Marketing Tools I Love

marketing-tools

As a marketer, we have lots of great tools available. I’ve tried out many. These are some that I love and why. I’m not affiliated with any of these brands, and my recommendations are simply my humble opinion.

Hootsuite

There are lots of social media management platforms available. I’ve been using Hootsuite for about a year, and I think it’s pretty nifty. I use it both on desktop and the app. The only negative is that on the app, I can’t schedule for a LinkedIn company page. I also use the Hootlet extension so that I can post directly from the article I’m reading. I set up most of my social media on Sunday for the following week. Because I manage multiple accounts, it keeps me organized. You can create multiple streams and “listen” for keywords. It’s also easy to manage engagement, as I can reply, retweet, share or like directly from the app.

Canva

I’m so obsessed with this platform. I am officially a raving fan, and I’ve recommended it to about 10 people thus far. Canva helps you make your imagery and designs look professional. I am NOT a designer so I need help. Canva has amazing templates, most of which are free. And it already has the sizes you need for a variety of posts: social media, blogs, etc. You can create eBooks, presentations and pretty much anything marketing related. I also just used a template to update my resume. They even offer “magic” resizing so that if you create a design in one template, it will automatically resize it. The basics are free, but I do have a paid subscription. It’s probably the best $13 I spend a month.

Instapage

Full disclosure, I’m neither a designer nor a coder. But I wanted to build easy landing pages without waiting for a designer or a coder. I tried out several landing page creators. I’ve loved Unbounce for a long time; that produce some great content. It just wasn’t a good fit for me based on skill set and price. Instapage is so easy to use! Drag and drop basically. They provide a lot of templates, or you can make your own. You can also add your brand font and colors easily. For a very reasonable price, you can create unlimited pages. Super easy to navigate, and it integrates with many website platforms like WordPress.

Pixabay

I’m no fan of stock imagery. It ruins so many cool websites. I try to use imagery that aligns with the idea but looks natural. Pixabay is my absolute favorite free photo site. They have a nice collection of photos and illustrations. I’ve been using it for years. I rarely ever have to go to a second source because Pixabay almost always has what I want. Pixabay photos are on my blog and portfolio website. Even though it is free, you can donate money to them. I use them a lot so I have no problem with helping them out.

Hubspot

Last but not least, I absolutely believe Hubspot is the best marketing automation software. I’ve been in love with their message for years and finally got the opportunity to use it for a project I worked on for several months. It’s so intuitive, and it integrates everything. You can post blogs, design landing pages, manage SEO and more. Plus, they offer FREE education. I’ve taken the software class and the certifications classes in inbound, email and content marketing. Their webinars are pretty insightful as well. Marketo and Pardot, to me, aren’t even in the same neighborhood, and both of those platforms don’t offer any training unless you are a paying customer. It also costs quite a bit to even take their certification tests.

If you need tools to work on marketing yourself or a brand, check out my recommendations. I’d also love to hear about the marketing tools you love.

Happy Marketing!

Are long forms killing your landing page conversions?

are-long-forms-killing-your-landing-page-conversions

Listen, I know you want a lot of information on prospects that download your gated content. But some brands need a reality check on the value of their offer compared to the information requested. I saw an offer today on LinkedIn. The asset offer was for a research paper so I understand that it took time to create it. Analysis and conclusions take work to develop. But I’d be very curious to know what their bounce rate is for this landing page. I’m going to guess it’s high because these are the things they request on the form:

  • First and last name
  • Company name
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Number of employees
  • State
  • Country
  • Currently use their products

These are all required fields! If I had to put this piece of content in a buyer’s journey stage (haven’t read it, just inferring from the little information provided), I would say it’s either awareness or consideration. I lean a bit more toward awareness because the “value” of the research paper is to prove that doing X leads to Y. And Y is something a prospect would be happy about. In the awareness stage, it makes more sense to ask for less information. It’s the getting to know you phase. I recommend asking for name and email only. With a prospect opting into email, you have a channel to communicate and nurture the relationship by providing more content and eventually a decision stage offer of a consultation, price quote or demo.

I checked other platforms. The same offer is on Twitter and FaceBook; no distinction at all between the three posts (not even a hashtag on Twitter). I also know this is a global company with thousands of employees, and I would assume a healthy marketing department and budget.

I’m sure this is a very valuable asset, but the execution and promotion are off. Here is how I’d fix it:

Does the landing page practice good conversion-centered design? I’d say no. Here are some areas of improvement.

Context: Have they considered the context of where someone might be landing from? No. By posting on social media, it can be shared with people that don’t follow their brand. And those people have no context about who the brand is. Read more on context here.

Clarity: The posts for the asset say it’s a research paper and provide a name of someone who worked on it, but none of that is on the landing page. Also, if they are going to use someone’s name then they should tag the person so that people understand he or she is a credible source.

Congruence: This is big fail. Every element of the landing page should align with the goal. The goal is to get users to download the asset. Yet on the actual landing page there is one sentence and eight fields.

Closing: This principle focuses on getting the click. There are many elements on the page that influence conversions. This landing page has little context and requests a lot of information. Its call to action is simply “submit,” which is a negative word, at least subconsciously. There are many other positive words and phrases to use that can propel a user to convert.

In addition to the improvements need to align with conversion-centered design, their promotion strategy seems to be nonexistent. They should post it on social media based on the platform: FaceBook (visual), Twitter (use a hastag and tag the writer) and LinkedIn (longer post and tag writer).

So I guess you could say I’m silently critiquing your landing pages. If you’d like me to do it out loud, send me a note and let’s chat.

 

Is your marketing confident?

marketing-confident

If you want your audience to take your brand seriously, you must market confidently. But confidence doesn’t mean being boastful or using every superlative available. It means that you lead with value, and let your audience know how your solution can revolutionize the way they do something. If your message veers off course, whether that is because you’ve gone from confident to condescending or show uncertainty, then your conversions will suffer.

Here’s an example from my own career. A designer and I created a landing page with the goal of getting users to request a demo of our software. It was a really well designed page that provided an outline of how the software worked, emphasizing ease and convenience. It also relayed the key values the user would experience, including reducing time spent on data entry, cost savings and improving the quality of their current process. It also included a link to an educational white paper, which was a free link (no form completion required).

The call to action included some specific confident language. The close was xyz will change the way you do xyz. Chat with us today to learn how we can improve your process. The close was focused on what the software could do for its users and that the brand was confident in its delivery of an effective product.

The landing page was used in a variety of channels, including an Adwords campaign, social media and email marketing. It was a very successful landing page, pulling in an 8 to 9 percent conversion on Adwords and over 40 percent on email.

Then the president of the company took issue with the confident wording, saying it was too much of a guarantee. He had a hard time understanding that marketing isn’t a legal contract. The language never guaranteed anything or exclaimed that it would change their life! Unfortunately, I had to change the language. The new language didn’t radiate confidence. It was just very bland and ordinary.

Ninety days later, I reviewed the metrics. And not to my surprise, conversions declined, mainly in the Adwords campaign, which of course was real dollars and less returns. I reported the data to my boss. He still would not allow me to change the language back. The landing page continued to have good conversion rates, but it never hit the same numbers as it had. This was the only change made so I had to attribute the decline to the change.

Fear often keeps people from making the best decisions for growth. Marketing, executed with focus and confidence, is the heart of any great growth strategy. If you don’t end with a confident close, users will sense this and lose confidence in your brand.