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6 Tips for Building Your Marketing Career

You’ve read the books. You’ve watched the videos.

You’re convinced that you belong in marketing.

Now, all you have to do is put that resume out there and wait, right?

Unfortunately, that won’t cut it anymore. Getting into marketing is easy. But how do you make it big?

That’s a different ballgame with its own set of rules.

And when you look at the projected growth rates for the marketing field – an increase of up to 10% by 2026 – you can’t afford to not get savvy with those rules.

marketing jobs percent change in employment

That growth might be good news for the economy, but it can create challenges for the beginner marketer.

Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to get the edge on your competition.

Here’s a peek into my rulebook for crushing it in marketing. Use these strategies to boost your marketing career and leave the competition behind.

1. Improve your communication

Whether it’s social monitoring tools, voice search, or multi-channel marketing automation, technology regularly changes the way we reach our audiences.

But it’s a lot to keep up with.

71% of marketing executives use six or more types of marketing technology in their day-to-day lives.

marketing executives using marketing technologies

Trying to master one, let alone six, can be daunting and downright impossible for new marketers.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution:

Go back to the basics and then dominate them.

No matter what new technology rolls out tomorrow, your basic communication skills are always in demand.

For proof, take a look at the top skills employers want when hiring fresh graduates for entry-level positions:

top skills employers want

Over 80% of employers want to see written communication skills, and under 70% want verbal skills.

Comparatively, less than 60% of survey respondents highlighted technical skills as a top attribute. Less than 50% are looking for computer-specific skills.

computer skills employers want

That’s all great news for new marketers.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or you’re making a career transition, you can develop communication skills on your own time.

And you can do it without spending any money or with only a small financial investment.

These skills will make you a better marketer. After all, what is marketing if not applied communication? And, it will make you a more employable in any industry.

It’s a win-win, right?

But how do you develop your fundamental communication skills?

It’s going to sound a little cheesy, but the answer that shows up in professional manuals is the same:

To become a better communicator, communicate more. And, specifically, write more.

As you practice your writing, let me give you a few resources to help you fine-tune your writing skills.

First of all, you should check out My Copyblogger.

become a member copyblogger

Besides their regularly-updated blog, Copyblogger offers e-training courses, webinars, and resources through their My Copyblogger membership.

Signing up gives you access to exclusive e-books that help you develop your written communication and marketing skills.

Look at this top-level preview of their e-book releases for members:

ebooks from copyblogger

With all of the e-books they offer, both long and short, Copyblogger is a killer resource for any marketer wanting to improve their writing.

Next, Grammarly is a must-have tool.

level up your writing chrome

Grammarly is part proofreader and part personal writing assistant.

It offers more help than just catching typos. It uses contextual analysis to understand what you’re trying to say, and then it helps you say it better.

It also tracks your progress and shows how your skills stack up against other Grammarly users so you can see the trends.

In turn, that makes it easier to figure out what you need to focus on improving.

accuracy and vocabulary on grammarly

It also tracks your total word count, and it will show you advanced errors if you’re a premium user.

Being able to track your progress isn’t merely a marketing gimmick, either. Monitoring your own progress can help you stay motivated, set realistic goals, and improve your quality.

Grammarly is probably the best all-in-one tool that you can use. But there are a couple of others worth mentioning.

The web version of Hemingway Editor is a free resource for improving your writing. It tracks passive voice, adverbs, and readability – all of which impact how your audience perceives your writing.

hemingway editor grades

Count Wordsworth is also a free analysis tool helps you polish your word flow. It tracks sentence length, syllables, and pauses.

count wordworth

Here’s the bottom line time:

If you want to get ahead of the technology rat race, then you need to get out of it. Focus on sharpening your foundational skills like writing to help your resume stand the test of time.

2. Specialize and socialize

Thanks to significant job growth, opportunities in marketing are expanding. But so is the competition.

And competing with other marketing hopefuls means that you’re going up against a field chock-full of communication experts.

It’s a lot to stack up against on paper. If you want to separate yourself from the pack, you have to specialize your toolkit.

In a 2017 study, the top-three skills that employers desired in new marketers were digital advertising, content creation, and content strategy.

demand for skills within digital marketing

Creating content and flaunting your curation skills can go a long way toward establishing yourself as a digital marketing guru. And here’s the best part:

You can get started free.

In fact, you can even convince other marketers to spread your reputation for you. How?

Create content for other people.

Specifically, create blog posts for major publications. It’s a great way to associate yourself with industry authorities and get your name out there.

But even more importantly, it also gives you the skill that 53% of marketers list as their company’s top priority.

inbound marketing priorities

This is probably why so many big-time marketers are such prolific bloggers. Take a look at this sample of the blogosphere.

The Ahrefs blog is full of data-rich (and often original) research, making it a great place to dive into the details of marketing’s technical side.

ahrefs blog header in 2018

This also helps establish the Ahrefs team as subject domain experts. Tim Soulo, for example, is a prolific writer for their blog.

tim soulo ahrefs blog

Tim doesn’t post to Ahrefs every day. But when he does, I know that he writes reliable blogs with research-heavy information about SEO.

He regularly introduces new ways of looking at data and marketing with rich technical details and an easy-to-read style.

And that alone is reason enough for you to follow him.

But his blog posts do more than get Ahrefs out there. They cement him as a quality writer and marketer.

Something he corroborates even further with his work at BloggerJet.

what's in my bag 2018 update

Do you want another real-life example of a professional making blogs (even other people’s blogs) work for them?

Look no further than Ann Handley.

ann handley homepage in 2018

Part marketing legend and part writing genius, Hadley uses her expert skills to keep her name at the top of the marketing influencer list.

Ann’s work is both witty and relatable. Her blog reframes complicated marketing concepts into easy and digestible posts. I never come away from her work without laughing and learning.

I guess you could say I’m an “annarchist.” If you want to hone your content skills, you should become one, too.

subscribe to annarchy

But it’s not just her razor-sharp sense of humor that keeps readers coming back for more. She’s consistent, she’s authoritative, and she doesn’t hoard her talent.

In addition to her work with MarketingProfs, she also guests posts for Entrepreneur and for Huffington Post.

If someone influential enough to author two Wall Street Journal best-sellers still guests posts for other organizations, shouldn’t you consider doing the same?

So, how do you get started with guest blogging?

Although there are a lot of avenues for publishing content as a guest, one of the easiest – and one of my favorite – ways to get started is through Medium.

Ultimately, no matter how you choose to hone your communication skills, adding authoritative pieces to your name won’t just help you sound like a better marketer.

It’ll make you look like one, too. And that brings me to the next topic:

Your portfolio.

3. Grow your portfolio

Your skills can’t grow without the opportunity to sharpen them.

But you won’t get many opportunities until you demonstrate that you already have some of the skills that you need to improve.

Because you aren’t able to secure opportunities, your skills deteriorate and don’t develop. You miss out on even more future opportunities because no one will give you one to start with.

This starts a self-defeating cycle.

In a 2017 survey, 64.5% of employers indicated they preferred hiring candidates with relevant work experience. This was even true in the case of college graduates.

hiring preferences with work experience

So, whether you get into the marketing field through school or Internet hustle, you need experience in order to get more experience.

That’s frustrating, right?

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to break the cycle and make you look pretty impressive, too.

You can volunteer. Specifically, volunteer with a nonprofit.

This will help expand your network and gain professional portfolio pieces.

It also helps signal your values to future employers and commitment to social causes like education and animal welfare.

You might even meet other marketers in the process. Radish Labs, a creative agency specializing in nonprofits, regularly promotes creative volunteerism.

radish labs creative volunteerism

Are you looking for ways to volunteer and beef up your portfolio but can’t find any local opportunities? VolunteerMatch is a great directory with plenty of remote opportunities.

virtual volunteer opportunities

With ample opportunities to grow your portfolio and get some serious Good Samaritan street cred, what are you waiting for?

Get out there and start making a difference for others to see a difference in your career.

4. Jumpstart your network

In some industries, it’s more about who you know than what you do. But in digital marketing, it’s about both.

And if you’re an inexperienced marketer, that can create a significant obstacle to launching your career.

It’s almost a chicken before the egg problem. How do you meet the right people if you don’t already know the right people to set up introductions?

After all, according to SilkRoad’s 2017 Sources of Hire report, employee referrals still lead the way as the top avenue for new job hires.

sources of hiring

It’s the same kind of defeating cycle as the “experience without experience” conundrum I described in the above section.

You can’t grow your network because you need a network first to look reputable and gain people’s trust.

Fortunately, the solution to ending this cycle is just as simple:

Log out and look to the offline world to bolster your online network.

Are you needing to meet people in the industry? Attend local meetings and conventions and then make your connection online.

Here’s the great news:

Two of the biggest marketing conventions – INBOUND and the Growth Marketing Conference – are still on the horizon for 2018.

Hubspot backs INBOUND.

INBOUND

inbound 2018 conference homepage

It includes all things marketing and selling in three strategy-packed days.

If you don’t want to commit to the sessions or their price tag, INBOUND also offers “community passes” for networking events. It’s a great option for new marketers with tight budgets.

inbound conference ticket in 2018

The Growth Marketing Conference is also well worth your time.

growth marketing conference 2018

Some of the biggest names in marketing attend the conference. It’s a two-day event full of networking events, tactical sessions, and innovative workshops.

Like INBOUND, this conference offers several tiers of participation, including access to networking and training sessions at a fraction of the full price.

passes to growth marketing conference 2018

Of course, one of the big downfalls of this approach is that the larger conventions tend to happen in larger cities.

But don’t worry.

Even if you can’t fit a major convention into your schedule, there are still a few other options for expanding your network.

You can host or join a local event through a service like Meetup.

Meetup homepage 2018

This not only cuts out your travel costs but it also helps you build a local network and find – or organize – events on your own schedule.

Lastly, even if you can’t find any offline networking opportunities, there are some online options for building your credibility and network.

One solution is LinkedIn groups. Take a look at the four most popular groups below:

popular linkedin groups

That’s pretty promising, right?

With three million connections possible, you should be able to find like-minded connections in no time and start growing your network.

5. Go big with data

If you want to beat the rat race, get ahead of it. And there’s no better way to get ahead than to develop some of the most in-demand skills on the job market.

And in 2018, that means you need to go big with data.

Statistics and analytics help marketers understand their audiences in a quantifiable way.

But that’s not all they can do.

Data-driven marketing techniques also help professionals make better decisions and acquire new customers.

They have the receipts to show for it, too.

Between 2016 and 2017, data-driven marketing expenditures and revenues rose to their highest ever, according to a DMA study.

data driven marketing spending and revenue growth

But despite this significant growth, the marketing world is still experiencing a major talent shortage.

The datasets keep expanding, but the talent pool and preparedness of organization are on the decline.

Check out this later 2018 survey about marketers’ confidence in the ability of their organizations to handle data for marketing:

confidence in organizational talent

So what does this mean for your career? I can tell you in one word:

Opportunity.

With data becoming critical for marketers and business leaders across the board, there’s never been a better time to learn how to analyze data.

And thanks to the advent of several e-learning platforms, it’s never been easier, either. Here are a few of the places where you can dig into data and earn your analytic credentials from home.

Coursera offers university-grade education at an elementary school price point. Usually, courses run between four to six weeks.

coursera homepage in 2018

Many of their courses provide free videos, and the selection for marketing analytics is huge.

coursera courses for marketing

And best of all, all of their classes are fully online, and they reward certificates upon completion.

In addition to career credentials, the forum can jumpstart your network and help develop your portfolio with peers.

Are you looking for a less academic option, or do you need to set your own schedule? If so, try Lynda.com.

lynda homepage 2018

LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com in 2015. Now, it’s a powerful resource for learning the ins and outs of marketing, SEO, content, design, and much more.

Unlike Coursera, the lecture series on Lynda.com consists of videos and guided exercises, so you can learn entirely at your own pace.

And, while you won’t have a forum to interact with other course learners, many of the videos include guided exercise files to help you practice your skills.

Plus, thanks to the integration with LinkedIn, you can automatically display your learning paths on your profile.

Check out a preview of some of the courses they offer for data analytics in marketing.

lynda analytics training

Lynda.com has classes that range from beginner to advanced levels. It has everything you need to hone your data skills from start to finish.

Another option is DistilledU.

distilledu learn seo

Some of the largest names in business like Adobe, eBay, and Capital One use DistilledU. It’s an at-your-own-pace, interactive training option for SEO marketers who want to learn more about the field.

They also offer classes for marketers of all levels. They have classes that can teach you the fundamentals of SEO.

distilledu seo basics class

And they have highly advanced classes, too.

analytics classes on distilledU

This makes it a fantastic resource for marketers of any experience level.

DistilledU offers annual and monthly memberships. So, whether you want to master marketing or just get a crash course in analytics, there’s a module to fit your schedule and budget.

Similar to Lynda.com, Skillshare provides e-learning for everything from design to data science to advanced marketing.

skillshare homepage 2018

Here are some of their course offerings that are currently popular.

skillshare courses

Instructors provide class projects to supplement video lectures with hands-on learning, making this ideal for those of you who prefer interactive education.

In summary, no matter what platform you choose, adding data analytics to your skill set is a great way to make yourself more attractive to future employers and outshine the competition.

6. Build your branding

Finally, if you want to step outside of your competition’s shadow, you have to build your branding and build it well.

That means that, besides developing your writing skills, you need to establish a distinct visual identity.

Without one, your brand can easily get lost in the fray, especially if you’re using stock images.

Getting lost means that your audience is ignoring you. And if your audience is ignoring you, you’ll never see your marketing career reach the next level.

But getting a grip on core marketing concepts and strategies is hard enough. How are you supposed to develop branding and make yourself stand out?

And what makes a brand’s visual style distinct?

No matter what channels you’re using, consistency is key.

Take a look at Content Marketing Institute’s homepage:

content marketing institute homepage in 2018

Now, take a peek at their YouTube channel:

content marketing institute youtube header

By keeping the typeface and colors consistent, they establish an easy mental link for their followers. Users know that if they see that shade of orange, they’re looking at something from Content Marketing Institute.

Here’s another example. Look at MarketingProfs’ homepage.

marketingprofs homepage in 2018

Now, here’s their YouTube channel.

marketingprofs youtube cover image

Again, you can see consistent colors and styles of images.

This is what it boils down to:

If your social media accounts don’t share branding, you’re making it harder for people to identify you as a marketer.

If you think branding is difficult, then think again. You can start your branding by creating a logo in about five minutes.

But if you want to take it a step further and you don’t have an army of in-house designers behind you, then you can turn to freelance boards for help.

Fiverr, Upwork, and 99designs are three of the most popular platforms for finding great visuals that fit any budget.

On Fiverr, freelancers (which they call “sellers”) provide service packages with their unique skills.

fiverr homepage in 2018

One of the upsides to using Fiverr is that they offer scalable bundles. These bundles will let you get as little or much design work as you need for a predictable price.

And because buyers reach out to sellers first, you won’t receive pitches that you aren’t interested in.

But that’s also the downside.

If you’re short on time, you can’t wait for offers and let the designers come to you. That means that this may not be the best option for marketers with a tight schedule.

Upwork (formerly oDesk) is another major freelancer board with a significant design community.

upwork homepage in 2018

After setting up a business account, you have the option of posting a job and letting the pitches come to you. You can also invite some of Upwork’s top talent to apply.

Unlike Fiverr, you typically pay by the hour or project. Freelancers submit their proposals along with their price estimations.

Upwork is ideal for both big and small budgets. It’s a great option to test the visual branding waters without making major commitments.

Lastly, 99designs is a freelancing platform that specializes in branding and product design.

99designs homepage in 2018

They provide matching services where they fit you with a graphic designer who meets your design needs. There’s also a contest option where the community competes to win your project.

The higher price of 99designs may not be ideal for your first project. But for those ready to commit, all design contests come with a 100% money-back guarantee.

No matter where you get your designs from, consistent branding colors are key for integrating older and newer designs seamlessly.

One easy way to do that is by using Adobe’s color system.

Here’s how.

Head to Adobe Color CC.

Click on “sign in” in the top-right corner. You want to be able to save your palette to share, so it’s important to get this step out of the way first.

adobe color analogous

Follow the link for “Get an Adobe ID.”

get an adobe ID

Fill out the sign-up form and click the blue “sign up” button to go back to the Adobe Color CC homepage.

signup adobe color CC

Once there, begin picking colors by manipulating the color wheel. Here’s the default suggestion for my orange.

adobe cc color orange

To play with the auto-generated palettes, use the left-hand menu to navigate. If you want to build a custom palette, you’ll need to select the last option.

Once you have a color palette you like, click the blue save button.

adobe color cc save button

It will then prompt you to name your theme.

name your theme adobe color cc

Click “save” and head over to “My Themes” using the top navigation menu.

my themes adobe color

You should now find your palette waiting in your library.

my library in creative cloud

Hover over your palette to see your saving and sharing options.

save share options for color palette

Hit the download button to share your palette with future designers.

Since Adobe is the king of design suites – 90% of creative professionals use Photoshop – anyone you work with can open the palette directly in their choice program.

You can even use the same palette to customize resume templates and give your credentials the same eye candy from start to finish.

By the way, don’t forget to check out Adobe Color CC’s “Explore” option for inspiration before you go.

adobe creative cloud explore button

Ultimately, whether you use multiple freelancers or none at all, using the same color palette throughout will give your brand consistency no matter who is at the design wheel.

Conclusion

The field of marketing is expanding rapidly, and experts expect it to keep growing.

That means that you have plenty of opportunities. However, that also means that you have plenty of competition.

So, how can you stand out?

For starters, don’t get too caught up in new technology. Keeping on top of marketing technology trends as a newcomer to the industry is expensive and time-consuming.

Instead, focus on dominating your fundamental communication skills.

Next, you can separate yourself from the competition by specializing and socializing.

Create content for other industry blogs or use publications on Medium to give your name authority.

Portfolio pieces are a killer way to make your resume shine, even if they’re unpaid gigs.

Volunteer your marketing skills with a nonprofit to polish your sample pieces. Plus you’ll make a difference in the world and your career.

Networking is still a vital part of landing a job. More new hires come through employee referrals than through job boards.

Building an online network can be tricky. One way to expand your network rapidly is to look to the offline world and attend industry conventions.

Candidates with data skills are some of the most in-demand hires in any industry, marketing including. Build your analytics skills on your own time to elevate your career potential.

Branding doesn’t stop at written content. Having a distinct and consistent visual identity is key.

Even if you don’t have designers on tap, you can find great (and cheap) freelancers through platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99 Designs.

Establishing a color palette keeps your branding consistent no matter who is behind the design wheel.

Adobe Color CC is a fast, easy, and free way to set up a color palette that the vast majority of creative professionals can use later.

A marketing career can be challenging to start, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Follow these six strategies to give your career a boost and stay at the top of the trendline.

What strategies have you used to separate your skills from the marketing pack?

The post 6 Tips for Building Your Marketing Career appeared first on Neil Patel.


Blog – Neil Patel

Could the Breadcrumb Technique Help Boost Your Landing Page Conversions?

We’ve all heard the term “less is more”. And we’ve been told this applies for landing pages too. I.e. your forms should be short and only ask for only the bare minimum of required information if you want to convert.

However, when used across the board, this advice can backfire.

As an example, one of the main questions someone typically has when faced with a landing page is is how much your offer will cost. But if the offer on your landing page is for a free quote, you can’t necessarily disclose pricing on the page. When there’s no pricing, but instead a form requiring a name, phone number, and email, the visitor knows:

  • They’re going to need to talk to someone to get an answer to their question (they’re well aware you can’t give a customized quote from such limited info), plus, prospects are very reluctant to give their information out to just anyone.
  • They can click the back button and find a competitor that will give them what they want faster.

So why would we expect a form with super generic fields to be compelling enough for someone to engage with us in all cases?

As we’ve found at our agency KlientBoost, by increasing the amount of steps and the amount of form fields, we could actually increase conversion rates. The key here for us has been the order in which we present our steps and what info we ask for first.

Can more form fields really increase conversions?

As you may know, adding form fields goes against everything we’ve typically been advised to do:

You can find the sources for the above here, here, and here.

And while there are certainly cases in which fewer form fields are best, we’ve found adding more of the right form fields in progression can help ease conversion anxiety. When done correctly, it can take your free quote/lead generation landing pages to the next level.

At our agency we call our multi-step form approach the Breadcrumb Technique – think Hansel and Gretel where the breadcrumbs lead them in the right direction.

Experimenting with the Breadcrumb Technique

This is the landing page version of the sales technique called the “Yes Ladder”. It’s the art of eventually getting to what you want (the conversion) as a marketer, by getting visitors to say yes to much smaller requests first.

Click above to see a larger image of our landing page form flow. As each step progresses, the questions become more personal in nature.

Instead of having one page and one form to capture leads, you spread the form fields across two or more steps. So potential leads that visit the first page via your ads will fill in a short form and, after clicking the CTA button, they’re directed to the next step.

The first step starts with the least personal questions that allow the visitor to stay anonymous, whereas the second (and possible additional steps) ask for more, (albeit) reasonable, personal information. Here’s an example from one of our clients ZipLending. Their landing page offers a quote for rates on mortgages:

Notice the questions being asked in the step one form:

  • What kind of property are you considering?
  • What is your estimated credit score?
  • What is your desired loan amount?

All fairly low threat questions that allow the prospect to stay anonymous but feel like they’re going to get a quality answer they’re looking for, tailored to them.

Next, they’re directed to the second step form fields:

This step asks for more personal information, but logically reminds the prospect we need this information to send custom rates their way.

And while I can’t share the nitty gritty numbers of this test, I can share some high-level results. After the multi-step changes were made in the form above, we were able to bring in 35 more leads for ZipLending from March 2017 to May 2017. The client also noticed they were really high quality leads because of the qualifying questions we had included in our first step.

When we experimented with a multi-step form for another client, Garza Law, we were able to steadily increase the number of leads, bringing in 66 more in March 2018 than in December 2017, for example. Here’s a look at that:

Depending on the industry you’re working with and the typical value of a lead, 35-66 more leads in a given month can be a huge upgrade for a client and it’s why we’re thrilled to be able to deliver this via the multi-step form approach.

Why the BreadCrumb Technique is a cool experiment

If you want to try this with your landing pages, on the first step form, you set up questions pertinent to what the prospect might ask had they called you on the phone. This establishes the custom nature of what they will receive in return.

In the particular example we’ve outlined above, the visitor is interested in getting a no-obligation quote. So surely we’d need certain information on what they’re looking for to be helpful, and because the prospect understands this they’re more willing to participate for the perceived, increased value.

Replacing highly personal, red-flag-raising questions in the first step with questions that help the prospect hone in on exactly what they’re looking for will not only grow your conversions, but often improves lead quality as well.

Additionally, on the ZipLending page, notice the the headline changes between step one and two to let people know that they’re not yet finished with the process.


The “get rates” CTA button text also changes to “send rates”.
If the language does not differ from your step one to step two, this could cause a drop in conversions as people may think the form just refreshed and they’re done with the process.

Remember: all your landing page forms need to be GDPR compliant by May 25, 2018 (featuring privacy policies and opt-in checkboxes). Learn how to make your landing pages compliant by design here.

The psychology backing up this technique

After filling out the initial questions in step one, the last step of filling out the more sensitive fields like name, email, phone number becomes much easier because of compliance psychology.

Dr. Robert Cialdini said it best:

“Once we’ve made a choice, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.” Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion

In other words, once you commit to small things, you’re more likely to continue onto bigger commitments aligned with your initial decision.

Scott Fraser and Jonathan Freedman also conducted research on how to get people to say yes. They went door to door asking people to put up a sign that read: “Drive Carefully” in their front yard, but only 20% of people agreed to this.

They then did the same test in a nearby neighborhood, but this time they asked people to put much smaller signs in their yard. This created the opportunity to get them to eventually say yes to putting up the original, larger signs.

Next time around, 76% people agreed to put up the larger signs compared to the original 20%. Psychology baby!

Following the multi-step model designed to ease visitors into a commitment, here’s another successful built-in-Unbounce landing page example from one of our clients:

The first step

The first form step asks about what the prospect needs.

The second step

The second step, reminding the prospect that what they want is almost ready to go.
Notice how the first step asks for make, model, and year of the car. In this first step, make sure to ask questions that are super easy for the visitor to answer, but also strongly relate to your offer.

Successful multi-step forms weren’t a one-time thing for us

What’s cool is that this multi-step landing page technique has worked for us at KlientBoost several times for different clients.

Below you can see our client Mention’s Unbounce landing page offering their free demo, Auto Buyer’s landing page for their offer on your vehicle, and Watchex’s estimate for purchasing your Rolex. These campaigns all followed the same breadcrumb technique:

Client example: Mention.
Another client example: Auto Buyer’s.
Another client example: Watchex.

Progress bars can help light the way

When it comes to multi-step landing pages, something to consider testing is adding a progress bar, or a step wizard. This is especially handy when you have more than two steps, like the following example:

Step 1 says 0% complete.
Step 2 let’s the user know that this is the last step before completion.

The wizard signals to people just how much they will need to fill out, which can help ease any uncertainty about how much information is required.

In our experience, we’ve found it works best to include the wizard starting on the second step form fields and not the first. Visitors are more likely to continue through the whole process if they start the process, as per compliance psychology.

How do you try out The Breadcrumb Technique on your Unbounce landing pages?

It’s easy! Instead of having your usual one-step form, head to your form confirmation dialog and make your first-step’s form destination direct to the url of your second step (See below).

When you select the form in the Unbounce builder, you will see options on the right of where the form confirmation goes. Under confirmation, select “Go to URL”, then paste in the url of the second step form, and make sure that the “Append form data to URL” is checked.

For the second step of the form, you must make sure a very crucial step is completed, otherwise the information from your first step will not pass over and you will not receive a full lead. See below:

You will need to create hidden fields with the same field IDs of the form fields on your first step. If they don’t match, the information will not pass over. As long as you have all fields from the first step as hidden fields on the second step, you should be just fine.

Now that your first and second step are linked together correctly, you can continue with your regularly scheduled programming of sending the second step form to your form confirmation dialog (or a thank you page). All done!

Unbounce has an easy multi-step function

There’s always more than one way to do something! Although this requires some development work, Noah Matsell from Unbounce has some helpful tips on creating multi-step forms within the same page/url. This means you won’t need to paste in the second form url as the destination of your first form.

Note that this workaround allows you to create a form with one field per step, so this may not work for those who would like to have several form fields appear in a given step, however you can test out what works for you.

To create these multi-step forms on the same page:


Step 1.
Create your form in Unbounce.

Step 2.
Create a new button element for your ‘Next’ button and one for your ‘Previous’ button. Keep in mind when positioning these buttons (and your form submission button) that only one field will be shown at a time.

Step 3.
Copy the JS from ‘multistep_form.js’ and paste it into the Javascripts section of your page with placement ‘Before Body End Tag’.

Step 4.
Update the script with the ID of your ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ button elements. Tip: Make sure you exclude the ‘#’ in the ID.

Step 5.
Copy the CSS from ‘multistep_form.css’ and paste it into the Stylesheets section of your page.

That’s it! See the whole process and the required code here.

Test out the technique on your next landing page

It might take a bit of practice to figure out the correct questions to be asking on your first step, or to find out the type of language to use on your form; but that’s what conversion rate optimization is all about: testing and trying new things to see what sticks. Ask the questions your visitors want answers to, and ask the questions your sales people need answers to to give a prospect a more personal answer.

If you give this a try, we would love to hear about your experience with a comment below.

Remember, all your forms (multi-step or otherwise) need to be GDPR compliant by May 25, 2018. See how to make your landing pages compliant by design and allow a visitor to opt-in here.


Unbounce

Trend to watch: the marriage of fandom and entertainment marketing

Aaron Reese with Stan Lee in 2016

Aaron Reese with Stan Lee in 2016

When researching the top trends brands need to be on the lookout for in 2017, one of the more interesting ones (to me, at least) was the marriage of fandom and entertainment marketing.

I spoke to my Firebrand Group colleague Aaron Reese about the topic, given was perfect, given that he’s a freelance comics writer and an expert on geek culture.

Comic Book Movies Are Pure Fandom

Fandom has made a major impact on entertainment. If you look at the stats, it’s hard to argue that the clear monolith of the cinematic world is the superhero movie.

Once considered a risk by film studios, the public is consuming superhero films at a voracious pace unseen by studios before. Not only that, but consumers are also influencing these films.

Studios like Fox have heeded fan suggestions and input, resulting in the global blockbusters such as Deadpool. And now more than ever, studios are vying for repeat customer business.

Entire franchises are being built to retain viewer loyalty. Sites like Tumblr and Reddit are fertile grounds for various fandoms; viewers are expressing their desires through memes, gifs and shareable content.

Brands like My Little Pony are reblogging these pieces of content, honing in on what consumers are saying and implementing that feedback into shows, movies and product lines.

What Can You Learn From This Fandom?

Now, you might say, what do Deadpool and My Little Pony have to do with your brand?

Well, there are lessons there that just about any brand can benefit from. Expectations have changed; today’s brands will be forced to do more than pay lip service to fans.

In an age where micro-influencers are being brought more into the fold of various digital campaigns, it’s clear that their voice matters.

“Fans are no different from regular consumers,” says Reese. “But fans are also the biggest advocates for brands, evangelizing them across the web. They share more, buy more and and engage more. When brands pay attention to their fandom, they reap the rewards.”

Best in Class in Fandom

It’s important to note which entertainment brands are doing the best job harnessing the power of fandom. Marvel, as one of the biggest inspirations for cosplay, developed a product line of cosplay pieces for their fans. They also created various covers for their comics that showed famous cosplayers as noteworthy Marvel comics characters.

If nothing else, this showed their support to a community oftentimes unacknowledged by mass-marketing efforts.

Additionally, clothing brands such as Welovefine, TeeFury and HerUniverse were built out of fandom. All three brands take niche creator designs, usually based on some aspect of comics, sci-fi, or fantasy, and sell them in mass quantities.

These lines have appealed to fans due to their products’ obscure fan references and occasional crossing-over of multiple fandoms.

TeeFury design

One of many TeeFury designs appealing to fandom

Non-Entertainment Brands Take Note

Remember: if you’re working on a brand outside of entertainment, you can still learn plenty from entertainment’s cultivation of fan communities.

Some brands already have high levels of engagement, particularly in the fashion and beauty space. One thing that retailers such as H&M have been really good at doing is generating brand awareness and engagement through their collaborations with luxury brands. Luxury brands have their own fans, fans who can be just as enthusiastic about new collections as Marvel fans are about new movie releases.

By pairing up with these companies, H&M is attracting those enthusiastic fans and generating brand awareness, thus cultivating a community that is fashion-forward, label-conscious, and likely to shop H&M’s next collaboration.

Other Big Ideas for 2017

Access the entire 2017 Trends Ebook here. And here’s wishing you lots of success with truly owning your owned media in the year ahead.

 


Social Fresh

Facebook Still Offers A Huge Opportunity For Video Marketing

Facebook still offers an incredible opportunity for marketers, especially when it comes to VIDEO MARKETING. Facebook [Watch] is right now where YouTube was 8-10 years ago in terms of establishing your own TV-like channel!! Are you publishing more video content?

Facebook is looking for more episodic content and appointment television. That is, you go live and/or publish your video content on the same day and time each week.

If you haven’t already, be sure to let Facebook know you’re interested in having your own show on the Watch Platform. Currently only available in the US. To apply, fill out this form.

Video created using Animoto, awesome and easy video creation tool.

The Easter Bunny is here! Get 20% off any new Animoto Professional or Business subscription. Go to animoto.com/business and use promo code “marchgladness18.” Expires end March 31, 2018.

Video footage from my Facebook session at Social Media Marketing World 2018, “The Future of Facebook: What Marketers Need To Know for 2018 and Beyond.”

Easy Video Creation

You don’t always have to be camera ready to go live on Facebook or do camera-facing video content. You can create about 80% of your video marketing content as recorded video using a fabulous tool like Animoto – with your own existing photo or video assets, or add in royalty free assets.

Here’s a screenshot of the simple drag and drop storyboard editor that I used to create the video above:

animoto_marismith_episodiccontent

When The Marketers Move In, The Members Move Out

One of the quotes I’m most known for is:

When the marketers move in, the members move out. The secret, therefore, to social media success is to act, and think, and feel, and behave like a member FIRST. A member first, and a marketer second. ~Mari Smith, Author of The New Relationship Marketing 

I first said this in 2007, around the time that Facebook opened its doors to third party app developers. I was speaking at a social media conference in Seattle, WA and there was a flurry of excitement among app developers. It was also right at the time that Facebook launched “Beacon” on November 6, 2007 with 44 partner websites. Amid the flurry of excitement, there was also trepidation about privacy and major pushback from users.

Since I joined Facebook on May 4th, 2007, I’ve always had a ‘foot in both camps’ – that is:

1) an avid personal user and champion for fellow users,

and

2) an avid marketer/business user and avid champion for fellow marketers and business users.

But, as marketers on Facebook, we *always* have to respect the user experience.

As soon as content gets pushy, pitchy, disrespectful of the user experience, encroaching on privacy and poorly targeted (irrelevant), Facebook fatigue quickly sets in among users and they will unlike your page, hide your ads, hide your content and even report as spam. Read more on this Facebook post

Video created using Animoto, awesome and easy video creation tool.

The Easter Bunny is here! Get 20% off any new Animoto Professional or Business subscription. Go to animoto.com/business and use promo code “marchgladness18.” Expires end March 31, 2018.

Video footage from my Facebook session at Social Media Marketing World 2018, “The Future of Facebook: What Marketers Need To Know for 2018 and Beyond.”

Animoto and I also teamed up to make this fun ‘Boomerang’ effect video meme that I published on Instagram:

The post Facebook Still Offers A Huge Opportunity For Video Marketing appeared first on MariSmith.com.


Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success

Hell’O Collective paints poetic nonsensical worlds inspired by mythology

Hellocollective-art-int-list

Hell’O Collective is an artistic duo composed of Jerôme Meyden and Antoine Detaille; the friends met over graffiti, but soon left “spray paint in favour of paper” and painting. Currently on show at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Mons, a Belgium city where they both studied, is a presentation of their “last, or first” ten years of work. Too young for it to be called “a retrospective”, the duo describe it more as a “state of play”. Being their first museum project, it features a diverse range of mediums — drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos and murals. It illustrates the collective’s evolution over the course of the last ten years. “Homogeneity is one of the most important things we have developed” Jerôme and Antoine explain, “it is not easy for a lot of people to work together, but for us, it’s easier than working alone; after all these years we’ve found almost the perfect combination”.

Read more


It’s Nice That

How to Drive Sales with Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

It’s crucial for businesses to have an active social media presence to survive in 2018.

No social media marketing strategy is complete without Instagram. It’s become a top platform for brands, advertisers, and consumers alike.

This platform has 800 million monthly active users. And 500 million Instagram profiles are active on a daily basis.

Here’s something else that may surprise you: 70% of Instagram hashtags are branded.

What does that tell you? If you’re not active on Instagram, your competitors definitely are.

Those of you who already have an account set up are on the right track. But just having an Instagram profile doesn’t necessarily translate to sales.

If you want to drive sales and make real money from Instagram, you need to come up with a viable strategy. This guide will steer you in the right direction.

Increase your following

One of the first steps to having a successful Instagram marketing strategy is growing your follower base.

Without lots of followers, you will struggle to get your posts seen. It’s not going to be easy for you to generate sales without followers.

For those of you who just created your Instagram page, it can be intimidating to start with the number zero. But unless you’re a brand new company, you already have customers.

That’s the best place to start looking for followers. Here are the top reasons why users follow brands on social media:

image9 2

As you can see from these numbers, more than 73% of users say they follow brands on social media because they are interested in the product or service the brands are offering.

Your existing customers are interested in your brand. Tell them about your profile, and ask them to follow you.

Start by sending out messages to your email subscribers. Just make sure you give them an incentive to follow you.

For example, you may send out emails only a few times per month. Tell your subscribers that if they want to see more frequent discounts and promotions, they will find them on Instagram.

If you use this strategy, be sure to follow through with that promise.

In addition to reaching out to your email subscribers, you can have an Instagram badge on your website. Use your other social media channels to promote your Instagram profile as well.

After you take these steps, another great way to get more followers is by following other people. That said, don’t follow random users.

Find followers that fit within your target audience. That’ll be your best bet when it comes to generating new leads and driving sales.

How do you find people that fit within your target market? It’s a bit tricky, and you’ll need to put in some effort. First, you need to find accounts similar to yours.

I’m not saying you need to steal followers from your competitors, although that can work too.

Instead, you can search for Instagram profiles that post content related to your industry. For example, let’s say your company sells hiking and camping equipment.

Check out this profile. The name of the account is Adventure Enthusiasts:

image8 3

They have more than 132,000 followers. All of their content is related to outdoor locations across the world.

You could assume that people who follow this account would be interested in camping and hiking.

It’s time-consuming, but this will work. Once you find an account like this, go through its followers, and start following people.

The users will get a notification and check out your page. If they like what they see on your profile, which we’ll discuss shortly, they’ll be likely to follow you back.

Once you add tons of new followers, it’s going to be much easier for you to drive sales with your Instagram strategy.

Focus on the first impression of your page

First impressions matter. This statement holds true in the real world as well as the virtual world.

As a marketer, you need to recognize that. It’s the same reason why writing an irresistible blog post introduction is vital to your content strategy.

When an Instagram user clicks on your profile, what’s the first thing they see?

They see your profile picture, biography, and your most recent posts. Going back to our last point about following users to grow your own follower base, when a user clicks your profile, they shouldn’t have any questions.

What I mean by that is this. Your profile should say who you are and what you do.

Having your logo as your profile picture makes the most sense. It’s much more recognizable than a random picture of a person or one of your products.

Here’s an example from the Dollar Shave Club Instagram page:

image7 3

What is your first impression of this profile?

To me, it’s clear from the beginning who they are. The profile picture is their logo, and their bio explains what they do in greater detail.

They even include a link to a landing page on their website to encourage users to sign up for the service.

Basically, if your brand’s Instagram page doesn’t grab the attention of users, you won’t have much luck getting followers.

For the most part, it’s best to keep everything short, to the point, and professional. Now, you’ll have a greater opportunity to promote your products and ultimately increase your sales.

Post content on a regular basis

If you’re adding a picture or video to your profile only once a month, it’s not an effective strategy. I wouldn’t even call that an active profile.

You want your brand to always be fresh in the minds of your followers.

At the same time, you don’t want to flood user timelines and be perceived as annoying. You need to find a middle ground here.

I wouldn’t recommend posting much more than once per day. If you have lots of content you want to share each day, it’s better to add it to your Instagram story.

If you don’t know how it works, check out my ultimate guide to using Instagram story to promote your business.

How often should you post on Instagram? Research shows that the top brands on Instagram post 1.5 times each day on average. That comes out to about 10 or 11 posts per week.

The timing of these posts is crucial as well. Top brands typically post content during office hours of a standard workweek.

image1 4

Why?

Well, roughly 90% of employees admit to using social media as a distraction while they’re at work.

You need to recognize this and plan the timing of your posts accordingly. Posting on a regular basis increases your exposure and the likelihood that as many people as possible will see your content.

Don’t be too “salsey “

So, we’ve just established you need to post daily. But we haven’t talked about the content of those posts.

Obviously, you want to drive sales. However, that doesn’t mean that everything you post should be a product promotion.

That’ll annoy your followers and end up having the opposite effect of what you’re looking for. Mix up your content.

Be funny. Post pictures of your employees. Just don’t stray too far from your brand image.

While it’s okay to post content that’s not promoting a product, you want to stay away from controversial topics. I’m referring to subjects such as religion, politics, and race. Offending your followers is not going to help you drive sales.

Again, just avoid too many promotional posts. Posting too many promotions is the number one annoying action businesses take on social media, according to users:

image2 4

Furthermore, 46% of users say they’ll unfollow a brand on social media if it posts promotions too frequently.

Whenever you do post a promotion, do it casually. You don’t need to put words in all capitalized letters and include tons of stars and quotation marks around everything.

That’s annoying. Keep it short and to the point.

Go live

Instagram has a live broadcast feature. If you read my top marketing trends of 2018, you’d know I put live video streaming first on this list.

Users love it, and brands are using this information to their advantage.

Live video gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience in real time. While you broadcast, they can comment.

Make sure you respond to these comments, and try your best to acknowledge those users. This will help you increase engagement metrics.

There are endless possibilities with your live streams.

You could demonstrate new products, give a tour of your facility, or even introduce some of your employees. I like the idea of hosting a Q&A segment to give you a more authentic connection with your audience.

Another way to utilize Instagram live story is by working with other brands. Instagram is the top social platform in terms of brand collaborations across the globe:

image4 4

You could try to get featured on the live broadcast of another profile in an effort to promote your brand.

As a result, this type of strategy can help you expose your brand to a new audience, increase your followers, and ultimately drive more sales.

Add pictures and videos to your story

As I briefly mentioned earlier, your story is a great place to add daily content.

You can post content to your story multiple times per day because it won’t flood the timelines of users who follow you.

But that doesn’t mean you should go overboard and post 20 different pictures and videos to your story every day.

People won’t look at each one, so it’s a waste of your time and resources. The engagement and views will drop with each additional post to your story.

You also need to make sure the timing of the post on your story is relevant because it will disappear 24 hours after it gets uploaded.

I’d recommend using your story to offer discounts, run contests, or tell people what you’re up to that day in the office.

The whole idea here is having your brand on their minds. If they’re thinking about your brand, they are more likely to make a purchase.

Similarly to your live video strategy, you can even use your Instagram story to partner with another brand for a takeover. You can take over their account, and they can post content to yours as well.

Again, this will make it easier for you to expose your brand to a wider audience.

Partner with social influencers

You don’t need to be the only one promoting your brand on Instagram.

You should work with social influencers to share your content and encourage sales as well. That’s because social influencers have high engagement rates and great relationships with their followers.

If you work with micro influencers, their followers will likely view those people as their peers. Based on this research, 90% of consumers say they trust recommendations made by their peers:

image5 4

Plus, working with micro-influencers is much more cost-effective than paying someone with a celebrity status to promote your brand.

Not sure where you can find social influencers?

Check out these top platforms for managing social influencers to get started.

Add hashtags to your captions

Captions are just as important, if not more important, than the images and videos you post.

You’ve got to learn how to write Instagram captions that drive engagement.

Hashtags are definitely necessary. There are lots of different approaches to this.

For starters, you can use one that already exists so that other people can see it. For example, you could pick a hashtag that’s promoting a national event.

Another idea is to create your own hashtag. This would be much more brand-specific.

You could use a hashtag with just your brand name as well as the name of your campaign.

If you’re like to run contests on Instagram, you can have a unique hashtag for each one.

Encourage UGC

UGC is short for user-generated content. This piggybacks on my last point about using hashtags to promote contests.

Promotions of this nature encourage users to post photos and videos related to your brand to their personal profiles.

As a result, your brand gets exposed to all of the followers who are friends with that particular user. This type of content acts as a recommendation, which we just discussed as an effective promotional method.

Besides running contests, the best way to encourage user-generated content is to feature user photos on your profile.

Check out this post from the Thule Instagram page:

image6 4

As you can see, this post came from one of their followers.

When other people see this, they’ll be encouraged to share it as well as submit their own photos for the chance to be featured on the page.

Try some sponsored posts

The great thing about promoting your brand on Instagram is that it’s completely free.

It’s not going to cost you anything to create a profile and post content. Lots of the strategies we’ve discussed so far in this guide won’t cost you anything either.

But if that’s just not cutting it for you and you want to be more direct with your strategy, you may want to consider paying for ads.

This is a good idea for newer brands struggling to get new followers.

You’ve got lots of options here:

  • photos
  • videos
  • carousel
  • stories

If you want to find more information about setting these up, check out this resource from the Instagram Business website.

The great thing about these ads is you can include links that drive sales. Here’s an example of a photo ad with a “shop now” CTA:

image3 4

It’s also easy to set up these ads while making sure you reach your target audience and stay within your marketing budget.

Conclusion

Your brand needs to have an active Instagram presence.

Always try to increase your followers. Make sure your profile is set up in a way that gives a great first impression.

Post content on a daily basis, but don’t post too much promotional content. Use live video streaming and your Instagram story to your advantage as well.

Partner with social influencers to expose your brand to a new audience.

Use captions with hashtags as a promotional tool. Encourage user-generated content.

If you want to take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level and you’ve got some extra funds, you may want to consider paying for sponsored posts.

All of these strategies will help you elevate your Instagram presence and increase sales as a result.

What type of content is your brand posting on Instagram to generate sales from your followers?


Quick Sprout