mercredi 7 septembre 2016

Making Design Choices to Fit Your Brand

branding design

By the time you begin making design choices to fit your brand, you should have a deep understanding of your company’s vision and mission—your why, as I like to call it. You also will know your buyer personas inside and out by this point. You’ll know what reaches them on both logical and emotional levels.

Without this knowledge, you shouldn’t make a single move toward your branding design. Anything you create should reflect your brand standards, not dictate them. When you’re ready to move forward, these tips will help you stay on track.

Keep It Simple

The most recognizable brands in the world have simple, easy-to-identify logos. Without much brainpower, you could easily conjure the images associated with Nike, BMW, or Apple, right?

Use the information you’ve gathered from your deep-dive branding examination to cast a critical eye on your logo choices. Will your design speak to the right audience? Will it convey your brand’s mission and vision? Take the necessary time to get it right.

The Psychology of Color

The colors you choose to represent your brand will speak to your buyers. For that reason, you can’t simply select a color because it’s your personal favorite. It’s important to study the emotions that particular hues evoke and pair them together for the optimum reaction.

For instance, if you want to grab attention and convey energy or passion, then red is your color. Yellow is the choice for optimism and happiness. Orange, an increasingly popular color, gives the impression of friendliness, creativity, and even youth. Perhaps that last characteristic is what makes orange the big choice these days, since many of the companies that use it target millennials.

The rest of the list looks something like this:

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  • Black: credibility, power, decisiveness
  • White: simplicity, classic, innocence
  • Brown: rustic, historic, sturdy
  • Blue: professional, peaceful, trustworthy
  • Green: organic, earthy, growth
  • Purple: wisdom, spirituality
  • Pink: fun, flirtatious, feminine

With these characteristics in mind, think of the most famous logos in the world. What do their colors tell you about the brand? McDonald’s would be energetic and happy, right? Starbucks conveys organic and simplistic values. BMW, with its black, blue, and white, says it is powerful, trustworthy, and classic.

Focus on Fonts

Choosing fonts that reflect your brand can also be difficult. In many cases, the font for your logo is created specifically for your brand. Not everyone can afford that kind of design work, however. Whether you’re planning something custom for your brand or choosing fonts that are already in existence, make sure the fonts speak even louder than the words you create with them.

You have so many to choose from: big, bold, serif, sans serif, script, thin, serious, whimsical… The list goes on. Some of these fonts will gain popularity so quickly that they eventually become passé. For instance, ask any designer how they feel about the Comic Sans or the Papyrus fonts. We can’t see into the future, but we can definitely keep an eye out for popular choices that may need to be avoided.

Your font doesn’t apply to only your logo. Other fonts will become a part of your font palette. You should choose something that will be easy to read on any platform, including print and web uses. This includes the copy on your website, in your brochures, and on your company swag. Before you start creating anything for your business, have all fonts selected and tested.

Create Your Brand Profile

When you have all these things selected, create a brand profile. This is where you’ll apply your colors and fonts to various situations that just might happen in your business. Create different versions of your logo, including the symbol only, logotype with the name of your company included, black and white versions, horizontal and vertical versions, and any other iterations you think you may need.

Not only do you get a chance to see all your choices together at once, but you also have a place to return when you want to refresh, rejuvenate, realign, or even redesign. Because, while you definitely need to get it right the first time, there may come a day in the future when you need a few tweaks to stay relevant. Nearly every brand mentioned in this blog has faced that eventuality during their long lives. How wonderful would it be for you to get your branding so right the first time that your company survives long enough to need a rebrand? Let’s make that happen.

Your branding design is only a small step on your marketing journey. See how it all fits together in my book, Your Marketing Road Map, available for presale now on Amazon.

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Making Design Choices to Fit Your Brand

3 Tips for Creating a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

Think about the companies you shop with on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Each one of them probably has some kind of loyalty program that has you collecting points or receiving discounts. Even retail giant, Nordstrom, hopped on the customer loyalty bandwagon through adding a regular customer loyalty program outside of their exclusive loyalty debit and credit cards.

The fact that most retailers and brands are implementing customer loyalty programs is no coincidence. Adding a customer loyalty program has many benefits including:

  • Boosting sales – With an incentive to earn rewards or discounts, customers are enticed to spend more in order to earn their benefits.
  • Happy customers – Shoppers expect to receive benefits from the companies they shop with. Whether you offer discounts, free products, or money back, everyone loves rewards which will keep customers coming back.
  • Reaching new markets – Loyalty programs allow you to reach the masses with discounts, but also provide you with a way to segment offers by affiliation such as student, military, teacher, employees, or even professionals in the industry.
  • Market research – By reaching out to different markets, you gain insight into important data such as what types of customers are shopping with you, what they are buying, where they are shopping, and how much they are spending.
  • Customer interaction – Having a loyalty program gives you the excuse to interact with your customers and keep them updated on your promotions and exclusive offers via email, mailings, SMS message, etc.

While implementing a customer loyalty program may seem daunting, it’s not as hard as one might think and the benefits are worth it. Here are 3 pro tips to help create a success customer loyalty program:

  1. Ask for the right information – While customers want access to your rewards and discounts, their personally identifiable data is not always worth giving up to save money. Stick to asking for simple information like name, email address, affiliations, or phone number and avoid getting too personal by asking for social security number or other highly secure information. In the survey College Student Buying Behaviors, 88% of students said they would not be willing to give out their social security number in exchange for a discount.
  1. Simple and consistent offers – There is nothing worse than signing up for a customer loyalty program and not knowing how it works. Complicated systems typically end in confused customers and frustrated employees. To ensure that your discounts and rewards are successful, make sure to implement an extremely basic system. Whether it’s one point in exchange for every dollar spent or 10% off every purchase, keeping everything transparent and consistent helps to avoid any misunderstandings.
  1. Get exclusive – Offering general customer loyalty programs is great, but why not offer something extra special to the military, student, and teacher markets, or even your VIPs? Markets like teachers and the military love when companies give back by offering exclusive discounts and rewards as a thank you. In fact, 84% of teachers and administrators said that they are more loyal to brands that offer teacher discounts. With over 4 million educators in the US alone, that’s a huge market of potentially lifelong customers.

Eligibility verification is a great way to make sure that your exclusive offers are only applied to the shopping carts of your customers who truly qualify. It also helps you to personalize your customer loyalty program like never before. Learn more about eligibility verification.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 14th: Time Mastery for Marketers

Creating a successful customer loyalty program can be challenging, but asking for the right information, creating simple and consistent offers, and providing exclusive deals to target consumer groups will help to put you ahead of the competition and yield highly beneficial results.

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3 Tips for Creating a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

The Apple Store’s Evolution of Customer Experience


Last month, Apple opened a new branch of its retail stores in southern Manhattan. Apple World Trade Center welcomed huge crowds of zealous fans and customers, elated at the chance to sample the newest offering from the company. Considering the hype and magnitude of runway for any new Apple product, the enthusiasm displayed at the grand opening wasn’t unexpected.

The cheering crowds, meticulous building architecture, and grinning employees remained synonymous with the brand. Only one thing was different from previous such endeavors – the Apple Store had officially become the Apple store.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 14th: Time Mastery for Marketers

The Significance of Proper Nouns: Value in Human Interaction

Wait, what?

Since May, with Apple’s new flagship store in San Francisco, all new retail stores have simply been named, “Apple,” plus the location. Apple Union Square, instead of Apple Store, Union Square. Apple Williamsburg. Apple World Trade Center. According to SVP of Retail, Angela Ahrendts, the company is focusing on making the stores “a community” rather than simply a retail space available for buying a new iPhone or MacBook.

Doesn’t this seem like a PR gimmick?

A gimmick, you say? Psh, only to the untrained Customer Experience eye! Upcoming changes to retail locations include decor revamps and the modification of the Genius Bar layout to allow customers (or non-customers) to gather at a location simply in a personal capacity. Remember that one library on campus that was the place to work, hang out, or meet up before an event? That’s what Apple wants to be, and to do so, an increase in human interaction must be made possible. Apple enthusiasts love to brag about the products, so providing them with a real, brick-and-mortar place to do it opens doors to customer loyalty and evangelism.

The best thing a brand can achieve is becoming so seamlessly integrated into a customer’s life, that buying from a competitor isn’t even an afterthought. Keeping that in mind, Apple’s new move is “genius”. Of course, there are moving pieces. Coming up with a clean focus for the Apple store brand with all its different purposes, from retail to Genius Bar support to community enrichment, will certainly be a challenge. If Ahrendts is successful in bringing more human interaction to the tech giant’s brand, however, this could be a revolutionary move in the company’s history.

What this Means for Apple’s Lauded Customer Experience

Apple has always been a front-runner in customer experience quality among its peers. What made the iPhone such a huge success? It customer-focused interface (ease-of-use) and the confidence that users have always had in the company’s ability to fix any problems with the product. This confidence is what makes the iPhone worth the relatively high initial investment.

It only makes sense, then, for the company’s next step to be to focus on strengthening this experience as the launch of the new MacBook Pro approaches. The applications of creating an in-house community could be endless.

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The Apple Store’s Evolution of Customer Experience

5 Unexpected Advertising Alternatives to Drive New Business


Savvy internet users are getting REALLY good at blocking ad content. It all started with DVRs — after decades of watching commercials, we were finally able to skip right past the ads. And as consumers, we want that option everywhere. We consume content from Netflix, we install adblockers on our browsers, skip ads on YouTube, and purchase content directly to avoid extra ads. In 2015, the estimated number of active adblock users hit an estimated 198 MILLION.

So, that means that as marketers and business owners, we can’t rely on the same push tactics to get our ad messages in front of potential leads and customers. But, what options do we have? We’ve compiled a list of 5 unexpected advertising alternatives to help you break through and connect with your audience.

1. Guest or Sponsored Content

Do some research to find influential (non-competitor) blogs or websites in your industry. Many industry leadership blogs look for content from other industry leaders — if you are a well-known company with a well-established message, you might be able to get featured as a guest blogger without paying for it.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

If you can’t find a website that will let you submit a guest blog, sponsored content might be a great option. Craft a specific, actionable piece of content that helps solve specific problems and then pay for placement on a key industry website. The cost of the sponsored content should be proportional to the number of subscribers that will receive your content.

2. SEO-Centric Blogs

One of the greatest ways that you can get past adblockers is by creating organic, relevant content that meets customers where they are already searching. Look for opportunities to answer questions that prospective customers ask in the pre-purchase phases. Do keyword research to find the most relevant terms to optimize your blogs.

For most companies, this tactic is not a quick-fix, short-term solution, but instead, a long-term investment to serve content to users that is written for both Google and your target audience. Win win!

3. Helpful Videos

Creating helpful videos is a great way to rise above the noise of traditional advertising. Create video content that breaks the mold for your industry in some way. If customers are used to seeing advertisements pushing your products, focus on teaching viewers how to do something with your products. Give your audience creative and outside-the-box solutions to use your product in their everyday life.

4. Incentive Sharing

Stop promoting your own message and get happy customers to do it for you! I recently discovered Soothe, an app that allows you to book a massage and the therapist will come to your home (or whatever location you choose) within the next hour. It’s a little pricier than a normal massage, but the tip is also included. After my first appointment, I got an email that said I could share a $30 off coupon with my friends and if they booked an appointment, I would get a code for another $30 off for myself!

Incentive sharing is a great tactic that allows you to reward current customers while turning them into brand advocates that are always looking for opportunities to share about your products or services!

5. Content Syndication

Do you already have a library of great content and blogs but you aren’t getting the readership you really want? Look for opportunities to get your content syndicated through industry news sites. These sites will collect the RSS feed of relevant blogs and scan them, regularly looking for content they can republish. These types of websites are a great way to extend your reach to new viewers and also gain valuable referring links to your website.


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5 Unexpected Advertising Alternatives to Drive New Business

Who Should Own Sales Development: Sales or Marketing?

Why can’t sales and marketing just get along? It would be in everyone’s best interest if we could all just sit down, sing Kumbaya, and share our peace pipe!

When you drill down into the complexities of each of their personalities, sales and marketing fall on both ends of the spectrum; either they are far too similar, or they are totally different. The key to their alliance, is finding a bridge between the two.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

Where does the sales development team fit in?

In most cases, the sales development team is sandwiched between sales and marketing. They are forced to bow to both departments, scrambling to meet each and every request. Rather than running around trying to keep both parties satisfied, sales development teams should act as a buffer, providing a voice of reason between the two departments. Sales development teams are an untapped resource in determining the true effectiveness of the teams they support. They are able to offer unbiased feedback (good or bad), and provide insight from both sides. They should be thought of as an internal consultant that can provide a neutral analysis on what is and isn’t working.

Does that mean a new department needs to be created?

One way to bridge the gap between the two departments, is by creating a third department independent of sales and marketing. What should we call this department? This is where it gets tricky. The problem is that we all have different terms for this function. Marketing tends to call it “Demand Generation”, and sales prefers to call it “Opportunity Generation”. As a result, it creates a shared ownership issue which can lead to the problem of each department wanting to dictate their own agenda into the program. The “Lead Generation” Department does not sound particularly sexy, but it doesn’t gravitate towards either marketing or sales, which is exactly the stance of the sales development team. Building a team that is neutral is the way to go.

Where to start

If you’re considering building a sales development team, you need to start by identifying where they sit within your org chart. In a perfect world, all three departments—Sales, Marketing, and Sales Development, would all report up to the same department head whether that be a CRO or CEO. Once it is determined where the sales development team will live, it is time to dictate what their responsibilities will include. What tasks will they handle for marketing? What function will they serve to the sales team?

There is no cookie cutter template of what a sales development team should look like, nor what their responsibilities should entail. Every team is different, and needs around marketing and sales vary from company to company. The one thing that can be derived here, is that having a sales development team can help sales and marketing play a little nicer.

What are your thoughts? Is sales development better off answering to sales, marketing, or both?

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Who Should Own Sales Development: Sales or Marketing?

5 Questions SaaS Sales Leaders Should Ask Themselves

Many believe that “sales is sales,” and that the fundamentals of the process are the same whether you traffic in agricultural commodities or commercial jet aircraft. It’s true in a sense; the basic requirements of a successful sales strategy remain the same regardless of the product, including connecting with a customer, communicating value, and understanding their pain points. That doesn’t mean however, that different industries don’t experience their own unique complications on top of those fundamentals, and this is certainly true when you consider sales operations within SaaS startups.

The SaaS industry has emerged so quickly and evolves at a rapid pace, making it hard to stick to any one sales playbook for an indefinite period. This can lead many SaaS sales leaders to question what specific circumstances related to their industry affect their processes the most. In order to build upon sales best practices that you would incorporate in any type of company and create specific avenues for maximizing your success in SaaS sales, these are the five questions you should be asking about your strategy.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

1. Does our training program emphasize the ability to create powerful long-distance connections?

Unless you’re in the minority, your SaaS organization probably focuses entirely on inside sales to grow your business. For this reason, SaaS sales reps are often required to create a lasting connection with prospects having never met face-to-face. Some sales professionals inherently excel at forging a long-distance connection, while others rely more on the non-verbal cues and other dynamics that make in-person communication unique. It doesn’t mean that they’re ineffective salespeople, it just means that your organization needs to take extra care to set them up to succeed in this environment.

2. Could we get more reliable results by switching to account-based sales?

It seems like the account-based sales model is on every B2B organization’s mind these days, and this is especially true when it comes to SaaS startups. Products and organizational structures are both increasing in complexity, which has led to an increase in the number of key decision-makers in any B2B purchasing decision. By allowing sales reps to service an entire company and try to grow revenue from within it rather than expending energy and resources going after leads that have a much lower likelihood of materializing, you may be able to scale your growth more dynamically. Not only are clients more often satisfied, since they can get reliably excellent service from their point-person no matter who in the company makes contact, but the sales reps typically find it to be preferable as well. They can leverage previously-established relationships at the company to drive revenue, and use every tool in their sales toolbox to deliver a unique, customized experience for the client.

3. Are we focusing on improving the metrics that the board really cares about?

At the end of the day, the board of directors is going to have a significant say in the future of the company, and it’s up to SaaS sales leaders to deliver results in the metrics they care about (which aren’t necessarily the ones that are prized within the sales department). While sales managers at other types of businesses can often focus on low-level KPIs such as new bookings or opportunity win rate, the board likely wants to look at big-picture results that impact the long-term prospects of the organization in various ways. They’ll be paying attention to revenue growth, of course, but they’re also probably going to scrutinize the churn rate of clients. Studies have shown that minimizing churn, or even getting to negative rates of churn, can lead to exponentially-higher valuation rates for SaaS companies.

4. Is our hiring process optimized to produce technologically-savvy, adaptable SaaS sales reps?

While every sales rep has to be fluent in the language of their industry in order to be successful, SaaS requires an even more specialized level of technical comfort. Both the types of products, and the customers’ buying environments change rapidly in the SaaS world, and sales reps must be able to learn new technological processes and adapt quickly in order to stay ahead of the curve.

5. Does the customer onboarding program create opportunities to deliver an outstanding customer experience?

The customer onboarding period is crucial for building long-term client relationships in SaaS, and the sales department needs to take an active role in helping to ensure that customers receive the best experience with the products. It’s important to train sales reps to get intimately involved in the onboarding process through various measures, such as soliciting feedback from the customers to build a better process, and coordinating requests and events across several different business units. Building a great onboarding program can help you reduce churn and maximize revenue from an existing account.

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5 Questions SaaS Sales Leaders Should Ask Themselves

6 Key Demand Generation Lessons Learned from Gated-Content Testing

6_lessons_gated_content.pngIn a previous post, Gated Content Marketing Strategy: Adding Steps Boosted Results 2X, I discussed how adding steps to the conversion process went against traditional demand generation thinking, and actually created an increase in conversions.

Let’s take this concept a few steps further and discuss ways a gated-content strategy can help complement your entire lead generation funnel.

Key lessons learned:

  1. Think about content as a free trial product. Your demand funnel does not always need to lead to the sale of your product or service. Spend time thinking about your name acquisition funnel, then apply a nurture funnel to those names to educate them and lead them through the sales process.

    When you begin to treat content as a free trial product, it changes the buying steps in the process so that you truly focus your funnel on content downloads. Once you’ve crossed that milestone, and you begin to build a strong prospect list, it’s time to nurture the leads and bring them into your buying funnel.

  2. Give before you get. What are you giving the prospect before you ask them to give you something? Before asking a prospect to pay you with their data, offer them additional useful content to help develop a stronger affinity. Being more generous in what you give can increase what you get in return.
  3. Know the goal for each funnel, and it’s OK to have multiple funnels. Are you immediately trying to sell product or are you inviting people into your inner circle? Consider several macro funnels for prospects and customers, along with numerous micro funnels (nurture funnels) based on various behaviors, activities and characteristics. Know the motivations of your end customer and how you can help make their life easier.
  4. If you have a channel sales strategy, be aware of the small nuances that may require tweaks to your marketing funnel strategy. Pay attention to both your to-channel and through-channel conversion funnels. Your channel sellers have different motivations than your end user customers – i.e., channel sellers may place a higher emphasis on you as a thought leadership source to keep them educated and informed, which will increase their propensity to sell and recommend your products.

    It’s important to be generous in what you give, so that you will get something in return. When working within a channel strategy, and you’re “influencing the influencers,” there may not always be an immediate or direct correlation to the outbound activities you execute. You may need to develop more patience in your demand marketing and sales funnel, and think of it as an investment over time.

  5. Develop your plan for third-party leads along with your own database development. Working with third-party lead providers can help bring volume and consistency to your funnels, and allow you to reach audiences who haven’t heard about you yet. When building your own customer database, the work is never done.

    All leads age, and prospects move in and out of the buying cycle. Work with your third-party providers to ask custom qualifying questions to further segment your leads. You will pay a higher cost-per-lead fee upfront, but it will cost you less to achieve the sale due to the higher sales conversions which result in a more cost effective ROI. I’ve seen clients drive their ROI from 4x to 10x by asking qualifying questions on the front end of the lead generation process.

  6. Don’t forget about post-sale nurture funnels to drive retention. Once a prospect becomes a customer, it’s important to continue to the conversations, the conversions/upsells and drive retention.

    While you may choose to manage this communication through an in-app notification process vs an outbound marketing automation tool, you still need to create the strategy with a marketing funnel mindset (i.e., create logical flows and offers, upsells, etc. based on customer actions or in-actions, then track response, and optimize as you go.)

It’s important to have a cohesive gated content strategy, serving as the doorway to the beginning of the process in a complete prospect and customer funnel.


Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

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6 Key Demand Generation Lessons Learned from Gated-Content Testing

How to Gather Data For Your Next Website Redesign


According to HubSpot, 38 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.

We all know how important your website’s design is. Whether it’s making a good impression with new leads and prospects or serving and adding value for existing customers, your central hub on the web needs to look good, and more importantly, help you advance your business objectives and not hold you back.

But sometimes your best guesses about what works can fall flat. Making decisions is easier with data and a Growth-Driven Design methodology. Making assumptions about your audience and testing out your theories can lead to some valuable findings, but data spells things out in black and white—giving you actionable insights into what you can do to make your website experience more attractive and effective. And wouldn’t you rather meet and even exceed audience expectations than to underwhelm them?

Here is how to gather data for your next website redesign.

What Is Growth-Driven Design?

If traditional website construction was about designing based on theories and crossing your fingers at launch, Growth-Driven Design (GDD) is built on data and analysis. Even though you might still start with a website developed on hunches and gut-level instincts, it evolves with the close monitoring of your audience and ongoing tweaking.

In traditional models of website redesign, many organizations implemented redesigns in one fell swoop, often exceeding budgets and failing to meet deadlines as a result. GDD is an evolutionary approach, a process that happens in phases, making it more manageable.

The benefits of GDD are that you’ll be able to manage your timeline and budget goals, making them more achievable. It’s about taking one step at a time, not about getting it all done and waiting another three to five years to start planning the next website makeover.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

So how do you gather the data you need for a data-driven redesign? Read on.

Gather Persona Feedback

Copywriter Marc Schenker states, “If you’re designing a site with a main focus solely on fancy features, business objectives and the tech capacities of software tools and hardware, then you’re making a huge mistake because you’re neglecting the user. More importantly, you are contravening rule one of web design: Design for the user experience.”

Interview your buyer personas and delve deeper into them. How are they interacting with your website? What are they saying about it? Why do they leave your site? Why do they stay on it?

What you discover may not be pretty. They may tell you that your website is boring or clunky. Others may tell you that the navigation is unclear, or that they didn’t even know you were building out a new feature (even if you invested significant time and effort into the project).

These things can be hard to hear, but they help you discover the disconnect between user behavior and business objectives. The feedback you get from your target audience will ultimately prove invaluable to your website strategy.

A/B Split Test

A/B split tests give you valuable data you can use in your GDD process. Everything from call-to-action buttons, navigation, images, content upgrades and signup buttons to headlines, hyperlinks and other website elements all will be tested for their overall efficacy.

Siddharth Deswal at Visual Website Optimizer notes, “A/B split testing has this interesting tendency to throw up results that are markedly opposite to intuition and the design sense of a professional designer.”

What you think is right for your site may not produce the highest conversions or best results. Though you will never “nail down” your audience 100 percent, constant testing provides you with valuable data in the ongoing evolution of your website.

Employ Heatmaps

A heatmap is a tool you can use to track visitor behavior—where their eyes or mouse are traveling. By paying attention to the data you collect, you can determine what elements on your website are getting noticed, and which are being ignored. With this information in hand, you can figure out which sections of your website you need to improve.

Are your visitors seeing what you want them to miss, or missing what you want them to see? What could you purge from your site to clean it up and eliminate what isn’t essential? What could you do to make important elements stand out more? What could you do to get visitors to click on what you want them to click on?

Employing heatmaps will help you see what your visitors are paying attention to most on your site.

Do Your Keyword Research

Keyword research is another valuable source of data in your website design strategy.

In addition to the words searchers are using to find your business, you can also uncover the terms they are using to find your specific product or service offerings.

It’s easy to make assumptions about how people are finding you in search, but do you actually know? If your website uses industry-specific terminology to describe your products and services, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table. It’s important to understand not only how your prospects and customers are finding your business, but what terms they’re using to describe your services and products.

Making GDD Work

With Growth-Driven Design, there isn’t necessarily an end. You can keep learning about your audience, monitor key performance indicators, deploy adjustments and repeat the process indefinitely. But this is ultimately what’s most valuable about this approach—you’re not relying on a costly and time-consuming site-wide redesign to boost your sales—you’re making smaller changes in phases. This helps you to adapt continually, and that’s key because your visitors are moving targets, and their behaviors will keep on changing.

To learn more about the comprehensive strategy for building high-performance websites, check out this guide.

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How to Gather Data For Your Next Website Redesign

Geofencing As A Marketing Strategy – Learn From 8 Businesses Who Are Profiting From Geofencing


Have you gotten into your car after work when an instant traffic report for your commute home suddenly pops up on your phone? If this is not a phenomenon you’ve experienced yet, look for useful insights like these and many others to start showing up on your mobile device out of the blue.

It’s called geofencing, and studies show that this locally optimized approach to reaching customers boasts double the click through rate of normal mobile advertising. If you are a small business owner, you need to get on board with this marketing marvel right away. It’s an easy and affordable solution to engage your customers and grow your bottom line.

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(Screenshot credit: Search Engine Land)

Why You Should Adopt a Geofencing Marketing Approach

First of all, with any new and emerging technology, you need to see the evidence to support the hype. Data drives decisions, and in this case, the numbers speak volumes.

  • 60% of consumers look for local information on their mobile devices.
  • 40% of consumers look for information while on the go.
  • 70% of consumers are willing to share their location with you for something in return.
  • Secondary Action Rates–meaning people visit a store or take some other additional action after seeing an ad–are more than 2x as likely to occur with location-based marketing.
  • Home and trade services rank among the industries that receive the highest secondary action rates.

How Can This Location Data Help Me?

How can you use this exciting and versatile technology in your business? There are many ways you can use geofencing to help increase customer interactions, employee productivity, accountability, and profits, as well as keep your property and assets safe.

The first step is to develop a mobile app that supports this technology. From there, the possibilities are endless. Just look at what ground-breaking steps are being made within businesses who have begun to use geofencing.

North Face Uses Geofencing to Boost Sales with Creative Alerts

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North Face is one of the big guns when it comes to outdoor apparel. One of the reasons the brand is so successful is because it’s not afraid to experiment with new technology.

The company recently experimented with geofencing as a means to lure customers to their stores by using push notifications about the weather. Their weather-based geofenced alerts have been quite successful. The company boasts a 79% increase in store visits from customers who receive the alerts, and 65% of those customers make purchases.

There’s a lot you can learn from the marketing team over at the North Face—even if your business is on a much smaller scale. First of all, studies suggest that when a user isn’t surfing the web on his or her phone, he or she is likely to spend 86% of smartphone time using apps.

Pay attention to how the big guys are playing the mobile game—there’s a lot to learn, and in a digital world, your small business can compete. More importantly, don’t ignore a powerful resource because you don’t understand it—learn what’s new, and learn how to apply it to your business.

BMW Uses Geofencing to Offer Quality Customer Service

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BMW has also employed geofencing into their mobile business plan—in a rather different manner than most. Where most companies are using geofencing as a tool for garnering consumer attention with flashy promotions, BMW’s use is a little more pragmatic.

BMW incorporates geofencing in their BMW Trackstar and BMW Trackstar Advance services. After the activation of this service, your car’s position is pinpointed every 20 seconds. If the car is moved without the use of its keys, and the car moves out of a designated geofence, it will notify BMW who will then reach out to the car’s owner.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

Again, as a small business owner, you can learn a lot from BMW with regard to the customer service potentials of a geofence. You may not have the theft of an expensive car to worry about in your business, but you do have customers who need product protection, communication, and reliability. With about 90% of customers expecting some sort of self-service customer support, investing in the right solution will place your brand in your customers’ good graces.

Walgreens Uses Geofencing as a Means of Customer Retention

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Attracting customers is one thing but retaining them is another story entirely. Studies suggest that 83% of millennials connect with brands that appeal to their digital needs, and of that 83%, 62% become brand loyal customers.

Walgreens is using mobile marketing as a way to build trust and eventually promote brand loyalty in its customers through geofencing. Whenever a customer pulls into a fenced location a notification allows the user to open the app without having to look for it. After that, customers can scroll through their account details or view promotional offers.

Clearly the data shows that loyalty programs are a must for today’s consumers. Your business can mirror Walgreen’s direction when you add a geofence to your mobile app.

This specific approach to mobile marketing gives the user an experience of exactly “what they want when they want it” which is a hard feat to achieve in marketing. Service without interruption promotes customer loyalty.

Uber Uses Geofencing for Proactivity

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Following the lead of tech-giants around the world, Uber has also delved into using geofences. Uber uses geofences at Los Angeles International airport so that when users arrive at the airport they are notified about the number of cars available to meet their needs. This allows geofences to serve as a means of providing proactive customer services.

If you are in the travel niche, you can learn a lot from Uber’s proactive approach to catering to potential consumers. But, even if you are not in the travel businesses, thinking about ways to let your customers know you have what they need when they need it most is a great way to use the geofencing capabilities of your business’ mobile app.

It’s important to note that 82% of businesses see quality information as the most important component of a customer’s experience. That means that your competitors are looking for ways to provide clients with the information they need. You need to stay competitive, and a lesson from Uber’s proactive geofences can certainly put you ahead of your competitors.

Honeywell’s Geofencing Approach to Going Green

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Honeywell’s Lyric is a smart thermostat that uses geofencing to detect the presence of people in the room. It turns the heat on and off depending upon the presence of people in an area so that power can be saved.

People want to make the world a better place. There’s no better way to bring your brand into the limelight than aligning it with a noble cause that does just that—especially since 95% of students say they are less likely to ignore ads or promotions that show a brand’s relationship with a good cause.

If you can set up a geofence to bolster your cause, your business is certain to reap the marketing benefits—and so will your cause.

American Eagle’s Geofencing Marketing Endeavors

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American Eagle set its sights on foot traffic to boost sales at its outlet stores. The clothing giant sent customers who entered geofenced outlet mall parking lot notifications and promotions. The incentives led customers into the door of American Eagle vs. its competitors. The result was a threefold increase in purchases.

As a business owner, you can learn from American Eagle’s success in sending push notifications. If you own a brick in mortar store, an incentive when people are in the vicinity is certain to remind them of something they need or want–let them know you have it when they are close. If American Eagle’s efforts show you anything, it is that paired with the right location, technology can minimize marketing legwork while maximizing customers’ responses—thus making marketing campaigns that much more effective.

Simply put, use the data to track your users’ behaviors. Then, build the right type of geofenced marketing campaign, and let your app do the work for you. The data shows it works.

Taco Bell Reaches the Right Crowd with Its Geofence

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Taco Bell’s app is a crucial tool in their geofencing marketing plan. Its mobile ordering feature entices users to download it. With the app in place, hungry customers can order from their phones and then simply go pick up their food—no wait.

After consumers have downloaded the app, the restaurant utilizes geofencing as a way of targeting people under 30 years old with push notifications whenever they are in the vicinity of a Taco Bell. A quick reminder that they can order food from their phone and pick it up two miles down the road was a great way to appeal to the “Want it Now” generation.

Taco Bell recognized its consumer base, used the right tools to communicate with it, and showed an increase in their annual sales of 6%.

Marketing to the right crowd is business 101. With the right tools, your small business can send notifications to your customers without breaking the bank. All you need is a mobile app with geofencing capabilities.

History Channel

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In order to keep up with the times, the History Channel has also begun to utilize geofencing in its Foursquare Campaign. This ground breaking idea gives history buffs something they yearn for—historical facts. In order to connect with its viewers, the History Channel setup geofences, so when any user checks into a particular historical location on Foursquare – say the White House of the Eiffel Tower – he or she gets historical facts about the place. The campaign generated a surprising 400 million check-ins.

Again the brainiacs at the History Channel can teach you a lot more than history. As a business owner, you can copy their thinking and use geofences to provide strong competition to similar nearby businesses and attract their consumer base. You can setup your fences so that users going towards your competitors are notified about your businesses promotions so that you can lure customers away from the competition.


It is safe to say that geofencing is powerful and affordable way to reach consumers. As an SMB, your growing business can easily learn to keep up with the big brand competition. Simply paying attention to how their marketing gurus are adopting geofencing into their mobile marketing plans can give you great insights to what your business is capable of achieving.

Any affordable option is worth exploring, and when you build an app equipped with geofencing capabilities, you are setting yourself up to stay current and competitive.

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Geofencing As A Marketing Strategy – Learn From 8 Businesses Who Are Profiting From Geofencing

Inbound and Outbound Marketing – What’s the Difference?

In v Out WordPress

It is not easy to try to think of a world before the internet, and in the world of marketing that is even trickier. The evolution of the internet as a marketing tool has changed the way that marketers execute their marketing and changed the way that audiences experience and interact with that marketing.

Every day people see around 5,000 brand messages. What?! Well, that number includes branded labelling if you walk into a grocery store, but if we are just talking exposure to adverts, we see around 400……per day.

With that level of exposure, people have become very sophisticated when it comes to consuming media and marketing. People’s expectations from marketing have become higher: they expect to be ente rtained with something different and, where appropriate, expect marketing to be personalised to their individual needs.

These expectations are driven by the level of control that the audience now has. It is pretty easy to opt out of digital communications with unsubscribe options on every (legitimate!) email, and free ad blockers readily available.

So with these key changes to consumer behaviour in mind, what are the differences between inbound and outbound marketing?

Inbound Marketing:

Inbound marketing is marketing which is designed to engage with a specific audience and to pull the audience towards your company and product/service. It typically has the following characteristics:

  • Customer comes to you: the customer will seek out your business and give you permission to communicate with them, something that would have been virtually impossible in pre-internet marketing.
  • Content is well targeted: inbound marketing allows the audience to be very highly targeted. The best inbound marketing is talking to people who are receptive to the marketing messages as a result of a highly targeted campaign – the ultimate version of this is personalised content, e.g. Amazon’s personalised recommendations based on previous purchases and search history.
  • Content is interactive: the audience has the opportunity to respond to marketing messages and often does. This opens up a two-way dialogue between the audience and the company, used to discuss both positive and negative experiences.
  • Content doesn’t (always) sell: the content is varied and is not centred on how amazing and unique your product is. Instead, the content is designed to inform, entertain or interest the audience. This builds the audience’s trust and makes the likelihood of a future conversion greater.
  • Content is geared around the broader interests of the audience: to attract the audience, inbound marketers recognise that their content needs to be broader than just their product/service – it needs to answer some of the wider-ranging questions that their audience are asking.
  • Easy to opt out of: the ease at which the audience can opt out of conversations means that those who are listening should be very engaged and almost looking for your content. This leads to great conversion rates.
  • Results are measurable: not only will you be able to see where people have come from when they find out about your business, you will also be able to tell which channels are working best for you in terms of conversion. OK, so this does take some infrastructure work to get in place, but it is very possible. Also, results are available almost immediately depending on the tool that you are using – you can use the metrics for the tool to understand whether a campaign is working or not within hours and tweak it accordingly.
  • You own the media: assuming that you keep working on the optimisation of your content, that content will be around forever. You own the media that it is published on and the content itself. With continued SEO investment, it will remain visible so that the content can keep working and working.
  • Tools which can be classed as inbound marketing include:
    • Search Engine Optimisation – audience segments itself through its keyword query
    • Pay per Click advertising – audience segments via keyword search as well as by location, device, geography, etc.
    • Display advertising / remarketing – but only if it is highly targeted, otherwise this is outbound marketing
    • Social media – the ultimate example of where the audience comes to you and asks to receive your content by clicking ‘like’ or ‘follow’
    • Email marketing – only if it is opt-in, not a paid database of unsuspecting recipients
    • Blogs, webinars, sound clouds, podcasts, etc. – all designed to attract audiences to your business, and put on the web for your audience to find

Outbound Marketing:
Outbound marketing is marketing which is pushed out to the audience in the hope that some of the target audience will capture the message and act upon it. It is sometimes defined as anything that isn’t digital, but that is not accurate: not all digital marketing is inbound marketing – everyone receives random emails, right? Here are some characteristics of outbound marketing:

  • Not everyone asks for it: due to the ‘push’ nature of outbound marketing, not everyone is receptive to the message: particularly with today’s audience, they may feel that they have not asked for it and as such should not receive it. You may well end up communicating to someone who isn’t interested at all.
  • Targeting is tough: targeting is not non-existent for outbound marketing, but it is very difficult: for example, a billboard is targeted geographically but not by age, gender, income, family status, social grouping, etc.
  • Costs are high: audiences tend to be larger because in order to find the target audience, the net needs to be cast very wide – you could upset a lot of the collateral audience who have no interest.
  • Difficult to say no: to opt out of certain outbound marketing is nearly impossible (e.g. TV) and even opting out of direct mail and telephone marketing can be very difficult.
  • Measurement is vague: unless you have enormous scale and can track brand awareness / recall / association, you will need to ask someone how they heard about your business. But who’s to say that they will provide an accurate answer? And if they say ‘internet’, do they mean your website, a review website, a social media site, a Google organic search, a display ad, a Google PPC ad, etc.
  • Desperate times: in order to attract a decreasing and mostly disengaged audience, the marketing tends to be dominated by rather desperate ‘buy now’, ‘huge savings’ and similar ‘sale’ messages – which ironically turn people off from marketing.
  • You rent the medium: when the newspaper becomes out-of-date or the direct mail is thrown in the recycling, the message has died – the following day there will be a new message in its place. You are only renting the space, your competitor could be in it tomorrow.
  • Outbound marketing tools include the more traditional marketing: radio advertising, TV, newspapers and magazines, direct mail, billboards, event sponsorship and trade shows. However, it also includes some online tools: poorly targeted online display advertising and using paid or rented email databases

Marketing has changed dramatically over the last 15 years, and will continue to evolve. The rise of inbound and content marketing has made outbound marketing look an out-dated and speculative way of finding customers. But that’s not to say that outbound marketing is dead: there is still a lot of money being spent on outbound marketing.

But not necessarily smart money. According to Hubspot’s 2014 State of Inbound Report, the cost per lead for businesses employing 1-25 people for inbound marketing is $37 – for outbound marketing it is $102.

The modern marketing emphasis on content drives the requirement for visibility of that content. People are using search engines to ask questions (why else would Google invest so much trying to understand the context of search), so if you do a great job on SEO for your content, then your answers to the keyword queries will appear in front of the audience…time and time again.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

What are your views on inbound and outbound marketing? How is your marketing budget split between the two, and what are the reasons why you would use one over the other? Is your industry still using traditional marketing tools when digital ones would do a better job? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image via Obey Marketing Group

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Most Important KPIs by Funnel Stage: Consideration

group of businesspeople looking at graphs pinned on a wall and considering their options

As you’re preparing your marketing budget for the next year, you’ll need to understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts at each stage of the sales funnel—at the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages. Knowing where you’re succeeding and what areas need the most attention in the next year will help guide your budgeting decisions.

We’ve already walked you through tracking your Awareness metrics. Next, you’ll need to track your effectiveness at the Consideration stage. That means you’re tracking metrics that show you how well you’re converting visitors into leads.

You could also track your nurturing in the Consideration stage, but we’ll cover that in another article.

Which KPIs are the right ones to track conversions? We’ll walk you through it.

Visits by Source

Run a Sources report in HubSpot (or analyze the channels in Google Analytics) and look at the number of visits you get each month from each source—organic traffic, search engines, referrals, social media, etc. Dive down on social media and identify which social media channels are performing best and worst for driving traffic.

Identifying top and worst performers will help you determine which sources you need to invest into. More traffic from those sources will help drive more conversions.

screenshot of the sources report

Notice a spike? If you’re adding marketing actions to your campaigns, you’ll be able to attribute those spikes in user activity to specific marketing events that occurred.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

Conversions by Source

The HubSpot Sources report shows you how many new contacts you generated in a specified time frame. These are your conversions for the month. The % sign next to the Visits shows your conversion rate from that source. Aim for 30% for source that brings 1000 visits or more.

In addition to knowing which source brought in the traffic, you can do a more detailed breakdown of the who, what, and where—such as which keywords, which social profile, which post, and which referring websites are helping drive the most conversions.

This information shows you how well your sources are leading to conversions. Notice anything that stands out in your top- and bottom-performing sources. You’ll need to investigate what makes them stand out, and how you can improve the cellar dwellers.

screenshot of sources report - drill down on referrers

Visits to Your Website Vs. Visits to Landing Pages

You could be getting a lot of traffic at the Consideration stage, but if visitors aren’t going to your landing pages, you’ve got some work to do. Check the breakdown of visitors to your site vs. visitors to your landing pages. In the Sources report, filter by your landing page domain to see how many of your site visitors are hitting your landing pages. If it’s lower than you’re aiming for, you’ll need to invest into improving that number in the next year.

Landing Page performance snapshot

CTA Performance

One of the most important metrics to track at the Consideration stage is the effectiveness of your calls to action. If your visitors see your CTAs but don’t click on them, you won’t get them to convert on your landing pages. You can track CTA metrics in the HubSpot Calls to Action tool.

For the Consideration stage, focus on tracking these two CTA metrics:

  • CTA views to clicks. This is the click-through rate of the CTAs that your visitors encounter. In other words, what percentage of visitors did the CTA drive to a landing page?
  • CTA clicks to submission. This is the number of form submissions that occur after the CTA is clicked. It shows how effective the CTA is in influencing form submissions on a landing page. Use this to compare different CTAs that lead to the same landing page.

screenshot of CTA performance

Landing Page Performance

Just because someone gets to a landing page, that doesn’t mean they’ll actually fill out a form and convert to a lead. It’s important to know how well your landing pages are performing, once your visitors arrive there.

You’ll need to identify the top- and bottom-performing landing pages and make improvements to your lowest-converting pages, based on what you see in the most effective ones.

Go to the Landing Page Performance report in HubSpot and analyze the Views, Submissions, and New Contacts metrics for the past month. Notice the ratio of new contacts to submissions—this will tell you how many of your conversions are in the nurturing phase of the Consideration stage. As a rule of thumb, for every 1000 visits, you should have at least a 30% conversion rate.

screenshot of the landing page performance report, showing views/conversions/new contacts

Path Performance to Conversions

Most of your visitors will come to a landing page from some other page on your site. And many of them will visit your site multiple times before getting to a landing page. It can be very revealing to track the pathways your visitors take before arriving at your landing pages. The Attribution report shows you the journey someone takes from the first time they enter your website until they convert. This tells you what made your visitors convert.

Use this information to spot the marketing effort that led to a conversion and make smart decisions about where to invest your time and resources.

Tracking the right metrics at the Consideration stage will give you a good handle on the areas where you’re getting the most ROI and where you need to focus your efforts next year. Use that information to identify your needs for next year—and build your budget around that. Having concrete numbers and goals will set you up for a successful marketing budget.

Take the Next Step

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  • Get a ready-to-go inbound marketing campaign—download our free Cooking with Inbound e-book

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Most Important KPIs by Funnel Stage: Consideration

5 Step Success Strategy to Prioritize Social Networks for Your Business [Podcast]

prioritize social networks for business

Every marketer and business leader is faced with the challenge of where to prioritize their time and investment. Time is our greatest asset in both business and life. How we spend our time can make or break business and marketing success.

When it comes to digital marketing, social media and branding, it is no different. In my 20 years of business and marketing experience, I have never heard a marketer exclaim, “I have so much time, resource & budget I don’t know what to do with it.”

Unfortunately, there are far too many “experts” online touting that you must be on every new shiny object and social network. They’ll even go so far as to warn you that if you don’t start snapping on Snapchat, storytelling on Instagram and delivering live video on Periscope that your business is destined to fail. Let me tell you right now this is 100% false.

Marketing and business leaders must give themselves permission to prioritize. You do not need to be everywhere all the time. You do not need to treat every social network equal nor spend the same amount of time and investment on every social network. You do not need to work 24/7, 365 days of the year to be successful. Release your fear of missing out and start prioritizing your time and investment of money and resource.

The truth is that the more you focus and prioritize, the better your results will be. Stop only playing around with the social networks. Instead, get serious, get focused and you will start seeing real results.

What matters is where your audience and target customer is online. You must be where they are. You must deliver them value where they are, using methods, language and mediums that will inspire them, connect with them and bring them closer to your brand.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

How do you prioritize what social networks you invest in for business success? How do you know where you should engage? How do you determine where your audience is hanging out online so you can build the most meaningful relationship with them as possible? How do you achieve a positive ROI using social media and digital technologies and strategies?

Take a listen to episode 214 of the Social Zoom Factor podcast to learn our 5 Step Success Strategy and Tactics to prioritize what social networks you invest in for your business.

In this 30 minute podcast you will learn:

  • 5 Step Strategies and tactics to prioritize what social networks you invest in for business.
  • Why you must get real on your time and budget available to invest in social media
  • What skills you must have to be successful at social media for business
  • How to leverage the data available natively via the different social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more
  • The difference between a business goal, KPI and objective
  • Tips to set goals, measure results and continuously optimize
  • What to look for when you do a monthly audit and refresh of your online social presence and efforts
  • How to prioritize and select tools for analysis, measurement and audience research
  • Suggested tools for audience research
  • Why it’s not about what the technology can do for you, but instead what you can do with the technology

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5 Step Success Strategy to Prioritize Social Networks for Your Business [Podcast]

Scientists Unveil Fossil of 170-Million-Year-Old Sea Monster

National Museums Scotland Facebook

National Museums Scotland Facebook

Move over Nessie, there’s a new (bona fide) sea monster in town. Scientists have unveiled the fossil of the Storr Lochs Monster, which wandered the oceans 170 million years ago.

The dolphin-like animal was originally discovered in 1966 on the Isle of Skye, according to the National Museums Scotland Facebook page and was extracted from a rock that encased it for millions of years. “It is the most complete skeleton of a sea-living reptile from the Age of Dinosaurs that has ever been found in Scotland.”

According to the BBC, the extinct marine reptile was part of the family of animals known as ichthyosaurs. This fittingly-dubbed “crown jewel of Scottish fossils” will now be examined by paleontologists from the University of Edinburgh and National Museums Scotland to study the ichthyosaurs’ evolution. The Storr Lochs Monster will then be on public display for visitors to view.

The marine reptile measured in at 13 feet in length and had cone-shaped teeth, ideal for feeding on fish and squid. According to the BBC article, the Isle of Skye contains many fossils from the Middle Jurassic Period, which saw the emergence of “some of the first mammals, birds and reptiles such as snakes.” During this time, says Dr. Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, ichthyosaurs ruled the seas, while dinosaurs roamed the lands.

The fossils from the Isle of Skye have given scientists crucial insights into “the lives of prehistoric predators and their prey” and they hope the Storr Lochs Monster can now shed light on whether or not it was the first of its kind or if it resembles other species.

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Scientists Unveil Fossil of 170-Million-Year-Old Sea Monster

5 Copywriting Techniques That Affect SEO


It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking copywriting and search engine optimization (SEO) are two separate things. Copywriting is for the user; it’s all about getting them to take action. SEO is for search engines; it’s about appealing to their algorithms. In reality, however, copywriting and SEO work together. Keep the following SEO copywriting techniques and tips in mind when writing for your website.

1. Write for the User First

When we think of SEO, we think of keyword research and content length, but search engine algorithms have evolved. Search engines care more about your content’s authority. They want to know whether or not people trust your content. And how do you earn that trust? By focusing on your readers.

This practice will enhance readability and make your content more natural and compelling, which both readers and search engines like. In turn, people will naturally link back to you, indicating to search engines that your content is trustworthy.

Plus, search engines have gotten smarter. Years ago, they’d return results containing the exact keywords you were searching for. Today, they realize that someone searching “cellphone” might equally benefit from results on “smartphone” or “mobile phone.” You don’t need to stuff keywords into your content to rank for a particular term. In fact, you can get penalized for this. So while keywords still matter, it’s more about relevancy than keyword density, and writing first for your audience will mean that these relevant keywords occur naturally.

2. Pay Attention to Content Length

Content length matters to your users, and that means it matters to search engines. According to the American Marketing Association, longer articles between 1,200 to 1,500 words perform better in search engines on average. Other experts have suggested that you may want to go even longer and shoot for 1,500 words minimum.

However, it’s important to understand why that trend occurs. Google has stated that they don’t actually count words on a page and use it as a ranking factor. However, content length can affect SEO in other ways by:

  • Providing more keywords, subheadings, and images for search engine bots to crawl.
  • Increasing users’ time spent on the site, which shows search engines your content is trustworthy.
  • Providing more value to the reader, which means you’ll get more shares and links back to your content.

That said, always keep the user in mind. Longer blog post articles might perform well, but the same length for your home page or about page can seem daunting. Those longer form articles that rank well on search engines don’t manage it based on their length alone; they make it to the top by fitting useful information within their word count.

3. Break Up Your Content for Readability

Another way to write for the reader is to break up your content so it’s easy on the eyes. Examples include:

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

  • Using subheadings
  • Writing short paragraphs
  • Including images/screenshots
  • Using bold and italic fonts to highlight important points
  • Using bullet points or numbered lists

Making your content easy on the reader will help increase natural backlinks and authority. However, some of these suggestions also appeal to search engine bots.

For example, search engines look at header tags to determine the hierarchy of your content and which parts are more important than others. Your headline uses the H1 tag. Subheadings should use the H2 tag, sub-sub-headings use the H3 tag, and so forth. (Typically, these settings are found in your formatting options in your content management system.) Utilizing this hierarchy and including keywords in your subheadings will allow search engines to index your site more effectively.

Furthermore, images can also help with SEO. Using alt tags and captions on images provides another opportunity to show search engines what your site is about. Plus, images themselves can rank on search engines, and relevant images surrounded by related text will rank higher.

4. Quote Influencers in Your Niche

Quoting influencers is not only an effective way to boost the quality of your content, but it’s also an effective SEO strategy. When you quote influencers, link out to the source of that quote. External links serve as indicators of content relevancy and quality. Plus, they can attract attention from the sites you’re linking to, which can boost engagement and incentivize links back to your content.

As a bonus, you can use this strategy to reach out to influencers and let them know they’ve been mentioned in your content. Some of them may share it with their audiences to further boost your traffic.

5. Include a Strong Call to Action

Don’t forget that you are not the only one who has control over your search engine optimization. Your readers can also take action to boost your rankings. But how do you get them to help you out? Include a strong call to action in your content. Two major routes you can go for SEO include:

  1. Asking readers to share your content on social media. Although Google doesn’t use social shares to influence rankings, social shares still matter. The more shares you have, the more people you can reach across the web, which again will lead to more natural backlinks. You can encourage social shares by including sharing buttons when you set up your blog, but you can also encourage social shares through your writing. For example, including click-to-tweet links in your content or asking readers to Tweet their opinion to you can boost shares on Twitter.
  2. Encouraging readers to leave a comment. Marketing professional Neil Patel says that responding to blog post comments is worth it, and it actually has SEO benefits. The more comments you have on your blog posts, the more text you have on the page. That means you’ll rank for more long-tail keywords. Encourage comments by asking a thought-provoking question at the end of your blog posts.

Keeping these tips in mind will boost the effectiveness of both your copywriting and your SEO efforts. How will you use these suggestions in your SEO copywriting? Let us know in the comments below.

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5 Copywriting Techniques That Affect SEO