Key Components & Services
There are two custom services running on the deployed machines that are essential for the solution to function properly. These services are gcs-sync (running on WordPress instances – both Admin and Content) and cloudsql-proxy (running on the SQL Proxy instances).
The gcs-sync service runs a script /opt/c2d/downloads/gcs-sync that, depending on the role the VM is assigned (Content or Admin), will check in with the GCS bucket tied to the deployment and determine if content needs to be pushed to or pulled from GCS. If you need to interact with the service, you can do so via systemctl. For example:
systemctl stop gcs-sync
will kill the script checking GCS, and the node will not receive any updates that come from the Administrator Node. Conversely, if the service needs to be started you can do so with the following command:
systemctl start gcs-sync
The cloudsql-proxy service makes use of the Cloud SQL Proxy binary so you can connect to your Cloud SQL instance without having to whitelist IP addresses, which can change when instances are deleted and recreated in a Managed Instance Group. The Cloud SQL binary is located at /opt/c2d/downloads/cloud_sql_proxy and the script that executes the binary is located at /opt/c2d/downloads/cloudsql-proxy. Like the service that runs gcs-sync, it can be interacted with using systemctl. Stopping the service can be done with:
systemctl stop cloudsql-proxy
At this point your instance will not be able to communicate with the Cloud SQL instance, and the application will not function. If you needed to manually start the service for any reason you can do so with the following command:
systemctl start cloudsql-proxy
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19th Amendment turns 100
The following lyric is a revision of the song “My Old Kentucky Home”. The lyric was composed by Madeline McDowell Breckinridge in celebration of Kentucky women gaining the right to vote in state and presidential elections.
Some Kentucky women had been able to vote in local school board elections and in local referendums on school taxes since 1830. The 19th Amendment in 1920 however revised the 15th Amendment emphasizing universal male suffrage.
The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home,
‘Tis winter, the ladies are gay,
The corn top’s gone, prohibition’s in the swing,
The colonel’s in eclipse and the women in the ring.
We’ll get all our rights with the help of Uncle Sam,
For the way that they come, we don’t give a ____.
Weep no more, my lady, Oh, weep no more today,
For we’ll vote one vote for the old Kentucky home,
The old Kentucky home, far away.
Remember to vote Tuesday, November 6. Sean Delahanty has been endorsed by The Caucus, formally known as the Metropolitian Louisville Women’s Political Caucus. Delahanty hopes that his record of 20 years on the bench serves as an example of his dedication towards equality.
To register to vote, verify your registration or to review detailed voter information visit this site’s FAQs and Voter Information pages. We are also piecing together Judge Sean Delahanty’s Complete Voter Guide for 2018. Check back for sample ballots in October.
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The campaign is pleased to launch fordelahanty.com a site where Louisville voters can discuss the election and offer suggestions on topics for new videos by Judge Delahanty. The site also offers subscription news service for campaign updates and a link to a store where you can buy campaign gear to show your support.
New Sean Supporter Store
These new logos have been utilized on campaign apparel and accessories that are available at the campaign store located at https://seandelahanty.com/store. The shirts, phone cases, golf balls, skateboards or even a Sean Delahanty pillow allow you to show your support around town to friends and family. These items are not a fundraising source and are offered at the lowest price available through Zazzle.com.
To make a donation towards the campaign visit the official site at seandelahanty.com. The site continues to grow and provide voter information, FAQS about the election and district court as well as campaign news and video by Judge Sean Delahanty.
We plan to expand the apparel options and additional logos for our other supporting groups. The election is just 72 days away!
Hindsight is 20/20 and given the findings of the report below every campaign in 2016’s house races in the study, who relied solely on Facebook pages to represent their campaign’s online presence, would likely build a WordPress site now. No one who had just a Facebook presence won in 2016.
There are a lot of reasons this could be true, but one fact remains … Do you want to replicate the losers in the last cycle? Visit my Political SEO site to learn more about what I have done for campaigns and candidates in 2018.
Reposted Article, original source at bottom of article.
Every year I analyze the use of websites in political races across the country. This year there were more candidates with websites than I’d noticed in the past. That’s a good thing, in my opinion – the web is an ever-increasing way to reach your audience at a much lower cost base than sending mailers or printing signs and flyers. And while those other methods shouldn’t be ignored, the web is, in my opinion, the way forward!
What follows is my analysis of websites used by candidates in various races across Pennsylvania – mostly from the race for Governor and the various races for US House of Representatives. I analyzed 40 websites in total, through which I found candidates employing 5 major web platforms, in order of the most prevalent.
Data was taken from the PA Secretary of state an is the official posted election result counts. Additionally, the websites listed here were those registered when the candidate applied to run for office. Of course, there are many more candidates who did not declare his or her website to the Secretary of State, and those websites were not included in this analysis.
Political Candidate Website Types
WordPress was the most prevalent website system used among the sites analyzed making up 42.5% of all websites, followed by regular HTML sites at 37.5%. The remaining 20% were composed of NationBuilder sites, Facebook, and Twitter. I think it’s important to note that while Facebook and Twitter aren’t actually full websites, the candidates in those cases, 4 in total, decided to forego a traditional website in favor of marketing the campaign only through social media networks. In a moment, I’ll discuss how those campaigns fared.
Political Website Effectiveness
There are literally dozens of ways to rate the effectiveness of a website. You can look at length and type of content on the website, format and structure, or even a more subjective analysis like colors used or artistic flair. I was more interested in the bottom line – the win!
So the next analysis I ran was a win/loss ratio by website type being used in the races. As you can see in the chart below, WordPress has the highest win / loss ratio with 11 wins to only 5 losses. HTML is close behind with 9 wins and 5 losses. These two website types make up all the wins, while the candidates who used other website types, namely NationBuilder, Facebook, and Twitter, experienced only losses.
You’ll notice that the WordPress website count for the purposes of this analysis drops from 17 to 16. This is due to one candidate dropping from the race, so for purposes of wins/losses it does not factor in.
Website Type Match-Ups
It is also helpful to note here that in some cases, candidate websites analyzed were used in races running against each other. For example, the 15 HTML sites were used across 10 races. That means, in some cases, a candidate with an HTML site was running off against another candidate with an HTML site. Of course, in political races there can be only one winner, with the other (or others) being the losers. Among the 17 WordPress sites, there were 4 common races – one of those races had 3 or more candidates – all with WordPress sites. What’s interesting to note here is that the only time a WordPress site associated with a losing candidate is when it ran against another candidate using a WordPress site also.
When candidates using a WordPress site ran against a candidate using any other type of website, the WordPress site was associated with the winner 100% of the time.
There were two instances of a direct match up between HTML sites and WordPress sites running against each other, and in each case the WordPress site was associated with the winning candidate.
A Closer Look at WordPress in Political Websites
With WordPress being used in such a high percentage of winning races I took a closer look at the types of WordPress websites being used by the candidates. The advantage of using a system like WordPress is its high extensibility, modular plugin-in features, and ease-of-use. It also offers the ability to quickly switch between free and stock templates and custom frameworks.
We saw two different types of frameworks being used:
- Full custom builds
- Premium Templates
A full custom build is one where the website is built from scratch. No stock template is employed, or if a template was employed it was modified to such an extent the website no longer looks reasonably like the original template. These are more complex websites with additional features added in, and likely done at a higher price point than the premium template scenario discussed below.
A premium template is a website that is created using a starter template that has the basic features already installed and styled. The candidate, or his/her developer, then went through the process of slightly modifying the template to the candidate’s needs. In these cases, the sites were not modified extensively and the original framework template would clearly be visible in the website structure.
|WordPress Framework||# Sites||% Sites||Wins||Losses|
In my analysis, candidates using WordPress chose to use full custom WordPress websites 56% of the time and premium templates 44% of the time. In terms of usage, the numbers are fairly close. But the results are not.
As you can see from the table above and the charts below, candidates using full custom websites experienced a much higher winning percentage. When full custom websites were employed, candidates won 78% of the time, whereas candidates using stock templates won only 57% of the time, a margin of more than 21%.
Political Candidate Websites Listing
The websites considered in this analysis are listed in the table below, along with the name of the candidate running and type of race. This list is accurate of 11/5/2015 while all the analyzed sites are still live and valid. They may at some point in the future come down. If the link doesn’t work that is likely the reason.
|Tim Murphy||US House of Representatives||http://www.electtimmurphy.com|
|Matt Cartwright||US House of Representatives||http://cartwrightcongress.com|
|Doc Moylan||US House of Representatives||https://www.facebook.com/MoylanforCongress|
|Joe Pitts||US House of Representatives||http://joepittsforcongress.com|
|Tom Houghton||US House of Representatives||http://www.tomhoughton.org/|
|Charlie Dent||US House of Representatives||http://www.dentforcongress.com|
|Mike Doyle||US House of Representatives||http://www.mikedoyleforcongress.com|
|Allyson Schwartz||US House of Representatives||http://allysonschwartz.com|
|Brendan Boyle||US House of Representatives||http://voteboyle.com|
|Dee Adcock||US House of Representatives||http://www.adcockforcongress.com|
|Keith Rothfus||US House of Representatives||http://keithpa4.com|
|Erin McClelland||US House of Representatives||http://erin14.com|
|Lou Barletta||US House of Representatives||http://loubarletta.com|
|Andy Ostrowski||US House of Representatives||http://andyostrowski.com|
|Betsy Summers||US House of Representatives||https://www.facebook.com/betsy.summers1|
|Scott Brion||US House of Representatives||http://www.scottbrionforcongress.com|
|Nick Troiano||US House of Representatives||http://www.nicktroiano.com/|
|Bill Shuster||US House of Representatives||http://www.billshusterforcongress.com|
|Mike Fitzpatrick||US House of Representatives||https://www.fitzpatrickforcongress.com/|
|Kevin Strouse||US House of Representatives||http://www.kevinstrouse.com|
|Pat Meehan||US House of Representatives||http://www.meehanforcongress.com|
|Manan Trivedi||US House of Representatives||http://www.trivediforcongress.com|
|Glenn Thompson||US House of Representatives||http://www.friendsofglennthompson.com/#sthash.4MplqlUo.dpbs|
|Kerith Strano||US House of Representatives||http://www.kstforcongress.com/join?splash=1|
|Linda Thompson||US House of Representatives||http://www.lindathompsonforcongress2014.com/|
|Scott Perry||US House of Representatives||http://www.patriotsforperry.com|
|Mike Kelly||US House of Representatives||http://www.mikekellyforcongress.com|
|Dan LaVallee||US House of Representatives||http://danlavallee.com|
|Chaka Fattah||US House of Representatives||http://fattahforcongress.publishpath.com/|
|Armond James||US House of Representatives||https://twitter.com/Armond4Congress|
|Bob Brady||US House of Representatives||http://www.bobbrady.us|
|Megan Rath||US House of Representatives||http://www.meganforcongress.com|
|Pat Toomey||US Senator||http://toomeyforsenate.com|
|Mike Stack||Lt. Governor||http://www.stackforpa.com|
|Rob McCord||State Treasurer||http://www.robmccord.com|
It’s well-known that WordPress accounts for nearly 1 in 5 of every new website created around the world, but I was surprised to see that WordPress was being used in more than 40% of the open races analyzed here in Pennsylvania. I have no doubt the WordPress ratio will continue to climb in future elections as the platform becomes even more prevalent, and even easier to use.
This is article was first published on CertifiedKnowledge as a guest blog post.
Above 7 it’s in great shape.
From 6 to 4 it gets weak.
Below 3, it’s seriously sick…
And at a 1/10 quality score, your keyword is dead.
A craftsman uses his hands to do the labour and without them he cannot make a living. He trains them, makes them stronger and hones his skill… but if he ever gets a heart attack those hands are useless.
The same is true in Adwords.
Your landing pages and products make you money, you can tweak things here and there, optimize continuously but if your quality scores drop low enough… all advertising become meaningless. You’ve just had a heart attack.
Quality score is the heart of every Adwords account. It defines how much search share you get and how much you pay for it
I. How Low Quality Scores Kill Your Advertising
Unprofitable Advertising Costs
The differences in costs between one score level to the other can double, triple, quadruple and even be ten times higher at the lower end of the scale.
Here’s a graph that shows the average first page minimum bid for keywords at each quality score in one of our adwords accounts:
Notice how first page bids double from 7 to 6, then from 5 to 4 and how they quadruple from 3 to 2.
Surprising? Not really.
If you’re a math geek too, you surely have already reverse engineered the formula for first page minimum bid and you know that it is minBid = minAdRank / QS which is a simple rational function thus the shape of the resulting curve.
And… the only purpose of that last sentence was to make me sound clever.
Here’s the graph that says it all better than any mathematical gibberish. It shows the average cost-per-click (CPC) at each quality score for the account:
Notice how the price doubles from a 10/10 quality score to a 7/10. And 7 is considered to be a great score to have. Notice the sudden bump between 5 to 4.
Could that mean the difference between profit and loss? Absolutely.
Now imagine two advertisers in this same market advertising on the same keyword. One has a 10/10 and the other has 4/10. The chart above tells us that the advertiser with a 4 could be paying 10 times more that his competitor.
Now imagine that the advertiser with a 4/10 is… well, you. Yes, right now you might be paying 10 times more than you should on those keywords you’ve neglected to optimize.
Little To No Traffic To Your Website
Your keyword isn’t triggering ads to appear on google right now due to a low ad rank. ads are ranked based on your bid and quality score.
You can set up ads in 5 minutes and reach 1 million users with Adwords, right?!
Well, it’s not that easy… and quality score will shatter your dreams of traffic orgies in an instant.
Let’s talk about Impression Share (IS).
Impressions Share is the percent of traffic that Google is willing to send you versus the amount of traffic that is actually available to you. (You can view the impression share of all your campaigns by customizing the columns in your adwords account at the campaign level)
Impression share depends on two things: Ad Rank and Budget.
If you have a big budget to spend, obviously Google won’t really stop you from throwing money at them and if you want more Impression Share, just pay more.
Increasing your Ad Rank, however, is the smarter way to go. Ad Rank – a (secret) number Google uses to rank ads in sponsored search results – influences Impression Share and itself is greatly influenced by quality score. It’s formula is AdRank = MaxCPC x QS.
The higher your quality scores, the higher your Ad Rank, and the more impressions Google is willing to send your way. The lower your quality scores, the lower your Ad Rank, the less generous Google is with traffic.
Every time your keywords’ scores drop, traffic is chocked, the pipeline gets thinner until ultimately the flow is completely clogged.
I don’t know about you, but I hate paying more than I should and I despise getting less than I deserve. And that’s why I don’t ever settle for low scores — ever.
II. How To Increase Low QS With Seductive Ads
It all boils down to relevance.
Yes, we all know that click-through-rate (CTR) is the main factor that influences quality score. But what is behind a great CTR? It is having the most relevant ad shown to Mr Searcher. CTR is Google’s best measure of relevance. The importance of understanding relevance beyond what Google tells you is really crucial. The relevance I’m referring to has NOTHING to do with having the same keyword appear in the ad, the ad group or the landing page.
It is about having a deep understanding of who the searcher behind the keyword is. Understanding what led him to typing those words in Google. Understanding his emotions, his frustrations and the short or long series of events that caused him to turn to a search engine for a solution.
It’s about understanding what relevance means to him, NOT what it means to you.
Only when you have that kind of understanding can you write an ad that instantly resonates with him and lift your click-through-rates.
I’ll give you an example.
Once upon a time, in a distant land, an affiliate marketer decided to try the dating niche. One of the products he wanted to sell was a book about how to be better in bed – more specifically, the book claimed to have “500 Love Making Secrets”.
After trying out a few ads, he found one that worked pretty well in terms of click-through-rates, it said:
The last recorded click ratio was 2.04%, the average cost-per-click was $0.21. Not too bad, wasn’t it? The quality score was 7/10 and it stayed at 7 for a very long time.
But profits weren’t that good.
He had no control over the website he was sending traffic to so landing page split-testing for better conversion rates was not an immediate solution.
The answer came from the following ad:
Click-through-rate jumped to 3.84%, quality score swelled up to 10/10 and the cost-per-click was cut in half: $0.10.
Profits got better and he lived happily ever after.
The successful ad wasn’t the result of looking at the website and trying to think up ways to write a better ad. It wasn’t born by trying out tricks like putting keywords in the title, adding a question mark or putting capital letters in the display url.
It was born after intensive research on the person behind the keyword.
I pictured myself being a man looking for love making tips. “What images would be flowing in my head, what do I secretly want, what experiences led me to this search and what is the ultimate result that I’m looking for?”, I asked myself.
Then I typed the words in Google. I took a look at all the websites that were returned, and I asked myself why those results would be relevant and why some wouldn’t be. I looked into blog comments and forum threads to read what people on the same quest were saying about it and how they were expressing themselves.
What I realized is that no man really wants to learn 500 love making secrets just for the sake of it. Instead, they want their partner to be the happiest woman alive and they want themselves to be the source of fulfillment a woman craves for. (And they want to witness her inner animal – grrrrrr!).
This exercise can be done for any type of website, any type of offer, any type of product. Whatever it is you are selling, figuring out the deepest needs buried in the searchers mind will give you the competitive advantage you need to dominate your market.
It will help you discover the features and benefits you need to put forward about your offer to align it with what searchers are looking for, resulting in above than average click-troughs and conversion rates.
6 Steps To Getting Into The Searcher’s Mind And Writing The Perfect Ad
Step 1 – Possess Her Body
Choose a specific keyword in your list and sit in front your computer. Close your eyes and put yourself in the shoes of your prospect. Imagine what happened to you just before you decided to type that keyword into Google. Imagine what you felt, the urgency of the matter, the frustrations tied to it. Imagine what the best solution to your problem would be. It could be important information about something, it could be a better price for the product, a better feature…
Step 2 – See It Like She Sees it
Type your chosen keyword in Google and look at the natural search results. Glance over the 10 results and find the general theme of the results. Are they mostly commercial in nature or are they informative. What are the words used and how, as a searcher, do you feel when looking at them. What are the ones that grab your attention?
There’s a reason why Google is the number search engine, one of those reason is that they do a great job at showing searchers what they want. Researching the natural search results helps you understand better what is happening in the mind of a searcher. Google has already done half the job for you.
Step 3 – Experience What She Experiences
Visit each of the websites returned and try to understand why the first website is number 1, why the second is number 2 and so on. Take a look at what information is offered and understand how each is relevant to your quest – and if it isn’t, find out why it isn’t. Start thinking of ways each website could give you, as a searcher, the solution you desire in a better way.
Step 4 – Eavesdrop On Conversations
Find blogs or forum related to you keyword. Read what people are saying about it. Learn how they express themselves, how they talk about the subject. Find out their knowledge level on the topic. Figure out what they want, what questions aren’t answered and what solution would make their lives easier. Amazon reviews of a similar product as yours is a great place to start.
Step 5 – Spy On Your Competitors (quietly)
Now look at the sponsored results. You could use a spying tool that tells you how long each ad has been showing for your particular keyword. This will tell you – just like the natural search result – what searchers are really looking for. Your competitors have done the other half of the work for you so you should piggy back on their efforts and do a better job than them.
Step 6 – Write The Perfect Ad!
Write 2 or 3 ads to test with what you’ve discovered. It should now be clear to you what type of message resonates most with your prospect. If you’ve taken notes during your research phase in the previous 5 steps, that will help.
Don’t takes these steps lightly. Take your time. Sometimes it takes me days to understand exactly what message resonates with a particular searcher. What’s great about it is that once it works for one keyword, it will work for most of the other keywords in the same market.
When you have done the above exercise, you will know who is behind your keywords and what they are looking for. You’ll be able to segment your ad groups according to your ads and searchers desires. You’ll be able to fine tune your campaign settings to target the right person for the message you’ve written.
Your ads will be sharper, Google will be happy and your wallet will feel it.
Of course there’s more to it and there are other little ways to tweak ads for higher CTR. But there’s nothing I have found that improves ad efficiency better than deeply understanding who you are marketing to.
III. How To Keep High Quality Scores
Understand That QS Varies — A Lot!
The search market place is constantly changing. Advertisers come and go, competitors rise and fall. So do quality scores:
The graph above shows the quality score evolution of one of our keyword over a period of 23 days. The blue line represents quality scores progress and the green line represents first page minimum bids evolution, both having their numerical values displayed in the table below the chart.
Notice how QS has been jumping from 4 to to 7 to 10 and back to 4.
There are many reasons you may wake up one day and find that costs have doubled for your main keywords due to a decrease in quality scores.
Knowing the main causes of quality score rise and fall will help you react fast when it happens.
Here’s what to watch for:
- Unsuccessful ad split-tests
When testing new ads, bad ads can have nefarious influence on your keyword’s average CTR. Your quality score will drop even when one of your ad is performing very well. That’s why it is sometimes a good idea to have one test ad being tested against 3 copies of the successful ad in one ad group. This ensures that your average CTR doesn’t drop too much due a bad test.
- The competition beating you
The competition for your keywords may suddenly start performing better. Google compares your CTR to the average CTR being achieved in your market. You get rewarded for performing better than your competitors, you get punished for under performing. If your competitors suddenly start showing more relevant ads to your poll of prospects, and if that goes on for a while, your quality score will drop since you’re no longer on top of performance. Keep an eye on what others are doing, and try their ideas on your ads.
- Keywords changing meaning
You keywords may change meaning. It’s not uncommon. In his AdWords book, Brad gives an example with the word “Bleach” which shows results for a cartoon. Before that cartoon existed, you would have probably found results for the detergent. There was also a time when typing the words “make the cut” in google would show results of movies and amazon books. Today it mostly shows results for a scrap booking software that was created about a year ago. This all means that your keywords may suddenly start attracting searchers that have no interest in what you’re offering due to a change in keyword meaning. Keep a special eye on what your broad and phrase match keywords are triggering, make sure they stay relevant to your ads.
- Uncrawlable landing pages
Forgotten to renew your domain name? Or did you remember to check that the new landing page was actually uploaded correctly? Or maybe you work in a large organization in which different people work on the same set of pages. Working on a website can sometimes lead to errors not caught in time. When spiders come for a visit and find nothing, you get slapped with 1/10 quality score — a heart attack. Make sure your landing pages are always available and crawlable.
The fact is: quality score varies and it can vary a lot. Those variations may mean the difference between good ROI and great ROI. They may mean the difference between profits and losses. So whenever you think you don’t need to keep an eye on quality scores, you’re doing a disservice to your wallet (and making Google richer).
Track Your Quality Scores Changes And Optimize When Necessary
You went on vacation and left your ads unmanaged. “They’ve been quite stable and since revenue is steady there’s no risk”, you tell yourself. After 2 weeks in Hawaii, you come to find out that your top keywords have stopped generating traffic or that their costs have become unprofitable…
Oops, quality score did it again!
Having a system in place for tracking your daily scores and being notified of changes will prevent drops from sneaking up on you with serious consequences.
A free way to do it is with Excel sheets. I really like this little quick guide Jacqueline Dooley put together, in it she explains how her excel sheet shows her at a glance where she’s lost quality score points. If I didn’t have TenScores, I would personally use her method weekly – instead of monthly like she advises – on all my main keywords until they are all above 7.
IV. Starting With High Quality Scores In The First Place
Start With Your Brand’s Keywords
People who are searching for your brand’s name, your domain name or product name aren’t shopping around, they want you and they know it. The CTR you achieve from those keywords sets a foundation for your accounts history that influences the scores you receive for other keywords.
Build On Your Typical Visitor’s Profile
Start in first gear and shift gradually.
Before you go in and load millions of keywords and ads in your account, start small and test the waters with a few ad groups. Although the searcher behind every keyword is different, people in your market place share common frustrations or needs that need to be met. Use the tips mentioned above to figure out the kind of message that resonates most with prospects in your market.
Once you have found the kind of message that generates above average CTR, it’s ok to scale and use the same message on millions of keywords if they fall under the same kind of market and same demographics.
A common mistake that many new advertisers make is to start in 5th gear with too many keywords without having a deep understanding of what their market responds to. They end up having poor performance in a short amount of time, quality scores drop and the account is almost doomed to failure. Don’t make that mistake.
I hope this helps you get closer to achieving your goals, let us know what you think in the comments.
What happens when nobody clicks on your call-to-action phrases and buttons?
You don’t get any leads. Nor do you generate any revenue.
That’s the opposite of the point, right? Which is why I tell business owners and marketers to take the time to refine their CTAs.
A poorly-written CTA negates all the hard work you do for the rest of your marketing campaign. Someone who visits your website might be with you up until that point, then decide to bail on the conversion.
So, how do you write call-to-action phrases that convert?
What is the Psychology Behind CTA Phrases?
From the day we’re born, we’re taught to follow orders. That’s why you might learn that definitive CTA phrases work better than others.
For instance, compare these two call-to-action phrases:
- Are You Ready to Subscribe?
- Subscribe Now!
Which one catches your attention? The second one, right? That’s because the phrase proves definitive and authoritative. It tells the reader exactly what to do.
Consumers have also come to expect CTAs. They predate the internet. From billboards and television commercials to brochures and flyers, advertising creative always includes a CTA.
- Call this number now to get our low-low price!
- Want more information? Call 888.555.5555!
- Like what you see? Visit us at the corner of 1st and 2nd Streets!
See what I mean?
On the internet, though, the call-to-action phrases can become far more dynamic. Not only can consumers click them with the mouse or tap them with a finger, but the CTA buttons’ colors, fonts, and other visual elements can influence conversions.
Consumers who are internet-savvy know what a call to action looks like. Consequently, they’ve become psychologically influenced to click.
That doesn’t mean the click’s automatic, though. The specific call-to-action phrases you use and the placement of those CTAs can also have a psychological impact.
19 Call-to-Action Phrases to Get More Conversions (And Why They Work)
We know that CTAs are important for conversions, but what types of call-to-action phrases work best? The answer might disappoint you: It depends.
Every audience responds differently depending on their personalities, desires, pain points, and other characteristics. That’s where A/B testing comes in. You can’t just assume that a well-written CTA will resonate with your audience.
But let’s take a look at some CTA phrases that work well in a variety of situations.
1. “Yes, I Want X!”
This is one of the most common affirmative call-to-action phrases. It’s speaking in the voice of the consumer.
In other words, when readers see this CTA, they read it to themselves as though it were their own original thought.
“X” could be anything: a free download, a discount, free shipping, or any other incentive. That doesn’t matter. Your goal is to affirm that your reader wants whatever you’re offering and will therefore convert.
Why the CTA phrase works
Affirmative CTAs like this one work because they plant a seed. Your reader might not know he or she wants your offer, but reading that phrase creates a positive connection between the offer and the consumer.
2. Snag/Grab/Seize/Score/Gain X Now!
Your high school English teacher told you that thesaurus would come in handy one day, and now look where you are! When you use unique words in your call-to-action phrases, you call (pardon the pun) more attention to it.
You could say “Get X Now!” with “X” being the incentive. But “get” is a boring word. It’s almost passive. Other words add more interest to the phrase.
Why the CTA phrase works
People prefer to receive than to give. Every Christmas card will tell you otherwise, but in commerce, consumers are out for themselves.
When you start your CTA phrase with a word that implies a benefit for the consumer, you’re more likely to attract clicks and signups.
Additionally, the word “now” adds some urgency to the CTA. It suggests the consumer needs to hurry up and act or risk losing out on the opportunity forever.
3. Start Your Journey Toward X
Some of the best call-to-action phrases expressly mention a direct benefit of clicking on the CTA button. They tell the user what he or she will get in exchange for providing an email address or buying your product.
In this case, X represents a result.
- Start your journey toward successful weight loss
- Start your path to greater wealth
- Begin your adventure to improving your speaking skills
Notice that I’m pulling out that thesaurus again. The call-to-action phrases listed above are each variations on the primary formula. Feel free to get creative.
Why the CTA phrase works
A results- or benefits-based CTA allows the consumer to imagine his or her own success. It suggests that a dream or goal lies just behind their reach, and all they have to do is click on that button and get the incentive.
It’s also a little motivational. If you can excite your readers and make them anticipate whatever lies on the other side of your CTA, you’re doing some good marketing.
4. Do You Want to X? Yes or No
In this case, I’m combining a headline with a CTA. The headline is “Do You Want to X?” And the CTA is “Yes,” but we’re also providing a “No” alternative.
For instance, you might use a headline like this: “Do you want to lose weight?”
If your site is geared toward people who want to shed excess pounds, you can pretty much guarantee your readers will feel compelled to click the “Yes” button. If they click “No,” the action feels discordant with their true beliefs and desires.
Why the CTA phrase works
As mentioned above, people are averse to aligning themselves with a value or statement that they don’t believe in. If you ask someone a question in a headline, your CTA becomes more appealing because the user knows the truth.
He or she can still click “No,” but it won’t feel right. Next time, he or she might click “Yes.”
5. Activate X Today!
Maybe you’re offering a discount on products or a free demo of your service. Using a CTA like this one puts the visitor in the driver’s seat and motivates him or her to take action.
- Activate your 30-day free trial today!
- Activate your 20% discount now!
- Activate your free shipping offer today!
See what I mean?
Why the CTA phrase works
The word “activate” sounds impressive and momentous. It’s unique in comparison to words like “get” or “start,” so it’s more likely to draw attention, and it can build excitement. Plus, when you add “now” or “today,” you inject that urgency factor into your call-to-action phrases.
6. You’re Running Out of Time!
This is a classic CTA that has worked in numerous types of media. It’s heavily rooted in urgency and scarcity — two psychological principles that can work extremely well when used in moderation. You don’t want to hammer into your readers’ heads that they need to act now! However, a little goes a long way.
Variations on this CTA could include the following:
- Act before it’s too late!
- Get your discount before it’s gone!
- Don’t miss out!
- Limited quantities available!
Why the CTA phrase works
Consumers respond to urgency and scarcity because they don’t want to miss out. When they know a deal is going away or a limited run of products might sell out, they want to get in on the action.
This means they don’t have time to ruminate. Given enough time, many consumers will talk themselves out of purchasing things they really want. If they’re forced to make a decision faster, though, they’ll likely act.
7. Add to Cart
I thought I’d throw this one in because it’s unexpected. We often talk about call-to-action phrases in terms of their uniqueness. For instance, using stronger, unique verbs can improve conversions.
However, sometimes it’s best not to invent the wheel.
Huge websites like Amazon use the CTA “Add to Cart” on their sales pages. If it didn’t work, they would have switched them by now.
Why the CTA phrase works
Sometimes, simplicity is better than creativity. Sad, but true. Consumers know exactly what “Add to Cart” means. They understand that they’re filling up their digital shopping carts for future purchases.
When you use a familiar CTA like this one, your prospective customer doesn’t have to think too much. It becomes as easy as grabbing a product off the shelf at Walmart and tossing it in a real basket.
8. Add to Wishlist
While we’re on the subject of simplicity, I thought I’d include this one, too. Wishlists are the step before the purchase — showing intent on the part of the consumer to eventually buy a product.
If you run an ecommerce store, consider adding wishlist functionality. Not only will wishlists remind your leads of what they want, but those leads can share their wishlists with their friends. Suddenly, purchases start pouring in when birthdays and other holidays roll around.
Why the CTA phrase works
There are two primary benefits to adding add-to-wishlist CTAs on your ecommerce website.
One, the customer doesn’t have to make any commitment. A wishlist isn’t a checkout cart. It’s just a list of desired products.
Two, users who want to add products to their wishlists have to create an account. That means you can collect their email addresses. Instead of attempting to snag them as leads in some other way, such as with a lead magnet, you can let the wishlist do the talking.
9. Join X Other [Category] as Subscribers to My Email List
Here’s a form of social proof. There are several ways to structure CTA phrases like this:
- Join 233,000 other marketers and subscribe to my email list.
- Become one of the 23,451 people who subscribe to my emails.
- Join the club! Over 500,000 fitness enthusiasts request my emails. You could, too!
Why the CTA phrase works
When you have a big email list, you might as well use it to your advantage. After all, you did the work to collect all those addresses.
Consumers see numbers like those and think, “What am I missing?” They wonder why hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people are so interested in what you have to say.
So they join.
10. Get Your Free X
I encourage you to find synonyms for the word “get,” but this is the simplest form of this type of CTA phrase. You’re inviting your website visitors to get something for free.
And it better be something of value.
You might offer a cheat sheet, a checklist, a toolkit, or a pack of free templates. These are called lead magnets. They’re designed to convince people to join your email list in exchange for something they want.
Why the CTA phrase works
“Free” is a double-edged sword. In some cases, consumers translate “free” as “worthless.”
You have to prove them wrong.
When you fill in “X,” make it sound as valuable and information-rich as possible.
For instance, you could say, “Snag your free, comprehensive guide to getting more clients now!”
The value is built into the description. Of course, the download needs to back up your claims.
Free can also work to your advantage. Consumers appreciate generosity, so when you’re giving of your time and knowledge, they might reciprocate by buying products or investing in your services.
11. Reserve your spot now!
Exclusivity is a powerful way to convince people they want whatever you’re offering. There are lots of things for which you must reserve a spot — things people covet.
Attendance at a major event. Access to an exclusive club. Tickets to a private concert. You get the idea.
If you’re offering a free webinar or other virtual event — or if you’re inviting people to join you in the “real world” for an event — use this type of CTA. It subtly communicates that few spots are available.
Why the CTA phrase works
Why do you think secret societies, fraternal organizations, and clubs exist? They’re exclusive. You have to be accepted to join, and there are usually limited spots.
You know you’re not vetting registrees to your next webinar, but you can still use this psychological principle to your advantage.
12. Start the quiz
Quizzes have an almost magnetic pull. They’re fun to take, they reveal something about yourself, and they allow you to compare yourself to others. Using a quiz as a CTA can pull people farther into your sales funnel by exposing them to more of your brand.
You can then end your quiz with a final CTA.
The quiz should relate specifically to your business. For instance, if you sell fitness supplements, you’ll want to ask what the user’s goal is, what he or she has tried before, and what types of supplements he or she is interested in.
At the end, use a CTA that recommends a specific product.
Why the CTA phrase works
Call-to-action phrases aren’t always linear. In other words, they don’t have to transport the prospect from Point A to Point B immediately.
Your quiz might only contain a few questions, but you want to use the answers to guide your prospect to a solution he or she will appreciate. At that point, the prospect is eager to see what you’re offering.
How to Test Different Call-to-Action Phrases to See Which One Is Better
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, a call to action might be beautifully worded and still not work on your audience. It doesn’t mean your website visitors are stupid or inept. It just means they have their own unique responses to stimuli.
Testing different call-to-action phrases will give you hard data about which one is better. You can them decide what types of CTA phrases to use in the future so you’re more likely to convert people who visit.
Start using a user behaviour tool to identify the clicks and test
User behavior tools, such as Crazy Egg, enable you to collect actionable data about how your CTAs perform among your website visitors. You can see where you get the most clicking activity, whether people scroll down far enough to even see your CTA, and whether there’s a better placement on the page.
Once you’ve nailed down that information, start running A/B tests. Compare two versions of the same page, changing only one variable — in this case, the call to action. The one that outperforms the other is the winner.
Poor CTAs hurt your lead generation efforts as well as your revenue. That’s the last thing any business owner wants.
Paying attention to your audience and testing new call-to-action phrases, however, can improve both metrics and make your business stronger.
In the world of politics everything seems to be able the last week of an election, after that its over. In the business world you have to keep going after a certain defined date to remain in business. Political SEO requires keeping in mind the business world because in Google ranking they are your biggest competitors and the other candidate is likely just as I was talking with a politico kind of friend in the last two days about the need in getting in contact with any campaigns for November now … he seemed puzzled and said we had three months and most campaigns are just starting. That may be fine and dandy for yard signs and television commercials but online everything needs to be in place before you want it. That means now.
I will grant you that Jefferson County Judge Executive isn’t a highly sought after keyword. But then who is going to Google that keyword closer to the election? If you thought that was the keyword for that office, you’d be wrong. You need to stop thinking of proper nouns as good Google keywords. I’ll pin a conversation about keywords at another time but for now focus on timing.
Its not too late to invest in search engine optimization and building an engaging site for voters. It will be too late in October when you will wish you had.
Google’s mobile first index has created quite an upheaval in the marketing world — and for good reason. If Google is taking mobile websites more seriously, shouldn’t you?
After all, if you want Google to serve up your content to searchers, you need to know how Google crawls and assesses your website. Otherwise, you fall behind the competition.
But don’t panic.
If you don’t have a mobile website ready to go now, you’re not doomed to haunt the 100th page of the Google SERPs forever. In fact, Google is slowly rolling out this new strategy, roping in more websites as time goes on.
If you have a desktop version of your site, you can still get ranked. But at some point, you need to consider the ramifications of not having a mobile-friendly website to serve your visitors.
What is the Mobile First Index?
Google’s mobile first index has created quite an upheaval in the marketing world — and for good reason.
If Google is taking mobile websites more seriously, shouldn’t you?
But don’t panic.
If you don’t have a mobile website ready to go now, you’re not doomed to haunt the 100th page of the Google SERPs forever. In fact, Google is slowly rolling out this new strategy, roping in more websites as time goes on.
If you have a desktop version of your site, you can still get ranked. But at some point, you need to consider the ramifications of not having a mobile-friendly website to serve your visitors.
What is the Mobile First Index?
The mobile first index is Google’s way of serving up more relevant search results to mobile users. The search giant has selected a certain number of websites that meet the company’s criteria for mobile-friendly design and using the mobile version of the site to populate the SERPs.
Let’s say that your website was chosen to be involved with the Google mobile first index rollout. You would get an alert in Google Search Console to let you know.
From that point, Google would crawl your mobile site first. It would also display information from the mobile form of your website in the SERPs for searchers to see.
This doesn’t mean your desktop website no longer exists or get crawled. If someone searches for a keyword related to your business on a desktop computer, he or she would still find the desktop version of your site.
In the past, Google only considered a website’s desktop version when ranking and crawling pages. That’s no longer the case. Since mobile users spend two times more minutes online than desktop users, Google understands the need to serve those users better content.
But what makes a website mobile friendly? And how do you know if your website is ready for the Google mobile first index? I’m going to cover that and more so you’re ready with a sound strategy.
What Are the Main Changes With the Mobile First Index in 2018?
In March 2018, Google announced the primary change in the mobile first index strategy. Specifically, the search engine will bring in more websites now that the algorithm, bugs, and testing have been ironed out.
If your website isn’t in the first, second, or third wave of this rollout, don’t worry. Remember that Google, as of 2016, had indexed over 130 trillion web pages. That’s a lot. It’ll take time for Google to get to them all.
Additionally, some websites don’t even have mobile versions yet. If your website doesn’t use responsive design or a mobile alternative site, it likely doesn’t render well on mobile screens. You have time to rectify that problem, which I’ll get to later.
The point here is that Google has made some changes regarding how it indexes pages:
- Distributing as much mobile-friendly content as possible to people on smartphones, tablets, and similar devices
- For websites in the rollout, Google will display the mobile version of a website if it exists on a separate URL (e.g. m.your site.com instead of yoursite.com)
- Websites with dynamic serving built in will have their mobile-friendly pages served to mobile users
- Google will choose mobile-friendly sites over AMP sites.
What Google says about the Mobile First Index
Google has been quick to staunch any panic surrounding its mobile first index. In the short term, at least, it shouldn’t impact your rankings for your existing web pages.
Essentially, Google will be using a bot called a smartphone agent. It will help to identify websites that follow mobile best practices, and are therefore more suitable for the mobile first index.
If you have a desktop site with no mobile alternative, or if your site uses responsive design, there will be no change right now. The same is true if you use canonical AMP.
Additionally, Google claims that the mobile first index — at least for now — has nothing to do with actual ranking. It’s concerned with how Google “collects content.”
For instance, if you have a mobile version of your site or responsive design, your SERP listings will remain the same. Google will pull information from your site just as it always has.
If, however, you have multiple URLs for mobile and desktop, Google will want to serve up the mobile version to smartphone and tablet users. They’ll see the content in the SERPs as defined by the mobile version of your site, such as your headline, URL extension, and meta description.
How to Build a Mobile First Indexing Strategy for Your Website
With all the backstory out of the way, let’s look at how you can prepare a sound strategy for the mobile first index. Preparing ahead can make your site more likely to get listed in the mobile first index. Additionally, you won’t suffer any rankings issues in the future.
Add XML and media sitemaps
XML and HTML sitemaps have existed for ages. They allow your website to tell Google when you publish new content, which theoretically gets your newest pages indexed faster.
Media sitemaps are the same as XML sitemaps except that they include media other than text, such as images and videos. Many websites have attachment pages that include just the media, and Google can index those, as well, if you choose.
If you’re a WordPress user, the easiest way to generate an XML and media sitemap is to install the Yoast plugin. It automatically creates sitemaps so you don’t have to worry about code or other granular details. Plus, it also includes media sitemaps.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when trying to create mobile-friendly websites is disabling certain content on the mobile version. Don’t do that.
Mobile users want just as much information as desktop users. They’re interested in text, images, videos, and other media, so don’t strip them from your mobile site.
Instead, focus on creating the high-quality content every searcher demands. Go in-depth on specific subjects, use media to illustrate your points, and optimize your meta data, which I’ll discuss next.
The mobile first index shouldn’t have any impact on the length or quality of your content. Even the smallest smartphones are large enough to read an article, so don’t deprive those users of your thoughtful prose.
Add optimized metadata
Think of metadata as a way to communicate with users and search engines both. There are many different kinds of metadata, and you need to make sure you’re optimizing the right ones.
First, your titles and meta descriptions should match on mobile and on desktop. These are the two primary pieces of information a searcher sees when landing on a Google SERP.
If a user searches on mobile, he or she should see the same thing.
Images matter, too. Make sure every image you upload to your site has an alt attribute. It looks like this in the HTML:
<img src=”https://www.xyz.com/picture” alt=”Crazy Egg”>
If you use WordPress, you don’t have to worry about coding. Just click on the image you want to change and select the pencil icon to edit it. You’ll see a form field for ALT text. Fill it in with keyword-rich content.
Set up structured data
Structured data — also called schema markup — helps explain to Google what your website contains. For instance, you can use structured data on a recipe page to communicate the ingredients needed, cooking time, and other information.
Thousands of options for schema markup exist, but you don’t have to use them all. Apply them when they’ll help search engines — and, by extension, Google users — find your content more easily.
The important thing to take away from structured data about the mobile first index is that your schema markup should be the same on both versions of your website. If you have a separate mobile URL, make sure you add the schema markup that exists on your desktop site, and vice versa.
Use expandable content
At one time, “hidden” content was a big SEO no-no. That’s still true for black hatters who want to game the system by keyword-stuffing their articles with text in the same color as the background and other similar tricks.
By the way, they don’t work anymore.
But hidden content can actually help improve your website’s user experience and make your site more mobile friendly. Specifically, I’m talking about expandable content.
You’ve probably seen it on dozens of websites. Some designers and marketers call it accordion content. It’s the type of content that has a headline that you can click on to expand the content further.
If you visit a product page on Lowes.com, for instance, you’ll see a form of expandable content under the product description. There are several blue boxes with icons and headlines.
What happens when you click on one of those blue boxes? It expands.
You can click the minus sign on the right-hand side of the tab you opened to close it.
Why does this matter for the mobile first index?
Think about mobile devices. They’re smaller, and scrolling takes a toll on tired fingers. By introducing expandable content, you reduce the work your visitor needs to do to get the information he or she needs.
Optimize site speed
Site speed matters no matter how your website visitors find you or what devices they use. However, it matters even more on mobile.
When people are out and about, they’re often in a hurry. They want the quickest path from their question to a potential answer.
Maybe they’re looking for a place to eat, instructions on how to unclog a toilet, or something else entirely. If the matter’s urgent, they won’t wait for your slow website to load.
Google offers a PageSpeed Insights tool that will tell you how well your website stacks up on both desktop and mobile. Just plug your URL into the box and wait for the answer.
It’ll even tell you what you need to fix to make your site faster.
Work on the user experience on mobile
Try visiting your website on a mobile device. Pretend you’re not the website’s owner, but a potential customer.
Visit several pages. Attempt to use the search feature. Tap the navigation icons or text.
When you find an obstacle, make a note. For instance, navigation links need to be large enough on mobile so that people with larger hands can tap them accurately. If you struggle to tap the right link, you need to make a change in your mobile site’s design.
Use Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP, or accelerated mobile pages, are a way to make your site more accessible to mobile users. If you haven’t set it up yet, now’s the time.
There’s a WordPress AMP plugin that makes creating AMP pages super simple. Just install the plugin and follow the directions.
Google will handle your AMP pages in different ways.
If you have both AMP and non-AMP versions of your website, Google will typically index the mobile-friendly, non-AMP version. It’s just easier that way. That also means Google will be using the non-AMP URL in the SERPs.
Keep in mind, though, that this might change as AMP becomes more sound and more websites use it. Having AMP as an option on your site will set you up for success no matter how Google’s mobile first index changes beyond 2018.
How Google Mobile First Index Can Impact Rankings
If you’re reading this article because you’re concerned with SEO, your bottom line likely deals without how your website will rank. You want to know if you’ll take a hit if you’re not perfectly set up for the mobile first index.
Do not panic.
As of now, Google isn’t using the mobile first index as a ranking signal. It’s just too early in the game, and since not all websites are part of the mobile first index, it doesn’t make sense for Google to punish those that aren’t included in the program.
First, let’s make one thing clear. Mobile first doesn’t mean mobile only. In other words, even if you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your site, you can still rank.
However, Google has made clear that it considers its mobile users a top priority. It makes sense for Google to give preference to websites that render properly on mobile versus a site that only has a desktop version.
Many people react to Google’s changes — and often panic. A better approach is to analyze the reasons behind Google’s decisions to figure out where the search engine will go next.
At some point in the future, mobile friendliness will likely have a big impact on rankings. Start preparing for it now.
FAQ About the Mobile First Index 2018
Let’s answer a few of the questions I hear most often about the mobile first index.
Does Google care if you have a mobile site or responsive design?
A mobile site is a separate website designed for mobile users. It typically has an m at the beginning, followed by a period and your URL.
Responsive design is a way to serve up the same website to both desktop and mobile users. It adjusts the design and text to fit the screen size.
Responsive design is likely the way to go because, as mentioned above, Google wants to deliver the same high-quality content to mobile users as to desktop users. If you’re lazy about updating your mobile site, you could slip in the rankings.
However, at this point, it doesn’t matter from a ranking standpoint.
How do I know how Google is indexing my site?
Use the Fetch and Render tool in Google Search Console to check out whether Google is pulling mobile data for the SERPs. Use mobile:smartphone as the user-agent and allow the tool to prepare the batch. If there’s missing content, you need to figure out how to make mobile content accessible.
How will Google get their ranking signals?
Google will continue to get ranking signals from desktop websites that don’t have a mobile version, responsive design, or AMP. Websites that are mobile-friendly, however, will provide their ranking signals from their mobile sites.
The mobile first index is no reason to panic. It’s only just now rolling out in a broad way, and many sites aren’t affected by it yet.
With that in mind, continually improve the user experience on mobile so your website visitors don’t encounter any obstacles.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Hauck’s Handy Store and the name of Lynn Hauck Hite.
Salt and pepper hair and brightly colored lawn chairs lined the streets surrounding Hauck’s Handy Store on Monday evening, as those 45 years and older signed up to compete in the annual World Championship Dainty Contest.
Using a 3-foot broom handle, competitors try to pop up and hit the small wooden peg. They get three shots to try to hit it as far down George Hauck Way as they can.
The street game was created by German immigrants in the 1800s. It was brought to Schnitzelburg in 1971 by George Hauck, who created the game to bring the community closer together. And proceeds go to the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Old swing tunes spread around the streets. Standing under the Hauck’s Handy Store sign, Lynn Hauck Hite, George Hauck’s daughter, runs around gathering beer tickets selling icy drinks from the storefront.
“It always meant a lot to dad and all of us,” she said.
Hauck, 98, was unable to make the event this year. However, his daughter, Lynn, and other Dainty veterans are continuing the tradition.
Gary Allen wears a neon yellow T-shirt and clutches a microphone in his hand. The 66-year-old has been organizing the event for 13 years.
When he began, there were nearly 300 people in attendance. Today the event has grown to close to 500.
One of those attendees is Mike McDermott, 39. He sits in a lawn chair along the side of the road with his mother, Pat.
Watching participants prepare, he smiles.
“It’s not as easy as it looks,” McDermott said.
McDermott has been coming to the event for nearly 30 years now. It’s a tradition for him. He’s seen people who are freshly 45 and 80-year-olds participate in some friendly competition.
Sister Michele and Mary Schmidt laugh as excitement amongst watchers grows. Sister Michele lives in the area and has been coming to the event for five years.
“There’s nothing like this,” she said, lips spreading into a grin.
As drops of rain begin to splatter amongst the crowd, attendees pull out umbrellas and pull up hoods, unfazed by the weather.
Old friends, local dignitaries and young onlookers hug and laugh as one by one players strike out. They cheer as a sudden hit sends a peg flying through the air.
Gary Allen speaks into the mic, calling contestants up, one more excited than the next.
“Every year someone says I can’t wait to be 45,” he said.
Better Schools Kentucky, the political organization of the Jefferson County Teachers (JCTA) has endorsed your [Sean Delahanty’s] election campaign for Jefferson County District Court Judge, 30th District, Division 6.
Judge Sean Delahanty is humbled to have the endorsement of the largest educational political organization in Louisville, KY.
Better Schools Kentucky is a political action committee made up of Kentucky teachers. They seek to support pro-public education candidates who will promote what is best for children and public education throughout the Commonwealth.
The Better Schools Kentucky Committee evaluates incumbents’ voting records on public education issues, interviews candidates, and reviews candidates’ answers to written questionnaires. After considering all of this information, the Committee recommends candidates who are strong advocates for children, teachers and public education; candidates who will listen to the concerns of classroom teachers; and candidates who feel, as they do, that teachers and public schools are important.
The PDF endorsement letter is viewable at the bottom of this page.
Louisville’s Sean Delahanty understands that free public education for all students in Louisville, KY is essential to the growth and prosperity of the entire community. While there are challenges in any community, Delahanty is proud of Louisville’s educational system. Delahanty is a native Louisvillian. Judge Delahanty believes his local education and his teachers were an impactful force leading to his career in law. This community should lead the advocacy, education and curriculum of it’s schools.
BSK Represents JCTA
JCTA was first established in 1968. Over thirty-five years later they are the recognized bargaining agent for over 6,000 certified personnel employed by Jefferson County Public Schools. They represent teachers, librarians, speech clinicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists in every one of the public schools in Jefferson County.
JCTA’s mission is to serve as the active voice of their members; promote quality and equity in public schools; expand and protect the rights and interests of their members; and advocate human, civil and economic rights for all.
If you are involved in any form of digital marketing, then you know that marketing automation is changing the rules of the game.
Figures show that, on average, 49% of businesses are already using marketing automation, and more than 55% of B2B companies have adopted automation technologies.
Based on a study by Regalix, businesses most commonly employ automation in:
- email marketing
- lead nurturing
- software integrations of systems such as CRM, mobile, and social media.
Such activities are driving up sales productivity by as much as 14.5% and reducing marketing overhead by 12.2%.
Imagine setting up customer journeys in your email marketing automation software. All actions are automatically triggered and executed, relieving you of any worries about manually nurturing prospects and leading them down the conversion path.
Automation has made marketing faster, easier and more efficient than ever before.
Sounds fantastic, but what exactly is marketing automation, what can it do for your business, and how hard is it to master?
Today we’re going to cover the use cases for marketing automation, and how your business can benefit.
Along the way, we’ll provide plenty of examples that you can draw inspiration from. Let’s get started!
What Are the Goals of Marketing Automation?
By definition, marketing automation refers to the use of software to automate manual marketing processes. This includes repetitive tasks such as sending emails, qualifying website leads, social media posting, and more.
Just like any other marketing technique, marketing automation came to be and has gained acceptance because it helps companies and organizations attain certain business goals, the most important of which are:
- To generate qualified sales leads
- To convert qualified sales leads into profitable customers
- To increase the lifetime value of your customers through customer retention
Converting qualified sales leads into profitable customers is often a central focus for many businesses, because it is easy to track and ties directly to revenue.
It’s important to note that the term “conversion” can mean many things depending on your business model and objectives, such as an inquiry, a purchase or a client setting up an appointment.
Marketing Automation is Part of the Bigger Picture
You might be thinking that the goals of marketing automation seem to be one and the same as the goals of your other marketing efforts. Of course, you are right, even more so because marketing automation does not exist in a vacuum.
Consequently, honing these other digital marketing venues is an integral part of implementing automation successfully.
So, let’s take a step back and look first at things you can do to optimize your website for conversions in general, and, specifically in anticipation of adding automation to your marketing funnel.
How to Optimize Your Website for Conversions
Marketing automation can significantly up the number of visitors to your website. However, while elevated traffic is great, it isn’t very useful if visitors do not convert. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your website has what it takes to convince visitors to take action.
Here are a number of strategies you can implement to help optimize your website for higher conversion rates:
Ensure fast page loads
Your website visitors are busy people, and a page that is slow to load can be a major turn off and even drive visitors away. So regularly check your page load times to make sure they’re quick.
Use less elements
Overfilling a web-page with images and text not only slows loading time, but too many elements can also confuse and distract visitors from the conversion path you designed for them. Keep your customers engaged with limited, yet powerful images and copy to avoid overwhelming visitors.
Strategically place conversion elements
Your call to action, sign up forms and other conversion elements should be placed above the fold so that visitors can find them right away. Remember, not all visitors scroll down your page.
Communicate what’s in it for them
Be straightforward about the benefits of your product or service and how exactly it can help your customers address the challenges they face.
Use action words
Encourage your visitors to act with stimulating verbs in your calls to action. Experiment with your CTAs to know which phrase or words work best. Depending on your goal, you can use “Inquire here,” “Reserve now,” or “Buy now.”
Ask for limited information
Not all visitors are comfortable with providing large amounts of personal information. They don’t believe it’s worth it. Limit your request to a few important data points such as name and occupation. You can always send a survey email to gather further details.
Add testimonials and reviews
Testimonials and positive reviews provide social proof, helping you to establish credibility. Use these eloquent words from your existing customers to build confidence and trust amongst visitors to your site.
Show off your social media follower and subscriber counts
If you have already built a relatively large community for your brand, use this as further social evidence of your reputation.
Every now and then, change your CTA to test whether it improves your conversion rate . A few CTA elements that you can try out are color, copy, placement, and size.
Marketing Automation Strategies that Increase Conversion Rates
Once your website is optimized, it’s time to set up funnels and customer journeys in your marketing automation software to attract people and convert them into paying customers.
Start with the following tips for guaranteed results.
Hyper-personalize your emails
Email personalization is so effective that it would be a fallacy not to use it. Here are a few examples of strategies that you can follow when personalizing your emails:
- Start with the first thing recipients read – the subject line. It is well documented, for instance, that addressing recipients by their first names can make a big difference.
- Leverage customer data such as demographics, past purchases and online behavior to offer the right products and services.
- Send offers based on recipient locations.
- Limit yourself to two or three instances of personalization per email, else it might seem creepy to your recipients.
- Use dynamic content so that recipients see only images that are relevant to their interests.
Here’s a sample of personalized, dynamic, gender based email content by Adidas:
Segment your mailing list
Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all emails. Today, using segmentation to target the right audience with the right email is not only recommended, but a must. Statistics show that segmented email campaigns have 14.32% higher open rates and 100.95% higher click-through rates.
Email list segmentation best practices:
- Create a “new subscriber” mailing list and and send a series of welcome emails.
- Segment your contacts by demographics, such as age, gender and location.
- Check the interests and preferences of your customers based on their email history, website activity, and online behavior, and use this information to send them relevant offers.
- Group contacts who are listed as being from the same location, so that you can send them location-based offers.
- Segment customers based on the level of their engagement. Send highly engaged customers more promotional emails, while adding lapsed customers to your re-engagement email campaigns.
- Segment contacts by purchase amounts, allowing you to offer them up-sell and cross-sell opportunities that make sense.
Set up active triggers
One of the marvels of marketing automation is that it lets you (instantly) respond to your customers’ behavior. This is made possible through triggers.
Triggers are conditions that kick off automations. These conditions embody your own pre-determined criteria and follow if-then logic, e.g. “If a visitor clicks on a product, send them special offers for related products.”
Marketing automation triggers increase the relevancy and immediacy of your marketing emails and messages because they are directly associated with actions customers take when viewing one of your digital assets.
With triggers you can take a variety of responsive actions, such as:
- Sending a welcome note each time a visitor subscribes to receive your emails.
- Displaying a confirmation message or deploying an email each time a customer makes a purchase.
- Emailing a thank you note every time a visitor downloads a promotional offer.
- Reminding customers who abandoned their shopping cart to complete their transactions.
- Emailing visitors who visit a certain page often, as frequent visits could indicate interest or greater intent to buy.
Integrate multiple platforms
You are likely familiar with omnichannel marketing, which states (the obvious) that marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device.
Here are a few suggestions for integrating different digital venues and tools into a single, unified marketing approach:
- Integrate email campaigns and newsletters into your marketing automations to send recipients more relevant and timely communications. Automating emails is so fundamental that progressive email marketing platforms double up as marketing automation software.
- Integrate your CRM system with your marketing automation software to help organize and centralize your customer data and to get more out of it.
- Integrate social media to nurture and convert leads gained from the various social platforms you have a presence on. Doing so will also allow you to target customers and subscribers on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms, with social media ads.
- Integrate your website and landing pages to leverage your customers’ website behavior and activities in your marketing automation strategies. This is also quite common, such that automation software will often include a landing page builder component.
Automation workflows let you weave everything together and precisely plan automated customer journeys. Through workflows, you can automate a series of actions that are triggered when:
- Certain pre-determined conditions are met
- A user’s contact information fits a particular profile
- Customers behave in a specific fashion.
Such workflows make it easier to execute lead nurturing tasks, strengthen customer relationships, and encourage repeat purchases.
Here are a few ideas for workflows that you can set up in your marketing automation software:
- Welcome workflow: Set up a welcome email workflow for new subscribers, encouraging them to make their first purchase.
- Post-purchase workflow: Ask for reviews, testimonials, and feedback via email surveys.
- Re-engagement workflow: Bring back lapsed customers with a workflow that sends a series of re-engagement emails.
- Loyalty program: Strengthen your loyalty program with a workflow that offers rewards, privileges and exclusive discounts, which can encourage additional purchases.
- Content workflow. Send email subscribers relevant content to encourage them to send an inquiry or make a purchase.
Take a peek at the following image to see how easy it is can be to create a workflow with the right marketing automation software:
Use a lead scoring system
Lead scoring is often considered the best way to gauge whether leads are sales-ready or not. In fact, 68% of highly effective and efficient marketers said that lead scoring is their top revenue contributor.
In lead scoring, you are basically grading your leads’ email and website activities by assigning a score to every action they take, such as visiting a product page or clicking on a CTA. Once a lead reaches a score threshold (for instance, 20), they will be turned over to the sales team to try and close a transaction.
Score your leads like a pro with the following tips:
- Establish a scoring threshold that will automatically alert the sales team to leads that are ready for sales.
- Never assign the same score to all actions. High-value actions such as visiting your pricing page or contact-us page must have higher scores than lower-value actions (like opening an email).
- Score leads based on:
- Pages visited
- Number of visits
- Email opens
- Email engagement
- Links clicked
- Blog posts read
- Website session duration
- Social media activity
Measuring the Success of Your Marketing Automation Strategy
Measuring performance is essential; it helps you identify effective strategies and weak spots to improve on.
Of course, for your measurements to be effective, the way you measure your marketing automation performance must be aligned with your automation goals. At the outset of this post, we identified the three primary goals of marketing automation – lead generation, sales, and customer retention.
Here are the top metrics you should always monitor to check if you are on the right track, in relationship to these three goals:
Lead Generation Metrics
- Lead Conversion Rate: Since the goal of lead generation is to convert visitors into leads, conversion rate, in this case, refers to the percentage of leads acquired in relationship to total website visitors. Lead generation could occur through subscription forms or contact-us forms.
- Cost Per Lead: This metric tells you how cost-effective your marketing automation campaigns are in acquiring new leads. To calculate this, divide your total marketing spend by your total new leads.
Sales Conversion Rate: This is the percentage of leads your sales team is able to convert into paying customers, from your pool of qualified leads. To calculate this, divide the number of leads converted into sales by the number of sales qualified leads, and then multiply by 100.
Revenue growth: Tells you how much your marketing automation campaigns have contributed to growing your total revenue. This allows you to get a big picture perspective of your automation efforts.
Average Order Value: This refers to the average dollar amount spent every time a customer places an order or makes a purchase. To calculate this, divide total revenue by the number of orders.
Cost per Acquisition: This metric shows you how much you are spending to acquire a single paying customer.
Metrics to Gauge Customer Retention
Customer Retention Rate: This metric tells you the percentage of customers who come back to your store or site, to buy again, after their initial purchase. Of course, the way you measure this must be aligned with your business model and the nature of your products.
Lifetime Value per Customer: When customers keep coming back, this metric gives you an idea of how valuable each customer is to your business in the long run. You can use lifetime value per customer to determine a budget for customer retention strategies such as coupons or exclusive discounts.
Marketing automation may sound complex, but it’s well worth the effort to learn and implement.
With the right goals and strategies, you can easily increase your website conversions and grow your business, while doing away with cumbersome manual processes.
Kimberly Maceda is a Content Writer for ActiveTrail. She writes for top online marketing sites and provides blogging advice on email marketing and marketing automation. ActiveTrail is a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses.
I say be “Trumped” because for all that he did wrong in tarditional campaigning, he did Political SEO better than anyone had before.
I’ve always been a political guy. I love using technology to those political ends. Earlier this year I was able to leverage my experience in SEO, Adwords, cloud computing, data analysis and web design for a political candidate. It’s why these unique products are bundled into what I offer through Upwork. Today there is no excuse for a candidate to neglect digital media needs. Local candidates can easily benefit from a solid online presence for much less than they might think. The past experience with Brent Ackerson’s campaign was very encouraging.
I’ve started to reposition satellite sites made in March for a new project I’ll mention below. VoteLouisville.com for instance is intended to be a voter education site for anyone who wants to post I just so happen to post all of the stuff there. I have some further plans for louisvilleelection.com but those are all in my head.
All of these sites are hosted by my Google and Amazon cloud accounts, so that stuff has come in handy. I hope to attract additional campaign work if not in 2018 by 2020. I figured this new niche deserved a site so I’m working on candidateseo.com with a handful of .net names also headed there just for ease of use.
I said at the a campaign meeting that I felt radio and TV ads were as effective as yelling out a window. I still feel that way, even more so each day. In these meetings people point out I’m tech savy but others still watch TV … then I think of my 88 and 92 yr old grandparents who recently decided Netflix, Amazon and Hulu were all they needed.
My Grandmother is the idea focus for a campaign, everyone knows older people vote much more regularly and reliably than younger people. She has 29 children, grand children and great grand children. Living in half a dozen states I think now. Guess what that means…she’s on Digital mediums 29 times the amount you’d probably expect.
I’ve also explained to candidates that it is a growing trend for a voter to arrive on election day with one or two races already decided. This voter is now faced with several other races on the same ballot and will likely reach for their phone and decide who to vote for with only minutes of searching for the office or candidates. The results of these searches will ultimately decide these votes. Interestingly the money needed for Political SEO and Campaign Site Digital Marketing, creating content with the candidate amounts to a fraction of what campaigns will spend on radio.
I’ve added Candidate SEO to my domain family because I figured I needed a site as unique as this niche.
Position, Position, Position Its Up To Campaign SEO
Real estate brokers say location, location, location. Did you know that first position in Google search results gets about 35% of users focus but 3rd gets some where around 7%? If one candidate SEOs their site and a negative site against the other unprepared candidate that could be the election.
I’ll be focused these next months on politics and SEO again. I’m excited that Judge Sean Delahanty has signed on board with me to help him get out his digital message. I’ve only had a couple weeks to put into this but check out his new campaign site. There is method to the madness, Ive also create a sister site that serves as a funnel or over flow thats officially the campaign committee‘s site.
I dont want to give away much during a race, but when we search Sean’s name its already number one on Bing and Yahoo. Google of course is the goal, and we are climbing … as an army of pages are indexing daily. Last search I found 73 pages indexed for the site each with their own distinct keywords all climbing in ranking. UPDATE: Its 146 pages now … on one domain mind you, that started less than a month ago. The social media presence is expansive, Ive left off some sites from this social media collage.
Social Media – Candidate SEO – “You’re going to be popularrr”
Most of you will look at this wall of profiles and think to yourself who is ever going to go to these? If you did and you’re running for office send me an email…you need me. These sites aren’t REALLY there to be read by people. All of these sites are visited by search engines and these sites frame an image of a candidate to Google. All of these social media accounts ultimately end up at the campaign site, there is value in reaching voters … but you’ll reach voters if you are at the top of their searches.
I’ll post shortly about the positioning the sites are reaching. If you are running for office in Louisville Kentucky and looking for what you dont know you need reach out to me. Not convinced you need me? What would you say is the least important phrase for me to ranking these pages for on Google? If you aren’t thinking the candidates name you should email me. I’ll explain after the election or ya best ask in person.
Future post I’ll explain why IP based Digital Marketing is so 2001! Don’t do it…its technically and human behaviorally flawed.
Just in case anyone was worried I have not disclosed anything that someone can learn within a little bit of research concerning my candidate’s sites. All the secret sauce is still in the bottle.
Consumers have become increasingly blind to marketing and advertising company. The buyer’s journey gets longer and longer, and people are slower to trust companies. What’s a business to do?
Build credibility. And it starts with customer testimonials.
Imagine that someone is looking for a product you sell. He calls a friend and asks for a recommendation. The friend suggests your product.
That person buys from you based on the referral.
Customer testimonials work the same way. Instead of communication between friends, it’s communication from one customer to the masses.
There are two types of customer testimonials.
One is user-generated content. The customer posts a blog article or social update and mentions how much he or she loves your product.
The second is solicited. You ask the customer what he or she thinks, and the customer obliges.
Both forms of customer testimonials are powerful. But where should you put them on your website? And how can they really help your business?
What Is a Customer Testimonial on a Website?
A customer testimonial is an unbiased, positive review of your product, service or business. The customer has bought from you in the past and sends you a glowing statement of adoration.
When you post that testimonial on your website, it becomes public. Anyone who’s considering a purchase can read it and judge its value.
You can see an example on my agency’s site, Neil Patel Digital.
Yes, Google really said that. But you don’t need customer testimonials from a huge corporation to benefit from them.
Customer testimonials can be short, like the one above, or much longer. Some companies post video testimonials, which can prove highly persuasive, and many use photographs of the customer alongside his or her quote.
Remember: You’re establishing credibility. Anyone can make up a glowing quote and attribute it to “Amy S.” If you can supply the customer’s full name, a link to his or her website, information about the customer’s job title, and other identifying data, the credibility factor increases.
Why Are Testimonials So Important?
One study found that using customer testimonials resulted in a 62 percent increase in revenue per customer. Would you like to boost your revenue by that margin? I know I would.
It’s the recommendation that helps encourage people to buy your product or invest in your service. They know from customer testimonials that other people have tried it. Not only that, but they’re raving about it.
There are two primary principles in play here.
For one thing, people don’t like to be first — unless, of course, they’re in line to buy the latest iPhone. Think about it. If a customer is asked to try a new medication, he or she will likely ask how many others have taken it and whether it worked. Nobody wants to be a guinea pig.
Being first is inherently risky. Since the customer doesn’t know about others’ experiences, he or she lacks a frame of reference except what the company says about its product or service.
And what business owner tells customers that a product is cheap, faulty, inaccurate, or ineffective? Exactly none.
The second principle in play is the fear of missing out — what the Millennials are calling FOMO. Trust me, it’s a real thing.
It’s why urgency and scarcity work so well in marketing. Consumers see that they only have a small window of opportunity to take advantage of an offer, so they seize it.
The same goes for customer testimonials. A person lands on your website and sees three glowing reviews of your flagship product. He or she thinks, “These people are benefiting from the product. Why should I miss out?”
If you can leverage human psychology and behavior for your business, why not take advantage? As long as you solicit legitimate customer testimonials, you’re on the white-hat side of the marketing game.
Where Should You Place Customer Testimonials on a Website?
When deciding where to put customer testimonials on your website, refer to data. The more information you have, the more effective your customer testimonials become.
Many businesses include them on their homepages. Since lots of people find businesses through Google search and land on homepages, this strategy can work well.
Other excellent places to include customer testimonials include the following:
However, you won’t know what area is most effective until you collect data.
Use a User Behaviour Tool to Watch Your Users Navigating
A behavior tool like Crazy Egg lets you spy on your website visitors’ movements throughout the site. You’ll know where they came from, what pages they visited, where they clicked, and how they engaged with interactive elements like forms.
For instance, a heatmap can show you where the most activity happens on a given page. You can also look at scroll maps to see where people stop and start scrolling on a page. This information allows you to place customer testimonials in critical areas.
For instance, if nobody scrolls to the bottom of a particular page, putting a testimonial there would be fruitless. Nobody would see it. On the other hand, if you notice that there’s lots of concentrated activity in your site’s sidebar, consider adding a testimonial there.
Test Different Places
Now comes the testing phase. Past data enables you to make an educated guess about where your customer testimonials should go, but you need hard data after you publish those testimonials to determine whether they’re having a positive impact.
Run A/B tests on specific pages and check your user behavior reports. Which version shows the most activity near your customer testimonial? Which version converted the best?
How Many Testimonials Should You Include on Your Website?
There’s no magic number here. You might have a single testimonial that comes from a recognized expert in your field, or you could have dozens of testimonials.
Many businesses have testimonial pages. You click on the link and see what everyone says about the company, product, or service.
For instance, Skyword, a content production company, uses a testimonials page to highlight quotes from its customers. Those quotes link out to individual case studies.
If you scroll even further down, you find customer testimonials that aren’t case studies.
The best strategy, though, is to collect as many customer testimonials as you can. Use the most impactful quotes in the key areas you identify on your site, then create a page for the rest. Anyone who wants to know what others say about your business can check.
One huge benefit of showcasing lots of customer testimonials is that it communicates two things:
- What people say about your business
- How many customers you have
You won’t get a testimonial from everyone who buys from you, but the assumption is often that a business with more testimonials has more customers. That’s always a good thing.
Why do you need to know how to write a testimonial? Because you can review other businesses and rely on reciprocity to collect more customer testimonials.
Let’s say that your business, Company A, has used the services of Company B for years. Company B also uses your services.
You write a customer testimonial for Company B and send it in. In gratitude, Company B might write a testimonial for you.
Does it work all the time? No. But it’s a great way to collect more reviews of your business.
The best way to write a testimonial is to lead with something very specific. A testimonial that says, “Great service, great price!” isn’t very specific. It can help boost conversions, but not as much as a testimonial that pinpoints a specific area of gratitude.
For instance, let’s say Company B has fantastic customer service. You might write a testimonial that looks like this:
“Every time I had a question, Company B’s team responded immediately, even if I called late at night. They were responsive and polite, which made my work so much easier.”
That’s specific, right?
Or maybe Company B helped you achieve a goal. Your testimonial might look like this:
“After using Company B, my sales went up by 52 percent. I’m overjoyed! I don’t know how we survived before we started using this service.”
See what I mean? If you use specifics — especially numbers — your customer testimonials become far more credible and persuasive.
3 Customer Testimonials Examples That Will Inspire You
I’ve read thousands of customer testimonials over the years, and few stick out. However, I want to show you three that wowed me in terms of specificity and persuasiveness.
1. The Simple Driver
The Simple Driver is a coaching and educational website dedicated to helping people start careers as Uber drivers. The testimonials page could use some updating in terms of design, but the testimonials themselves are fantastic.
I found this one particularly illustrative:
First, you’ll notice that the testimonial includes the customer’s full name and a photograph. Excellent job.
The testimonial itself is full of specifics. First, she voices a common fear among Uber drivers — being a woman and safety concerns — and details her specific goals. Then she tells prospective customers how much money she’s making.
It’s specific and highly personal.
2. Exhibit Systems
Exhibit Systems sells exhibits for trade shows and other events. One of the customer testimonials caught my attention:
Again, there’s a lot of specificity here. The customer’s full name and industry are used to lend credibility to the testimonial, and she mentions the company’s responsiveness specifically. I also like that she talks about how the company shares her values and goals. That’s a powerful marketing message.
3. Blue Fountain Media
Another great example comes from Blue Fountain Media. This testimonial incorporates many of the desired qualities I discussed earlier in the post:
In this testimonial, we see the customer’s full name, job title, company, and link to the company’s website. The testimonial itself mentions specifics — “vibe, level of inquiry, feedback, and traffic” — to show why he particularly likes this company.
Customer testimonials can prove extremely persuasive in marketing, whether you retweet them from a satisfied customer or solicit them for posting on your blog.
There’s also a lot of variety in terms of how you can present them and what information to include. You might need to edit them down to get the best information from a longer review.
Whatever the case, start asking for testimonials now. Collect data from your website about how people navigate and click, then choose appropriate areas for your customer testimonials.
Once they’re live, begin your A/B tests. Nail down the ideal design. You’ll thank yourself later.
And don’t forget about reciprocity. If you offer a review, you might get a review in return.
Remind me: How many chances do you get to make a good impression? Oh, that’s right. One. Just one.
If you don’t have the best homepage possible, that first impression becomes negative for website visitors. You lose that first impression forever.
Will the visitor come back? Maybe. But you’re playing with fire.
There aren’t any new statistics on web design aesthetics and first impressions, but an older study demonstrated that 94 percent of people’s first impressions of a business were related to web design. That’s pretty illustrative.
If you have a beautiful, functional, easily navigable homepage, you’re more likely to retain visitors and convince them to come back for more.
Without one, you’re practically shooing visitors away. And that’s bad for business.
4 Reasons Why You Need a Good Homepage
Creating the best homepage for your business can pay off big time, especially if most of your visitors land on the homepage first. A consumer tells a friend to look up Company XYZ — that’s you — so the friend types “Company XYZ” in Google’s search box.
Your homepage pops up first.
But why exactly do homepages matter so much?
1. The homepage makes the brand stronger
Think of your homepage as the front of your home. It’s the curb appeal. If you have dingy paint, overgrown shrubs, lots of weeds in the yard, and a cracked driveway, people will form a negative first impression.
But what if you repainted the house, re-sodded the yard, cleaned up the beds, and added a couple tasteful yard ornaments? Suddenly, first impressions become far more positive.
You’re strengthening your brand before anyone ever steps inside your “house.” They’ve already formed an opinion of what to expect of your “home.”
The homepage you create for your business should reflect every aspect of your brand, from the color palette and logo to the words on the page.
2. Your homepage presents your offer and value
Your homepage provides your website’s “curb appeal,” but it also hints at what’s inside. What will visitors get when they dig deeper into the site?
If your value proposition remains front-and-center, visitors will immediately understand what you offer. Do you solve problems with a product or service? If so, state them clearly. Give visitors a reason to poke around and learn more about your business.
The Quicksprout homepage provides a clear example of this. It tells visitors exactly what the company will help them accomplish, then backs up that claim in the CTA for the form.
Notice that it’s clean, appealing, and consistent. There’s nothing to distract the reader from the core message.
3. The homepage can attract and capture visitors
Ideally, your homepage will help ease your visitors into the rest of your website. You want them clicking on links, filling out forms, and checking out your blog.
MoneyMapPress, a financial publication that offers several services, does this well. It’s a clean layout with lots of negative space, but it gives visitors plenty of chances to engage with the page.
There’s a brief introduction to the business, photographs and bios of experts, and a list of subscription services.
When you roll out the welcome mat, you let visitors know you value their presence on your website and that you want them to stick around. The best homepages don’t toss out any obstacles to prevent exploration.
4. Businesses often use homepages as landing pages
At one time, landing pages and homepages were entirely separate entities. Today, their lines have become blurred.
A landing page has one goal: Convert visitors. Homepages often have the same goal.
If you want your homepage to serve simultaneously as a landing page, you have to remove distractions — at least above the fold.
That’s what we did with Neil Patel Digital.
There are navigation links, but they’re less obtrusive than the headline and call to action.
You need the best homepage design if you want it to work effectively as a lead generation asset and landing page.
3 Real Homepage Examples and Why They Work
Now that I’ve covered the basics of why you need the best homepage possible, let’s look at some examples that work extremely well. Don’t copy other people’s designs, but let them inspire you to improve your homepage and make it more efficient.
The Copyblogger website uses the hero image approach to homepage design — and it works beautifully. The site is clean and minimalist, using light colors and an image that’s simultaneously inviting and unobtrusive.
You get everything you expect from a homepage, from the logo and tagline to the navigation bar at the top. There’s also the value proposition on top of the hero image, which helps cement the company’s value.
Why it works
Hero image homepages work well when you’re selling a single value proposition. It’s not ideal for e-commerce homepages — unless you sell just one product — but it’s perfect for service businesses that have a core or flagship service they provide.
Humans respond well to visual imagery. In fact, nearly 60 percent of customers surveyed in one study said they would rather engage with a beautifully designed web page than one that was simply designed. Consumers are judging your business based on homepage aesthetics.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I hate to drive. I’m always calling Ubers to pick me up.
I’m also a big fan of its websites. It offers one of the best homepage designs I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s a great example of seamlessly combining two value propositions: Get a safe, inexpensive ride or become a driver and make money.
That’s no easy feat, especially with so few words on the page.
Why it works
If you look at each individual element on Uber’s homepage, you’ll notice that it’s all designed to funnel website visitors toward one action or another. They want you to sign up for an account so you can order Uber rides or sign up as a driver and earn cash.
Those are two entirely different segments of the market. Yet it somehow works.
Notice the image choice. The guy behind the wheel is clearly an Uber driver, but he’s staring right at the camera — at you. If you wanted to order an Uber, he’s someone you’d feel comfortable getting in the car with. Or, if you wanted a part-time hustle, he’s someone whose success you’d want to emulate.
The rest of the homepage provides tons more information, from a map and quoting form for getting from one place to another to blurbs about the company’s value proposition.
3. Rosetta Stone
If you’re not familiar with Rosetta Stone, it’s a suite of tools designed to help you learn a foreign language. It’s on the high end of the pricing spectrum, but it’s still hugely popular.
Also, it’s one of the best homepage examples I’ve seen for an e-commerce site.
We’re dealing with a hero image again, this time of a worldly traveler who’s using his phone — ostensibly to access the Rosetta Stone app.
Why it works
Rosetta Stone leads with its primary USP: TruAccent technology. The value-added benefits of the technology set it apart from its competitors and make it seem more effective at helping people learn language skills.
Then you have another value proposition: The company has been in operation for 25 years. There’s also social proof: “The most trusted language solution…”
Rosetta Stone might benefit from some hard numbers here. How many customers does it serve? That might be more impressive. But it’s the only fault I find in its homepage.
There’s a major call to action for launching an interactive demo, but users can also find out about specific solutions for different customer segments: individuals, educators, and businesses.
This homepage does an excellent job of capturing the visitor’s attention and providing plenty of places to explore without distracting the visitor from the primary CTA.
Homepage Optimization Checklist
You’ve seen three real-life examples of some of the best homepage designs on the Internet, but what can you take away from them? And how do you design the best homepage for your business?
Believe it or not, homepage design boils down to five simple elements. You have lots of room to play with creativity, but make sure you’re presenting your offer clearly and without distraction.
Here’s a handy checklist of things to include on your own homepage to improve it and boost conversions.
1. Write a strong and clear headline
Each of the three examples I mentioned above has a clear, specific headline to anchor the page. Let’s look at each headline here:
- Build Your Online Authority With Powerfully Effective Content Marketing
- Get There — Your Day Belongs to You
- The only language software with TruAccent™ — the world’s best speech recognition technology.
They’re obviously very different, but they have several things in common.
First, they use power words. These are words that immediately evoke an emotion or connect with the reader.
Copyblogger focuses on words like “authority” and “powerfully effective.” They’re not impressive on their own, but when built into a concise headline, they help send a stronger message.
Uber takes a more emotive approach. Instead of stating its value proposition outright, Uber appeals to what their target customers want: freedom, efficiency, and a destination.
Then you have Rosetta Stone, which uses words like “only” and “world’s best” to convey credibility and authority. Those words imply that Rosetta Stone is all you need to accomplish your goals.
Write strong headlines by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. What would impress him or her? What would connect with that person enough to convince him or her to explore the rest of your site? Or to fill out a form?
2. Don’t confuse your users
One of the most common issues I notice on homepages is conflicting CTAs. It’s okay to have more than one option, but you need a dominant CTA — one that shows exactly what you want the visitor to do.
More importantly, you want to avoid visual clutter. Just like you pick up toys, clothes, scattered magazines, and other detritus at home, you want to remove any confusing visual elements from your homepage.
In other words, keep it simple.
You want enough on the page to attract attention, but not so much that readers don’t know where to look.
3. Add a direct and big CTA button for the offer
Your CTA is where you want your visitors to focus their attention. It’s an invitation: Here’s what to do next!
The CTA button shouldn’t take over your entire screen, but it should get the visitor’s attention. Consider using a unique font if you don’t think it’s captivating enough.
Additionally, make sure you use a call-to-action phrase that makes sense and conveys value. A CTA like “Subscribe Now” doesn’t thrill me. Change it to: Subscribe Now to Get a Free Case Study.” Now I’m interested.
Avoid conflicting CTAs as much as possible. You can have more than one option, but make clear that there’s a single CTA you want your visitors to follow through on specifically. You can see how both Uber and Rosetta Stone did this in the examples above by making the alternate CTAs smaller and less obvious.
4. Use contrasting colors
Contrast doesn’t just mean a loud or obnoxious color. You can create contrast in numerous ways.
For instance, a bold color for the background and a neutral color for the text on a CTA will work well. You don’t want lime green on electric blue — that’s hard on the eyes.
In a CTA, you can also use a color that isn’t found elsewhere on the page. Just make sure it doesn’t strike too much visual discord. Learning the color wheel and how colors complement one another will make you a better designer.
5. Keep the offer above the fold
Your website visitors might never scroll beyond the fold. That’s just fact. If you bury your offer underneath the fold, many of your visitors will never see it.
As you can see from the best homepage examples I mentioned above, every one includes the offer or USP above the fold. It’s obvious from the moment the visitor arrives.
How to Find Out What’s Working and What’s Not on Your Homepage
Web design is extremely subjective. I might love a site’s design, while you might hate it. There’s no way to please everyone.
However, you can please most of the people who visit your site. How? You figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Crazy Egg lets you run user behavior reports on your site. You’ll see where people click, scroll, and otherwise engage with elements of your site.
A heatmap, for instance, provides you with tons of data. Consider looking at your confetti report. It shows you granular information about referral sites and how people who come from different places engage with your site.
Plus, you’ll see who bounces and who stays so you can adjust your homepage accordingly.
Do people tend to skip over your CTA when they come from Facebook? Maybe your Facebook posts aren’t aligning with the design of your site.
Other user behavior reports allow you to view this data in different ways. For instance, a standard heatmap shows areas of “hot” activity and “cold” inactivity. Positioning your homepage elements to align with eye tracking can make it more effective.
After you collect this information, create two versions of your website. Present one version to half your visitors and the other to the remainder. This process of A/B testing individual elements will help you refine your site so it’s ideal for your target audience.
Your homepage is often the first thing a new prospective customer sees when encountering your brand. You want to make the best possible first impression, right?
That demands the best homepage for your audience.
As you can see from the examples I mentioned above, there can be lots of variation. Colors, imagery, and layouts change, but the simple elements don’t.
What works on the best homepage designs?
If you can incorporate those elements into your homepage, you’ll find yourself ahead of the competition.
But there’s more.
How do you know that the colors, fonts, visuals, and copywriting you selected will work on your specific audience? You don’t. At least, not until you test.
Use Crazy Egg’s user behavior reports to spy on your visitors. Figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what you should test for the future.
The more attention you pay to your homepage, the more effective the homepage becomes at attracting and retaining your visitors.
The ultimate end goal for every single visitor to your website is to turn them into a customer or a recurring visitor.
The problem is that turning visitors into regulars can be tricky.
There is, however, an easier way to convert visitors without wasting your time or theirs—and it comes in an unexpected form.
Pop-up form, to be exact.
Simply by using well placed popup forms, you can boost your email subscription rate by 317% or more.
With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at our top seven pop-up recommendations and discover how they’ll help you boost your conversion rates.
But first, let’s look at some of the qualities that make a great popup form.
What Makes a Great Popup Form?
The very first aspect of any successful pop-up form is marketing copy. When you place a pop-up on your website, it’s absolutely essential that the visitor understands exactly what to do and why.
Marketing copy essentially lets all the visitors coming to your page know how they can benefit from filling out the information that you are asking for in the form.
In other words—it provides incentive.
Without this first aspect of the form, there will be no incentive to fill out the form and it will simply be ignored.
When visitors come to your site, many of them will not know exactly what they are coming to.
When the first thing visitors run into on your site is a pop-up, it’s important that they also see your brand and get a taste of what you’re about.
Branding goes beyond the simple act of putting your name on the pop-up form—it also includes making it attractive and giving it a sense of purpose.
Your pop-up should deliver a message about your product and how it will fit into the life of the customer.
Remember, this is the very first taste they are getting of your business—make it good.
Along the same lines of the branding, including attractive imagery in your pop-ups is another aspect of increasing conversions.
Put yourself back in the shoes of the visitor coming to your site. You see a pop-up, but all it has is simple text with no type of image or design.
Are you going to put your e-mail into the form?
I sure wouldn’t. That’s why including some type of imagery or design in your forms is another integral part of making return customers out of one-time visitors.
Imagery doesn’t necessarily mean pictures. If your website is going for a minimalist look, a simple design is fine. The only thing you’re trying to avoid here is keeping your visitor from clicking the “exit” button before they even see what you have to offer.
Call to Action
Finally, make sure you have some type of call to action. Otherwise, your pop-up is not going to drive a conversion for you.
A call to action doesn’t need to be a paragraph-long explanation of your brand, company story, or how you can help them if they’ll just type their email in.
Think simple. What is the fewest number of words you can use to make your form seem irresistible?
A call to action should be just that. One sentence with five words that says you’re giving away an e-book, a webinar, a gift card, or whatever your incentive is.
A simple call to action with a clear expected response is perfect. An example of a clear response is an input bar for an email address and a submit button.
The simpler and easier your call to action is, the more likely your visitors are to respond.
That’s it! Those are the components of a successful pop-up form that is very likely to produce conversions and boost your brand.
The Top 7 Popup Forms to Skyrocket Your Conversions
With these aspects in mind, let’s look at our top seven pop-up forms and how you can use them as inspiration to boost your website conversion rates.
This first pop-up from Fab.com hits all the main points that we just talked about that help turn visitors into customers. Let’s break it down piece by piece.
First, the fun phrasing and statement about the offer are an immediate incentive to respond. The visitor automatically has a reason to fill out the form because the value proposition (“Enjoy 10% off your first order”) is spelled out in capital letters.
Visitors are much more likely to respond to clever, fun wording and marketing copy, which means you’re much more likely to make another conversion.
Second, the form is very attractive and well-designed, which makes the visitor want to put their e-mail into the input box.
The form also makes sense given the content of the website.
If the content on your website is centered around simplicity, design, creativity, or anything else, it is a very good idea to reflect that content in your pop-up forms.
Finally, the input requested here is very simple and easy. The simpler you make the input, the more likely the customer is to actually fill it out. Here, the e-mail is the only thing that is required and the blue “SUBMIT” CTA button stands out from the rest of the form with a nice pop of contrast. .
2. B2B: Web Ascender
This form from Web Ascender is another example of a simple, well designed pop-up that is sure to generate a response and boost conversions.
There are several reasons for this:
- The marketing copy on the form is attractive and enticing. By appealing to customers’ desire to learn and gain experience from the website, the copy offers a strong incentive to respond.To use this same technique on your own website, try to consider what your brand offers and make an appeal to it in the form.
- By adding a small, attractive logo to the form, the website is able to maintain a strong connection between the brand and the benefits being received. A clearly branded form is much more effective, so putting your brand on your pop-ups is a must.
- The imagery is subtle, but it still makes the form much more interesting and appealing. On a simple blue background, this form would be boring. However, the faded image keeps the visitor’s attention.
- Finally, the call to action is a simple e-mail input and the offer of monthly updates with valuable information.
3. B2C: Foreignpolicy.com
This is the pop-up for foreignpolicy.com, an online magazine. They take advantage of several key factors and some of the things that distinguish them as a brand to make the form as attractive as possible.
The dollar makes the simplistic design easy to look at and intriguing enough to read the whole pop-up. The bold color contrast and minimalist approach is maintained throughout the rest of the website as well, so there is continuity between the website and the form.
In addition to being well-designed, the marketing copy and branding both contribute to the success of the pop-up because the reader is not left with any questions about the brand, the purpose, or the value.
When creating your own pop-ups, make sure to include some of these valuable aspects so that website visitors immediately understand the value that you have to offer them.
Finally, the incentive and call to action are simple and easy to execute. The reader is hooked by the offer of a 99 cent subscription and only has to click one button before they are redirected to the form to be filled out.
4. Ecommerce: La Mer
This form from La Mer is very creative and attractive and shows a different side of pop-up design.
The artistic simplicity of this pop-up form fits very well with the design of the rest of the website and also incorporates branding into the photo, giving users the chance to develop the desire for the product.
As with some of the other pop-ups we’ve looked at, the marketing copy here is creative and maintains the customer’s interest.
The incentive is “inside offers” and “an exclusive introduction” to a special product, which is specific enough to be interesting but vague enough to be enticing.
If you decide to go with a design like this, just make sure that it fits in with the rest of your website, because a disconnect between the styles of your website and your pop-ups will feel odd and reduce conversions.
5. Ecommerce: Startup Vitamins
Even though most of the forms we’ve looked at up till this point are heavily focused on design, it is not at all a requirement.
The coloring on this simple “Subscribe to our newsletter” pop-up is very minimalist and simply designed, but it’s still interesting enough to drive conversions.
First of all, the website is focused on encouraging purchases, so the pop-up form’s incentive is highly relevant to anyone who is visiting the site.
This brings up an important point—the more relevant and immediately helpful the incentive is, the more likely it is that it will increase conversions. The $5 off coupon being offered here is helpful to anyone buying from the site, so it is likely to have a high conversion rate.
Second, the simplicity of the form can actually be a very attractive way of presenting the incentive. Rather than masking a simple coupon with photos, complex designs, or other marketing techniques, the creator of the pop-up gives the reader the simple chance to opt in to the newsletter and receive a discount.
If you decide on a straightforward design like this, just make sure that you do something to it to make it more interesting than simple black text on a white background.
Here, the color and the small logo keep the visitor’s attention long enough to read the offer and type in their e-mail address.
6. Ecommerce: Kate Spade Saturday
While we’re looking at simple designs, this is a very attractive circular pop-up from Kate Spade Saturday that has no pictures or logos, but it is playful, fun, and has great marketing copy.
One of the most interesting things about this type of pop-up is how much text is on it. Even though having too much text is dangerous and you can run the risk of losing visitors’ interest, keeping it playful like this form can be inviting.
Having fun with the text, shape, and color of your pop-up—especially if your website is geared toward quirky customers—can be an interesting way to differentiate your pop-ups from those that web surfers undoubtedly encounter when they are on your competitors’ websites.
7. Ecommerce: Cigar Cutters By Jim
This final pop-up form is one of the most distinct that we’ve looked at, which is one of the reasons why I like it so much.
It’s a great roundup of all the different techniques we’ve talked about, but it also displays different products and allows the reader to really imagine themselves enjoying the benefits that will come from being on the website.
The incentive of 10% off placed next to the photos of real products combine to make a powerful incentive for customers to input their name and email. Additionally, the rugged design fits well with the overall theme of the website.
By combining different pop-up techniques in a way that fits your taste and website style, you can create enticing forms that will convert more visitors than ever before.
Popup forms are an effective tool for turning one-time visitors into customers, but there is definitely an art to creating a pop-up that is going to convert effectively.
By utilizing good marketing copy, images, branding, and a call to action in ways that support your brand and fit in with the rest of the website, you can create lead-generating forms.
Now that you know how to create powerful pop-ups, it’s time to put that knowledge to work!
Yassir Sahnoun is a founder, content strategist, and consultant at YassirSahnoun.com, and a co-founder at WriteWorldwide. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing, & more. If you want to skyrocket your sales and up your content marketing game, you can schedule a free discovery call with Yassir by clicking here.