31 Funny Twitter Bios & How to Write Your Own

Perhaps one of the most challenging parts of making an impact on social media is coming up with something profound in 140 characters. That’s right; I’m talking about the tweet.

A tweet is short, sweet, and to the point. And crafting one often leaves us staring blankly at that little blinking cursor, hoping for a way to rephrase the tweet to let up some characters for an image, a link, or that ever-essential hashtag.

Unsurprisingly, a Twitter bio is equally challenging. You mean to tell me that I have 160 characters (thanks for the extra 20?) to explain to the Twittersphere who I am, what I do, and why my Twitter is worth following?

It might not seem like a big deal, but keep this in mind: Your bio is one the main things people use to decide whether or not to follow you on Twitter — so what you write in your Twitter bio needs to count.

Yes, it can be hard to sum up who you are and give followers an idea of your personality in one tiny tweet-sized bio. So here are a few quick steps to help:

As we’ve mentioned, leaning on humor can be a quick way to show off your personality and make you seem relatable to audiences. 

To give you some inspiration, we’re taking a moment to highlight some of the most amusing and entertaining bios we could find.

We’ve scoured far and wide and am proud to present to you with 28 of the funniest bios — from real people, beloved brands, and fictitious characters that pepper the Twittersphere.

28 of the Funniest Twitter Bios We Could Find

1. @TheMikeTrainor

Funny twitter bio from @TheMikeTrainor

Why we’re amused:

Comedian and writer Mike Trainor makes my inner seven-year-old want to ask him to pull my finger. Also, imagining Mr. Trainor saying, “He who smelt it,” while looking as dapper as he does in his profile picture is a little slice of added amusement. Plus, we can’t help but love this bio’s self-deprecation, in its allusion to the fact that one of his shows is “still airing somehow.”

2. @UberFacts

Funny Twitter bio from @UberFacts

Why we’re amused:

UberFacts fills our brains with seemingly unnecessary information all day, every day. Though with the rise of popularity in bar-hosted trivia nights and games like Trivia Crack, I wouldn’t say we’ll never need to know things like this:

3. @NelsonFranklin

Funny Twitter bio from @NelsonFranklin

Why we’re amused:

I [verb describing feelings of having a strong liking for] this. American actor Nelson Franklin gets us. We’ve seen enough “Actor/Entertainer/Jazz Pianist” Twitter bios — seriously.

Franklin took it upon himself to create a bio that not only asks his followers to test out their imaginations, but one which will also withstand the test of time. I mean, no matter what Nelson Franklin becomes in life, “Noun/noun/noun” is likely to be pretty accurate.

4. @mikeindustries

Funny Twitter bio from @MikeIndustries

Why we’re amused:

Mike Davidson, former VP of Design at Twitter, is a connoisseur of sorts — and while he has an impressive background, we do enjoy his present credential of, “Currently chillin’.”

We also can’t help but wonder: Does the Twitter bio 160 character limit have to do with the aesthetics of a Twitter page’s design? Is Mike Davidson to blame?

5. @JamieAmacher

Funny Twitter bio from @JamieAmacher

Why we’re amused:

Some people aim to save neglected pets. Jamie Amacher aims to save neglected houseplants. Buffalo, NY resident (and coworker of mine at Mainstreethost), Amacher knows the importance of keeping plants alive indoors — especially since, here in the Northeast U.S., we don’t get to see much plant life outside during winter.

I must say, it’s a noble act; sacrificing a Twitter bio front-loaded with accomplishments. for the sake of our forgetful nature and thirsty houseplants.

6. @sixthformpoet

Funny Twitter bio from sixthformpoet

Why we’re amused:

Like a homeless individual asking me for beer money, I can respect this. The mysterious Sixth Form Poet is an author (as she or he is quick to remind us) of the book The Sixth Form Poet, and offers up this Twitter handle on the book’s cover as authorship. The Sixth Form Poet has attracted 143k fans to date, which is fitting, considering this 2013 tweet:

7) @Lord_Voldemort7

Funny Twitter bio from @Lord_Voldemort7

Why we’re amused:

Harry Potter fans, rejoice — or cower in fear. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has a Twitter, and he’s not afraid to share his truth — in the form of a clever use of Christina Perri lyrics.

8. @shelbyfero

funny twitter bio from @shelbyfero

Why we’re amused:

As we mentioned above, we always appreciate a bit of tasteful self-deprecating humor, and Shelby Fero gives us just that in her Twitter bio. Though, according to HiTFiX (and her impressive Twitter following of 122k), it seems that people are crazy about her — at the very least, on Twitter. And, if you’re curious about her work, she’s also conveniently included a link to Google search her instead of providing a website.

9. @Arbys

Funny Twitter bio from @Arbys

Why we’re amused:

Arby’s puns its slogan, “We have the meat.”, by replacing meat with tweets. This is a great way of reminding people of your slogan while making a funny joke about the platform you’re on. 

10. @sweetestsara

Funny twitter bio from @Sweetestsara

Why we’re amused:

Sara Rubin is a video producer at BuzzFeed. You can thank her in part for many of the fantastic BuzzFeed videos you see circulating around social media and love are obsessed with. If you’ve seen any of the videos in which she’s, you know she’s an overall lovable and whimsical character — not to mention, hilariously awkward and anxious, like a good handful of us.

Her Twitter bio is just as imaginative and adds a touch of fantasy that I think provides a welcomed breather from some of the more serious Twitter bios out there.

11. @JohnCleese

Funny twitter bio from @JohnCleese

Why we’re amused:

John Cleese is an English writer, actor and tall person (according to his website). As he is also a comedian, we’re allowed to find it incredibly humorous that he mentions in his Twitter bio that he’s still alive, contrary to rumor. Plus, he’s doing “the silly walk” in his app, and we invite you to see for yourself just how silly it is. (Monty Python fans, rejoice.)

12 & 13) @arnettwill & @batemanjason

Funny twitter bios from @arnettwill and @BatemanJason

Why we’re amused:

First off, it’s clear to me that BFF Twitter bios are the BFF necklace of 2017. Actors Will Arnett and Jason Bateman wear their BFF-dom proud for all of the Twitterland to see — but it’s not the first time they’ve taken their affinity for one another to the public eye. In 2013, they were seen strolling down the street on a sunny afternoon in 2013 while having some fun with the nearby paparazzi:

14 & 15. @AlisonLeiby & @alyssawolff

Funny Twitter bios from @AlisonLeiby and @Alyssawolff

Why we’re amused:

In a similar fashion, writers Alison Leiby and Alyssa Wolff have obviously made a BFF pact to dedicate their Twitter bios to one another. Again — we approve.

16. The Onion

Funny Twitter bio from @TheOnion

Why we’re amused:

The Onion is probably the most well-known and popular satirical news site. They publish gag headlines and goofy articles for the sake of humor. In this bio, they sarcastically claim that they are the opposite of a joke site by calling themselves the, “finest news source.”

17. @Lesdoggg

Funny Twitter by from @Lesdoggg

Why we’re amused:

What do we love about comedian Leslie Jones’ Twitter bio? It’s simple and to the point. Plus, we can’t help but snicker at the humor in its simplicity — she lets us know about her line of work, without any jokes. That’s okay; luckily, her on-screen work and actual tweets provide plenty of hilarious fodder.

18. @shondarhimes

Funny twitter bio from @Shondarhimes

Why we’re amused:

For many of us, Shonda Rhimes is a legend — and our Thursday nights would be so much less interesting without her. She’s the writer behind such hit shows as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” and yes: People love to tweet their plotline opinions to her. She stops that madness with a concise, funny quip in her bio: “It’s not real, okay?” Yes, Ms. Rhimes.

19. @aparnapkin

Funny twitter bio from @aparnapkin

Why we’re amused:

Comedian Aparna Nancherla’s Twitter handle (@aparnapkin) is seemingly a play on her name, which is silly enough. Based on her bio I’d be willing to guess that her Twitter feed is equally as amusing.

That assumption is backed up by TIME, as her feed was named one of The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2014. Out of about 328 million monthly active users on Twitter, that ain’t too shabby – she’s definitely considered a comedian in this culture, if I had to guess.

20. @notzuckerberg

Funny Twitter bio from @NotZuckerberg

Why we’re amused:

In case you haven’t already guessed, this is NOT Mark Zuckerberg. But that doesn’t stop @notzuckerberg (a.k.a., Twitter user @afterthatsummer) from tweeting as if (s)he were the “Zuck.”

The fake Mark Zuckerberg is pretty funny, as proven by his Twitter bio and tweets like this:

Touché, fake Zuck. Touché.

21. @AnnaKendrick47

Funny Twitter bio from @AnnaKendrick47

Why we’re amused:

We’ve always been rather amused by Anna Kendrick’s self-deprecating humor in general. Take, for example, this pinned tweet:

Plus, we love the location she listed. (Same here, Ms. Kendrick.)

22. @FirstWorldPains

Funny Twitter bio from @FirstWorldPainsWhy we’re amused:

This account pokes fun at “first world problems,” where people complain about things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things: cold French fries, getting the wrong coffee, a cell phone dying, or — as @FirstWorldPains mentions in its bio — the absolutely terrible moment when you really, really want to write a good online bio, but can’t think of anything. #worstdayofmylife

23. @Charmin

Funny Twitter bio from @Charmin

Why we’re amused:

Charmin, as we know, sells toilet paper. We’re all adults here, and we all know what it’s used for. Charmin’s Twitter bio is entertaining because, considering its industry, the brand gets the awkwardness out of the way immediately, letting us all know that, hey, quality toilet paper is a good thing … and a good bathroom trip — or, “the go,” as it’s called here — should be enjoyed.

Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a good, TP-related riddle?

24. @ComedyCentral

Funny twitter bio from @ComedyCentral

Why we’re amused:

Because we see what you did there, Comedy Central. Also, this:

For some of us, cheese is always the answer, no matter what the problem.

25. @YourAwayMessage

Funny twitter bio from @YourAwayMessage

Why we’re amused:

Are we the only ones who remember the days of AOL Instant Messenger, a.k.a., AIM? Think back, if you can, to a time before Slack, Twitter, and even Facebook — and maybe, just maybe, it’ll all come back to you.

If looking at this bio (and its accompanying profile image) gives you an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, then you already know why it’s amusing. Remember AIM profiles? And sub-profiles? And away messages? Or the sound of that creaky door opening when your ~*cRuSh*~ signed on?

Also, the location being “the den” is on point. If this doesn’t hit home for you, view this BuzzFeed article, or move on to the next!

26. @TheEllenShow

Funny twitter bio from @TheEllenShow

Why we’re amused:

Ellen DeGeneres entertains us on social media, television, real life, etc. She’s just plain amusing. So it should come as no surprise that her actual bio on Twitter is pretty darn amusing. According to her bio, she has a second job as an ice road trucker — hmm — and her tweets are both real, and spectacular. Well, she’s not lying about her tweets. After all, see below. So, what does that tell us about her second job? We buy it.

27. @tomhanks

Funny Twitter bio from @TomHanks

Why we’re amused:

Fame didn’t get to Tom Hanks’ head. He’s a normal person, just like you and I, having issues with fluctuating weight. Sometimes, he gains people’s approval — and other times, not so much. To that, we say, “Tweet on, Tom.”

28. @FranksRedHot

Funny Twitter bio from @FranksRedHot

Why we’re amused:

If you’re as big a fan of Frank’s RedHot as we are, then you know how easy it to actually but that — ahem — [stuff] on everything. Of course, as marketers, we agree that the brand might as well put it on Twitter, too.

29. @popchips

Funny twitter bio from @PopChips

Why we’re amused:

We wish eating popchips was in our job descriptions — since, when they’re around, we certainly eat them like it’s part of our collective responsibilities.

30. Pepsi

Funny twitter bio from @Pepsi

Why we’re amused:

It’s pretty funny to imagine a social media manager getting distracted from their job duties because the product they’re supposed to be marketing is just so delicious. 

31. @Alexa99

Funny twitter bio from @Alexa99Why we’re amused:

This is the official account of the Amazon Alexa voice assistant. The bio is funny because it reads as if a robot wrote it. For those who have an Alexa, they might also know that Alexa is bad at puns and tells bad jokes when asked. So, her interests, along with the sci-fi Star Trek, make sense for her. 

Because she is a robot, the most hilarious thing in this bio is how it ends with “Tweets and opinions are my own.” 

Find Your Twitter Humor

It’s true — exercising humor while also tweeting as a responsible business is often a fine line to walk. But as these examples show, it’s possible to be both self-deprecating and funny on social media, as long as it aligns with your brand.

And, as always, we’ll continue bringing you the latest news and tactics in conquering social media.

 
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10 B2B Social Media Strategies That Work For Any Industry

B2B businesses are proof that any business can be successful on social media. Why? Because they’ve turned a niche industry that — admittedly — isn’t the most exciting into a playground for social content.

When I think about B2B companies with a great social media presence, a lot of examples come to mind: IBM, Google, HubSpot, and so many more. These companies do an amazing job of sharing content that interests and builds their audience — so much so that they don’t seem too concerned with broadcasting their products or services constantly.

For a B2B company to be successful on social media, their content needs to find the middle ground between being engaging and not disrupting their audiences’ experience on the platform. Ultimately, these companies need to figure out what their audience wants to see to truly reap the benefits of social media.

B2B companies have transformed the landscape of what it means to be a brand on social media. In order to engage and attract your own audience, then, consider the following strategies used in the B2B space that might lead your own social accounts to success.

10 B2B Social Media Strategies for Any Industry

1. Set SMART goals.

Like any other marketing channel, a social media strategy needs to be based off of goals in order to be successful. Defining specific, measurable KPIs for your company’s social media — whether they’re based on brand awareness or acquisition — will be the key to measuring success down the line.

To determine KPIs, you have to decide what success means to your brand. Are you trying to use social media as an acquisition channel? Do you want to increase your reach, or gain more traffic on your company blog? This will decide what metrics to track.

For instance, if your business is looking for leads, metrics like clicks and conversions are important. For brand awareness, it’s more vital to consider engagement, reach, and impressions.

Here is an effective example of a SMART goal for a company that is just starting to gain traction on social media:

Goal: To build brand awareness on social media.

Specific: I want to boost our company’s brand awareness by posting regularly and frequently on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I will increase our posts on Twitter from once to four times a day, post daily on Instagram, and increase weekly publishing frequency on LinkedIn and Facebook from four to seven times per week. Our content creators will increase their workload from creating two posts a week to three posts a week, and our designer will increase her workload from one asset a week to two assets a week.

Measureable: A 4% increase in engagement rate across the board is our goal.

Attainable: Our engagement rate increased by an average of 2% last month when we increased our weekly publishing frequency and spent more time on thoughtful, engaging copy.

Relevant: By increasing engagement rate, we’ll boost brand awareness and generate more leads, giving sales more opportunities to close.

Time-Bound: End of this month.

SMART Goal: At the end of this month, our average engagement rate across our social media channels will see a 4% lift by increasing our post frequency and concentrating on thoughtful, engaging copy.

2. Keep an eye on competitors.

Social media opens the door to your competitor’s marketing strategy, or at the very least, their social media marketing strategy. For larger companies, keeping tabs on your competitors is part of the territory. You want to know what campaigns they’re running to see if they’re successful. And if that company’s target audience is similar to your own, you can take inspiration from that campaign.

But keeping tabs on your competitors on social media isn’t at all about copying their strategies. Being involved in the same industry will lead to crossover with your audiences and their interests. If you see that your competitor isn’t responding to trending news, then maybe it makes sense for your brand to do so. Looking for these opportunities will differentiate you from your competition.

3. Share original content.

This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but many businesses establish their social media presence on curating content from other sources. The truth is, your audience can tell the difference between content that is original and creative versus something you posted just to say you were active on the platform that day.

Social media shouldn’t be
just a distribution channel. Social media marketers also need to be content marketers to have a positive impact on their brand.

If you’re having trouble coming up with original content everyday, it’s okay to scale back your operation. If you don’t have the bandwidth to post on every platform, spend your time on the channels where your audience is the most developed.

And if you need content creation inspiration, head to The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation.

4. Use multimedia.

There’s a reason social media marketers get excited when a social platform launches a new feature — it’s because it adds a new medium to play with and test with your audience.

Instagram Stories, Twitter polls, and LinkedIn documents are all perfect examples of utilizing the multimedia formats that are unique to each channel.

Creating and publishing multimedia content on your social media channels adds an interest factor that will help you earn your audiences’ attention.

Think of it this way — if you scrolled through Twitter and only saw text-based posts, you’d get bored pretty quickly. The reason Twitter is addicting is because every Tweet is different. In a 10-second scroll you might come across a meme, a poll, a video, a photo collage, and a gif. The same should be true for your brand’s feed.

When you think of social media content, you should be thinking about the story behind the post in addition to all the different ways you can tell it.

5. Highlight your employees.

Many B2B companies do a great job of spotlighting their employees, which allows the audience to put faces to the company and personalize the brand. This is important for small and large companies alike, because whether you’re selling computers to businesses or opening a neighborhood restaurant — people are the heart of your business.

Additionally, highlighting your employees is a good opportunity for employer branding. Employer branding increases your employees’ advocacy by giving them the ability to spread word-of-mouth about their place of work.

Showcasing your staff may also increase your reach and engagement. For instance, instead of posting a product photo, you might post a photo of the 20 people who created the product, which would likely be shared with those 20 peoples’ networks.

6. Have a distinguished brand voice.

Whenever your company posts a blog, edits a pillar page, or posts on social media, it gives you a chance to demonstrate your brand voice. Just like a customer would recognize your logo, you should strive for them to be able to recognize your brand voice, too.

Like any other marketing asset, your social content should always be aligned to your company’s perspective. Does your company like to poke fun at challenges, or offer advice? Some of the most popular examples of consistent brand voice on social are fast-food companies like Burger King or Wendy’s:

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 1.43.23 PMSee Full Tweet Here

Wendy’s approach makes a lasting impression on consumers because of how different it is from every other brand. But you don’t have to make fun of a competitor in order to have a voice that stands out. Your brand voice can be friendly, casual, formal, snarky, humorous, serious, or any of the above.

If you’re having a hard time identifying your brand voice, try looking back at past blog posts or landing page copy. Take note of the emotion and tone in the copy, and try to convey that in your social messaging.

Having a unique brand voice also gives you the opportunity to stand out in an already crowded marketplace.

If you want more tips for building your brand voice from the ground up, here is a helpful slideshow to get you started.

7. Offer support.

Nothing is more frustrating than tweeting at a brand with a customer support issue and hearing radio silence. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth to create a separate Twitter account dedicated to support, keeping an eye out for these issues and replying to them right away is a good chance to rectify your customer relationship — and shows future customers that you’re there for them if a future problem arises.

8. Maintain consistency.

One of the hardest parts about posting on social media is maintaining consistency. Posting to every single channel every day takes a lot of time, content creation, and planning. If you’re just starting out, try spending time creating smart content that adds to your audience’s feeds instead of posting every day. It’s better to push out a well thought out tweet that adds to the conversation and encourages engagement than five quick blog links with just an article title as the copy.

Another way to maintain consistency is to create a publishing calendar and schedule posts ahead of time using a social media tool.

9. Experiment with content and posting times.

This is a step to take after you’ve proven that you can maintain a regular posting schedule and want to dive a little deeper into audience insights. There are always best practices for when and what you’re posting on social media, but the truth is that every audience is different, so you’ll want to run experiments to figure out what works best for your brand.

There are endless experiments you can conduct on your channels. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Alternate between using questions and statistics in your copy to see which one pulls your audience in more.
  • Test different link positions to find out if it makes users more likely to click.
  • Add emojis to see if it increases interactions.
  • Post more frequently.
  • Post less frequently.
  • Put paid behind a video post and a still image to see which performs better.
  • Segment a different part of your audience to test how they react to an ad.
  • Test different amounts of hashtags to see if it affects impressions.
  • Spend more time replying to posts to find out if it increases your follower count.

Experimenting with your content is how you figure out your own best practices, which will always be more personalized than industry standards.

10. Engage in conversation

Social media was created to help people make connections with other people. Even though brands have entered and occupied the space for a while now, that sentiment hasn’t changed.

Your brand won’t be able to connect with your audience if all you’re doing is pushing your product at them.

It’s disruptive, and nobody wants to interact with a post that pulls them away from what they want their social feed to look like.

The key to staying relevant on social is to engage in the conversations your target audience is interested in having — even if doesn’t have much to do with your product. For instance, take a look at this tweet by HubSpot:

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 1.45.27 PM

See Full Tweet Here

This tweet has nothing to do with HubSpot’s product, but it does have to do with what HubSpot’s audience is interested in. As a company, HubSpot knows that its users and potential customers are interested in tech news and what’s happening in the business world. Therefore, it sparked conversation.

B2B companies aren’t the only ones who can use these strategies for social media, and they’ve already proven that these strategies can work for a variety of target audiences — so why not try employing some of these strategies on your own audience?

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Author: Isabelle Hahn

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LinkedIn vs. Facebook: Which Is Best for Business?

The slew of social media channels available today can paralyze even the most savvy business owners.

Where do you start? Which one is best? How do you avoid wasting time on channels that won’t bring in a solid ROI?

The struggle is real.

And, when it comes to Facebook and LinkedIn, the differences between the two can seem tremendous.

Facebook is for sharing pictures of your family vacation, connecting with old friends from school, and sharing viral videos — right? Meanwhile, isn’t LinkedIn meant for keeping track of colleagues and making professional connections that further your career?

The answer, of course, is yes.

But because both platforms are people-based, they provide a number of opportunities to reach your audience. In fact, 78% of American consumers have discovered products on Facebook.

On the other hand, LinkedIn is the most effective platform when it comes to delivering content and securing audience engagement.

Which leaves us with this question — which one should you choose to focus your efforts?

LinkedIn vs. Facebook: Which Is Best for Business?

Let’s recap quickly.

At its core, LinkedIn is a professional network that was initially created as a corporate recruitment platform. Now, it boasts many features similar to traditional social media sites, including status updates, blogging capabilities, and private messages.

Facebook, on the other hand, was specifically designed as a place for people to share and communicate. The “sharing” element is its most prominent selling point, but there are still plenty of other features that allow businesses to effectively reach their audiences.

LinkedIn and Facebook both have the Groups feature that allows you to connect with other like-minded people, and they both have powerful Ad setups.

So with pretty similar features, what are the key differences between the two?

1. Numbers-wise, Facebook wins hands down.

Facebook has an astounding 2.38 billion active users across the world, which makes LinkedIn‘s user base of 630 million seem small in comparison. Plus, both audiences are made up of a diverse array of people, but LinkedIn tends to have a more professional clientele, or those with a deep interest in business.

Perhaps what’s most fascinating, though, isn’t how many users each platform has, but how much time these users spend on each respective site.

On Facebook, people spend around 35 minutes a day scrolling through their feeds and engaging with their friends, whereas LinkedIn users spend just 17 minutes a month using the site.

That being said, you could argue that when people log into LinkedIn, they’re actively looking to do or find something, rather than just aimlessly scrolling. This is important if you’re looking to use these platforms for more than just sharing your latest updates.

2. LinkedIn is better for lead generation.

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If we take a look at Demand Waves State of B2B Digital Marketing report, we can see that LinkedIn is the number one social network for lead generation for businesses — with Facebook fourth on the list behind Twitter and “Not Sure”.

Despite users not spending nearly as much time on LinkedIn as they do on Facebook, they’re more likely to be in a buying mindset.

Ultimately, both platforms are good for different things. While Facebook gives you access to ten times more prospects and provides a great place to generate brand awareness and engagement, LinkedIn beats Facebook when it comes to generating tangible leads.

Now that we’ve taken a general look at the two platforms and pitted them against each other, let’s take a more detailed look at some of the key features they have for businesses.

LinkedIn Groups vs. Facebook Groups

The Groups feature on both LinkedIn and Facebook give businesses the chance to mingle and connect with prospects and other like-minded businesses.

However, it’s critical to keep in mind people’s motives when they’re on the different sites. When users are engaging with others in LinkedIn Groups, there’s a high chance they’re in a work-related mindset in some capacity.

In Facebook Groups, on the other hand, people are more likely to share their personal opinions on everything — from lifestyle and food, to politics and hobbies.

So, when determining which Groups feature is best for you, think about the audience you’re targeting.

For instance, if you’re targeting general consumers with an interest in cooking because you’re selling the latest food blender, Facebook Groups is probably the way to go.

However, if you’re selling a high-priced service for top-tier management personnel, LinkedIn Groups’ filled with work-minded professionals might be a better bet.

Finally, let’s touch on the Ads aspect of both platforms.

In terms of variety, both platforms have reached pretty equal footing this year.

While Facebook has boasted a diverse range of ad types for years (we’re talking canvas, carousel, video, dynamic, and lead ads just to name a few), LinkedIn has just added a swathe of different ad types to its mix — including video, carousel, lead ads, and Sponsored InMail content.

Targeting-wise, if you think Facebook has the capability of reaching more people, you’re right. However, this doesn’t mean that LinkedIn doesn’t have powerful targeting capabilities — in fact, it very much does.

Both platforms are centered around user input and serve up ads and content relevant to the information their members give them.

In both Facebook and LinkedIn you can target people based on job title, household income, company, location, and age on both platforms, but you can dig a little deeper on Facebook, targeting users depending on their life milestones, behavior, and more personalized information.

If you’re targeting other businesses, it’s worth bearing in mind that the information on LinkedIn (like job titles and employers) tends to be kept up-to-date more than the information on Facebook, which means you might get more accurate hits if you’re specifically trying to reach people in a certain type of role or industry.

Lastly, it’s important to consider cost.

Usually, you get more for your money on Facebook. This is simply because there are millions more people on the platform who are on-site for far longer than those on LinkedIn. This means that Facebook can afford to serve cheaper ads, because there is less chance of one user seeing the same ad over and over again.

Who Wins? You Decide

While LinkedIn and Facebook do share some very obvious similarities, it’s clear their purpose, and the way people use each site, is quite different.

Which one you decide to use depends entirely on what industry you’re in, who you’re trying to reach, and your marketing goals.

Ultimately, it’s important to note that, ideally, you’ll use both channels to reach your audience wherever they want to be met. Perhaps you use LinkedIn for a targeted lead generation campaign, while you use Facebook to increase brand awareness and engage with your customers.

At the end of the day, both sites offer valuable opportunities to grow your company. However, you’ll hopefully use this guide to decide which site deserves more of your time and resources, and which can give your company the highest ROI.

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Author: Ryan Gould

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What Is Permission Marketing & How Does It Work?

Have you ever signed up to receive email updates and special offers from a brand you love? Chances are, that answer is “a thousand times, yes.” Say you open your email to see a new promotion from Starbucks. Maybe for your birthday, you’re offered a free drink or a coupon for 20% off. That offer, and others like it, are examples of permission-based marketing.

Permission-Based Email Marketing

Permission-based marketing is a term coined by Seth Godin. It explains how businesses can market to a subscriber who gives their permission to be marketed to or “opts-in” to receiving offers and announcements from a brand.

In his book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers, Godin explains that consumers should have the power to choose how they’re marketed to. When consumers agree to receive marketing emails, marketers are better able to understand and cater to their interests.

If you sign up for Starbucks Rewards, it’s likely because you love their drinks and think the incentive of earning points for each vanilla latte you buy is a pretty good deal.

You might also enter your email address to access an analytics report and check a box giving the company permission to send you other relevant content offers. These instances involve the customer providing information in exchange for something of interest — the basis of permission marketing. In short, it’s a way to niche market to customers on their terms.

There are two types of permission marketing: express and implied.

  • Express-permission marketing – The consumer provides their email to receive marketing messages. For example, they might sign up for a newsletter. Express marketing is common when creating new business relationships.
  • Implied-permission marketing – The business has an existing relationship with the consumer. This might include someone who’s a current customer or frequent website visitor.

Whichever form of email marketing is being used, both hand the reins to the customer, giving them control over when the relationship starts and stops.

Permission-based marketing is a way for businesses to offer incentives that align with customer interest.

Receiving permission to market to your recipients is a way to build trust, value, and brand loyalty with consumers. Sending non-permission based offers can result in consumer frustration, privacy violations, and lost business.

Is Permission Marketing Worth It?

By now, you’ve likely figured out that permission marketing is a cost-effective marketing method. That’s not the only upside. Other pros include maintaining strong client relationships, reputation building, and boosting leads.

By investing time into what customers want to see, customers will become loyal to your brand. Businesses also build a positive reputation by delivering high-quality email marketing to audiences.

Further, permission-based marketing generates new leads. When someone subscribes to your content, they’re subscribing to learn more about the services your business offers.

But, not everything is coming up permission-based marketing roses. Permission marketing does have its downsides. For example, because these permission marketing emails are often automated, businesses must be wary of sending too many. A company that emails their customers about every new deal, sale, or feature launch can overload an inbox and degrade customer interest.

The same can be true of sending too few emails. A lead can forget your business exists as quickly as they discovered you. Balancing content volume and cadence is key.

So, what kind of content is best when using permission-based marketing? Here are a few to get the ball rolling:

  • Promotions – Send subscribers a notification during a promotional event that’s exclusive to their interests.
  • Membership perks – Keep subscribers invested by sharing member-only offers.
  • Newsletters – Keep subscribers informed about the latest updates or changes to your product in a newsletter.

Similarly, sending consumers content unrelated to what they signed up for can lead them to opt out. If a customer signs up for a weekly newsletter about Instagram marketing, they’re probably not interested in a new sales product release announcement.

Permission Marketing Examples

Email marketing comes in many different forms. Here are a few rules of thumb to build solid permission marketing emails:

  • Make sure the customer grants permission
  • State clearly that the consumer’s information is private
  • Provide an easy-to-locate unsubscribe option in the footer of emails.
  • Choose content that incentives the subscriber to continue coming back for more.
  • Add personality — these emails are a chance for a business to let their hair down and be more laid back with their subscribers.

These example emails are succinct with their content, use engaging graphics, and include a call-to-action for the consumer.

an email example of permission marketing

Image source: Later

I am a subscriber to emails for ”Later”, an Instagram scheduler. I receive updates on new Instagram features and fun posting tricks. I like that each of Later’s email subject lines ends with a relevant emoji and that the content displays clear, interesting call-to-action buttons.

Even for a B2B platform, Later finds a way to add their distinct voice into their weekly newsletters. Each one is signed from the platform’s CEO, Taylor, so it always feels personalized. For more B2B marketing examples, click here.

good example of permission-based marketing

Image source: Forever 21

Forever 21’s email game is strong. I became a subscriber so that I would be notified about sales. What I get are enjoyable weekly emails with pop-culturally relevant subject lines.

Notice how the sale is only for those who order online? Not only is there one sale going on in the call-to-action, but the two other promotions at the top of the email give me a choice to personalize my shopping experience.

Since permission marketing is usually an automated method of marketing, there are tools out there to help with creation and scheduling.

When choosing an email marketing service, keep a few things in mind:

  1. Make sure there is a clear and obvious way for customers to sign up for and manage their subscription.
  2. Make sure that your automation service fits in with your current marketing strategy. HubSpot offers a free email tool, along with the free HubSpot CRM, which allows you to create, personalize, and automate your emails. HubSpot’s tool also makes sure automation marketing content is complicit with CAN-SPAM, a law that regulates email marketing.

Permission-based marketing is essential to a business that wants to get more out of their marketing efforts and generate new leads. You can customize your marketing messages and customers can personalize the offers most relative to them. For a more in-depth look at how to crack into email marketing, check out this ultimate guide.

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Author: Kayla Carmicheal

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The Ultimate List of Instagram Influencers in Every Industry (135 and Counting!)

In 2017, 92% of marketers who used influencer marketing found it to be effective.

Influencer marketing has grown steadily in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason — oftentimes, customers trust influencers over celebrities when choosing which products to buy, or which brands to endorse.

In fact, marketers have seen such success from influencer marketing that almost 40% of them plan to increase their influencer budget in 2018 and beyond.To compete on one of the most popular social media platforms, it’s critical you consider implementing an influencer marketing campaign. But if you’ve never used an influencer before, the task can seem daunting — who’s truly the best advocate for your brand?

Here, we’ve cultivated a list of the best Instagram influencers in every industry — simply scroll to your industry, and take a look at the top influencers that could help you take your business to the next level. We’ve also included links to each of their Instagram accounts, so you can check out their pages and begin DM-ing them, immediately.

Top Food Influencers on Instagram

  1. Jamie Oliver (6.7 million followers)
  2. Brad Lau (620k followers)
  3. Megan Gilmore (70.9k followers)
  4. Ashrod (102k followers)
  5. David Chang (1 million followers)
  6. Ida Frosk (267k followers)
  7. Lindsey Silverman Love (105k followers)
  8. Nick N. (70.3k followers)
  9. Molly Tavoletti (60.4k followers)
  10. Russ Crandall (45.8k followers)
  11. Dennis the Prescott (462k followers)
  12. Gabriel Cabrera (79.1k followers)
  13. Thalia Ho (70.7k followers)
  14. Molly Yeh (315k followers)
  15. C.R Tan (58k followers)
  16. Ela Vegan (822k followers)
  17. Nicole Cogan (176k followers)
  18. Minimalist Baker (1.6 million followers)
  19. Yumna Jawad (252k followers)

Top Travel Influencers on Instagram

  1. Annette White (99.2k followers)
  2. Matthew Karsten (153k followers)
  3. The Points Guy (115k followers)
  4. The Blonde Abroad (547k followers)
  5. Eric Stoen (82.3k followers)
  6. Kate McCulley (100k followers)
  7. The Planet D (223k followers)
  8. Andrew Evans (63.9k followers)
  9. Jack Morris (2.8 million followers)
  10. Lauren Bullen (2 million followers)
  11. The Bucket List Family (1.5 million followers)
  12. Fat Girls Traveling (26.5k followers)
  13. Murad Osmann (4.1 million followers)
  14. Tara Milk Tea (1.3 million followers)

Top Fashion & Style Influencers on Instagram

  1. Alexa Chung (3.1 million followers)
  2. Julia Hengel (1.2 million followers)
  3. Oscar Cobo (162k followers)
  4. Chiara Ferragni (15.3 million followers)
  5. Jenn Im (1.7 million followers)
  6. Ada Oguntodu (69.4k followers)
  7. Emma Hill (444k followers)
  8. Gregory DelliCarpini Jr. (167k followers)
  9. Nicolette Mason (172k followers)
  10. Majawyh (311k followers)
  11. Garance Doré (741k followers)
  12. Ines de la Fressange (277k followers)
  13. Madelynn Furlong (151k followers)
  14. Giovanna Engelbert (925k followers)
  15. Mariano Di Vaio (6.1 million followers)
  16. Aimee Song (5.3 million followers)
  17. Danielle Bernstein (2.1 million followers)
  18. Gabi Gregg (713k followers)

Top Photography Influencers on Instagram

  1. Benjamin Lowy (229k followers)
  2. Murad Osmann (4.3 million followers)
  3. Michael Yamashita (1.4 million followers)
  4. Stacy Kranitz (98.7k followers)
  5. Jimmy Chin (1.9 million followers)
  6. Gueorgui Pinkhassov (94.2k followers)
  7. Dustin Giallanza (5,097 followers)
  8. Lindsey Childs (7,483 followers)
  9. Edith W. Young (16k followers)
  10. Alyssa Rose (8,071 followers)
  11. Donjay (113k followers)
  12. Jeff Rose (77.6k followers)
  13. Pei Ketron (771k followers)
  14. Paul Nicklen (5.6 million followers)
  15. Jack Harries (1.5 million followers)
  16. İlhan Eroğlu (656k followers)

Top Lifestyle Influencers on Instagram

  1. Jannid Olsson Delér (1.4 million followers)
  2. Oliver Proudlock (734k followers)
  3. Brunch Boys (463k followers)
  4. Jay Caesar (350k followers)
  5. Jessie Chanes (259k followers)
  6. Laura Noltemeyer (199k followers)
  7. Adorian Deck (17.7k followers)
  8. Hind Deer (609k followers)
  9. Gloria Morales (102k followers)
  10. Kennedy Cymone (782k followers)
  11. Sydney Leroux Dwyer (1 million followers)
  12. Joanna Stevens Gaines (11.2 million followers)
  13. Lilly Singh (8.9 million followers)
  14. Rosanna Pansino (4.4 million followers)

Top Design Influencers on Instagram

  1. Marie Kondo (668k followers)
  2. Ashley Stark Kenner (520k followers)
  3. Casa Chicks (266k followers)
  4. Paulina Jamborowicz (192k followers)
  5. Kasia Będzińska (212k followers)
  6. Jenni Kayne (127k followers)
  7. Will Taylor (249k followers)
  8. Studio McGee (780k followers)
  9. Mandi Gubler (106k followers)
  10. Natalie Myers (18.9k followers)
  11. Grace Bonney (932k followers)
  12. Saudah Saleem (13.7k followers)
  13. Niña Williams (107k followers)

Top Beauty Influencers on Instagram

  1. Michelle Phan (2 million followers)
  2. Shaaanxo (1.5 million followers)
  3. Jeffree Star (8.8 million followers)
  4. Kandee Johnson (1.8 million followers)
  5. Manny Gutierrez (4.8 million followers)
  6. Naomi Giannopoulos (7.3 million followers)
  7. Samantha Ravndahl (2.2 million followers)
  8. Huda Kattan (28.2 million followers)
  9. Wayne Goss (649k followers)
  10. Zoe Sugg (10.4 million followers)
  11. James Charles (15.8 million followers)
  12. Shayla Mitchell (2.8 million followers)

Top Sport & Fitness Influencers on Instagram

  1. Massy Arias (2.5 million followers)
  2. Eddie Hall (866k followers)
  3. Ty Haney (38.8k followers)
  4. Hannah Bronfman (478k followers)
  5. Kenneth Gallarzo (418k followers)
  6. Elisabeth Akinwale (111k followers)
  7. Laura Large (69.4k followers)
  8. Kemo Marriott (10.6k followers)
  9. Akin Akman (46.6k followers)
  10. Sjana Elise Earp (1.4 million followers)
  11. Cassey Ho (1.5 million followers)
  12. Kayla Itsines (11.7 million followers)
  13. Jen Selter (12.8 million followers)
  14. Simeon Panda (5.4 million followers)

1. Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver, a world renowned chef and restaurateur, is Instagram famous for his approachable and delicious-looking cuisine. His page reflects a mix of food pictures, recipes, and photos of his family and personal life. His love of beautiful food and teaching others to cook is clearly evident, which must be one of the many reasons why he has nearly eight million followers.

2. David Chang 

Celebrity chef David Chang is best known for his world-famous restaurants and big personality. Chang was a judge on Top Chef and created his own Netflix show called Ugly Delicious, both of which elevated his popularity and likely led to his huge followship on Instagram. Most of his feed is filled with food videos that will make you drool.

3. Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen

Travel bloggers Jack Morris (@doyoutravel) and Lauren Bullen (@gypsea_lust)
have dream jobs — the couple travels to some of the most beautiful places around the world and documents their trips on Instagram. They have developed a unique and recognizable Instagram aesthetic that their combined 4.8 million Instagram followers love, using the same few filters and posting the most striking travel destinations.

4. The Bucket List Family

The Gee family, better known as the Bucket List Family, travel around the world with their three kids and post videos and images of their trips to YouTube and Instagram. They are constantly sharing pictures and stories of their adventures in exotic places. This nomad lifestyle is enjoyed by their 1.8 million followers.

5. Chiara Ferragni

Chiara Ferragni is an Italian fashion influencer who started her blog The Blonde Salad to share tips, photos, and clothing lines. Ferragni has been recognized as one of the most influential people of her generation, listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and the Bloglovin’ Award Blogger of the Year.

6. Alexa Chung

Model and fashion designer Alexa Chung is Instagram famous for her elegant yet charming style and photos. After her modeling career, she collaborated with many brands like Mulberry and Madewell to create her own collection, making a name for herself in the fashion world. Today, she shares artistic yet fun photos with her 3.4 million Instagram followers.

7. Murad Osmann

Starting in 2011, a Instagram phenomenon called “Follow Me” took over the social platform: all the images depicted someone holding the photographer’s hand, pulling them towards some incredible vista. This began with Murad Osmann — a Russian photographer with four4 million followers — who took photos of his girlfriend pulling him to a destination that eventually went viral.

8. Jimmy Chin

Jimmy Chin is an award-winning professional photographer who captures high-intensity shots of climbing expeditions and natural panoramas. He has won multiple awards for his work, and he is recognized by his 2.4 million Instagram followers for his talent.

9. Jannid Olsson Delér

Jannid Olsson Delér is a lifestyle and fashion blogger that gathered a huge social media following for her photos of outfits, vacations, and her overall aspirational life. Her 1.3 million followers look to her for travel and fashion inspirations.

10. Grace Bonney

Design*Sponge is a design blog authored by Grace Bonney, an influencer recognized by the New York Times, Forbes, and other major publications for her impact on the creative community. Her Instagram posts reflect her elegant yet approachable creative advice, and nearly a million users follow her account for her bright and charismatic feed.

11. Huda Kattan

Huda Kattan took the beauty world by storm — her Instagram began with makeup tutorials and reviews and turned into a cosmetics empire. Huda now has 1.3 million Instagram followers and a company valued at $1.2 billion. Her homepage is filled with makeup videos and snaps of her luxury lifestyle.

12. Zoe Sugg

Zoe Sugg runs a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blog and has nearly 10 million followers on Instagram. She also has an incredibly successful YouTube channel, and has written best-selling books on the experience of viral bloggers. Her feed consists mostly of food, her pug, selfies, and trendy outfits.

13. Jeffree Star

Jeffree Star is one of the most widely recognized makeup celebrities in the world — in addition to his own cosmetic line, he reviews the latest and greatest in makeup on his YouTube channel. He has risen to celebrity status for his entertaining content and commentary, and his Instagram is full of creative makeup applications for his 13.6 million followers.

14. Sjana Elise Earp

Sjana Elise Earp is  a lifestyle influencer who keeps her Instagram feed full of beautiful photos of her travels. She actively promotes yoga and healthy living to her 1.6 million followers, becoming an advocate for an exercise program called SWEAT.

15. Massy Arias

Personal trainer Massy Arias is known for her fitness videos and healthy lifestyle. Her feed aims to inspire her 2.6 million followers to keep training and never give up on their health. Arias has capitalized on fitness trends on Instagram and proven to both herself and her followers that exercise can improve all areas of your life. 

 

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Author: Caroline Forsey

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7 Signs You’re CEO Material

You may be starting in your first entry-level position, or perhaps you’re an executive VP at an established company. Wherever you are in your career, if you’re ambitious and goal-driven, you may have one question in your mind — Will I be the CEO someday?

Becoming a CEO often requires a certain amount of being in the right place at the right time, but having specific qualities can significantly boost the chance that you’ll be considered for the spot of CEO — or any leadership position, for that matter.

To find out more about what those essential qualities are, we reached out to Tiffany Franklin, executive career consultant and founder of TJF Career Coaching, who broke down what it takes to be considered CEO material.

1. You’re not afraid to take calculated risks.

CEOs are responsible for significant decisions about the strategy and future of the organizations they lead. While a CEO must maintain stability within an organization, they also must sometimes take risks that can result in both short- and long-term pay-offs for an organization. Enter the importance of being a strategic risk taker.

Franklin describes this as “having that ability to consider a confluence of multiple internal and external factors, both for the organization and the global market as a whole.” She adds that strategic risk takers “see lessons from the past, but you are looking to the future, in terms of marketing, timing, and people. You’re learning from mistakes, but yet you will take a calculated risk.”

2. You know how to communicate well.

Communication is one of the foundation stones for being a leader. For CEOs, Franklin says, “you want to motivate and empower the people around you … To be able to sell your vision, and also outline a path to make it a reality.” She adds that a big part of that is relationship-building skills.

Communication and relationship-building skills are also an integral part of generating employee satisfaction as a leader. As a CEO, a critical component of approval is employee satisfaction. In a 2016 Glassdoor study on the factors that predict high CEO approval, it was found that a one-star increase in employee satisfaction (measured by the overall Glassdoor rating of a company) predicts a 36.9 percent improvement in CEO approval.

3. You’re always challenging yourself.

Being a CEO generally doesn’t happen in the first year of career, and often doesn’t even happen in the first decade of your career. It is a place of leadership that, more often than not, is earned through repeatedly facing professional challenges and retaining a diligent focus on self-improvement.

There are multiple challenges that are good to take on throughout your career in order to boost your leadership skills and gain recognition among professional peers. On top of volunteering for leadership positions within your company and pursuing leadership credentials like an MBA, Franklin also recommends getting involved with affinity groups at your workplace, as well as getting involved in professional associations, volunteering for boards of directors, and even looking for community service projects that have leadership opportunities.

4. You’re emotionally intelligent.

It’s not enough for somebody to be ambitious, says Franklin — they also need emotional intelligence. “So much of being a CEO is being decisive and purposeful, yet thoughtful when you’re making decisions,” she adds. For thoughtful decision-making, as well as building strong, trust-filled relationships, not to mention being a good communicator, emotional intelligence is key.

5. You know how to surround yourself with the right people.

While a CEO is often the face of an organization, they are supported by a team of people who are helping them maximally perform. According to Franklin, having CEO potential means being self-aware enough to know what you’re good at, but also what you may lack, and building a team that complements the areas you have deficiencies. In turn, she says, this makes a team that can challenge each other, and also brings different things to the table.

6. You find yourself leading projects.

CEOs are people who trust can be put in to get a job done. CEOs are also good managers and delegators. You may find that you’re naturally asked by people in your organization to take on big projects and to lead teams. But putting yourself in situations like that whenever the opportunity arises can also help hone your leadership skills. “I think when you volunteer to go above and beyond, not immediately expecting anything, people will start to take notice,” says Franklin.

7. You’re thinking ahead.

The best CEOs are visionaries for the organizations they lead. “It’s not just trying to figure out what the trends are and jumping on those, it’s being a thought leader,” says Franklin. Another critical component of being a thought leader is the ability to translate your visions into concrete actions that employees within your organization can take.

Building CEO Leadership Skills

Even if you’re not strong in some of the leadership capabilities that CEOs require, there are many routes to take to bulk up your management prowess. For one, MBA programs are always a good way to learn leadership skills and show your commitment to be a good manager.

Franklin also says that if you don’t have the time or availability, there are smaller courses and certificate programs that you can take in leadership. Reading books in MBA curricula can also both help you build your leadership skills and make for a great conversation starter at professional events, she points out. Then, she says, “keep networking, building skills, and stretching yourself to get to the visionary piece.”

This article was originally published on Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites. Glassdoor combines all the jobs with valuable data to make it easy for people to find a job that fits their life, while also helping employers hire quality talent at scale. Are you hiring? Post jobs for free with a 7-day trial.

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Author: Lillian Childress

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The Ultimate Guide to PPC

Marketers, can we be honest with each other for a second? On a scale of 1-10, how much do you really understand the world of paid advertising?

Despite the fact that 45% of small businesses use paid ads, pay-per-click is still a concept that eludes many of us. But if half of small business are using it, we just can’t afford to ignore this channel, no matter how perplexing.

As a marketer, PPC is a skill that you should have in your toolbelt — or at least have a basic understanding of.

This guide will help you grasp pay-per-click marketing in its entirety. To start, we’ll begin with the benefits of paid advertising and then get into some key definitions that you’ll need to know.

When done right, PPC can earn you quality leads. If you can create a seamless user journey (which you’ll learn how to do later in this piece), it could mean a huge ROI for your PPC efforts.

Pay-per-click advertising is most common in search engine results pages (SERPs), like Google or Bing, but is also used on social channels (although CPM is more common). If you’re wondering where you can find pay-per-click ads, they’re the results you see before and to the right of the organic search results. For instance, check out the ad that came up in my search for “hair plugs”.

paid-ads-PPC-serps

Benefits of PPC

So, why would you pay for ads when you can reach your audience organically through great content and strategically-placed keywords (otherwise known as SEO)?

The answer is: keywords have become increasingly competitive. This makes it more difficult for a business that doesn’t have the domain authority to get them into the top rankings on a search engine or in front of their target audience on a social platform. In fact, so many businesses are using ads that organic results often don’t even start until you’re further down the page.

That doesn’t mean you should ditch all SEO efforts completely — your paid advertising should complement your SEO strategy as opposed to replace it.

“When people search for your keywords, you know their search intent and can display the most relevant ad to your audience. This means more clicks and a greater chance of conversion.” – Laura Mittelmann, Paid Acquisition at HubSpot

Paid advertising will help you rise to the top in a competitive market and be seen by potential customers who may not know that you exist. It can help you promote your next marketing initiative, improve brand awareness, or rank for difficult keyword terms. In other words, PPC is your shortcut to getting to the top within your niche. And, if done responsibly, PPC can be integral to your inbound marketing strategy.

PPC-Related Terms You Should Know

What’s a marketing channel without a few acronyms and a little jargon? If you’re going to enter the paid advertising space, there are a few terms you should know. Below, we review the main elements of a PPC campaign, ranging from broad to the more specific.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The objective of all forms of digital advertising is to rank for a target keyword, and that can be done in a number of ways. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to any digital marketing (paid or unpaid) done on a search engine, like Google, Yahoo or Bing. SEM is an umbrella term that encompasses both paid advertising and search engine optimization, that is, ranking organically for keywords. It’s important to note that not all PPC occurs on search engines — social media has PPC ads, too (think: Facebook Ads).

CPC

Cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount that an advertiser pays for each click on your ad. CPC acts as your bid in an auction that determines where your ad will be placed. As you can imagine, a higher bid equates to better ad placement. You set your CPC at the maximum price you are willing to pay per click on your ad. What you actually pay is determined by the following formula: (Competitor’s Ad Rank / Your Quality Score) + 0.01 = Actual CPC. Let’s go over the terms in this equation so you know what you’re paying for:

Ad Rank

This value determines the position of an ad on a search engine results page. It’s equal to Maximum Bid x Quality Score.

Quality Score

This is the score that search engines give to your ad based on your clickthrough rate (CTR) — measured against the average CTR of ads in that position — the relevance of your keywords, the quality of your landing page, and your past performance on the SERP.

Maximum Bid

This is the maximum you are willing to pay per click on you ad.

Here’s an image that illustrates what I mean:

cpc-calculation

 Source

You can set your CPC to manual, where you determine the maximum bid for your ads, or enhanced, which allows the search engines to adjust your bid based on your goals. One of these enhanced options involves bid strategies that automatically adjust your bids based on either clicks or conversions.

CPM (Cost per Mille)

CPM, also known as cost per thousand, is the cost per one thousand impressions. It’s most commonly used for paid social and display ads. There are other types of cost-pers… like cost-per-engagement, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), but for the sake of preserving your mental space, we’re going to stick with clicks, a.k.a. CPC.

Campaign

The first step in setting up your PPC ads is determining your ad campaign. You can think of your campaign as the key message, or theme, you want to get across with your advertisements.

Ad Group

One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why you’ll create a series of ads within your campaign based on a set of highly related keywords. You can set a CPC for each ad group that you create.

Keywords

Each ad within your ad group will target a set of relevant keywords or key terms. These keywords tell search engines which terms or search queries you want your ad to be displayed alongside in SERPs. Once you determine which keywords perform best, you can set a micro CPC just for keywords within your ads.

Ad Text

Your keywords should inform your ad text. Remember, your Quality Score is determined by how relevant your ad is, therefore, the text in your ad (and landing page for that matter) should match the keyword terms that you’re targeting.

Landing Page

A landing page is a critical piece of your paid advertising strategy. The landing page is where users will end up once they click your PPC ad. Whether it’s a dedicated webpage, your homepage, or somewhere else, make sure to follow landing page best practices to maximize conversions.

Best PPC Platforms

Now that you understand the PPC basics, I’m guessing your next question is: Where should I advertise?

There are dozens of online spaces where you can spend your coveted ad money, and the best way to vet them is by taking a close look at your potential ROI on each platform.

The most popular advertising platforms are effective because they’re easy to use, and, most importantly, highly trafficked. But for a smaller budget, you might consider a lesser-known alternative to these key players. Some additional things to consider when choosing a platform are the availability of keyword terms, where your target audience spends their time, and your advertising budget.

Here a non-exhaustive list of some of the top PPC platforms.

Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords)

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 5.55.43 PM-1

How many times a day do you hear the phrase “Let me Google that”? Probably more than you can count … hence why Google Ads is the king of paid advertising. The search engine receives 3.5 billion queries per day, giving you plenty of opportunities to target keywords that will get your intended audience to click. The downside is that keywords are highly competitive on this platform, meaning a greater ad spend.

If you’re planning to use this popular platform, start with our free Google Ads PPC Kit.

Bing Ads

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 6.00.43 PM-1

When it comes to advertising platforms, Bing comes in just after (albeit far behind) Google Ads with approximately 12 million queries per day. Yahoo! and Bing combined advertising forces, which expanded their audience reach. The perks of using Bing Ads over Google Ads is a slightly lower CPC at the expense of a larger audience, of course.

Facebook Ads

nordstorm-perfume-paid-facebook-adFacebook Ads blend in with other posts on the platform.

Facebook Ads is a popular and effective platform for paid ads (more commonly used as CPM than CPC), mainly due to its specific targeting options. Facebook allows you to target users based on interests, demographics, location, and behaviors. Also, Facebook allows for native ads, which means ads are introduced and blend into the social feed. Not to mention, you can use Facebook Ads to advertise on Instagram as well.

AdRoll

chipotle-paid-retargeting-adroll-add-cookie-recipeChipotle retargeting me as I search for dessert recipes.

AdRoll is a retargeting platform that advertises to people who have already visited your website. For instance, say someone read your article on cheese making. You can retarget them on other sites that they visit with display ads that advertise your online cooking classes. While retargeting is possible with Google Ads, the benefit of using AdRoll is that it can display ads on Google and social media sites, which gives you more opportunities to capture clicks or impressions, depending on your goal.

RevContent

RevContent focuses specifically on promoting content through PPC. It has the same impact as a guest post, where your content is displayed on an external site, except it’s in the form of an ad. You still bid on keywords and your advertisement is displayed next to content that is relevant to those keywords. With this platform, you’ll reap the benefits of a low CPC and highly engaged traffic.

How to Get Started with PPC Advertising

Now that you understand the benefits of PPC, have your key terms, and know what platforms you can advertise on, let’s dive in to crafting a quality PPC campaign. You don’t need to tackle these items step-by-step, but you will need to work through each of them to ensure that you create an effective campaign.

Set Parameters

I know I wrote that you don’t need to do these things in order, but you should do this step first. Without parameters, you risk your ad being untargeted and ineffective. You want to put your ad campaigns into the context of your ultimate business goals. Consider how your paid campaigns will contribute to those goals. Then, think about what you want to accomplish with your ads — whether that be visits, sales, brand awareness, or other — and how much you’re willing to spend to accomplish that goal.

Your ads should encompass a few things:

  • Who you want to target
  • Theme of your campaign
  • How you will measure success
  • Type of campaign you will run

Create Your Goals and Goal Metrics

Your campaign goals will give you something to show for your ad spend as long as you determine how you will measure those goals. Your goal metrics should not be confused with your campaign metrics, which we’ll discuss below.

Let’s touch on some common PPC goals and how to measure them.

Brand awareness is how familiar your target audience is with your company. It might be a good idea to look into display ads for this goal so you can supplement your copy with engaging imagery. You can measure brand awareness through social engagement, surveys, and direct traffic.

Lead generation is the direct result of having a relevant and engaging landing page to follow your paid ad. Since you will create a separate landing page for each ad group, you should be able to easily track lead conversions either in the Google Ads interface via a tracking pixel, or through UTM parameters, if you’re using a tool like HubSpot.

Offer promotion is great if you’re running a limited time offer, product or service discount, or contest. You should create a dedicated sign-up page or a unique discount code so you know which users came from your ad.

Sales can be measured by how much of your product or service is sold based on your paid ads. You should be able to track this through a quality a CMS software or attribution reporting.

Site traffic is a great goal if you have high quality content throughout your website. If you’re going to spend money getting people to visit your site, you want to have some level of confidence that you can keep them there and eventually convert them into leads.

Choose Your Campaign Type

You don’t only need to know where you’ll advertise but also how. There are many different types of paid advertising campaigns, and the one that you choose depends on where you can reach your audience. That isn’t to say that you can’t advertise through various means; you can also try a combination of campaign types as long as you’re consistently testing and revising.

Search Ads are the most common type of PPC and refer to the text ads that show up on search engine results pages.

Display Ads allow you to place ads (usually image-based) on external websites, including social. There are several ways to buy display ads, including Google Display Network (GDN) and other ad networks.

Learn how to integrate Display Ads into your inbound marketing plan.

Social refers to any ads that you see on social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. You can pay to show up in your target audience’s social feed or somewhere else within their profile, depending on the platform.

Remarketing can use either cookies or a list of contacts that you upload to target people who have previously engaged with your company through some action. That action could be filling out a form, reading a blog, or simply visiting a page on your website.

Google Shopping is most effective for ecommerce sites. Your ad — including image, price, and a short product description — will show on a carousel on a search page based on your target keywords.

Perform Keyword Research

Each ad group you create needs to be assigned a set of keywords to target — that’s how search engines know when and where to display your ad. The general rule of thumb is to select between one to five keywords per ad group, and those keywords should be extremely relevant — your Quality Score depends on it.

Select keywords that are closely aligned with the specific theme of your ad group. If you find keywords you want to target that fall outside of one theme, you should create a separate ad group for them.

It’s important to note that you’re not stuck with the keywords you start with. In fact, you should closely monitor your keyword list throughout your campaign — eliminating those that don’t bring in the types visitors that you’re looking for and increasing your bids on those that do. Do your best to select the most relevant keywords, but don’t feel pressured to get it 100% right the first time around.

If you’re new to keyword research, check out this handy guide.

Set Up Google Analytics and Tracking

Google Analytics is free to use so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t install it on your website. The tool provides you with insights into how your website is performing, how users are interacting with your pages, and what content is attractive to visitors. The information you can gather from Google Analytics can be used for PPC and beyond.

Best Practices for a Quality PPC Strategy

You didn’t think we’d let you spend your hard-earned money on advertisements without providing some best practices to follow, did you? Of course not. We want to make sure you succeed with your next PPC campaign. So, let’s get into some PPC strategy that will help you maximize your efforts and your budget.

As a note, we’re going to dive specifically into paid search ads (those little guys you see in search engines) here.

PPC Ad Copy

Bidding on targeted keywords will get your ad in front of the right people; good ad copy will get those people to click on your ad. Like your keywords, your ad needs to solve for intent of the searcher — you need to give the searcher exactly what they’re looking for and make sure that is clear through the words you use.

Search ads are comprised of a headline, a URL, and a short description, and each of these have limited character requirements to follow. To make the most of this space, make sure your ad copy does the following:

  • Speak directly to your target persona
  • Include the main keyword that you’re bidding on
  • Provide an actionable CTA so the searcher knows what to do next
  • Make the offer appealing
  • Use language that matches your landing page copy
  • Perform A/B Split tests with your copy

Landing Page Best Practices

Arguably the most important element of PPC (after your ad copy) is the page that you send leads to after they click on your ad. This page needs to be highly targeted, relevant to your ad, deliver what was promised, and present a seamless experience. Why? Because the point of your landing page is to convert your new visitor into a lead or customer. Not only that, but a high-converting landing page will improve your Quality Score, leading to better ad placements. There’s nothing that will diminish PPC profits like a poorly crafted landing page.

What should a PPC landing page include to increase conversions? Glad you asked …

  • Strong headline that mirrors your search ad
  • Clean design and layout
  • Responsive form that is easy to use with a stand-out CTA button
  • Copy that is very specific and relevant to your target keywords
  • Presents the offer that was promised in your ad
  • A/B tested

A/B Testing Your PPC Ads

Rarely will you as a marketer throw something out to your audience that works without testing. PPC campaigns are no different. A/B testing is as critical to your paid ad campaign as is every other element. The goal of testing your ad is to increase both your clickthrough rate and your conversion rate.

The good news is that ads are comprised of just four parts that you’ll need to test: headline, description, landing page, and target keywords. Small tweaks to just one of these elements can significantly alter your results, so you want to make changes one at a time so you can keep track of where improvements come from.

Since there are many variations that you could test one at a time, it’s a good idea to list out all the potential tests you can run and prioritize them by greatest impact. Finally, you should allow your ads to run long enough to gather the data you need and test them early enough so you don’t waste budget on a poor-performing ad.

Maximizing Your ROI

At a high level, maximizing ROI on your ad campaigns means considering customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs, which will help you determine how much is worth spending on a new lead and how much of that spend can come from paid advertising.

To get more granular, we need to talk inputs and outputs, that is 1) lowering your input (cost per lead [CPL]) and 2) increasing your return (revenue). There are a few factors to keep an eye on that will affect both, so let’s break it down.

Ways to Decrease Inputs

  • Determine an ad budget before you get started.
  • Create more relevant ads. The more relevant, the lower your CPC.
  • Improve your Quality Score. The higher your QS, the less search engines will charge your for clicks.

Ways to Increase Revenue

  • Follow landing page best practices to increase conversion rates.
  • Go after quality leads by being specific with your ad. The more quality your leads, the more likely they will convert and eventually become customers.

Additional PPC Tips and Tricks

There are a few other things you can do to maximize the ROI of your paid ads, whether it’s time spent, budget, clicks, or conversions.

Audiences

Google allows you to tailor your audience so you save marketing dollars and get in front of the right people. You can upload a customer list so that you don’t waste money on people who have already bought from you. Google also has options for prospecting audiences. For instance, In-Market Audiences employs user behavior tracking to put you in front of prospects who are in the market for a product or service like yours. You can also increase your bid for more relevant subgroups within your target audience — a practice called layering audiences. For example, HubSpot may layer on people who are in the market for CRM software and add a 30% bid adjustment because those people may be more likely to convert.

Bid Adjustments

Bid adjustments allow you to increase or decrease your bids based on performance. You can even make these adjustments based on different categories, like device, demographics, language, and more. For example, if a keyword isn’t performing as well on mobile as on desktop, you can add a negative bid adjustment so that when someone searches your keyword on mobile, you’ll bid X% lower than your normal bid.

Custom Ad Scheduling

You can set up ad scheduling in Google Ads to display your ad only during specific days and times. This can cut down on ad spend and improve relevance for your target audience.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions allow you to supplement your ad with additional information. For instance, if you’re running an ad for a seasonal promotion at a local store, you can add a sitelink extension to display your store hours and location. These extensions take up more real estate on SERPs and, therefore, stand out. Not only that, but they play a role in improving your Ad Rank.

Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking monitors how your landing page is performing via a tracking code that you place on the page where people land after completing your form (usually a “Thank You” page). By enabling this feature, you’ll be better equipped to make adjustments that can improve your conversions.

Keyword Monitoring

Don’t let too much time pass before you check how your keywords are performing. You can place higher bids on the keywords that are creating the best results for your campaign, and “defund” or eliminate others.

Match Types

Match Types in Google Ads allows you to choose how closely related you want your ad group to be associated with a search team. There are four match types: broad, modified broad, phrase and exact match. Google will display your ad in results according to your selection. For example, if your keyword phrase is “how to catch geese” and you select “broad match,” then Google will display your ad for queries that include any word in your key phrase in any order … including “geese catch” and “geese catch how”.

Negatives Keywords

A negative keyword list tells search engines what you don’t want to rank for, which is equally as important as what you do. You might know some of these upfront, but likely you’ll determine these keywords by what isn’t performing so well within your campaign.

Social Media Ads

Although CPM is more common on social platforms, social media sites do offer PPC that works similarly to search engine ads in that you set a budget and bid on ad placements. The difference is social media ads can show up directly in your news feed on most platforms, decreasing the effectiveness of ad blockers. Social platforms, like Facebook, let you set targeted demographics as well as target people based on interests. While paid search is more keyword-focused, paid social is broadens into a demographic focus, lending to more ways to target your persona.

Social media has two paid ad functions that are critical to ad success — retargeting and Lookalike Audiences. Retargeting is remarketing to people based on site visits or manually uploaded contact lists. Lookalike Audiences reviews the people on your marketing list and creates an audience that parallels your list, which expands your potential target. Paid social also allows for a wider variety of ad types, like images, videos, text, and more.

PPC Management and Tracking

Paid advertising is not “set it and forget it.” You need to manage and constantly monitor your ads to ensure that you’re reaching optimal results. Management, analysis, and tracking is crucial to a PPC campaign, not only because they provide you with useful insights but also because they help you create a more effective campaign.

What is PPC Management?

PPC management covers a wide range of techniques, including creating and adjusting goals, split testing, introducing new keywords, optimizing conversion paths, and shifting plans to reach goals.

Managing your PPC means looking at both strategy and spend. On one hand, it means iterating on your plan to optimize keyword effectiveness. On the other hand, it means thinking about how to allocate resources to certain keywords as well as how to adjust those resources to maximize ROI.

A good management strategy also pays attention to providers — like search engines, social platforms, and ad networks — to monitor changes and updates that could affect paid campaigns.

Overall, PPC management is a hefty undertaking, which is why investing in solid PPC management tools could be a great idea.

Use our PPC management tool to monitor all of your paid campaigns.

PPC Tools and Software

With all of the variables that you need to track, PPC management tools should make things easier. You can opt to monitor your ads within platform, but if you’re looking for additional assistance and organization, a robust, easy-to-read spreadsheet or sophisticated software that gives you insight into your ad performance is key.

If you plan to go the software route, there are some features that you absolutely want to look for: multi-user support, cross-platform management, A/B testing, scheduling, reporting, and ad grading.

Here’s a list of some popular, highly-rated PPC software and resources.

  • WordStream automates the tedious parts of setting up and managing your PPC campaign.
  • HubSpot offers a robust template to help you monitor and manage the moving parts of your campaign, making it easy to keep track of your ad groups, keywords, and A/B tests.
  • NinjaCat lets you combine all of your analytics from multiple platforms into one report so you can track your entire campaign in one location.
  • Optmyzr has end-to-end PPC support, from creation to reporting … and they offer a free trial of their software.
  • SEMRush can help you manage the most important part of your PPC campaign — keywords. You can find relevant keywords, manage and optimize your keyword lists, and create negative lists.

PPC Metrics to Track

Metrics are everything (but you already knew that). Here are some key metrics to track within your PPC campaign.

Clicks refers to the total number of clicks you receive on an ad. This metric is affected by your keyword selection and the relevance of your ad copy.

Cost per click (CPC) measures the price you pay for each click on your ad.

Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the the percentage of ad views that result in clicks. This metric determines how much you pay (CPC). CTR benchmarks vary by industry.

Impressions is the number of times an ad is viewed. Cost per mille (CPM) is determined for every thousand impressions. Impressions are most relevant for brand awareness campaigns.

Ad spend is the amount you are spending on your ads. You can optimize this by improving your Quality Score.

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is the ROI of your ad campaign. This metric calculates the revenue received for every dollar spent on ads.

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people that complete the call-to-action on your landing page and become a lead or customer.

Cost per conversion refers to the cost to generate a lead. This is calculated as the total cost of an ad divided by the number of conversions.

Quality Score (QS) determines ad positioning, so it’s an important metric to keep an eye on.

By paying close attention to each of these metrics, you can increase the ROI of your paid campaign and spend less for better results.

Go Paid!

Paid advertising is an effective tool that should be a part of your inbound marketing strategy no matter how long you’ve been in business. PPC just might be the boost you need to get an edge on your competition — or at least ahead of them in the SERPs.

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21 Google Doc Features You Didn’t Know Existed (But Totally Should)

A few years ago, as I was scrolling mindlessly through my Facebook News Feed, I found an article that told me I was using paper ketchup cups all wrong.

It turns out you’re supposed to fan out the sides of the cup to increase ketchup capacity, like this. Who knew? Well, I recently applied that sense of adventure to another thing I love — Google Docs. And what I found was just as life-changing.

Sure, you may have been using Google Docs for years, but just as I found, there are likely several useful features you have yet to uncover. For example, did you know you can look at a document’s entire revision history to figure out what was changed and when?

Here are 21 sweet features Google Docs has to offer that aren’t on many people’s radar.

1. Add Fonts

When you create a new document, Google Docs starts you off with nearly two dozen native fonts you can choose from using the dropdown list on your top editing toolbar. But, there are dozens more fonts and typefaces available to you in that same dropdown.

To add additional Google Doc fonts, open your document and click the fonts dropdown third box from the left on your editing toolbar. Your default font should be Arial, as shown in the screenshot below.

Add fonts option in a Google Doc

When your starting font list appears, click the “More fonts…” option — the first option down, as shown in the screenshot above. This will open a window of additional fonts, as shown below.

Window to add fonts in a Google Doc

From the window that appears, shown above, check off the fonts you want to add to your starting dropdown list of fonts. Then select “OK” at the bottom. You can even explore new fonts by their general theme and appearance using the “Show” dropdown.

When you return to your document view, you should see your selected fonts included in the fonts dropdown.

2. Templates

Why start from scratch when you could use a template? Whether you’re using Google Docs to write your resume, draft a project proposal, craft a business letter, formalize meeting notes, or design a brochure, you can bet there’s a template for that. In fact, there are templates for almost all your business needs. And for every category, you’ll find multiple templates to choose from.

This feature isn’t exactly hidden, but it’s often overlooked. You’ll find all these templates at the top of your Google Doc homepage. Click More at the top right to browse through all the options.

Google Doc templates

3. Table of Contents Sidebar

Writing a long document with a lot of subsections that readers may want to jump to? The handy “Table of Contents” add-on automatically creates a navigation sidebar. Simply click through the headers and subheaders in the sidebar to easily jump from place to place in your document. It can be a little slow if your document’s really long, but it does the trick — and it’s still better than scrolling.

To find the add-on, click here or open your document and click Add-ons from the menu at the top of the page. Choose Get add-ons… and search for “Table of Contents.”

Table of Contents sidebar in a Google Doc

4. Create or Remove Header

Headers and footers are particularly useful when creating a Google Doc that has many pages. You can create a header that includes the document title, each page number, or both on every page all at once.

To Create a Header

To create a header on Google Docs, double-click on the very top of one of your pages and begin typing your header text. You can also select “Insert” from the top navigation toolbar, then hover your cursor over “Header & page number” for a slide-out option that allows you to order your pages by increasing numerals.

Using either process, you’ll create a header that looks like the screenshot below. This will appear on every page.

Add or remove header on a Google Doc

To Remove a Header

But removing this header once you’ve created it isn’t as obvious of an option. To remove a header from Google Docs, simply remove the text included in the header, then click out of the header space and back into the document’s body text.

To Change the Header Size

To shrink the size of a header from a Google Doc and use this space for more body text, change the margins of the page. To do so, click “File” in your top navigation bar, then “page setup…”

From here, you can narrow the page margins to a custom size, or using a preset “Paper size” from the options shown in the screenshot below. This will enable you to pull in or push out the header margins to your liking.

Page setup on a Google Doc

5. Clear Formatting

If you’ve ever pasted text into a Google Doc from another location, you’ve probably encountered formatting issues. It can happen for a variety of other reasons, too. Instead of editing that text manually to fit into the correct formatting, you can simply highlight the offending text and go to Format > Clear Formatting right in the toolbar. Boom: It’ll format the foreign text to fit with the rest of your document.

How to clear formatting in a Google Doc

6. Create a Folder

Because Google Drive stores your documents on the cloud, multiple people often use the same Drive account for sharing files with one another. Over time, this can make it difficult to organize your own documents. To store them all in a neat, safe place, make a Google Docs folder just for you or your team.

To create a new folder for your Google Docs, select the blue “New” button on the top left of your Drive account. This is also where you go to create a Google Doc, as shown below.

How to create a folder in Google Drive

From the options that appear, select “Folder” and title your folder with a label you’ll remember. This folder will then appear under the “Folders” section of “My Drive,” as shown below.

A newly created folder in the My Drive section of Google Drive

7. The Research Tool

The Research tool is a godsend for anyone writing something in Google Docs that requires online research. Why? It allows you to research and refer to information and images online without every having to leave the document. That means no more clicking back and forth endlessly between tabs.

You can open the Research tool on a computer in one of three ways:

  1. Open your document and open the Tools menu at the top of your screen, then click Research from the dropdown menu.
  2. Right-click on a specific word and select Research.
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Cmd + Shift + I (Mac) or Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I (PC).

Here’s what it looks like when I right-click the phrase “Welsh corgi” in my document:

The Research Tool in a Google Doc

When I choose “Research ‘Welsh Corgi,'” the Research tool appears on the right-hand side of my document. It looks like this:

Research result on Welsch Corgis in a Google Doc

When you first open the Research tool, it might show you topics related to what it thinks you’re working on based on what you’ve written already. You can either research those suggested topics by clicking on them, or you can type in your own search terms in the search bar.

You can also choose what type of content you want the tool to spit back when you search a term. Use the dropdown menu next to the search bar to see the different types of information for that topic.

Here’s what each type means, according to Google Support:

  • Everything: Text and images related to your topic from any source.
  • Images: Images related to your topic found on the web.
  • Scholar: Educational information related to your topic that you can read, add to your file, or cite in a footnote.
  • Quotes: Quotes related to your topic that you can add to your file.
  • Dictionary: Definitions, synonyms, and antonyms related to your topic.
  • Personal: Results from your personal documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and photos that you can open, cite, or link to from your file.
  • Tables: Data presented in tables related to your topic that you can open, cite, or export.

Right now, the Research tool is only available on computers and Android mobile devices. (Learn how to use the tool on Android devices here.)

8. Suggesting Mode

While the capability to edit and make changes in a document is great, there are times when you only want to suggest changes — without actually making any. That’s where “Suggesting” mode in Google Docs comes in handy.

It works a lot like Comments in Microsoft Word. First, switch from “Editing” mode to “Suggesting” mode by clicking the pencil icon at the top right of an open document, and then choosing “Suggesting.”

Suggesting mode for editing a Google Doc

From there, anything you add, delete, or otherwise change will show up as colored marks in the document, accompanied by details on the righthand side such as the name of the suggestor and a timestamp.

Green editing markup in the Suggesting setting of a Google Doc

Image Credit: Google Support

9. Comments

If you want to ask questions about, make notes in, or highlight changes you’ve made in a Google Doc you’re working on, you can leave comments directly in the document. The comments can act as a conversation thread, as people can reply to them and carry on a conversation. You can close the comment thread when it’s done. You can also edit or delete your comments at any time, or others’ comments if you own the document.

To add a comment, highlight the text or image you’d like to comment on. Then, choose Insert from the menu at the top of your screen, and choose Comment from the dropdown menu.

How to Comment in the margins of a Google Doc

From there, a blank comment will appear on the right-hand side of your screen.

Tag People in Comments

Want to comment on a document and get a specific person’s attention? You can do that by tagging them in your comment. All you have to do is add an @ or a + sign, and then begin typing their name or email address. Google Docs will give you a couple options based on your Gmail contacts, and once you’ve submitted the comment, it’ll notify that person you mentioned by sending them an email.

Highlighted comment in the margins of a Google Doc

If that person doesn’t already have access to the document, you’ll be asked to choose permission levels for them.

A user's comment permissions in a Google Doc

10. Footnotes

Footnotes are quick and easy things to add to your Google Docs, but not many people know about them. To add a footnote, put the cursor in the part of the document you want the footnote to appear, and go to Insert > Footnote. From there, simply type in to your footnote whatever you’d like, and click onto the document to save it.

11. Find and Replace

Did you ever want to locate multiple instances of an error in a text document and correct them all at the same time? Google has heeded your call with this nifty shortcut.

If you’ve ever used “Find and Replace” in Microsoft Word, you’re in luck: Google Docs makes it just as easy.

To find something specific in your document, select “Edit” in your top navigation bar and click “Find and replace” at the bottom of the dropdown menu. You can also type Command + F on an Apple keyboard (or Ctrl + F on a Windows keyboard), then click the “…” icon in the box that appears to the top right of your Google Doc.

Either process will call up the window shown below, where you can type in the text you’d like to find and replace it with corrected text. If the error appears more than once, click “Replace all.”

Find and Replace window in a Google Doc

12. Revision History

Speaking of revising content … have you ever wanted to see all of the changes you (or someone else) made in a Google Doc? Better yet, have you ever wanted to go back in time and revert to an earlier version of your document? Thanks to the Revision History feature, you can. And it’s awesome.

All you have to do is open the document and go to File > View Revision History. A panel will appear on the right-hand side of your screen showing an overview of who made changes and when. For a more in-depth view of the changes that were made, click the detailed revisions button below the overview list.

Revision history in a Google Doc

13. Voice Typing

Have Google Chrome as your browser? Have a working microphone either built in to your device or connected externally? Then you can “type” in a Google Doc using just your voice. To indicate a punctuation mark, simply say the name of it out loud, like “period,” “comma,” “exclamation point,” or “question mark.” To begin a new line or a new paragraph, say “new line” or “new paragraph” out loud.

To get to voice typing, open a document and click Tools from the menu at the top of the page. Choose Voice typing… from the dropdown menu. When you’re ready to speak your text, click the microphone or press Cmd + Shift + S (on a Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + S (on a PC) to begin recording.

Voice typing option in a Google Doc

Want to voice type in Google Docs on your phone? Voice typing only works for computers, but many iOS and Android mobile devices have built-in microphones you can use with a document.

14. Keyboard Shortcuts

There’s something so satisfying about knowing the keyboard shortcuts for whatever application you’re using, and Google Docs has a ton of them to choose from. A lot of them are the same as in other applications, such as Cmd + C (Mac) or Ctrl + C (PC) to paste, or Cmd + B (Mac) or Ctrl + B (PC) to bold something. But it has a few unique ones, too. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Shift + T = Create a new document.
  • Ctrl + Alt + M = Insert a comment.
  • Alt + I (in Google Chrome) or Alt + Shift + I (in other browsers) = Open the “Insert” menu.
  • Hold Ctrl + Alt, press N then H = Move to the next heading.

See the full list here.

To display the list of commonly used shortcuts while you’re working in a document, press Cmd + / on a Mac, and Shift + / or Ctrl + / on Chrome OS or Windows. You can also just click the gear icon in the upper left hand corner of your screen and choose “Keyboard Shortcuts” from the dropdown menu.

15. Create Your Own Shortcuts

Google Docs may have a lot of shortcuts available to us, but what if we want to make a few of our very own? To create custom shortcuts, go to Tools > Preferences > Automatic Substition. You might find there are a few in there already (like changing 1/2 to ½), but feel free to add in some of your own.

How to create your own keyboard shortcuts and macros in a Google Doc

16. Conference Calls

Google Docs is a collaborative platform — and the “UberConference” add-on makes it even more collaborative by letting you conduct an audio conference call right from the document. All you have to do is turn on the add-on and invite your friends or colleagues. When they accept, everyone will be able to view and edit the document while participating in a conference call.

To find the add-on, click here or open your document and click Add-ons from the menu at the top of the page. Choose Get add-ons… and search for “UberConference.”

Conference call sidebar in a Google Doc

17. Image Editing

Once you’ve inserted an image into your document, you can still edit it within the document. Click the image in your document, and the toolbar at the top will change to all the tools you can use to edit your image. Crop it, mask it, add borders to it … there are a lot of possibilities in there.

Below are two examples of great image editing tricks: cropping and adding a border. (And if you ever want to reset an image back to its original form, simply select the image and click the “Reset Image” icon in your toolbar.)

Cropping Tool

Select an image in your document and click the crop icon in your toolbar. From there, drag and drop the blue handles until you’ve cropped the image to your liking. To save it, click “Enter” on your keyboard or just click back into your document.

Cropping a picture of a puppy inside a Google Doc

Borders

To add a black or colored border to any image, select the image and click the line color icon in your toolbar (which looks like a pencil). Select the color you want the border to be, and voilà! To save it, simply click off of the image.

Formatting picture color in a Google Doc

image of a dog

18. Dictionary

Ever written a word and wanted to double-check you’re using it correctly? What about writing a word that you want to find a synonym for? Instead of opening up a new browser window, you can look up the definition for that word right inside your document — as well as get synonym suggestions.

All you have to do is highlight the word, right-click on it, and choose Define. The Research tool will look up the word on the internet for you, and its definition will appear on the right-hand side of your screen.

Dictionary sidebar in a Google Doc

19. Language Accent Buttons

Gone are the days of memorizing accent shortcuts (and getting them wrong), opening up international keyboards and clicking keys manually, and copy/pasting from other documents. If you ever find yourself writing in a language other than English, the “Easy Accents” add-on could save you a lot of time. It lets you insert accents for 20 different languages directly from a sidebar in your document.

To find the add-on, click here or open your document and click Add-ons from the menu at the top of the page. Choose Get add-ons… and search for “Easy Accents.”

Language accent buttons in a Google Doc

20. Add a New Page

If your Google Doc doesn’t automatically add new pages, you can add your own. To do this, scroll down, click and place your cursor where you’d like the page to break. Then go to Insert, click Break, and then Page Break. You’ll see one page end and another begin. 

Add a page in Google Docs21. Insert Today’s Date

Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick way to insert the date into a Google document. You’ll need to use the document’s Script Editor for this. Luckily, there are a number of pre-created codes online that you can insert into the Script Editor to make “Insert Date” pop up on the page’s settings. Here’s one code from Quora, and another from SlackExchange.

To begin the process, go into your document, click Tools and then click on Script Editor.

Where to Find Google Script Editor

You’ll be brought to a page where you can paste in script. Once the script you’ve chosen is inserted and you’ve saved your work, you should be able to refresh your document and see a new button on the tool bar with new items to insert, including the date. Google Script Editor with code inserted

Keep in mind that this button might have different options depending on the code you choose. While some codes may just ass an “Insert Date” button to your toolbar, others might add a button that says something like “Utilities” or “More Tools.”

For those who aren’t super into coding, it might be less time consuming to just insert the date manually, or type it in a header so it appears on all pages. 

More Ways to Work With Google

I’ll bet you didn’t know at least a handful of these … Now that you do, put them to good use in your next Google Doc. Want more ways to use Google to create an effective marketing campaign? Download the free guide below.

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages

A landing page can be the designated page you’re taken to when you click on an ad. It can be the page that follows a call-to-action button. A landing page can also serve as the homepage of a website. What distinguishes a webpage as a landing page is its objective — the purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads.

That’s it. The differentiating component of a landing page is that it contains a lead form that asks visitors for their contact information, typically in exchange for something the visitor values.

Now, think about how protective you are of your personal information. What makes you think a stranger on the internet would want to give up theirs?

Well, that’s where landing page best practices come in. A targeted, well-crafted landing page with a solid format and sound copy will get almost anyone to do your desired action.

And that is exactly what this guide will teach you.

Why do you need a landing page?

Why would you create a special page just for people to fill out a form? Why not just use your homepage or about page? Great questions.

After reading this article, you’ll likely be able to answer those questions yourself, but the short answer is this: A landing page eliminates distractions by removing navigation, competing links, and alternate options so you capture your visitor’s undivided attention. And complete attention means you can guide your visitor where you’d like them to go, i.e., to your lead form. In sum, landing pages are specifically designed to create conversions.

Now that you understand their importance, let’s cover landing page best practices to make sure your pages are set up to convert.

Was that a lot? We’ll break them down below.

Craft a benefit-focused headline

For every 10 people that visit your landing page, at least seven of them will bounce off the page. To keep that number low, your visitors need to know (and understand) what’s in it for them within seconds of arriving. Your headline is the first thing they’ll read, and it should clearly and concisely communicate the value of your landing page and offer.

Choose an image that illustrates the offer

Yes, an image is mandatory, and it should represent your target audience. The purpose of your image is to convey a feeling — it should illustrate how your visitor will feel once they receive your offer. Certain images work better than others, so you should always split test your options (which we’ll cover below).

Write compelling copy

Don’t spend all that time crafting the perfect headline and finding your ideal image to fall flat when it comes to the words that will actually sell your call-to-action. Your copy needs to be clear, concise and should guide your visitor to the action you want them to complete. Compelling copy also speaks directly to the visitor by using “you” and “your” to make them feel engaged. We’ll go more in-depth on copy tips below.

Include the lead form above the fold

Your lead form needs to be readily accessible should your prospect want to convert right away — you definitely don’t want them searching and scanning your landing page to find your offer. “Above the fold” just means that visitors don’t have to scroll to get to the form — that it’s in view as soon as someone hits the page. This could be a form or an anchor link to the form. Even better: Design your form to scroll with the user as they move down the page.

Add a clear and standout call-to-action

The call-to-action (CTA) is arguably the most important element on your landing page — it’s one of many elements that encourage conversion. The CTA button needs to stand out, meaning you should use a color that contrasts with other elements on the page. Be clear about what you want visitors to do, that is, use an action verb that spells it out for them, like “submit”, “download”, or “get it now”. More on CTA best practices below.

Give away a relevant offer

Think of your landing page as a part of your lead’s journey to your ultimate offer — your product or service, that is. Your offer is the thing you give in exchange for your lead’s personal information. Not only should it be compelling enough for your visitor to provide their contact info, but it should also be relevant to your business. Say you sell horseshoes. Your offer might be something like “10 Simple Ways to Size Your Horse’s Hooves,” because, ultimately, you’re going to ask that lead to buy your horseshoes. You wouldn’t hook them with an offer about organic farming because that puts them on a completely different path. We’ll talk more about how compelling offers below.

Only ask for what you need

You want to gather as much information as possible about your lead, but how much you ask for depends on several factors: how well acquainted they are with you, where they are in their buyer’s journey, and how much they trust you. Ask for as little info as you need in your lead form to create a low barrier to entry. A name and an email are more than sufficient to nurture a new lead.

Remove all navigation

Your landing page has one objective and one objective only: to convert visitors into leads. Any competing links — including internal links to other pages on your website — will distract from that goal. Remove any other links on your page to draw all of your visitors’ attention to your call-to-action.

Make your page responsive

Just like every other page on your website, your landing pages need to be responsive to accommodate every viewing experience. The last thing you need is for your form to fall out of view on mobile devices. Give your visitors every possible opportunity to convert, no matter how they’re viewing your page.

Optimize for search

Sure, you’ll be driving visitors to your landing page through email blasts, social posts and other marketing methods, but your page should also be optimized with target keywords for your paid campaigns and organic search. When someone searches for your key phrase, they should find your landing page. Similarly, when you target a keyword with paid ads, those words should exist on your landing page.

Remember to use a thank you page

A thank you page is where you send leads once they’ve completed your form. Now, you could just show a thank you message on the same page or ditch the thank you altogether, but there are many reasons why that’s not the best option. A thank you page serves three important purposes: 1) it delivers the offer that you promised (usually in the form of an instant download), 2) it gives you an opportunity to interest your new lead in additional relevant content, and 3) it serves as a chance to thank them for their interest, which goes a long way in promoting them to a customer down the line.

How to Design Your Landing Page

Often times, design means creativity, colors, and pretty pictures. For the purpose of a landing page, we take design a step further to mean functional, direction-oriented, and effective. So, to craft a well-designed landing page, you’ll have to tap into both your right and left brain. But don’t get me wrong — you still need great imagery and attractive colors to convert your visitors. We’ll touch on how to incorporate all of this below.

Landing Page Structure

The good news is you don’t need to get too creative here. Most landing pages follow a very similar structure because it’s been proven to work. You can infuse your creativity through branded elements and images, but stick to a landing page format that people are used to seeing.

A good landing page has five elements (check out the landing page example below to see these elements in practice):

  1. Headline that grabs the visitors attention
  2. Relevant Image that is relevant to your audience
  3. Lead Form that sits above the fold to capture visitors’ information
  4. CTA that is action-oriented and compelling
  5. Copy/Description that informs and entices your visitor to complete your form

landing-page-hero-sectionhubspot-lead-formSource

Can your landing page include more than this? Absolutely. (Think social share buttons that visitors can use to spread the word about your offer). This is simply the bare minimum. You need to know your audience, where they are coming from and where they are in their buyer’s journey to know how much you need to include. The rule of thumb is include as much information as you need to get people to convert.

Landing Page Layout

This may come as a surprise, but most people don’t read every word of your cleverly-crafted copy. Instead, they skim through and pull out the most important tidbits. Your job is to make those tidbits stand out so your visitor doesn’t miss anything important.

That means a few things …

  • Keep the most important information above the fold so your visitor doesn’t need to scroll to get to it.
  • Perform a blink test on your page, meaning a visitor should be able to gather the main message in less time than it takes them to blink, i.e., less than five seconds.
  • Use white (or negative) space to keep your visitor engaged, focused, and to help them comprehend your message.
  • Write with bullets and short paragraphs to make your copy easy to digest.
  • Try to work the important copy into an F-pattern, which is the direction that most people scan a page online. Work with the flow of visual patterns to drive people to the key points that will get them to convert.

Landing Page Colors

The design of your landing page — including the colors you use — should reflect that of your website. You’re aiming to form a long-term relationship with the people who visit your landing page, and that means they need to become familiar with your branding colors and unique style. The more they recognize your brand, the more they trust you (and the more they trust you, the easier it is to get them to do what you want them to do).

The areas where you should consider using alternate colors are on the elements of your page that need to stand out — ahem, your CTA button. Contrast is the name of the game here. Say your branded colors are mostly green … you’ll want to choose a color that can draw users attention, say purple.

Wondering what colors perform well? We did a little research for you to determine which colors convert best.

Landing Page Images

The image on your landing page is one the first things people see, and since people process visuals far quicker than they do text, it sets the tone for their entire experience. . But how can you possibly choose between millions of stock photos and that company photo shoot that’s taking up all the space in your Dropbox? Let’s narrow down the selection with a few important questions:

Who is my target audience?

What does your persona look like? How old are they? How do they dress? What are they interested in? The answers to these questions are important in determining what image you’re going to place front and center on your landing page. If it’s going to appeal to your audience, then it needs to represent them in some way.

Where on my landing page do I want them to look?

This might seem like an odd question, but really it’s based on the idea that people follow directional cues, like where someone is looking or pointing. If you want visitors to fill out a form, consider an image that drives their attention toward that form.

Will this image reinforce my message?

Every element on your landing page serves an important purpose. Since your image is one of the first things that people see, it should help clarify what the visitor can expect from your page. Make sure that your image adds value.

Here are some other important things to consider when creating great landing page images.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

We’ve discussed your CTA a few times so far, but since it’s the most important part of your landing page, it’s worth mentioning again. When it comes to the design of your CTA, there are a few tricks will make it so alluring that visitors feel compelled to click. To clarify, your CTA includes the button and the copy you use to draw attention to it; these tips cover both.

  • Give your CTA a vibrant and contrasting color
  • Focus your CTA copy on the benefit to your visitor
  • Get to the point — try using no more than five words
  • Tell your visitor what you want them to do using action verbs, e.g. Get, Download, Click
  • Make your button large enough to stand out on the page
  • Give it some negative space — don’t crowd the area around your CTA
  • Follow the flow of the page and place your CTA where your readers’ eyes will go, such as to the right of or below the copy
  • Test your button shape, test your copy … as a matter of fact test everything (we’ll cover how to do this below)

vidyard-landing-page-ctaSource

Mobile Landing Page

More than half of website traffic comes from mobile devices, therefore, the user experience should be the same no matter the device visitors are using. By making your landing page responsive, you give them every opportunity to view and convert, whether they’re on a desktop, phone, tablet, or otherwise.

Landing Page Copywriting Tips

After design comes great copy. Your objective is to be compelling, instructive, likable, concise, effective, trustworthy and informative all at once. How? Keep reading.

1. Cover the main points

No matter how you position it, there are a few main points that you need to hit with your copy. Those main points are your persona’s pain point, the solution to that pain point, how your solution works (features), how your solution will improve their situation (benefits), and verification that it works (social proof).

The majority of what you write needs to address how you can help your prospect, not how awesome you are (because that’s implied). Let’s go more in-depth on these points.

The Pain Point

The pain point that you focus on should be the one that your offer solves. Not to sound negative, but it’s important to touch on the problem your persona is facing so they know you understand what they’re going through. Empathy is an effective way to build trust. And if they know you get their problem, then they’re more likely to trust your solution.

Your Solution

The solution to their pain point is what you’re offering in exchange for their information. Illustrate a clear path between their problem and how your solution is the remedy they need.

Features

Just knowing what your solution is may not be enough to convert leads, so you need to mention what’s included in that solution. If it’s an ebook, what are the subjects your cover? If you’re promoting a webinar, how will it work and what will you teach? If it’s a service, what can they expect? Give your potential lead all the information they need to make a decision.

Benefits

Your copy should be heavy with benefits to the user because that’s what they really care about — what’s in it for them. While features list what your offer has, benefits tell visitors how their situation will be improved as a result. It paints a vivid picture of how much better their life could be by using your solution.

Social Proof

Studies show that social proof is effective for persuading people to take a desired action. Social proof comes in the form of logos of brands you’ve worked with, testimonials from previous clients, reviews of your product, or confirmation that others have purchased your service. In essence, people want to know that others are have used and benefited from your solution, too. By including social proof on your landing page, you’re validating your offer without even saying anything.

social-proof-landing-pagesSource

Touching on each of these points will provide you with well-rounded copy that answers all of your visitors’ questions … which brings me to my next point.

2. Preemptively respond to objections

A key part of writing persuasive copy (copy that gets people to convert) is dismantling objections before they even come up. Now, this takes some skill … or at least some help from a friend.

Once you’ve laid your foundation by addressing all the main points, put yourself in the mind of your prospect and think about where they might protest or challenge you as they read. For instance, if you say “We’ve helped Fortune 500 companies bring in customers,” your reader might scoff or doubt it unless you follow up that statement with social proof.

Do this exercise for every section of your page (or ask an unbiased friend to help) until you’ve covered every possible objection you can think of. When you get questions from people who’ve visited your landing page, use that as feedback to sharpen your copy even further. Better yet, seek out constructive criticism from your first few converted leads to ensure your landing page is meeting every need.

3. Build trust with your prospect

Say you were reading a sales page and the company wrote, “Our product has helped 100 people and it might work for you, too!” Meh. I’d probably pass and find a company that has a solution that can definitely work for me. Your goal is to build trust with your visitor and the way to do that is to come across as an authority.

Besides using social proof, some other ways to build trust are:

  • Write in the way that you speak and address your prospects as you would a live customer.
  • Cite statistics that support your message.
  • Use case studies that highlight customers similar to your target.
  • Be relatable. Show your audience that you’re human by admitting failures, opening up about doubts you’ve had, and being honest. The caveat is you should only share what is relevant to their struggle; don’t just divulge anything.

4. Use click triggers

Click triggers are designed to eliminate that last bit of doubt before a visitor converts. You can think of them as lick Probability Enhancers (… yes, I made up that term). They are essentially copy positioned next to your CTA that pushes your prospect over the edge by easing their mind and mitigating the risk of converting.

Below are some effective ways to employ click triggers:

  • Money-back guarantee
  • Easy unsubscribe
  • Quote from a successful or happy customer
  • Blurb on “what to expect”
  • Price slashing
  • Privacy policy
  • Some other creative method

landing-page-anatomySource

Whatever you choose, click triggers will give your conversions the boost they need.

A/B Testing Your Landing Page

Everything we’ve discussed until this point is great … in theory. But your business is different from others, and your target audience is unique. How do you know if the copy you chose is working? Or if your CTA placement is right? Or what colors perform best? Or which image to choose?

You test it. That’s how. Split testing (or A/B testing) is probably nothing new to you as a marketer, and split testing your landing page is just one more experiment to add to your list.

Let’s briefly go over how to best A/B test your landing pages.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is simply splitting your traffic to two (or more) variations of a page to see which performs better. While you could do this manually by launching one variation for a period of time, then another for the same amount of time, it’s far more efficient to use a software that allows you to split test and can track your results.

The main components of an A/B test are variants, or the two versions of the page, the champion, or the original page, and the challenger, or the page that you modified to test against the original.

How to A/B test

The most important trick to split testing is to make very small tweaks with each experiment. For instance, you don’t want to split test your headline and your image at the same time because you won’t know which element garnered the results. For this reason, stick to testing one element at a time. The “winner” becomes your champion, then you can create a new challenger to test the next element. You repeat this cycle until you reach a conversion rate that you’re happy with (and that falls within realistic expectations, which we’ll cover below).

What should you test?

You can test virtually anything on your landing page. But while that’s possible, you may want to limit your test to a few of the most impactful elements of your page, like:

  • Headline copy
  • Image
  • CTA color
  • Click triggers
  • Copy on the page
  • Lead form length and fields

These tests will have the biggest impact on your conversion rates. Try starting with the simplest change first, like a headline or CTA color, then work your way to the larger undertakings, like your page copy.

Landing Page Metrics to Track

Metrics will tell you everything you need to know about how well your landing page is performing as well as give you some insight on how to improve it. It’s hard to know exactly what will work when you launch a page. Measure and track meticulously in the beginning until you reach a relatively good conversion rate, then you can track your metrics less frequently.

Page Visits

How many visits are you getting on your landing page? The more visits, the more you increase your probability of conversions. Try adjusting your paid strategy or redefining your keywords to drive more traffic to your page. You can also let your current followers know about your offer through emails, social media, and on your website.

Traffic Source

Knowing where your traffic is coming from will let you know where you should double down on or ditch your efforts.

Submission Rate

This is the number of people that complete your lead form and land on your thank you page. There are many tweaks you can make to your page to increase this number, but make sure to A/B test so you know what’s working.

Contacts

Contacts refers to the number of leads that you generated from your form. The reason this is different from submissions is because duplicate contacts are only counted once, meaning if a current lead fills out your form to get your offer, they don’t affect the count.

Heat Mapping

This is more of an observation of how people interact with your page as opposed to a metric. Heat mapping can show you where people scroll, what they read, and how they engage with your page. This is all useful data when thinking about your page layout and structure.

Bounce Rate

If visitors are coming to your page and immediately leaving, then you need to examine whether the content is aligned with the offer. Does your copy capture visitors’ attention and do visitors automatically know what to do when they land on your page? Is your page a reflection of the copy you used to get people to visit it?

Form Abandonment

This metric tells you how many people start filling out your form but don’t complete it. If this number is particularly high, some adjustments to consider are introducing new click triggers, shortening your form, or making it more clear what you want your visitor to do.

Benchmarks

You need to judge your landing page against industry norms and across a similar audience to know if it’s performing as expected. Check out some industry benchmarks to set as your baseline, but don’t be discouraged by other company’s results.

No matter what’s going on, it’s possible to diagnose and heal your landing pages if you pay attention to the metrics.

How to Make Your Landing Pages More Effective

There are always tweaks you can make to boost landing page performance. Below are a few great tips (if I do say so myself) to get your landing pages leveled up.

Optimize your landing page

Optimize is such a confusing word, isn’t it? I mean, are we talking about imagery, copy, keywords, or UI? The answer is yes — we’re talking about all of it. Optimize just means to make your landing page the best it can be, and that can include a myriad of modifications. If you want to know everything you could do to optimize your landing page, you’ll need a pretty expansive guide. And, guess what, we have one here.

Present a really good offer

You could argue that anything free qualifies as “good,” but that isn’t exactly true. Not only should your offer be free (we’re not talking sales pages here) but it also has to be good enough to warrant a stranger giving you their personal information. Let’s face it — there are a lot of companies competing for your audience’s attention, asking for their information and soliciting them via email. So, what’s going to make you stand out from the pack? An outstanding offer, that’s what.

Here are a few questions to determine if you have a compelling offer or not:

  • Does my offer solve a pain point for my target audience?
  • Is there a clear benefit that a lead can gain from this offer?
  • Can my offer rival the competition?

Decrease page load time

A single second delay in page load time means 7% less conversions and 11% less page views. One study found that a three-second page load time can result in losing nearly half of your potential customers. Not only that, but slow page load times result in customer dissatisfaction and frustration.

Needless to say, landing page load time is a metric to take seriously. If you need some tips, check out this resource on decreasing page load time.

Keep the buyer’s journey in mind

Since you’re driving traffic to your landing page, you should have a clear idea of where your visitors are in their buyer’s journey. That means, you’ll know if they’re trying to diagnose a problem (awareness), looking for a solution to their problem (consideration), or are ready to close (decision). Your copy and offer should reflect this if you want to convert. It’s no different from any other marketing materials — meet your visitors where they are.

Create a seamless experience

No one should be surprised when they arrive on your landing page. It should be exactly as advertised, meaning be consistent with your copy. Use the same words on your landing page that you used to get people to arrive there, whether it was a paid ad, social post, blog CTA, or email. You need to avoid the bait and switch at all costs if you want people to stick around.

Create a clear path to conversion

There should be no guesswork involved in navigating your landing page. Once someone arrives on your page, it should be clear what you want them to do — submit their info to your lead form. Your goal is to guide visitors to your form using creative directional cues.

Here are some ways to point your visitor to a conversion:

  • Choose an image of a person that is either gazing in the direction of or pointing to your form
  • Make your CTA a contrasting color to draw attention to it
  • Use arrows that point to your lead form
  • Insert anchor text that brings people back to the form when clicked
  • Give your CTA some negative space on the page
  • Frame your lead form with a bold color or outline

Add scarcity to your offer

Few emotional marketing tactics work as well as fear … and the fear of missing out (more formally known as FOMO). Consumers don’t like to lose their ability to choose, and once you make it clear that your offer is in high demand and/or short supply, they’re going to clamber to get it. (Here’s a cool study on cookie jars if you want to geek out on the psychology of scarcity marketing.)

The other reason why this technique works is because people want things that are hard to obtain — that signifies value and exclusivity.

To show scarcity, mention how little of your offer is left, include a countdown timer, use words like “ends soon” or “last chance”. Obviously, we want you to be genuine, so only employ tactics that are true for your business. Bottom line: there are many ways to use and benefit from this technique.

Use video

Video marketing is becoming increasingly popular for good reason. Not only do customers prefer to see video from companies, but video has been proven to increase conversions by up to 80 percent.  The key is to create an effective video that doesn’t distract visitors from your ultimate goal: the call-to-action.

If you’re on the fence about using video, here are some reasons that might push you over the ledge.

Video…

  • Increases conversion rates
  • Is a more personable way to share a message and connect with prospects
  • Can be more engaging than an image and will get visitors in the habit of clicking (and  converting)
  • Keeps visitors on your page longer
  • Is processed 60,000 times faster than text

If you do plan to employ this tactic, VidYard has some helpful landing page video guidelines to follow.

Are you excited yet about all the ways you can improve your landing pages? Sure, there are quite a few but that just means that a poor-performing landing page doesn’t have to stay that way. Take it one tactic at a time and build as needed.

What to Do Post-Conversion: Lead Nurturing

So, you have an optimized landing page that converts like a charm. Now what? You don’t want to leave those leads hanging. Instead you want to nurture them into becoming customers, then nurture them some more. Here’s how.

Optimize your thank you page

I hope you’re not tired of optimizing yet. Your thank you page is the first thing someone sees after they convert, so it serves as a great opportunity to delight your new lead even more than you already have. Your objective is twofold: deliver your promised offer and get them interested in something else on your site.

Your thank you page should:

  • Thank your new lead (go figure)
  • Provide links to relevant content on your site
  • Invite your lead to follow you on social media
  • Ask your lead to subscribe to your blog
  • Automate a follow-up email with the offer

Guide them along their buyer’s journey

Your new lead is going to make their way to the decision stage with or without you. You want to be the one to help them get there. You’ve gathered some valuable information about your lead, which means you can anticipate what they need next. Provide content or resources to bring them to the subsequent stage of their journey, and you just might be their option for the decision stage. After all, we know that prospects buy from companies that they know, like, and trust.

Form a relationship

Once someone signs up to receive information from you, they become a potential customer with whom you should work hard to build a relationship and connection. The good thing is you already know what they’re interested in and what their pain points are, so you can target them with additional, helpful content and personalized marketing.

If you’re still stuck, get some inspiration from some of the best landing pages we could find.

Conclusion

Landing pages will account for a majority of your new leads, so they demand your attention. With the vast number of tweaks, additions, and variations you can implement, there’s no reason why you can’t have a landing page that converts well. As long as you’re following the best practices we covered above, you’ll be on your way to a high-performing landing page. And if you need some additional guidance, we’re always here as a resource.

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The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing in 2019

It’s no secret that traditional forms of marketing, which interrupt audience members, are less effective than they once were for reaching prospects and converting leads into customers. That’s why content marketing has become a popular way for businesses to reach and engage their target audience.

By providing audience members with useful content to educate them on your products and services — and show them how those products and services effectively solve their pain points and challenges — you can increase conversions, improve brand awareness, boost revenue, and more. Sound interesting? Keep reading to learn about the ways your business can implement content marketing tactics and strategies to connect with your audience.

Why is content marketing important?

Today, outbound marketing strategies (or anything that interrupts your audience members) aren’t as effective for reaching audience members and converting leads as they once were. Content marketing has become a popular way for businesses to combat this issue. In addition to expanding your reach, content marketing helps your business:

  • Educate your leads and prospects about the products and services you offer
  • Boost conversions
  • Build relationships between your customers and business
  • Connect with your audience to show them how your products and services solve their challenges
  • Create a sense of community around your brand

Now that you understand why your business should invest in content marketing, let’s review some examples so you can decide which types of content you want to create.

Content Marketing Examples

Although content marketing is an applicable and useful tactic for almost every company, brainstorming creative and persuasive ways to reach and convert your audience is no simple task. So, how can you succeed at content marketing?

To answer that question, let’s take a look at the various types of content marketing, plus some examples of each. This section will give you a better understanding of how you can incorporate content in your business’s marketing plans.

Types of Content Marketing

There are many types of content marketing your business may decide to leverage. Below are some of the most popular options.

Social Media Content Marketing

With over 3.7 billion global users, it’s easy to understand why so many businesses invest in social media content marketing. There are a number of platforms (such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat) to work with and several ways you can create and share social media content on each of them (such as photos, live and pre-recorded videos, and stories). All of these platforms and ways to share your content provide you with a plethora of opportunities to connect with your audience.

Example of Social Media Content Marketing

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Lush Cosmetics’ Instagram account is on-brand and complements the rest of their marketing content — if the page didn’t say “Lush Cosmetics” anywhere on the profile, customers would likely still know the profile belongs to Lush.

The Instagram page shares the Lush product line, displays different color and scent options for the products, and shows the various ways each product can be used. Their profile feels and looks colorful, bright, happy, and uniquely Lush. The page also depicts people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders using their products in ways that fit their specific needs.

Infographic Content Marketing

Infographics display content, information, and data in an easy-to-understand, graphic format. With a mix of simple wording, short statements, and clear images, infographics are a great way to effectively communicate your content. They work well if you’re trying to distill an educational and/ or complex topic down so all audience members can understand it.

Example of Infographic Content Marketing
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IBM created an infographic when they launched their Cloud marketplace Their infographic is on-brand, well-organized, and easy to read. It clearly explains what they’re doing with their Cloud marketplace and how customers can benefit from it. It also tells audience members how they can access the marketplace and get started using it.

Blog Content Marketing

Blogs are a powerful type of content for inbound marketing and sharing information with your customers and target audience (whether educational, customer-related, or product-related). Blogs can be used to convert readers into customers, boost brand awareness, and/ or build relationships with your audience.

Depending on the goal of your specific blog, you may choose to promote other blog content by linking to various posts, sharing links to your social media pages, linking to your partners’ websites and products, or writing about your product line.

Example of Blog Content Marketing
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Expedia has a blog called “[Out There Starts Here]” that shares travel-related information. Whether about hotel recommendations, unique places to visit, or various activities you can do around the globe, their blog has all of the details.

Expedia regularly publishes their blog content to keep readers interested and engaged. It includes a wide range of topics related to any type of trip you could imagine. The blog is on-brand and all articles relate to the travel technology company’s goal and mission of gaining customers and boosting brand awareness. They do this by linking to their services and writing about customers who have already had positive experiences with the company.

Podcast Content Marketing

Did you know over 6 million people currently listen to podcasts in the U.S.? Podcasts have become a popular content medium because of their convenience — you can enjoy them while relaxing or on-the-go. That’s why so many businesses have started creating podcasts. They help improve brand awareness, build relationships with audience members, and promote their products, services, and partners.

Example of Podcast Content Marketing
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Harvard Business Review (HBR) has a weekly podcast called HBR IdeaCast which features industry leaders in both business and management. You can either subscribe to consistently receive their hundreds of podcasts or pick and choose which ones you want to listen to.

The podcast is on-brand and complements the rest of HBRs published content. It also serves as a great way for HBR to connect with their target audience, enhance brand awareness, and gain a following of audience members through a medium that differs from their typical work (listening to a podcast vs. reading an HBR article).

Video Content Marketing

According to a recent HubSpot research, over 50% of consumers say they want to see videos from the brands they interact with. Additionally, video marketing can boost conversions, improve ROI, and help you build relationships with audience members. You may choose to share your video marketing content on social media platforms, site pages, or on your partners’ websites — expanding your reach across different media.

Example of Video Content Marketing
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Much of Dollar Shave Club’s video content has gone viral. Their marketing efforts are on-brand, humorous, and entertaining. In fact, one of their videos has over 26 million views on YouTube. By making a name for themselves through their online video content, Dollar Shave Club has experienced impressive growth and brand recognition.

Paid Ad Content Marketing

As I mentioned before, organic traffic created by content and inbound marketing is becoming increasingly popular among all types of businesses. However, that’s not to say paid content and ads are useless or ineffective for reaching your target audience. Paid content ads can help you reach a broad audience and allow you to position yourself in all of the places you want to be seen.

There are many ways you can create and publish your paid content ads. You might share paid ads on social media or publish digital ads on websites in the form of banners or sponsored content.

Example of Paid Ad Content Marketing
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Revolve — a clothing and accessories company — uses paid and sponsored ads on social media (like this one on Facebook) to reach their target audience while they browse their news feeds. The content ads feature some of their products and details about their free shipping and return policies to pull their audience to their website and, hopefully, convert them audience into customers.

We’ve now reviewed the various types of content marketing you can add to your strategy. Now, let’s talk about your content marketing strategy. By implementing a strategy, you can ensure your content marketing efforts are impactful and effective in converting leads and reaching your audience members.

1. Set SMART Goals

The first part of your content marketing strategy is to set SMART goals. These should be specific to your business — they’ll likely complement your broader marketing and company goals. Let’s review some examples of goals you set for your content marketing strategy.

You may want your content to …

  • Improve brand awareness
  • Boost revenue
  • Increase conversions
  • Improve brand loyalty
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Build rapport and trust among prospects and customers
  • Attract strategic partners

2. Determine Your KPIs

Next, set key performance indicators (KPIs) for your SMART goals. KPIs are quantifiable data points you can use to measure your actual performance against your goal.

smart goal related kpi
Brand awareness Site traffic, social media followers, subscription sign-ups, mentions (by customers and partners)
Revenue Daily sales, site traffic
Conversions Conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment rate, associated shipping rate trends, competitive price trends
Brand loyalty Returning customers, promoters, product reviews, referrals
Customer engagement Likes, shares, follows, mentions, backlinks
Rapport and trust Returning customers, promoters, followers, mentions
Strategic partners New partnerships, mentions, backlinks

3. Decide on the Type of Content

Next, choose the type of content you’ll create. To do this, start by thinking about your target audience and buyer personas. Answer the following questions about your target audience to help you narrow down the right types of content for them:

  • What do they need from you?
  • What challenges are they looking to overcome?
  • Why do they need your product or service?
  • How can you help them succeed?

Now, take a look back at the various types of content we reviewed earlier to determine which type or types of content you’ll create and share among your audience members and customers.

4. Choose Your Content Channels

Once you’ve decided on the type of content you’ll market with, it’s time to choose your specific content channels. For some of the content types, the channel you need to work with will be obvious. For example, if you’re creating blog content, your channel will be the blog itself.

However, some channels will be less obvious. For example, if you choose social media, you’ll need to decide which platform or platforms you’ll be marketing on (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If you choose an infographic, you’ll need to decide which channel will you be sharing it on (social media, website, etc.).

5. Set a Budget

Now, set your budget. Think about the type of content you’re creating and which channels you’re marketing that content on. Then, ask yourself the following questions to determine your budget:

  • Do you need to purchase any software or technology to create the content (such as graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, a subscription to Canva, a camera to take high-quality photos and videos)?
  • Do you need to hire any content team members (such as artists, writers, editors, designers)?
  • Do you need to pay for ad space?
  • Do you need access to specific tools or resources to enhance or measure your specific type of content?

As you answer these questions, you may notice how your responses impact your expected budget — whether that’s an increase or decrease in what you may have already estimated.

6. Create and Distribute the Content

Create and distribute your content so your audience members can consume it — and possibly convert. To ensure you’re consistently producing content and sharing it among your prospects and customers, use a social media calendar or an editorial content calendar. This can help your team can stay on top of all of the content being created and even schedule it ahead of time.

Use a free editorial calendar to schedule and optimize all of your marketing content to help you boost conversions.

7. Analyze and Measure Results

Lastly, analyze and measure your results. This will allow you to make any necessary changes to enhance your content marketing efforts and reach more audience members. Look at your SMART goals and KPIs to determine the success of your content marketing strategy. Did you achieve your goals and KPIs? Were you close to reaching them, or were you off in your estimations?

Here are some tools to help you with your content marketing strategy analytics and results:

Convert More Prospects With Content Marketing

With effective content marketing, you can reach your target audience and increase conversions. There are several ways to market with content to boost revenue, grow your brand awareness and recognition, and build relationships with your prospects and customers.

To get started, determine which type of content works best for your business and audience, and develop a content marketing strategy to begin boosting your bottom line today.

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