Split A/B Testing Graphical Elements of Your Landing Pages: Best Practices to Test and Quantify Conversion Value of Landing Page Elements

It is a known fact that one of the best ways of generating high conversion rates is by having high-converting landing pages. Landing pages are standalone web pages with a single purpose – to act as a point of entry for a particular website.

Study has shown that designers have just 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression on a customer. With such little time available, selecting the right design for your marketing can often be the difference between increasing your bounce rate and gaining a new customer.

Related: Graphical Ideas That Add Trust Factor to Your Landing Pages

Ideally, as a designer, you want to make sure that the first page a user sees on your website converts into optimal success.

split a/b testing

Split A/B Testing for Landing Pages

According to Unbounce, “A/B testing is the act of running a simultaneous experiment between two or more pages to see which performs or converts the best”.

To begin an A/B testing, there need to be multiple designs created, amongst which ones will be selected for testing as you please.

According to John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing, “landing pages allow you to create a custom-tailored experience for your customers based on current marketing campaigns or targeting”.

He also has this to say about landing pages: “Today, landing pages have simply become a required element in the marketing toolbox for every imaginable business, including local brick and mortar types.”

There is always a difficulty in achieving a balance when it comes to designing landing pages. You have to decide between making data-driven decisions and using your intuition. Your decision should, however, be based on a fine balance of experience, gut instinct and personal opinion as well as data, which most people can find difficult to achieve.

Let’s assume you sell eggs and you normally put them in conventional paper egg crates. You sell an average of 50 crates a week. Then you hear about A/B testing and decide to try out other types of crates for the egg. You try bright coloured plastic crates, and discover you sold 200 crates the following week. This definitely means that the way you displayed the eggs attracted more customers, increasing your sales.

Split A/B Testing Best Practices

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to landing page design. However, there are some basic best practices and processes that increase your chances of making a winning one.

The following steps look at the best practices/processes for A/B testing of landing page elements.

a/b testing

Step 1: Collect Data

This involves taking a look at your site’s analytics and identifying high traffic areas, as well as pages with low conversion rates that need to be improved on. It is preferable to begin with high traffic pages as this will allow you gather data faster and you have more data to work with.

Step 2: Identify Goals

“Goals are the desired results of a process,” says Brendan Wilde, marketing manager at Umbrellar Cloud Hosting. “The goals set are the metrics which would determine which variation of an element is more successful than the other and works best for your site. Goals in this instance can exist in any form; for us at Umbrellar for example, our set goals could be the number of visitors to a landing page, or the number of enquiries and sign ups we get in a week.”

Step 3: Develop a Hypothesis

A hypothesis can be described as a prediction. Once you have identified the goals, it is necessary to come up with a hypothesis of why you think one approach will work better than the current one. Start by having a list of ideas you want to use for a new approach and prioritize them. It might take some research from you to come up with a list of ideas. You can also take a look at what other people are doing, to inspire you.

Step 4: Create Variations

This step comes after you have your hypothesis ready.

Create variations of the elements you want to test. Use an A/B testing tool to make changes to an element of your website or mobile app. Most of the best A/B testing tools have a visual editor, so you can easily make changes to the color of a button, hiding navigation elements, or custom made changes.

split a/b testing

Step 5: Run Experiments

Kickstart by launching your tests and wait for visitors to participate. As visitors come to your site or app, collect data about which variation or approach works best. Visitors’ interactions with each variation is collected, measured, and compared, giving an insight into what works best.

Step 6: Analyze Results

After you complete your experiment, the next action to take is to analyze the results from the test carried out. The A/B testing software will present the data from the experiment and show you how the two variations performed. If one variation performed much better than the other, you can switch your site or app over to the version that works best. You can continue iterating the experiment to improve your results.

Some elements you should consider testing:

  • The main headline: try a smaller headline versus a longer headline; no headline versus having one; different header style; font size; and positioning of the headline.
  • The Call to Action (CTA): text in a button, for example, ‘buy now’ versus ‘purchase item’; action of the button; shape and size of the button; changing the button position; and multiple call to action buttons versus a single call to action button.
  • Text block: Long versus short text; using bullet points versus normal text; SEO optimized versus human readable text; or no text at all.
  • Form testing: long versus short; and same page form versus multipage text.
  • Copy testing: Long copy versus short copy.
  • Pricing Strategies
  • Landing Page Image
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  • Sales Copy Text font
  • Style Page Layout and Design


A/B testing is not all about guess work but is rather a deliberate effort to understand user behaviour and why users react positively to results you receive from the experiment, leading to further improvement of your landing page design.

A/B testing is unique for its simplicity and availability of free tools, which if successfully used, will definitely improve your conversion rates.

This post was written by James Cummings, a business psychologist and serial entrepreneur, with over a decade working in finance, IT, marketing and recruitment sectors. He has authored numerous books in the management space and is Founder and CEO of www.dailyposts.co.uk.

The post Split A/B Testing Graphical Elements of Your Landing Pages: Best Practices to Test and Quantify Conversion Value of Landing Page Elements appeared first on SpyreStudios.



Call to Action Conference 2017 – Recap and Recordings

It’s a wrap!

Unbounce just hosted its 4th annual Call to Action Conference, with 1,200+ of the brightest marketers from brands like MEC, Adobe and Vimeo in attendance. On stage, our roster of marketing experts (Rand Fishkin, Mitch Joel, Mari Smith and Scott Stratten to name-drop a few) shared marketing predictions and loads of actionable advice.

During her presentation, Mari Smith went live on Facebook to say “hi” to her followers.

And then there were the workshops, after parties, after-after parties, pub crawls, food tours and a live band to top it all off.

If you’re feeling like you missed out (or you were there and wanna relive every moment), you can access all the slides, notes and recordings over here:

On my flight back to Montreal, in a bit of a post-conference daze, I reflected on the event and realized that many of the talks touched on a theme I think is more important than ever in marketing: empathy.

I thought this message was especially timely alongside discussions of marketers using tools like AI and Machine Learning to gain unprecedented access to data. That is – this tech may make us better at our jobs, but not without a cost.

Too much of a reliance on analytics and data can be dangerous if you lose sight of the people who interact with your marketing and drive your business. Blindly altering your strategy because of what the numbers say can strip your marketing of its voice, of what makes it unique.

This is why empathy must take a front seat in all the work you do as a marketer. I thought Mitch Joel put it beautifully in his talk:

Think about making an impression over impressions.

Below I’ve rounded up a few talks that really drive this point home. If you like these ones, be sure to check out all the recordings.

Joel Klettke: Read your customers’ minds

Joel Klettke of Business Casual Copywriting accused marketers of writing dry copy in his talk, Read Your Customers’ Minds.

Can you guess his explanation for bland copy? A lack of empathy. In his words:

We get stuck behind our screens and start writing about synergies and features and things people don’t actually care about.

His talk dove into how marketers can “read their customers’ minds” and steal their words instead of pulling copy out of thin air.

He shared frameworks for learning your customers’ pain points and anxieties and transforming them into more compelling copy that will actually resonate with them.

Andy Crestodina: Content optimized for social is filled with people

Andy Crestodina is the co-founder of digital agency Orbit Media and one of the most personable marketers you will ever meet. In many of his talks, he underlines the importance of cultivating genuine relationships in marketing: with your customers, prospects, peers and literally everyone you encounter online.

His talk at CTAConf, Super Advanced Content Marketing, was no exception. He rapid-fire shared eight pretty advanced content marketing tips pulled straight from his own arsenal.

Here’s one of them (spoiler: it relates to empathy):

Never publish an article without a quote from an influencer. Reach out to people, build relationships, and soon you’ll have a built-in network of influencers. When it comes time to publish, they’ll happily share with their audience.

Learn from one of my personal favorite content marketers by watching the recording of his talk here.

Claire Suellentrop: Drop personas and think jobs to be done instead

Claire Suellentrop

Founder of Love Your Customers, Claire Suellentrop spends her days helping brands discover what’s really going on in people’s heads. And, based on her incredible talk, she’s an advocate for doing away with the classic persona.

As Claire shared, personas only uncover characteristics, but don’t reveal true motivations behind a purchase.

For example, why does Melanie, a marketer in her late 20s with five years’ experience in SaaS purchase a grey backpack from Everlane? A persona alone won’t ever really tell you. So the marketer at Everlane must empathize and gather research on the jobs Melanie’s hiring the backpack to help her do.

Spoiler: turns out Melanie needed a functional yet stylish looking backpack to take her from work to networking events after work. Just imagine how specific your marketing can get once you know the precise job your product has been hired to do.

See Claire’s awesome talk and the questions she suggests you ask to discover the core job of your product.

Wil Reynolds: People aren’t keywords

Wil Reynolds of digital agency Seer Interactive is on a mission to “help people find stuff on the internet.” In his talk Breaking the Silo Between CRO and SEO To Make BIG Wins, he set out to help CTAConf attendees do the same.

Wil warned of the danger of losing touch of the “human element” when doing SEO. As he explained, blindly optimizing for keywords often results in landing pages that lack empathy:

He contrasted the above example with that of a competitor (below), who is doing a good job of actually understanding people’s motivations for getting knee surgery.

As Wil explained, people don’t get knee surgery because they like it or because of medical keywords peppered thorughout a landing page. They get knee surgery so they can get back to the activities they love (which were completely missing on landing page one). Image source.

Wil advocated for pushing past keyword research and actually talking to people to truly find out the motivations behind their purchasing decisions. In other words:

Learn more about how being an empathetic SEO will get you more customers by watching the recording here.

Being empathetic gets you better results

Many of the talks at Call to Action Conference 2017 indicated that being a good marketer really just comes down to caring about the people you’re speaking to — genuinely getting to know them, their anxieties and their frustrations.

The best part? When you really listen to your prospects, you’re uniquely equipped to deliver exactly what they need at exactly the right moment. And that’s good for business.

Rand Fiskin touched on this in his talk Why We Can’t Do SEO without CRO when he explained that solving the user’s query needs to be every SEO’s priority.

This slide from Rand’s deck beautifully sums up how being a more empathetic marketer is mutually beneficial:

Kind of beautiful, isn’t it? 💖

Had another favorite talk or looking for a specific slide you loved? Go check out the recap site:



Facebook Ad Placement Options, Ways to Repurpose Content & More: The Social Scoop 6/21/17

Greetings from Beautiful British Columbia, Canada!

Wowee, I’m so happy to be back in the country of my birth and childhood. I’ve had a long trek and had to deal with a number of delays, and one extra unplanned night in Vancouver due to missed connecting flights, Ugh! But, as the longest day of the year – Summer Solstice – it’s not too bad! (I wrote up my wee travelogue on Facebook. Hehee!)

By the way, is it just me or does Facebook not let us embed portrait videos… bah! Probably a setting I need to tweak. Here’s the proper portrait video.

I’m in BC to have a short visit with my mum in the Kootenay’s. And then I head back to Vancouver next week to keynote the annual Unbounce Call To Action conference. (There’s still time to join us! And you can get 30% off using the code SeeMeSpeak at registration.)

New Facebook Live Features on BeLive.tv

Plus, do you use the third party Facebook live tool, BeLive.tv? They’ve been in free public beta since last fall and just officially launched a suite of wonderful features and several user tiers. I’ve been working closely with the company as a strategic advisor and have had early access to many of the features, including desktop sharing, talkshow mode, add logo, and now custom colors. Custom frames & hide watermark is available now, too. See the new features and tiers and get a 14 day free trial.

This Week’s Top 3 Articles

1. Facebook Is Giving Advertisers More Control Over Where Their Ads Appear via AdWeek.com

Content adjacency: the type of content near your advertisements has an impact in how your brand is seen. In other words, proximity to content that’s considered offensive can degrade the perception of your product. Facebook is now taking into consideration the effects of content adjacency and has added ways to control where Instant Articles ads are placed before they run.

2. 12 Ways to Repurpose Your Content to Generate More Leads With Half the Work via FoundrMag.com

We can all agree that content marketing is one of the most effective and low-cost ways to generate leads for your business. But creating good, engaging content consistently can be challenging. Repurposing your content will save you time, money and energy—and who couldn’t use more of that? The infographic in this post has 12 ways to get the most out of the content you already have.

3. Facebook Brings Value Metrics to Campaigns to Help Advertisers Target the Best Customers via MarketingLand.com

Value Optimization targeting and value-based Lookalike Audiences are two new ways in which you can reach your best customers with Facebook Ads. An improvement on conversion targeting, which looks at transactions, value metrics look at revenue. Another improvement in what is already a great advertising option.

That’s a wrap for this issue of The Social Scoop. I hope you have an amazing week and I look forward to connecting again very soon.

The post Facebook Ad Placement Options, Ways to Repurpose Content & More: The Social Scoop 6/21/17 appeared first on MariSmith.com.

Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success


Talking at Your Customers vs. Talking to Your Customers

There is a stark difference between talking “at” your customer and talking “to” your customer. Talking “at” your customer will create a disconnect; it simply tells the customer what to do but doesn’t tell the customer how to do it. Talking “to” your customer will create a connection; the message will feel relational and it will begin a conversation.

In this Quick Win Clinic episode (recorded live at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017), Flint McGlaughlin optimizes an email for BJ’s Wholesale that fails to talk “to” its customers and, instead, talks “at” them.



João Fazenda’s playful portfolio of New York Times and New Yorker illustrations


Portuguese illustrator João Fazenda’s works “aim to explore the endless relationship between drawing and narrative in its many ways,” he tells It’s Nice That. The creative’s practice spreads across “illustration, drawing, animation, comics and occasionally painting,” but it is his attention to detail that makes his editorial illustrations stand out in particular.

Read more

It’s Nice That


The Evolution of Marketing: From Manual Through Automation To Predictive

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” While historians still argue whether Charles Darwin actually said that or Leon C. Megginson (Small Business Management: An Entrepreneur’s Guidebook), this opinion is just as valid for marketers today.

We are all aware of how technology advances at an exponential speed today. If you subscribe to MIT’s newsletter Technology Review, you will be amazed at the number of innovations, research, and ideas it regularly reports. With the emergence of the Internet and connected devices such as mobile, it is more than ever an adapt-or-die world.

This is all too familiar for businesses that always make decisions whether to change with the times and take advantage of these new growth opportunities or cling to the status quo and face the threat of extinction. Change is difficult—for individuals, and even more for organizations. In his timely book Intelligent Customer Engagement, Dr. Jacob Shama, CEO, Co-Founder of Mintigo, addresses this difficulty for marketing and sales amidst the marketing revolution that is happening right now.

Defining Brand In Real Time

From the explosion of data and multiple touchpoints to changing consumer behavior and demographics, today’s marketers face consumers who take over and help define the brand. Combining big data, innovative technologies, and dynamic consumer experience, the definition of brand is in real time.

“Likely to overhaul the way we do business and even the way we live, big data and AI [artificial intelligence] are two of the most sweeping revolutions of the 21st century,” Shama writes. “It empowers us to sift through mind-boggling masses of raw data, process it, structure it, and apply it to insight development on a grand scale […] Now, big data and AI are also powering marketing.”

The number one challenge marketers face is creating and nurturing demand real time. For Shama, predictive marketing—the application of data science to traditional marketing—is the answer. “Exploiting new technologies such as AI to amass and process vast amounts of information on companies and decision makers, predictive analytics scientifically guides marketers to the campaigns that create the highest engagement and produce the highest revenue.”

Transforming the Customer Journey

Understanding that the customer journey is becoming more and more nonlinear, Shama turns to predictive marketing which transforms the customer journey into a scientific process. “It leverages data science to optimize every engagement point—presenting the right offer, the right product to the right prospect delivered via the right channel,” Shama notes. With predictive marketing, this can be done at scale and near real time. “In that way, all your marketing efforts are truly customer-centric.”

Intelligent Customer Engagement is a probing and comprehensive reference book about predictive marketing. Helping marketers navigate the ever-changing marketing landscape, Shama thoroughly discusses the application of big data, AI, and predictive analytics to marketing—from the science behind it to how organizations can adapt and implement it.

Covering a wide range of topics, the book details use cases and questions to help organizations evaluate if predictive marketing and account-based management (ABM) are right for them. Shama understands that organizations have different goals and existing operational and technological capabilities. So it includes step-by-step guides and best practices. Success stories from early adopter companies also reveal how data and AI help dramatically shrink sales cycle and increase revenue.

Highest Likelihood To Convert

As a marketer, one of the top priorities is to help sales beat their numbers and find more buyers faster. Shama dedicates a chapter to sales enablement, emphasizing that by “providing [sales] the leads with the highest likelihood to convert and the data on how to approach,” sales can improve their results.

Marketing and sales can benefit from data-driven insights that empower initiatives from account management and segmentation to production of content and collaterals. He further writes about how to get not only the sales team but also the whole organization on board in support of predictive marketing.

Marketing data and intelligence are the new currency in the marketing space. And transforming data into actionable insights real time is essential to commanding a competitive advantage for businesses. As Shama observes toward the end, “Marketing and sales are in a constant struggle to get ahead of the curve, the competition, and customers’ needs and wants. Predictive marketing and sales powered by AI and predictive analytics has the information, tools, and insights you need [..]”

While technology and ideas change rapidly, having in-depth knowledge on how predictive marketing works is critical to best manage change for long-term success. As the marketing space continues to evolve, reading Intelligent Customer Engagement could enable organizations to adapt, win, and survive extinction.

Accountability in marketing means one thing: Can you deliver on what you promised? The good news is that using a data management platform and data-driven marketing can help you improve accountability—especially when it comes to revenue. Download the Guide to Advertising Accountability to learn more.

 Guide to Advertising Accountability

Image source: Pexels

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud


A Marketer’s Guide to CrossFit Digital Channels

Like a competitive athlete trains to win by perfecting a balance of the optimum diet, exercise regime and mental focus, a CMO’s task is to develop a winning marketing machine. By coordinating every element to work together, the marketing machine will deliver short-term wins and outperform and outpace tough competitors.

The question is: what workout plan will sweat out inefficiencies, build the strongest muscles, and prepare a team for the highest performance level? The answer is a marketing workout plan that outlines a series of short but high-intensity and compound movements that are radically more effective at eliciting the desired cross-channel fitness result.

Essentially, we need a workout plan for cross-channel marketing as effective as CrossFit is for our bodies. But you can’t just jump right into full-blown CrossFit training—we have to be eased into it. Here I share with you a workout plan that will help you start strengthening your marketing channel muscles across channels.

1. Drill Your Demand Generation

Getting people excited about your company and product is hard work. Most marketers use a variety of materials and also recreate those materials every time they need to speak to an audience.

The first step to getting your cross-channel marketing in shape is taking an audit of what content, visuals and assets you currently have at your disposal. Think about how they can be reworked into new content to drive demand. Next, make sure that you actually sit down and map your content to the buyer journey. You need to ensure that everything you are creating focuses on the buyer’s needs.

2. Shape Up Sales Enablement

Tied to creating product demand is the need for companies to improve the effectiveness of sales enablement. Do this by first understanding the customer journey through all stages of the sales pipeline. Map your current sales resources along the pipeline stages, key verticals, buyer personas and differentiators. Understand the use case scenarios given by the sales team and analyze any bottlenecks preventing quick and efficient access to those materials. And ask your team to think about these questions:

3. Whip Partner Channels Into Shape

  • Does the format of your resource match the use case scenarios?
  • Are customer cases used during in-person or online customer presentations?
  • Are they mailed, emailed or simply referred to during online presentations?

The power of an extended sales team and a partner channel network cannot be underestimated. But companies need to do some things to make sure partners have access to relevant collateral.

Make all relevant resources easily available. Create relevant and engaging content for your channel partner sales team. Interview that team periodically to see what resources they’re using, which are effective and what would be beneficial to create. Make the most of your existing direct marketing and sales collateral. Edit, re-use and re-purpose webinars, eBooks, case studies and other collateral and modify your creative workflow to generate collateral for both direct and channel at the same time.

4. Workout For Website and Ecommerce

Websites and digital platforms are often the primary channels of customer engagement and need to be the core area of focus for marketing teams. But how?

Increase conversion for targeted industries by creating personalized landing pages based on the company’s industry, size and location. Implement a website personalization platform, such as DemandBase, to deliver personalized content to segmented visitors. Use consistent and attractive visuals throughout the website that support your copy to create an eye-catching web experience. Use dynamic content to further customize each visitor’s experience. Coordinate marketing and eCommerce operations for a cohesive omni-channel customer experience.

5. Condition Content Marketing

In a time when content marketing is a key driver of engagement, businesses are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content they’re expected to build, distribute and track, all within tight timelines.

To streamline content production, content marketers need to get smart in their approach to stand out from the competition. This means investing in content strategy, aligning it with business goals, and setting up processes and platforms for effective content creation, re-use and distribution. Strategize and create a plan for content that includes measurable goals and aligns with business targets. Make content quality over quantity a priority. Edit, re-use and repurpose content across your entire organization and partner ecosystem. Track content usage and ROI and create a feedback look into the following year’s content planning.

7. Strengthening For Field and Event Marketing

Field marketers are in the trenches, often spending days or weeks away from their head office. Creating a balance between corporate strategy and real-world requirements is an arduous task. Keep a catalogue of approved and high-performing imagery from past events to quickly create campaigns for future events. Take what has worked will and create an “event-in-a-box” campaign. This reduces training and ensures contracted resources can self-serve and use the right assets and messaging without taxing your valuable field marketers.

8. Social Media Shakedown

Social media can be one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal. From Twitter and Facebook to Instagram and Pinterest, all employees are online. But to get it right, companies have to put up-to-date collateral in the hands of employees.

Enable all employees, especially internal advocates, with easy access to approved on-brand shareable resources. If you’re managing your social engagement with Hootsuite, consider connecting content source SKD to your Hootsuite account, enabling any user to use pre-approved images, content and resources. Repurpose your content into visually impactful, bite-size, shareable resources. Create fact cards or slides from your best practice and eBook resources that are easy to share on social. Share your company’s involvement with non-profits and the community. Over time, tell the story of your culture or brand.

Equipment For Cross-Channel Marketing Fitness: Digital Asset Management

As you build strength, CrossFit routines will start to incorporate various kinds of exercise equipment: medicine ball, weight bench, pull-up bar. In cross-channel marketing, you also need equipment. One of the most valuable tools at the enterprise level is a digital asset management solution.

Digital asset management provides companies with a secure, central library for its media files, giving employees, partners and clients an effective way to locate, share and download their corporate digital assets, no matter where they are in the world. The future of digital asset management has arrived with integrations into other enterprise MarTech tools, such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, AutoCAD, Hootsuite, SharePoint and others. These integrations make sure that employees have quick and easy access to the rich media they need right from inside the tools they are already using to build out campaigns and marketing materials.

Poor customer service is unacceptable on any channel, including mobile. Download this brief, Cross Channel Orchestration Fundamentals to discover how you can deliver consistent customer service experiences and enhance customer loyalty.

Cross Channel Marketing

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud


In-House vs. Hiring an SEO Professional: Which Path Should You Choose?

In-House vs. Hiring an SEO Professional: Which Path Should You Choose? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Search Engine Optimization is an essential part of the marketing mix today – few businesses can afford to ignore or abdicate this tactic. If you have a well-optimized website, and a content-driven SEO strategy, you are guaranteed to improve your rankings. Yes, guaranteed. 

Implementing a sound SEO strategy isn’t tough, but you need to do it right, which begs the question, “who should run and manage the SEO side of your business?”

Staying In-House vs. Choosing a Professional

It all comes down to the needs of your company. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s likely that one of your biggest pain points is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. There are few business owners who have the time to create content consistently while keeping up with day-to-day tasks of the company. It’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to kick off and manage an in-house SEO program.

While ongoing SEO tasks should be in every entrepreneur’s wheelhouse, it’s likely they’ll require outside professional help as well to ensure the program is successful.

Don’t believe me? Here is just a handful of the many tasks that should be considered for an effective SEO plan:

  • Blog posts – at least two/month, but ideal 4-8/month
  • Social media posts – 50-200 posts/month across major social media platforms
  • Guest blog posts – Occasional for relevant third-party sites
  • Ongoing reputation and citation management
  • Ongoing backlink analysis
  • Email marketing
  • PPC advertising
  • Marketing automation for lead capture and remarketing

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for the numerous tasks that need to be taken care of for an impactful SEO strategy.

Ignoring Google altogether is no longer an option. Business owners need to sit down with the people in their organization and decide if they are going to take on these tasks themselves, hire a permanent role in-house to dedicate to this or seek help from an agency.

This isn’t always an easy decision. As a first step, I’d recommend identifying your website goals and SEO budget. Consider meeting with an SEO expert to weigh in on what is possible within your budget so that you can properly set expectations. Keep in mind, the dollars you allocate to SEO are an investment, not an expense.

Once you have a good understanding of your budget and goals, you need to decide between staying in-house and going with an agency.

Why I’d recommend agency over in-house

For small businesses, I recommend going with an agency.because you don’t have any training or management responsibilities, and it is often the most cost-effective option, provided you find an agency that follows best practices and delivers consistent results. Business owners must do their due diligence to find the right SEO partner.

There are many reasons why I think going with an agency is the best option, but one is that when you hire an agency, you’ll have an SEO expert who will outline his process and strategy. He’ll have experience working with other companies and dealing with challenges in real-time. These experts are forced to stay on top of their game by monitoring SEO and Google updates on a daily basis. If you hire a person in-house, you’ll never know if they’re doing what they’re supposed to do, because SEO isn’t your area of expertise, it’s there’s.

Additionally, agencies take a team-based approach and are able to help you with a variety of things including content generation (which isn’t always in an in-house person’s wheelhouse). Working with an agency will also give you access to premium SEO, social media, and tracking tools that you would likely not justify spending money on if it was out of your own business’s pockets.

How to choose the right agency

There are many ways to screen an SEO agency before engaging with one. It’s important to ask for proof. Unfortunately, many companies misrepresent and their achievements and don’t practice what they preach. To make sure you’re getting the answers you need, below is a list of common SEO questions you should be asking:

  • Have you done SEO for a business like mine before?
  • What references can you provide?
  • Can I see your recent case studies?
  • What is the primary metric on which you focus your SEO? – Look for customer leads, sales, and conversions.
  • What can you tell me about your approach to link building? – Look for quality over quantity.
  • When will I begin to see results? – SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Expect initial results within 4-6 months.
  • What type of marketing or SEO-related certifications do you have?
  • How much does SEO cost? Expect to spend a minimum of $ 1000/month for basic local SEO services. Most legitimate SEO companies will charge between $ 2000-$ 5000/month.

That’s my two cents. You can absolutely find quality SEO professionals to hire in-house, but over the years, I’ve seen small businesses find much greater success going the agency route.

If you’re implementing an SEO program in your small business, did you hire in-house or hire an agency? Why?

Duct Tape Marketing


Facebook Influencer Marketing, Free Video Creation Tools & More: The Social Scoop 7/11/17

I’m sure you’ve heard by now… the epic ‘Jayden K. Smith’ hacker warning storming the world on Facebook Messenger is a total hoax. (It’s actually been doing the rounds since 2009, eeks!) I got a few of the messages myself the other day and promptly looked into the matter, then posted a PSA my personal profile… which got a ton of shares.

So, given video gets even more visibility on Facebook, I also made a quick video for my Page… and it has 24k views and well over 700 shares! Coolio.

(What’s interesting is, even as the articles and posts debunking the warning stormed the internet, it seemed the message continued to gain steam. I think every major and local media outlet has now posted about it. Phew. Wish we could’ve had an amazing, positive message go viral like that, eh? You know, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, hehe!)

Messenger Ads Coming To All Advertisers Worldwide

Big news from Facebook today: After a promising test of Messenger inbox ads earlier this year—limited to just Australia and Thailand—Facebook is now ready to roll this feature out to ALL advertisers.

These new Messenger Ads are ads placed on the Home tab of your Messenger inbox on mobile. (Have you noticed all the sections in Messenger? e.g. Birthdays, Unseen, Active Now, etc. By breaking up our inbox into segments, plus adding more tabs at the top and bottom, Facebook is creating more user engagement + more potential ad space!)

Facebook states,

“This means businesses of every size get a new tool for creating meaningful connections with customers and prospects. More than 1.2 billion people use Messenger every month, which gives marketers an opportunity to expand the reach of their campaigns and drive more results.”

NOTE: Messenger ads use all the same targeting features already available to advertisers (demographics, interests, etc. + custom audiences). Facebook does not use your private messages for ad targeting. [Says Ted Helwick, a Facebook product manager who works on Messenger ads. Source: Recode article 7/11/17]

In addition to these new Messenger Ads placed on the Home tab of users’ Messenger mobile app, the following Messenger advertising solutions are also available from Facebook:

  1. CLICK TO MESSENGER ADS. Prospects tap/click the CTA button on your ad, that appears in mobile or desktop Facebook News Feed and/or the Instagram app, in order to send your Page a private message. (These Messenger conversations can then be with a bot and/or human in your business.)
  2. SPONSORED MESSAGES. Your business can send a private message from your Page to anyone who has previously messaged your Page; you’ll need to create a Custom Audience to do so. This Messenger ad solution is designed to re-engage people who have an existing conversation with your business.
  3. Creation of your own MESSENGER BOT on the Messenger Platform using Facebook’s tools or a third party company.

For more information about all of the above, see Facebook’s official announcement here:

What do you think? As an business person, will you take advantage of these new Messenger Ads? And, as a user, how do you feel about ads in your Messenger inbox? ?

Square Videos

By the way, you may notice I’m making almost all square video format for my Facebook video posts… this is because square format performs better than landscape. Check out Animoto or new Animatron Wave app for easily creating professional square videos for Facebook and Instagram!

(Ugh, I think the square Facebook video embeds are not displaying properly on my WP site… okay, must tweak a few settings!)

This Week’s Top 3 Articles

1. Everything You Need to Know about Facebook Influencer Marketing by ShaneBarker.com

Endorsements from influencers can be a very effective way to market your business. Recommendations by others are considered more trustworthy than advertising, and when those doing the recommending have tons of influence upon your target market, the reviews are considered even more valuable. (I rather love doing influencer marketing myself, and only ever evangelize products, tools and companies that align with my values fully!)

2. How to Create the Perfect Facebook Video with Free Online Tools via Locowise.com

The popularity of video on Facebook continues to increase like crazy, and reports show that video still has the best engagement. The best part is that anyone can create and edit their own videos without a Hollywood budget or crew. Hehee! Read this article to learn how to create videos and find out some of the fab free tools available. (One of my personal faves is included: Animoto, along with a whole bunch of other ones!)

3. How to Use Google’s Free Testing Tools to Improve Your Site by PamAnnMarketing.com

Are you using Google’s free website tools to test and improve your site? The information they provide can help you to see how successful your SEO efforts are, your site speed, industry ranking, and more—all of which affect where your website appears in search results. It’s important to know if and where you need improvement. It could impact your company’s bottom line!

That’s a wrap for this issue of The Social Scoop. I hope you have an amazing rest of your week and I look forward to connecting again very soon.

Heart Eyes Emoji Facebook Messenger

P.S. THANK YOU to everyone who already expressed interest in my upcoming Facebook Live Video Success Secrets + FAST (Facebook Ads Strategy Training) online program… we’re making progress behind the scenes and will be sending a proper update just as soon as possible. (More info here.)

The post Facebook Influencer Marketing, Free Video Creation Tools & More: The Social Scoop 7/11/17 appeared first on MariSmith.com.

Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success


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