Speak Easy

first_imgHarsha BhogleHarsha Bhogle, 49. Voted as the favourite ESPN-Star Sports commentator in 2008, he is known for his straight and unbiased way with words. Likely to say “Sehwag’s scintillating strokeplay gives you an orgasm of happiness.”Ravi Shastri, 48. Great voice but often states the obvious. Good, especially if you switch on the TV in the middle of a match as you will hear him say, “End of the over, it’s 42 for one.” Likely to say “It’s six, six, six, and it’s balle, balle, balle in the crowd.” Loudly.Sunil GavaskarSunil Gavaskar, 62. Never loses an opportunity to praise Sachin Tendulkar. Diplomacy is not his forte and his favourite dart board is Team Australia. No wonder, Ponting says he is no angel. Likely to say “If Tendulkar wins the World Cup for India, I will touch his feet.”Sanjay Manjrekar, 45. Dares to criticise the God of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. Often at a loss for words, he ends up saying exactly the opposite of what he means. Likely to say “The next match is against Bangalore… ummm the next match will be played in Bangalore.”Navjot Singh Sidhu, 47. Famous for his one liners, also known as Sidhuisms, he makes English sound like a “funny” language. Was sacked by ESPN-Star Sports in 2003 for using the F-word on air. Likely to say “Piyush Chawla is as confused as a child is in a topless bar.”Sourav GangulySourav Ganguly, 38. He is the new dada on the block. His TV appearances as a quiz show host have been rather sedate contrary to his aggressive avatar as a captain. Likely to say “When I was captain of India…”advertisementlast_img read more

How to Set up a Facebook Custom iFrame Landing Page Application

first_img Originally published Feb 22, 2011 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 On the Applications Profile, Click on “Add to My Page” Set Up Your iFrame Page on Your Own Server Select Your App and Go to the Application Profile Page Head to http://facebook.com/developers Facebook Marketing Click on Set Up New App Name the App (This is Not What The Custom Tab Will be Named) 1. Grab a 16x 16 icon from iconfinder upload the icon and save your changes. For this to work you will need a webpage on your server that you will be iframing into your new custom tab. That means you must have the HTML living outside of Facebook on your own server. Try and make this content 540px wide. Anything wider will not show up well in your custom tab. In order for this to work you must update your Facebook Fan Page to the newest settings. 1. Your canvas URL will be the main domain your HTML content is living on. Make sure you include the trailing slash in your url. 2. Make sure that Canvas type is selected iFrame. Topics: Go into edit page > Manage Permissions to change this to the default landing page.That wasn’t so bad was it? Save the Changes and Click on Back to My Apps Editor’s Note: We wrote a more up-to-date article about creating custom Facebook tabs here.Facebook recently announced that they would be discontinuing their support of the Static FBML app in favor of iframes.From a marketing perceptive this is actually some great news as FBML was pretty restrictive on what was and wasn’t allowed within Facebook.I decided to investigate how much of pain is involved in setting up a custom tab on Facebook using an iframe. As it turns out, it’s actually not to difficult.Below is a video with setup instructions step-by-step and a screenshot guide if you don’t want to watch the video.The end result of this effort is this iframed application tab (for a contest that ends this Wednesday)! Add Description and Your Custom Icon Select the page you want to add the custom iframe tab to and you are done! 1. Name your Tab. Note: 16 character limit! 2. Specify the tab URL. In this case the piece of content I am iframing in is “http://inboundnow.tv/fbtest2.html” so I added in the “fbtest2.html” in the Tab URL. Allow the developer application if you have not already done so. Setting Tab URL (Still in Facebook Intregration Page) Set Up Your Canvas URL in the Facebook Integration Page Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Should You Add “Please Retweet” to Your Twitter Updates? [Debate]

first_img ? Twitter updates , disagrees. “It’s desperate,” says David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist and bestselling author, about adding “Please Retweet” to your Twitter updates. However, Dan Zarrella, HubSpot’s social media scientist and host of the upcoming Topics: Being outspoken about the action you want your Twitter followers to take should be aligned with your marketing goals. “Marketing is essentially manipulation. It’s getting people to do what you want,” Dan says. “If you are a salesperson, you ask for a credit card number. If you are doing Twitter Engagement Yes, Says Dan Zarrella In fact, Social Media Is About Personal Decisions Science of Social Media webinar , David points out, is a type of ecosystem that encourages people to pick and choose their information intake. As opposed to mass media, in which a certain message is being broadcast to you, social media allows for more personal freedom. “I think the currency of social media is one of ‘ It’s Backed Up by Data do Me get more retweets. It’s the 11th most retweetable phrasing that Dan has identified. To settle this argument and pick a winner, we conducted a brief debate and recorded it for our community to enjoy. Should you add “Please Retweet” to your It’s a Remindercenter_img shows that tweets that include this call-to-action , you ask for someone to fill out a lead form.” Therefore, it’s only natural to ask for retweets in your social media marketing. Dan’s research Let Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack I No, Says David Meerman Scott lead generation want to do things.'” David finds this phrasing desperate because it undermines people’s ability to judge for themselves what’s valuable enough to be rweteeted. “If your content is good, I will retweet it,” says David. In other words, you should trust your Twitter followers to make the right decision. Judge What’s Valuable So what do you think? Who would you side with? Add to the “Please Retweet” debate in the comments below! Originally published Aug 12, 2011 1:02:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 One reason why this wording works as a call-to-action, Dan Zarrella says, is because less savvy Twitter users often forget that retweeting is an option. So this serves as a reminder for them. Social media It Has Marketing Valuelast_img read more

4 Ways to Get More Out of Marketing Automation

first_img Marketing Automation Originally published Nov 10, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: The B2B marketing automation industry will reach $325 million in revenue in 2011. Despite this growth, 50% of companies surveyed in a 2011 Focus Study say they have not yet realized a return on investment for their marketing automation. There are any number of reasons this could be — from an over-reliance on email, to a skills gap, to technical limitations of the tool itself. Getting the most out of your marketing automation tool requires integrating it into a complete inbound marketing strategy and using it as a support rather than a replacement. Here are a few ways to get creative with your marketing automation.  1. Make Room for Complex Buyer MotivationsIt’s hard to diagnose buyer needs in a vacuum. Take shopping cart abandonment as an example. A 2010 Forrester Research survey reported that 88% of online shoppers have abandoned their shopping carts at one point or another. Was it a thrifty moment that made them reconsider? Sticker-shock at the shipping? Ambivalence about the product? According to the same Forrester report – reasons vary. This means there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to shopping-cart-fetchback campaigns either. When you’re using marketing automation to support the check-out process, take a look at the other data you have: Before the would-be-buyers abandoned their shopping carts, did they take a look at the shipping page or were they loitering on the returns page? The answer should motivate different content in response.2. Stop Thinking of Recipients as Buyers AloneThe golden opportunity with marketing automation may not rest with driving sales alone. Think about other ways you can leverage behavior-driven communications to inform and advance your company or organization. Request feedback from anyone who downloaded an ebook. Ask them what other topics they’d like to hear about in the future.Offer help to existing customers who have viewed the cancelation of returns page.Thank social media advocates who promote your company on Twitter.By shaking loose from a single objective, you can garner engagement and get valuable information to help you shape future marketing efforts, improve the product, or prevent churn.3. Use Marketing Automation for Internal NotificationsTypically, marketing automation is used to send customers automated emails based on their activity. But sometimes a personal phone call or email is just better. For those instances, think about also connecting your marketing automation tool to an internal chat system. Doing so will enable your team to get alerts when a highly qualified lead looks at the pricing page, for example, or when a valuable customer stops logging into your software as a service platform.  Setting internal notifications for major events in the customer lifecycle lets your account managers and sales team make a better decision about whether a more personal kind of outreach is necessary.5. Remember How Much Still Comes Down to ContentAll of the technology in the world can’t beat a thoughtful and compelling message. Your marketing automation campaign could be perfectly timed and tuned into customer motivations, but if the content is falling short – it still won’t deliver. To get the most out of your marketing automation, make sure you continually test different messages and subject lines to find the right match to your customers’ needs. What other ways have you started to bring more creativity and nuance into your marketing automation campaigns? Have a good example to share? Comment below or email us at [email protected] Photo Credit: Peanuttt  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Google AdWords Express: The Pros and Cons

first_imgGoogle launched AdWords Express earlier this year and coined it as “the easiest way to advertise on Google.” The sell was simple; everything is managed automatically, which ensures your ads are only being shown to people who are looking for what you have to offer. To explain the concept, Google AdWords Express uses the example of a flower business in Dallas, citing that if a user were to perform a search for “flowers in Dallas” or simply “flowers,” and that person happened to be located in Dallas, your ad would be displayed.Google AdWords vs. Google AdWords Express: What’s the Difference?Google AdWords Express differs from traditional Google AdWords in the sense that it’s specifically tailored to local business that don’t have a lot of time to invest in PPC but see the value of advertising on Google. For instance, in traditional AdWords, users need to find their own keywords, set bids, and manage those bids. Within AdWords Express, Google does all of those things for you automatically…and more.Since the launch of AdWords Express, public interest has steadily risen month over month, as shown in the graph below from Google Insights.The big question we’ve been asking ourselves though, is whether or not this tool is truly beneficial for local marketers. As with anything, there are pros and cons, and we’ll outline the main areas of interest and concern below.3 Pros of Google AdWords Express1. Ease-of-Use: Your ads can be live within minutes of setting up AdWords Express. The setup process consists of 4 easy steps that take 5-10 minutes to complete, and BAM! you’re done. There’s no need to even think about keywords or starting bid prices. This is a huge time saver, so you don’t have to wade through keyword tools and Excel spreadsheets with concatenations and keyword variations that can cause migraines. As for those starting bid prices, they will be assigned for you based on Google’s bid auction model. Finally, you know that budget you always worry about? Well Google will recommend a monthly budget based on average search volume so you don’t need to worry about market sizing.2. Targeting: Google will automatically target your ads for you based on your geographical location. How easy is that?! No need to worry about segmenting by country, region, or state. Additionally, Google will target your ads to the category you specify, so if your category is musical instrument store, you’ll only show up for those categorized queries. This is another time saver; it employs Google’s algorithm to do the work so you don’t have to.3. Automation: Say goodbye to manual keyword analysis. You won’t even need to worry about changing a bid from $1.75 to $2 or $2.25, because Google will automatically place your ad based on category selection and ensure that your ads are being displayed when relevant.3 Cons of Google AdWords Express1. Ease-of-Use: Most pay-per-click (PPC) managers would argue that PPC is not easy. In fact, PPC can be extremely complex and frustrating if you truly want to run an efficient campaign, especially when trying to localize. So why and how is Google making localized PPC so simple? The overarching issue is that assumptions are being made about your business, and that’s where a lot of paid search campaigns get into trouble. For instance, you shouldn’t just agree to Google’s suggested budget; instead, you should decide yourself what you’d like to spend and, more importantly, conduct some research about your vertical to identify what an appropriate budget looks like on a monthly basis.2. Targeting: How do you define your reach as a local business? Within traditional AdWords, you could literally draw your geographic targeting based on your town or city. But with AdWords Express, how will it decide your reach? Will it be too focused or too broad? Based on historical trends (broad search), it will be too broad, so be sure to follow your reach closely. As for search query targeting, Google has you select a category, which would be the equivalent of an ad group or campaign depending on the vertical. But what if you run a musical instrument shop, and searches for the word “bass” are divided among searchers interested in the shoe company, the fish, and the instrument? Will Google always show your ad on a query such as this? With negative keywords in traditional AdWords, you could ensure that your ad didn’t show for unwanted or inefficient terms, but with AdWords Express, this isn’t an option and therefore, it’s a concern.3. Automation: Bid automation sounds like such a reassuring and comprehensive approach to running a search engine marketing campaign. But remember, Google is predicated upon keywords, and with Express, you don’t have access to keywords. Why is that? With Express, it’s all about time-saving via assumptions, hence the categories option. Be very careful here, because what if Google is optimizing your campaign based on search queries that actually aren’t qualified for your business? For instance, with HubSpot, we cannot select ‘marketing software’ as a category. Our options are ‘software’ or ‘marketing,’ neither of which would be efficiently targeted ways of spending our ad dollars. Another example is acoustic guitars. The only option within categories is ‘guitar store,’ which is much too broad if your niche is acoustic guitars. Try your best to limit the amount of categories selected to segment out your campaigns as much as possible.Is Google AdWords Express Right for Your Business?As a PPC enthusiast, there are some significant concerns that local businesses need to take into consideration to ensure their budgets are being spent efficiently with Express.There are some great benefits to using Adwords Express, but be sure to consider the pros and the cons as they relate to your specific business and industry. If you need to launch a PPC campaign within your local region quickly and are more concerned with reach and speed to market, then Express has the ability to drive local searches for your business without much time and effort. If you are concerned with quality, efficiency, and optimization though, ask yourself if traditional AdWords is the better option. In the end, it’s you who defines your business, so it should be you who defines your ad campaign, not an assumptive based algorithm.Have you experimented with AdWords Express for pay-per-click marketing? What do you think? Topics: Originally published Dec 13, 2011 11:15:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Google Ads Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

63% of B2B Companies Don’t Generate Leads From Social Media [New Data]

first_imgSo why might this be? The biggest disconnect is between content and social media. It’s important to routinely publish content in your social channels to send qualified traffic to your website — but how does that turn into lead generation ? How B2B Marketers Can Generate More Social Media Leads 1. Use landing pages with forms to collect new leads. Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!). If lead generation is new to you, the best way to generate leads is through a landing page with a form. Make sure there are multiple landing pages on your website that each house a specific offer (e.g. ebooks, free consultations, demos, etc.) accompanied by a form that people can complete to receive that offer. If you’re having trouble coming up with lead generation offers, use this blog post as a guide to help you quickly generate new lead gen offers . This first step will get you off on the right foot with social media lead generation. 2. Make sure there is an easy way to direct someone to a form via your website’s homepage. Often, a person may be learning about your company for the first time via social media, and then directly visit your homepage to learn more. Make sure there’s an easy way to funnel homepage visitors to a form so they can potentially become a lead for your business. 3. Put calls-to-action (CTAs) on every piece of content you publish in social channels. If you’re promoting blog posts, for example, make sure there is a link or CTA button leading to a form somewhere on every blog article. Similar to the homepage suggestion above, it’s important to make it really easy for your visitors to get channeled to a landing page from every piece of content you promote. 4. Occasionally, directly promote landing pages via social media. There’s no reason why you couldn’t tweet some landing pages once in a while. Especially if the offer is valuable — whether a helpful and educational ebook or a coupon your network is dying to redeem — your network will appreciate the opportunity to take advantage of the offer. 5. Follow the 10-4-1 Rule. According to the B2B Social Media Book by Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen, the 10-4-1 Rule is a ratio that serves as a guideline for the right balance of content to publish in social media. For every 15 of your social media updates, 10 should be pieces of other people’s content, 4 should be your own blog articles, and 1 should be a landing page. Make that a rule, follow that ratio no matter how much you post, and it will help you grow your reach (by promoting other people’s content), send traffic to your website, and generate leads! If you’re a HubSpot customer, it’s now really easy to share other peoples’ content with the new social bookmarklet . While you browse the web, you can select content you like to be published to your various social networks.With these tips, you will begin generating leads via social channels and improving your marketing! What tips do you have for businesses struggling with social media lead generation? Image credit: Nima Badiey  Lead Generation Social media lead generation has been notoriously challenging for B2B companies. It makes sense — when your industry isn’t consumer-focused, it’s difficult to attract a large audience relevant to your business. Looking at data from 2011, we did a study of 3,000+ B2B businesses to understand how B2B companies are succeeding with social media. Shockingly (or maybe not), the data revealed that 63% of B2B businesses were not generating leads from social media. This means that, while these companies were generating traffic from social media channels, they were not converting that traffic into leads for their businesses. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img Originally published Mar 26, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:last_img read more

15 Powerful Reconversion Opportunities for Your Welcome Emails

first_imgMarketers have a huge opportunity with welcome emails. According to Skyline Technologies, welcome emails have an average open rate of 50-60%. It makes sense; as the double opt-in process has become more commonplace, people expect to return to their inbox and receive one or two emails that confirm their request and welcome them as a new subscriber.So with an open rate that high, doesn’t it make sense to strike while the iron’s hot? Your subscriber loves you right now — they just signed up to hear from you more! Give the people what they want, and use your welcome email to share your best content and offers that will remind subscribers that their opt-in was not just a good decision, but a great one! And so you never run out of ideas, here are 15 items you could include in your welcome emails to drive reconversions and get even more bang for your buck out of new email subscribers.Typical Welcome Email ContentBefore we get into the welcome email ideas, let’s review what a welcome email typically includes. A link to confirm the subscriber did indeed subscribe to the email listA message of thanks for subscribing to the email listA request to mark you as a safe sender, or save you to their address bookSome information about what content future emails will containYour privacy policy to ensure their information will be used properlyIt’s important to remember that businesses approach welcome emails in two ways. Some send one email with a double opt-in confirmation link and the welcome email content, while others send two emails — one with the double opt-in confirmation link, and a separate email with welcome email content.While you should still include any of these calls-to-actions in your welcome email if you send only one, you may experience a lower click-through rate as your confirmation link takes subscribers away from their inbox and into a browser. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, though — and don’t rule out including a call-to-action on your confirmation page, too!15 Ways to Reconvert Subscribers in Your Welcome Email1) Promote your lead generation content. Include a call-to-action in your welcome email that prompts subscribers to read your latest ebook, whitepaper, or educational guide. This content will help you reconvert your subscribers on a landing page that gives you more robust lead intelligence than just their name and email address.2) Encourage a transaction. If you have a high-cost product or a long sales cycle, you may not get a transaction from your welcome email. But if you have a shorter sales cycle, consider including a ‘Shop Now’ button. You can incentivize it further with a time-sensitive coupon as a way to say “thank you” for subscribing!3) Offer an assessment or consultation. If you do have a lengthier sales cycle for which transactional calls-to-action are inappropriate, invite your new subscriber to receive a free consultation with an expert within your company. There’s no need to make a purchase, just an opportunity for a customized consultation that provides new insight and lets the subscriber ask questions in a low pressure, safe space. HubSpot, for example, does this with our free Inbound Marketing Assessments.4) Ask them to take a short survey. Most people love to talk about themselves, and as a marketer, you probably want to hear your subscribers talk about themselves as much as possible. Set up a “getting to know you” survey that asks them questions about themselves — nothing too personal, of course. It will help you gather lead intelligence on a group you know little about, so you’ll be able to segment your email list in a more savvy way, target your content better, and even improve your customer personas over time.5) Ask what kind of content they want to receive. You want your new subscriber to stay active on your email list, so use a questionnaire to ask them point blank what they want to read from you. Use the opportunity to extend the question from email content to your blog and website content, too.6) Show off your other email lists. If someone signed up for product update emails, perhaps they’d also be interested in signing up for blog updates! Use your welcome email to promote your other email content that might be of interest to your newest fan!7) Encourage them to become a social fan or follower. Speaking of your newest fan, are your subscribers officially your fans or followers on social media? Ask them to follow you on Twitter, like you on Facebook, follow your LinkedIn Company Page, etc. so your social media marketing benefits from your booming email marketing program, too.8) Offer a free trial. If your product can go for a test drive, ask your newest subscribers if they would like to, well, take it for a spin. HubSpot offers free trials of our software all the time — it’s a great way to get people interacting with your product!9) Take them on a tour. Of your product or website! If you’re selling a product or are asking subscribers to interact with your website in some way, show them how with a video. People don’t like thinking — tell what the actionable next step is to interacting with you.10) Send them to your blog. Give your most popular or most recent blog posts some visibility by including a call-to-action to visit your blog. And of course your blog will have plenty of calls-to-action asking them to subscribe or convert on other offers, right?11) Ask ’em out on a date. If you’re a brick and mortar establishment, invite your subscribers to attend an in-store event, like a sale. Or if you’re like HubSpot and host events or conferences like Inbound 2012, ask them to register for the event and include a discount with a time stamp. And if you’re all virtual, that’s okay, too. Ask them to attend a free webinar you’re hosting!12) Leverage your content archives. If your subscriber opted in to receive some sort of content from you, show them what they’ve already missed. For example, if they signed up to receive your monthly whitepaper, direct them to an archive of your past whitepapers for them to peruse.13) Have them download your mobile app. There’s a good chance your subscriber is reading his or her email on a mobile device. If you have a mobile app, what better time to have them download that, too? Be sure to delineate your mobile app’s value proposition in your call-to-action copy so they become an active user.14) Show off product reviews. If you’re trying to prompt your subscriber to transact, product reviews are a natural way to encourage those who are relatively new to your brand that you are worth doing business with. We’ve already discussed the importance of user-generated content on this blog — use reviews in welcome emails as the opportunity to convince subscribers that already like you that they should love you.15) Ask subscribers to contact a salesperson. If you have an inside sales team and you’re a fan of a harder sell, there’s nothing wrong with including a call-to-action that explains how your subscriber can speak to a salesperson. Again, these subscribers are feeling pretty good about you right now; why not capitalize on those good feelings with an invitation to speak to Sales?Don’t think you need to narrow down your welcome email scope to just one of these types of email. Many brands send a series of welcome emails to help build their relationship with their subscribers. But your first welcome email provides a tremendous opportunity to reconvert your newest subscriber; don’t let it slip by just focusing on the basics and forgetting to include a creative call-to-action that will you keep your subscribers active!What content do you include in your welcome email to help drive conversions? Share your tips in the comments!Image credit: alborzshawn Email Marketing Originally published Apr 4, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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13 Things to Check Before Hitting ‘Send’ on Your Next Marketing Email

first_imgRaise your hand if you’ve ever sent out a marketing email , only to realize after clicking ‘send’ that your email’s main call-to-action contained a broken link. What a waste, right? And talk about embarrassment … Now how many of you did I actually get to raise your hand? ;)Yes, silly mistakes happen — more easily than you might think. After all, we may be savvy marketers, but we’re still only human. So how can you prevent those silly mistakes from bleeding into your email campaigns? Enter the mighty test send! Most email service providers, including HubSpot’s own email tool , allow you to send a test email for review before you send the real email out to your list of email contacts. So if you’re not leveraging these test sends to proof your email messages before they go out, you’re just asking for the scenario we highlighted above.To avoid email marketing embarrassment — and the poor results that accompany it — print out this checklist, pin it to your cubicle, and consult it every time you’re reviewing an email test send.  3) Broken Social Media Sharing Buttons While we’re talking about social media buttons, let’s discuss how easy it is to break those little buggers. We’ve published a helpful guide to make creating the buttons for social sharing on social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter less painful, so be sure to check it out. And luckily, if you’re a HubSpot customer, our email tool makes the creation of social media sharing buttons in email messages virtually idiot-proof. Just plug in the URL of the page you want your email recipients to share (whether it’s a landing page, blog post, or the HTML version of the email, which we’ll discuss later in this post), and — POOF! — social sharing buttons. But whether you’re using HubSpot’s email tool or another ESP, always be sure to try out those sharing buttons in your test send as an extra sanity check. Originally published May 21, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 12) Plain Text Formatting How does the plain text version of your email look? Your email client should enable you to view the test email in both HTML and plain text formats. And yes, optimizing for both HTML and plain text is absolutely important. To make sure your email is optimized for plain text, look for the following in your test send (all of which we elaborate on in this post ): similar copy to the HTML version of the email, compelling email copy, shortened links (and few of them), all caps in headers, and plain text bullet points (e.g. asterisks *). 13) Accessibility Across Devices, Browsers, and Email Clients The best way to understand how different browsers, email clients, and devices (mobile or desktop) interpret your email is to see for yourself! To save yourself the trouble of testing every single email send to every single option, test a few options once across the most popular devices, browsers, and email clients, and then create a template to use for each email you send using the winning version.  What else would you add to this email marketing pre-send test checklist? Image Credit: Nico Paix 4) Spelling/Grammatical Errors Spelling and grammar do matter in marketing , whether you’re creating an ebook, writing a blog post, or drafting your next email marketing message. Send your test email to the biggest grammar geek you have on your team to alert you to any slip-ups, and always be sure to spell-check! 5) Distorted Images How do your images look? Are they stretched or squished? Pixelated? Overwhelmingly large? When they don’t render, did you remember to associate alt text with them? Check to make sure your images are displaying the way you want them to, and if not, adjust accordingly. 6) Wonky Formatting When you view the email in an inbox, make sure the formatting looks the way you intended it to. Is there a line bleeding onto the next because you forgot to add an extra space? If you used bullets, are they displaying properly? ( Tip: Some email clients can’t handle HTML bullets, so you’re best off just using asterisks (*) instead of rounded or squared HTML bullets.) If things are looking wonky, fix those formatting issues before you send the email to your true list. 7) Color Issues Is the font color you’re using clear and easy to read, or do you have to strain your eyes because it’s an odd shade? Are blocks of background color making it difficult to read the text you’ve layered on top? Also keep in mind that, while blocks of color can add a pretty design element to your email, you should beware the following scenario: Say you decided to create your entire email — or just a section — with a dark gray background. To make the text readable, you selected white as your font color. Now what happens when your recipient’s email client doesn’t render that background color (yes, it can happen)? Invisible text! Lesson: the visibility of your email’s copy should never depend on the background color of your email. 8) Subject Line/Sender Name Does it look like your email was sent by a human, not a robot? In other words, what moniker are you using for your sender name — your company name (robot), or the name of someone at your company (human). In fact, according to a HubSpot A/B test in which we compared a generic “HubSpot” sender name to the personal name of someone from the marketing team with our company name, we found that emails sent by a real person are more likely to be clicked on than emails sent from just a company name . Another thing to watch out for is the length of your subject line . Does it get cut off? Keep your subject lines as brief as possible — a good rule of thumb is 50 characters or fewer . You want as much of it as possible to display in the email pane ( especially on mobile devices ). 9) Functioning Dynamic Tags If you’re using any dynamic tags (e.g. [FIRSTNAME], etc.), check to make sure they’re functioning properly and pulling in the correct information. And if you’re using dynamic tags, make sure the list you’re using is clean , and only use tags that everyone on your list has information for. For example, if you’re trying to pull in the recipient’s Twitter username within your email, yet the contacts on the list you’re sending to never provided you with that information, you’re going to run into quite a few problems. (Note: If you’re using HubSpot’s email tool, you can set your default values for dynamic tags/email personalization in your email settings to accommodate any outliers on your list who haven’t provided certain information you’re targeting in dynamic tags. Either way, only use dynamic tags that most people on your list have provided information for.) 11) Option to View on the Web Does your email include a link to its web-based counterpart? Many ESPs (including HubSpot!) will enable you to create a web-based version of your email. Include this link in your email send. That way, if the images or anything else isn’t rendering properly for your recipients, they can easily click over to the web-based version and see exactly what you intended. Topics: 13 Things to Look Out for in Your Email Test Sends 1) Broken Links The mishap we mentioned in our intro scenario is probably one of marketers’ biggest nightmares, especially when lead generation is the goal of an email send. That’s why we’re emphasizing how important it is to check to make sure your links are working as the first item on this checklist. Like — actually click on them. Every single one. Does the (right) page load? Do you get a 404 error? Unbreak any broken link you find. 2) Forgotten Links A close second to the dreaded broken link is the forgotten one. The most common (and regrettable) instance of the forgotten link is when you’re using an image to serve as a call-to-action (CTA) button. Double check to make sure everything that’s supposed to be linked is indeed linked. This includes anchor text, CTAs, social media follow/sharing icons, and images. Email Marketing 10) Fulfilled CAN-SPAM Requirements You don’t want that email send to get you into legal trouble, now do you? If you’re sending any commercial email, you should be aware of and know how to comply with the requirements enforced by the CAN-SPAM Act , which establishes rules for commercial messages. Specifically, each email you send must include your valid physical mailing address — yup, we’re talking snail mail here. Furthermore, check that you’re not using misleading, deceptive, or falsified information in your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” subject line, and routing information. In other words, make sure you clearly identify who is sending the email, whether it’s from a company or an individual. Make sure your email subject line clearly indicates what the content of the email is about. Lastly, in each email you send, you must also include a clear and obvious way for recipients to unsubscribe from all email communication from you. So if there is no opt-out link in your email, you could get into big trouble. And remember, failing to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act could mean penalties of up to $16,000 for each separate email violation. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Make Sure Your Website Passes the Dreaded Blink Test

first_img6) Provide Content That’s Easy to ConsumeVisitors aren’t willing to read a novel to understand what you’re trying to say. People are always in a hurry on the web, so make sure your writing is extremely clear and focused. Optimize content so it’s easy to scan, and convey the maximum amount of information in as few words as possible, to hold people’s attention. Some ways you can achieve this are:Write copy devoid of jargon. People don’t like what they don’t understand.Use viewer-focused language, like “You” and “Your” instead of “We” and “Us.”Speak in the voice and tone to which your target persona is most accustomed.7) Create a Congruous ExperienceThis means you’ve ensured the path to your site is logical, and bump-free. If someone clicks on a result in a search engine, a banner ad, or a pay per click ad, they’re expecting to find what the description stated. For example, if someone clicks on a banner ad advertising black flats, they need to see black flats instantly featured on the ad’s landing page. If there is a disconnect between the ad and the matching landing page, you could lose a visitor’s trust, leading them to leave your page without further action. Here, take a look at an example from Zappos. If a searcher inputs the term “back flats,” here’s what will appear: And if you click either of those listing, you’ll land here, the flats section of their website:8) Prove Your Site Is Credible Today, 94% of Americans are worried “bad things” can happen when using the internet. A study conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Mancx found that whether it’s the fear of getting a computer virus, losing money, or risking fraud, people are very concerned about the safety features of websites they visit.  If a reader thinks your information or your intentions are less than noble, he will immediately leave your site in search of something more credible.If you want to keep visitors on your site, present professional, trustworthy material by including testimonials, privacy trust seals, and a detailed privacy policy. This furniture company, Olejo, does a great job showing their site is credible.As you can see, they include an eye-catching customer review button right at the top of the page. This gives customers the option to click and see honest feedback from people who have used the site before. Also, two privacy trust seals are included in the bottom corners of the page to show visitors the business is legally registered and follows good security practices. Olejo also includes a privacy policy tab at the bottom of their page that describes what they do with customer information, credit card transactions, and other security concerns.9) Put Important Information on the Top of Your PageWeb users spend 80% of their time looking at the information above the page fold according to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group. This means people spend most of their time on the part of the page that is visible, and then maybe they’ll scroll down for a brief period of time to see what’s below the fold. You stand a much better chance of keeping people on your site if they immediately see what they’re looking for after the page loads. Visitors have short attention spans, and consider reading and scrolling to be extra work. Anything truly important should be in the real-estate above the fold. Below is a great example of HootSuite’s expert use of their space above the fold.  Visitors judge the value of your website in a matter of seconds. Hours and hours of hard work are distilled into one glance, when they decide whether or not your website is worth their time. This, of course, is what we marketers call “The Blink Test,” and it refers to the commonly accepted 3-5 seconds during which a visitor lands on your website, judges it, and decides if they want to stay there and do something, or abandon ship.You need to grab attention, get your message across, and spark interest in your viewers … all within just a few seconds. Seems pretty difficult, but there are some best practices you can refer to for your web pages to ensure you’re not losing visitors to silly, easily remedied mistakes. After all, the repercussions of an F on your blink test means lost conversion opportunities, as in lost opportunities for new leads and customers. Yikes. That’s one test you don’t want to fail.12 Ways to Ensure Your Website Passes the Blink Test1) Build Pages That Load QuicklyThe more you add to your site, the longer it takes to load. In this age of instant gratification, if your site doesn’t load immediately, it will be abandoned. In fact, according to a study done by Gomez, the average online shopper expects a page to load in two seconds or less, down from four seconds in 2006; and after three seconds, up to 40% will abandon your website. Because load time is increased with images, scripts, and multimedia, it’s important to use them judiciously, and test loading times — you can use free tools like Page Speed or YSlow for this. And to ensure your images load quickly enough, change the file format to the following:Use a GIF if the image has only a few colors, like a logo.Use a JPEG if the image has a lot of colors and details, like photos.Use a PNG for high quality, transparent images.You can also take a high quality resolution picture, and downsize it to an appropriately viewable size for your website. For example, if you start off with an image at 3000px resolution, scale it down before you upload it to your website, and it won’t compromise your quality or slow down your load time. 2) Use Attractive Visual DesignYour website should be attractive and easy to consume. Captivate people — without confusing them — using high quality images that align with your site’s message. That last part’s critical — the most beautiful image in the world doesn’t mean anything if a site visitor doesn’t immediately understand how it relates to what your company does. Apple does a great job of quickly explaining their brand with images; here, take a look:With a giant, high quality picture of an iPad mini, Apple’s message is obvious and impressive.Don’t be afraid to be bold when designing your website, though. If you create a website with a design that stands out from competitors, that’s good, too. It’s different. It’s memorable. It makes people want to stay and check your website out. Just make sure your structure is simple and organized so people can easily find what they’re looking for without getting overwhelmed. It’s wise to limit your page to a one- or two-column layout, and avoid jamming too many things onto your homepage. If you think you’re suffering from some visual clutter, find opportunities to eliminate unnecessary elements, and embrace white space to make your page more clean-cut.3) Start With an Informative Headline That Conveys Your Value PropositionYour audience won’t take the time to search your page for the most important material, because they expect to see it right when they arrive. According to Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, eight out of ten people read a page’s headline, and only two of ten read the first paragraph. Start with a headline that states what you feature, and the benefit to the audience. This part of your website should be concise and informational. If you start off with “Welcome to our website,” for instance, you’re going to be losing visitors pretty quickly.In addition to a clear message, it’s important to write a simple, pertinent, one sentence value proposition to explain to your reader why you’re better than your competition. For example, if you’re marketing a sandwich shop, your company value proposition could be something like “We use garden-fresh, local ingredients to craft made-to-order, high quality sandwiches and wraps in the Back Bay area.” This statement will help customers see the unique benefits of coming to your shop, and why it’s better than other sandwich shops in the area.4) Provide Easy NavigationYour website’s navigation should be intuitive and easy to use. Provide people with the options they might expect upon visiting your site, and make sure the top-level categories of your navigation reveal the most important, easy to understand content. Going along with the sandwich shop example, a good list of top navigation tabs could be: Menu, Nutritional Info, Special Event Catering, Our Locations, Contact, and Home. These tabs organize every important aspect of the website, are clear in their wording, and can bring customers to where they want to go with the click of button.5) Use Images That Explain What You Do, and Support Your CopyA picture’s worth a thousand words. Are yours communicating what you want them to? Everyone has seen the corny hero shots of people shaking hands, and groups of people in suits jumping in the air. These mean nothing. It’s imperative that your pictures help explain what your company is really about. Use unique, quality photos that actually represent who you are and what you do. So, not like this:Instead, choose something like this, where you choose photos of your actual customers and/or employees: 10) Avoid Excessive Calls-to-ActionWhen a visitor arrives on your page and is immediately greeted by a pop-up asking to subscribe to your blog, a blinking CTA offering a free trial of your product, and another asking to download your latest ebook, that visitor will most likely become paralyzed with too many choices and leave your site. To stop people from quickly clicking the “Back” button, be sure to pick the most important and relevant calls-to-action to build your design around.11) Make it Easy to Take the Next StepGive your visitors a clear path to follow; you don’t want to require people to think too much when they arrive on your site, nor should they have to dig around to figure out what to do next. Keep your call-to-action above the fold and near the top of the screen so no scrolling or eye-darting is necessary to find it. Additionally, your CTA should look clickable, preferably resembling an actual button so visitors know what to do. To make it stand out more, you can provide a little extra white space around it. Finally, make sure you use obvious language so your visitor knows what to expect when clicking on your CTA. For a little inspiration, take a look at a CTA that makes it easy as pie to figure out what to do next. Topics: 12) Optimize for Mobile and TabletToday, people often surf the web on devices other than desktop computers. According to Pew Research Center, 45% of American adults own a smartphone, and 25% have a tablet. Making your website easy to read and fully functional on a mobile device is critical. To do this, be sure to:Scale your page to size using responsive web design.Make your images viewable on mobile devices — use HTML5, jQuery, or JPGs so content can be rendered.Make text concise and easily readable.Make links easily clickable — the area should be large enough for thumbs.Present your content in a single column.Keep the CTA above the fold.Use simple forms.Don’t miss out on conversions. Be sure to optimize your site to pass the blink test for mobile devices, as well as desktop.So, does your website pass the test? What other tips can you share to help marketers design websites that will keep visitors’ attention?Image credit: mcclanahoochie Website Design Originally published Jan 18, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more