Let me the clarify at the outset: Best landing page design for me is a design that brings in results. Anything more is welcome, but nothing less. Looks don’t matter. I don’t care about anything else except for the singular reason the landing page is being built for.
The trouble with digital marketing is that there are way too many things to do and to focus on. Each digital marketing channel commands a comprehensive 4-year training period (much like it is for medicine and engineering).
I’ve already written about sales funnels and lead funnels. Since I’ve been focusing a lot on landing pages lately, I wanted to dissect, slice, and dice landing pages to at least provide a basic, must-have, you-are-a-fool-if-you-don’t-follow-through rules that landing pages are to be built with.
I mean, you don’t need experts to tell you these rules. You don’t need to pay someone a thousand dollars for something you could get from this single blog post.
You also have no more excuses to not do what you ought to do.
There’s just too many “opinions”, “whims”, and “preconceptions” doing the rounds with respect to a lot of things with digital marketing. But let’s focus on landing pages and get a few kinks ironed out, once and for all.
The Almighty Hero Section
The hero section is what your visitors see first. If you want to be very specific, it starts from left to right, and your visitors’ vision follows the “Z” pattern. Brandon Jones of TutsPlus already explained the Z pattern in great detail, and he puts it nicely, this way:
The Z-Layout is a great way to start just about any web design project because it addresses the core requirements for any effective site: branding, hierarchy, structure, and call to action. While the classic “Z-Layout” isn’t going to be the perfect solution for each and every website out there, it’s certainly a layout that’s effective enough to warrant inclusion in any web designer’s arsenal of layout ideas.
“The premise of the Z-Layout is actually pretty simple: super-impose the letter Z on the page. Place the items that you want the reader to see first along the top of the Z. The eye will naturally follow the path of the Z, so the goal is to place your “call to action” at the end”
“Attaining a better grasp of how different layouts can change user behavior is one of the central principles of creating an effective user experience”
A Landing page then looks like this:
In our case, it’s to do only “one thing” that you want visitors to do, and that’s to take action of some sort.
Instead of saying something vague like “…of some sort”, let’s cut the chase and come to the point: you only need to get your visitors’ email address.
You can do that by:
Giving a discount (if you are into e-commerce)
Letting users subscribe to get access to free samples (digital or physical) or even parts of your digital products (like first few chapters of your book, limited access to your membership site, first few video lessons of your online course, etc.
Giving away a lead magnet (like a guide, an eBook, a checklist, a secret something.)
That’s it. The hero section of your landing page is built for a purpose. That purpose is to get people to signup.
To do this effectively, you’d need to ensure that you:
Do not have anything that distracts and sits on the top of the landing page (or anywhere else)
Have No navigation menus
Place No social media buttons
Place No other clickable links
Put anything on the page that makes no sense
There are no ifs and buts here. I don’t care about what “you” want to put on the hero section.
This is all there for a reason, and that reason is to get you leads and email subscribers.
Now, let’s dig further:
Note: every single decision made for your landing pages should be based on data; not what you think is right. You get this data by letting traffic come through and by doing A/B testing
On the front of Hero section: Image or no image?
The only kind of images on your landing page (especially on the forefront of the page) have to be those that pertain to the exact thing you are giving away on your landing page
A snapshot of the cover page of your eBook
An Intro video that nudges your visitors to sign up
Your own photo (if it’s done professionally, and I hope you are smiling)
If there’s no such image, don’t use any. In my case, I didn’t have any image to put up here since this a pre-launch landing page (and there’s nothing there to offer).
Background image or no background image
You have a bit of a leeway here, with the background image (unlike any images you might put on the forefront).
Again, it’s only a matter of choice, but the ground rules for the background images are as follows:
Whether or not you should include a background image is something you can find out with A/B testing.
If you have to use a background image, use one but add an overlay on it – don’t put a background image without an overlay (dark is good)
Get an image from Pexels.com or Unsplash and make it as close and relevant to your business niche, the offer you are making, or your brand.
Background videos are even better if you can get one. Again, videos work better as backgrounds or images? The answer lies in A/B testing.
I thought this hero section with people lining up makes some sense (but I have to test this).
Headings, Sub-headings, & Calls to Action
The action center, as I like to call it, has all the good stuff that actually matters: your heading, the sub-heading, and the copy.
Then, you’d have the Calls to action (which could be a form to get email subscribers to sign up or a button to have them click on – this has to go somewhere else).
Before you get anywhere near “The Action Center”, know this:
Think about what you want to offer before you even get close to building a landing page. Just don’t.
Keep the offer straightforward and simple. Don’t overthink it. It’s inexcusable if you take 4 weeks just to figure out what to offer.
One offer = one landing page. This rule is universal. Don’t offer people to signup to your free eBook, a sample video lesson, and also put a button there pointing to your store.
Once you get the decision about what to offer out of the way, all the copywriting rules apply here. As Joanna Wiebe writes, “cute and clever” doesn’t work as well as a simple, straightforward, and direct copy does, and only rookies write from scratch.
As Joanna Wiebe writes, “cute and clever” doesn’t work as well as a simple, straightforward, and direct copy does, and only rookies write from scratch.
I’ll repeat myself: What’s cute and what’s not? Do funny headlines convert? This headline or that headline? This sub-heading or that one? This copy or that? This call to action or that? This offer or that offer?
See, I’ll be honest. For some landing pages, you don’t even need to get this far. For something as simple as a simple one-page PDF which happens to be a “Funnel Checklist” [I do have this as a giveaway], I don’t need mid sections and footers even.
Depending on your use case, you might just need one.
The mid section: Beyond the scroll…
If your visitors look past the hero section, it only means one thing: they need reassurance, clarity, more information, or all the three. That’s why this mid section exists on a landing page: to reassure, to provide clarity, and to provide more information (along with some other good stuff).
This is how a typical mid section looks like:
Keep it simple but try to provide more information (since the hero section might be too direct and doesn’t usually allow for more information)
Keep it clean. Use short blocks of content.
Don’t over do it — this isn’t your thesis paper. I also don’t care if you are Amazon and have you more than 1,00,000,000 products.
Strike Two. Your second Opportunity
Now, because visitors did scroll past the hero section of the landing page and they did take a gander at some more information (which could also have some social proof, testimonials, product images, or more such info).it’s also a great opportunity to “try” nudging your visitor once more.
It’s also a great opportunity to “try” nudging your visitor once more.
Somewhere there (preferably another section below the main section where you provide information), put up another call to action.
See how it’s done below:
The rest of the page
There’s an ongoing debate (never dies) about long-form landing pages and short ones. I don’t care. The only “form” of
The only “form” of a page that matters to me is the one that converts and whether or not I have the opportunity to improve on those conversions.
So, if your page has to end here, let it end. If you want to, you can add bits of social proof, testimonials, or yet another call to action here.
If not, just ignore it and end the landing page with a logo.
That’s it. That’s all that should be on your landing page.
The colors, graphics, images, actual blocks on the page, the length of the page, the number of sections, and the calls to action – all of these can be different for different businesses and for different reasons.
But the only thing that can’t vary so much is the variation in “thoughts and opinions” on what is basically so simple and straightforward.
In fact, there should be no place for emotions on the part of anyone building a landing page.
It’s another thing that you should employ awesome copywriting techniques, images, graphics, colors, and everything else on your landing page to invoke emotions (for your visitors).
You can’t have opinions about a landing page, but you build pages that others should have an opinion on (and it doesn’t matter if some people don’t like the page – and they still signup – you see?).
Dropbox’s affiliate program – which is a very successful program catapulting the company to stardom, bringing in more than 2.8 million invitees in the first 18 months of the company’s life. Even today, it’s estimated that 35% of all sign ups for Dropbox come from their referral program, according to Samuel Edwards of Entrepreneur
Dropbox spent very little on advertising and I don’t think there’s a major content marketing strategy behind the growth as it was for any of these companies that you and I both know about.
500 million users
1.2 billion files uploaded daily to Dropbox
About 3.3 billion sharing connections created
More than 100,000 new shared folders and links created every hour on Dropbox
More than 200,000 paying customers (a total of 8 million total customers)
Supports more than 20 languages
Most online businesses think that all they need is a piece of referral program software and they all good to go and be on their way to launch a successful referral program.
It’s not the case, and no one better than Ivan Kirigin can attest to that. Having worked extensively on Dropbox’s referral program. He insists on knowing three things before building your referral program:
Do people like your product? Measure it. Hint [NPS – Net Promoter Score]
Ask people to refer other people. Compose invite links (or use software which we’ll explore below]
Judge. Look out for metrics. Finally, decide if you should invest or change or stop completely.
You know that companies have seen tremendous success with referral programs. You also know what to do before you start.
Let’s now explore some fantastic tools that make running a referral program easy for your business:
I’ve seen Viral loops in action (because I signed up and referred people) and it happens to be the best and most capable referral program in the entire list. Viral loops has professional referral program templates and they even made sure they listed out various campaign types that you’d probably start with, depending on your goals.
There’s a pre-launch template, a giveaway template, an e-commerce template, a template for startups, and even a “milestone referral”.
Referral Candy has been around for a while and they are most popular referral program software of this lot.
ReferralCandy seems to focus on helping you run referral programs for e-commerce stores but I don’t see why you can’t hack your way around it for absolutely anything else – like letting your eBook offer go viral or have people share your latest offer with their friends.
After you launch campaigns, ReferralCandy also has contacts, campaign performance reports, and analytics.
I’ve written about EnticeHQ earlier and while it might not be on the level of Viral Loops or Referral Candy yet (I believe Greg –the founder – is working on a “pro” version), EnticeHQ has everything you need to get started with basic campaigns (and also a WordPress plugin to boot).
If you are looking to start, like right now, without having to part with cash, I’d highly recommend EnticeHQ for two reasons:
1. Greg is an awesome guy.
2. EnticeHQ works right out of the box and is free to start with.
Referral SaaS Squatch
Referral SaaS Squatch seems to be focusing only on SaaS companies, apps, and software companies but you know what I’d say next: hack it to run any kind of a referral campaign if you choose to. The referral program software boasts of clients like TypeForm, InVision, LogMeIn, and others.
Referral SaaS Squatch gets you sophisticated campaign reporting, beautiful designs that enhance user experience, a secure rewards management console with automated detection algorithms, a way to weed out any activity that’s shady or fraudulent, and integrations.
Campaigned App, the way it works, reminds me of Workflows are setup in Drip. Using custom workflows, you can design your campaigns your way. This gives you unmatched flexibility instead locking yourself into templates. You also get a landing page feature to allow you to build a promotion page (right off the bat) which you can build with a nice WYSIWYG editor.
A mobile-friendly control panel for a referrer dashboard ensures that you have your analytics for campaigns. You can also schedule campaigns, use custom user fields, use multiple currencies (if the world is your oyster) and also have payout options (if you are giving away cash).
For the pro plan, there are absolutely no limitations (I like that).
Amplifinity focuses on driving lead generation and sales for B2B and sales-driven companies. The referral marketing software is built for businesses already on the growth trajectory.
Amplifinity directly integrates with SalesForce and allows for multiple referral marketing channels while reducing the overall effort to launch and manage such campaigns. With clients such as RingCentral and Citrix, it does have the chops.
FriendBuy is an easy-to-use referral program software that also comes with widget templates that you could customize and deploy; automated reward feature (give away store credits, points, cash, or whatever), and real-time analytics.
More interestingly, FriendBuy makes use of PURLs (Personal URLs) which can be used individually by each customer wherever they want to share – including mobile messengers, instant messages, blogs, and more.
Incentivit comes with everything you need to get up and run with a referral program for your business. Some of the nifty features include a reputation builder (so you can let customers build your reputation for you), an embeddable feature using which you can put your referral program software to work on any page of your website (or landing pages), and more.
Incentivit also comes with fully-automated tracking, email notifications, enrollment notices, rewards, and reminders.
If you so wish, you can also opt to work with SMS, build custom refer-a-friend gates, and more.
I am a big fan of drag-and-drop anything simply because it saves you time and allows you to accomplish so much with nausea-inducing decision faux pas. Firecart is a simple referral marketing software that you can use to help make your customers your brand ambassadors at scale. Get well-designed referral forms using templates, make use of a powerful referral rewards engine, and more.
Firecart comes with auto-trigger rules that can trigger off a sequence of events for referrers such as the number of referrals, conversion spends, etc.
You also have the option of using website widgets, a post-purchase email workflow or put up a referral program on your Facebook business page.
NextBee promises to take your referral marketing campaigns to another level by providing you not just the tools you need but also a CRM/ERP integration and dedicated account manager. Nextbee uses the PACE (Personal, Adaptive, Controlled, and Exciting) methodology because not all businesses are built equal and hence your referral marketing campaigns won’t be the same too.
Nextbee’s customer referral program solution is built for businesses looking for easy refer-a-friend and social sharing widgets while letting you give away rewards tied to sales and subscriptions.
Talk about confidence and ForewardsApp lays it out flat: the referral program software is free for you to use up to $200 (in earnings?).
ForewardsApp again focuses on e-commerce stores and has a simple workflow to help boost your sales. Customers make a purchase, ForewardsApp sends an automatic message to your customer to let them refer their friends, then your customers are rewarded when their friends also buy.
The one thing that ReferralClix – in addition to what you saw until now is a “referral process as a service” and it’s best for businesses that don’t want to bury their already busy heads trying to just get a flying start to a referral program.
But then, if you do choose to use the referral program software as it is, you then have access to a simple setup wizard, an ability to create relevant offers and churn out campaign specific deep links to help spread the word about the exact offer you are making for your referral program.
You also get customizable pop-ups, landing pages, emails, and message templates that you can deploy easily. ReferralClix’s loyalty engine, quick e-commerce site integration, and mobile-friendly optimized software ensure that you don’t break the user experience anywhere.
Which of these referral marketing tools have you used before? Let me know if I missed any?
Look around and you’ll see most folks – business owners, agencies, individuals, bloggers, whoever – worry incessantly about possibly everything that holds no significance (as true for digital marketing as it is for life in general).
“How to get more traffic to my website?”
“How do I speed up my WordPress site?”
“What plugins should I use?”
“What do I build my website on?”
All of those are important.
Just not as important as you “making money off your business” – sooner or later.
If you are like most people, you are sweating the small stuff.
The way you run your business changes when you start focusing on gaining email subscribers.
I mean, like, radically.
What you thought was important doesn’t reign supremacy in your head anymore.
When is every subscriber equivalent to, say $5, and you manage to get subscribers on a daily or weekly basis, the way you look at your online business transforms – it’s easy to see why right?
“Of course, we’re going to need the dollar amount of the purchase you’re ultimately wanting people to make. If you anticipate recurring purchases (like a SaaS subscription model, for example), then you will want to multiply that number by the amount of times you think they will recur.”
He then points to a specific example:
“Since it’s unwise to assume that your customers will remain your customers forever, you need to figure out how long an average account will remain your customer. To do that, look at “churn”, which is the percentage of your subscribers who cancel their accounts over a period of time.
For example, if 4% of your subscribers cancel their accounts each month, then the average account is likely to stick around for 25 months (1/.04). If you charge $80/mo, then over the span of 25 months your customer will have paid you $2,000. That is your LTV – the value you can expect to get over time once an initial purchase has been made.”
Your customer LTV depends on your business.
Let’s just assume each subscriber is worth $5 for you. Now, if you have 3120 subscribers, they are now worth $3120 x 5 = $15,600.
With email subscribers, however, you’d need to think of it as pending transactions since
• All transactions won’t happen at once, but rather, they happen sequentially.
• You’ll have unsubscribes and new subscriptions happening all the time
• Transactions happen only when your subscribers are ready, sitting with their wallets open. You just don’t know when.
• The actual value of your email user base only compounds over time.
But that’s amazing, isn’t it?
Also note that:
• I won’t get into absolute basics of Sumo (like downloading & uploading plugins or how to setup forms).
• We’ll focus on what you’d need to do with forms and the other tools to squeeze more off your current situation.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s dig in and find out how to use Sumo for best results:
Setup Welcome Mat with A/B Testing
This thing, right here, is top priority
Of all the things you get with Sumo, it’s the welcome mat that has the potential to turn your business around big time. But guess what? It’s not the only thing that Sumo gives you. Crazy, isn’t it?
For the last 15 days that it went live, I collected 52 total subscribers. Out of these 32 were from the Welcome Mat. Go figure.
But I won’t stop there. With the limited traffic I get, I need to make the mat work really hard. So, I’ll do A/B tests on the Welcome Mat to choose a winner of the two variants A and B.
For the welcome Mat I created, these were the two variants (A & B):
Can you guess which one performed better?
The version that performed better with a statistical significance of 51.2% was the one with the man lifting weights.
Who’d have guessed?
Now, this experiment won’t end here. I’ll create a new variant to battle with the previous winner.
A few ideas could be:
• A different background Vs black
• No image Vs use an image
• Female athlete Vs the big bad male athlete?
Come back here another day and we’ll talk results.
Provide content Upgrades or Other Offers
I have a rather generic offer to invite visitors to signup for my entire library of guides, checklists, etc. I call it the resource library. This is a sitewide offer
Here’s the actual inline pop up I use:
Right off the bat, one of the best converting offers on my site has been content upgrades. If visitors are reading a blog post on WordPress, I provide them with a WordPress checklist:
If my readers read blog posts related to sales funnels, lead funnels, or email marketing automation, they get my funnel checklist and other emails to help them with quick guides on how to build their funnels quickly.
Here’s the actual in-inline form and also a bar that you’d see on the top of the site:
After they signup, they get relevant emails written to cater to their specific interests. Later, they are given an option to choose to signup for other workflows (on other aspects of digital marketing) if they are interested.
Create Inline Click Triggers or Inline forms For Blog Posts
Sumo provides you with Click-trigger pop ups. Now, these aren’t your regular pop-ups. The pop-ups are activated only when visitors “click” – on either a link or a button – and this signals intent, interest, and willingness. Although these click trigger pop ups might not be shown as frequently as the welcome mat, they certainly convert even better (because of the intent).
For example, here’s how a click trigger pop-up compares (and converts at a juicy 15.3% compared to 2.93% that the welcome mat converts at).
Compared to click triggers, in-line forms more or less just like regular pop ups, except that they are “in-line” with your blog content. They are nested in between paragraphs. These forms also black out the background as you scroll past them. Like this:
Both click triggers and in-line forms make for great tools to help grow your list while you make relevant offers depending on what your users are reading or browsing on your website.
Use Page-specific Mats & Pop Ups
Most sumo users tend to stop with the first two opportunities (in addition to Heat maps, content analytics, and other tools within the Sumo Suite).
But you are not “most”. You are here because you want to make the best use of Sumo and spike up the conversions from all of your forms.
For that, you’d create page specific triggers. Find out the best performing (most frequented web pages) on your site and create very specific welcome mats or forms for those pages.
Since I am offering landing pages as services, I’d want to create a welcome mat just for this page and have people signup for an offer. This is how it’d be like:
See what I am doing there?
Put Image Sharing, Highlighter, Content Analytics & HeatMaps To Work
Sumo has other tools in its kitty. While they don’t help you get email subscribers, they are built to get you more traffic. The Image sharer and the highlighter make it easy for your readers to share, well, images and your blog posts (or parts of your blog posts or individual images) on social media.
Heat maps show you where your visitors are looking on a page while they are there. It starts to make sense when one of your forms keeps popping up to the right (while visitors scroll) but your heat map tells you that no one is looking.
Finally, think of content analytics tool as your Google Analytics, but in real time, as you (the admin) look at your own blogs or pages. You’d get real-time stats on how many visitors you got to that page, and more.
Integrations with Email Marketing providers
You can only integrate with your favorite email services provider like MailChimp or Drip or GetResponse with a paid account. When you do, it’s just a matter of creating specific forms and integrating with your email provider with a few clicks.
In my case, I have multiple offers (content upgrades) and they’d need to be sent to the right workflow on Drip (my email automation tool and ESP).
When you integrate with Drip, for instance, my various workflows are listed automatically prompting me to connect the forms to one of them, as below.
As it stands, all of this has been setup and automated. That’s how kickass Sumo is.
Without a lead funnel (more popularly known as the sales funnel), your business is a dud.
There’s nothing you’d accomplish without one. If you choose to ignore funnels, you might as well ignore any expectations you might have about making any sales, growing your email subscribers, or bringing anything fancy like marketing automation to work for your business.
Lead funnels are gold, and they work like a charm when you do it right. While it’s also called “sales funnels”, I’d rather they were called “lead generation funnels” or simple “lead funnels”.
Why, you ask?
No one buys from you the first time they land on your website. Or even the second time. Or a third time.
Your visitors need time to trust you. You have to build that trust with them. To do that, you could give away free trials, free samples, free eBooks, free checklists, content upgrades, and maybe an entire kit of resources like I do.
Because the immediate goal of your sales funnels is for you to gather leads (not sales). Your actual conversions come in later (after you nurture your leads).
You’d often need to invest in a marketing stack – a set of online tools, solutions, and services to build your lead funnel. But you could also hack things together to build sales funnels without ever investing (if you don’t want to invest in tools to save time and headaches).
Either way, you’d need funnels.
Here’s how to go about building one. We’ll start with prerequisites, main constituents of a sales funnel, how a complete funnel looks like, and a sample marketing tech stack used to build a funnel (and there are many ways you can make these sales funnels work).
Get into an Action-oriented Marketers’ Mindset
Because the term “lead Funnel” sounds fancy, too many marketers, business owners, and bloggers go to great lengths to come up with an offer. I know a business owner who couldn’t come up with an offer every after 3 years (yes, three years) and that’s ridiculous.
Then, there’s another business owner (a client) who took 8 months to come up with a 4-page special report on Social Media.
Look: don’t sweat it. Strive to provide value within your free giveaways, reports, eBooks, or content upgrades but don’t pretend like you are launching a new product. Time is precious and when you waste months and years just trying to come up with an offer, I’d only ask this:
“What’s the f*&^%$ ROI for all that time you wasted?”
Your sales funnels don’t have to be perfect; they only have to be functional. They just need to work.
You can cut, chisel, and slave away to perfection “after” the funnel is launched.
You’d only have to decide the following to make your sales funnel work:
How do you get traffic to your landing pages?
What offer are you making? [More below]
Which email auto responder are you going to use?
How do you measure your efforts?
Do you have to take care of any integrations and basic setup needed?
You can test all your decisions, design elements, offers, colors, buttons, and your fancy theories — one after the other, as you go along.
Sales funnels: What You Need Before You Start
Hustle: Get Relevant Traffic
There are several ways to get traffic. The basics are obviously for you to blog regularly, do SEO, get on social media, let your existing email subscribers know when you publish new content, and several others.
Trust me on this: you don’t want “any” traffic. You need traffic that gravitates to your website because you can solve their problem.
You’d have to do the hustle here: publishing regularly, promoting your content on social, building links, doing guest posting, and all that jazz.
Think & Act: Make an offer
Don’t free when you read “offer” – you don’t have to sell your house for this. Here are a few very common offers most businesses make:
• Content upgrades: pick some of the best performing (or most valuable content you already have) and package it as a PDF, videos, infographics, or some other variation of your original content. Then, Give it away.
• If you are a SaaS business, give a free trial.
• Are you into training or coaching? Do you have online classes or training courses? Give a 7-day sneak peek?
Selling an eBook or an actual book? Let your visitors get first 2 chapters for free.
• Ecommerce store? Offer a discount
If you run a service or consulting business, you could have potential clients signup for appointments, book your time, or get a free 30 minutes or 1-hour free consulting call.
Take no more than an hour to think of what you’d need to give away. You can test offers later.
Build Landing Pages
The first step of the sale funnel is a landing page. One landing page for every offer you make (and this is usually relevant to your business). Don’t even bother with sales funnels without landing pages.
Landing pages are stand-alone pages that are designed with a specific goal: get visitors to signup for your offer.
The rules are as follows:
• One Landing Page per offer.
• No clickable elements on the page – no navigation menus, no other links, no social media buttons, and nothing else that distracts visitors.
• Make sure you follow conversion-centric design. Read the Unbounce Blog to learn more.
• Don’t experiment with your design skills when it comes to landing pages
• “Looks” don’t matter; only conversions do.
• Don’t fuss with the design and elements.
• Don’t hire developers to help you with landing pages. Just use tools like Unbounce, LeadPages, Wishpond, or InstaPage.
• Always build two versions of your landing page (all the landing page builder tools mentioned above provide you with A/B Testing). Here are some fantastic A/B testing experiments that you could learn from.
Typical landing pages (with two variants A & B) look like this:
Don’t like the look of the page? I don’t care about how it looks when this exact page converts at 44% overall (and that’s before we even start doing A/B testing).
• Thank your leads for signing up.
• To deliver what you promised in your offer (the coupon code? The free eBook? The checklist? Or more information regarding the offer?)
• To nurture your leads with more information using sequential automated emails (since they won’t even bother checking your first email yet. Chances are that they didn’t even act on the offer you gave them).
Mailchimp is completely free to start with and comes with automation that you’d need. If you choose to work with content upgrades, have plenty of services, or if you need advanced segmentation, you’d need to work with Converkit or Drip.
Here’s how my workflows are set up on Drip (triggered by various content upgrades):
Resource Kit offer
Measure results of your sales funnel
Unless you are working with something complicated, you’d have one or two generic goals for your website. You’ll typically set them up with Google analytics.
You also have the option of using any of these analytics tools. Additionally, using Mouseflow, for instance, you can also keep a lookout for form analytics, heat maps, and other details that you can dig your head into.
Google Analytics, however, is a must. I’ll show you how I set up Analytics for my website to give you an idea. You can wing the setup process that’s in line with your business.
To measure goals in Google Analytics, you’ll need specific (but hidden) pages like “thank you” pages that only load when a certain action is taken.
Thank you page when people use contact form: /contact-thanks/
Thank you page when people signup as leads for your offer:/lead-thank-you/
Thank you page when visitors purchase something from you:/sale-thank-you/
Once you have pages like these ready, sign into Google Analytics, go to admin, and click on goals. Setup basic goals like Inbound emails from Contact form and Lead signups (this one comes from your funnel landing pages, website pages with offers, opt-in forms etc.)
Set up goals in Google Analytics for your contact form
Set up goals in Google Analytics for your leads
Check your Goals Overview in Google Analytics
You’ll find goals in your Google analytics dashboard and when you start populating some data, this is how it’ll look like:
If you use tools like Unbounce, you also get landing page level critical metrics to know how your sales funnel (at the landing page level) is working.
For the landing page variants shown above, this is how it looks like:
Now, depending on the marketing stack you are using (or not), you have the ability to test every single part of your sales funnel:
If your funnel starts with ads pointing to landing pages, you can test ads natively, within respective platforms such as Google Adwords or Facebook Business Manager. If you need to, you can also use AdEspresso for Facebook advertising and test ads themselves.
If you use OptinMoster or SumoMe, both tools give you the ability to do A/B testing and you can keep an eye on the results.
Popular landing page builders like Unbounce, LeadPages, Wishpond, and InstaPage — all provide you with built-in A/B testing.
Email Marketing automation tools such as MailChimp, Drip, and others allow you to do A/B testing for subject lines, email copy, and more.
Finally, How to Build The Sales Funnel (s)
Some parts of the funnel are external — like the ads or the links through which your visitors arrive from. Beyond that, it pretty much works like a manufacturing line is setup: different machines work to achieve something specific within your funnel.
The sales funnel could be as simple as this:
Opt-in forms — Trigger auto responder — deliver free [something] or give access to [something]
But you’d need a tool stack to help build the sales funnel quickly and efficiently. It could be as simple as this:
The choice of tools is up to you. Don’t waste time trying to rack your brains to come up with the “perfect” tool, because it isn’t there. Instead, start with what you have or what you can easily start with and take it from there.
You can always change your marketing tools (with a wee bit of admin pain).
Here’s the marketing stack I use:
Stay committed to make your sales funnels work.
You won’t make money on day 1 (and congratulations, if you do). You should be able to put up sales funnels for every offer you make. Following the nurturing sequences you build, you’ll nudge your email subscribers (or leads) to buy from you when they are ready to buy from you.
When you build sales funnels, you don’t have to depend on Google or Facebook to build your fortune — email lists with subscribers who’ve heard from you, those who like, and prospects who’ve already expressed interest in your offers are all you need.
First things first: Social Marketing is not like marketing elsewhere. If you are on social media, treat it like your chance to build your network, make an impact, provide value at scale, and make new connections easily. Social media is not for you to sell anything. Whatever you do, please don’t get your social media strategy wrong.
But then, you’d want to make social media work for you. It’d be nice if people notice your presence, have conversations with you, share your content, respond with comments, make a mental note of everything you say out there, and maybe even line up to buy from you (a tall order, but it’s alright to dream up).
Here are a few tools that are guaranteed to make an impact to the way you post updates, manage people, monitor mentions, and more on social media:
I’ve been an ardent fan of memes but I could never bring myself to use one anywhere — within blog posts, on social media, or within an email.
But I knew they were awesome, they could add a wee bit of fun, and they do help in marketing efforts. As Elizabeth Victor of BrandWatch writes, memes give you a healthy chance to capture your audiences’ attention, gain traction, and at least allow you to have fun (while letting the goodness of social media happen naturally).
A few other tools worth checking out are, here are a few more free meme tools worth considering:
Giphy is super popular and you can literally churn out relevant gifs to go with your content, social updates, and emails. Gifs aren’t new but most of us don’t use them effectively enough.
Tereza Litsa of Clickz points out 12 reasons why you should use gifs for marketing: when you put gifs for marketing use, they act like natural magnets to get you the traction you need. They are easy to consume while being extremely popular. They are appealing, popular, easier than video, and are better than text.
“… Adobe Spark lets you pour some life on usually static files you end up creating. Since most marketers are pressed for time and because doing fancy graphics and videos is just not up everyone’s capacity, Adobe spark helps you whip up some amazing creative that you could use to update social media accounts, spice up your blog posts, or even create many other content assets.
Adobe claims that you can create social graphics, web stories, and animated videos with Adobe Spark, and that’s obviously welcome.
It’s a light-weight, quick application that allows you to sync your iOS devices with your computer so that you can create your graphics whenever inspiration strikes. Titled as Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark video, you can create amazing graphics, whip up engaging web stories, and also create compelling animated videos to let you tell stories better.
Here’s a quick look at the Adobe Spark inspiration gallery that gives you a quick head start on what kind of graphics, web stories, and videos you can create. Adobe Spark also comes with beautiful typography (Adobe’s TypeKit helps here), and it also has professional themes you can tweak instead of wasting time creating stuff from scratch.”
It’s nice to let you some have some superlative engagement with your audiences without you needed to break your back to pay someone else. Votion has plenty of products to let you do some real “big brand” engagement with brackets, interactive online polls, interactive lists, “This Vs That Matchups”, Stackup Swipe to Like, Quizzes, Assessments, rich media, and Interactive ads.
Using Votion, you can use any type of media such as images, videos, graphics, and others. Enable your assets cross-device, use “challenge marketing”, and get real-time stats on how well your audiences are gobbling all the fun stuff you create.
Here’s how a Matchup looks like (for brand Zillow) – used for lead qualification.
Or maybe you want to to do a simple survey (like Salesforce did?)
Would you like to supercharge your Twitter and other social accounts? Say hello to paper.li. Several years ago, I signed up with paper.li and added a few keywords and actual URL sources from some of my favorite hero sites, and I released the monster. It’s been 4 years or so and my account still gets new followers – apart from some great visibility and traction that I’d not get otherwise.
Get yourself a free account, give it a name, add a few hashtags and keywords that your business relates to or associates itself with, and let Paper.li curate and publish content all by itself.
Scoop.it makes it easier to find and share content, encouraging you to be and making you a more active contributor. The key to making Scoop.it work, you’d need your two cents handy. Whether you share your own content or someone else’s the value of Scoop.it lies in leaving “insights” with every post you share.
When you leave your comments, you tend to frontload your thoughts and opinions with every piece of content you share on Scoop-it.
Flauntt is a simple tool designed to encourage others to promote your content through genuine online engagement. If you are on Twitter, you’d need some love for all the updates you do. I post anywhere from 12 – 26 updates every day and I know I need some love.
Flaunt encourages genuine tweets by letting users earn credits for sharing content. Think of it as good old sharing with some sort of gamification built in.
Like, you share. They share. Everyone benefits.
Once you get popular or if you see your social networks picking up lots of activity, you’d increasingly find the need to monitor mentions and conversations about your brand. You’d want to know what the world says about your brand.
Also, you should ideally be available to chip in when conversations about the problem your products or services solve happen on social.
Curation is the next best thing you could do aside from creating your own content for your business.
While there are plenty of tools for content curation, Quuu offers hand curated content suggestions for social media. You can also submit your article to be promoted by hundreds of Quu-users (currently a free option).
The best submitters can also become Quuu-rators and promote their articles free for life
A genius tool that turns normal sharing into promotion for your site. We would call snip.ly the realization of bit.ly; it’s a call to action packed in every link you share.
For most of our clients, Snip.ly alone is responsible for a continuous stream of traffic depending on how well they use Snip.ly. For every update on social, Snip.ly accounts for a level of traffic that would have just been opportunity lost if you never used it.
Content marketing, if you want to consider that as an industry, is already going to be worth $300 billion by 2019, according to PQMedia’s Global Content Marketing forecast 2015-2019 and with thanks to Marketing Media Mag.
What drove this?
B2B content, software, and consulting.
Here are some of the best examples of content marketing by SaaS companies, tech companies, WordPress Hosting companies, and many others:
Who doesn’t know Zapier, Right? Let’s be honest now. There’s really nothing like Zapier out there and hence they have no virtually no competition. So, they could sit on their ass and wait for the word to spread.
No, they don’t.
Their blog is the best thing that happened for anyone like who is a “web tool addict”, a lifetime learner of productivity, and a passionate evangelist for marketing automation (or automation of anykind).
Each of their blog posts is also an inspiration that can teach everyone else how to provide value in a single post.
Who else – apart from just a few – can beat the sheer power of CopyBlogger.com to influence, teach, educate, and inspire an entire world on writing, blogging, marketing, psychology, and influence?
Copyblogger started as just that – a blog. Today, it’s worth billions of dollars with products such as Authority (premium membership), StudioPress (The Genesis framework and WordPress themes), Synthesis (WordPress Specific hosting), The Rainmaker Platform (all-in-one marketing suite), and more.
You’d never think that a web hosting company could actually set the bar high when it comes to content marketing. The usual rush of shared hosting companies doesn’t even bother with blogging much (they have highly paid affiliates to do all the work for them).
Flywheel publishes a magazine called The Layout and the style, flair, and volume of high-quality content that the folks at Flywheel put out weekly is astonishing (for a web host).
Close on the heels of Flywheel, WPEngine also takes content marketing very seriously. Blog posts, webinars, infographics – you name it and they’ve done it all. While WPengine’s growth also comes from its strong army of affiliates, WP engine doesn’t just sit on its ass. It does what it has to and has taken its own branding and presence to a whole new level.
The granddaddy of content marketing. The epitome of what content marketing really is and a shining example of what a company can do with the right commitment to quality and consistency of blogging.
But then, although Moz started with blogging, they have all the goodness that comes with an established online brand – a strong user community, a super suite of content marketing tools, and plenty of goodwill.
It’s a multi-million dollar brand that only grew because of its commitment to excellent content literally standing as the best example of the power of content marketing.
Hubspot literally wrote the book on Inbound Marketing – they still do everything right, tick off all the right boxes when it comes to content marketing, and they are the pros at drawing millions of visitors and thousands of email subscribers.
Now, whether or not Hubspot’s readers and subscribers choose to buy Hubspot (which is expensive), the content marketing team at Hubspot just never stops putting out brutally good stuff.
I absolutely love Shopify for their hard work over the ages to make an average entrepreneur’s dream come true. Not only do they provide information, tips, insights, and tutorials for e-commerce entrepreneurs but they also have plenty of free online-based tools.
Unbounce leads the game (maybe only on par with Leadpages) as a popular landing page builder. While Unbounce has a great product, you’ll really experience what enlightenment and goodness feels like when you learn from Unbounce blog and a whole lot of goodness you see on their blog along with eBooks, reports, LookBooks, and much else.
As if that wasn’t enough, they give away swag, they are cool on social media, and they also have their popular #CTAconf.
Unbounce also has a passionate community of Unbounce experts, customers, and Unbounce staff as well.
I recently invested in Drip and I can’t stop myself from reading their blog, checking out their tutorials at ConvertedU, and then reading their blog some more. Since I couldn’t get enough of drip, I am also found stalking their Twitter profile. Drip is an advanced email marketing automation tool (and it’s a little more advanced than what you might normally expect, which is a good thing).
When I am not reading their blog posts, I have my head buried deep into their knowledge base.
MailChimp is the king in the universe of email marketing tools (literally, almost with a 54% market share).
Their blog, knowledge base, and an ever-growing collection of eBooks make for a great foundational learning experience for anyone new to the email marketing game. Of course, no one else could still really beat the outrageous “10,000 emails and up 2000 subscribers free. Automation included” offer that Mailchimp still manages to give out.
Another big name in the world of email marketing, Campaign Monitor is one of those few email marketing tools available that really make it easy for you to do email marketing. Drag, drop and done (much like Mailchimp).
Campaign Monitor has a seriously wonderful blog where it teaches you everything you need to know about — well, you guessed it – email marketing.
Campaign Monitors’ efforts with its blog and social media (along with email marketing) work like powerful crankshafts driving users and customers for itself.
In terms of feature sets, it’s really hard to differentiate between this one and Mailchimp since they both score well with ease of use, templates, drag-and-drop features, automation, and much more.
Campaign Monitor also has great features for email marketing agencies that want to provide email marketing services for clients.
While LeadPages did purchase Drip, both of these brands are kept separated and managed that way. Leadpages, for a long time now, has always focused on education, learning, and support when it comes to landing pages.
The LeadPages blog is a goldmine with respect to marketers and businesses using landing pages to drive up profits (case studies), tips, tricks, and more. LeadPages also has a dedicated set of courses, tools, and ongoing webinars to help educate you on the power of landing pages. It’s another thing that they also have courses on Affiliate marketing, Facebook Advertising, and more.
Syed Balkhi is a pro marketer himself and is supported by Thomas Griffin (a genius developer) to help make OptinMonster the power tool it is.
For long now, OptinMonster has been driving the importance of building up an email list of your subscribers, customers, and leads. Well, they are in the business of providing a fantastic tool just for that purpose.
Imagine the power of creating fantastic content that has nothing but value in it for readers or users? All of that driving up users and sales for OptinMonster.
When a SaaS tool helps you managing an editorial calendar with a social media scheduler built-in, you’d better believe that they are pretty good at what they do. Their blog itself is full of information that has a singular purpose: to make your content marketing process a lot easier than it is.
CoSchedule – the tool – sits right into your familiar WordPress while changing how you plan your posts, how you write them, and how you distribute your content (automating some of that drudgery along the way).
Social media is not easy for small business owners to wrap their head around. The new age medium isn’t like newspapers or magazines. It’s interactive. It’s got people all over it. It’s real-time. Also, selling doesn’t happen on social media the way it does in your local marketplace.
Buffer tries to make your job of growing a thriving presence on social media a tad easier. But we aren’t here to discuss Buffer’s features; we are here to talk about their amazing blog.
Buffer’s blog is another shining example of powerful, relevant, and yet easy-to-consume content.
They are also extremely approachable on social media. Next time you are wandering on Twitter, try participating in their #bufferchat.
Hootsuite has been around and it’s a company that’s built purely on the power of getting their content strategy and social media prowess right — a popular blog, an Academy, a powerful social media management tool, a strong community, and their recent acquiring of Adespresso just added another planet to their existing population of awesomeness.
Hootsuite also practices what it preaches. Check out their #HootChat and go Tweet-happy.
HelpScout has been very popular not just for the superlative customer service tool that it actually sells but also for its blog. With everything going in there from customer support to startup insights; from marketing to managing virtual teams; from entrepreneurship to even How to Say Sorry To Your Customers
HelpScout isn’t just a tool to help you serve customers better; it’s your business mentor.
For a tool that helps you spy on your competition, dig deep into your SEO keyword research, or keep a look out for your competition’s content marketing or even PPC efforts, SEMRush has a great presence on the web (with an equally impressive tool that’s a goldmine for bloggers, content marketers, companies, and agencies).
You can’t actually stop reading the SEMrush blog while their social media presence leaves no stone unturned. Their #semrushchat is a vibrant community of like-minded individuals, business owners, agency owners, bloggers, and many other interesting folks.
AdStage has a great product – it allows paid marketers to bring all their otherwise distributed PPC campaign management efforts with various platforms like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and others to a single dashboard. It also has advanced features such as automatic optimization, one-click campaign management and a lot more.
GrooveHQ gives a business everything it needs to manage customers better – ticket handling system, live chat, knowledge base, and more.
Most WordPress marketplaces don’t get to the level of value Elegant themes churns out on almost a daily basis. Granted that ElegantThemes has its Crown Jewel – The Divi Theme and the Divi Builder Plugin – and other popular themes like Extra. Yet, it’s their blog that continuously tries to over deliver on the previous blog published.
I use Divi on my blog here but these guys have a way to bring me back to them every day (long after I purchased a lifetime license).
What’s a native advertising traffic source or platform doing on this list? Because it happens to be the only one I know that has some great content strategy going for it.
For perspective, take its immediate competitors like Taboola which does have a blog (but not on the same level that Outbrain is at). Most other paid marketing platforms – native advertising or not (like PocketMath, Mobicow, and many others) have no content marketing strategy to speak of. If there is any, it’s half-hearted.
Which of those swashbuckling SaaS companies and others have I missed out? Let me know.
You know what? If you are doing any Landing Page Design Mistakes, you are seriously embarrassing yourself. On top of that, you are losing out on opportunities while throwing marketing dollars down the drain.
Landing pages are the single most important element in your sales funnel. There’s just no point in sending traffic to a website – whether you do organic marketing or paid advertising.
Web site home pages are generic with tons of different things that call for a visitors’ attention. That’s why it’s no wonder that most visitors only “visit” and “do nothing.“
Things like conversion centered design, landing pages best design practices, and everything else you might read about landing pages is of no use if you don’t even have a landing page in the first place.
You need landing pages because they single-handedly pull your conversions through the roof. They have the potential to help visitors focus and take action on an offer you are making on your page.
It’s not rocket science; it’s just common sense.
Oh, you say you knew about the importance of landing pages already? Not so quick, Charlie.
Let’s traverse across continents, alright?
Here’s proof that even a Top SEO agency doesn’t know a thing about conversions (=cash) except what they know (which is a fraction of what digital marketing is).
Percepture is NYC’s Top SEO agency and their landing page is nothing more than a regular page on their website. When you land there, you see a run down of an explanation of what SEO is.
I mean, as if Moz and Google itself wasn’t enough for a quick download on what SEO is, where are all the goodies that a landing page must have?
United Kingdom & India
Although this page showed up on results on Google UK, Spikeway is the worst of the lot. A big wall of text on a section of the website where most eyes wander, a big navigation menu, a list of reasons why you should consider SpikeWay.
Let’s make it easier for you: They’ll never be able to design your websites or landing pages that’ll make a single dollar, ever.
Techshu is a “Digital Marketing Firm” — and look at their landing page (being used with Google AdWords)
The navigation bar is an absolute no no. All those social links were tempting me to click and go find some peace.
And hello? “Submit” – say, submit what? My sanity? Peace? Freedom?
So, that’s just three results from a live search conducted on July 5th, 2017. Several years after the importance of landing pages were extolled. Plus, these three examples are from companies that promise you “results”.
As you can see, many businesses not using landing pages at all. If and when they do, they design landing pages like they design websites and that’s not serving any purpose. So, how do you make sure you are getting everything to do with landing pages right?
This is how:
Don’t depend on developers, ever
If you want landing pages developed by a web developer on HTML5 and CSS3, you are in trouble.
Most web developers don’t know a thing about conversion centered design. They follow the same design principles they are familiar with (related to regular website design) and they design landing pages similarly.
Plus, they take eons to design a single landing page. Are your campaigns going to wait on every single landing page, a couple of variants on the original page, and a grand total of 16 landing pages that you need?
Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot, while referring to a Marketing Benchmark report, writes that the more landing pages you have, the more leads you can generate. When the number of landing pages is increased from 10-15, businesses apparently see a whopping 55% increase in leads generated.
Now, let’s see. Assuming the cheapest developer or designer you find designs a single landing page (and they don’t even supply copy) for $350. What are you spending in total for 10 landing pages? Did you just say $3500? Good luck with your ROI.
With tools like Unbounce, Wishpond, and LeadPages, you’d never need a developer. If you still do, I’d be curious to find out what the reasons are?
Severe Lack of design sense
Entrepreneurs have pride. Large companies have interns working on landing pages. No wonder you get some of the crappiest examples of landing pages from some of the biggest business brands on earth (with a few exceptions).
Hermes? With a landing page like this? Is that even a landing page? It looks like a badly design Pinterest board to me.
This one belongs to KeyShot 5. Whatever that meant, and if I didn’t know, this landing page isn’t helping either. Captcha? Like I had the patience and What do you do with all those form fields? Ever heard of form love, anyone?
Even shady marketers can do a better job than this one. You just had to believe that it was landing page designed by Chase. Yes, Chase. I’ll repeat: Chase.
Using Design Elements That Are Not Welcome
Let’s try a final rally cry, for the sake of every business out there:
No navigational menus on the landing page, ever.
Don’t experiment with fancy user flow options – like I want people to fill up the form and then another popup should show the e-commerce page.
No clickable links, images, or videos (with the exception of a single video on the hero section, if that video can do it).
No social buttons on the landing page (put social buttons on the thank you page, “after” a lead signs up.
No e-commerce, “buy now” buttons, and paywalls on landing pages (no one buys the moment they land on the page).
No sliders on a landing page.
No extra elements on a landing page unless those elements have some significant role to play.
No cheeky headlines and sub-headings. No clever copy. Simple works, even if you don’t like it.
Make this the last time you’d read this. Print it out. Put it up on your office walls. Take the list to bed with you.
No message matching landing pages
Let’s say you are promoting a discount of 30%, storewide. The ad should say 30%. The landing page should say 30%. The headlines, sub-headings, copy, and even the image – it should all be congruent.
Why? Because your users expect a uniform and consistent experience. You don’t want to surprise people while they suffer from a globally applicable short-attention span.
There’s a lot of bullshit marketing advice out there and I am worried that you are spending way too much time reading that same advice and wasting away even more time before you end up working every day in a way that makes a difference to your business.
Forget blogging, SEO, social media, PPC, and whatever it is that you end up reading about.
While this might be repetitive, here’s the first thing you should do if you want to actually do something that makes a difference to your business.
Grow your email list.
Repetitive? Hell, yes.
But are you doing it? I doubt, barring a few exceptions.
In fact, most of the small businesses in the world have absolutely no strategy in place to build their email list.
Forget that email list. Most businesses barely do any kind of digital marketing at all.
The 2017 Small Business Conversion Marketing Report, thanks to the folks at Drip, has a few email marketing statistics that you should note:
Out of 1003 small businesses surveyed, thanks to Drip, see what came up:
82.1% of respondents with no website spend under 2 hours a week on marketing, compared to 49.7% of the general survey population.
27.7% of highly successful lead generators spend more than 24 hours a week on marketing, compared with 7.3% of those who are unsuccessfully trying to capture leads.
Just 7.4% of respondents can both capture leads and convert customers from their website.
Just 23.2% of respondents use landing pages, and 21.9% have blogs.
However, 27.2% of businesses using landing pages and 21.3% of businesses have great success generating leads—double the lead-gen success rate of the survey panel as a whole.
Just 27.7% of small businesses use digital advertising of any kind—but those who do have twice as much success making sales online.
Only 22.7% of small businesses use a formal, software-based system to follow up with their leads, such as an email marketing service, an automation platform, or a CRM.
Social media really feels like that shiny object that doesn’t seem to let go, eh?
Excitement is where Little Promise is
Most businesses today tend to do what we all did historically.
If you noticed the survey results, all businesses (the ones that are doing something) seem to focus all that time and energy on blogging, websites, and social media. Meanwhile, email marketing is the really the money maker here, and you have these email marketing stats to prove that.
Plus, there’s more. 350 business owners revealed what they do in a survey by Clutch. More than 41% of them share content and engage with followers on social media. About 50% of them plan to “increase time” on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Oh boy, and over 50% rely on in-house staff for social media marketing.
Twitter has an uncertain future, Instagram does not play well for every business, and YouTube takes more time than managing social media. Let’s not even get near Pinterest yet.
Email marketing Destroys Everything Else
If it was just marketers and Email marketing service providers harping about how awesome email marketing was, I’d have ignored it.
“…if you have 2,000 email subscribers, 2,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 followers on Twitter – this is what you will get:
• 435 people will open your email
• 120 Facebook fans will see your message
• 40 Twitter followers will see your message
24% of email marketers in the United States, thanks to a survey from Relevancy Group, attributed more than a quarter of their overall revenues thanks to email marketing – only thanks to growth in email user base.
In 2014, more than 68% of businesses surveyed rated email marketing as the best channel in terms of ROI.
Email Marketing has more to it than ROI
Modern day email marketing isn’t just about “emails”
There’s advanced automation, personalizing emails to segments of users, use of conditioning logic to ensure that you only send out the most relevant of the emails to your subscribers, lead scoring which starts off an automated VIP nurturing for most engaged email subscribers, and a direct tie-in with sales and purchases, if you used the right email marketing provider.
Now, do you still want to be adamant and spend 40 hours a day on Social media or do you want to take 40 minutes to craft some meaningful autoresponders and email marketing workflows?
Facebook is growing bigger. As you read this, Facebook just touched the 2 billion mark and is continuing to grow. Before you know it, the social platform will be a juggernaut that’ll be ard for businesses to resist.
Facebook is also consolidating its assets, introducing a ton of new features such as Value-added Audiences (in addition to the already existing Lookalike audiences, custom audiences, and retargeting audiences that you could build) aimed to make advertising easier.
Chances are that you are looking to boost your presence on Facebook or even launch Facebook ad campaigns.
Unless your objective is business branding, reach, engagement, and video views, the best kind of ads that perform are direct lead generation focused ads such as “lead ads” and ads that try to generate leads with free giveaways, invites, eBooks, tip sheets, cheat sheets, and free webinars.
If you are looking to launch your Facebook ad campaigns, check out these fantastic Facebook ad exmaples built for generating leads that hit the ball out of the park and bring in the cash:
Adespresso is a super-tool built to help businesses and marketers use the power of A/B testing while doing Facebook ad campaigns. On top of that, Facebook ad management is also made easy thanks to Adespresso, recently acquired by HootSuite.
The folks at AdEspresso know Facebook advertising like none other. Plus, they spend thousands of dollars just trying to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. If you are remotely interested in Facebook advertising, you should consider using Adespresso, reading their blog, or signing up for their University.
The ad in question here is in line with their fantastic sales funnel which works on giving a free eBook away (full of value) to bring in email subscribers who later nurtured to help Adespresso upsell their product or the university or both.
Did you notice how specific they get with their ads?
AppSumo knows a thing or two about marketing online. The popular “Groupon for geeks” is of unmistakable appeal and every geek who’s on their email list knows that. Or maybe self-proclaimed marketing geeks like us who use Sumo to build marketing lists also know that.
AppSumo’s Facebook ads are targeted and they usually pick their best performing products for their ads, and all them make for some of the best Facebook ad examples.
This example is for their offer on BrandYourself Premium plan, of course. One other thing you should note while we are talking about AppSumo is that you should signup for their list regardless of whether or not you’d ever buy off any of their offers.
Why, you ask?
Their email copy happens to generate millions each year. If you want to learn how to write emails that get you results, nothing teaches you better than AppSumo’s emails.
The marketing teams at Amazon spend day-in and day-out trying to optimize the heck out of their Facebook ad campaigns. In fact, there are location-specific teams working on their ad campaigns.
If you run an ecommerce business, you’ll learn a ton from just seeing what Amazon does with its Facebook Ad campaigns. There’s no usual fretting and fussing on images – simple, specific, and highly-relevant images do the trick.
No fancy verbiage either. I mean, you don’t need to hire an expensive copywriter to write “Join Amazon and Get Free two-day Shipping. 20% off Diapers and More!”
Of course, the power of Amazon’s brand helps.
With a brand name like Advertise.com, they better “advertise” right. They do a good job, of course, and they live up to their name.
It’s very appealing when things are given away for free – and anything goes. In this example, Advertise.com gives away a smashing $1000 bonus to help start your online ad campaigns for high-quality traffic at low cost.
Apart from the huge appeal of the $$$ bonus, see how they play out on the FOLM (Fear of Losing Money) here?
Nikki Elledge Brown
Nothing beats the power of free and the high appeal of education. Absolutely nothing. That explains why “free mini courses” or even “complete free courses” are so popular and they work like a charm.
Nikki’s free mini course to help you write better (and have fun doing it) is dripped each week day. In a single ad, Nikki manages to provoke you, appeal to copywriters and business owners, lays out the strength (and size) of her community and more.
You have to love the detailed (yet simple) design of the image for the Sherman Carter ad. Picking on a single product line (Assassin’s Creed) and appealing to a single target audience (choosing only men as target audience) and using power phrases such as “Absolute Must have…”, the ad is a winner alright.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s also a discount to sweeten the deal. The darned thing just works.
Great products with equally awesome images always do well on facebook. InstaViral just happened to do it right. In Facebook ad example, the TeeShirt’s proposition as Limited edition says “products are getting sold faster than you can click on the ad”, price makes it clear, and the $10 off today adds more appeal. Plus, it’s targeted to women.
Women don’t resist shopping, do they?
As we determined earlier, “free” works better than great when it comes to Facebook ads. Combine that with an alreasy established and useful tool like SimilarWeb and it’s only evident that the ad would just work.
I mean, who’d resist a “free” trial for a tool that accomplishes so much.
Thanks to Sophia from HubsSpot for this heads up, NatureBox’s Facebook ad packs everything it needs to bring in its customers with a singular ad – showing exactly what comes with NatureBox. The ad tells you that you get a “free trial” and that you’d still pay $7.90 for shipping.
It’s relevant, fun, and has a clear call-to-action. No wonder the folks at HubSpot found it.
Talk elegance, utility, and again the wretched power of “free” in advertising, and you’ll appreciate what Slack does with its Facebook Advertising. Thanks to Dan Shewan of WordStream for pointing this one out.
Dan Kennedy calls it the PAS formula:
Problem – Present the problem your prospect feels (Meetings Suck) Agitation – Poke at that problem until it’s visceral problem (How it feels like when you sit in those meetings?) Solution – Present your solution to the agitated (Use slack to cut down on meetings and sit only in 25% of them)
Slack ticks off some of those boxes:
Great going there. By the way, using dark colors in Facebook ads does make ads stand out. Eh?
Which of these Facebook ad examples do you like? Tell me about it.
According to Craig Smith of Expanded Ramblings, there are more than 4 million businesses and individuals using the platform to promote campaigns. 70% of these advertisers are outside of the us and the total number of advertisers have grown by 50% between 2015 to 2016.
With an average (CTR) click through rate of 0.9%, the average cost per click being $0.64, and an average cost per thousand impressions at just about $7.29, Facebook advertising makes for a compelling case for businesses to promote their businesses, get leads, and finally make sales.
Here’s how to do your Facebook advertising right:
Setting Up The Facebook Manager
Your personal Facebook account isn’t what you should be using for your business (no matter what business you have). Keeping your personal account and business account just makes sense.
At this point, I am assuming you already have a Facebook business page. If you don’t have one, you’d have to create on (and you can create your Facebook business page from inside). Since you’d want to use Facebook for advertising, you’d also need an advertising account.
Facebook would have already have had a tab enabled with your personal account, and that doesn’t count (unless you are using Facebook to promote something personal).
The first step is to head over to https://business.facebook.com and login with your usual Facebook credentials..
After logging in, click on “business settings”. Click on this a little page icon on the left menu You’ll then find “Add a page” on the top right. If you click on it, you’ll see three options.
Claim a page
Create a page.
Depending on your situation, you’d choose one. If you already have a page out there in the wild, you’d need to claim “access” to it. If you are going to work on someone else’s page or if you are an agency or freelancer hired to work with a client, you’d need to use the “request access” button.
If you’ve never created a Facebook page before, you’d need to create a page.
Let’s say you already have a page and you need to claim it (note that you’d have to be the admin to get immediate access. If you are not the admin, you’d have to request whoever the admin is to grant you access).
Click on claim a page, type in the name of the page (or the URL of the page), it’ll show up here. Click on it, and you now have access to your page from within the Business manager.
Up next, is to follow a similar process for your Facebook Advertising account.
On the same panel you saw before in business settings, look for the little icon right under the icon for Facebook pages.
Repeat the same process we did for the business page. More often, for first time users, you’d have to create an ad account that’s in the name of your business. Go ahead, create the account, setup a payment method. You are done.
Then, add people in your team. Make sure you add yourself to the people associated with the account.
Please note that, you’d follow relevant steps to access others’ FB pages and ad accounts. When your team or clients give you access (the notifications show up in the right hand corner), those pages and ad accounts show up. After you add yourself or your team, the pages and ad accounts will show up when you login.
How to give access to Agencies or freelancers
Rule number 1: Never give out your personal login ID and password you use for FB to your team members, freelancers, or agencies.
Rule #2: Don’t forget rule #1
If you have to give Facebook business manager access to your team members, freelancers, or agencies. It’s a straightforward process. But by doing this, they have their own logins.
If it’s your team member, you are adding, go to people and add their email address so they get an invite to join your organisation here.
If you are adding freelancers, partners, or agencies, you’d need to ask for their Facebook business ID. This is where you can find the business ID.:
For the business page:
Click on your page, “assign partner”, and drop their ID here.
Follow the same process for Facebook ad account too.
Click on your page, “assign partner”, and drop their ID here. This is where you can find your business ID.
This lets your agencies or freelancers login through their own business manager accounts and they’ll be able to work with you to manage your business page or your ad account or both.
Setting Up Your Facebook Pixel
You’ll be able to create only one Facebook Pixel per business ad account. Assuming you have setup your business manager right, you’ll see “business manager” link on the top right corner, next to the FB logo.
Click, and there’s a dropdown menu. You’ll see a tab called “Pixels”. If you don’t see it, just hover on all tools and you’ll find it there.
Now, it’s time to setup your pixel
Click on Pixels, create new Pixel, give it a name, and that’s it. Your pixel is ready.
When it is ready, you’ll see a tab where it says setup pixel. You’d need to add this pixel to your website, landing pages, and anything else that belongs to your business.
This pixel is the heart of your Facebook Advertising.
Setting up the pixel on your website
You have an option of using Google tag manager or Facebook’s integrations with many platforms such as Shopify, Magento, Bigcommerce, etc. You can use those and the instructions are self-explanatory. You also have instructions, just in case you need them [https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1179210765468894 ]
If you want to install the code yourself, click on the other option, “Install code” and you’ll see two parts for the pixel.
One is the base code and the other is the event code. The base code loads on all pages (including thank you pages or other pages that your leads end up on, after they take an action). Actions can also be inline actions (like when they just click on a button, or add something to your shopping cart).
Copy the base code and install it on the section of your website’s code. If you are using HTML, you’d have to do this manually on all pages (please check with your developer).
Next pick the event code (out of 9 different options you have, pick one that makes sense for you), and paste it below the base code but NOT in the head section.
Be careful not to put this part of the code in the head section.
Next, after you loaded the pixel. Refresh your web page and come back here to check if your Pixel is firing. If you used Google Tag manager, the tag manager would also show you the status. There’s also a Facebook Pixel Helper chrome extension that you can use.
Bonus: Setting up the pixel on your Unbounce Landing pages
If you specifically use Unbounce as your landing page solution, here’s a video to show how to add a pixel to your Unbounce landing pages
Setting up Your Campaign For Facebook Advertising
You could use the default way of launching your campaign. But I generally prefer using Facebook’s power editor. The power editor has advanced features that save you time and help manage multiple clients.
You can use the normal campaign interface too. When you are ready, Facebook will automatically push you forward (like a wizard) and help you get started.
A URL to point the ads to (unless you are using Lead Ads)
Video Ads, if you are doing video ads
A series of images (if you are using Canvas)
A form that you can generate within Facebook (if you are using Lead ads)
Start with a naming convention
if you were targeting only male teens interested only in Baseball in the United States, it’ll help if you name your campaigns this way:
US | 13-19 | Baseball
Targeting working mothers between ages of 26 – 44 only in Mexico City?
US | WFHM | 26-44 | MC
Millennials in NYC?
US | Millennials | NYC
Pick a way that makes it easy for you to know what each ad, ad set, and campaign is doing. When you have a lot of campaigns running, this is a life saver.
Pre-testing Basics & Segmentation
Separating your testing elements helps you test easily and more accurately. The data you’d get is more dependable this way.
Let’s say you are targeting two countries (US and Canada): You’d then launch separate campaigns — one for US and one for Canada
Similarly, you can separate campaigns up while testing for following elements:
Countries, cities, towns, etc
Male or Female?
Aged between 30- 45 or 45-65?
Ads & landing pages
Your ads have to be in pairs (A & B)
Each landing page the ad points to exist in two variants (A & B)
The ad A should message match with a matching landing page (which itself has two variants)
The ad B should message match with landing page (which itself has two variants)
A pair of ads will look like this:
A single landing page looks like this:
Connecting it Together: AB Testing Ads & Landing pages
When it set it all up, it helps if your final ad sets are setup the following way:
Ad Set 1 (testing only ads and landing pages)
US | WFHM | 26-44 | MC — Ad A — landing page (variant A 50% traffic distribution and Variant B with 50% traffic distribution)
US | WFHM | 26-44 | MC — Ad B — landing page (variant A 50% traffic distribution and Variant B with 50% traffic distribution)
Ad Set 2 (Testing Age groups, for work at home moms)
US | WFHM | 26-44 | MC — Ad A — landing page (variant A 50% traffic distribution and Variant B with 50% traffic distribution)
US | WFHM | 45-55 | MC — Ad A — landing page (variant A 50% traffic distribution and Variant B with 50% traffic distribution)
Ad Set 3: (Testing Cities Vs All of United States)
US | WFHM | 26-44 | MC — Ad B — landing page (variant A 50% traffic distribution and Variant B with 50% traffic distribution)
US | WFHM | 26-44 | ALL —Ad B— landing page (variant A 50% traffic distribution and Variant B with 50% traffic distribution)
Run ads for long enough to get enough data to determine which of these combinations is working for you.
Getting The Sales funnels Right
Now, many clients I work with also insist on “selling” right away. Like, from ad to ecommerce product page. Then, they sit and wait for sales to happen.
It’s not going to happen.
Even if it does, it’s going to be “luck”. You don’t want luck, right? You want sustainability. You want to make sure that you put in a dollar in and get a dollar out.
So, there are only three things you need to do when you do Facebook advertising for maximum conversions:
1. Always give a high-value but zero friction offer first.
2. Start with a low budget, as low as you can (because you can see how much you’d have to test)
3. Use variants, combinations, optimisation, and testing to find out winners.
The typical approach of hungry joe: Ad — Sales Page
The funnel should have an Ad — landing page with an offer — lead signs up — use automation to nurture leads — make a sale — then sell again and again
Your sales funnel should typically look something like this, changing only according to the nature of your actual offers and the resulting sequence of events.
Remember this, and skip the sales funnel at your own peril.
Don’t tell me you haven’t been warned.
The key is Conversions; Not Traffic
Most people obsess about traffic. Really, traffic is meaningless if it doesn’t convert. For your Facebook advertising efforts, all that money you just threw on the campaign would mean nothing if your campaigns don’t bring in conversions.
Let’s do some numbers here with the assumption that you spend $5 per day on FB advertising, and we ran the campaign for a week. Also, let’s assume each lead you get is worth $2 for you.
You didn’t spend more. But you now have almost 100% more leads just because you use A/B testing, variants, and you can afford to be patient enough since you have a low budget for advertising.
When you find your champions, you can step on the throttle and spend more. To start with, this is what you should ideally do.
Using Audience Insights on Facebook
Even if you weren’t going to do Facebook Advertising, you’ll do well to visit the Audience Insights section within your Facebook business manager. You should definitely do this if you are looking to launch campaigns.
It’s amazing how much data Facebook has on ever user, and you can put that to use to plan and execute your campaigns. Slice and dice the data available to make smart decisions about how you’ll approach your campaign:
Here’s how Audience Insights in Facebook looks like:
Thanks to Facebook, never before in history was it ever possible to zoom in on the exact prospects you are looking for as customers or clients. You can get as broad as you like to as narrow as you like with Facebook’s audiences. If you think about it, the opportunities available can give you sleepless nights.
Depending on your business, you could go down your targeting like this:
Skins & Cases for Apple products, only for working millennials in Malaysia.
Beauty products for new and expecting mothers, aged between 30 – 44, with an average salary of $6000 per month or Household income of $9000 per month, living in New York.
A social Media Management tool precisely for people who hate HootSuite.
A complete, marketing automation tool for people who hate both InfusionSoft and OntraPort.
Custom-umbrellas for college going teens in India.
See how granular you can get and how deep you can go?
Targeting Audiences on Facebook
If you launch a campaign targeting your audiences, that’s only side of the story as far as Facebook is concerned. You also have advanced audiences options on Facebook such as custom audiences and lookalike audiences.
Custom Audiences: strong>
If you already have a huge list of prospects (or even if it’s a tiny list) — and not customers — you can upload this list to Facebook to target only your prospects (who also happen to be your email subscribers).
You can have Facebook profile and seek complete strangers — within the parameters of the campaign — that are very similar to your existing audiences (Maybe you’ve reached them all during your previous campaigns, your existing list of potential customers, or even your customers).
Everyday, you already have people visiting your website and/or landing pages. More than 80% of them leave without doing anything on your website (for whatever reason).
These people know you. They visited you. It’s just that they didn’t take any action that’s favourable to you.
By adding the pixel to your website and your landing pages, you can grow this audience too. When you are ready, you can launch campaigns targeting only these previous visitors.
It’s called Retargeting and it works like a charm.
Now, that I mentioned landing pages, let me say it again: don’t launch Facebook Ads (or any ads) or even ever put a link anywhere when you are asking for something without landing pages.
It’s called distraction.
If I visit your website, there’s a lot of distraction there. There’s about page, contact page, the blog, and all the fancy pop-ups we have on our websites. If you paid for the click, you want visitors to take action and become leads.
When the average attention span of your visitor is at an all-time low, why do you want to distract?
Landing pages help you put up a page that has one job to do: to help visitors take action.
The usual site wide conversion for a website is around 1.95%. Well built, conversion centric Landing pages convert at 30% or even 50%. You tell me. What kind of a conversion rate do you need?
You can use any of the following for landing pages:
It doesn’t matter which one you use. What matters is that you do.
Funnels & Automation
Most people don’t buy the day they land on your website or on your landing pages. That’s why you need landing pages to get your leads first. From that moment on, you’ll nurture leads systematically, strategically, and carefully. You don’t want to be pushy or sales.
Yet, you don’t want to continue sending them emails like you email your friends. You still have to ask for the sale.
If you did this manually, you’d never be able to run your business. Plus, there’s no fun in this drudgery, right?
That’s why you’d set up funnels and automation.
So, you are a financial consultant for men between ages 28 to 45. Your offer for the Facebook ad was to have them download an eBook on personal finance tips. They signed up. They got the eBook.
They are in the funnel.
Now, you’d send out emails with more information about personal finance — more tips, more insights, research you gathered, and more. The fourth or the 5th email will have a link to your paid membership site for them to signup to get access to video courses, a private community of like-minded people, and an entire library of tips and methods to make them pros at managing their personal finance and grow wealthy.
Now, that’s a funnel. That’s how you move people from cold & curious visitors to lifelong buyers of your product.
Landing pages are only a part of the funnel. You’ll need email marketing automation (auto responders) to complete the funnel.
Facebook has all the reporting you’d need. If you want even better, you can use a tool like AdEspresso that not only helps you setup, launch, and manage your Facebook ads but also gives you analytics for your campaigns.
When you finally get everything right, and as your campaign is live, your campaign dashboard will look like this:
Assuming your pixel is firing, and that you’ve added the Facebook pixels right, you’ll also be able to see conversions and results that you seek.