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How do you convince your visitors to take the plunge on your website?
There are so many elements that a top-notch landing page needs, and making those elements the “best” they can be often depends on what your landing page goals are.
Take form length, for example. It’s just one of the many components you need to optimize, but best practices will tell you that both short and long forms perform well — it all depends on whether you want to generate a lot of (potentially) lower-quality form submissions, or a smaller number of higher-quality submissions.
So if you’re looking to up your landing page game, it’s helpful to know what goes into a great landing page and see a few examples of these nuanced elements in action.
Click one of the links below to jump to that section of the article:
Surprisingly, when I started doing research into landing page examples, I realized there are hardly any sites out there with modern, impressive landing page designs that are more than just a sign-up form on a homepage. So, we decided to compile a list of landing pages we love ourselves.
One big caveat here: I don’t have access to the stats for these pages, so I can’t tell you how well they convert visitors, leads, and customers. Still, these examples — even those that are no longer active on the business’s website — have some of the best combinations of those nuanced landing page elements I’ve ever seen.
Obviously, if you feel inspired to try any of these tactics on your own site, the only way to know whether they’ll work for you for sure is by testing them out for yourself.
- Industrial Strength Marketing
- Inbound Emotion
- Velaro Live Chat
- IMPACT Branding & Design
- Conversion Lab
Sign-Up Landing Pages
Like many of the other landing pages in this post, Shopify’s trial landing page keeps it simple. The user-oriented headline is just a few words, for example, and the page relies on simple bullets, not paragraphs, to communicate the trial’s details and benefits. There are only a few fields you need to fill out before you get started. All of this makes it easier for you to get to the point: selling online with their tool.
Landing pages help users decide whether or not your product or service is actually worth their precious time and energy. What better way to clearly and straightforwardly communicate your value proposition than by confronting visitors with the very problem your app solves?
Muzzle, a mac app that silences on-screen notifications, fully embraces this show don’t tell mentality on their otherwise minimal landing page. Visitors to the page are greeted with a rapid-fire onslaught of embarrassing notifications in the upper left of the screen. Not only is the animation hilarious, it also manages to compellingly convey the app’s usefulness without lengthly descriptions.
TransferWise allows you to send and receive money in different currencies, and its landing page, shown below, separates each individual action so you’re not distracted by options that don’t apply to you.
If you want to send money, the transfer form is right there on the right for you to fill out. To receive money, simply click to the middle tab, and to sign up for TransferWise using your debit card, click to the far-right tab.
Each tab on this landing page produces a different call-to-action based on what you’re signing up for — each of them in a vibrant green box to highlight your next step after your three possible starting points.
To help convert visitors into hosts, Airbnb offers some enticing personalization: an estimated weekly average earnings projection based on your location. You can enter additional information about your potential accommodations into the fields to get an even more customized estimation.
If you visit the page already convinced, the clear call-to-action at the top of the page makes it easy to convert on the spot.
Whimsical isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind when you think of HR software, but Teambit’s illustration-heavy landing page is exactly that. A simple, one-field form is accompanied by a delightful office full of animal characters — all of whom are very pleased with Teambit, in case you were wondering. An animal cartoon appears beside each informational section of the landing page, keeping visitors scrolling down to learn more.
Teambit’s landing page is perfect proof that you don’t need to have a conventionally “fun” product or service offering to create a fun landing page.
[Click here to see the whole landing page.]
First up is Wistia’s landing page for their Free Wistia Account. Right off the bat, you notice the one-field form to create your account — the blue, minimally patterned background contrasts nicely with the bright white form field.
The length of the form field combined with the prominent placement eliminates nearly all friction to create an account … but if you’re having doubts, you can always scroll below to read answers to top FAQs. By separating these two sections with stark color contrast, Wistia makes it much easier for you focus on converting.
Webflow, a design tool for web developers, packs a lot of information into just a GIF and three form fields. Having the entire sign-up form on a single line is a nice touch here — not only does it make the page shorter, but filling out each box from left to right shows users how close they are to clicking the fourth blue button and getting started for free.
The animated GIF below the form is visible in the same frame on the website, so users can see how the product works and sign up without scrolling or clicking over to a new page.
Ebook Landing Pages
Nauto, a data platform for self-driving cars, helps make autonomous driving safer for companies who manage fleets of self-driving vehicles. Naturally, its customers would need all kinds of information to sell them on this platform. Nauto has it, packaged into a super-simple ebook whose landing page gives you both a brief contact form and some preview statistics to prove why this resource is so important.
At the top of the page, shown above, a warm photo of a car’s interior hugs the lead-capturing form. The green “Download Now” button might’ve even been on purpose (on the road, green means go, after all).
Scroll down, and you’ll see another “Get the eBook” CTA to remind users what’s waiting for them. You’ll also see three jarring statistics about car accidents to entice users to learn more. Check it out below.
Right off the bat, this landing page pulls me in with a compelling, punchy header: “Don’t Make Me Zoom.” It directly speaks to a common experience most of us have had when we’re browsing on our phones or tablets — and it’s a little sassy, too.
But that’s not the only thing keeping me interested in this landing page. Notice how the color red is strategically placed: It’s right at the top and bottom of the form, drawing you even closer to the conversion event.
Plus, this design is meta to boot: It looks and works great on mobile, too. Keep in mind that a lot of visitors will be accessing your landing pages on their smartphones or tablets, and if the design of your website doesn’t work well for them, they might give up and leave your page.
The folks at Industrial Strength Marketing made the fonts and form field big enough so that visitors don’t have to pinch-to-zoom to read and interact with the content, for example.
10. Inbound Emotion
Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you can still appreciate the conversion capabilities of this HubSpot partner site. My two favorite features of the page? The form stays in a fixed, prominent position as you scroll through the site. I also love the hands that serve as directional cues toward filling out the form and sharing the page with others.
11. Velaro Live Chat
Sometimes the smallest details make the biggest difference. They’re what make Velaro Live Chat’s landing page awesome, for example.
That small PDF symbol over the feature image helps set expectations for what format the download will be in. The arrow in front of the subheadline helps further direct your attention to important copy they want visitors to read. Like IMPACT, they also have an auto-checked box to subscribe to their newsletter on their form — which, if turned into an opt-in check box, is a great way to increase subscribers. All of these small, seemingly insignificant details help bring together a solid, admirable landing page design.
Full disclosure: IMPACT is a HubSpot partner — but that’s not why they’re included here. IMPACT’s landing pages have long been a source of design inspiration. I love the simple layout of the page, from the large headline copy and detailed featured image, to the outline that surrounds the form, to the colors and fonts that are very pleasing to the eye.
The free guide IMPACT is offering for download here also doesn’t emphasize the download itself in the blue button that allows you to submit your filled-out form. Rather, IMPACT is inviting you to “generate more conversions” — putting the focus on what you stand to gain as a result of reading the guide.
Landing Pages to Learn More
It’s no surprise Unbounce is near the top of this list — they’ve actually written the book on creating high-converting landing pages. Although there are lots of amazing things about this landing page, the two that I absolutely love are: 1) The use of a chat window instead of a classic form, and 2) the detailed — but well packaged — information below the form.
The first helps direct attention to the goal of the page — for you to fill out the form — in a way that’s unobtrusive and feels less like a chore. The second gives this page an SEO boost (search engines will have more content to crawl) and assuages any worry from folks who need to know more about a piece of content before handing over their information, all while not distracting people from the chat window.
Often, people think landing pages are static pages on your website. But with the right tools, you can make them interactive and personalized.
Take the example below from Bills.com. To see if you’d benefit from their consultation, you answer three questions before you are shown a form. It starts with this one:
Then, you answer two more questions, like the one below:
And here’s the final landing page form where you fill out your information:
I’m not sure how the algorithm works (or if there’s one at all), but while I was filling it out, I had some anxiety about not qualifying. Once I found out I did, I was excited to fill out the form, which I’m sure most people who are in debt and using this tool are. By making this offer seem more exclusive before the form appeared on the landing page, I’d bet that Bills.com increased conversions pretty significantly.
Trulia did something very similar to Bills.com with their landing page. It starts with a simple form asking for “an address” (which sounds less creepy than “your address,” although that’s what they mean). Below this simple form field is a bright orange button that contrasts well with the hero image behind the form, and emphasizes that the estimate will be personalized to your home.
Of course, the address itself won’t be enough to estimate the value of a home. It just denotes the home’s neighborhood. That’s why the next page follows with more questions about the property itself, like number of beds and baths. Below, you see the copy “Tell us where to send the report” — with a disclaimer that, by entering this information, you’re agreeing to connect with a real estate agent. This is a great example of a company giving value to their visitors from the get-go, while setting visitors’ expectations about what will happen as a result.
Landbot, a service that creates chatbot-based landing pages, puts their own product front and center on their chat-fueled landing page. Visitors are greeted by a friendly bot — complete with emojis and GIFs — who encourages them to provide information in a conversational format, instead of via a traditional form.
For a little contrast … what about long landing pages? With just a few tricks, you can make even the longest landing page feel short. Webprofits’ landing page below shows us how.
Right at the top, there’s a prominent CTA button to learn more — with a nice contrast against the background so it stands out, and a downward arrow to encourage scrolling. By not putting a form field up front, they help reduce friction and create an opportunity for visitors to learn more before being presented with a conversion option.
They also make it easy for you to figure out what Webprofits actually does. The rest of the page offers detailed information about what you’ll get when you give over your information. Plus, it includes strategic CTAs throughout to take you back to the top to fill out the form, like “Let’s Talk.”
Sometimes, you’ve just got to stop and admire a landing page for being beautiful. Using high-resolution photography and lots of white space, H.BLOOM’s landing page is a pleasure to look at.
Aside from its beauty, the page has some great conversions elements: an above-the-fold form, clear and concise description of what’ll happen when you fill out the form, and even the bright orange “Submit” button. The only thing we’d change up? The copy on the “Submit” button — that could be more specific to the offer at hand.
19. Conversion Lab
While I wouldn’t typically include an example of a homepage with a form on it in a post about landing pages, this website is special. The homepage is the entire website — the navigation links just take you to the information below.
When you click “Get Help With Landing Pages,” the entire site moves over to make room for the form. Here’s what it looks like before you click:
And, when you click that CTA, check out how the form appears:
I love how you don’t have to leave the page to fill out the form, yet the form won’t feel intrusive to casual website visitors.
A well-optimized landing page can transform prospects into leads by gathering information that can help you better understand, market to, and delight visitors. Since landing pages are crucial for conversions, it’s important to make sure they’re well planned, designed, and executed.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating landing pages:
- Appealing aesthetics: Giving your landing page color and a clean UI can only help. Visitors will want to learn more about your products and see evidence of the value you’re offering. Take a look at #10 on our list — Inbound Emotion — for a great example of a stunning web page.
- Less is more: Let the offer or images do most of the talking, but be sure to include any and all descriptive headlines and supporting text to make your landing page clear and compelling. This goes for just about all the components on the page: try white space, simple copy, and shorter forms.
- Keep visitors on the page: By removing the main navigation or any distracting backlinks, it’s less likely there will be any lead generation friction that could cause visitors to abandon your page.
- Social Sharing: A simple way of getting visitors to engage with your landing page is including social media sharing buttons so that they can spread your content to their social followings. After all, customers are the center of your marketing flywheel.
- A/B testing: Landing pages are important to get right, and since consumer psychology can sometimes be surprising, it’s always better to experiment with different versions of your pages to see which has the highest conversion rate (CVR). Test the positioning of the offer, kinds of CTAs, or even the color scheme.
- Call-To-Action: The CTA is where the meat of the landing page is, or the tipping point where prospects become contacts. CTAs could ask visitors to subscribe, download, fill out a form, share on social media, and more — but, overall, CTAs are necessary for getting your audiences more engaged with your offering. To generate leads, CTAs should be bold and eye-catching, but most importantly, they need to effectively communicate value.
An example of a creative CTA is Landbot — seen here at #16 — who has a chat box landing where their CTA is responding in the chat.
Whenever you launch a new marketing campaign, you should test whether the cost of the project is helping or hurting your company. To determine something’s profitability, many marketers look at ROI — or return on investment. At the most basic level, ROI compares the amount of money you spend on a project with the amount of revenue you gain from it.
In 2007’s Evan Almighty, God, played by Morgan Freeman, commands Carell to build an arc like the biblical figure, Noah. The movie’s marketing, award-winning cast, and special effects might have seemed promising at the time. But its production costs led to it having the biggest budget of any comedy film at $250 million. After the studio, cast, and crew spent huge amounts of time and money on the film, it only made a dismal $67 million in its first two weeks of release.
In comparison, Bruce Almighty, which had a budget slightly over $80 million, made nearly the same amount in its opening weekend.
While this example looks at ROI on an incredibly large scale, the strategy of measuring your returns can be incredibly helpful to marketers or small businesses as they learn which tactics are and aren’t worth repeating.
Determining one overall marketing ROI benchmark is challenging because all marketing tactics are different. When dealing with an online ad strategy like PPC, where ROI data is usually tracked automatically, you might be able to easily see how your ad’s return compares to others that are similar. Platforms like Google Ads also have years of extensive data to back up their reported 800% ROI benchmark.
When you’re dealing with other strategies, like content marketing, it might be hard to tell if your blog posts, podcasts, or videos are leading directly to a purchase — especially when the content isn’t on or linked directly to a landing page.
In fact, the Content Marketing Institute says that determining ROI has felt like a mystery to marketers for decades. Although the invention of tracking URLs and other technology has helped to determine the success of content, CMI still suggests looking at ROI from a long-term perspective and factoring in non-financial gains including audience growth.
For most businesses, one good way to set a “good ROI” benchmark for each marketing strategy is to look at the return from similar tactics you’ve tried in the past, as well as your current sales numbers. That information should help you create ROI benchmarks and goals that are realistic for your company.
When it comes to calculating marketing ROI, here’s a simple formula you can follow:
To use the marketing ROI formula, you’ll need to identify the following things:
- Number of leads: How many people converted to a lead?
- Lead-to-customer rate: What percentage of leads became a customer? If 12 out of 100 leads become a customer, your lead to customer rate would be 12% or 0.12.
- Average sales price: The average price of your product. An average can be helpful if you occasionally apply discounts or alter pricing in other ways.
- Cost or ad spend: How much did you spend on creating and promoting the marketing campaign? Here, you can factor in costs including ad spend, hourly wages of people who put time into the project, or costs related to producing content.
If you’re terrible at math, don’t worry. HubSpot customers can access an ROI calculator programmed with the same formula in our CRM.
Aside from looking at hard revenue, you might also want to consider other non-financial elements when determining if a marketing strategy is successful. These could include follows or likes on social media, unexpected traffic to your website, or even a sense of increased trust from your customers. While these things don’t offer an immediate financial return, they might indirectly boost purchases or customer relationships later on.
In this post, we’ll give you a few tips on how to determine financial ROI for six common marketing strategies. We’ll also describe a few fictional small-business marketing scenarios to show you how to use the ROI formula.
Marketing ROI Examples
In our 2018 State of Inbound Report, we saw that 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI in their Inbound Marketing strategy.
Although it might cost less to produce a blog post than a video, written content can still cost you time and money. If blogging is part of your marketing strategy, you’ll want to calculate time-related costs, production costs, and promotional costs into your total spend. To translate time into a dollar amount, track the number of hours that an employee spent on the project, then multiply that number by their hourly wage.
For example, if a blogger is paid $20 an hour and takes four hours to write a promotional post, your total cost will be $80 in labor plus any costs related to promoting the post.
If your blog links to a landing page, you’ll want to use a tracking URL instead of a basic page URL so you can see how many visitors are coming to the page directly from the blog.
Through tracking visits, leads, and customer conversions related to a blog post or article, you can see how efficient your strategy is. If you’re creating content that generates ROI, but realize that writing time is taking too long, you might want to look for ways to streamline that process. If you’re not getting ROI, you might want to make other adjustments to your plan or pivot to a new marketing strategy.
A law firm that focuses on housing-related cases wants to gain more clients. They write five blog posts about tenant rights. Each post includes a tracking URL that links to a landing page where prospects can request a free legal consultation.
The firm spent $900 paying employees to draft five blog posts and $100 to promote it. The posts result in eight leads — four of which become clients. The firm made an average of $2,000 per client.
Here’s how their ROI would be calculated:
[((8 x 0.5 x $2,000) – $1,000) ÷ $1,000] x 100 = $700
If this rate of return works for the firm, they might want to continue the strategy as is. If they like the strategy but want to increase the ROI, they might try creating a video to see if it’s more effective or try to churn out posts at a higher frequency.
While some might think email is outdated, it’s actually still a key marketing tool. In fact, a business can make $38 dollars for every dollar they spend on an email. Although the ROI may depend on how big a mailing list is, the type of ad in the email, or the audience the email targets, this marketing strategy still might be worth a company’s time.
While you might not need to track production time for a linked ad or CTA in an email, you’ll still want to be tracking the traffic it drives to your site. Like the written content example above, we suggest using a tracking URL.
Here’s an example of how a company might measure ROI of email marketing.
A local dog daycare offers a weekly e-newsletter to customers and those who sign up on their website. An organic dog food company pays them $100 to place an ad that links to a purchasing page for their newest product.
Because the ad is linked with a tracking URL, the dog food company can see that it drove 50 visitors to their product page. Of those visitors, 20 placed the dog food in their cart and 17 purchased it. That ROI formula would look like this:
[((20 x .85 x $20) – $100) ÷ $100] x 100 = $240
After seeing how much money they gained from the newsletter, the dog food company might continue to place ads in that weekly email. They might also want to branch out to other dog-related emails.
A whopping 83% of marketers say video gives them strong ROI. But like any type of content marketing, you’ll need to spend time and money on producing videos. You might even need to buy or rent film equipment or editing software.
As you script and produce a marketing video, use these tips to film it affordably. You’ll also want to keep track of the total cost of labor, equipment, and promotion.
You should be sure to identify ways that you’ll measure your video’s effectiveness. For example, if you upload a video to social media platforms, you should include a tracking URL in the post caption that leads to the product’s landing page. This way, you can see how many visitors were driven to the page because of the video post.
A sales AI software company is launching a new product that automates many menial tasks within the sales process. The company has a landing page for demo signups, but they haven’t generated many leads. They think it’s because the average sales person isn’t understanding what this AI technology can do to help them.
The team decides to make a demo video to show sales reps how the software works and how it can help them cut down on time-consuming tasks. The video is shared on LinkedIn along with a tracking link to the demo signup landing page. The video is also placed on the landing page itself.
It cost the company $300 to buy video supplies and $200 in labor to produce the video. After it was circulated, it resulted in five demo signups which lead to three purchases of the $2,000 product.
Here’s their formula:
[((5 x 0.6 x $2,000) – $500) ÷ $500] x 100 = $1,100
Since they made $1,100, the software company might continue making demo videos. Now that they’ve already made a one-time purchase of supplies, they also wouldn’t need to calculate that cost into ROI of future projects.
When a brand doesn’t have time or bandwidth to produce their own branded media, they might pay another person, publisher, or company to create sponsored content. While staffing someone outside of your office will cost your company money, you might want to think of the extra hours your team will have to do other productive projects if they don’t have to create content.
While you don’t need to track labor costs of your own employees, you will want to use the ROI formula to see how the payment for the sponsored content compares to the amount of money you gained from the campaign.
A boutique wants to promote their new line of summer dresses, but they don’t have time or equipment to make a video. They connect with a local fashion influencer and pay her $300 to do an Instagram video titled, “The Best Summer Dresses for 2019.”
They tell the influencer to place a tracking URL to the online store in her bio. She also directs viewers to the bio in the video’s caption. Through the tracking link, the boutique can see that they’ve gotten 50 visits. Of those visits, 30 people put an item in their cart. Ten purchased one of the $50 dresses.
They use this formula to calculate their ROI:
[((10 x 0.33 x $50) – $300) ÷ $300] x 100 = -$45
Because they lost money on this, the boutique might want to move away from influencer marketing and invest on in-house strategies.
If they realized they gained more of a social media following, or more traffic than usual, they might still want to continue with the influencer. But to see if they can improve ROI, they might have her post the same video and link on more social platforms to see if gains more traction.
With pay-per-click, you’re paying for every click your ad gets, even if it doesn’t lead to a sale. While Google says its advertisers get a strong ROI, small businesses still waste 25% of their budget on poorly managed PPC campaigns. After your ad is launched, you’ll want to closely monitor ROI and wasted spend to learn from and avoid major losses on an ad.
There are a number of tools that can help you monitor and manage live PPC campaigns. You can also use our ROI formula to look at your ad’s performance. Here’s an example that shows you how:
An online gardening store wants to use a PPC ad to spread awareness of a new line of luxury lawn mowers — which cost $1,000 each.
On their first campaign, where the price isn’t shown, they spent $1,000. Of the visitors they received, three placed the item in their cart and one made a purchase. In the next campaign, they included the price. They spent a total of $500. Of their web visitors, 12 placed the lawnmower in a cart and seven purchased it.
To see how the PPC ad’s script change impacted ROI, the garden store could use the formula for both campaigns. They could count users who carted the product as a lead.
First Campaign: [((3 x .33 x $1,000) – $1,000) ÷ $1,000] x 100 = -$1
Second Campaign: [((12 x .583 x $1,000) – $500) ÷ $500] x 100. = $129.92
From this comparison, the company is able to see how price transparency can cause more qualified leads to click on the ad. They also might realize that price transparency helps them avoid paying for the clicks of people who can’t afford the lawn mower.
Paid Social Media Promotion
If a company has an audience that regularly uses social media, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they might want to consider boosting one of their posts so it’s promoted on newsfeeds of target audiences.
With most social promotions, you’ll be able to set a goal or audience target, a time limit, and a budget. Tracking your ROI can help you determine if the social boost strategy is working, as well as the types of posts that lead to the best return.
A lifestyle publication is trying to gain web subscriptions, which cost $10 a month. They decide to offer a one-month free trial to pull in leads. They create a post about the trial for Twitter which includes a tracking URL that leads to the free-trial landing page.
They boost the post for four days with a budget of $25 per day. In the timespan of the posted boost, they’d received 100 visitors and 20 signed up for a free trial. Of the 20, four become paid subscribers.
Here’s the calculation:
[((20 x .2 x $10) – $100) ÷ $100] x 100 = -$60
Because the publication lost $60 and still has to honor the free subscriptions they gave out, they might decide to avoid boosting posts on this platform. If they haven’t given up on a boosting strategy just yet, they might try paid promotion on another social platform next time.
Best Practices of Measuring Marketing ROI
When it comes to marketing, determining ROI can seem tricky. While more traditional PPC and social media ads can provide more specific rates of return, it can still be challenging to link hard revenue numbers to marketing content like videos and blogs.
Regardless of which marketing strategy you’re using, monitoring the following factors can help you determine if your campaigns are really successful:
- Time: How much time did it take to create the marketing materials?
- Production Costs: Track the total cost of supplies, services, and software needed to create the campaign.
- Promotional Costs: Did you spend anything for promotion? If so, add that to your total costs.
- Page Analytics: Use a tracking URL to determine if your content is driving traffic to your product’s landing page.
- Non-Financial Returns: Did you gain any social media engagement, unexpected traffic boosts, or other bonuses from your campaign? If so, this could still be helping your level of brand awareness.
For more on content-related ROI, check out this step-by-step guide that offers tips on how to track it and a list of tools that can help you. As you gain more customers, you might also want to check out this infographic that dives into ROI associated with great customer experiences.
Women have been talking about the glass ceiling for years … but have you heard about the glass cliff?
This phenomenon describes how women who do finally shatter the proverbial glass ceiling are promoted or appointed during times of company strife — when risk of failure is greatest.
Women have been working hard to close the gender gap in business. Women now earn more graduate degrees than men, secure business loans to launch their own startups, and dedicate their careers to climbing the corporate ladder at some of the world’s top companies.
And yet, despite these strides, only 4.8 percent of the world’s top companies are led by women — and this number is actually lower than it was 15 years ago, when the glass cliff was first discovered.
In 2004, psychologists Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam first labelled the phenomenon known as the glass cliff after an article in the U.K. Times stated that companies with women on boards of the London Stock Exchange performed poorly compared to companies led completely by men.
After reading the article, Ryan and Haslam decided to take a closer look at the numbers and discovered that women were only offered positions on boards of companies that were already underperforming.
Since their initial findings, other studies have backed up their research and uncovered that not only are women more likely to be appointed during times of turmoil, but they’re also 45% more likely to be removed as CEO compared to their male counterparts.
One high profile example of the glass cliff is Carly Fiorina, who was appointed CEO at Hewlett-Packard as a transformational leader who would take the company in a new direction after low performance. After pursuing a controversial merger she became embroiled with board member Walter Hewlett and was subsequently fired. After her removal, the Hewlett-Packard board acknowledged that her merger would have been the right decision.
Although the glass cliff is a tough pill for women in the workplace to swallow, the best way to avoid becoming another statistic is to prepare. Check out our infographic from Fundera, below, to discover seven actionable ways to avoid falling off the glass cliff.
Are you selling products on Instagram? Wondering how to create Instagram posts that interest shoppers? In this article, you’ll discover four ways to showcase and promote your products on Instagram. First, Attract an Audience That’s Likely to Convert To have success selling on Instagram, you first need to build a following of people who have […]
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The blogosphere has been a major online marketing medium for years now. Bloggers are trusted voices who can bring in customers and help you build your community. They’re capable of exposing others to your message and getting the buzz started — but only if you approach the task diligently.
Reaching out to potential bloggers is a more intricate process nowadays than it was even five years ago. Great bloggers are constantly getting pitched by marketers, making it all the more important for you to stand out from the crowd if you want them to pay attention.
Trust me, though: It’s well worth it to invest time in building connections with high quality bloggers and turn them into a brand advocates who will be willing to help you out over and over again.
Want to achieve worthwhile results from your blogger outreach efforts? In this post, I’ll go over a few tips for reaching out to bloggers effectively. Then, I’ll talk about seven great blogger outreach tools that will help you connect with bloggers in your niche.
Before you start reaching out to bloggers, you’ll need to figure out who you’ll reach out to by doing some quick research. As you’re searching for bloggers, look for people who are in your industry or in an industry that somewhat relates to your product. This way, their audience will be similar to yours and may trust the blogger more when they talk about your product or write a sponsored post about you.
You’ll also want to look at their following. The larger their audience is, the better the posts will be for your brand awareness. While you might not be able to see traffic or follower numbers directly on their blog page, looking at their social media channels might be a good way to distinguish how many fans they have and how engaged their audience is with their content.
Many bloggers don’t mind helping your brand grow — in fact, some of them may like what you offer. All in all, many of them will appreciate additional sources of income.
But there’s always a chance one of those power bloggers will be insulted by the means or message you use to reach out to them. If you’re really unlucky, they might voice their irritation in public, thereby tarnishing your reputation. So how do you reach out to the bloggers without running into a risk of ruining your brand name? As someone who’s been on both sides many times, here are three tips.
Here are four guidelines for blogger outreach:
Tip #1: Send a straightforward email or message
I love emails that get to the point right away. The more straightforward you are, the more time I save. But there’s a fine line between being straightforward and being just plain careless.
Here’s an example of a careless blogging — the very one that inspired me to write this article in the first place:
Don’t want your emails to end up in the bin? Take time going through active blogs in your industry (using some of the tools I talk about later), reading media kits, searching for reviews they do, and so on. Do your homework before inviting bloggers to partner.
Tip #2: Tailor your email to each blogger so it feels personal.
All bloggers are different. Some of them might be really insulted by your paid review offer, for example. This doesn’t mean the same blogger may become your brand ambassador if you invite him or her to be your webinar or podcast featured guest.
Instead, tailor your offer based on what each of your bloggers seems to enjoy doing online. Which types of blog posts do they gravitate toward? Do some research to identify the types of content each blogger is currently doing to earn his/her living so you can approach them with an attractive offer.
Tip #3: Don’t rely on interns to do the outreach.
I’ve seen far too many emails from company managers apologizing for an unprofessional email their intern sent. Don’t get me wrong, interns are wonderful — but they likely don’t have much of a feel for your industry and how to navigate the politics of reaching out to other professionals.
It’s best to entrust your company’s reputation with someone more experienced with professional outreach.
Tip #4: Send a follow-up — but don’t go overboard with emails.
Like any business prospect, sending a second follow-up email a few days later could show the blogger that you’re interested in working with them. It might also be helpful if the first email they received got lost in the shuffle or was forgotten about.
However, if they seem like they are genuinely not interested or responsive, you may want to move on so you don’t seem desperate or annoying. Leave them with a good impression of your company and brand, even if they don’t wish to work with you.
Blogger Outreach Software
The Sales Hub includes a number of features that allow you to streamline and track your outreach process. These tools include email tracking, calling and live chat capabilities, a meeting scheduler, deal tracking tools, and email or contract templates.
The software’s Starter plan, which still includes a wide range of features, is $50 per month, while you can pay more for more advanced features with the Professional and Enterprise subscriptions.
Below is a quick look at what you’ll see when you look at prospects on the HubSpot Sales Hub. For a full demo, click here.
The newest tool in my arsenal, BirdSong Analytics allows you to export anyone’s Twitter follower list into an Excel file. The export includes each Twitter user’s real name, bio, URL, “Verified” status, and latest tweet.
You can imagine how many opportunities this feature offers: For example, you can download the list of all Twitter accounts @NYTimes is following and, by playing with Excel sorting and filtering features, identify those journalists who cover your niche. It’s lots of fun!
BuzzSumo is a search and reputation management platform, and it’s always one of the first tools I use to find bloggers to reach out to.
I love the tool for many reasons, but I felt in love with it in the first place because of the ability to filter results by the time frame. This way you can see who covered your topic most recently and what kind of spread it got in social media. (The top results are your best targets.)
You can monitor brands on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and analyze their landscape. From what I’ve learned about it so far, it appears to have much more value — in terms of quality of results it returns — than similar Twitter influencer search tools. You can search TwtrLand by skill, location and name and then filter search results by influence level, location and categories:
Circloscope is primarily a Google Plus circle management tool, and it’s great way to discover niche influencers and connect with them on Google Plus. You can easily identify active and influential members from any Google Plus community, see who any of your current peers follow, and create a list of influential users attending an event or a Google hangout.
Add to this lots of filters (for example, you can set to see users who were active on Google Plus within a week or so), and you get a great influencer discovery tool.
This platform connects businesses to bloggers in a very flexible way. You can create projects and invite bloggers to spread the word about them on your own terms while giving both parties flexibility. (For example, businesses cannot dictate the types of links bloggers are required to provide, which helps keep this platform safe from any abusive tactics.)
Tomoson has its own “ranking” algorithm allowing you to easier identify influencers. Businesses can also set minimum requirements to applying bloggers.
The best way to get a feel of the community is to become part of one. MyBlogU is one of the most action-driven platforms which serves two goals:
- To connect to bloggers by helping them. (And we all know by now that helping people is the most effective way to build long-term relationships online.)
- To get featured on their blogs by providing expert quotes to their queries.
Twitter chats are my favorite way to build connections with influencers. They are open, everyone can join, and no one goes unnoticed. The TwChat tool allows you to find chats in your niche and easily participate in any of them.
You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about the elusive, purportedly mystical powers of influencer marketing.
But is this buzzword-laden tactic actually worth your time and energy?
According to a recent study comprised of marketers from a variety of industries, 94% said influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy. That’s great news for marketers — right?
Not so fast. Even though a majority of marketers believe influencer marketing is a viable tactic, it’s still incredibly challenging to report accurately on influencer campaign ROI. In fact, 78% of marketers said that determining the success of influencer marketing campaigns would be a top challenge this year.
So even though the tangible benefits of influencer marketing — follower engagement, driving traffic, and creating more authentic content — seem clear-cut, there’s still a lot of progress to be made in making this form of campaign measurable for agencies and marketers.
Influencer marketing is designed to tap into an existing community of engaged followers on social media. Influencers are specialists in their niches. These individuals have influence over an audience you might be trying to reach, and can be helpful marketing to those buyers.
Let’s back up for a minute. How exactly do you perform influencer marketing, and how does it differ from the traditional celebrity spokesperson advertising model?
There is some overlap between celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing campaigns. But fans of influencers trust that their endorsement of a product or brand comes from a well-researched, more holistic place, rather than something as simple as a signed contract between a brand and a person of influence.
And while there is often a formal agreement in place between both parties, influencers tend to be more selective about their affiliations, choosing to partner with brands that reflect their unique personal brands and won’t alienate their followers.
With that in mind, here are four things you need to keep in mind when launching an influencer marketing campaign:
- Expertise: Would the content of your campaign be appropriate coming from this influencer, given what he or she is famous for?
- Reach: Can this influencer engage your audience? Does she specifically have reach on the social media channels where your audience spends its time?
- Demographic: Is this person’s following similar to your company’s buyer persona? Does he or she affect the same people?
- Notoriety: Is this influencer well liked? Is his/her fame split between admiration and condemnation, or are they a person of mass appeal? (The latter is what you want, so as to not alienate potential customers.)
In other words, celebrity product endorsements are less about engagement and more about attaching a person’s fame and name recognition to a particular brand — regardless of who specifically follows their career. For brands, this type of campaign is much more about grabbing the attention of a wide audience than tapping into a very specific niche.
To give you an idea of how brands — both big and small — are leveraging the power of influencers in their marketing efforts, we’ve put together a list of ten influencer-driven campaigns. Check them out below and decide for yourself: Is influencer marketing worth the hype?
Influencer Marketing Examples
- Sprint: #LiveUnlimited
- Old Navy: Boys & Girls Club of America
- Fiji Water: “Bodyworewhat”
- Kaikatsu Club: NETCafe VR
- H&M: Fall Studio Collection
- Sperry: Boat Shoes on Instagram
- Samsung: Note 7 Launch
- Diageo: My Tales of Whiskey
- GAP: Styld.by
- Stride Gum: Mad Intense Gum
- Naked Juice: Sponsored Instagram Posts
- Loeffler Randall: LR Ambassadors
- Glossier: Regular Women
1. Sprint: #LiveUnlimited
Influencers: Lele Pons, Gerard Adams, Prince Royce, Bradley Martyn, Rachel Cook
Not only did Sprint cause Verizon’s famous “can you hear me now?” guy to switch to Sprint, but the company has collaborated with musicians, entrepreneurs, and actors to gain the attention of a massive young audience.
Its latest influencer campaign uses the hashtag #LiveUnlimited, and features people who have massive social media presences. The best part is these people naturally embody the appearance and lifestyle of #LiveUnlimited. Elite Daily founder Gerard Adams and internet personality Lele Pons are just two of them.
Sprint introduces all five influencers (listed above) in this video ad:
2. Old Navy: Boys & Girls Club of America
Influencer: Alex Rodriguez
Old Navy is a veteran of influencer marketing, having partnered with fashion and lifestyle bloggers all over Instagram to promote various lines of Old Navy clothing. For Black Friday, the company doubled down on this strategy by partnering with New York Yankee retiree Alex Rodriguez to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA). Being an alumnus of the BGCA, Rodriguez’s promotion helped Old Navy raise $1 million as part of sales during Black Friday alone.
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD)
November 19, 2018
3. Fiji Water: Bodyworewhat
Influencer: Danielle Bernstein
You know the water brand, Fiji, but you might know its campaign partner better by the Instagram name, weworewhat.
Danielle Bernstein’s fashion blog, We Wore What, recently joined Fiji Water to create Bodyworewhat, an influencer marketing campaign offering eight-minute workout videos with Bernstein and personal trainer Eric Johnson.
This campaign was meant to demonstrate Fiji’s commitment to hydrating those who want to look and feel as fit as Bernstein, while helping her fans get there with all the right motivators.
4. Kaikatsu Club: NETCafe VR
Not all influencers are based in sports, fashion, or entertainment — not in Asia, anyway. The cafe chain, Kaikatsu Club, recently launched a virtual reality feature across its Japan locations, where customers can play various VR video games while enjoying a drink or a meal. And who better to help spread the word than Japan’s popular TV personality and cosplayer, Enakorin.
Enakorin is well known by fans of anime, a Japanese artform responsible for many comics and TV shows across the country. Enakorin is also known for her love of video games, making her a perfect choice to represent Kaikatsu’s new VR entertainment platform. Both of them teamed up with TimeLine Japan on YouTube to talk about it.
5. H&M: Fall Studio Collection
Influencers: Julie Sariñana, Ela Velden
H&M has one of the largest Instagram followings of any fashion brand on social media today, due in large part to its influencer campaign with women who reflect H&M’s style all by themselves.
Fashion blogger Julie Sariñana and model Ela Velden are two influencers with whom H&M partnered for its fall 2017 catalogue. Sariñana loved the clothing so much, she promoted it from her own Instagram account:
6. Sperry: Boat Shoes on Instagram
Influencers: Sperry Enthusiasts
Toward the end of 2016, the boat shoe brand, Sperry, began working with more than 100 micro-influencers on Instagram to create engaging content for its followers. Sperry identified fans of the brand on Instagram who were already sharing high-quality photos of its products, and started inviting these users to develop visual content for its official Instagram account.
7. Samsung: Note 7 Launch
New smartphones are unveiled everyday. So, when Samsung released its Note 7 in 2016, it set out to make sure people knew about it. The company partnered with CyreneQ, a professional Snapchat artist and designer with a huge subscriber base, to broadcast its launch to a mobile audience that it wanted buying its new product.
Cyrene used her Snapchat account to document her journey to the event and ultimately give her audience a sneak peak of the new device. Using Snapchat’s 10-second video format, she posted clips showing her followers some of the device’s new features. See how CyreneQ’s Snapchat designs look for the brands she’s worked with here.
8. Diageo: My Tales of Whisky
Influencer: Nick Offerman
Diageo, the parent company of Scottish whiskey brands Lagavulin and Oban, was awarded a Shorty Award for Best Influencer Marketing Campaign for this yule log video starring Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman.
The 44-minute video shows Offerman sitting by a crackling fireplace, staring broodingly into the camera, and occasionally savoring a sip of his drink. Thanks to the simple seasonal premise and Offerman’s unique brand, the video was a viral hit.
9. GAP: Styld.by
Influencers: Refinery29, Celebrity Blogs
GAP’s successful Styld.by campaign featured a number of influential social media personalities from blogging giants like Refinery29 and WhoWhatWhere, showing how they incorporate GAP clothing into their personal wardrobes. Users viewing the influencers’ posts on social media were given options to “Shop this Look” conveniently in the caption of photos.
Thanks to the involvement of multiple influencers from different niches, GAP’s campaign had enormous reach.
10. Stride Gum: Mad Intense Gum
Influencer: DJ Khaled
If anyone has figured out how to gain a loyal following on Snapchat, it’s hip-hop artist and producer DJ Khaled. Once a minor figure in the music world, Khaled has enjoyed an unprecedented level of success on the ephemeral photo-sharing app, with each of his snaps garnering over 3 million views on average.
“DJ Khaled has completely cracked the platform,” said Emmanuel Seuge, senior vice president for content at Coca-Cola, one of Snapchat’s major advertisers. “He’s the king of Snapchat.”
His “King of Snapchat” status means Khaled is in high-demand for influencer campaigns with brands. He regularly takes part in “Snapchat takeovers,” where a brand hands over the reigns of their corporate Snapchat to Khaled for a brief period of largely unfiltered antics.
Working with W+K London, Stride Gum launched a Snapchat takeover campaign with Khaled last year to promote its “Mad Intense Gum” campaign. The brand called the takeover “an unpredictable, fun day for all his followers.”
11. Naked Juice: Sponsored Instagram Posts
Influencer: Kate La Vie
This bottled smoothie brand is edging its way into the beauty, fashion, and health scene on Instagram with help from key influencers in the space. Lifestyle bloggers like Kate La Vie (below) share sponsored posts featuring snapshots of their daily outfits and beauty essentials — including a strategically placed Naked Juice in the mix.
12. Loeffler Randall: LR Ambassadors
Influencers: Creative Businesswomen
High-end accessory and footwear brand Loeffler Randall has become a favorite among artists, bloggers, and fashion insiders, thanks in big part to the company’s commitment to involving social media influencers in its marketing campaigns.
The brand’s “LR Ambassadors” include a diverse group of writers, painters, florists and other creative businesswomen “leading dynamic lives.” In the brand’s own words, their LR Ambassadors are “cool girls doing cool things.”
In addition to profiling its LR Ambassadors on the company blog, Loeffler Randall shares pictures of its ambassadors wearing LR shoes and accessories on Instagram, using the hashtag #LRambassador.
13. Glossier: Regular Women
Influencers: All Women
This Manhattan-based beauty startup (which was recently named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017) owes much of their seemingly overnight cult status to their ever-expanding network of super fans and micro-influencers — those people who may have high influence, but low individual reach.
Instead of paying a few big names to promote their minimal skincare and cosmetics, the brand relies on “regular women” to spread the word.
“What’s very motivating to us is this idea of every single woman being an influencer,” Glossier CEO Emily Weiss told Quartz. Glossier recently introduced a referral program to enable its more influential followers to offer product discounts and other incentives to their unique networks.
Many founders make the same mistake in the early days of their companies — instead of building an integrated tech stack, they use a bunch of disconnected tools because these tools are cheap, or maybe even free.
I know because I made this mistake.
I started my first company in my early 20s. We were a web development shop building pretty cool technology, and yet could not figure out a good system to track our sales pipeline or manage leads. I actually taught our sales team a manual process that included flipbooks of business cards and tick sheets to track who needed a follow-up. 🤦
We also struggled to manage lead flow. While our WordPress site could collect leads, those leads didn’t automatically sync to a CRM (we didn’t even have one). Instead, leads were forwarded to our only marketer, who manually distributed them to our sales team via email. When this person was on vacation, our sales team didn’t get leads. Even if they did get leads, I never knew if they were following up or not.
There was no doubt in my mind that we were losing money — both in time spent on these manual processes and also lost deals — but we were also creating pain for our customers and prospects. How weird is it to reach out to a company you’re interested in working with only to not hear from them for days, weeks, and maybe ever?
What a mess.
I’ll admit, some of this was my own fault. Salesforce and email tools like Constant Contact did exist at the time. In retrospect, I was definitely suffering from what I later dubbed “poor business syndrome” — afraid to spend what little money we had on the thing that would help us grow — but at the same time, CRM, lead management, and email tools all together were expensive! I could never bring myself to spend the money.
It felt like I only had two choices: cough up the money for pricey tools that would give me a unified (but painfully expensive!) view of our customer experience, or just hope that prospects would be persistent in contacting us and would forgive the email we sent them that 100% lacked context on previous interactions they had with us.
As of today, no startup will ever again need to make the same concession I did.
Today, in addition to giving our CRM away for free, we’re also giving away free email. This means that if I were a founder today using HubSpot’s free tools I would know where our leads were coming from, whether or not our sales team was following up with those leads, how much money is in our pipeline, and could even write personalized emails based on where prospects are in their customer lifecycle! That’s a solid sales and marketing setup for exactly $0. No hefty price tag, no pain to endure.
And there’s more …
We’re adding Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn Ads tools to the CRM — for free. Now you can report on your ad campaigns across networks, and see exactly who converted on your ads.
This is a big deal.
It has literally never been easier or cheaper to start a company. Our CEO, Brian Halligan showed this chart at INBOUND 2017:
With free, integrated tools it’s not only easier to startup — it’s easier to scale-up.
When companies manage customer data well, they’re empowered to create great customer experiences. And we want you to start creating those great experiences on Day 1 of your business, not Day 1,000.
We want to give businesses the tools they need to be successful when they’re acquiring their very first cohort of customers, so they can acquire (and retain!) future customers even faster.
If you’re not already, I hope you’ll give our free tools a try today. Let’s grow better together.
In case you didn’t know, email usage is at an all-time high. More than 3.7 billion people use email worldwide.
In fact, 86% of B2B marketers rely on email marketing campaigns to promote new business, which begs the question — are you using email marketing effectively for your business?
More importantly, are you using email marketing consistently at all?
There are a ton of email marketing service tools out there to help you with your email marketing, some of which are completely free. But, it’s important to note, not all free email marketing tools offer the same features.
As a new business, you’re probably most concerned with how many emails you’re able to send, which features you have access to, and whether you can upgrade your account as your business grows.
You’re probably also thinking about deliverability, and whether your emails will be consistently delivered to your contacts’ inboxes. Plus, you likely want a tool that’s both easy-to-use and doesn’t require advanced technical skills.
Fortunately, we have you covered — here, we’ve ranked the best free email marketing tools that you can use for your business in 2019.
The 9 Best Free Email Marketing Tools in 2019
- Zoho Campaigns
HubSpot offers a reliable and feature-packed email marketing tool that’s suited for growing businesses — for free. You can create professional marketing emails that engage and grow your audience with the easy drag-and-drop email builder. With the drag-and-drop email builder, you don’t need to wait on IT or designers for help. Instead, you can easily create beautiful emails that your audience will love. HubSpot’s tool helps you achieve incredible marketing results with little effort.
On top of the free email tool, you can use the HubSpot CRM for free to create tailored touch-points for your customers. HubSpot email is automatically connected with the HubSpot CRM, so you can tailor relevant emails based on any details you have — such as form submissions and website activity.
Using the CRM, you can include personalized content in your emails, like first name and company name, to ensure your contacts feel like they are being personally addressed, all while tracking email activity in the CRM. This contributes to efficient scaling opportunities should your business outgrow the free tools and require more robust automation features, such as workflows.
Optimizing your emails has never been easier. Using the tool’s email reporting analytics, you’ll learn how to send more relevant and optimized emails to your audience.
The HubSpot email tool is free for up to 2,000 email sends per month, with upgrade solutions starting at $50 with Marketing Hub Starter.
2. Send Pulse
Send Pulse has over 130+ templates to choose from, or you can create your own using drag-and-drop functionality. Under the free plan, you’ll have access to Send Pulse’s highly regarded support team, including support via live chat.
In terms of functionality, Send Pulse has a “Resend” feature that allows you to resend unopened emails with different subject lines, which is valuable for time scrapped marketers. What’s great about Send Pulse is that it has prices for all its services. For example, if you need to send SMS, you can add an SMS package to your email marketing service package.
They also offer web pushes, SMTP, Viber, and more. Since the service started in 2015, there still isn’t a ton of API support, but that’s something Send Pulse is working on improving for marketers who are in need of technical functionality.
SendPulse offers 15,000 emails per month for free for up to 2,500 subscribers. Pricing starts at $9.85 per month for unlimited emails and up to 2,500 subscribers.
Image source: SendPulse
MailChimp’s email tool is particularly useful for small and medium-sized businesses, since the free plan offers up to 12,000 email sends per month for up to 2,000 subscribers. Plus, you get access to features such as list segmentation, A/B testing, contact profiles and more. However, it’s important to note you’ll have MailChimp branding in your email footers with the free plan, and won’t have access to premium support.
If you use e-commerce software, you’ll be happy to know that MailChimp integrates with e-commerce providers including WooCommerce and Magento. You’ll also be able to integrate Mailchimp with WordPress if your business uses WordPress as its content management system. MailChimp offers reporting for emails, but the details may not be as robust as you would like for optimal improvements.
The MailChimp Free Forever plan allows up to 12,000 email sends per month to a subscriber limit of 2,000. The next tier upgrade tier costs $10 per month for unlimited email sends to a maximum of 500 subscribers.
Zoho Campaigns is a good option for small to enterprise-sized businesses, depending on how quickly you’re scaling. With the Zoho Campaigns free plan, you get access to features such as A/B testing, reports, and templates. If you’re already using the Zoho CRM, it makes sense to check out Zoho campaigns to see how email and the CRM work together.
It’s important to note — while the free version provides a lot of features, most of these features have limitations. Additionally, it can be difficult to get started using Zoho Campaigns because it requires customization before sending emails.
Zoho offers 12,000 emails per month for up to 2,000 subscribers. Pricing starts at $5 per month for up to 500 subscribers.
Image source: Zoho
Moosend is ideal for people looking to get their feet wet in email marketing. The free tier comes feature-packed, but you’re maxed at 1,000 subscribers and won’t have a dedicated IP address.
Moosend offers an easy to use drag-and-drop editor, email marketing automation triggers, real-time analytics, and list segmentation features. Moosend doesn’t offer a CRM, but if you’re looking to solely do email marketing, it might be a good start for your business.
The company is ranked as having great support and satisfaction scores. If you’re a growing business, you’ll only need to pay for subscribers. The next upgrade is $10, and you’ll get up to 2,000 subscribers.
Image source: Moosend
If your business relies heavily on transactional emails, such as forgotten password help and invoice receipts, then SendInBlue might be ideal for you. With their extensive developer APIs, you’ll be able to integrate with their email system to achieve custom and required technical processes. Plus, while the service was initially known for having issues with delivery rates, SendInBlue has since improved upon its deliverability.
With SendInBlue’s free plan, you’ll have access to a vast array of templates, personalization, A/B testing, contact management, workflow editor, and real-time reporting. Like the other tools mentioned, the software is easy to use, although the main interface can sometimes offer too many options and feel overwhelming.
SendInBlue offers up to 300 email sends per day (which is roughly 9,000 emails/month) for free with unlimited contacts. Upgrade solutions start at $25/month for 40,000 emails and no daily sending limit.
Image source: SendInBlue
With Mailjet’s free plan, you’ll have access to unlimited contacts, APIs and webhooks, an advanced email editor, and advanced statistics. However, you won’t have access to A/B testing or automation features. The Mailjet interface is also simple to use, so you won’t have to spend a ton of time getting familiar with the service. Since you get full API access as part of the free plan, Mailjet is suited for businesses that require technical adjustments.
Mailjet’s free plan offers up to 200 emails per day (that’s roughly 6,000 emails per month). You can upgrade starting at $8.69 per month for 30,000 emails and no daily sending limit.
Image Source: Mailjet
If you work for a business that is experiencing incredible growth, yet isn’t already using an email marketing service, you might want to check out Benchmark’s free email tool. The tool is well-equipped with premium features, and designed to cater to the enterprise-level business.
With the free version of Benchmark, you can use the drag-and-drop editor, select from various templates, use sign-up forms, build basic drip campaigns, and use the list hygiene feature. Benchmark is user-friendly and easy to implement.
However, there’s no option for A/B testing or automation features on the free tool. Furthermore, contacts can’t be added via list import in the free plan. You can only email contacts who fill out Benchmark subscriber forms.
Benchmark offers a free Starter Plan with up to 2,000 subscribers and 14,000 emails per month. The next upgrade plan starts at $13.99 for up to 600 subscribers and unlimited email sends per month.
Image source: Benchmark
Although it has “lite” in the name, MailerLite is actually a good solution for businesses starting out and looking to grow. The service is ideal for small businesses needing to send bulk marketing emails. It’s also well equipped with preview features so you can preview your email on desktop and mobile before sending it. However, the API and integration capabilities are not as robust as some of the other options in this list.
Mailerlite offers 12,000 emails per month with up to 1,000 subscribers. The next upgrade tier costs $10, and it unlocks all features for up to 1,000 subscribers.
Image source: Mailerlite
ExpressPigeon provides a good solution for businesses using small list sizes but sending to very high-priority subscribers. With ExpressPigeon, you can effortlessly build and personalize emails, automate email responses, and send high volume emails.
Best of all, you get access to all of the premium features with the free plan — however, there are low send and subscriber limits. ExpressPigeon is regarded as having some of the best customer satisfaction scores in the industry.
ExpressPigeon offers a free plan that allows 1,000 messages for up to 500 subscribers, and one user only. The price of each additional user is $100 per month. The next upgrade tier is a huge price jump: $1,000 per month for up to 100,000 subscribers and two million emails.
Image source: ExpressPigeon
Now, you have a better sense of the best free email marketing tools at your disposal. Fortunately, you don’t need to commit to any service. You can try these tools out depending on your business’ needs, then select the one most ideal for you.
If you’re looking to get started building incredible email marketing campaigns, we recommend that you try HubSpot’s Free CRM. You’ll be able to see the power of the CRM behind every email interaction with your customers, so that you deliver remarkable experiences.
Is your video marketing working? Could you be making mistakes that are hurting your results? We asked top industry experts which video marketing mistakes they see most often and how to avoid making them. #1: Losing Video Viewers Due to Lengthy Intros The biggest mistake I see people making with videos on Facebook and Instagram […]
from Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner https://ift.tt/2lsDaFA
Did you know that companies with 30 or more landing pages generate 7x more leads than those with fewer than ten? But landing pages don’t convert visitors to leads all by themselves — without attractive and compelling offers behind them, they won’t generate the tonnes of leads for your sales team that you want them to.
That’s why it’s so important to create valuable content people want to download, and then package it in a way that’s visually appealing to your readers. A big part of the ebook creation process is making it look both professional and attractive so people want to read it and share it.
We know not every team has someone in-house who can (or has time to) whip up a slick, highly shareable ebook design. But we have good news: You don’t need to be a designer by trade to design beautiful ebooks yourself. With the right resources and approach, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
We created ebook templates to help make this process easier for you — and they were so popular that we decided to revamp the offer for 18 new-and-improved ebook templates for you. We hope these templates minimize the time you spend on the details of design, allowing you to concentrate on writing valuable, lead-generating content your readers will love.
With these slick new templates, you’ll be able to:
- Create beautifully designed ebooks without either the cost of a designer or experience with InDesign/Illustrator/Photoshop.
- Choose from six different ebook designs across three different platforms (Adobe InDesign, PowerPoint, and Google Slides), and even add your own brand colors to any of them in a few quick steps.
- Spend more time writing awesome content and less time getting the layout right.
- Use all of the stock images provided in the templates, free of charge.
- Save your ebooks as professional and attractive PDF files that are ready for download.
Wondering how to take your Facebook advertising campaigns to the next level? Looking for ideas to improve your Facebook ad conversions? In this article, you’ll discover seven ways to scale your Facebook ad campaigns. #1: Make Small Salary-Like Bumps to Facebook Ad Spend Every 4–7 Days As the name suggests, “salary-like” bumps are small increases […]
from Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner https://ift.tt/2jXViqC
Have you ever learned how to do something with the help of an internet search?
The answer is most likely a resounding “yes.” Most recently, I taught myself how to fold a fitted sheet with a helpful video from homemaker extraordinaire, and friend of Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart.
Videos are an especially compelling way to learn how to do something online because, well, the video shows you exactly how to do it. I’m not alone here, either — most customers would prefer to watch a marketing video rather than seeing an ad.
So if you’re among the 45% of marketers who are adding video content to their strategy this year, there could be a lot of value in making videos specifically for those in your audience who are trying to learn how to do something, too.
In this post, we’ll explore just how popular these searches are on YouTube and other platforms, and what you can learn from eight how-to videos about how to make great teaching videos of your own.
How-To Video Searches Are Popular
How-to searches are incredibly popular. Think about just your own life for a moment, and reconsider my question at the beginning of this blog post. They also may be a great opportunity for brands to show off their products.
According to WyzOwl’s 2018 Video Marketing Statistics Report, 72% of people prefer to learn about a product or service through video.
Video marketing is growing, and so is the number of platforms it can be seen on. While Youtube and Vimeo used to be the primary place to find videos, consumers now similarly use social platforms like Facebook and Instagram to learn about brands and products.
10 How-To Videos to Learn From
1. How to Fold a Fitted Sheet
You may recognize the title of this how-to video — it’s the one I mentioned earlier in this very blog post. Are you always geting stymied when putting away fitted sheets on laundry day like me?
What I love about this video is how it showcases personality. It’s a simple how-to video of humans demonstrating how to do something, without any animations or high tech features, but it’s still extremely effective at teaching the viewer. Stewart and her guests make jokes about how hard it is to fold the sheet — Stewart even joking that her inability to do so led to her divorce — and they show the viewer how easy it is to get tripped up in the process. Stewart and her guests also have empathy for the viewer and show exactly how to avoid pitfalls along the way.
Takeaway for marketers If you want to create a how-to video “hosted” by a real, live human, make sure they act like a human. Videos are an easy way for brands to showcase personality, so put yourself in the shoes of your viewer, and infuse humor, sincerity, and empathy into your instructions. If the concept you’re explaining is complicated, tell the viewer that. If you had no idea how to use your product at first, share that. Speaking like a human — instead of reading off a script like a robot — will make your video memorable, effective, and enjoyable, too.
2. How to Cook Perfect Pasta
Tasty on BuzzFeed shares cooking and recipe videos that frequently go viral on YouTube and other social media and reach millions of people every month. But this video isn’t one of Tasty’s trademark recipe videos — it’s one of several how-to videos that break down common or difficult cooking skills step-by-step.
In this video, Tasty uses hyperlapse to speed up the cooking demonstration and get the viewer the information they need as quickly as possible. This fast-paced filming style is eye-catching if it starts auto-playing in a social media feed, too. Tasty chose a smart how-to search term, too — there’s a ton of search volume around the phrase “how to cook pasta.”
Takeaway for marketers: Viewers prefer YouTube videos on the shorter side, so sped-up hyperlapse filming helps conserve time and creates a neat visual effect. Work backward and conduct keyword research to learn what terms your audience is searching for to find a topic to make your video about.
3. How to Escape Quicksand
Evidently, Princess Buttercup’s tragic fall into quicksand in The Princess Bride wouldn’t have been quite as terrifying in real life.
In this how-to video, Tech Insider uses captions and animations to break down a complicated concept. I wasn’t exactly searching for information on how to escape quicksand when I found this video, but the unique subject matter made me instantly click, intrigued. What’s more, the sound isn’t required — although it does add dramatic effect — which might make people more likely to click and watch all the way through, since many social media videos are watched on mute.
Takeaway for marketers: Your how-to videos don’t necessarily need to be about a dry topic related to your industry. If you create a fascinating piece of content that goes viral, you’ll generate interest in your brand that way. Animations and captions help to show — rather than explain — trickier concepts like quicksand, so consider these visual elements for high-level explanations. And if there’s a way to make your videos volume-agnostic, do so. Some videos will require narration or other sounds, but the visual elements mentioned previously could do the talking for you.
4. How to Blow Out Curly Hair
Anyone who’s ever gotten a blowout knows that it can be expensive and time-consuming to have it professionally done.
So Bustle cleverly made a how-to video that teaches viewers how to DIY and save money– a motivating factor behind many how-to online searches, I suspect. This video is also short, which MiniMatters suggests for enticing viewers to watch videos all the way through. YouTube counts a view as once a video has been watched for approximately 30 seconds, so viewers with short attention spans might be more likely to stick around for that long if they see a video is shorter, like this one.
Takeaway for marketers: Almost everybody wants to save money where they can, so think about ways your how-to video could help viewers do that when brainstorming topics. When filming, try to keep videos as short as possible to attract viewers and keep them watching all the way through to steadily increase your number of YouTube views.
5. How to Style a Blazer 3 Ways
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Who doesn’t love blazers? More than just an office staple, a blazer can dress up any outfit with ease. In this episode of #ThePreviewEdit, our Associate Social Media Editor @mauraisabelr shows you how to style it for the office and beyond! Blazer from @forme Video by @mauraisabelr #blazer #fashion #style #tutorial #howto #stylingvideo
In this short, sweet Instagram video, verified style influencer @PreviewPH shows off three ways to style a blazer from ForMe. This video is great for those who are interested in trying out new fashions but don’t exactly know how to wear items or accessories. In this video, she demonstrates three ways of wearing a blazer, which could accommodate the fashion styles of three different people.
Takeaway for marketers: How-to videos can be a great way to show off how a product works and how it can be used. This type of video is clearly promoting one specific blazer and brand, but it’s more valuable than a standard ad because it shows potential buyers how they can wear it. If people who are hesitant about a new fashion style see this how-to video, they might feel more confident in their purchase.
6. How to Asana: Planning with Asana calendar
Asana cleverly brands its how-to video series as “How to Asana,” and all of the videos in the series feature a consistent theme. All of the videos in this series are under two minutes in length, are hosted by the same person, and feature an eye-popping yellow background. The meat of the video consists of a screencast of someone using the Asana calendar tool, but these branding details bring life to what would otherwise be a rather boring video.
Takeaway for marketers: If you’re thinking about creating a how-to video series, take the extra time to make it memorable and recognizable. These efforts will make videos look more professional and will make viewers want to keep tuning in for more helpful videos if they know they can expect more.
7. How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop
Who else here loves GIFs? That’s right — everyone loves GIFs.
But before I watched the video above, I had no idea how easy it was to make my own. That’s the ideal reaction to a how-to video, by the way — “that was so easy.”
Adobe’s how-to video is a great example of a software demonstration video because it zooms in on only the necessary information. Instead of confusing the viewer by showing the entire Photoshop interface, the video features magnified animations of only the buttons and tools they need to accomplish the task at hand.
Takeaway for marketers: If you’re making a technology demonstration how-to video, consider how it will appear to any first-time product users watching. Try to minimize any confusion by only filming elements of the technology needed for your video so viewers can follow along on their devices.
8. How to Increase Your Facebook Reach and Outsmart the Algorithm
You might be hesitant to create videos to explain a complicated subject matter, but that could actually be the most effective medium to help your audience understand something.
In this video, my colleague Megan Conley breaks down the many nuances of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm in a clear and concise manner. Then, graphics, animations, and screencasts supplement what she talks about with data visualizations to make the stats and figures more memorable for the viewer. Finally, the video ends with helpful next steps viewers can take to solve the problem outlined in the video. The video isn’t about how to use HubSpot software at all — it’s only in the business of helping people get better results.
Takeaway for marketers: The most compelling how-to video might be one that doesn’t mention your product at all. Think about what questions your audience might be asking and establish your brand as a thought leader with helpful videos that don’t end with a sales pitch.
9. How to Fix a Chair with Noodles
This interesting Instagram video from @Crafty.Life.Hacks shows viewers how to fix a wooden chair by replacing missing wood with instant noodles. While this video is short and easy-to-follow it is fascinating because it teaches viewers about an alternative use for an every-day household food item.
Takeaways for marketers: This example shows how a product can have multiple purposes. While marketers will want to make how-to videos that show the primary purpose of their product, sometimes, it can still be helpful to think outside of the box and show off other ways your product could be used.
For example, if you’re selling a food product, you might want to craft a recipe video that shows how it can be used as an ingredient, or a DIY that shows how it can be used as a tool — like the video above.
10. How to Make Momofuku’s King Crab Noodle
In this Facebook video, shared by Vice’s food blog Munchies, Chef Max Ng shows viewers how to cook his grandmother’s King Crab Noodle recipe — which he serves at the Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York City. Although this video is on the longer side, he shows audiences a simple step-by-step cooking process that they can easily follow.
This type of video might be a helpful how-to example for local restaurants or food publications that want to show off their favorite recipes. Promotionally, this video also gives some great brand awareness to Munchies and the Momofuko restaurant.
Takeaways for marketers: You can get away with videos on the longer side if they clearly describe a step-by-step process like cooking. How-to videos can also be a great source for cross-promotional content. In the example above, Max Ng, Momofuko, and Munchies are all highlighted in an entertaining and informative way.
How to Make How-To Videos
Now that you have inspiration from real-life B2B and B2C brand videos, start thinking about how you could create helpful content for your audience.
Create buyer personas and use these to inform your strategy. What types of questions does your audience ask about your product? What questions do they ask about your industry? What problems does your product solve that you could demonstrate in a video?
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore new Instagram chat stickers and ad placements, as well as updates to LinkedIn’s pages and algorithm with […]
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What’s the one thing more overwhelming than the volume of your analytics data?
I’m willing to be its the volume of analytics plugin options on WordPress.
Installing an analytics plugin for your WordPress site allows you to get all your site’s data, metrics, and insights without leaving your WordPress dashboard. The majority of users choose Google Analytics, although I’ve chosen some non-GA plugins, too.
While Google Analytics is a powerful option, many find the sheer amount of data available on GA daunting, and the interface clunky. WordPress plugins aim to simplify the interface so that users get to the data they need without feeling overwhelmed.
If you do use Google Analytics, we have a comprehensive guide on How to Set Up Google Analytics for WordPress.
With new plugins hitting the market monthly, and specialist plugins offering specific insights, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you.
To help you sort through, we’ve compiled a list of the best analytics for WordPress plugins in 2019. We’ll explore basic differences, as well as features and benefits of each option, to help you choose the best plugin for your needs.
Price: Free | Premium: from $99
WordPress.org rating: 3.9 out of 5 from 637 reviews
Generally considered the king of analytics plugins, MonsterInsights is a good all-rounder. It’s also the most popular Google Analytics plugin on WordPress, with over two million active installations.
Like most of the plugins in this list, MonsterInsights adds your Google Analytics tracking code to your site with no coding required on your part. It pulls your data into a user-friendly interface that runs inside your WordPress dashboard and offers flexibility for growing sites with free and premium versions.
It offers all the Google Analytics data you would expect, broken down into audience and behavior metrics. Additionally, you get more advanced features like ecommerce reports with the premium version.
One limitation of this goliath is you can’t get statistics on individual pieces of content like you can with Analytify.
Price: Free | Premium: $39 per year
WordPress.org rating: 4.9 out of 5 from 220 reviews
Analytify is a big hitter in the world of WordPress analytics and will install your Google Analytics tracking code for you. The interface allows you to access your data right from your WordPress dashboard.
Analytify is especially good for ecommerce businesses, since it offers enhanced ecommerce tracking features. The free version is fairly limited but the premium version is substantially cheaper than MonsterInsights, while offering similar functionality plus the benefit of being able to dig into individual posts and pages.
With the free version, you can monitor your site stats and you gain limited access to general reporting features. This includes tracking features like page views, top countries, social media statistics and top referrers.
With the premium version, you gain additional features like real-time statistics, campaign statistics, and email notifications.
WordPress.org rating: 4.3 out of 5 from 389 reviews
It may not have the catchiest of names, but this plugin is all about functionality.
It does what it says on the tin. The interface isn’t as pretty as some of the more polished plugins, but you get all the features you would expect — insertion of tracking code, Google Analytics data, real-time tracking — right in your WordPress dashboard for free.
A solid option for those who know they don’t want to upgrade and pay for a premium plugin.
Price: Free | Paid: from $9.99 per month
WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 17 reviews
Aside from having an excellent name, Clicky offers a plain and simple view of your analytics, which is ideal for people who feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of options available within Google Analytics. Additionally, it installs its own Clicky tracking code into your site so you don’t have to mess around with code.
Clicky provides detailed insights that are still simple enough for the average blogger to understand. Most of the functionality is available for free, but some features like video analytics and custom data tracking is only available with the paid version. It also has some quirky features like a live map so you can track your visitors in real-time.
5. Crazy Egg
Price: Premium: $9 per month
WordPress.org rating: 3.8 out of 5 from 5 reviews
Crazy Egg is an open source plugin offering a totally different perspective than most of the others, since it adds Crazy Egg’s tracking code to your site. This allows you to watch via heat maps — in real-time — what visitors are hovering over and clicking on.
The plugin also offers comprehensive A/B testing based on various content variables like color, copy and content placement, to improve the user experience and increase conversions. This is a good alternative to Google Analytics for users more interested in conversion optimization.
WordPress.org rating: 3.8 out of 5 from 5 reviews
Analytics Cat is a super simple, lightweight plugin. If you’re looking to add a Google Analytics tracking code but don’t want to weigh down your WordPress site with the dashboard integration, it can do it in minutes.
Analytics Cat offers a simple way to stop your data from becoming corrupted by your obsessive self-navigation, since it provides the ability to exclude logged-in users from your Google Analytics tracking. You can also exclude as many other user roles as you’d like.
Price: Free | Premium: from $15 one-off
WordPress.org rating: 4.9 out of 5 from 71 reviews
This is a simple tool that does one job — it adds a Google Analytics code to every page on your site. It doesn’t pull in or display any stats for you, but it does its job well. This is ideal for complex sites with hundreds of pages. If you’re happy with keeping your Google Analytics off your WordPress dashboard but want to ensure the tracking code is on every page, this is the plugin for you.
Additionally, the premium version enables a host of advanced features like an opt-out for visitors. It also supports custom code and lets you disable tracking on logged-in users.
WordPress.org rating: 4.6 stars from 104 ratings
HubSpot’s WordPress plugin isn’t just an analytics plugin — it also allows you to implement HubSpot’s forms, pop-ups, and live chat.
HubSpot’s plugin offers incredibly detailed data on the leads you collect. Additionally, you can get an in-depth understanding of which CTAs drive the highest number of sign-ups, enabling you to convert visitors more effectively. This user information is synced with your HubSpot CRM.
Price: Free | Premium: $30 per year
WordPress.org rating: 4.5 out of 5 from 93 reviews
This plugin is a solid option and has both a free and reasonably priced premium version. With a low barrier to entry, it’s a user-friendly, simple way to view your stats within WordPress.
The free version includes page views, top performing pages, a centralized dashboard, comprehensive reports, and bounce rates. However, if you want Google Analytics coverage, ecommerce reports, AdSense and AdWords reports, you’ll need the premium version.
Price: Free | Premium: from $79 per year.
WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 28 reviews
Designed to offer detailed behavioral analytics, WP Google Analytics Events digs deeper into your Google Analytics data. For instance, just because a visitor navigated to a blog post, doesn’t mean they scrolled down and read all the way through. WP Google Analytics Events can help you see what’s really going on at the level of individual events.
The downside of this plugin is it’s difficult to set up, so this is ideal for more advanced users.
Price: Free | Premium: from $5 per month
WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 28 reviews
Jetpack is a multi-functioning tool for design, marketing and security — analytics is just one of its many features. It displays your stats via a simple interface offering a handy overview of how your site is doing. However, don’t expect to be able to drill down into the data on individual pages and posts.
As you would expect from a WordPress.com product, the plugin offers good support and detailed troubleshooting guides. Best of all, Jetpack offers a smiley face at the bottom of your page to show whether the JetPack analytics tools are working.
12. WP Statistics
WordPress.org rating: 4.3 out of 5 from 396 reviews
A powerful yet simple plugin focused on stats, WP Statistic’s interface is intuitive and displays graphs and charts beautifully. This plugin puts an emphasis on privacy. You can be sure that the data is not being shared with the big boys — additionally, you don’t need to deal with any third parties to use this plugin.
This plugin is particularly good when it comes to geographical data and content reports, and supports real-time stats on your site as well as the standard features you would expect. The best part? It’s totally free.
Price: from $9 per month
WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 84 reviews
Formerly Piwik, Matomo is an open-source analytics alternative which gives you detailed reports on your visitors, traffic sources, keywords, and many other common metrics. This plugin installs the Matomo tracking code and allows you to view the data within your WordPress dashboard.
Advanced features lets you follow visitors in real-time or in the visitors’ log and manage multiple sites among many other features. Matomo also offers a mobile app to access reports on the go. You will need an existing Matomo account to access the data.
Price: Free | Add-ons from $12 one-off
WordPress.org rating: 4.8 out of 5 from 755 reviews
The basic version is free but there is a range of add-ons allowing you to use as much or as little as you need.
Price: Free | Premium: $135 one-off
WordPress.org rating: 4.4 out of 5 from 95 reviews
The clue is in the title with this one. Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics Plugin for WooCommerce focuses on the new Google Analytics’ feature for advanced ecommerce statistics.
Because it’s so specialized, this plugin offers the most detailed insights into customer behavior as well as comprehensive product and sales statistics. All of it is accessible from the interface within your WordPress dashboard. However, you’ll need the paid version to get any serious benefit from this plugin.
16. WP Power Stats
WordPress.org rating: 4.1 out of 5 from 53 reviews
WP Power Stat offers a wide-screen interface, which is good for getting an overview of your site’s data. This plugin is billed as lightweight, fast, reliable and secure. As all the stats are stored on your own WordPress site, there is no meddling with your data by third parties. This plugin is a powerful free option.
Which Analytics Plugin Should You Choose?
You may want to choose more than one analytics plugin, since many of them are specialized for certain tasks.
If you’re looking to bring the power of Google Analytics into your WordPress dashboard, go for a plugin like MonsterInsights or Analytify, which both have excellent free versions as well as comprehensive premium versions.
Alternatively, there are some plugins specialized in privacy, speed and reliability. There are also some simple tools to quickly set you up with a Google Analytics code.
The great thing about WordPress plugins is you can install them and play around with the free versions to see if they work for you without committing to anything. So give a few of these options a try and see what’s the best fit for you and your analytics needs.
In the meantime, find out how to save time and maximize ROI by hooking up your HubSpot data with your WordPress site.
Do you want to learn more about creating ad funnels on Facebook? Wondering how to build a Facebook ad funnel that works for your business? To explore how to set up a Facebook ad funnel, I interview Charlie Lawrance. Charlie is a Facebook ads expert and the founder of Gecko Squared, an agency that targets […]
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You might know your Instagram content is good, but imagine how much better it will seem if it looks like 10,000 people agree.
Whether you’re trying to become a social media celebrity or simply looking to spread brand awareness on Instagram, it can seem tempting to pay for your first couple thousand followers.
There are plenty of services available that allow you to buy 1,000 followers for the price of a small Starbucks latte. But of course, if it really was that cheap and easy, everyone would be doing it. So what’s the catch? Is buying Instagram followers legal and safe for your business? Is it a worthwhile investment?
Here, we’ve gone ahead and covered all the questions you might have about buying Instagram followers to give you a better idea of how it actually works. We’ve also explored the pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself if it’s a good move for your brand.
Can you buy Instagram followers?
Yes, you can buy Instagram followers. There are plenty of cheap services available that allow you to buy 1,000 followers for as little as $10 USD. But you’re only paying for a number. Many of those followers are either bots or inactive accounts, which means they’ll never engage with your posts.
As a quick Google search will reveal, there are many cheap services you can use to buy Instagram followers. For about $6 USD, you can get 500 followers, and for about $10 USD, you can get 1,000 followers.
The vast majority of these purchasable followers, however, are either bots or inactive accounts.
When you buy Instagram followers, you’re paying for a number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely.
In addition to buying followers directly, you can also pay services to strategically follow other accounts on your behalf based on your preferences (location, hashtag usage, account type, and gender). Ideally, those followed accounts will then follow you back.
With this option, your followers are more likely to be real people, but engagement is still unlikely. Since you can’t even guarantee these accounts will follow you back, it’s a risky investment. Most accounts won’t follow you back, and even if they do, they probably aren’t going to be long-term, loyal, or active followers.
If your priority is simply to have a big follower count, these services can definitely help you. When your number of organic followers dips, these services even replenish your pool with other followers.
But remember the risks: these followers will probably never like or comment on a post, and if you’re caught with a ton of fake followers, you could ruin your credibility with your real audience.
Think of it this way: would you keep following an account if you saw that most of their “loyal audience” were inactive accounts or bots? I’m guessing not. It could seem deceitful, and lead you to believe the brand couldn’t get authentic followers through good content alone.
Should you buy Instagram followers?
It’s not a good idea to buy Instagram followers. The purchased followers are likely bots or inactive accounts, so they won’t engage with your posts. This means your posts won’t show up on Explore Pages, or on your real audience’s newsfeeds. It will also make it hard to measure metrics.
You’re buying fake Instagram followers.
The main reason buying Instagram followers can prove to be a wasted investment is because the accounts you follow often aren’t real.
Fake followers are created either because they’re managed by users whose only goal is to get followed in return, or because these accounts are sponsored by services that sell followers — as we discussed in the section above. And while these accounts might offer early engagement, they’ll ultimately become a drain on your Instagram account’s performance metrics (we’ll get to that in just a minute).
You’ll get early engagement that tapers off.
Purchased Instagram followers also provide no long-term value to your profile’s content. The followers you buy might give you views, likes, and comments early into acquiring them as a follower, but the attention they throw you now won’t be there later — when you start reporting on how your Instagram account is performing.
And how helpful, really, are 10,000 followers that don’t engage with you? Engagement is key to how Instagram’s algorithm displays posts to users. Without likes or comments, your post probably won’t show up on your audience’s newsfeeds, and it also won’t show up on any Explore Pages.
Having a lot of followers could convince users to follow you organically, but it’s not a guarantee.
Users might notice you don’t have a ton of engagement on your posts, which could deter them from following you. If you have 10,000 followers but only four likes per post, it won’t take people long to realize something is up.
Without real followers to engage with your content, your posts are essentially hidden from everyone except your inauthentic audience. Plus, your fake followers won’t share your post on any of their channels. And they won’t discuss your brand in real life with friends or family, because, well … they don’t exist in real life (no offense, bots).
Bought Instagram followers can distort your performance metrics.
It’s practically impossible to measure how well your target audience is connecting with your brand if a high percentage of that audience isn’t real. How will you measure posts that do well with your real audience if those bots and inactive accounts skew the ratio?
If you don’t know how well your posts are doing or what your real audience thinks, you’ll never convert your Instagram followers into real customers. And isn’t that the point?
Ultimately, if you pay for Instagram followers, you aren’t paying for quality, real-life followers. You’re paying for a blank number. And since Instagram’s algorithm is largely tied to engagement, not followers, buying followers isn’t a long-term solution. In fact, it isn’t really a solution at all.
Take the time, energy, and money that you would’ve dedicated to buying followers, and focus instead on building genuine relationships with a real audience. If your content is engaging and authentic, your loyal followers will spread the word and engage with your brand without needing any bribes.
Instagram Identifies and Purges Fake Followers
Instagram is looking to maintain genuine interactions on its site, protecting real accounts and experiences. Fake or bought activity infringes upon this mission and might result in consequences, so it’s better to grow your audience organically.
Alternatives to Buying Instagram Followers
Instagram’s new algorithm rewards engagement more than follower count, displaying content similar to posts users engaged with in the past. In order to drive engagement, there are many different actions one can try on the platform to get in front of your ideal audience.
By using good Instagram marketing practices — whether you are building your personal brand or a company account — you can better reach the nearly 800 million monthly Instagram users and build an authentic audience.
First, make your account public so that users can see your profile and content. This way, you can grow your audience organically when your content pops up on users’ explore pages, attracting and delighting your target viewership.
Next, publish a variety of posts to your feed: you can post images, GIFs, videos, Boomerangs, quizzes on your story, how-tos, user-generated content, and so much more. Build trust and excitement among your followers by using high-quality photos, writing catchy captions, posting consistently, and keeping up a unique style overall to differentiate yourself from other accounts. Do your research on which hashtags generate a lot of buzz and which are aligned with your brand — hashtags can be a great way to reach new audiences if done correctly.
Depending on your brand personality, it can help to be funny or witty in your content. Having an acute awareness of how your brand is perceived and the trends going around Instagram will serve you when choosing content to post and how to interact with your Instagram community.
Lastly, utilize the many different channels on the platform, like Instagram Live, IGTV, Instagram Stories, or Shopping on Instagram. There are so many different ways to connect with users, and by driving engagement through these features, you can drive engagement and traffic organically and authentically.
You can’t talk about the future of marketing without chatbots. People are increasingly interested in communicating with brands in a more personal, conversational way — and chatbots can help.
Including chatbots on your website helps visitors find what they are looking for and connect them with your team in an immediate, frictionless way. Chatbots also follow the Inbound Messaging Framework.
So, what are the secrets to building a chatbot strategy?
On HubSpot’s marketing team, we seek to deliver a world-class customer experience. We consistently ask: How can chatbots better serve our various audiences (visitors, leads, and customers) to help direct them to the right resources for their needs? Also, how can we use chatbots to support our sales team and reach our goals?
A Customer-Focused Bot Experience
Chatbots work when they’re contextual and relevant to specific problems folks are having. Through conversations with our sales team, we learned that 15% of chat questions on the website were about getting technical support. We were creating friction for our customers because our sales team (who answers chat questions onsite) is not as well equipped to answer these questions as our support team is.
So, we created a bot to direct our customers to the right resources for technical support (our support team, knowledgebase, and community). If they were not looking for technical support, we passed their questions about HubSpot features and pricing to our sales team.
We rolled out these bots across the primary site pages and saw an 80% increase in our sales team efficiency: a measure of success based on the number of meetings we booked divided by the total number of chats handled. And, it was a far better customer experience, as our customers could access technical support more easily.
It was a big win, but our work was hardly done. As we took a step back, we realized that this “support bot” experience was not serving all of our users. About 70% of our audience is visitors and leads, compared with 30% who are users and customers. This first bot experience was designed with only 30% of our audience in mind. Ignoring 70% of our audience meant we were leaving money on the table.
A Personalized Experience for All Visitors
We needed to create a personalized experience for the visitor and lead audiences, too.
With the “support bot” experience, it was odd to ask visitors and leads if they needed support when we knew they weren’t using our tools yet. Rather than directing visitors and leads to chat or support, we wanted to give these visitors their own “self-help” option. Why not give them the option to get started for free with the HubSpot CRM? That way they could start using our free tools or chat with our sales team about features and pricing for advanced tools.
Now we had designed two personalized experiences: one for those already using our software (customers) and those who had yet to experience it (visitors).
We believed this to be a better experience for each audience, because it offered contextual options based on their relationship with HubSpot. However, we wanted to test it first with an experiment.
Setting Up the Experiment
In order to test our hypothesis that this would be a better experience for both of these users, we set up an A/B test on one of our product pages so we could see exactly how the bot for visitors performed against the current bot experience (designed for customers).
First, we defined our metrics for success. We looked at:
- Sales team efficiency: # of meetings booked by our sales team ÷ the number of chats they handled
- # of signups for the CRM
We also compared these for each bot (control vs. variant), and by each audience (visitors vs. customer).
We chose one of our product pages and directed 50% of its site traffic to a cloned page with the new bot experience. The test was live and ready to run for one month while we waited (somewhat) patiently for the results.
Me, waiting at my desk
We isolated our results for the audience the test was focused on: visitors. We looked at how the control (support bot) performed against the variant (lead bot).
- Sales team efficiency: increased by almost 70% in the variant
- # of CRM signups: increased by 7%
The increase in CRM signups indicated that visitors were finding the right option for them (starting for free) and diving in to try out our software for free.
As a result, fewer chats reached our sales team, but we saw a similar number of meetings booked to continue the sales conversation after a chat. This meant a couple of things:
- The sales team was able to spend more time and focus on higher quality chats that were more likely to turn into sales
- We weren’t losing demand, because we still saw a similar number of meetings booked. We were still capturing those interested in having a sales conversation, just in a more efficient way.
Better segmentation makes life better for everyone. Making a bot personalized for visitors helped the customers’ bot perform better as well. We learned the customer bot works very well for the audience it was designed for — performing 52% better when shown only to customers than when it was shown to all visitors.
Takeaways for Your Business
It’s important to recognize that different segments of your audience have different problems and what works for one audience isn’t the best for another. By understanding the problems that our visitors are facing, and personalizing their chatbot experience onsite, you can create a better prospect and customer experience. When you anticipate the help that people need better, your metrics will improve as well.
And you may be thinking, “OK, that sounds pretty good for HubSpot, but what about my business? How can I create a more contextual bot experience for my business?” Here’s how:
- Create a list of the various audiences you are serving on your website.
- For each audience, describe the types of questions they might have.
- Determine the resources or people who can best answer those questions so you can help them find what they are looking for faster and with less friction.
Then implement it! The HubSpot Conversations tool gives you the ability to target your chatflows with segmented lists based on data in your CRM so you can create a personalized experience as well.
Chatbots work shoulder-to-shoulder alongside with our sales team to provide an excellent, personalized purchase experience that also helps us identify visitors who are possible good fit customers.
Chatbots can do the same for your business and audience.
Back in the days of Mad Men-esque advertising agencies, tracking how many people engaged with a particular ad campaign was nearly impossible to do well. Advertisers would sink money into mediums like radio and print, and hope sales of the advertised product went up. There was no dependably accurate way to determine how many people engaged with an ad or purchased a product because of it. In fact, the term ROI (return on investment) wasn’t even widely used until the mid-1960s.
A lot has changed since then. Advertisers now have access to a wealth of granular ad tracking data for every single campaign they run — so much data, in fact, that most marketers need to spend significant time sifting through dashboards to determine which points actually matter to their bottom line. Ad tracking has made it possible for marketers to more accurately measure, test, and revise ads based on how users interact with their online campaigns.
If you’re new to running online ads, it’s important to spend some time thinking about the specific metrics that will determine the success of your campaign. Ad tracking today exists across a number of different tools and platforms, and advertisers have the ability to collect data on everything from views and clicks, to impressions and behavior across multiple sessions and websites.
The sheer amount of data available can be overwhelming (not to mention distracting from your goals), so deciding on one or two key performance indicators (KPIs) will help focus your efforts and make reporting more straightforward and effective.
As William Stentz, Director of Marketing Analytics at Carmichael Lynch, reminds us, “Good key performance indicators are simple, timely, critical to the success of a project, and not financial in nature. But you also need to add in one thing if you want it to be a successful marketing metric — it must represent a key behavior you wanted to see. Look at your campaign and ask yourself: What’s the behavior I want to influence, not just something I can measure?”
We wrote an article here that can help you determine the right metrics to track based on the goals of your ad campaign.
Once you’ve determined the metrics you want to track for your ad, it’s time to find the best ad tracking method for your purposes. The exact ad tracking methods available to you will vary based on where you run your ads and which tools you’re using, but here are a few basic types to keep in mind. It’s important to note that the following ad tracking methods aren’t mutually exclusive — in fact, when used together they can provide even more powerful insights.
A tracking URL is a normal page URL from your website with a tracking token added to the end of it. Here’s an example landing page URL by itself, and with a tracking token (in bold).
Regular old landing page URL:
Landing page URL with a tracking token:
As you can see, the page URL is the same in both cases, but in the second case, there’s some extra stuff added to the end. This extra stuff is your tracking token, also called a UTM parameter.
So how does this “extra stuff” help you track things, exactly?
When a user clicks on a URL with a UTM parameter added to the end, it essentially sends a signal back to your ad tracking tool that the URL was clicked. The “source=_____” bit of the tracking token can provide information about where the user clicked the link. Similarly, the “campaign=_____” bit can be used to signal to your tracking tool that the link should be bucketed as part of a campaign.
For example, if you were to run the same ad on multiple websites and wanted to know which one generated the most clicks, you could define the two different websites as sources in the UTM parameters of your links.
You can learn more about tracking parameters and how they work in this article.
Best for: If you’re running a PPC campaign, sending an email, or putting an advertisement on another website, tracking URLs are ideal for calculating the number of visits, leads, and conversions you’ve generated from your hard work.
A tracking pixel is a tiny, often transparent, 1px by 1px image that can be placed in an email, display ad, or simply on a webpage. When it loads, it sends a signal back to your tracking tool that a user has viewed the page.
Tracking pixels are also capable of collecting pretty comprehensive data about a user’s activity and browser configuration — but you should only ever track information that is directly useful to your buyer’s journey and will provide a better, more personalized experience for your target users.
When used correctly, tracking pixels can help optimize your ads and get them in front of a receptive audience. For example, if you run a banner ad with a tracking pixel, you’ll be able to gather information about how many people just view versus actually click on your ad, which will help you determine whether or not an ad was actually successful (and worth running again).
For context, here’s how big a tracking pixel appears (no, that’s not just a speck of dust on your screen):
Best for: Tracking pixels are incredibly useful for tracking the success of your online campaigns through every step of your conversion path. They can give you insight into how users are interacting with your ads, and help you optimize each stage of your user journey from initial touch through final purchase.
Cookies can help you gain insight into user behavior on your website across multiple sessions of activity. Marketers need to gain explicit consent from users before using cookies to track their activity. When explicit consent is given, cookies can be used to customize a user’s experience. Here’s a deeper dive on cookies if you want to learn more about the technical aspects of how they function.
From an ad tracking perspective, cookies are the driving force behind most ad retargeting campaigns. Cookies can be used to essentially build a user profile based on someone’s web activity and habits, and advertisers can leverage this profile to serve ads that align with a user’s observed interests. They can also capture information about a user’s browser configuration, location, and preferred language.
Best for: Cookies are ideal when you want to serve a user ads aligned with their web browsing activity, or retarget them with ads for products they’ve demonstrated an interest in. Cookies can also be used to create a personalized experience for users on your website based on their previous interactions with you — for example, you could create an abandoned cart email when users put items in their cart and then leave your website.
Now that we’ve gone over a few core terms related to ad targeting, let’s take a deeper look at how ad targeting functions on a few of the biggest ad tracking platforms, and how you can use it to make your own ad campaigns stronger and more effective.
DoubleClick Ad Tracking
If you’ve ever noticed an ad for a product you viewed weeks ago following you around on the internet, it’s likely the result of DoubleClick ad tracking. DoubleClick, which was acquired by Google in 2008, is an ad management and ad serving platform that enables marketers to run ad campaigns across multiple channels.
Online publishers use DoubleClick to essentially rent out ad space on their websites, and agencies and advertisers use the product to place ads on websites where their target audiences are spending time.
In 2012, Google rebranded their DoubleClick products as Google Marketing Platform (formerly DoubleClick), Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), and Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange).
According to Google, “Cookies themselves contain no personally identifiable information. Depending on the publisher’s and user’s settings, information associated with cookies used in advertising may be added to the user’s Google Account.”
These generic cookies can collect information on the time and date you viewed particular ads, the specific web pages you were on when you viewed an ad, and your IP address — which can help the cookie infer where you’re located.
Although the cookies contain no personally identifiable information, Google can combine the information it obtains via cookies with the personally identifiable information associated with your Google Account (which includes your browsing and search activity when you’re logged into Google — which, for most of us, is pretty much always).
Google leverages two main types of cookies: first-party and third-party.
First-party cookies are dropped (i.e., assigned to a specific user) by the owner of the website you’re visiting. Information collected via first-party cookies can help publishers better understand your activity on their site and how ads are performing.
Third-party cookies are dropped by an advertiser on a website where their ads are being displayed. These cookies send information back to advertisers about how their ad campaigns are performing across all the websites where their DoubleClick ads are being displayed.
Over 11.1 million websites currently run ads as part of Google’s AdSense network. If you visit a website within the network, the information collected via a DoubleClick ad tracking cookie will be pooled and leveraged by other websites and advertisers using AdSense.
This consolidation of cookie information results in an extremely rich pool of data for Google advertisers, as they can keep track of what ads you’re served across millions of different websites.
To get started tracking ads with Google, you’ll need to get a Google Marketing Platform account. Depending on the size of your business and your particular needs, you’ll choose either an enterprise account — which can accommodate large ad campaigns across multiple websites and mediums — or a small business account — with ad tracking tools more focused and specialized for early company growth.
Facebook Ad Tracking
Advertisers on Facebook can leverage a number of different ad tracking strategies to optimize ads for their audience. Facebook’s ad tracking pixel is one of the more common methods. It functions similarly to the basic tracking pixel we outlined above, and can be used to track the path someone takes from viewing an ad, to visiting your website, to purchasing a product.
When an action takes place on a page where a tracking pixel has been set up, the pixel will “fire” and send that information back to your Facebook Events Manager account. Information collected via the tracking pixel can also be used in the creation of custom audiences for future ad campaigns.
For example, you could use data collected via a tracking pixel to create a custom ad audience targeting users who viewed a particular page on your website that implies purchase intent — like a pricing page. We wrote an article that goes deeper into how the tracking pixel functions if you want to learn more about different uses and how to set it up.
While the Facebook pixel can offer advertisers valuable insights into how ads are influencing specific actions on their websites, it’s not the only way to track ads on the social network.
Another ad tracking option available to you is adding UTM parameters to links that appear on your ads. As we discussed above, tracking parameters use extra code on a URL to “fire” when a user loads the link. On Facebook, they can be used in Ads Manager to better understand which ads you’re running are driving which types of traffic.