Reputation Management SEO Advanced Tactics

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Why Reputation Management?

SEO for reputation management is one of the most talked about topics today. There are millions of consumers online looking at your various pages to make their purchasing decisions. This is a good thing, most of the time – people are informed and you get the chance to control your own narrative and public image.

However

There could also be some downfalls with this current state. For instance, a single bad review can make consumers abandon their purchase and prevent many other sales. This can result in a significant decline in your conversion rate. This happens because people are nervous about purchasing online and they often get scared by one bad opinion even though there are thousands of good ones. And if you run a business online, you are bound to have some of those, even if your service is exceptional. Trolls, angry customers and so on don’t hesitate when it comes to leaving bad reviews.

Takes Up To 10 Good Reviews To Make Up For A Bad One

If you don’t want to fake it and produce your own online reviews, it can take some time to generate sufficient positive reviews because many satisfied customers are not willing to leave a comment.

This is not the only issue that brands face nowadays. They also encounter poor entries in their search results for their own or company’s name. If a consumer finds these poor entries, they won’t look any further – not even at reviews left by other consumers. Bad press can come from various sources and can be potentially worse than bad reviews.

Since reputation is such a big deal in driving business, especially online, you need to be the one in control of your own press and all of the material that has your own or your company’s name on it.

Tips On How To Manage SEO and Improve Your Results

Have Great Social Media Profiles

Brands often make a mistake with social media. They try to take control of as many funnels as they can by pointing links to them. While social media profiles are amazing for creating an audience, raising brand awareness, engagement and so on, too many of them actually end up diluting your reputation and mission. You probably don’t need dozens of sites or profiles as you could be more effective by consolidating your links into a few selected funnels.

Best Social Media Platforms:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Flickr

However, registering dozens of profiles might not be your biggest mistake. Registering them and hoping that they will somehow be enough to rank high on the first page of Google search engine results is an even bigger mistake. Without relevant content and a documented content marketing strategy they might as well not exist.

If you engage on them, upload good content, share good links and communicate with other consumers, it could be more than meaningful for your success rates. Regular and genuine participation is the key to ranking high in the search engine results. For instance, if you are truly engaged on niche communities like Quora or Deviant Art, those profiles will rank better than the ones you created on other social media platforms, even if those platforms are more popular and should rank higher.

Building Authentic Social Media Profiles For SEO:

Use Your Name or Your Company’s Name
  • Never use pseudonyms or witty names. Just use your own if you want to take the control over your online presence. Using pseudonyms and funny/witty names could leave you open to various misuses of your real name on social media.
Fill The Profiles
  • Include photos, bios, various videos and links, tell your audience about your main topics and create tags. Various platforms have different features so you should do your best to use them wisely.
Use Your Address Book
  • Or use your list of active social media contacts to find them and follow them across several platforms. This will help you spread your reach and raise brand awareness on all of those different channels.
Make Connections on Each Platform
  • Don’t just rely on your old contacts. In order to get better ranking on Google search engine results, you could also find the most linked to links on various social media platforms. Try to comment, like, connect or get your page linked to the popular page in any other way you can.
Don’t Stuff Your Page With Keywords and Unfit Content
  • It will not come off as natural to your audience, but it can also make admin of the platform ban you and put your ability to connect with others in danger.

Having social media profiles that rank high isn’t easy. You will have to work hard on your engagement in order to build a good reputation and get your pages in the top ranking results.

Create A Good Bio

“If your company appears on various events, press, media and so on or if you get mentioned a lot on other sites or have references, it could be a good idea to have a single stock bio that can work across many different channels. This is a great opportunity for you to not only share a bit of your story and raise brand awareness but also refer people to your pages. You can include a link to your site, blog, social media profiles and so on,” says Randy Aberdeen, a Marketing Manager from WriteMyX.

With a good anchor text, you can basically add as many links as you wish. This technique works well for companies but even better for individuals who seem to be somewhat attached to their bios wherever they go online. Make sure that these links are always included. Follow up if necessary – and it might be since sites forget to add links about half the time.

Avoid Free-for-all sites

Prime example of this is Wikipedia. It seems powerful and it always ranks high in search results. It’s also free so it should be wise to create a page or a profile for yourself or your company for reputation management, right?, not really.

Make Sure That You Own All Your Listing and Pages Online

If other people can comment or change your pages, then it’s not a good idea. This goes for many other similar sites.

“Before you list your website anywhere, you first need to make sure that the site has good general practices when it comes to the control of your content and profiles,” says Janice Oscar, a SEO writer with 1Day2Write.

Start Another Blog

Blogs generally attract a lot of attention, links and so on. Because of this, they are great for reputation management. If you want full control over your online presence and your name, you should register your name as a domain name or your company’s name. Blogging does take time and effort but it can be worthwhile for your reputation and your SEO as well. This way, you also protect your name from being misused.

If you are worried about engagement on social media about your new property, you’ll be surprised how much good friends and family can do in making your new blog a popular choice. You should also register other domains for different topics you want to discuss.

Use Low Quality Links for Social Profiles and Higher Quality Links for Domains

If you own any links of poor quality and you think that search engines might take them in a wrong way, don’t point them at your new domain or your site. You should instead point them at high value social media profiles and pages you have created and allow the engines to make a decision. Always test any questionable links you own with your social media pages before you point them at your new website. If the rankings and quality of that link grow, you can use them for your website.

Use These Tactics:

Speak at public events
  • Speaking at events is usually free and it brings you a lot of attention.
Hire people
  • Even though job advertisements are temporary, they can still do wonders for your online reputation because the profile will become permanent.
Invest or Donate
  • This can be extremely effective and get you recognition from powerful pages, media and so on.

Take Control Over Your Own Reputation

Various external sources can ruin your reputation either intentionally or unintentionally. Your task in all of this is to take control of as much of your online presence as you can. Hopefully, some of these tips will be of help to you.

Featured image by Svilen001 on FreeImages.

Making Lead Generating Content Work For You

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How To Create Lead Generating Content :

If gaining leads through your website is the Holy Grail then web content is the map that takes you there. In a world of thousands if not millions of websites jostling for attention. Quality content is what defines you and makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

While there are many companies who claim expertise in content generation, not all content is created equal. If you miss, then you miss big. Getting the right tone, the right keywords and the right goals are vital tools in the world of lead generation.

What Does Content Do For You?

Mainly three things, it gives information and knowledge about your product. It asks customers to dig deeper and find out more. Lastly it asks customers to take action, to engage with you.

With these three points to consider, how do you go about getting your content just right?

Adele Miller, a content writer at Studydemic has this to say: “Writing great content is not something you can just sit down and tap out without a great deal of research and planning. There is a huge difference between good writing and great content writing that drives leads to your website and hopefully converts them into action”.

The Most Important Thing You Have To Do Is:

Create a documented content marketing strategy. Without it, you could potentially get lost along the way. A content marketing strategy is something you and your team can reference in the tie of need and also something that can help you in your future endeavours.

Getting Seen

The first thing to consider is how you will bring attention to your site and figure out how your targeted audience will even know you exist. One of the buzz words flying around marketing offices across the world is SEO driven content. In short, this Search Engine Optimisation technique means content built around carefully selected keywords will help drive your website to the top of a search engine. Let’s face it, Google is that search engine. Appearing on the first page of a search, is the ultimate goal.

When you’ve got your keywords figured out by looking at competitors’ websites and conducting Google searches yourself. Make sure you include these terms across your websites, while maintaining the natural flow of your copy. If in doubt, ask an expert and avoid making your SEO content sound clunky and unnatural. It will put people off reading your content and worse still, drive people away from your website.

Test It Out

Make adjustments where needed. Be prepared to update and adapt to the needs of your audiences.

Of course there are other ways to garner attention and one sure fire method is through the creation and regular updating of a blog. These act as vehicles to express your knowledge and expertise and answer basic customer questions with a sense of authority that comes from a personal touch. Don’t leave your blog languishing in a corner of your website. Make sure it’s updated regularly and any comments are responded to.

Use Your Blog

Issue a call to action, solve a common problem experienced by the reader. Make yourself heard as the go-to authority in your field.

Take your presence even further out there by using your blog as a platform for other social media interactions. Live stream a Q&A session with the boss, make a YouTube video demonstrating a product referred to in your blog. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all there at your fingertips for different content, all of which drives people back to your website. Turning visits into positive leads.

A Long Blog is a Good Blog

It demonstrates your passion for your product and gives you the chance to insert your keywords and searched for phrases much more naturally. Use it to link to other pages on your site, special offers and contact information.

These gains are generated through an investment of your time. For a greater outreach it might be necessary to consider an investment into a marketing campaign. If you have budget, think about using it for advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram or other social media spaces.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

There’s also the possibility of paying to appear at the top of a search in Google through Pay-Per-Click advertising. This requires a more long- term commitment. Once you stop paying for your website to appear high up in searches, it’s entirely possible to plunge back down the pages into relative obscurity. When’s the last time you scrolled past page three in a search engine?

Think about where your audience is most likely to see your campaigns. Consider how a targeted advertising strategy might work in tandem with the presence you already have on that platform.

Guaranteed Quality

Now comes the nitty gritty: once you’ve driven up the number of visitors to your site, it’s time to turn their curiosity into something deeper. Now is the time to determine how the quality of your content will be tested.

David Trewlis

A Content Marketing Manager with Simplegrad, says: “This is the stage where you need to really know your target audience and write as if it were your ideal customer reading your content. Don’t try and attract a general readership, be selective and careful in your targeting. This way, you’ll find that any leads generated are far more likely to be of a higher quality”.

Make Sure You Know Who You Want Contacting You

Do your research and find out where this segment of your audience spends most of its time online. Create content that mirrors the style of social media they use. Think about their values and what’s important to them and translate that into content. You can do this by creating an ideal customer persona. Give he or she a name and fill in the gaps of their personality, likes and dislikes, which industry they work in and so forth. This will give a much clearer steer to your writing.

If you’re looking for readers to sign up to a newsletter, email marketing campaign or just to find out more information, then sweetening the offer with a free download, a discount code or other such promotion will help towards prompting an action. Challenge your reader to take part in a survey and send results by email, capturing an email address and getting your visitor engaging with your website.

The Quality Of Your Writing

As mentioned up post, there’s a yawning chasm between great writing and great content. The two things do not always necessarily align, although elements do of course overlap.

You might consider turning your content writing over to the professionals at this point if there’s no one in your team qualified to do the job. This might even be an opportunity to send a team member on a training course. Consider it an investment.

Going Solo?

There are several points to bear in mind: we’ve talked about keywords leading to Search Engine Optimisation and writing in a style geared towards your customer base. Now also consider the quality of your writing.

Draw up a content map, pinpointing exactly which areas of content are going where on your site and why. This will help to paint the larger picture and make your writing more strategic. Once you’re up and running, it’s time to check, and double check and then triple check.

Great content is more than just pithy phrases, it’s making sure your dangling modifiers are tidied up, your paragraphs are just the right length and your grammar is impeccable. If you’re not confident in this area, then take the time to run your copy through a grammar and spelling checker. Such as grammarly and ViaWriting.

Analyze and Act

Then, of course, it’s time to sit back and relax. Well almost. You can spend your time guessing how successful your content is or you can take a bit more time tracking, analyzing and noting down which content is attracting more hits and which is performing less strongly.

There Are Several Ways To Do This

Some may require investment and others that can be utilized through your own analysis.

Some web sites offer a full analytics service, looking at how each of your pages has performed and how much traffic has passed through. Alternatively you can add Google Analytics to your site for free. Once you have these figures, it’s once again time to act.

Use these statistics to prompt content upgrades on these pages, rewarding returning customers with up-to-date information and giving you the option to hone your message. Perhaps consider using a more popular page as a platform for a call to action, asking customers to opt in to a promotion or a mailing sign-up.

All these things alone don’t make for a great marketing content strategy but combined and used correctly, you’ll be surprised at the powerhouse lead-generating content can become. Whether you plan on going it alone and crafting a tailor-made website for your audience or have decided to get the professionals in to help, make sure you know where you want to go.

Finally, great content will help drive your passions and goals forwards. It will give you the kinds of leads your growing business deserves.

Top Tips for Creating Conversion-Increasing Content

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12 Surprisingly Effective Tips for Creating Conversion-Increasing Content

Content is one of the leading powers of marketing, and it cannot be avoided. If you want your business to succeed, using content is a great step in the right direction. However, you’re going to want to make sure that your content can convert the leads reading it into profitable customers.

Not sure where to get started? Here are 12 tips you need to know.

1. Jump Straight to the Point

When it comes to your first paragraph, this is the only chance you have to captivate your reader’s attention and draw them into your content. According to a Microsoft study, the average reader has an attention span of around eight seconds. That’s eight seconds to grab your readers’ attention!

You can do this by basically answering everything in your first paragraph, before then going into further detail.

Example

Sea Legacy is a conservation site that focuses on conversing and raising awareness on the current conditions of the planet’s oceans. In one article titled ‘The Fish Thieves’, the introduction of the article is actually set above the rest of the content on a spectacular hero image. Instantly setting the scene of the article and grabbing the reader’s attention.

Example of content marketing from Sea Legacy

Image Source: maptia.com

2. Use Power Words

Power words, such as Free, are some of your greatest weapons when it comes to creating captivating content. These words should create an image in your readers head and induce a tonne of emotion. You can find similar words at sites like State of Writing. Here’s a great example of Hathaway.

Example

To see a prime example of how power words are used, all you need to do is head over to the Apple website. On their homepage, you’ll find simple sentences that are full of power words that grab your attention.

These are sentences like ‘A New Generation of iPhone’ and ‘Light Years Ahead’. ‘new’ and ‘ahead’ being the power words that move the reader and make them engage with the content as well as the concept.

3. Use Visuals

One of the most overlooked aspects of creating content is using visuals. “This means instead of just giving your readers a block of text to read. You include photos and images to help explain your message and for other reasons. One of these ‘other reasons’ is to help draw your reader’s attention to other parts of your website” – Explains Bradley Sheehan, a Content Marketer and a Huffington Post writer.

Example

Because imagery is such an important part of creating content, there are plenty of examples to be found all over the internet. You should see visuals in pretty much every article or post you read. However, one of the best examples of using visuals comes from National Geographic.

This article is about villagers in Georgia who are climbing massive trees to harvest the cones for seeds in the hope of selling them for Christmas trees. The article starts straight away with a video giving the reader a brief summary of the article and all the information they need.

Content marketing from Nationalgeographic.com

Image Source: Nationalgeographic.com

4. Understand the Importance of Headlines

The headlines you use in your content is one of the most important things to consider. It will be the first thing your readers and followers will see and will determine whether or not a user is going to click on your content post.

You want something that stands out from the crowd. Describe your content without giving too much away and is simply irresistible. There is a tonne of headline writing techniques you can use for creating headlines. Depending on your industry and business, you can find a lot of tips using websites like Grammar Check.

Example

Jon Morrow once wrote a headline entitled ‘How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise And Get Paid to Change the World’. The article was featured on Problogger. Although the claims are outlandish and, to many, seem ridiculous, the article is one that many people won’t be able to resist.

5. It’s All about Value

One of the most important things to consider when creating content is that you need to provide value in your content, rather than just being completely promotional. As a rule of thumb, give your readers a piece of information they can take away in every piece.

Example

Any form of media publication is a great example of how valuable content works. Of course, throughout the media publication, you’ll find advertisements, products for sale and other ways they make money, but the majority of the content is strictly informative. National Geographic magazines, as mentioned above, are a great example of the coveted 80/20 rule.

6. Implement Authority Figures

In any industry or business, there are going to be authority figures that you can reference in your content. For example, if you were talking about computers, mention Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

This is because you’re showing that what you’re talking about directly correlates with people who know what they’re talking about, gaining you a better reputation and credibility. You can add your own references and quotes in a professional format using tools like Cite It In.

Content marketing from Citeitin.com

Image Source: Citeitin.com

Example

Check out this video by Mercedes Benz. Loki is a wolf-dog with over 1.6 million followers on Instagram. Loki was contracted by Mercedes Benz to create a video using 360° cameras to promote their latest car. There was a series of videos which has attracted hundreds of thousands of views.

7. Be Concise

There’s nothing worse than reading an article which is extremely vague and doesn’t really stick to the point. For example, a financial advisor could give a figure of ‘around 10%’ or say ’10.3%’ which figure and individual are you more likely to trust with your money?

Being concise also helps you to shorten your word count. Your content is much more digestible and easier for your readers to consume, and therefore convert without getting bored.

Example

When it comes to word counts, it really depends on who your audience is and what kind of message you’re trying to communicate. Take a look at this article by Lonely Planet on the food scene and culture of Peru.

This articles clocks in around 1,450 words and goes into immense detail on the topic, which is exactly what you’d expect from a detailed travel blog. However, this article from the Guardian newspaper on the same subject clocks in around 650 words, making it much more digestible and more suitable for a quick read.

8. Utilise Questions

Questions are a powerful tool to use in your content as it helps the reader to think, rather than just mindlessly absorbing it. This helps them connect more with your writing. Just check out this ancient article using this technique way back when.

You can also use tools like Academadvisor for tips on creating the best questions.

Example

You could use questions anywhere in your article, you’ve just got to get creative. For example, you can use it in your headline, such as ‘Are you paying much too much for your car insurance?’ or in the middle of your content if you’re explaining something. First to get the user thinking about what you’re about to say, such as ‘How many customers do you think expect a welcome email when subscribing to a mailing list?’

9. Focus on Formatting

The formatting and style of your article and content are so important. Make sure that it was readable and broken down. Use subheadings, headers and bullet points to help your reader have the easiest experience.

Example

This article is a prime example of how to use subheadings in your content. Some aspects your readers are going to know and can easily skip. Others will simply scan to a section that they are interested in.

10. Stick to the Point

There’s no point going on, and on when you’re creating content. People simply don’t feel like they have the time. This means keeping your content short and sweet. A process made easy using tools like Easy Word Count.

Of course, long-form content is unavoidable sometimes, but even in this content, you’re going to want to keep things short and sweet where you can. This article could easily be thousands of words long but having it short and formatted into easily digestible sections makes for a much nicer experience for the reader.

Example

Check out this article entitled ‘Something is wrong with the internet’. The article totals just over 5,000 words and is definitely a long-form article. However, the article does go into an immense amount of detail and sticks to the point the entire way through. Also using a comprehensive collection of examples and references.

On the other hand, this article titled ’10 ways the internet is destroying you’ is written to a much more manageable 1,600 words. It’s written in a list format that’s easy to digest and consume the information. It will take much less time to read.

11. Write for Children

Okay, not children in particular but when it comes to choosing language, format and style, aim to create a piece of content that could be understood by a fifth-grade child.

This means cutting out fancy words and complicated phrases. Making it so anybody could understand the message you’re trying to share.

12. Use Calls to Action

Finally, when you get to the end of your content, and even throughout if you’re smart about it. Include a call-to-action, telling your user what to do next. “This means you’ll be able to direct your customer onto the next stage of your sales funnel. Helping you generate those all-important sales” – Says Raul Paiz, a Digital Marketer.

Example

The WordStream website uses highly effective calls to action that help them to generate sales. As you can see from the homepage, the website itself is rather white and grey. The call to action button is big, orange and really stands out and grabs your attention.

On the button, you have the simple text stating ‘Get Your FREE Report Today’. It immediately gets their users excited and eager to move onto the next step of the sales funnel.

Content marketing from Wordstream.com

Image Source: Wordstream.com

Conclusion:

Creating content to increase your conversion rates doesn’t have to be a hard and long-winded process. It’s worth bearing these tips in mind so you can maximise the opportunities that your business is making for itself.

As a takeaway, here are some things you’ll need to remember;
  • Keep your language simple and understandable for all your audiences.
  • Evoke and encourage your readers to emotionally connect with your content.
  • Remember the purpose, whether it’s educational, inspiration and the sorts.
  • Never forget the value is the most important thing.

With these tips, you can be sure that you’ll connect and inspire your readers. Leading them deeper into your website and increasing your content conversion rates.

How To Tailor Your Copy For Maximum Conversions

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Conversion Rate Optimisation Best Practices 2018 For New Website Copy:

Conversion rate can be summarised as the average number of users who take a desired action while visiting your website, be that purchasing a product, signing up to an email list, or whatever. A high conversion rate is good news for your business, and there are a lot of factors that come together to influence it. In this article, we’ll look specifically at how to tailor your website’s copy for maximum conversions, but it’s worth spending time thinking about design and usability as well.

The content on your website holds a lot of power, so it’s worth putting the time into getting it right. This is your chance to provide visitors with a host of good reasons to shop with you – and not one of your competitors. Here are some of the best content conversion rate practices you should implement in 2018.

Minimise distractions

It’s common to see landing pages that tell users to do many different things. But the reality is: less is more. The fewer options and distractions you have on a page, the more likely people are to understand and follow the primary action, whatever that may be.

When you have a web page cluttered with CTAs that point users in all directions, how do they know which route to take? Their journey will become much easier if you point all CTAs toward the same goal, such as ‘create an account’ or ‘find out more’. So of course, you need to figure out the one action you want users to take when they land on any given web page.

If any element on the page could distract users from taking this one desired action, it’s time to say goodbye to it. To give you an extreme example, take a look at this web page from Lings Cars. Aim to achieve the opposite of this. Be ruthless and stick to the point with your copy – and your sales figures will thank you.

Minimise distractions unlike LingCars.com
Source: LingCars.com

Personalise as much as you can

Let’s just say there are a lot of generic-looking and sounding websites out there. So if you want an edge over your competitors, it’s time to get personal with your customers. According to Accenture, 58% of people are more likely to make a purchase when they get recommendations based on their preferences or past purchases.

Personalisation will set your brand apart, increase your conversion rate, and improve the customer experience as a whole. And there are plenty of ways to go about it. Start by segmenting your visitors according to their location, buyer persona, or browsing activities.

For example, would a high-powered businesswoman from London, who loves sleek technology, fancy soaps and tiny dogs, be likely to want the exact same thing as a laid-back vegetable farmer from the Scottish highlands with a penchant for pottery and playing retro video games? Maybe – but it’s unlikely.

When you have clear customer segments, you can use them to create personalised offers, pricing and recommendations that will make each individual more likely to convert.

Write detailed descriptions

If you run an ecommerce website, then one of the best things you can do to improve your conversion rate is to write detailed, evocative product descriptions. The problem with shopping online is that you can’t handle the product yourself, so you rely on words and images to know exactly what you’re getting. This is also the place to preempt any questions or objections your visitors may have.

Detailed product descriptions with strategic keywords will also help with your SEO efforts, so it’s beneficial all-round. Once again, a keen awareness of your buyer personas will enable you to write copy that appeals to their mindset. The key here is not simply to write about your product, but to write for your customers.

It helps to start with a list of all your product’s features, then take these points and translate them into benefits for your customers. What do these features enable the customer to achieve?

For example, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 12MP dual camera. That’s a feature. But the benefit for the user is that they can take crystal-clear, high-quality photos.

It’s ok to write a long-ish product description (and it helps from an SEO perspective), but be aware that visitors may not read the whole thing. So it helps to rank features and benefits in order of those that are most compelling, and to also make your copy simple and scannable. Use bullet points and keep paragraphs to around three sentences long.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use behavioural science to your advantage. Provide reasons to buy that are both rational and emotional if you hope to engage, persuade and convert.

Write in the second person

People care rather a lot about themselves. So when they’re investing in a product or service, they want to know exactly what’s in it for them. Using the pronoun ‘you’ and ‘your’ throughout your copy allows you to speak to the user directly. What’s more – it pulls the reader in and makes it feel personal, which as we’ve discussed, is a great way to sell.

The second person point of view isn’t used so much in creative or academic writing, so we don’t encounter it all the time. But don’t go mad with it – make sure you mix up your sentence structure and avoid repetition, lest it start to read like a ‘choose your own adventure’ story.

Here’s an example of second person writing from Apple. Note the use of ‘you’ and ‘your’ – five times to be exact. You’re asking the reader to imagine themselves using your product. And it works.

Apple watch ad use copy written in the second person

Pay attention to headlines and CTAs

Headlines and CTAs are the top two stand-out features on a webpage (or at least, they should be). So they deserve a little more attention to ensure they’re spot on. But what do high-converting headlines and CTAs look and sound like?

Get your call to action right, and you can be sure that your conversion rate will perk up. And funnily enough, it’s not the place to get super whacky and creative. Our human brains crave familiarity, so simplicity is what you should be aiming for. Never underestimate the power of the word ‘get’.

In essence:

  • Keep it short – no more than 10-15 words
  • Keep it simple – don’t try to be clever
  • Keep it clear – tell the reader exactly what to do

Take a look at this example from Exchange. We have a powerful headline written in the second person: ‘your next big success is waiting to happen’. And we have a short and sharp call to action: ‘find stores for sale’. As you scroll down there are further CTAs that all support the desired action: ‘view stores’. The next step is clear.

Exchange has headline written in the second person

So what about headlines? It’s good to play around with them – write several, if you can. You can always use the discarded ones later when you promote yourself elsewhere online. It’s not always easy to figure out which headline will perform best, so one way to know for sure is to split test and analyse the results.

If you’re not feeling creative, using a headline generator can be a good way to spark ideas that will get you thinking. Include sensory words where appropriate – those that will help the reader to jump on their own imagination wagon. For example, 6 Ways to Delight Your Customers With Colourful Photography.

Best practices: learn from the best in ecommerce

The online retail battle is being won by Amazon. It’s no surprise really — they have the cleverest designers, marketers, and strategists at their beck and call. Let’s look at one of their product pages to see how they are using copy and design to improve their conversion rates.

Copy matters

Amazon’s product page is actually quite dense with copy, which is interesting considering the modern tendency towards sparse, visual web design.

Image of Amazon Echo product page copy
Source: Amazon

But even with a fair bit of copy, it’s balanced out by plenty of whitespace and broken down into lists in order to avoid overloading the user or making the page design feel too ‘busy’.

Answering questions

Amazon’s product page also includes a large design element that keeps the user scrolling: and it’s all aimed at answering critical user questions. Answering questions is a great copy strategy for improving traffic figures and conversion rates at the same time.

Amazon Echo uses a question to write engaging copy
Source: Amazon

Another useful copy element for the user that will increase conversions are comparison tables. These are proven to increase conversions and are a user-friendly way of passing on a lot of information quickly.

Product comparison table like one for Amazon Echo can help conversion
Source: Amazon

It’s also essential not to forget the power of copy and content that actually comes from your users. User-generated content like reviews are great for conversion rates — and millenials trust it 50% more than any other online media.

User generated content for Amazon Echo
Source: Amazon

Summary:

To conclude, if you hope to improve your website’s conversion rate through content optimisation in 2018, remember to:

  • Stick to the point
  • Personalise copy wherever possible
  • Give detailed, benefit-laden descriptions
  • Write copy in the second person
  • Pay particular attention to your headings and CTAs

Make these changes and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Got questions or comments? Share them below!

Featured image from Pexels

Why Content Is Not King in Content Marketing!

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“Content is king” is one of those meaningless statements that some marketers use to justify content marketing for content marketing’s sake. Content is not king because without a clear purpose and customers who want to read and respond to it with a desired action it is worthless. Just like advertising, you can guarantee that a majority of visitors will not even be interested in what your content has to say. Content has to contain a relevant message and a potential action as otherwise it has no value.

This is why if you don’t have a clear content marketing strategy you may be wasting your time. It might be better doing something different to get the results you are looking for.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”- Content Marketing Institute – What is content marketing?

How do you know if your content marketing is generating a profitable customer action? Like any strategy you need a plan. Otherwise you will be pissing in the wind as some people like to say. You will have no hope of succeeding as you will lack direction and agreement on how to implement your strategy.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine De Saint-Exuprey

However, research by the Content Marketing Institute suggests that less than half of B2C marketers (40%) and a similar proportion of B2B marketers (37%) have a content marketing strategy. Now, let’s think about that. Would you sign off a marketing budget without seeing a marketing strategy? No, of course not. If you want to ensure your content marketing delivers a profitable customer action it is essential that you have a plan with goals, strategies and metrics.

Documented Content Marketing Strategy:

Establishing a content marketing strategy ensures you agree appropriate goals and gets everyone to consider how they will meet these objectives. When people have a plan they review the progress at some point and think about how they measure success.

Once you have a measurement of success you can start tracking your conversion rate for leads, sales or whatever the profitable customer action is. This also helps people learn about what doesn’t/what does work. The next step is to start planning your content marketing strategy. This begins with defining an overall mission.

Here are six steps to create a documented content marketing strategy.

1.What is your overall content marketing mission?

Agreeing an overall purpose for your content marketing helps focus attention on what can make a difference to your business. It will help you avoid creating content for contents sake. Your mission should create value by resulting in a profitable customer action such as improving the quality of leads, increasing leads, sales, revenues or reducing costs. Remember content marketing needs to result in a profitable outcome, otherwise it’s a pointless exercise.

2.Write a business plan for content marketing:

A business plan does not have to be too detailed. Simply outline your organisation’s objectives and your business goals or targets. Once you know how your organisation plans to achieve these objectives. You can outline how content marketing will assist the business with achieving its goals.

Summarise qualitative deliverables from content marketing. This should include tasks such as raising awareness, simplify the customer on-boarding and promote new features or products. Next outline the success metrics that you will track to determine how successful your content marketing strategy. This will often involve using web analytics to measure engagement and other related metrics. Don’t forget to also review user experience tools. These can provide both qualitative and quantitative measures to monitor how visitors interact with content.

Defining Metrics

Defining metrics is especially important because if the target measure is not closely aligned with the action you may find undesirable behaviours due to the cobra effect. This is where people change behaviour to influence the metric rather than the desired outcome.

  1. Business objectives – e.g. Grow revenues for product A.
  2. Goals – e.g. Increase revenues from product A by 10%.
  3. Strategies for content marketing – E.g. Deliver persuasive product information.
  4. Quantitative metrics to measure success – E.g. Convert 3.5% of website visitors.

3.The Business Case:

Calculating a return on investment (ROI) for content marketing is difficult. It involves so many different areas and people in an organisation and it rarely works in insolation from other marketing activities. However, it should be possible to estimate the cost of content, how much it is used (or not) and track performance metrics.

Take a sample of content to estimate the average cost of content, including copywriting and design fees. Use the average content cost to estimate the total cost of all your content.

Once you know how much content gets produced you should also estimate the usage level. It’s not uncommon for around 50% content not to be used. Take a sample of content and find out what proportion was actually used. This will tell you if you have a significant problem with wastage.

Performance, Awareness and Lead Generation

For performance measures it is important to select meaningful metrics that relate to your business goals. For raising awareness, page views are largely meaningless. Instead you should seek to track engagement metrics such as average time on page, bounce rate and pages per session. These are much more relevant. For lead generation, measuring the conversion rate to understand the quality of leads is better than the volume of them.

By being specific about your goals for content marketing you can demonstrate how important it is that you succeed and how content marketing supports your business objectives. Now that you have an understanding of the cost, usage and achievements of your content marketing activities. You will be able to outline your business plan and begin measuring the return on investment.

4.Who are your customers?

Developing buyer personas is a crucial next step in your content marketing strategy. Personas allow you to segment your customer base according to the behaviour and attitudes of different user groups. Buyer personas allow you to build profiles of each important customer segment. It helps you better understand their needs, motivations, desires and preferences. They should inform your content marketing strategy and improve internal understanding of the needs and interests of your audience.

Buyer persona for content marketing

Buyer personas can also help improve your conversion rate because they bring context to discussions around all aspects of the user experience. The Buyer Legends approach developed by Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg is a great process to use to develop a narrative of the user journey based upon individual buyer personas. Personas form the foundation of discussion here to examine each step of the customer journey. This enables stakeholders to identify specific pain points and concerns that may be preventing users from converting.

To help you create your buyer persona profiles I’ve summarised the top free persona template tools. These persona creators can also assist you in sharing your personas as it’s important that they are explained to people in an organisation who have some responsibility for the digital experience.

5.Brand Story:

Every brand begins with a story of how the founders decided to set up a new business to meet a specific need or for a purpose that they were passionate about. Sometimes it’s because the founder was not happy with existing product or service on the market and felt they could do better. Other times it’s because the founder lost his or her job and had to try something different to pay their bills. Whatever the story behind the brand this can be motivational and inspiring for the people who know work for the organisation.

Innocent's brand story to help content marketing strategy

Image Source: Innocent Drinks

Your brand story is worth investigating because it can help differentiate your brand from the competition. People like stories because they are memorable and engaging. Research has also found that people are particularly attracted to products that are the result of a mistake. So, if your product or service was created due to some kind of mistake this may actually enhance your brand story.

6.Channel Strategy:

Now that you have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve, who your target audience are and your brand story, you can now consider which channels are most appropriate for your content. This means setting out a rationale for each channel you decide to use and what kind of content you will publish on each platform.

Your channel plan will help you implement your content marketing strategy in the most effective way as you evaluate how relevant each channel is to your buyer personas, how it may influence their perception of the content and what format is best suited to each channel. You can then identify which metrics to measure performance so that you will have the ability to learn from your successes and failures.

Conversion rate optimisation can now help with the process by using data and experiments to inform decision making. This can be from as little as testing different headlines in content to testing different way to monetise content. Further, sometimes it is preferable to increase friction on a landing page to improve the quality of leads. This is best determined through A/B tests which provide for a scientific approach to decision making. If you don’t have the expertise to run A/B tests you can hire a conversion rate optimisation consultant to assist in this process.

Conclusion:

Content is definitely not king as unless it has a specific purpose and results in a profitable action it may be a colossal waste of money. Creating a documented content marketing strategy is an important first step in the process of ensuring that you focus on outcomes rather than inputs.

Once you have that clear direction and success metrics defined you will be in a much better position to develop your content creation process and to populate your content marketing calendar. If you don’t have a clear and documented strategy in place the danger is that content creation and your editorial calendar will drive activity rather than your strategy determining your content. This is a recipe for disaster as they should only create and publish content that fits in with your business objective and goals which are outlined in your content marketing plan.

Remember what users want from your website!

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What do users want from your digital experience?

We used the Hotjar user experience tool to place a poll on our homepage to find out what users want from the page. We then compared this with what was actually on the page. The Venn diagram above shows how so much of what was on the homepage didn’t match what users want from the page.

You might think that some of these are so obvious that nobody in their right mind would not put them on the homepage. Don’t assume anything. This site is mobile responsive and the desktop team decided to hide the account login details for mobile users without informing anyone. They wanted to push such users to download the app. What they hadn’t considered though was that the app didn’t allow users to amend their account details or validate personal details as part of know your customer (KYC). This meant users were being informed in the app to logon to the website to complete KYC but couldn’t complete this task as the login box was hidden. This is what happens when people work in silos and it’s often down to conversion optimisers to break these down.

Find out what they want!

So, what do users want from your website or app? Well, they normally come to your site to complete a task and if we don’t understand these tasks then we are going to struggle to deliver what they are looking for. That’s why it’s important to gather user feedback and there are plenty of online voice of customer tools that allow you to do this very easily.

Remote usability research tools can also be used to explore what is missing from a page. Use follow-up questions to ask participants what was missing from the page or user journey. Also look at real user journeys using your web analytics tool to identify if a large number of visitors are navigating to your About Us page or other non-transactional pages. This may indicate there is insufficient information on your landing pages about your reputation and what you offer.

User experience tools which record real users navigating on your site are also very useful. Schedule time to regularly watch browser recordings to see if users are finding your site intuitive or not. Are they clicking on assets that are not clickable, but should be? Don’t assume you know what users want from your site or app. Click heat maps can also be useful in identifying where users click and if they are trying to click on an asset that is not clickable.

Over 40 Awesome Social Media Marketing Tools

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Why are social media marketing tools important?

Social media marketing tools have become more valuable as the use of online social networks have exploded over the last decade. For many people social networks are one of their main sources of information and news. Millions of people share photos, messages and content every day on social media.

Are social networks anything new?

Humans have always been super social animals and we thrive best when connecting with other people. New ideas, products and behaviour spread through our social networks. Consequentially social media is just a visible extension of existing off-line social networks. However, social media can heavily influence both online and offline behaviour and social media signals are an important factor in SEO. Shares on social media can also create back links which help improve domain authority.

How important is social media marketing?

Research by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) of over 20,000 consumers worldwide found that almost half (45%) of digital buyers indicated reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behaviour. The influence of social media is probably much greater than this for because many of our interactions happen offline via word of mouth and may be so subtle that they are very difficult to identify and measure.

Indeed, research suggests that we often copy other people without being consciously aware of our behaviour. This is because we have developed an almost automatic ability to replicate the behaviour of those who we admire or aspire to be like. As a result the potential power of social networks should not be underestimated. The forecasts suggests that online social networks will continue to grow rapidly.

To help you in this important area of marketing I have summarised below over 40 social media marketing tools that help improve your success in this area. A number of the social media marketing tools are free or have free trials available, so check them out if you think they could assist your social media planning and implementation.

Over 40 social media marketing tools to use:

1. Social Media Marketing Tools For Analytics: 

1. 33Across:

One of the most useful social media marketing tools which allows you to integrate analytics with your marketing efforts. 33Across offers traffic building and monetization tools for content publishers. SiteCTRL provides real-time insights on how people consumer and share your content. This includes Copy&Paste which monitors on-site copy and paste activity and auto-inserts the page URL to create organic back-links which improve search rankings.

SpeedShare enables and tracks sharing of your content across multiple social networks. The analytics tool helps you to understand how your users share your content in the public domain and privately.

RevCTRL generates insights into the best places where you should focus your marketing efforts and allows for better placement and more relevant ads for users. Select customized ad signals including social, search, contextual and more. As a result RevCTRL aims to provide higher CPMs and more revenue with fewer ads on your site.

Image of 33across.com social media marketing tools

2. Brandwatch:

Supports 27 languages and is an ideal tool for international organisations that require a multi-language solution. It is able to monitor conversations across the vast majority of social networks and offers highly targeted searches with industry leading queries powered by 22 Boolean operators. Using an advanced algorithm it offers spam-free data from millions of online sources.

Brand Watch

3. Facebook Audience Insights:

Free tool from Facebook that allows you to better understand the audience you plan to target before you begin any campaigns.

Image of Facebook Insights page

4. LikeAlyzer:

For Facebook growth this tool allows you to keep up-to-date with Facebook stats. LikeAlyzer weekly provides information on your Facebook page such as the number of posts per day, Likes, comments and shares per post, timing and length of posts.

5. Moz Analytics:

One of the most highly rated social media marketing tools on the market. This provides you with a single dashboard to browse your social media performance and other marketing efforts. As Moz is an SEO tool as well it will show you how your social media activity is affecting your SEO standing.

6. Qualia Media:

The company has developed an Intent Quality Decision Engine to measure a person’s propensity to purchase. The engine identifies intent across screens and digital journeys by collecting and analysing signals of intent and selects your ideal consumers to deliver highly targeted ads.

7. Social Analytics:

This is a Chrome extension that allows you to track real-time social engagement of any website to understand how popular a page or post is on various social networks. This helps you understand how content on a site is shared and where you might focus social engagement.

Social Analytics

8. SocialFlow:

Employs an optimisation algorithm that analyses your Twitter and Facebook data to ensure your content is sent at the optimum time. The tool uses three key criteria to determine when to post content. Message relevance, which of your messages in most likely to connect, your audience (who is currently online), and timing (when is the best moment to post this content).

Social Flow 2

9. Socialmention: 

A popular Free monitoring and listening tool. This covers over 100 social media networks and measures metrics such as sentiment, strength, passion and reach. Combined with an easy to use interface and the ability to export the data into an Excel sheet if required this is a highly useful tool that does not have any subscription to pay.

10. Sysmos:

A suite of social monitoring tools that help you collect and analyse relevant data within a framework that you can define to identify insights on what matters to you. It incorporates a workflow system that enables you to process large volumes of mentions to allow you to make data-driven decisions.

2. Content Discovery Social Media Marketing Tools:

 1. Anews:

An iOS app that allows you read all the news, blogs and social networks on topics that interest you in one place. The app also enables you to share any articles with your social networks.

2. Atomicreach:

This tool analyses the emotional appeal of your content and evaluates whether your articles are written appropriately for the kind of people that read your content. The app uses advanced data analytics to uncover how writing patterns impact your audience and machine learning to identify when they are interacting with your content.

3. EMV Headline Analzer:

The Emotional Value Headline Analyzer is provided by the Advanced Marketing Institute for evaluating how emotional a headline is to provide an indication of the chances of it being shared.

4. Pocket

One of the most popular social media marketing tools for content discovery and curation. This is a content curation tool that allows you to store articles, videos or other content for when you need it. It allows you to tag posts for easy sorting and filter by video, image or article.

Image of Pocket.com homepage

5. Portent Idea Generator:

If you ever need a bit of help with what to write about a certain subject this tool provides instant headline suggestions to build an article around.

Portent Idea Generator

6. RebelMouse:

A social networking aggregation tool that allows you to use flexible, dynamic rules to auto-publish content from social platforms and gather content from RSS feeds and APIs. It also offers a CMS and mobile app platform which allows you to choose from a variety customisable designs.

3. Content Management Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. Buffer:

Buffer has become one the most iconic of the social media marketing tools available. They offer a Free account manager for one Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn account with up to 10 updates in each of your buffers (account schedule). You can also have a 7 day trial to include Pinterest in your account.

This a great tool to optimise and automate the times when you post on social media. Further, it provides detailed analytics of the number of clicks, favourites, shares, comments and the potential reach of individual posts. The browser plugin for the tool means that you don’t need to access the Buffer website to schedule or share content.

You can go Awesome for $10 a month to manager 12 social profiles, with unlimited posts in your buffer, and have two users to manage the account. This allows you to decide on whether to send posts out of one account or multiple accounts across different social networks
simultaneously.

2. CoSchedule:

A Wordpress plugin that allows you to plan, schedule and promote your blog content across multiple social media channels. CoSchedule integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Buffer. You can also track post links though Bit.ly or Google tracking tags. You can manage all your content creation calendar and social media sharing schedule from the
backend of your WordPress website or blog.

The tool will also monitor social media engagement from your posts and produce an activity report which ranks posts based upon the level of engagement.

Image of CoSchedule.com

3. eClincher:

A comprehensive paid for social media management and publishing solution that starts from $15 a month. This includes automating publishing, engagement (live social fields), curating new content, post automation, social inbox, social monitoring, influencers, generate leads and social analytics.

Image of eClincher.com homepage

4. Edgar:

A paid for solution that automatically adds your new posts to a library which allows you to recycle all your social media posts so that you end up with a never-ending queue of content. You can determine what to post and when it goes out.

Image of Edgar.com homepage

5. Hootsuite:

This is one of the most well-known and popular social media marketing tools that helps you manage multiple social media accounts by monitoring, posting and delegating tasks within your team. This includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Foursquare, Instagram and many more.

Hootsuite

6. IFTTT

This app allows you to connect many of your favourite apps to create automatic actions from one app to another when you complete a set task. These automated actions are called recipes and there are many to choose from.

Recipes include Tweeting your Facebook updates, share your Instagrams to Facebook, forward emails to save attachments to Dropbox, posting Vimeo videos you like to Tumblr, saving new texts you receive in Google Spreadsheet, copying any Instagram pictures you take to Google Drive, adding your latest iPhone screenshots to a Dropbox folder and saving articles saved for later in Feedly in Pocket too.

7. SocialOomph:

This tool allows you to schedule tweets in advance and auto-follow your new followers. The dashboard enables you to combine Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk and your blog into one place to schedule posts and monitor social media activity.

Image of socialoomph.com homepage

8. Sprout Social:

A management and engagement platform for social business. You can manage, post, monitor, and analyse multiple social media accounts from the tool. It allows you to post updates simultaneously across Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Monitor your messages across social networks through on streaming inbox and their ViralPost algorithm analyses your followers’ engagement patterns to identify the best time to
publish content. Their analytics reporting allows you to customize social media reporting across networks and profiles. Offers a 30 day Free trail.

9. Tagboard:

This is a social search and display platform which allows you to get a snap shot of sentiment surrounding your hashtag. This allows you to identify where most engagement was generated so that you prioritise effort in the right social networks. In addition Tagboard allows you to reply to people from the snapshot page, which works well for conferences and generating conversations in real-time.

Tagboard

10. Tailwind:

An app for saving you time with managing your Pinterest account. It allows you to schedule pins in advance, schedule re-pins, easily pin any visual content from any website using the Tailwind hover button, obtain easy to understand analytics and get reminders about boards that you need to optimize.

The app also allows you to organise your Instagram photos based on likes, comments or most recent photos. Further, it allows you to post Instagram photos on Pinterest and connect with Pinterest users on
Instagram.

4. Design and presentations:

1. Canva:

A free web-based design tool that has some of the best elements of Photoshop and a range of designer templates. A very easy to use tool which offers an excellent range of design templates, fonts and layouts.

There are also free tutorials that show you how to produce better graphics. A great tool if you wish to customize images to post on social media.

Canva

2. Haiku Deck:

A web-based and iPad app for creating awesome looking presentations and with the additional benefit of integrating with SlideShare. A great tool for reinventing content as you can choose from a range of stylish fonts, layouts and image filters to create a really polished looking presentation.

 Image of haikudeck.com homepage

3. LeadPages:

Offers you the ability to create landing pages to encourage desired conversations from your social media activity. It provides a powerful (WYSIWYG) visual editor to design and launch landing pages within minutes.

Image of Leadpages.com homepage

4. Vectr:

This is a free and intuitive graphics editing app for web and desktop. Vectr has a low learning curve making graphic design accessible for everyone.

Image of vectr.com homepage

5. Word Swag:

Is an iPhone app that allows you add awesome text effects to your photos to create professional-quality posts and photo-quotes. 

5. Outreach Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. Discover.ly:

This is a Free Chrome extension that shows you the social networks that your email connections use and you can even cross-reference other social networks as you browse on individual social sites. This allows you to identify if you have the potential to connect with individual people across multiple social networks or how you might connect with someone new through a mutual connection.

Discoverly

2. Zoho SalesIQ:

This is platform for tracking website visitors that enables you to connect and engage with your users in real-time. It includes a language translator, integration with Zoho CRM and advanced triggers to segment visitors by how long they’ve been on your website, pages visited, type of visitor and many more classifications and responses.

6. Planning Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. Process Street:

A free process and work flow management solution that also provides downloadable, step-by-step checklists for your articles to make your content more engaging. The tool also allows you to add images, videos and other files to your checklist.

Image of process.st homepage

2. Todoist:

A useful tool to manage your daily task list. It also allows you capture ideas via mobile device, browser, email or desktop. You can then prioritise, schedule and add actions against each item on your list. It keeps individual project separate by using folders and labels and everyday it notifies you the day’s actions.

7. Podcast Social Media Marketing Tools:

1. RINGR:

Is an iOS and Android app that allows you to connect with someone you want to interview remotely and record the entire conversation over the phone. They simply have to install the app,
enter an invite code and begin the recording.

2. FuseBox:

A WordPress plugin for podcasters that is compatible with any podcast RSS feed from any podcasting hosting service, including Libsyn and SoundCloud.

The design of FuseBox allows you to display your podcast artwork, customise the colour of the radio track bar and adjust the colour of the full player between a light or dark coloured theme.

8. Share Content & Grow Traffic – Social Medial Marketing Tools:

1. Bitly:

A Free service that provides link shortening to post your content on social media accounts, together with real-time analytics, bookmarking your favourite sites and allows you to track clicks.

Bitly

2. Snip.ly:

This is one of the most well known social media marketing tools. Snip.ly is an awesome URL link shortener that when clicked shows a customised call-to-action snippet at the bottom of the page. It is a fantastic way of driving traffic back to your own website by sharing great content from others.

3. SumoMe:

This offers a suite of 11 free tools to help you grow the traffic to your site.

The Scroll Box allows you to ask visitors to submit their email addresses as they finish reading your latest post or learning about your product. Smart Bar is positioned at the top of your website to remind your visitors to join your email list, read your latest blog post, or whatever else you want them to do.

9. Twitter Analytics and Account Management:

1. Followerwonk:

A great tool to analyse Twitter profiles. 30 day Free trial is available.

2. Tweepi:

A useful tool for managing your Twitter account as it allows you to remove unfollowers, clean up inactive followers, reciprocate by following new followers and follow accounts that may be of interest.

3. Twitonomy:

A dedicated Twitter account management and analytics tool that will give you insights on the people you follow and those that follow you. It allows you to see who you follow, but do not follow you back, and those that follow you, but you don’t follow.

How To Create An Awesome Explainer Video

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So you think you want an explainer video on your website? Well, there are plenty of good reasons why you should be seriously considering this option to improve your conversion rate on key pages.

Videos can be great for a number of purposes:

  • Business – Get your visitor’s attention by explaining your
    product or service is less than two minutes
  • Crowdfunders – Having a video as part of a funding campaign
    often helps raise double the money than if you don’t have a video to explain your proposition and business plan.
  • Authors – Can benefit from having an engaging and
    entertaining book trailer.
  • Marketers – Communicate your latest service or content using
    rich media.
  • Contests – Grab attention for promotions or contests using a
    short video.

You can then use your video on your website and drive more traffic to your website by uploading it to YouTube and sharing it on social media. Crazy Egg has a video on their homepage and they estimate it generates an additional $21,000 a month in new income. At the bottom of this post you will find verified links to over 100 explainer video companies.

Types of Explainer Videos: 

1. Live Action Video:

A non-animated video can be good if you are selling a tangible product or a people-oriented service, such as a design agency or consultancy. People love to see what a product looks like in context and having the people who your customers would interact with in a video may help establish an emotional connection.

However, live-action videos do restrict you to the real world and so special effects are limited and unless you have a large budget your location is also going to be local.

2. Animated Explainer Videos: 

This type of videos allows for much more creativity in your visual story and they are easier to edit or refresh if you need to adapt them at a future date. Animated videos are particularly good for explaining services and intangible products, such as digital tools or
software.

If you don’t have a physical product or object to show you can use an animated video to construct a compelling narrative about how your solution will be the answer to your customer’s problem.

3. Whiteboard Explainer Videos: 

This is where the animation is hand drawn and erased using a whiteboard. It is popular because of its simplicity and the low cost of producing such a video. However, they can be very compelling and powerful at telling your story.

4. Kickstarter Videos: 

Almost every Kickstarter project has an explainer video because it’s a great way to sell an idea and persuade people to part with their money. They do tend to be longer than your average explainer video, but Kickstarter does give you easy access to lots of examples of explainer videos.

Ok, if you are convinced you want to use explainer videos it is important that you have a reliable process to create a video. Outlined below are six steps people normally follow to produce an awesome explainer video.

Step 1: Get Script Right First: 

The main determinant of whether your video will improve conversion or revenue is how good the script is. The audio script needs to engage and persuade viewers that what you are communicating is relevant to them and worth staying with until the end of the video. You are likely to be better at understanding your product or service than a video studio or freelancer. So a draft script should be generated from within your organisation to capitalise on this knowledge.

The aim of the video should be to answer any important questions that your potential customers may have within two minutes. If you can’t do this within the time you should review the amount of detail that you are going into or the scope of the video.

Step 2: Understand Customer Goals and Concerns: 

It is important that you take a step back at this point and assess how well you understand your potential customers or reader’s needs. Your visitors come to your site to complete a task or achieve a goal. To allow you to structure your script you need to be able to answer some or all of the following questions about your visitors by conducting some research:

What tasks are they looking to complete by coming to the site?

  • If they didn’t complete their main tasks, what prevented them from doing so?
  • What information is missing from the page?
  • What is their biggest concern about the product or the site?
  • What, if anything, is unclear or confusing on the page?
  • What is their number 1 reason for wanting to buy the product?

You can use tools such as SurveyMonkey or Qualaroo to ask your website visitors questions and see my post how to use Voice of Customer tools to boost conversion for other providers. This should help you identify the main barriers to customers purchasing and what questions you could seek to answer in the video. By better understanding the topic from your customer’s perspective you are more likely to press the right buttons and deal with potential objections.

Step 3:The Script: 

To keep your video to within two minutes it necessary to plan your script carefully so that you deal with the most important customer objections and effectively communicate why your product/service will meet their needs.

Introductory slide:
  • This should communicate what your organisation does or the product/ service that you are promoting. Ensure it states a clear and important benefit.
Introduce the problem:

Outline the problem that potential customers have using the language expressed in your visitor research.

Explain your solution:
  • Answer the problem with how your product or service provides a solution and again try to use some of the language customers used in your Voice Of the Customer research.
Focus on important features:
  • Make sure you communicate how some of your product’s features solve specific and important problems.
Call to action:
  • Ensure you include a clear and compelling call to action at the end of the video so that people are clear what to do next.
Build trust:
  • Demonstrate why customers can have confidence in your organisation by displaying trust signals. This should be evidence such as well-known clients or partners, awards or other independently verified seals of approval. A free trial offer can also reduce the perceived risk from the customer’s perspective of making a wrong decision.

To retain viewer interest you should aim to have a video of 90 seconds or less. As a script of between 110 to 140 words should translate into a minute of video, you may want to aim for around 165 to 210 words in total.

Other things to consider are:

  • Communicate your most important message and value proposition in the first 30 seconds
  • Use 2nd person language, using words such as “you”, “your” and “yours”
  • Avoid jargon and technical words to keep the language simple
    and easy to understand.
  • The tone of voice should be appropriate for the subject and your audience. This usually means that people choose a casual, conversational tone of voice.

Step 4: Choose A Narrator: 

You can find your own voice-over, perhaps you have a brand ambassador or local celebrity, who has done adverts for you before. Alternatively you can ask your video studio or freelance to suggest someone for you. Either way they need to have clear diction and a tone of voice that aligns with the subject matter and your audience.

Step 5: Create Your Video. 

Here you have a number of options from leaving it all to a professional studio to producing your own animated video using a do-it-yourself website. However, given that it is good practice to A/B test your video and you are unlikely to produce the optimal video on your first attempt, I suggest you keep the cost to the minimum. You are likely to have to tweak or even make new videos as part of the optimization process. Further, if your product changes fairly frequently you may be forced to make new videos on a regular basis.

The main options are:

1. Professional Studios:

A studio will be more expensive than a freelancer or DIY option, but they do have the advantage that they can often also help with such tasks as choosing a narrator and background music. You will find entries for over 100 explainer video studios near the bottom of this post.

The list includes Explainify who have produced videos for Nestle and Walmart, while PlanetNutshell have been used by Google and Microsoft . Demo Duck on the other hand have worked for Netflix and Crazy Egg.

2. Freelancer:

This option tends to be cheaper as freelancers have to be more competitive to get the business and don’t have the high overheads of a digital studio. You can either search the internet for a freelancer or use a crowd source website.

3. Do It Yourself:

If you have the time and inclination you can create your own animated videos. Websites such as GoAnimateVideoscribe and PowToon provide you with easy to use solutions and advice on how to go about this process.

Step 6. A/B Testing Video:

It is always wise to A/B test your video for a number of reasons. A great video can certainly engage visitors and improve conversion, but a video that is on the wrong page, is too long, has a poor script or lacks a compelling call to action can in some cases reduce conversion. So you may have to test more than one video to find one that improves conversion and then you should continue to adjust the video to test different versions or calls to action to optimise the video.

Check that you have analytics tracking for your video. If you use video players such as Sproutvideo and Vimeo they provide analytics to allow monitoring of how many unique impressions and plays your video receives. These video players can also tell you the location of viewers and the type of device that visitors are using. This can help you with deciding how to amend your video to further improve your conversion rate.

Finally:

For your video to be successful it is important to follow a clear process and set an appropriate budget for creating your explainer video. By following the steps outlined above you will increase the chance that your video will be both relevant and engaging for your website visitors. You will also have allowed for A/B testing to further optimise your video content and be flexible enough to respond to product changes.

Here are some great examples of different templates of business explainer videos that you may find useful.

Top Explainer Video Companies:

Here is a list of over 90 studios and explainer video companies for you to choose from. I have checked every link personally to ensure they are all relevant to explainer videos.

1. #1ExplainerVideo:
  • An explainer video company and studio for creative animated explainer videos. Clients: Google, XBox360, Personality Plus, Ion Digital.
2. 1/29 Films:
  • Inspiring brand loyalty and love. Clients: Intel, BrightCove, Adobe
3. Advids:
  • Online studio for explainer videos on-demand. Clients: Mercedes Benz, Valmont, holidog.com
4. Againstudios:
  • A pioneer in producing animated explainer videos with over 6 years experience in the industry. Clients: Google, TomTom, TD Bank
5. AmodFilms:
  • Animated video production studio using video to explain & promote. Clients: Hasbro, iimyjobs.com, iBluebottle
6. Animated Video:
  • Studio for explainer & promotional videos. Western Union, The World Bank, AAPT
7. Animotus:
  • Amsterdam-based explainer video company for animated explainer videos. Clients: Juniper Networks, Westcon, Amsterdam RAI
8. AppVideos:
  • Explainer videos for mobile apps and software. Clients: Flockthere, Vito Technology, Quickoffice
9. BWD:
  • Johannesburg based digital marketing agency. Clients: NEDBANK, T Systems, BOSUN
10. Blink Tower:
  • Animated explainer videos. Clients: National Academy of Engineering, Mozilla, Vodacom
11. Breadnbeyond:
  • Explainer video company which offers Free guide on animated explainer videos. Clients: AskForTask, Pinterest, BetterBoo, Wealth Dragons
12. Broadcast2world:
  • Hand crafted videos for your business. Clients: ebay, Nokia, Johnson & Johnson, RICOH
13. Cartoon Media:
  • Awesome explainer videos built to achieve your profit goals – Premium Whiteboard Videos & explainer videos. Clients: Mazuma Mobile, HILTI, Wrexham Council
14. Chat Noir: 
  • Bespoke film makers for video and animated films. Clients: British Army, Active Cheshire, ea Technology and Cheshire West and Chester.
15. Coat of Arms Post Production:
  • Explainer video company which produces unique explainers & original post production services. Clients: Land Rover, Undercover Cupid, Marriott
16. Common Craft:
  • Hand crafted media for explainers.
17. Creamy Animation:
  • Explainer and whiteboard videos. Clients: Microtek Corporation, Unstoppable, Pure Mortgage
18. Creative Theory:
  • A Canadian based explainer video company which offers creative and business services. Operates in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Offers video production services.
19. Cullin Collective:
  • Explainer video company that also produces explanation videos. Clients: basho, Zopim, onit, AES International
20. Daily Planet:
  • A full service design and production studio. Clients: Subway, Nationwide Insurance, CocaCola, AT&T, Capital One
21. Demo Duck:
  • Make little videos that get big results – Clients: Netflix & Crazy Egg
22. DemoFlick:
  • Explainer video company.
23. Easy Explain Video:
  • Explain, educate, entertain – explainer videos
24. EdmanTV:
  • Freelance producer and motion graphics designer specialising in website videos
25. Epipheo Studios:
  • Explainer video company that creates video content for large enterprises and small businesses alike.
26. Explainers.in:
  • Your story, explained in video
27. Explainify:
  • Explainer video company that positions videos around awakening your best story. Showing people what your brand is all about. Clients: Walmart, Coca Cola & Expedia Engaging. Instigating. Converting.
28. Explanimate:
  • Corporate animation explainer video company based in Brisbane, Australia
29. Explainervideoly:
  • Studio for big brands, medium-sized companies,start-ups and even non-profits. Clients: WWF, htc and Panasonic.
30. Flikli:
  • Create top-notch animated videos faster and more affordably than ever before to make your brand truly shine
31. Flock of Pixels:
  • Vimeo animation, motion design and post production. Clients: Amex
32. Fueled:
  • Award winning mobile design & development explainer video company. Clients: Porsche, Ducati, P&G
33. Gisteo:
  • Creates one-of-a-kind marketing videos built to engage, entice & convert. Clients: ORACLE, Intel, KPMG, CITRIX
34. GoAnimate & GoAnimate for schools:
  • Make professional animated videos. Easy learning curve,low budget, simple do-it-yourself tools. Clients: CNN, WIRED, Mashable, The Wall Street Journal
35. Green Iguana:
  • Explainer video company which produces cartoons & animation, customer live action & stock videos, motion graphics & 3D. Clients: pci Security Standards Council, Virtual, Spirit Telecom
36. Grumo Media:
  • Product demo videos. Clients: Microsoft, Walmart, Fidelity Investments, Halifax, Recket Benckiser
37. Howcast:
  • The best how-to videos on the web. Clients: Next, Adobe, Virgin Media
38. Idea Rocket:
  • Put your message into orbit with animated videos. Clients: Bank of America, Alcatel Lucent, Verizon, Electronic Arts
39. Illustrate It:
  • Digital media agency who create compelling videos for companies. Clients: Uber Media, P&G, Microsoft, Call Fire
40. In 60 Seconds:
  • Develops creative concepts, infographics, video productions and animations. Clients: Philips, eon, Oxfam Novib.
41. Instruxion:
  • Digital agency who specialise in conceptual design, development and distribution of high-impact digital content to achieve your business objectives. Clients: Sony, Bayer, IKEA
42. Kasra Design:
  • Premium animated explainer video, corporate video and anything in between. Clients: Panasonic, HTC, Dell
43. Kicker Inc:
  • Emmy award winning video production. Clients: Nike Golf, ATB Financial, Share Vault
44. Less Films:
  • Create videos that turn web traffic into customers – Free case study. Clients: Salesforce, Dashlane, Grasshopper
45. Legwork Studio:
  • Digital agency which delivery app design & development, ecommerce and explainer videos.
46. LooseKeys:
  • Chicago based explainer video company who don’t just make videos, but tell stories. Clients: Cars.com, nakedwine.com
47. Lumeo:
  • Affordable explainer videos. Clients: Accenture, Plexus, Professionals Australia
48. Mable Animation:
  • Mable Animation is a passionate illustration and animation studio located in Adelaide, South Australia
49. Mypromovideos:
  • We make your message sell. Clients: Ogilvy, Flipkart.com
50. Motion Crafter:
  • Explainer video production company. Clients: HP, Rackspace, Allstate
51. Panda Motion:
  • We make explainer videos. Clients: Squarespace.com, Quipster
52. Picturelab:
  • An explainer video company with a team of creative folk who are passionate about visual storytelling and everything web and tech. Clients: Google, eSignal
53. Piehole:
  • Create kick ass video to explain what you do. Clients: Zapper, Agent Converter, Smartvault.com
54. Planet Nutshell:
  • We make videos called Nutshells that explain alien concepts to everyday people. Clients: Microsoft, Google, cpb
55. RapidFire Consulting & Video:
  • Explainer videos to help tell your story.
56. Revolution Productions:
  • Authentic Marketing Videos
    & Animated Video Production. Clients: Lexis Nexis, John Deere, The World Bank
57. RocketWheel:
  • Ignite your sales with video on mobile & desktop. Clients: Amazon, Symantec, Dell, Bloomberg BNA
58. Sandwich Video:
  • Make videos and TV commercials, mostly for neat tech products. Clients: Groupon, OSMO, Slack
59. Say it Visually:
  • We explain complex ideas for clients. Clients: Amazon, Chevron, Met Life
60. Sean Duran Studios:
  • A freelancer who creates live action and animated videos. Clients: Panasonic, Coachd, Metalab Flow
61. Simple Story Videos:
  • Explainer video company which aims to create video for brands that’d rather make history than repeat it. Clients: CocaCola, Shopify, Citrix
62. Simpleshow:
  • Hand-crafted explainer video production. Clients: Adobe, BMW. ebay, Audi, Swiss Re
63. Simplifilm:
  • Enterprise grade product demo videos. Clients: Seth Godin
64. Splainers:
  • Explainer video company which produces videos that get results. Clients: Microsoft, Pepsico, MasterCard, NFL
65. Sprinkle Lab:
  • We make and distribute delicious videos. Clients: Levi’s, IBM, Microsoft
66. Sundstedt Animation:
  • We make hand-crafted explainer videos. Clients: Pushdigital, VMS, Onyx Health
67. Studio Pigeon:
  • Even the best ideas needs explanation. Clients: farmerfinder, StudioPress, Snip2Code
68. StudioTale:
  • Creative videos. Clients: Scootr, Marbles App, Gotogether
69. SureelVideo:
  • Animated explainer video company.
70. Switch Video:
  • Corporate video production & animated video production. Clients: IBM, Microsoft, HP, Bayer
71. Tadapix:
  • Animated video studio. Clients: Del Monte, Zooztunes
72. The Video Animation Company:
  • Explain your business with video animation. Clients: Mashable, ebay, The New York Times
73. The Explainers:
  • Digital communications studio focused on explainer videos, infographics, and content strategy. Clients: National Broadband Network, National Australia Bank
74. Think Mojo:
  • Explainer video company which produces smart videos that get results. Clients: ebay, LinkedIn, Western Union
75. Think Video:
  • Web video specialists with a knack for explanation.
76. Topic Simple:
  • Great animated videos for your product, idea, business, or startup. Clients: MSN, Springboard
77. Topline Comms:
78. Transvideo Studios:
  • Explainer video company that claims to be the largest video production company and studio complex in Silicon Valley. Clients: Mint.com, esignal
79. UserFarm:
  • Content creators – Connecting you with the world’s largest community of film makers. A global crowd of 100,000 classified filmmakers, backed up by a team of awesome professionals. Clients: Fiat 500, Smeg Factory, Santal, Rio Mare
80. Veedme:
  • Any video task. Clients: Google, MOSCOT, WAZE
81. Veracity Colab:
  • A video agency driven by strategy, story and design. Clients: Lenovo, Google, Adobe
82. Video Igniter:
  • Turnkey animated video production for agencies, businesses and marketers. Clients: LinkedIn, RICOH, ALTIMETER
83. Vismo Media:
  • Ideas into motion. 2D/3D animations. Clients: Thompson Reuters, Allstate, WSO.com
84. Vjsual:
  • Explainer video company which aims to improve the way you communicate. Clients: Commerzbank, Groupon
85. Vungle:
  • Provides the infrastructure for app monetization through video ads. More than 200 million people worldwide see a Vungle ad each month.
86. WeblyGuys:
  • Explainer video company and production studio. “We create marketing systems that convert your visitors & prospects into buyers, followers and fans!“
87. Wienot Films:
  • Explainer video company which delivers videos, whiteboard animation, editing and production services.
88. Wooshii:
  • Find an animator or video-maker for your explainer or demo video. Free e-book. Clients: Google, ebay, Unilever
89. Wyzowl:
  • Create animated explainer videos with and without characters, website or web app walk-through using screen recordings, mobile app walk-through and video graphics based around statistics. Clients: UserReport, Heebo.com, Postify
90. YansMedia:
  • High quality explainer videos from $2,000. Clients: HiJack, Tempo, Parkway Bank.
91. Ydraw:
  • What’s your story. Explainer video production company. Clients: BlueSafe, Magic Sock,
92. YumYum Videos:
  • Explainer video company which produces tailor-made animated videos and offers unlimited revisions. The company has also produced a series of educational videos on inbound marketing, including What is inbound marketing? Clients: Walmart, McKesson, AMEX and Red Bull

Featured image by Fry2k on Freeimages