube video embed on one of your blog posts or landing pages. But then what happens? Someone else’s ad plays on your landing page before your video even begins. That’s bad for your conversion rates, brand, and your user. Luckily, there’s a solution. 

Wistia is a powerful video hosting platform that allows you to host your videos on your website — ad free — with a guaranteed smooth playback and responsive player. Wistia also helps you prove the ROI of your video efforts by offering you video analytics and key metrics to fine-tune your video marketing efforts over time. Ready to take your video marketing to the next level?

Try Wistia for Free Now

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Other video tools:

  • Vidyard
  • Vimeo
  • Youtube

Content Distribution and Brand Awareness:

While it might seem like a given, when it comes to getting your content distributed online, there really is king that we’d be remiss if we’d different mention: 

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I know, I know. Google isn’t “exactly” a new or a fascinating tool that you didn’t already know about. That said, within the same parent company is another important distribution channel that many marketers often forget when they’re strategically distributing content for the sake of brand awareness.

YouTube is becoming more and more important to marketers lean more heavily on video-based content. While, of course, you should continue to optimize your text-based content for search engine optimization, don’t forget to consider Youtube as an important channel as well. Not only is YouTube great for hosting your videos and getting them shared across social networks, it’s also important to optimize your videos for search to get found on Youtube as well. 

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Other distribution and brand awareness channels:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Product Hunt

Continuing Education and Learning

A challenge all marketers face is the need for continuous learning over time. With new tools and methods changing all the time, it’s essential to stay on top of the trends and changes. Luckily, there aren’t a shortage of tools and platforms for you to learn new tactics or techniques and take necessary classes.

HubSpot Academy, for example, is a great place to go anytime you need to get up-to-date information on the latest marketing best practices, find answers to your questions, get certified in a new area of expertise, or renew certifications on subjects that you’re a little rusty on.

 Bookmark your HubSpot Academy portal today

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 Other ongoing education and learning tools:

  • Lynda.com
  • Udemy
  • Codeacademy
  • Skillshare
  • General Assembly

Conversion Rate Optimization

When it comes to your bottom-line goals, you probably want a few top-notch tools up your belt for not only getting visitors to your website, but just as importantly, converting those website visitors into leads and customers. 

Unbounce lets you quickly build beautiful, branded landing pages that will turn those visitors into leads in no time. Between it’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop features, modal overlays, and integrations with tons of different CMS platforms and tools, Unbounce is an ideal tool for anyone looking for a simple tool that will amp up their conversion rates on landing pages. 

Try Out Unbounce Now

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Other CRO Tools:

  • HubSpot Marketing Free
  • HubSpot Landing Pages tool
  • Hotjar
  • Optimizely
  • Leadpages

Event Marketing

Whether your team holds monthly customer and prospect events, yearly conferences, or just occasional community outreach parties and events, it’s important to have the best event marketing tool up your sleeve when the time comes to use it. After all, in-person events are some of the best ways to interact with potential customers and create a brand experience that prospects, customers, and your community will remember. 

Eventbrite is an efficient, easy-to-use tool tons of marketers rely on not only to manage the logistics (like ticketing) of events but also to promote their events. Eventbrite lets you create an event landing page and allows you to set up your ticketing and payment for the event all within the same platform. The best part? Eventbrite is always free if you’re hosting a free event!

Check Out Eventbrite Now

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Other event marketing tools:

  • Picatic
  • Facebook 
  • AddEvent

Fun and Innovative Tools:

If you’re on the search for new marketing tools, chances are you’re not just looking for the hammer and the nail in your toolkit. Instead, you might be looking for new and innovative solutions to try out and experiment with in your marketing. Sound about right? 

As marketers, you’ve probably used forms — whether on your site or in a survey — more than a few times. But have you ever started to get bored with the same old, robotic form type?

Typeform is the tool you need to try if you’re looking for new ways to interact with your prospects and customers while giving them a positive, human-centered experience. Typeform isn’t just another survey tool. It’s a conversational, interactive typeform that feels more interactive than a standard form. Use it to host survey content, lead forms, or even create content with it by putting together quizzes and more.

Try Using Typeform in your Marketing Today

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Other fun tools to try:

  • Giphy
  • To.Doist

Keeping Up with the Latest Industry News Tools

Reading this post alone won’t end your career-long pursuit for the latest tools, trends, and marketing techniques. That’s why keeping up with the latest industry news is a full part of your job as a marketer.

Product Hunt, a tool meant for finding the latest tools and products, is a must for any marketer trying to stay on top of the industry and find new channels to promote their own product launches. Product Hunt is a daily feed of launched tools, letting people upvote what they think is interesting. Pro tip: when you sign up for Product Hunt, set it as your homescreen in your browser so you’ll always have a reminder to keep an eye out for what’s new. Who knows? You might even decide to use some of the featured tools yourself!

 Sign Up for Product Hunt Now

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 Other news and timely tools:

  • Flipboard
  • Pocket
  • Your choice of online news sources or magazines

Lead Generation Tools 

If you’re in the mood for demand generation, you probably have you eyes on the prize: converting anonymous website visitors into contacts with email addresses that you can successfully nurture. While landing pages are a must for some things, sometimes you want a shorter, simpler user experience to capture lead information.

HubSpot Marketing Free is the simplest, easiest way to do just that. The moment a lead shares their email, you’ll know who they are, where they work, and what pages they visited — all in real time. When they view an offer or check your pricing, you’ll be ready to follow up right away.

And with simple but powerful analytics, you’ll learn more about what’s working and what’s not — like which traffic sources or pieces of content are driving the most conversions. It’s a risk-free way to find out what inbound marketing can do for you. No budget necessary.

Try Out Hubspot Marketing Free

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Nuturing

In the world of nurturing, the tools and techniques used are constantly involving. While some aspects of nurturing remain the same, like using email to nurture contacts down your funnel, for example, the content and positioning you use is ever-changing. It would be easy for us to introduce a set of standard workflow and automation tools (like HubSpot’s, for example) you can use to nurture your contacts down the funnel. But if you’re looking for something a little more innovative for actually creating nurturing content, we have a new tool for you to try.

Vidyard is a great tool for creating and hosting awesome video content in your nurturing flows and otherwise. At HubSpot, for example, we’ve even started using Vidyard to create unique, customized nurturing videos specific to our audience and product. What makes Vidyard so great is its variety of video tools that you can use  to create remarkable content. 

From Vidyard’s live feature to its studio content creation products to its free tool – ViewedIt — Vidyard is an excellent tool if you’re a marketer looking to jump on the video bandwagon and start integrating video into all of your content. 

Check out Vidyard Today 

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Online Advertising Tools

If your team is making investments into PPC ad campaigns on platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, it’s probably a bit of a hassle to manage all the different ad campaigns you’re running across each different network. Besides just managing them, you then have to try and report on the results of all of them. What a struggle. Luckily, there’s a tool for that.

AdStage takes the hassle out reporting on all of the PPC campaigns you’re running and puts it all in one place. AdStage helps you automate, create, and manage your campaigns across all of the major PPC platforms, then allows you to report on your results. With visual features and powerful automation tools, AdStage is a must for PPC experts and newbies alike. 

Check out AdStage

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Other online advertising tools:

  • HubSpot Ads Add-On
  • Perfect Audience
  • Google Adwords
  • Facebook 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Adroll

Collaboration

In any marketing team, the inevitable happens: there’s a million files and pieces of content between everyone on your team without one place to keep it all. Organization on any team — let alone a marketing team — is essential. That’s why it’s important to have a collaborative organization tool to keep you sane. 

Dropbox is the perfect tool to keep your team organized and your files under control. With cloud-based software to keep your files accessible anywhere at anytime, Dropbox helps your team store all of its files in a central location. Dropbox makes it easy to collaborate, too. With tools like Dropbox Paper, which allows you to write and collaborate in real time on the same doc — and sharing tools for shared folders and files, you’ll be organized and ready for any project that comes your way.

 Get Dropbox for Your Team Now 

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Other organization tools:

  • Google Drive
  • Box
  • Trello 

Project Management

File management and organization is one thing, but how do you manage all of the moving pieces of a marketing campaign or project? There are many different tools you can use for project management, but only one sticks out when it comes to the number of integrations and features at the price of — oh yeah — free! 

Trello is a great project management tool for small teams and individuals. With it’s Kanban-style setup and fun user interface, Trello lets you set up to-do lists and tag individual cards with due dates, members, labels, and more. You can attach files, links, images, and more to your cards and easily get a full-view of any project that you’re working on. At HubSpot, we use Trello daily to manage our team campaigns and individual to-do lists. Want an example of how we do this? Check out our guide to managing marketing campaigns in Trello.  

Get Trello — It’s Free! 

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Other project management tools:

  • HubSpot Projects Tool (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
  • JIRA
  • Asana

Search Engine Optimization

Whether its keyword research, content optimization, or checking your current page rankings, every marketer needs a go-to tool for planning what content to create and how to optimize it for SEO. Google Analytics and SEMrush our great tools for planning which keywords to rank for, but how do you make sure the content you create actually meets your goal once it’s created?

OnPage.org is the ideal tool marketers can use to make sure their SEO efforts are having a real impact on their marketing strategy. 

Check out OnPage.org now

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Other SEO tools:

  • HubSpot Content Strategy Tool 
  • Google Analytics / Keyword Tool 
  • Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension
  • SEMrush
  • Moz

Social Media

Social Media Managers know the pain of posting that perfect social media post only to have a follower find a typo a minute later and call you out. For marketers, using a social media tool to schedule all of your posts (so you catch those typos beforehand) is a must. But it also helps to get the right analytics from your social posts, especially on channels where it can be hard to get that information.

Iconosquare is the perfect tool for marketers to grow their brand on Instagram with easy-to-use analytics. It’s not always easy to know what’s working and what’s not on Instagram. But, as the second most popular social channel and one that’s quickly approaching first most popular among some age groups, it’s a channel that marketers can’t afford to miss out on. Try Iconosquare now to maximize your Instagram analytics and optimize your brand Instagram channel for success. 

Try Iconosquare Now

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Iconosquare

Other social media tools:

  • HubSpot Social Inbox (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

Team Communication 

Where would your work day be without accessibility and communication between you and your colleagues? Probably pretty frustrating. Marketers can’t shy away from communication when it comes to aligning with team members and across the company, so having the right team communication tools is necessary every single day.

I’d be given a lot of slack if I didn’t make the world aware of this tool.

Slack is a powerful messaging app that allows you and your teammates to quickly message back and forth without the hassle of email. But it’s not just AOL instant messenger 2.0. Slack has powerful features and integrations that make it possible for you to integrate all of your other daily tools — like Trello, Gmail, Giphy, and so many more — right where you’re already communicating. You can start channels between different teams or just chat with specific colleagues. Slack makes remote and in-person work possible and easier than ever.

Get Slack today. Seriously. Do it.

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Other team communication tools:

  • HipChat
  • Google Chat
  • Join.Me
  • Zoom
  • Skype

Website Optimization

As marketers, sometimes it feels like we’re constantly making educated guesses about how our site visitors are going to interact with our content. While we might design a page to draw our user’s eye to a spot on a page, how do we ever really know where their focus is so that we can improve that experience?

Hotjar is a new and easy way to truly understand what your web and mobile site visitors are looking at when they interact with your site. WIth its visual heatmap tools, you can understand what users want, care about, and interact with on your site. Hotjar visually represents visitors’ clicks, taps and scrolling behavior, giving you the ability to find hot areas for growth and conversion rate optimization.

Convinced? Try Hotjar. It’s Free!

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Other website optimization tools:

  • HubSpot Website Platform
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce

Want the full list of tools? Here it is:

We’ve covered a lot of tools for every part of your job on this page. But sometimes, it’s just helpful to see the full list. Here is our list of the top 58 marketing tools you need to know about. 

Top 58 Tools Every Marketer Should Know About

     
AddEvent Hootsuite Piktochart
Adobe Color CC Hotjar Product Hunt
Adobe Spark HubSpot Academy Recordit
Adroll HubSpot CRM SEMRush
Adstage HubSpot Marketing Skillshare
Asana Iconosquare Skype
Box IFTTT Slack
Buffer JIRA To.Doist
Canva Join.Me Trello
Codeacademy Kap Twitter
Dropbox Keywords Everywhere Typeform
Eventbrite Leadpages Udemy
Facebook LinkedIn Unbounce
Flipboard Lynda.com Venngage
General Assembly Moz Vidyard
Giphy OnPage.org Vimeo
Google Adwords Optimizely Wistia
Google Analytics Pocket Youtube
Google Drive Picatic Zoom
HipChat    
     

You’ve got all the tools you need, but are you looking for a place to start putting them all together? Check out our free marketing blue print guide.  It’ll walk you through creating your own marketing plan and teach you how to use all of these tools together. 

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Apr

20

2017

How to Launch a Virtual Conference for Lead Generation and Customer Acquisition: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by in category Daily, event marketing, inbound sales, lead generation | Comments are closed

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When we say “virtual conference,” we don’t just mean webinars. We mean interactive, live panels and microsites dedicated to the single purpose of promoting one event with various sessions a person can “attend.”

Virtual conferences have become a more popular medium to develop and reach large audiences. From marketing to recruiting and sales to education, businesses in various industries have realized hosting online events are far cheaper than an in-person event — making it cheaper to build awareness around a brand.

We’re going to get into a lot, but by the end of this post, you’ll see the value in hosting a virtual conference and know how to organize and host your own event. You’ll have another medium to accelerate brand awareness, generate more leads, and develop authority as an industry leader.

I helped launch Inbound Sales Day here at HubSpot, and I’m here to teach you how it’s done. Continue reading to download my project management templates and emails I used to book speakers — all available for free.

Table of Contents

1) What is a virtual conference?
2) Why should you host a virtual conference?
3) A Virtual Conference by HubSpot
4) How to plan a virtual conference
Set the vision
Speaker outreach
Creation of assets
Promotion
Go Live
Analysis
5) Learning Lessons

How to Plan a Virtual Event

What is a virtual conference?

Imagine a conference. There are dozens of rooms, booths with vendors trying to sell you their product, and a lot of people walking around. You might run into some very influential leaders in your industry, and you expect to see people on stage sometime during the event. You’re excited to hear them share lessons and tips they’ve learned from their own experience and journey to success.

Now, imagine a similar experience — but without having to leave your desk.

You log into an “event” online, where you can meet and interact with people through messaging platforms. You go into “rooms” (aka web pages) where you can watch speakers present their knowledge in the form of a recorded video.

It’s a simple concept: Get the content you would receive at a conference on your own time, when it’s convenient for you. It aligns perfectly with the culture and popularity of on-demand services, such as:

Lyft: on-demand car rides

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Drizly: on-demand alcohol

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Soothe: on-demand massages

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Virtual conferences: on-demand quality content and insights about the industry.

Virtual events began in 1993, presented by Alan Saperstein and Randy Selman. They started by videotaping trade show exhibitors booths and attaching the video to HTML floor maps. These events have become more popular among marketers for their lower cost and effort to produce.

Here’s an example of an HTML floor map:

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Examples of virtual events include:

You might be thinking, “There’s no way these events were produced by a small team.”

That’s fair. But I can tell you that I coordinated and launched Inbound Sales Day, a full-day virtual event with over 10 hours of video that garnered over 15,000 registrations globally. And I did most of it by myself in only three months. For a comparison, the team that organizes HubSpot’s live INBOUND event has over 10 people involved in planning the event for the entire preceding year.

It’s possible to host and launch one of these things, even with a small team, but why should you host a virtual conference in the first place? Why not just host a physical event instead?

There are numerous benefits to hosting online events. Let’s dive in.

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Why should you host a virtual event?

Consider some of the reasons you’d host a conference, either virtual or in-person:

  • To grow awareness for your business — Depending on your market, there may already be competitors or other companies targeting the same target audience as you. You can use an an online conference as a means of partnering with those other companies.
  • To generate leads
  • To acquire new customers
  • To create a revenue stream from sponsorships. People host these conferences strictly as a revenue stream. (Curious how? Sam Parr explains how he made a profit from hosting Hustle Con.)
  • To build relationships with influencers

Below are expenses to consider for a physical event (based on a 400-person hosted by Hustle Con):

  • Venue ($5,000)
  • Vendors, i.e., caterer, bartender, decorator, photographer, videographer, etc. ($10,000)
  • Equipment rental ($2,000)
  • Licenses and permits (dependent on venue)
  • Transportation and parking for attendees and speakers (dependent on venue)
  • Service fees and gratuities ($1,000)
  • Speakers’ fees ($0 – $10,000+ per speaker)
  • Signage ($500)
  • Registration materials ($300)
  • Security and staff ($2000)

Even for a smaller event, that totals at least $20,000. Soon, you’re underwater and either hiring contractors or using half your team’s day to get all the little details right. To top it off, there always seem to be attendees or speakers who are an absolute nightmare to deal with.

I’m getting stressed just thinking about it.

For an online conference, a few weeks of work and a small budget are all that’s needed. In fact, all of the software I used to organize everything was free:

  • Trello for project management (check out my free template below)
  • Google Sheets to manage the assets (you’ll get a template of this, too)
  • YouTube to host videos
  • Dropbox to host files
  • Canva to create images

Plus, when you create assets for your event online, you continue reaping the benefits of long-tail keyword SEO and organic traffic from evergreen content for months to come.

Depending on your resources, you may want to hire freelancers to help you with asset creation or to run Facebook ads to get more awareness about your event.

In many cases, you end up cutting expenses dramatically by hosting an online event instead of an in-person conference. Let’s dive into how we decided HubSpot should host an online conference about inbound sales.

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A Virtual Conference by HubSpot

HubSpot revolutionized marketing in 2006 by introducing the concept of inbound marketing and telling the story of how marketing had changed. Since then, sales has also changed, and we’ve introduced the concept of inbound selling.

However, similar to when inbound marketing was a new concept in 2006, people needed to be educated about the concept of inbound selling.

We had various goals that overlapped with each other when thinking about hosting a virtual event:

  • Spread the message of inbound selling
  • Generate leads for our sales products
  • Develop authority in the sales industry
  • Promote the first sales-focused track at our INBOUND event

What better way to educate our audience and develop credibility around inbound selling than by hosting real experts to talk about it? Influencers already have an audience who will listen to them. They have their own methodologies and many of those ideas aligned perfectly with inbound selling.

By hosting a virtual conference, we were able to scale influencer marketing and associated the credibility of those influencers with the HubSpot brand.

Plus, with the changing landscape of content and more consumers preferring video content, this was an opportunity to develop high-quality video content we could continue to use.

Still interested in hosting your own online conference? I’m going to lay out all the steps I took to organize Inbound Sales Day that you can replicate for your own event. I’ll also give you the project management and email templates I created that kept me organized throughout the whole process.

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How to Plan and Execute A Virtual Conference

Before we jump into the planning, decide how you’re going to manage the project. I used a combination of Trello and spreadsheets to manage my work.

I laid out all activities in my project management Trello board, which gave me a bird’s-eye view of the timeline, what needed to be done at the moment, and what was coming up. This allowed me to catch situations where I would need to delegate work or ask for help ahead of time.

Get my Virtual Conference Project Management Trello Template here.

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All assets that were created (landing pages, emails sent, social posts, videos, etc.) were listed in the asset management spreadsheet. This way, I had access to every asset in one place without having to search for it.

The campaign was executed in six phases, which I’ll walk you through below:

  1. Set the vision
  2. Conduct speaker outreach
  3. Create assets
  4. Promote
  5. Launch
  6. Analyze

Phase 1: Set the vision

What do you want the event to look like? What topics do you want to cover? Who’s your audience? How many registrations do you expect? (Use this spreadsheet to help set those expectations.)

All of this will be important for your speaker outreach as those will be your selling points. If you can pinpoint your target audience (try the MakeMyPersona tool to help with that), you can find speakers who also want to reach that audience. If you have a set number of expected registrations, you can attract speakers with an idea of what their reach will be if they participate.

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Phase 2: Conduct speaker outreach

The most important step to producing a viable virtual conference is to get speakers in your industry. This will benefit you in two ways:

  1. You can build relationships with these industry experts
  2. You can associate your brand with these experts, making yours more credible

I highly recommend getting experts within your company to speak on the subject matter and promote the event by giving a talk or interviewing another expert so that your employees will come to be seen as trusted industry thought leaders.

My goal was to get on a video call with the potential speakers I emailed. A video call allows you to sell them on the idea and show them how excited you are.

Here’s the email template I used:

Invitation to Participate in [NAME OF VIRTUAL CONFERENCE]

Hi [NAME]!

[YOUR COMPANY] is launching [NAME OF VIRTUAL CONFERENCE], a virtual event for [#] [TYPE OF PEOPLE YOU’RE TARGETING] on [DATE] and we would love to have you as a featured speaker.

We’re inviting top experts in [INDUSTRY] to help [PROFESSIONALS] become more successful by providing actionable information about [BROAD OVERVIEW OF TOPICS].

I watched your talk on [TOPIC] and think you’d be a great fit for our audience.

If you’re interested in speaking, we have many speaking options available that can be flexible with your schedule. I’d love to discuss them with you on a quick call.

Let me know if you’re interested and we can schedule time this week or next to talk through the details.

For your convenience, here’s a link to my calendar so we can schedule time right away: [MEETINGS LINK]

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Pro tip: If you’re a HubSpot customer, I recommend using the HubSpot Sales Meetings and Templates tools to make scheduling meetings really, really easy.

Once I got the meeting scheduled, I made sure to hit the following points for each conversation:

  1. Explain the event and why you’re doing it.
  2. Emphasize what the speaker would get out of participating. (We emphasized that we were aiming to reach over 10,000 salespeople and they would get their own landing page with links to their website and social profiles.)
  3. Tell them about other speakers you’ve booked to develop credibility around your event and that it’s something worth being a part of.
  4. If they’re interested, explain what we need from them right then and there: I asked for a rough title and outline of their talk, and the format they preferred (live Q&A, recorded interview, or recorded lecture-style video).

After the call, I immediately sent a follow-up email which:

  • Recapped the call included topic and format of their talk
  • Attached a speaker agreement form
  • Asked for their availability to schedule introduction to interviewer, recordings, and dry-runs
  • Listed specific deadlines of when everything is due

Here’s a template I used:

[NAME OF VIRTUAL CONFERENCE] Call Recap

Hi [NAME]!

I’m glad we got to connect today. We’re very excited that you’re going to join us for [CONFERENCE NAME]. Here’s a recap of what we discussed earlier — feel free to revise any of it.

  • Working session title: [SESSION TITLE]
  • Working session description: [DESCRIPTION]
  • Format: [FORMAT]
  • What I need from you by [DATE]:
    • Bio (max 200 words)
    • Preferred headshot
    • A page you want us to link to
    • A rough outline of your presentation

Again, it was great connecting today! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Hope you have a great week!

Best,

[YOUR NAME] 

A week later, I followed up again for all those items. Speakers are really busy, and it’ll take a few emails and calls to get those details from them. This is why I suggest you begin the process at least two months before your launch date.

Some speakers will ask for a packet with more details. You can use this template to create your own speaker packets.

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Phase 3: Create assets

On my Trello board, I laid out a timeline of when all assets were created and used the spreadsheet to keep track of them as they were created.

Get my asset management spreadsheet here.

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Landing Pages

Your landing page is going to be a selling point for your event to get speakers and attendees. Don’t expect to attract many of either if your page doesn’t look sharp.

Below you can see the homepage, agenda page, and session pages we created for Inbound Sales Day.

The homepage highlighted the benefits of attending and the various speakers we featured.

The agenda page shared more details about what topics will be discussed and the main takeaways of each talk. This gave viewers an opportunity to see who would be speaking and do their research or reach out to influencers before the event.

The session page is where the fun happened. Each video had its own landing page on the HubSpot domain so viewers wouldn’t have to leave our website to see the content. We had over two-dozen of these pages.

Landing Page Agenda Session Page

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Click the images to see the full versions

Video Hosting

I recommend using YouTube Live to broadcast live videos and to host all videos to take advantage of its video SEO. I then embedded all the videos on landing pages so people wouldn’t have to leave our website to watch the video.

Video Production

There were three different session formats which each required different preparatory measures. Here was my process for each format:

  • Live Q&A
  1. Speaker chose topic
  2. Researched their online material (blogs, videos, interviews) and created a Google Doc of canned questions
  3. Introduced the speaker to the employee who would host the session via email and set up a call to develop their rapport
  4. They reviewed the list of questions together and brainstorm more questions
  5. We prioritized top five canned questions to ask in case there were no live questions
  6. A week before the live session, get on a call with the speaker to do a final check-in (the meeting was hosted using a private YouTube Live session so they understood how to sign in)
  7. Live broadcast: Speaker was expected to sign into YouTube Live an hour ahead of time for audio and video check, review the talk points with HubSpot host, and build rapport for the session
  • Recorded Interview
    1. Speaker chose topic
    2. Researched their online material (blogs, videos, interviews) and created a Google Doc of canned questions
    3. Introduced the speaker to the employee who would host the session via email and set up a call to develop their rapport
    4. They would review the talk track outline and go back and forth about what topics the speaker would want to hit on
    5. We agreed on five questions that would be asked by the interviewer to guide the conversation
    6. Booked an hour with the speaker and interviewer which gave enough time for audio and video check, review talking points, and record at least twice (in case the first run was too rough
  • Recorded Lecture
    1. Speaker chose topic and provided outline of talk track
    2. Provided feedback on their outline based on what our sales audience is interested in (based on previous campaigns and blog performance)
    3. Two recording options:
    • Book an hour of their time to record the session via YouTube Live
    • They recorded on their own and sent the video

    Question Submission Form

    For live events, we created a Google Form for people to submit questions ahead of time. These questions were used to inform talking points for relevant sessions.

    Social Media Images

    The obvious goal for social media images is to make a person stop scrolling through their newsfeed and read what the event was about. We went with blinking GIFs that included photos of the speakers.

    virtual-conference-how-to-host-inbound-sales-day-social.gif

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    Phase 4: Promote

    As with content distribution in general, this was the most difficult part of the process. We leaned into speakers a lot and asked them to promote the event to their email list and on their blogs and social profiles.

    Speakers: Email, Blog & Social

    We asked each speaker to send an email to their list, write a blog post, and post on social media about the upcoming event. We made it as easy as possible for speakers to promote the event by creating speaker promotion packets, which provided pre-written emails, blog posts, social media copy, and images. All they had to do was copy and paste the text and insert the image.

    We also gave each speaker their own unique tracking URL (learn how to do it using HubSpot software) to use in promotional materials. This showed us how much interest each speaker drove and how many registrations they contributed.

    Don’t start a packet from scratch, get the free speaker promotion packet template.

    Blog Posts

    Brainstorm blog post topics based on the topics your speakers will discuss, and come up with a publishing cadence for your promotional posts. If you already have an editorial calendar, I’d suggest you avoid making every post promotion and instead periodically insert promotional posts.

    Social Posts

    I met with HubSpot’s Social Media team two months before the event launch to discuss the campaign and come up with a promotional cadence that made sense for each channel.

    I used this spreadsheet to organize all social media posts. I wrote most of the copy in bulk and scheduled the posts in batches as each date came up.

    Get my asset management spreadsheet template here.

    Your promotion strategy will vary depending on which channels you have access to. I sat with my team and brainstormed promotional tactics before deciding which were most viable. A few of those included:

    • Pop-up forms on highly trafficked site pages
    • Calls-to-action on the home page
    • Posts in relevant LinkedIn and Slack groups
    • Links to the event in sales reps’ email signatures

    Pro Tip: Use our free tool, Lead Flows, to easily build pop-ups on your website.

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    Phase 5: Launch

    The night before your launch, make sure:

    • All recorded videos were hosted on YouTube
    • Landing pages that hosted videos were tested
    • Reminder email to registrants have been scheduled so they remember to watch the videos
    • Emails are pre-scheduled to notify speakers to log into YouTube Live an hour before the broadcast time

    On the day of the event:

    • Monitor your social media hashtag if you have one
    • Keep an eye on your email if case people have trouble accessing the event

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    Phase 6: Analyze

    To prove that the virtual conference was worth the time and effort, do an analysis of the traffic and registrations you received, how many video views you got, and send a survey to your registrants.

    The best way to prove value is to tie it all back to revenue. How many qualified leads did you get, and what is the monetary value of a lead? How many new software signups did you get and what is the worth of each signup? How many new clients did you get and how much are they paying you?

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    Learning Lessons and Tips for Hosting A Virtual Conference

    As always, no matter how successful the event, things can always be better. Here are a few things I wish I had done differently that you can learn from.

    Align with your sales team.

    This event would’ve been great for sales enablement. Sales reps could use the conference as a piece of content to share with prospects and be helpful. It’s also good to let reps know about the event and how to talk about it in case prospects bring it up on a call.

    Get speakers with large audiences.

    This may be more difficult for your first event as you start developing credibility for your event, but get speakers with large audiences if you can. It’s even better if you can get them to commit to driving a certain number of registrations.

    Have a post-event plan.

    Ideally, you’re going to get a lot of registrations for the event. What are you going to do with them after the event? Have a communication plan for your registrants, whether it’s sending them content, telling them about your products or services, or asking for feedback. Don’t leave them hanging.

    Build anticipation before the event.

    How can you get registrants to share the event before it happens? Maybe a contest or giveaway? How can you get registrants to engage with speakers before the event?

    As more companies work to get a foothold in their industries and the marketing industry evolves to encompass more video content, virtual conferences will become more and more common. And as with any marketing tactic, as virtual conferences become more common the medium will become less effective.

    Host your first virtual conference now before your competitors and gain first-mover advantage. Good luck.

    Here are all the resources and templates I’ve shared throughout this post:

    Want to have a one-on-one conversation diving deeper into how you can host a virtual conference? Get in touch with me to have a quick conversation.

    Thanks to Kendrick Wang, Cambria Davies, and Scott Tousley for reviewing drafts of this post.

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    Mar

    24

    2017

    How Customer-Driven Copy Helped HubSpot Increase Conversions by Nearly 100%

    Published by in category lead generation | Comments are closed

    New copy isn’t better just because it’s new.

    You can’t just give your copy a “refresh” or aimlessly fiddle with headlines to get a huge boost in conversions. These kinds of false hopes (and complete lack of a process) are why so many conversion copywriting projects fail, and so many new sites perform worse than the old ones.

    If you want to make sure your new copy hits a conversion home run, keep reading.

    Last October, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the team at HubSpot to rewrite their copy as part of their site’s redesign. It was a conversion copywriter’s dream come true!

    In this post, I’ll share the exact process we used to fine-tune the messaging and nearly double the site’s conversion rate.

    Diagnosing Issues and Setting Goals

    The first step to improving your copy and conversion funnel is to learn what’s not working. To do this, Josh Garofalo (who also wrote copy for this project) and I turned to a few sources:

    Internal Interviews

    We grilled HubSpot’s product development, sales, and support staff to get their inside perspective.

    • The product team gave us a better perspective on the evolution of the HubSpot software into the Growth Stack, so we could write about the product as it is now instead of how it was in the past. The HubSpot Growth Stack consists of HubSpot’s marketing, sales, and CRM software.
    • The sales team illuminated the questions, objections and pain points most frequently mentioned by leads on calls. They also shared their most successful ways of overcoming objections and answering questions — things we could mimic with the site’s copy.
    • The support team shared the recurring questions and frustrations expressed by leads. We pored over support chat logs, highlighting recurring questions that we could solve proactively on the new site

    We learned that HubSpot customers didn’t understand HubSpot had evolved into the Growth Stack: multiple tools that accomplish different goals individually, but are even more powerful used together.

    Making this clear became a huge priority for the new copy.

    Analytics & User Journey Mapping

    HubSpot’s internal team consulted their analytics data and user journey maps and confirmed that clarity was an issue. Conversion flows were tangled as leads struggled to understand what they were signing up for.

    We needed to simplify the path from interest to action.

    Copy Audit

    As HubSpot grew rapidly, the copy on their website was written by multiple people with multiple perspectives. This caused style guide inconsistencies, a lack of unified positioning and an inconsistent voice across the site.

    This was our chance to bring consistency to HubSpot’s messaging and showcase their solutions in words that clicked with their customers.

    Now, we just needed to find out what those words were.

    Conducting Customer Research

    To tell a persuasive story that your leads can see themselves in, you need to understand four things about them:

    • Pain points: The challenges and frustrations they face
    • Anxieties: The obstacles and fears that keep them from buying
    • Desired outcomes: What success looks like for them
    • Priorities: Which pain points, features, and benefits are most important to them

    Instead of guessing at these things, why not just steal the words right out of their mouths?

    Customer research is all about capturing your customer’s challenges, fears and desires in their own words so that you can use those same words in your headlines, body copy, and calls-to-action.

    And when you know your customers’ priorities, you know exactly what features and benefits to emphasize, too.

    Sneaky, right?

    Let’s dig into how you can start stealing like the pros.

    Segment Your Audience

    Depending on what you want to learn, some segments of your audience will be more informative than others.

    We identified three important segments to talk to in order to fully understand our audience:

    Customer Type  Why?
    Active (3 – 6 months or longer) This group purchased recently enough to describe their pain points and priorities, as well as some benefits they’d realized.
    (Make sure that you’re surveying customers who have had enough time to evaluate your product and find success with it.)
     Leads Leads are deeply in tune with their pain points and anxieties — perfect for learning frustrations with the existing website and the obstacles they’re facing.
     Dead Accounts This customer group can help us understand what went wrong and how we could mitigate those problems.


    We also segmented these groups across HubSpot’s different products to make sure we were talking to people who actually used each tool.

    Create Your Research Docs

    Whatever you do, don’t skip this step!

    There’s a temptation to jump right into talking to your customers — but first, you need a plan for pulling all the feedback together and keeping it organized. Josh and I developed a spreadsheet that saved us hours of headaches and dramatically sped up analysis. You can download a copy for yourself here.

     Memorable Quote  Type  Theme  Feature  Notes Where & Who?
    I have time for double the work now. I can create my blogs in a few hours, manage my calendar, analyze my data, and still have time to break for lunch.” Benefit  Efficiency Content Planner Sticky. Well-said; possibly revamp into headline:

    + “Grow like a team twice your size” 
    G2 Crowd, Joe Shmoe

    To use this spreadsheet:

    • Copy and paste standout customer quotes into the first column.

    • Categorize the quote by pain point, benefit, anxiety or priority. If the quote applies to more than one, choose the most appropriate and list the others in the “Notes” section.

    • As themes emerge, add them in the third column. Don’t worry about filling this column on a first pass — themes usually surface during review.

    • If the quote pertains to a specific feature, add it to the “Feature” column. This will make it easier to sort later on, giving you a cheat sheet for every feature.

    • Use “Notes” for your own reference. Remind yourself why you like the quote or how you might use it. If it’s a quote you might think about stealing copy from, tag it as “Sticky”.

    • List who said it and where. This will make sure you can go back to the source.

    Collecting Customer Feedback

    To get fast feedback at scale, so we turned to two channels: email surveys and review/testimonial mining.

    Email Survey

    Email surveys can reach a huge number of customers in a short time period — but to get actionable feedback, you need to ask the right questions.

    Your respondents have limited time and energy, so you need to keep your survey focused. That means defining what you need to learn and crafting your questions around that goal.

    We structured our survey as follows:

    • Qualifying questions
      We asked respondents to describe their role (helping us segment) and how they used HubSpot. Any respondent who said they didn’t use HubSpot anymore was pushed to a different set of questions to help us learn why they quit.

      We accomplished this “on-the-fly segmenting” by using Typeform’s Logic Jumps.
    • Preferences
      We asked how they liked to learn about software — whether by watching videos, reading landing pages, calling support, chatting online or reading reviews. This helped us decide if things like video or live chat should be included to support the copy.
    • Early experiences
      We asked respondents, “What was going on in your business when you sought out a solution like HubSpot?” This gave us a goldmine of insight into their pain points, purchase triggers and desired outcomes.
    • Priorities
      We had respondents rank the criteria that were most important to them when making a purchase decision (price, ease of use, access to support, etc.).

      We also had them rank the features most important to them. This gave us a roadmap for which features we needed to call out early and often in the new copy, and which features weren’t as important to mention.
    • Results
      We finished up the survey by asking leads what they’d been able to achieve using HubSpot. This gave us insight into the outcomes people wanted, the wins they’d achieved, and what made them happiest about using HubSpot.

    Review and Testimonial Mining

    You can learn a ton about your customers by reading reviews, testimonials, and case studies. As the email survey was collecting responses, Josh and I pored over 100 reviews on TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Capterra and more. 

    We also analyzed reviews for competitors, looking for the most common objections or frustrations so we could position the HubSpot Growth Stack as the superior solution.

    We cross-referenced the things we read with the primary data we collected to make sure we weren’t just hearing from the vocal minority.

    Analyzing the Feedback

    When analyzing feedback, how do you know which quotes to consider and which to ignore? Here’s what to look for:

    Find Recurring Themes

    On your first read through the responses, keep a running tally of the themes you see emerging. As an example, when analyzing HubSpot’s customer responses I tracked:

    • Which specific features were brought up most often as difference makers (like pipeline management or email automation)
    • Which pain points were frequently mentioned, and how they were described (e.g. a need for more sales, more flexibility, time savings, etc.)
    • How many responses mentioned specific benefits or outcomes (like saving money, generating leads or automating processes)

    Below are just a few examples of the responses we got to one of our surveys. In these examples (and dozens of others), a theme emerged: a need for a CRM the customer’s sales team would actually use.

    This type of analysis helps you pinpoint what is motivating your audience to action. Now, you know exactly what pains to agitate and benefits to emphasize on your new pages. Better yet, you can borrow the ways your customers explained them so that the copy is immediately relatable.

    Pay Attention to Frequently Used Words

    Look for the terms people use to describe you, their problems, and their ideal solutions. As a shortcut, you can paste customer responses into a word cloud generator:

    Just like the recurring themes, you can pull these terms and phrases into your copy to make it stick.

    Uncover Those Well-Said / Fresh Soundbites 

    You don’t want your message to be drowned out in a sea of sameness. Because your customers aren’t under pressure to try and craft the “perfect line,” they’re great at finding compelling ways to talk about their pain points and benefits.

    Flag responses that immediately jump out as interesting or clever. For example, we loved this quote from one of our survey respondents:

    I have time for double the work now. I can create blogs in a few hours, manage my calendar, analyze my data, and still have time to break for lunch.

    We played with this quote a little, tied it to a need we saw coming up over and over (growth) and used it to inspire our homepage copy.

    Creating a Cheat Sheet

    Josh and I created a cheat sheet like the one below for each different product. It tied together our customers’ highest-priority pain points, the benefits of solving them, and the sticky pieces of copy we’d found.

    Everything we needed to write a page was right in front of us.

       Pain Point Eliminated  Benefits  Top Quotes  Notes
     1)        
     2)        

    Wireframing

    Hold on — isn’t wireframing the designer’s job? Absolutely! … sort of.

    Copywriters need to understand how the compelling copy they write will translate to the web to avoid creating intimidating walls of text. Designers need to know how to arrange the visual elements of the page to make consuming the copy an effortless and engaging experience.

    As for who should take the lead, there’s no debate: copy should dictate design — cramming copy into a pre-defined design makes it difficult to tell the best possible story.

    Building HubSpot’s Page Templates

    With 36 feature pages, three core product pages, and a brand new homepage to create on a rapidly approaching deadline, we needed to find efficiencies to get this project done on time. To speed up the process, the copy and design teams worked in tandem to build copy-driven, conversion-focused templates for similar page types.

    To make your design-copy collaboration productive, you can follow these steps:

    Let the Research Drive 

    After discussing everything we’d learned about our customers, the copy and design team had a reasonable idea of what information we’d need to share to drive a conversion. We knew that every feature page would need a hero section, a space to discuss the top two or three benefits, a spot to share integrations, and a call-to-action.

    Create a Mockup to Review

    Drawing on these early conversations and some high-converting templates that had been tested in the past, the design team mocked up a new wireframe for us to work from. We used this as our foundation.

    Writing

    Finally, it was time to pull all that sticky copy into the new wireframes we’d created and use customer priorities to guide what we talked about and when. To illustrate how we used our customer research, I’ll outline three examples of changes we made to HubSpot’s copy and page structure.

    Solving the Clarity Problem

    You’ll remember that one of the biggest problems plaguing HubSpot’s old site was a lack of clarity:

    • Customers had no idea HubSpot had evolved into the Growth Stack — three different pieces of software that worked both separately and together.
    • Leads didn’t understand which tools they needed to solve their problem or what they were signing up for.

    Between copy and design, we solved this problem in a few different ways.

    Before, HubSpot’s homepage offered little context or insight into what each of the tools did, or that they were separate:


    HubSpot’s homepage prior to the update.

    For the new homepage, we introduced a confusion-busting section that explained that the HubSpot Growth Stack was “a full stack of products” customers could use alone or together.

    We listed each solution and shared a quick bit of copy on what a lead could accomplish with each — then gave leads the opportunity to dig deeper on the one the were interested in.


    A section added to the homepage during the update. See it here.

    Below this section, we added clarity by using copy pulled from customer quotes to explain what each tool could be used for. We arranged these features based on the highest-priority outcomes of our customers:


    The CRM description as it appears on the updated homepage. See it here.

    But we didn’t put all our eggs in the homepage basket. We brought that clarity into the product pages, too.

    On the old product pages there was no mention at all that the tools were connected and could be used together. For the redesign, we added a section to our templates that told the story of how each of the tools connected:


    The Growth Stack as explained on individual product pages. See it here.

    But just in case a lead jumped straight to the “Get Started” page without reading the homepage or product pages, we made sure that the copy on the “Get Started” page also explained the challenges each tool could solve:



    The updated “Get Started” page. See it here.

    Notice how HubSpot’s design team complemented the copy by breaking all of the products out visually, making them separate and distinct? That’s copy and design pulling in the same direction, baby!

    As a result, leads can see that HubSpot offers a full stack of products and are better equipped to choose the right solution.

    Making Pages More Compelling

    After analyzing the survey responses and reviews, we had a very clear picture of the features and benefits our leads actually cared about. We structured every page around our lead’s priorities.

    For example, on the HubSpot Sales page, we organized the different features by how often they were mentioned in our survey results. All of those subheadings — “Uncover new leads, connect with more leads, close deals faster and manage your pipeline” — are direct quotes from customers as to the benefits of using the feature being highlighted.

    Even the crosshead (“Sell more. Work less.”) came from the way a customer explained what they could do thanks to HubSpot Sales!

    By organizing the page this way, we’ve made sure the most compelling features and benefits are seen.

    Alleviating Anxieties

    Thanks to analyzing chat logs and interviewing HubSpot’s support team, we knew where there were gaps in a lead’s understanding and the fears the old copy wasn’t alleviating. That meant we could be proactive about addressing those with the new site.

    For example, one of the biggest questions people have about HubSpot Sales is whether or not it’ll work with their email provider, so we added “Works with Gmail and Outlook” to the microcopy by the call-to-action. This leaves the lead no excuse not to get going right away.


    Microcopy beneath this HubSpot Sales CTA mentions specific email providers. See it here.

    We also learned that a large number of CRM users were frustrated with how long it took to learn other platforms.  New leads were concerned about how long it’d take to master the HubSpot CRM, so we obliterated that anxiety early on in the CRM product page:

    HubSpot CRM automates the tasks salespeople hate and takes minutes to learn – not months. That means doing more deals and less data entry.

    Revisions

    As much as I’d like to say all of that glorious copy I just shared came out of our first drafts, it didn’t – and yours won’t either. Every draft went through multiple revisions, including:

    • Accuracy Control
      All pages of copy were run past team members who worked directly on those products. You should do the same.
    • Voice/Tone 
      Every draft was run past HubSpot’s team to make sure the copy stuck to HubSpot’s style guidelines and spoke with a unified voice.

    When writing new copy — especially when you have multiple authors — give one person the responsibility to enforce a consistent style guide. We didn’t pass drafts around the entire company for feedback, and neither should you. That’s a surefire way to kill your messaging. Dozens of competing priorities will always water down your copy.

    Instead, HubSpot designated a small, multidisciplinary SWAT team and agreed to limit the exposure of the drafts to those people inside of the team. This small group could stay agile and avoid writing copy by committee.

    When you steal your copy from your customers, great things happen. 

    A few weeks after HubSpot’s redesign went live, the results were eye-popping:

    • The new “Get Started” flow nearly doubled the site’s overall conversion rate.
    • There had been a 35% increase in the total volume of demo requests.
    • There’d been a 27% increase in the total volume of product signups post-launch.

    Copy can’t take all the credit: an improved conversion flow and dramatically different design were huge factors, too!

    But if there’s one thing I want you to leave this piece understanding, it’s that you can’t write high-converting copy in a vacuum. The only way we were able to refocus HubSpot’s messaging and bring clarity to their conversion funnel was by getting to know their customers. Talk to yours!

    After this project, HubSpot has a proven, repeatable process they can use to write copy that converts — and now, so do you!

    HubSp

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    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

    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

    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

    Nov

    3

    2016

    The Top 10 Conversion Lessons One Agency Learned After Critiquing 100+ Websites

    Lessons from Website Critiques.jpg

    When it comes to website design, creating a page that is visually appealing, aligned with your brand, and optimized for lead generation is no easy task. After all, there are a lot of mistakes you can make in the process.

    That’s why — for almost two years now — my team here at IMPACT Branding & Design has been hosting a monthly live website critique called Website Throwdown. Our goal is to help people recognize and correct some of those mistakes, while educating other viewers in the process.

    The best part? We critics happen to learn a thing or two about marketing, UX design, and conversion rate optimization (CRO) in the process, too. It’s a win-win. So in the spirit of education for all, I’ve recapped the top 10 CRO lessons IMPACT has learned after critiquing over 100+ websites below.

    P.S. – Want your website critiqued in person at INBOUND 2016? We’re hosting a live throwdown in Club INBOUND with the help of special guest like HubSpot’s Luke Summerfield and The Sales Lion’s Marcus Sheridan and George B. Register for INBOUND and then reserve your throwdown slot here.

    The Top 10 CRO Lessons One Agency Learned After Critiquing 100+ Websites

    Lesson #1: Too many brands are hiding social proof.

    So you’ve worked with some highly respected brands and they couldn’t love you more — why aren’t you screaming about it from the rooftops?

    After critiquing over 100 websites, we found that a surprising majority of brands hide their social proof far down on their homepage or worse — isolate it to a never-seen page in their navigation.

    Nothing speaks more highly of your work than word-of-mouth and by hiding this powerful information where visitors are unlikely to look, you can risk it going completely unnoticed.

    To get the most out of social proof, incorporate elements of it into your homepage design where your visitor’s attention is at its highest. (A heatmap from Hotjar can help you determine where this is exactly.) Doing this will help you make a strong impression and immediately establish credibility in the eye of the reader.

    Take a look at Contently, for example. On its homepage, the content company shows off who has used its platform before even asking you to watch a demo or learn more. Leading with this social proof builds trust and makes the visitor think, “if it worked for them, it’ll work for me.”

    CRO-lessons-1-social-proof-contently.png

    Elements of social proof you can consider incorporating into your homepage include:

    • Partner/Client logos
    • Testimonials
    • Awards
    • Certifications
    • Reviews
    • Affiliations
    • Social Followings

    Lesson #2: Real photography is underappreciated.

    “Stock photos of people should never be used to represent your customers or your employees. Lose them,” commented David Meerman Scott during one of our live critiques. (He’ll be critiquing websites with us live at INBOUND, too.)

    Now, you’re probably saying, “but, but sometimes I need to use stock photos.” And I get that — especially when you don’t have the budget for a photographer, or you’re in a time crunch. But with so many organizations using generic stock photos prominently on their websites, investing in real photography or custom graphics is an easy way for your company to establish credibility and stand out.

    Using authentic, real photos of your team or office can help frame your business in a more genuine, relatable light. This can make visitors feel like they actually know you, and in turn, make them more comfortable doing business with you. 

    HubSpot does a great job with this, capitalizing on their real employees, rather than stock models on every page of their site.

    Email Page HubSpot.png

    CRO-lessons-hubspot2.png

    Moral of the story? If you have to use stock photos, choose them wisely — avoid results on the first page, look for unique shots, and steer clear of anything overly cheesy. (If you need help, here’s a list of quality stock photo sites to get you started.)

    Lesson #3: Bring differentiation to the forefront.

    If people can’t identify your company’s unique value within a few seconds of being on your homepage, chances are you’ve already lost their business.

    Attention spans today are low. When visitors first arrive on your site, you need to tell them exactly what makes you different and why they should stick around to learn more.

    One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is with a well-thought out and prominently placed value proposition that explains:

    • What you do
    • Who you do it for
    • How you do it differently from your competition

    In this article, I discussed how Slack nailed its value prop on its homepage. Just look at this breakdown:

    • What does it do? It’s a messaging app.
    • Who is it for? Teams.
    • How does it do it differently from the competition? It makes working lives “simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.” (Plus, the team behind the Mars Curiosity Rover uses it … and that’s just awesome.)

    Slack Messaging App Value Prop.png

    Lesson #4: Imagery and messaging need to align.

    Your imagery and text should send the same message to — and elicit the same emotions from — your visitors. For example, if your value proposition positions your company as the ideal solution for metropolitan corporations, don’t use photos of small business owners or a local business plaza.

    Using misaligned imagery like this can be confusing and send your visitors mixed messages — and nothing manages to cause conversion friction quite like confusion.

    Tortuga Backpacks does a commendable job with this, showing a customer wearing its product in a colorful market. The image evokes thoughts of travel, while the copy addresses a common travel pain point: checking a bag.

    CRO-lessons-alignment-tortuga.jpg

    Lesson #5: Conversion paths must be clear and direct.

    As obvious as it sounds, another lesson we learned on Website Throwdown is that one of the best ways to increase conversions is by making your path to conversion as clear and direct as possible.

    Visitors can make the decision to convert or purchase at any time, and when they do, brands like yours need to make sure that the ability to do so is easily accessible.

    One company that’s truly mastered this is Dropbox. With a “Try Dropbox Business” call-to-action in its sticky hello bar, the cloud storage company ensures that no matter how far you scroll down the homepage, you have a conversion point within reach when you need it.

    CRO-lessons-5-conversion-dropbox.gif

    Lesson #6: Avoid carousels and sliders.

    If you’re considering a slide or website carousel, click here.

    No but seriously, whether it’s HubSpot’s Austin Knight, CMO Kipp Bodnar, or Copyhackers Joanna Wiebe, the sentiments have been the same on Website Throwdown: carousels aka “sliders” have got to go.

    Not only do these once-popular homepage features hide messages and take control away from the user, but they can also overwhelm the user, bombarding them with too many options at one time. 

    When it comes to your website, each page should have one main message and one main goal for the visitor. And pulling them in different directions with multiple propositions and CTAs in a carousel will only lead to analysis paralysis — and ultimately even fewer conversions.

    Lesson #7: Video is a huge advantage.

    In Crayon’s 2015 State of Video report, the company found that video appears in 70% of the top 100 search results, while websites that incorporate it tend to see two more minutes of on-screen time than those that don’t.

    Simply put, this means that video is powerful.

    It grabs your visitor’s attention in a way that text alone cannot and adds more dimension to your brand. Video allows you to put a face and voice to your brand, making it more human. It also allows you to communicate more information about your product, brand, or culture in a shorter amount of time.

    The quicker you engage and explain your value to website visitors, the more likely they are to stick around and take action. 

    Need inspiration? Check out this roundup of fabulous explainer videos.

    Lesson #8: Don’t force visitors to think.

    Like I mentioned in lesson #6, giving your visitors too much information can lead to inaction — that’s because you’re forcing them to think.

    As Hotjar’s Tara Robertson said on last month’s Website Throwdown, “the last thing you want someone to do when they land on your homepage is think.” People don’t like to think unnecessarily and quite frankly, it can only lead to over-thinking.

    As a brand, you don’t want to burden people with the task of interpreting multiple messages or options to determine their next step. Rather, you want to focus on one action that you want taken and tell them exactly how to do it with clear copy and calls-to-action.

    Streamlining your messaging and telling visitors what they should be doing next reduces confusion and friction, making it more likely that people will convert. 

    Lesson #9: Clear goes further than clever.

    Now, I love cheeky copy as much as the next girl, but when it comes to conversion rate optimization, clarity takes precedence.

    Whether it’s in your headlines, navigation, or button text, always strive to be clear and concise with your copy to avoid misunderstandings and lost opportunities.

    Any language you use on your website must resonate with and speak directly to your buyer persona in order to be effective and drive action. For instance, while labeling your product page “our masterpieces” may seem fun and quirky, if this is not a phrase that will be immediately understood by your persona and drive them to clickthrough, it shouldn’t be used.

    Need help saying more with less? Try these six creative exercises for writing more concisely.

    Lesson #10: Be human.

    At the end of the day, even in a cold, cyber world, people want to interact with other human beings. They want to do business with those they can relate to — individuals who understand their pain points and concerns and will advocate for them.

    In this effort, use your website to humanize your brand.

    I can’t tell you how many companies we’ve encountered that talk about team members and collaboration on their websites, but never show a single face or name. This doesn’t do much for their credibility.

    To avoid coming off cold, share real photos of your team members and show some personality. Include bios of your key team members, or even shoot a short video introducing them to your website visitors. Showing an authentic, personable side to your company can make visitors feel more comfortable doing business with you and yes, you guessed it, converting.

    Is your website falling victim to any of the issues I pointed out above? Don’t forget to come meet the rest of the IMPACT crew at INBOUND 2016 for a live website critique. See you there!

    free webinar: conversion rate optimization

    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

    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.)

    website-page-click-optimization-tab-1.png

    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.

    eastern-international-college-quiz.png

    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. 

    eastern-international-college-quiz-lead-form.png

    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:

    beebom-pop-up-subscribe-CTA.png

    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.

    evernote-mobile-friendly-cta.jpg

    • 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.

    kissmetrics-mobile-friendly-form.png

    • 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.

    HubSpot-Smart-CTA-2-1.png

    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:

    codecademy-social-proof-homepage.png

    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

    11

    2016

    Should Marketers Use Pop-Up Forms? A Comprehensive Analysis

    should-marketers-use-pop-up-forms.png

    As inbound marketers, we care about creating lovable experiences for our website visitors — but we also want to generate as many leads as we can for our sales teams. Most of the time we can do both without any problem. But when it comes to pop-up forms, conflict does emerge.

    Pop-ups are everywhere these days. Over the past few years, pop-up forms have re-emerged as a popular marketing tactic for promoting content, driving blog subscriptions, growing email lists, and fueling lead generation. Get data-backed conversion rate optimization tips from HubSpot & Wordstream  here.

    Some pop-ups are fairly benign and you hardly notice them. Others are distracting, and quite frankly, downright poopy (see the example below). 

    Poopy-Marketing.png

    Pop-ups have become so prevalent that even Google has had to weigh in, announcing that they will begin to penalize websites that use what they call “intrusive interstitials” (we call them “crappy popups”).

    So the million dollar question for inbound marketers is this: Should we be using pop-up forms? Before we dive in and attempt to answer this question, let’s take a step back and re-acclimate ourselves with the world of pop-ups.

    What Is a Pop-Up Form?

    According to Wikipedia, the first ever pop-up ad appeared in the late 1990s on the web hosting website Tripod.com. In their early days, pop-ups were primarily used by third-party advertisers, and they were particularly cringe-worthy. Do you remember the first time a brightly colored pop-up jumped out on your screen, alerting you that you’d won some sort of content or prize? I know I do. And as far as I can remember, I never collected any of those fabulous prizes.

    Over time, consumers and web browsers alike got better at hiding or ignoring these types of pop-ups, and eventually, advertisers gave up. Nowadays you’ll rarely see a sketchy third-party pop-up — unless you find yourself on a particularly sketchy website. (Watch a webinar on how to advertise effectively in the world of ad blockers and social media here.)

    For a time, pop-up forms largely disappeared from the internet. But then they came back. Only this time it wasn’t third-party advertisers that were using them … it was marketers like you and me.

    Pop-ups come in many shapes and sizes, but the most prominent types are:

    • Welcome mats: Full screen pop-ups that slide above page content
    • Overlay modals: Center screen pop-ups that appear on top of page content
    • Top banners: Small banners at the very top of the page
    • Slide-in boxes: Small boxes that slide in from the side/bottom of the page

    Here’s a graphic depicting what each of these four pop-ups looks like on a web page:

    types-of-pop-up-forms.png

    As more and more marketers have started using pop-up forms, a mini-industry of pop-up providers has emerged, offering bells and whistles that were never available before. Most notably, pop-up tools have proliferated the types of triggers that prompt a pop-up to appear.

    Among the most popular pop-up triggers are:

    • Page entrance: Pop-up appears when the visitor first gets to the page
    • Page scroll: Pop-up appears when the visitor scrolls to a certain point on the page
    • Element interaction: Pop-up appears when the visitor clicks on or hovers over a specific element
    • Time on page: Pop-up appears when the visitor has been on the page for a specific amount of time
    • Exit intent: Pop-up appears when the visitor scrolls towards the top of the page to leave

    Now that we know a little more about pop-up forms, let’s get back to the core question: Should marketers be using them?

    And in order to properly answer that question, we need to consider two slightly more specific but related questions:

    1. Do they work?
    2. Is it possible create inboundy pop-up forms that don’t, well, suck?

    Let’s dig in.

    Do Pop-Up Forms Work?

    I’ll answer this one right off the bat: The answer is yes. Pop-up forms do work, and this is the main reason so many marketers are using them.

    But how much better do they perform than traditional forms? In one experiment, AWeber found that a pop-up form converted 1375% better than traditional forms for driving blog subscriptions (see the images below). In addition, according to research conducted by SumoMe, the top performing 10% of pop-up forms convert at a whopping 9.3%. Now I don’t know about you, but an additional 9.3% conversion rate across my website sounds pretty good to me.

    Popup-Experiment.png
    Source: AWeber

    The numbers don’t lie: Pop-up forms work. However, is that worth sacrificing the experience that a visitor has on your site? The inbound answer is no. User experience trumps all else.

    But what if you didn’t have to sacrifice performance for experience? What if you could create user-friendly pop-ups that didn’t suck?

    Is There Such a Thing as an Inbound Pop-Up?

    If you ask someone how they feel about pop-ups, they’re likely to offer an emotional response that loosely resembles a child eating vegetables (I call this expression “blegh”).

    People hate the idea of pop-ups. Most pop-ups out there are annoying. What’s more, the pop-ups that annoy you the most are the ones you’ll remember the longest.

    But here’s the thing: not all pop-ups are bad. Pop-ups can be used for good, and they can be a healthy part of an inbound strategy.

    Just think about email marketing for a second. Email is another example of a channel that has been heavily abused. We’ve all gotten some crappy emails throughout the years. But as inbound marketers, we know to use email responsibly and to only send contextualized email that adds value to people’s lives.

    The same goes for pop-ups. When used correctly, they can actually enhance the experience a user has on your website, as well as boost your conversion rates.

    But how do we make sure that our pop-ups are helpful and not spammy? Here are some guidelines.

    4 Tips for Crafting High-Converting Pop-ups (That Don’t Suck)

    1) Offer something relevant and valuable.

    The problem with most pop-ups is they get in the way of the visitor’s experience on a website, rather than enhance it. Oftentimes this is because what’s being offered in the pop-up is either not valuable to the visitor, or it has nothing to do with the page they’re on.

    To boost engagement with your pop-up as well as enhance the experience that someone has on your site, be sure to offer something that is both valuable and relevant to them, given the page that they’re on. For example, if I were writing a blog post on social media, I would offer a free ebook on the same topic:

    Relevant-Popup-forms.png

    2) Think about the way people engage with your pages.

    Another common mistake marketers make with pop-ups is having them appear at the wrong time, which adds to the annoyance factor. Be strategic about the timing and trigger of your pop-ups. Think about the way that visitors interact with certain types of pages on your site.

    For instance, when someone engages with a blog post, they do so by scrolling down the page as they read the content. If you want to catch your visitors while they’re most engaged, then you should customize your pop-up to appear when someone has scrolled halfway down the page.

    Similarly, you might find that people who stay on your product or pricing pages for more than 30 seconds are highly engaged because they’re taking the time to read through and consider their options. In this scenario, you could use a time-based pop-up that appears when a visitor has been on the page for a specific number of seconds.

    To better understand exactly how your visitors engage with different pages on your site, try looking into Google Analytics data, such as bounce rate and average time on page. Better yet, use a tool like HotJar or Crazy Egg to record users on your site to build heat maps of where they click and scroll. This will give you a better sense of how people engage with your content.

    3) Use language that’s specific, actionable, and human.

    Most pop-up forms have a fairly basic layout. You get a headline, some body copy, and maybe an image. In other words, you don’t have a lot of real estate to work with.

    This means it’s super important to nail the copy on your pop-up form. In order to do that make sure your copy is specific, actionable, and human:

    • Specific: Specify exactly what a visitor is going to get if they click on your pop-up. Don’t tell them it’s a guide; tell them it’s a 10-page guide with actionable tips. Don’t encourage them to join your email list; ask if they’d be okay with getting two to three emails on a given topic per week.
    • Actionable: Let visitors know exactly what you’d like them to do. Instead of “Click Here,” try “Download our Free Guide,” or better yet, “Get my Free Guide.” Craft a compelling call-to-action that will inspire your visitors to take action.
    • Human: Remind visitors that there’s a real person behind the pop-up form. Use colloquial language to make your forms friendly. Instead of “Join our email list,” try “Mind if we email you twice a week?” Instead of “Subscribe to our blog,” try “We’d be happy to notify you whenever we publish new articles.”

    Popup-Copy-example.png

    4) Don’t ruin the mobile experience.

    In an effort to improve mobile user experience, Google recently announced that they were going to start penalizing websites that use what they call “obtrusive interstitials” — in other words, pop-ups that mess with the user experience. Now I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want my Google rankings to go down from using pop-up forms.

    To ensure a user-friendly mobile experience and avoid being penalized by Google, be sure exclude your pop-up forms for mobile, or use pop-ups that don’t take up the entire screen of the page on mobile devices. Most pop-up tools already offer this type of functionality, but if what you’re currently using doesn’t, you may need to find a new solution.

    Mobile-Popup-forms.png

    Need a Free Pop-Up Tool?

    So there you have it. To sum up: Pop-up forms do work, they can be inboundy, and you should be using them.

    If you’re looking for a good free tool to get started with pop-up forms, we’d recommend that you try Leadin. We built it ourselves to help marketers generate more leads across their entire website without sacrificing the user experience.

    What are your thoughts on pop-up forms? Do you think that inbound marketers should be using them? What pop-up tool would you recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments.

    CRO Webinar

    Sep

    22

    2016

    How To Increase Referral Traffic And Get More Leads

    ThinkstockPhotos-546453534-384519-edited.jpgMost marketers have one goal in common: increasing the amount of traffic to their website. There are various tactics for accomplishing this goal including search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), blogging, social media marketing, etc. The problem is that SEO takes times, PPC is expensive, Google is becoming oversaturated with blog content, and social media has always had a problem proving ROI.

    One often overlooked tactic that can potentially have the greatest impact is referral traffic. So, what is referral traffic and how can you use it to generate more leads?

    What Is Referral Traffic?

    Visitors that come to your website from sites other than the major search engines are considered referral traffic. When someone clicks a link on a website or social network and is then taken to another site, tracking software, such as Google Analytics or HubSpot, counts that visitor as referral traffic. The originating website is called the “referrer” since it refers traffic from one website to the other.

    Why Is Referral Traffic Important?

    Referral traffic is important to inbound marketers because it sends potentially qualified visitors to your website from trusted websites. This in turn gets your content in front of new people, giving your website the opportunity to convert that visitor into a lead and your sales team the opportunity to convert that lead into a new customer.

    But that’s not all! Referral traffic also has SEO benefits. When someone visits your website from another site they are usually clicking on a link or completing some type of social activity. Google and other search engines consider these links and social signals as positive ranking factors as long as they are coming from trusted websites.

    Sounds pretty good, right? Well, let’s get started on getting you some juicy referral traffic so you can brag about all the hot leads you have rolling in.

    7 Steps To Generate More Referral Traffic

    1) Publish Your Website To Online Directories

    Submitting your website to online directories is one of the easiest ways to get referral traffic but you don’t want to publish your website to every directory out there. Instead, focus on the ones that are most relevant to your industry or generate the most traffic. Whether you’re a veterinarian in St. Louis or an assisted living facility in Daytona Beach, Moz has you covered. They offer a free resource for finding the top directories by category and city.

    Once you’ve submitted your website to the top directories for your city and industry, I’d focus on finding directories that can generate some serious traffic. How do you know which directories will accomplish this? It’s as simple as performing a Google search. The directories that appear at the top of the search results should, in theory, generate the most traffic. For example, if you do a search for “personal trainer in los angeles” there are 4 directories that show up on the first page of the search results: Yelp, YourTrainer, IdeaFit & Thumbtack.

    Google search personal trainer in los angeles

    You can’t use SEO to pass up these directories in the search results overnight. What you can do, however, is list your website on these directories in order to generate quality traffic and get some free SEO juice. After all, if someone is looking for a personal trainer in Los Angeles and they find your website via Yelp, that referred visitor is just as valuable to you as them landing directly on your website.

    2) Get Published On Review Websites

    Review websites are a great source for getting more referral traffic. These visitors have already gone through the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey. They’ve now reached the decision stage and are comparing vendors or products. What better time to get your product or service in front of them for consideration?

    Getting listed on a review website can vary depending on whether you are a B2B or B2C company. If you perform a search for “st louis roofing company reviews” there are 3 websites that you would want to be listed on if you were a roofer: HomeAdvisor, BBB & AngiesList.

    Google search st louis roofing company reviews

    By adding your website to these 3 directories you are increasing the likelihood of your website being found during the decision phase of the buyer’s journey. If you are operating a respectable roofing company that treats customers fairly you should have no problem standing out from other roofers that have not so positive reviews.

    B2B businesses will find that it is more difficult to get featured on review websites. A lot of times you have to “pay to play,” meaning you will basically have to pay to be featured towards the top of the review listings. For example, if you do a Google search for “top mobile app developers” the first search result is Clutch.co. They showcase a list of mobile app development firms with reviews but if you look closely you’ll notice that they are “sorted by sponsor.” Essentially these companies are paying to have their website and reviews featured first. It’s a slick way for Clutch to make money but also maintain it’s reputation as a respectable source for reviews.

    Clutch sponsored results

    3) Publish Guest Blog Posts

    Guess what? You’re currently looking at step 3 of the 7 steps for getting more referral traffic to your website. That’s right. You’re reading a guest blog post by Leap Clixx, a HubSpot Partner Agency. Guest blog posts create numerous opportunities to get referral traffic to your website. External links (like the two in this paragraph), author bios, and call-to-actions (like the one at the bottom of this post) are typically present on most blogs. If you can get a post featured on a well-know industry website you’ll benefit from the referral traffic and links coming to your site. It’s best to focus your efforts on websites that are considered thought leaders in your industry. Since we’re an Inbound Marketing Agency, HubSpot is the perfect place for us to post a guest blog post. Can you think of a more respected website when it comes to the topic of inbound marketing? I mean, HubSpot literally coined the term inbound marketing.

    Here are a couple tips to keep in mind when guest blogging:

    1. Focus on websites related to your industry – No one wants to read about Fall fashion trends on a blog about guns & ammo, unless you’re talking about camo.
    2. Keep the target audience in mind while writing – Most blogs have strict guidelines in place for guest bloggers.
    3. Write content under your own name – After all, you don’t want someone else getting credit for your work.
    4. Link to influencers – They will notice and might even help promote your guest blog post, which in return will increase the referral traffic it generates.

    4) Leverage Social Media

    According to Social Media Examiner, a whopping 89% of marketers indicated that social media generated more exposure for their business. Additionally, 75% found their website traffic increased as a result of their social media efforts.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest were the top 7 social media platforms used by marketers. Being active on social media isn’t just trendy anymore; it’s a tactic most marketers are using to get more traffic, leads, and sales.

    benefits of social media marketing

    Everytime you tweet, share, like, or pin a piece of content you are creating an opportunity to drive referral traffic to your website. Plus, you’re increasing the likelihood of your content showing up at the top of Google. 58% of marketers using social media reported improved search rankings. Like I said before, referral traffic not only brings more potential customers to your website, it also helps with SEO.

    5) Comment On Blogs

    A question that comes up a lot is “Does blog commenting help SEO?” It not only can help with SEO but it can also generate more referral traffic for your website. According to Neil Patel, his 240+ comments on blogs have generated close to 4,000 visitors to his website. Commenting on blogs will definitely increase your referral traffic; just make sure you’re not filling the interwebs with more spam. Here are a couple tips for the newbie blog commenters out there:

    1. Make sure your comments are valuable – No one likes a complainer or bragger. If your comments are negative or promotional in nature just keep them to yourself.
    2. Focus on blogs that allow links in the comments – Remember, you’re trying to get more traffic. In order to do that you need to add a link to your website
    3. If you aren’t first, you’re last. – Just like search engines, if your link is at the top of the comments list you’re more likely to generate more clicks and traffic.

     

     

    6) Be Active On Industry Forums

    Online forums are a great source of potential leads and customers but are often overlooked as a marketing tactic for generating traffic. Similar to blog comments, you should focus your efforts on forums in your niche and always be trying to add value without sounding too promotional. I’ve outlined a couple steps and tips below for getting the most out of forum marketing:

    1. Make sure the forum is active – Don’t waste your time on a forum that hasn’t had a new post for a month.
    2. Register using your brand name – You want to make sure people associate your comments with a memorable brand name.
    3. Create a signature with a call-to-action link – This is how you’re going to drive traffic to your website.
    4. It’s time to participate – You’ll want to participate in the areas of the forum where you have the most expertise.
    5. Use real life examples – Don’t just offer your advice. No one likes a know-it-all. Try to provide value using your personal experiences.
    6. Share your resources – Start a new thread with a link to resource you think could benefit the group. If you’re proud of a particular piece of content it’s likely others will enjoy it too.  

    7) Publish Infographics

    When asked to select the single most important form of content for their business, 37% of marketers picked visuals. The reason is pretty simple. Humans have attention spans shorter than goldfish and it’s easier for the brain to consume an image than a bunch of text. Plus you’ve probably noticed that an image of a cute puppy gets liked and shared more than a 100+ page industry report.

    attention span of internet user

    The great thing about infographics is they can help people understand complex data with simple visuals. The goal is to get your infographic shared, liked, and pinned on social networks and have others embed it in their articles (like I’ve done above), thus creating links to your website.

    In addition to your own website, there are several websites where you can post an infographic. One of my favorites is Pinterest. After all, Pinterest is responsible for around 5% of all referral traffic to websites, second only to Facebook. Pinterest gives you the option to link your infographic to your website and makes it easy for it be shared on other’s boards.

    Next Steps

    Once you start receiving additional referral traffic, you’ll want to make sure your website is ready for these new visitors. In this FREE eBook “Turn Your Website Into A Lead Generation Machine,” we go over some best practices for ensuring your website is setup to convert visitors into leads for your business. Download it now by clicking on the link above or on the banner below.

    New Call-to-action

    Aug

    10

    2016

    12 of the Best Facebook Post Ideas for Facebook Lead Generation

    facebook-post-ideas.jpg

    Most marketers know by now that Facebook is an important business tool for companies of every size and industry. With a daily active user base of 1.13 billion (1.03 billion on mobile alone), you know it can help you reach new audiences you may not have been able to reach otherwise. It can also help you get found more easily in search, create a community around your business, promote the content you create, and develop a strong brand identity.

    But what about using Facebook for lead generation? Attracting new leads using Facebook — leads that might eventually turn into paying customers — is one of the most intriguing reasons to use Facebook in your marketing.

    And yet, we find that only about half of marketers use Facebook to source leads. This needs to change. And even if you are generating leads on Facebook, we all could probably use a little boost in our lead generation efforts. Download our complete Facebook guide here for more tips on generating leads  and customers from Facebook. 

    To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s start with what a lead is (and isn’t), and the two types of leads you can generate on Facebook.

    The 2 Types of Leads You Can Capture on Facebook

    Although definitions can vary, in general, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service by giving you their information in some way. People can show interest in a variety of ways: filling out a form to download an ebook, requesting a demo, or completing an online survey. 

    Unfortunately, simply Liking a status update, photo, or video on your Page doesn’t make someone a lead. That type of action doesn’t indicate interest in your company or product — it’s possible they just Liked your post because it had a cute puppy in it, ya know?

    On Facebook, there are two ways you can generate leads: direct leads and indirect leads.

    Direct Leads

    Direct leads are generated by sharing content that links directly back to a form on your website where visitors can share information in exchange for an offer — whether that be an ebook, coupon, infographic, or any other piece of content. This form is housed on a landing page dedicated to that specific offer.

    Indirect Leads

    Indirect leads are generated by using Facebook on the path to conversion. For example, if you shared a blog post that had a call-to-action to a landing page at the bottom of the post, your initial Facebook share is helping direct visitors to that landing page.

    While directly promoting landing pages is an instant gratifier of leads generated, providing content without a form makes your Facebook presence a friendlier home for content that your fans will want to come back for again and again.

    Now, let’s dive into 12 ways you can capture leads, whether they are direct or indirect.

    12 Types of Facebook Posts to Help You Generate Leads From Your Business Page 

    1) Post landing pages for offers directly to Facebook.

    One of the best ways to generate leads on Facebook is simply to send people directly to landing pages for lead-generating offers. (If you don’t have many lead-generating offers yet, read this blog posts for ideas.)

    When you do this, make sure the offer has a compelling featured image that’s getting pulled into the Facebook post. To ensure Facebook pulls the right image from your blog post into your Facebook posts, you’ll need to first optimize the image size for Facebook and then add the proper open graph tags to your website, which you can learn how to do here.

    You’ll also want to make sure it’s clear to the reader where you’re sending them. If they think they’re clicking into a blog post and find themselves needing to fill out a form, they could get confused or frustrated. Use verbal phrases like “Download your ebook” or “Get your cheat sheet” to indicate where you’re sending them. 

    Here’s an example from IBM’s Facebook Page, which reads, “Explore our 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report”:

    In addition to using clear language, you may want to nix the stock photo from that image in favor of your own, custom image. Even the least design-savvy of marketers can easily create a custom image in PowerPoint that includes the name of the offer, just like we did in the example below. (Click here to browse through and download our collection of 100 free social media image templates.)

    2) Post the blog posts that generate the most leads.

    Another way of generating leads from the content your team is producing is to simply pick the blog posts that generate the most leads, and post those ones to Facebook. (Learn how to do a blog lead generation analysis here.) The topic and title of the blog post will intrigue your audience to click and read, and then they’ll find a CTA within that post — preferably high up, near the intro — to either a solution to a problem they’re having or to something they want to learn more about.

    Pro Tip: Our social media managers have found they’re able to generate more leads from Facebook by posting blog posts containing anchor text CTAs in the introduction. If you aren’t using anchor text CTAs yet, you may want to read up on the study we did on anchor text CTAs on the blog and consider adopting them yourself. In every single post we tracked for that study, the anchor text CTA was responsible for between 47% and 93% of a post’s leads.

    Here’s an example of a Facebook post linking to a blog post that includes an anchor text CTA in the introduction:

    And here’s that anchor text CTA, indicated by the red arrow:

    data-viz-anchor-text-CTA.png

    3) Include links to landing pages in your image captions. 

    Most marketers understand the importance of using visuals like images and videos in your Facebook strategy. For example, Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. To turn these higher engagement rates into lead generation opportunities, consider including links to your website in the descriptions for your images — especially your profile picture and cover photo descriptions.

    Whether it’s to a blog post, a piece of lead gen content, or just an “About Us” page, links are opportunities for interested folks to get to know your company better, and the descriptions of your profile picture and cover photo are prime real estate to do it. That way, any time people view your cover photo directly, they can access the download link.

    Make sure you shorten your links and add UTM codes so you can track clicks on them. Shortening and tracking features are available in the HubSpot Marketing Platform and in tools like bitly.

    Here’s this practice in action on HubSpot’s Facebook Page:

    hubspot-cover-photo-link.png

    4) Use videos to promote lead gen offers.

    Facebook’s organic reach has dropped to 52% so far in 2016, thanks to the tweaks in Facebook’s algorithm to help mitigate the increasing amount of content on its platform. But videos are the big exception here. In fact, posting videos has actually helped neutralize some of that pain for marketers.

    Why? To start, Facebook’s algorithm favors video content. As a result, video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. So if you’re trying to increase your lead gen efforts on Facebook, you’ll want to start using videos to help introduce and promote those lead-generating content, whether they’re offers, events, courses, or something else.

    In addition to the text CTA you can add in the video’s description, remember to add a verbal CTA to the video to “register” or “download,” both earlier in the video and at the very end.

    Check out how L.L. Bean used a video to encourage sign-ups for their course:

    Here’s another example from us here at HubSpot, in which we used a how-to video to introduce a gated offer:

    We’ve also created videos specifically to promote lead-generating content, like we did here for our career assessment called The Next Five

    5) Use Facebook Live videos to remind people to register.

    Videos can be pretty time-intensive to create. (Not to mention intimidating.) But you don’t necessarily have to pull together the time and resources to create a perfectly scripted and edited marketing video to leverage the power of video on Facebook.

    Facebook Live is Facebook’s live video platform that lets anyone broadcast live videos from their mobile device straight to their Facebook News Feed. The best part about these live videos is that they’re meant to be a little scrappier and more spontaneous than normal marketing videos — that’s what makes live videos special.

    What’s more, Facebook Live has proven itself pretty incredible for engagement rates. Facebook’s initial data revealed that people comment 10X more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

    So get the conversation going about your lead gen offers by creating a live video to promote them. You might promote an event by showing the setup live, for example. Or, you might promote an offer by hosting an open Q&A on live video where you actually interact with Facebook commenters live and on camera.

    Just like you’d do with your normal videos, add a verbal CTA to the video in addition to the text CTA. In a live video, though, you’ll want to repeat that CTA even more than you would with a pre-recorded CTA. Why? Because when you first start live streaming, you may have zero people watching. Even a few seconds in, you could only have a handful of viewers.

    As people find your video on their News Feeds, they’ll join in — but that means you’ll want to repeat the CTA a few times to catch people up. You can also add a text CTA in the video’s description.

    6) Pin posts that link to lead gen offers to the top of your feed.

    Pinning a post to the top of your Page’s Timeline allows you to highlight what would otherwise be a typical post. It’ll stay at the top of your Timeline for up to seven days, after which it’ll return to the date it was published on your Page’s Timeline. A pinned post is signified by a small blue-and-white pushpin icon on the top right of the post.

    Here’s an example from Apttus’ Facebook Page:

    apttus-pinned-facebook-post.png

    You can pin any type of post, from text to images to videos; even live videos. If you pin a Facebook Live video, that video will simply show up at the top of your profile with the whole recording, indicating that the Page “was live” at a certain point. Here’s an example of what that looks like from Refinery29’s Facebook Page:

    refinery29-facebook-live-pinned-post.png

    7) Add a call-to-action button to your Facebook Page.

    Alright, this one isn’t technically a type of Facebook post, but it’s a pretty crucial lead generation tactic that no marketers will want to miss out on. Back in late 2014, Facebook added a feature to its business Pages allowing users to place a simple call-to-action button at the top of their Facebook Pages. This button is simple but powerful, and it can help drive more traffic from your Facebook Page to your website — including landing pages, contact sheets, and other lead generation forms. You can learn how to install and use the Facebook CTA button here.

    You’ll find you have seven pre-made button options to choose from: “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” “Book Now,” “Use App,” Watch Video,” and “Play Game.” Once you choose a button and link it to a page your website, the button you chose will appear up at a fixed location right below your cover photo and to the right.

    weddingwire-facebook-page.png

    While some marketers choose a CTA and keep it the same for weeks and months at a time, consider taking your marketing game a step further and switching up that button — and the web page it links to — to match your team’s and business’ goals and the campaigns you’re running at the time. For example, you might align the CTA both with your cover photo design and a pinned post around a single campaign.

    8) Ask for input on your products.

    One way to feed two birds with one scone (as my colleague Carly Stec would say) is to post a status update to your business’ Timeline asking for feedback on one of your products or tools and linking to a landing page where people can sign up for a trial — or, if it’s free, to simply download the tool. You’ll encourage sign-ups by linking directly to the landing page, and your followers will love the opportunity to give their two cents.

    The obvious risk here is that you’ll be opening up the floodgates for negative commenters, so be selective on the tools and products you post for feedback. Make sure you’re posting something you’re proud of and ready to receive feedback for. You’ll also want to have at least one or two people ready to respond to Facebook comments as they roll in — both the positive and the negative.

    If you do receive negative feedback, respond as quickly as you can to show you care, and prevent them from turning into something more serious. If you get complaints about the product, use the “customer is always right” approach and say you’re sorry. You’ll get respect from other customers for being upfront. Share you appreciation for folks’ feedback. Finally, ask how you can help — and then actually help. Take notes on the feedback you get and send it to the people who can make things happen. (Read this post for more tips on dealing with negative comments on social media.)

    9) Run a contest or giveaway.

    People love contests and giveaways. Not only are they fun for your followers, but they can also teach you a lot about your audience — all the while engaging them, growing your reach, driving traffic to your website, and (drum roll, please) generating leads.

    If the goal of your contest is to generate leads, publish posts on Facebook (in addition to your other social media accounts) that include an attractive featured image or video, language that’s compelling and simple, and a link to your contest page where they can fill out a form. Read this post to learn more about running successful social media contests.

    (Before you start your Facebook contest, though, make sure you can actually run it legally by reading through their Page Guidelines. Facebook has cracked down on contests due to liability issues, so read through their strict rules ahead of time.)

    Below is an example from Canva’s Facebook Page. Notice they pinned the post to the top of their profile.

    canva-pinned-facebook-post.png

    And here’s another example, this time from Yoplait. They promoted their contest using a video to get more visibility on folks’ News Feeds.

    yoplait-facebook-contest.png

    10) Make a Facebook event page for your next webinar.

    While we’ve already covered sharing landing pages with dedicated content offerings such as ebooks or contests, webinars are another great format for capturing leads. While you can promote your webinar’s sign-up form by posting them to your business’ Timeline, another way to spread the word is by creating a Facebook Event with with a separate registration page on your website.

    Once you invite someone to a Facebook Event, you can encourage them to register on a separate landing page, where they’ll become a lead. In terms of reaching new audiences, Facebook Events are also more visible than standard Facebook posts on the News Feed.

    Facebook also added new features that help businesses promote their events and see how they’re performing. For example, you can create ads for the desktop and mobile News Feed that boost awareness of events and drive responses.

    facebook-event-ad.png

    Image Credit: Facebook

    If you host events and webinars often, you can also use the Events tab on your Page to share with your followers in a single view. That way, people visiting your page can scroll through your upcoming events and webinars. (If you don’t see the tab on your Page, click “Manage Tabs” at the bottom of your tabs and reorder them so Events is one of the first to appear.) Read this blog post for more tips on hosting great webinars.

    11) Run targeted ads to extend your content’s reach.

    One of the best things Facebook can do for your business is expand your reach to new audiences that are likely to be interested in your content — and possibly become followers, leads, and even customers down the road. This is thanks to Facebook’s very sophisticated targeting options, which let you target your ads to people based on things like location, age, gender, interests — even the things they do off of Facebook.

    There are three, overarching formats for Facebook ads that I’ll cover in brief here: boosted posts, right-hand column ads, and News Feed ads. The main distinction here is the placement of the ad, as well as the amount of writing and size of image that is allowed.

    1. Boosted Post: This is Facebook’s way of letting marketers turn otherwise normal Facebook posts into ads by “boosting” them. The post will show organically to some users, but to get better reach, the admin will press “boost” on the post (shown only to admins, not to other users) so it shows to a larger number of fans and to targets you can select ahead of time.
    2. Right-Hand Column Ads: This is the most traditional on Facebook, it appears on the right side of a user’s Facebook News Feed. We often see less expensive clicks and conversions when using these ads, along with more advanced testing options.
    3. News Feed Ads: These appear directly in a user’s News Feed and look more like native advertising, although you can also add a small CTA button. They’re part of a tactic called “dark posts,” which means using News Feed-style ads that don’t actually get published to the News Feed of your Page. In our experience, these ads have a higher engagement rate than right-hand column ads (which makes your Page look super healthy), but they can also be more expensive.

    While we won’t go too much more in depth on Facebook advertising (download our Facebook advertising ebook if you want to learn more), here are two examples of Facebook ads in users’ News Feeds. This first one is a boosted post that targets people based on their Facebook connections:

    infusion-soft-facebook-ad.png

    This second one is a News Feed ad, which lets you add a CTA button to the post — in this case, “Sign Up.” These CTAs are only available for News Feed ads.

    uber-facebook-ad.png

    12) Run lead ads to simplify the mobile signup process. 

    As if Facebook’s addition of CTA buttons to its link ads wasn’t exciting enough, Facebook added an entirely new feature called lead ads in 2015, which lets users sign up for lead-generating offers and content without leaving Facebook. It was created specifically to simplify the mobile sign-up processes by making it super easy for mobile users to fill out your forms.

    Why? Because the forms will autopopulate instead of mobile users having to pinch-and-zoom and type into tiny form fields. Basically, when you click on a lead ad, a form opens with your contact information automatically populated based on what you’ve shared with Facebook already, like name and email address. Talk about solving for form friction. Of course, you can edit your contact information before you click “Submit.”

    facebook-lead-ads.jpg

    Image Credit: Facebook

    We won’t go into too much detail about lead ads here, but creating them is easy: All you have to do is choose your ad creative, set your targeting and bidding type, and then customize your form fields. (Learn more from Facebook here.)

    How do you extract the leads you get from lead ads? If you’re a HubSpot customer you can integrate Facebook Lead Ads directly with your HubSpot account. If you’re not a HubSpot customer, you can export a CSV straight from your Facebook Page, download them from Ads Manager or Power Editor, or request it directly through the API

    We hope you found these ideas for ways you can generate leads from Facebook helpful. Remember, though, that Facebook is constantly changing. While the ideas here are a strong start to success, nothing beats testing each strategy for your own audience. 

    These are just a couple ways you can generate leads from Facebook, so we’d love to hear from you. How do you generate leads through Facebook? What works — and doesn’t work — for your Facebook Fans?

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

    free guide: how to use facebook for lead generation

     
    free guide to using facebook for lead generation

    Jun

    3

    2016

    How to Build Trust Online: 7 Little Ways to Create a Trustworthy Website

    More-Trustworthy-Website.jpg

    When it comes to establishing trust, it doesn’t matter how compelling your calls-to-action are, how engaging your content is, or how quickly your pages load on mobile screens. If visitors to your site have any doubts about how trustworthy you are, they’ll bounce right out and never come back.

    Especially in the B2B sector, where the customer journey is increasingly self-service and often involves several months of careful deliberation, trust is a deal-breaking prerequisite for any sort of relationship building process. For B2B buyers to be open to engaging with you, they need to feel confident that you’ve got their best interests in mind for the long haul. Download our free introductory guide to A/B testing here. 

    People’s guards go up when it comes to marketing and sales, simply because there have been too many cases of high-pressure, exploitative tactics over the generations.

    In fact, while nearly half of us trust doctors and firefighters, only 3% trust salespeople and marketers, according to a new HubSpot Research study.

    1-Global_jobs_poll.png

    What’s more, our profession barely outranks stockbrokers, car salespeople, and politicians when it comes to trust. Even lawyers and baristas command more trust than we do.

    Understanding NPS and the Trust Index

    “How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend or colleague, on a scale of 0 to 10?”

    If you asked your customers — both existing and potential — to answer this questions, what would their responses look like?

    This question serves as the basis for a metric known as net promotor score, or NPS. And it’s incredibly important for marketers to keep a pulse on.

    But before we dive into how it can be used to measure the trustworthiness of your brand or website, let’s explore how it works. Essentially, the responses to this question get sorted into the following buckets:

    • Those who respond with a score of 9 or 10 are considered loyal enthusiasts, or promoters, who are likely to fuel your growth through continued purchases and referrals.
    • Those who respond with a score of 7 or 8 are considered passives. They are satisfied, but they’re also going to be open to offers from your competitors.
    • Those with a score falling anywhere from 0 to 6 are considered detractors. They are relatively unhappy customers who risk damaging your brand and harm your growth through negative word-of-mouth.

    You can now arrive at your NPS by simply subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. So if your entire roster of clients consists of detractors, your NPS is -100, and if they’re all promoters, your NPS is 100.

    Your NPS is, of course, strongly linked to your perceived trustworthiness. Customers who trust your business are more likely to be promoters, and those who don’t trust you are much more likely to be detractors. If you have a higher NPS than your competitors, then your marketing is more likely to yield results, too.

    What kinds of brands do your customers trust most? A quick perusal of Alignable’s SMB Trust Index — a report based on 7,500 ratings across 45 different SMB brands according to local business owners — reveals some interesting patterns. For example, apparently small business owners deem Facebook (NPS 25) to be more trustworthy than LinkedIn (NPS 0). Verizon (NPS -12) over Comcast (NPS -59). QuickBooks (NPS 31) over FreshBooks (NPS 14).

    Trust_Index.png

    What is it about these brands that makes one competitor more trustworthy than another? The data doesn’t offer any definitive answers, but there are plenty of measures you can take right now to maximize the impression of trustworthiness that your website exudes.

    Here are seven tactics to try.

    How to Build Trust Online: 7 Little Ways to Create a Trustworthy Website

    1) Use authentic images.

    Horribly generic and formulaic stock photos are everywhere. While there’s nothing wrong with using carefully curated stock imagery in the right places, it’s much better to favor website visuals that look like they were actually taken of you and your team in real situations.

    Stock photos can get expensive, too. To truly maximize your site’s visual authenticity, you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your staff, products, and office. This way, you still get quality that will display well on your website and work well for other content assets, but authenticity will shine through to your audience.

    There are also some great free online libraries of stock photos out there. The images on offer here are generally not going to be as specific to your content concept as something original or purchased, but they’re certainly visually compelling and have plenty of distinctive flavor. Three especially useful sites in this regard:

    • Igor Ovsyannykov’s Fancy Crave. This resource boasts seven categorized archive sections and two new photo posts per day
    • Death to Stock. Check out this resources for themed monthly downloadable photo packs and “maker” movement ethos.
    • Unsplash. Look here for highly curated images that favor elegant still lives and serenely stark landscapes.

    Death-to-Stock-Photo-Example.png

    2) Provide social proof via testimonials.

    Social proof plays a big role in creating trust. Reach out to your clients every time you complete a project and ask them to provide feedback for display on your website.

    Whenever possible, include a photo of the person, which helps to drive home the authenticity to the testimonial. Here’s an example of a visually compelling testimonial from the homepage of Sisense, a leading business intelligence software provider.

    Act-on-customer-quote.jpg

    3) Create helpful content resources.

    No one likes a constant sales pitch, and most visitors won’t be anywhere near ready to buy the first time they visit your website, anyway.

    Instead of content that screams, Buy these products now, because they’re the most awesome things ever!, aim to publish resources that show the benefit of your product or service, without overtly selling. Creating helpful content, designed to help solve audience problems and address their pain points, is critical when building trust.

    Many of your prospects will be looking for the same information, so use your website to provide it to them. Use your blog to explore the issues that matter most to your buyer personas and to showcase interesting ways to use your solutions. Share case studies to demonstrate how your other clients and customers have benefited from your offering to solve their issues.

    A particularly excellent example is BuzzSumo’s Knowledge Base, which features a “Use Cases” section, allowing the social media analysis platform’s audience to learn more about the app in the context of how they’re likely to actually benefit from it:

    BuzzSumo-Knowledge-Base.png

    4) Provide social proof via media logos.

    Earned media commands more trust than messages on paid or owned properties. Sure, we all know that in the age of “native advertising,” the lines between journalism and sponsored promotions have blurred, but there’s still a certain mystique in being able to say that The Washington Post, for example, has found your company noteworthy enough to mention it in an article.

    Those “as seen on” montages of publisher logos that you see on many B2B websites are great for boosting confidence at a glance. Are you getting any decent press? Make sure your website visitors know about it.

    Below we can see the power of media logos in a screenshot from entrepreneur John Rampton’s website.

    ohn-Rampton-Featured-List.png 

    5) Provide social proof via client and partner logos.

    We’ve already touched on how important social proof is, but the opportunities here extend well beyond testimonials and media logos. You can also use client and partner logos to show who your allies are. People will recognize larger brands, but even unknowns can make an impression.

    Knowing you’re good enough to work with those partners goes a long way in convincing someone you’re good enough to work with them, too. Check out how renowned growth consultant Sujan Patel uses all three types of trust-building social proof at the top of his homepage:

    Sujan-Patel-Growth-Marketer.png

    6) Include microcopy that sets expectations intuitively.

    Behind all mistrust is fear of the unknown. Make it abundantly clear to your site visitors what’s going to happen when they click on your site’s various tabs, CTA buttons, and links. And make sure your navigation labels are extremely intuitive.

    Quick disclaimers and labels below buttons are useful, too. If a prospect chooses to opt in to your email list, how often should they expect to hear from you? Will you sell them out to a telemarketing agency, or will you keep their contact information under wraps?

    When the experience of interfacing with your business matches what you say it’ll be — a button takes people where you said it would and you email them only as often as you pledged to, for example — people will allow themselves to trust what you have to say.

    Below is a prime example of trust-amplifying, expectation-managing microcopy from the newsletter signup page of inbound marketing agency IMPACT Branding & Design.

    IMPACT-Branding-and-Design-Blog-Page.png

    7) Put the audience in the center of stories you tell.

    When you write content, or have someone write your content for you, make sure to use the word “you.” It works as a placeholder for the reader’s name, which helps to disarm people and help them be more receptive to your message.

    Research suggests that some people were more likely to marry someone with the same initials as them — that’s how powerful your name is. On the other hand, using a person’s name too much comes off as creepy, so you have to be careful with it. “You” places the reader in your content as if you are speaking directly to them and involving them, without the risks of using their name too much.

    This principle extends well beyond word choice. Instead of turning people off by making your content all about your company and its solutions, publish stories of empowerment where the audience is the hero.

    Business management platform WorkflowMax does this extremely well with their website messaging, which emphases the product’s benefits to the audience:

    Online-Workflow-Max-Stories.png

    Avoid Tripping Those Trust Alarms

    Build your website and other brand presences with these tips in mind, and you’ll have a leg up on building customer trust. By amping up on your company’s credibility, your visitors will feel safe engaging with you.

    How do you inspire trust on your website? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.

    free webinar: how to get more value from your website

    May

    9

    2016

    6 Conversion Experts Answer 20 of Your Most Important CRO Questions [Live Google Hangout]

    Blog_header_image_-_resized_1.jpg

    Whether you’re new to marketing or decades into your career, conversion rate optimization is an ever-changing topic and necessary asset in your marketing playbook.

    Looking to learn more about your audience? Want to manipulate your existing resources to improve their performance? How about growing your business by improving lead flow? Wouldn’t that be nice?

    An effective CRO strategy can help you achieve all that — without forcing you to crank out a bunch of new content. 

    In this live Google Hangout, these six experts will teach you the most up-to-date CRO strategies and how to use different methods to get results. With your help building the agenda, we’re going to play “20 Questions” with today’s top CRO experts and learn how to start, where to start, and when to stop testing and optimizing your marketing efforts for lead conversion. 

    • When: Wednesday 6/1 @ 2 p.m. ET // 5 p.m. GMT // 9 a.m. PT for one hour
    • Where: Live Google Hangout
    • Hashtag: #CROhangout

    Want to learn more about conversion rate optimization? Click here to save your seat for this live event.

    Meet the Conversion Experts

    Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz

    Rand Fishkin

    Rand Fishkin uses the ludicrous title, Wizard of Moz. He’s founder and former CEO of Moz, board member at presentation software startup Haiku Deck, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.orgRand’s an unsaveable addict of all things content, search, and social.

    Larry Kim, Founder & CTO, Wordstream

    Larry Kim

    Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. He bootstrapped the company by providing internet consulting services while funding/managing a team of engineers and marketers to develop and sell software for search engine marketing automation. Today he serves as company CTO and is a contributor to both the product team and marketing teams.  

    Oli Gardner, Co-founder, Unbounce

    Oli Gardner, Unbounce

    Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. His disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary. He is a prolific webinar guest and writer, and speaks internationally about Conversion-Centered Design where he is consistently ranked as the top speaker. 

    Peep Laja, Founder, ConversionXL

    Peep_Laja.jpg

    Peep is an entrepreneur and conversion optimization expert with 10+ years of global experience. He has extensive experience across verticals: In the past he’s run a software company in Europe, an SEO agency in Panama, a real estate portal in Dubai, and worked for an international non-profit. 

    Pamela Vaughan, Principle Optimization Marketing Manager, HubSpot

    Pamela Vaughan

    As HubSpot’s principle optimization marketer, Pam currently manages large-scale projects relating to CRO and SEO (with an expertise in blog/content optimization) on the HubSpot marketing team’s new optimization team. Her team’s goal is to optimize and grow traffic and conversions from HubSpot’s various marketing assets. 

    Michael Aagard, Senior Conversion Optimizer, Unbounce

    Michel Aagard

    For seven years, Michael has spent about 60 hours a week testing and optimizing websites to gain a deeper understanding of what really works in Online Marketing and CRO. He’s helped a multitude of clients from all over the world make more money online. In July 2015 he quit his career and joined Unbounce as Senior Conversion Optimizer. 

    Moderated by: Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of Marketing, HubSpot

    Meghan Keaney Anderson

    As Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot, Meghan leads the content, product marketing, and customer marketing teams. Together with her teams, she’s responsible for the company’s blogs, podcast, and overall content strategy, as well as the company’s product launch and customer demand campaigns.

    join a Google Hangout With CRO experts

    May

    9

    2016

    6 Conversion Experts Answer 20 of Your Most Important CRO Questions [Live Google Hangout]

    Blog_header_image_-_resized_1.jpg

    Whether you’re new to marketing or decades into your career, conversion rate optimization is an ever-changing topic and necessary asset in your marketing playbook.

    Looking to learn more about your audience? Want to manipulate your existing resources to improve their performance? How about growing your business by improving lead flow? Wouldn’t that be nice?

    An effective CRO strategy can help you achieve all that — without forcing you to crank out a bunch of new content. 

    In this live Google Hangout, these six experts will teach you the most up-to-date CRO strategies and how to use different methods to get results. With your help building the agenda, we’re going to play “20 Questions” with today’s top CRO experts and learn how to start, where to start, and when to stop testing and optimizing your marketing efforts for lead conversion. 

    • When: Wednesday 6/1 @ 2 p.m. ET // 5 p.m. GMT // 9 a.m. PT for one hour
    • Where: Live Google Hangout
    • Hashtag: #CROhangout

    Want to learn more about conversion rate optimization? Click here to save your seat for this live event.

    Meet the Conversion Experts

    Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz

    Rand Fishkin

    Rand Fishkin uses the ludicrous title, Wizard of Moz. He’s founder and former CEO of Moz, board member at presentation software startup Haiku Deck, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.orgRand’s an unsaveable addict of all things content, search, and social.

    Larry Kim, Founder & CTO, Wordstream

    Larry Kim

    Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. He bootstrapped the company by providing internet consulting services while funding/managing a team of engineers and marketers to develop and sell software for search engine marketing automation. Today he serves as company CTO and is a contributor to both the product team and marketing teams.  

    Oli Gardner, Co-founder, Unbounce

    Oli Gardner, Unbounce

    Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. His disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary. He is a prolific webinar guest and writer, and speaks internationally about Conversion-Centered Design where he is consistently ranked as the top speaker. 

    Peep Laja, Founder, ConversionXL

    Peep_Laja.jpg

    Peep is an entrepreneur and conversion optimization expert with 10+ years of global experience. He has extensive experience across verticals: In the past he’s run a software company in Europe, an SEO agency in Panama, a real estate portal in Dubai, and worked for an international non-profit. 

    Pamela Vaughan, Principle Optimization Marketing Manager, HubSpot

    Pamela Vaughan

    As HubSpot’s principle optimization marketer, Pam currently manages large-scale projects relating to CRO and SEO (with an expertise in blog/content optimization) on the HubSpot marketing team’s new optimization team. Her team’s goal is to optimize and grow traffic and conversions from HubSpot’s various marketing assets. 

    Michael Aagard, Senior Conversion Optimizer, Unbounce

    Michel Aagard

    For seven years, Michael has spent about 60 hours a week testing and optimizing websites to gain a deeper understanding of what really works in Online Marketing and CRO. He’s helped a multitude of clients from all over the world make more money online. In July 2015 he quit his career and joined Unbounce as Senior Conversion Optimizer. 

    Moderated by: Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of Marketing, HubSpot

    Meghan Keaney Anderson

    As Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot, Meghan leads the content, product marketing, and customer marketing teams. Together with her teams, she’s responsible for the company’s blogs, podcast, and overall content strategy, as well as the company’s product launch and customer demand campaigns.

    join a Google Hangout With CRO experts

    Apr

    13

    2016

    What Email List Growth Looks Like in 2016: 5 Takeaways for Marketers [New Data]

    Email List Growth

    It’s the beginning of the quarter. You just set your team’s new lead goals, and you’re starting to think about what steps you’re going to have to take to achieve them. 

    While whipping up some compelling content and placing lead generation forms in all the right places sounds like a feasible strategy, rest assure that there’s more to be considered. 

    Here’s the thing: Not all forms and pop-ups are created equal. In other words, factors like display type, trigger, timing, and device type can have a big impact on your ability to encourage your website visitors to sign up for anything.

    To help shed some light on the current state of email list growth, our team at Privy took a look at six months worth of data, across 5,000 of our most active users. As a result, we were left with a ton of interesting email capture trends and takeaways. 

    (Note: These results will certainly vary for different audiences, but the hope is that they provide you with a jumping off point for your own research.)

    The Current State of Email List Growth: 5 Takeaways for Marketers

    1) ‘Enter to Win’ campaigns offer the most incentive to join your email list.

    Above all else, our data revealed that the type of content you employ carries the most significant impact on conversions. To better understand which types of content provide the most incentive for visitors to convert, we zoomed in on three different content categories:

    • Sign-up campaigns: This is a simple “join our email list” form. In some cases, it may mention that the subscriber can expect great content, but it typically refrains from using a specific offer to incentivize conversion.
    • Offer campaigns: Just like it sounds, an offer backed-campaign uses the promise of a specific piece of content or a promo code/coupon in exchange for conversion. Think: “Download this whitepaper.”
    • ‘Enter to Win’ campaigns: This is more of a sweepstakes type giveaway, where at the end of the campaign schedule, a winner, or group of winners will randomly be selected.

    According to our research, ‘enter to win’ forms offer the most incentive to join — converting at an average of 15%. While it’s likely that the success of this particular type of content can be tied back to our human desire to win something — anything — at a single stroke, there’s something larger that we can learn from this. If visitors are driven to “win,” that might mean that we could benefit from using language that positions our offer, whether it be a piece of content or a subscription, as something that will help people succeed — something that will help them get a leg up on the competition.

    Conversion_Rate_by_Campaign_Type_Privy.png

    Remember: Depending on your brand and campaign intention, not all of these campaigns will make sense for you. Regardless, these are great benchmarks to use when comparing your own campaign results.

    2) When it comes to display style, banners outperform bars and pop-ups.

    Marketers love to A/B test campaign creative, yet for the most part the tests are restricted to a single display type. We looked across the three most popular form display types to examine which performs best. First let’s understand each display type:

    • Pop-up: Also referred to as a lightbox, this display type often appears in the center of a website or “flies out” in the corner. 

    Join_Our_List_Popup.gif

    • Bar: A full width bar that typically sits either on top of your site, or at the bottom.

    Join_Our_List_Bar.gif

    • Banner: A more subtle interaction that sits at the top or bottom of a site, but starts in a “hidden” state until triggered, and then rolls into sight.

    Join_Our_List_Banner.gif

    According to our results, the banner outperforms both the pop-up and email bar. While it’s easy for visitors to feel bombarded by a pop-up, or overlook an email bar, the banner display seems to strike a happy medium between the two. 

    Conversion_Rate_by_Style.png

    3) Tab CTAs delivered higher conversion rates than both time-based and exit-intent CTAs. 

    There are a number of options to explore when determining how and when you want to present your visitors with a list growth CTA. To clarify, let’s take a look at a few different types of triggers:

    • Timer: Time-based triggers allow you to specify when to display a list growth CTA, based on how long a visitor has been on your site. 
    • Exit intent: This option tracks your visitor’s mouse movement to trigger a CTA when they appear to be leaving your website (moving their mouse towards the X). 
    • Tabs: This trigger typically appears within your site’s layout — in the corner, along the bottom of the page, etc. — and prompts visitors to clickthrough to reveal a form. 

    Based on our findings, tab triggers saw a 32.43% conversion rate, which was dramatically higher than the other types.

    Trigger_Types.png

    Why the noticeable difference? While time-based triggers and exit-intent campaigns have proved useful for many businesses, tab triggers require your visitors to proactively clickthrough to access a form. In other words, those who take action are typically more engaged — hence the higher conversion rate. 

    (Note: Conversion rate is measured based on campaign views that resulted in signups by trigger type — not total site traffic.)

    4) Device specific design and targeting can make a big difference.

    For many businesses, the buyer’s journey starts on one device and ends on another. With this multi-device process in mind, it’s important that we’re planning our email list growth campaigns accordingly. 

    As your might expect, our research revealed that desktop traffic converted better than mobile traffic. However, we also found that tablet users actually converted .10% better than desktop users. 

    Conversion_Rate_by_Device.png

    How can you use this information to inform your strategy? Above all else, make sure that your list growth campaign contains optimized conversion opportunities across all devices. While an image-heavy pop-up might perform well on desktop, it’s best to keep mobile interactions clean and simple. 

    5) New visitors are more likely to convert than repeat visitors.

    Like forms and pop-ups, not all traffic is created equal. In fact, we found that new visitors convert at 2.81%, compared to repeat visitors converting at 1.23%.

    Conversion_Rate_by_Visitor.png

    When crafting or tweaking your list growth campaigns, consider using audience attributes to determine whether or not they should see a particular campaign. For example, limit welcome offers to first time visitors, and target returning visitors with more advanced content.

    By limiting the display based on how many times someone has visited your site, you’re ultimately creating a better, less frustrating user experience. 

    Ready, Set, Grow

    Like anything else in marketing, you need to start somewhere. Implement your first lead capture campaign, and start tracking conversion rates. You can always tweak your design, targeting, and content to turn up the dials later.

    Remember: These findings reflect the behavior of our users. The best way to grow your email list is to use these findings to inform your own research and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

    For even more on Privy’s findings, check out the comprehensive report here

    free ebook: how to grow your email list

    Mar

    22

    2016

    50 Free Call-to-Action Templates to Design Clickable CTAs in PowerPoint [Free Download]

    Call-to-action-templates

    Want to earn money for your business? Want to generate leads for your sales team? Want to accelerate sales for your online store? Want to do anything for your business that actually matters?

    Well then you need calls-to-action. Without them, we wouldn’t be converting our website visitors or social media fans into actual leads for our sales team. Without them, we wouldn’t be calling on our audience to take any action in their lifecycle that actually benefits them or the growth of your business.

    Download your 50 free call-to-action templates in PowerPoint here.

    But just because they’re important doesn’t mean we all have a professional designer at our disposal — whether due to budget limitations, resource restrictions, or just lack of design skills. That’s why we created 50 free call-to-action (CTA) templates in PowerPoint for you to customize and use. The template will teach you how to customize your new CTAs effectively, so don’t let fear of DIY design stop you. 

    This post will give you a sneak peek into a large set of designs available in the template. Download it now and follow along.

    1) Basic Calls-to-Action

    Sometimes you just need a quick and clean button that helps drive conversions. Building a landing page that needs a customized submit button? Working on a website page that needs to drive visitors to a coupon? Drafting a blog post that needs a “read more” button after the summary? We’ve got you covered. The first set of 22 CTA designs in our set of templates are basic buttons. Here’s a sampling of six:

    basic-CTA-templates.png

    2) Social Media Share and Sentiment Calls-to-Action

    Data from Dan Zarrella shows that specific diction in your social calls-to-action help drive engagement, but another great way to drive social engagement is through social CTAs on other assets of your website, landing pages, blog posts, and so on. This set of ten templates provides you with two types of designs: social share buttons and social sentiment buttons. Let’s take a look at a sample of both.

    Social Share CTAs

    As you can see in the sample of share buttons below, these buttons are helping drive social actions from your content. Making these buttons clickable is as simple as generating the right code to hyperlink it to. This blog post walks you through how to do so step-by-step.

    social-CTA-templates.png

    Social Sentiment CTAs

    Social sentiment CTAs are those that include public testimonials — often from social media users. As you can see in the example below, we built a CTA in PowerPoint and attached a screenshot of a publicly posted Facebook comment. Be sure to test the use of such social sentiment on your content and explore how their inclusion benefits your conversion rates.

    social-sentiment-cta-template.png

    3) Contextualized Calls-to-Actions

    You’ve seen some basic CTA options thus far. The next set of nine options call on you to include more context. These designs are created with the intention of further explaining the value of taking action. Just be sure to keep the overall layout of the button simple so that users can easily see the action you’re calling on them to take. Here are two sample designs available in the template:

    contextualized-CTA-template-568830-edited.png

    4) Photo and Mobile Device Calls-to-Action

    Photos can serve as a great asset when creating your calls-to-action. Not to mention it’s super easy because all you have to do is overlay some text! Photos make it easy to humanize and customize your messages for your brand and audience. Similarly, mobile and desktop devices can help make your action “pop.” Rather than including a screenshot of your product, try putting that screenshot on a kindle to show it in action! If you have trouble locating copyright-free photos to use, you can download our set of 160 free photos. No attribution required, just download and use! Here are three sample CTA designs from the bunch.

    photo-device-cta-templates.png

    5) Qualifying Calls-to-Actions

    When you’re trying to nurture a lead further down the funnel, you want to ensure you’re presenting CTAs to qualify them for your sales team. For these CTAs, it’s important that they are welcoming and not pushy. Having a great design can help can help you naturally move your leads further down your marketing funnel. Here are two examples from the templates you could customize to help convert a lead to marketing qualified lead:

    qualifying-cta-template.png

    Not sure how to exactly save and use these templates? Don’t worry, your download of these 50 templates will include step-by-step instructions on how to save and use these templates on your website. 

    What templates are you most excited to try? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

    download free CTA templates in PPT

     
    download 50 free CTA templates