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Weekend Favs January 8

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Send Fox – a comprehensive newsletter solution
  • Unbounce– pre-optimized landing pages with AI written copy
  • Crello – free graphic design tool with thousands of templates

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

5 Weekend Favs August Thirteen

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

Fiat 500

Bleuchoi via Flickr

Good stuff I found this week:
Picwing – Very nice app that makes it easy to send a printed photo from your smart phone. Could be interesting way to share those photos you take at your next conference.

Podio – Different breed of CRM, social interaction, project management and collaboration suite that is ultimately flexible.

Guide to online marketing – Comprehensive infographic from Unbounce lists every possible tactic for online marketing in a very simple and practical path. Intentionally on the beginner side but nice checklist.

24 How to Create a Social Media Conversion System


Image credit: anitakhart via Flickr

People often complain that social media is a giant time drain, but one that they know they must dive into because everyone says they must.

Of course this is exactly the kind of thinking that makes social media, or any business or marketing activity, a giant time drain.

Social media participation and integration is an important aspect of marketing and while the names, technologies, and tools may feel foreign, the fundamentals involved in making them pay are the same.

Marketing is about building trust and these days any effective conversion approach is steeped in building trust through engagement. This is true of selling, advertising, lead generation, and customer service – and it’s certainly true when it comes to building trust using social media platforms.

The trick, like all good inbound marketing, is to create value and a reason for someone that might encounter your business to want to know more.

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10 How To Increase Landing Page Conversion

Marketing podcast with Rick Perreault and Oli Gardner of Unbounce (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Landing pages, those web pages you create and use to entice visitors to take a single action, have come a long way in terms of functionality and use. Internet Marketers have used them for years and with the introduction of services and practices dedicated to the use of these tools every small business can benefit from using highly optimized landing pages. I’ve been on a bit of rant about this topic so see the related posts below for more.

landing page

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I spoke with the CEO and Director of Inbound Marketing for a landing page optimization firm Unbounce.

In this episode we talk about how and when to use landing pages and the most important elements to consider when creating and testing your landing pages. I can’t say enough about the need to use a tool like unbounce or Google Website Optimizer to do routine testing of your pages.

It’s amazing how often I find that some little seemingly insignificant tweak can make all the difference in the world in terms of conversion.

If you’re not testing video and audio on your landing pages and thank you pages you may be missing the boat as well. But, video and audio messages can have a negative impact if not done authentically, so again, test and test!

Unbounce provides some great information about landing page design courtesy of a blog written by Gardner – Here are a couple of my favorite posts – 7 Elements of a Winning Landing Page and The 12-Step Landing Page Rehab Program – the topic that covers the infographic in this post.

19 How to Automate a Lead Engagement System

landing pageTechnology has allowed us to move past the days when we simply drove a prospect to our website, captured their name and email address, and started them in a drip system in hopes that at some point they would click on a link in one of our emails and buy something.

Today’s lead generation system is a fully automated lead engagement system aimed at delivering the right information to the right person at the right time – and helping the sales team spot the perfect prospects ready for further engagement. By chaining together a series of web based applications you can create a system that engages, analyzes, and even gets pretty close to thinking about how to create better leads.

Below is an example of how a system like this might flow

  • Run a series of ads using Adwords and Facebook promoting a free downloadable eBook
  • Create seriously interactive and user friendly landing page forms with wufoo
  • Automatically test two versions of landing pages using a landing page tool like Unbounce or Google website Optimizer
  • Landing page success page includes Audio Acrobat audio recorded instructions on what to expect next
  • When prospect requests copy of free eBook Solve 360 CRM creates a record and sends email to Flowtown
  • Flowtown analyzes the social media activity associated with email and appends CRM record with social media data
  • Based on social media activity criteria Flowtown creates influencer alerts and tags records for segmentation
  • Segmentation information is sent to Constant Contact to enroll prospect in one of a series of email follow-up campaigns based on social media participation
  • Email series invites prospects back to a series of video landing pages using personalized URL technology from SendPepper that also creates a post card mailing with personalized data from the campaign
  • When a SendPepper pURL landing page is visited the Solve 360 CRM creates a task and the appropriate sales person receives a mobile alert to call the prospect

A system like this can be created by any size small business and gives you the kind of fire power that would make a salesperson at a Fortune 100 company giddy – as long as you also monitor every aspect using a tool like Google Analytics to help improve conversion at every step.

The entire process can be designed, monitored and tuned in such a way that it feels appropriate and elegant for each prospect that experiences it. While few things will ever replace person to person contact in the world of engagement a well designed lead engagement system is the front line tool that can help you create the know, like, and trust required to get that all important first meeting.

12 Turning an Email Address Into a Social Profile

Marketing podcast with Ethan Bloch (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Imagine this scenario. You run an ad that directs someone to your landing page for a free report. They fill out the form, providing only their email address, and fifteen seconds later you receive an alert that tells you this person is a very high profile blogger, connector and influencer in your industry – just the kind of person you are looking for to pilot your new white labeled service.

flowtownThe process described above is no longer fiction due to an innovative new service called Flowtown. In this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visited with Flowtown cofounder and CEO Ethan Bloch. Flowtown’s mission, according to Bloch, is to help businesses paint a really rich story about their customers by appending each customer’s social media activity to their record. Or, as they put it on their website – turn an email into a social profile. I equate this to the high tech version of the salesperson of past days that knew how to quickly establish some sort of common ground with a prospect or customer.

The use of social data in the business world has become so essential and so expected that I believe the day is coming when customer and prospects will assume you know a great deal about them and expect that they can discover a great deal about the people and companies that they are considering working with through their own social networks.

Bloch shares a quote from his cofounder Dan Martell that I think is so true these days – “you already know everyone you need to know, you just don’t know who they are”

The power of Flowtown is simplicity and the growing number of integrations with service providers such as MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Wufoo, and Unbounce.

In case you hadn’t gathered, I think Flowtown is a tool that every marketer needs in the toolbox.

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Fairfield Inn & Suites Small Business Road-to-Success Challenge

18 Landing Pages Are Your Secret Conversion Weapon

landingThere lots of ways to attract visitors to your website, but the true measure of success is always conversion. When it comes to converting those visitors to subscribers, enrollments and buyers, one of the most effective tools is what is commonly referred to as a landing page.

A landing page is essentially the page someone lands on first after clicking a link in an ad or email newsletter. It can be any page really, but the idea is that it’s a page designed for a specific purpose. Internet marketers have used this tactic forever, but done correctly, it’s become a standard marketing practice for anyone attempting to increase conversion. I guess landing pages aren’t really that secret, but not enough small business marketers use the awesome power they bring.

Any page you create for a website can be a landing page, including a specific blog post, but there are services, such as Unbounce and SiteTuners, that can help you automate, design, test and track your landing page campaigns and conversions. These specialized services may well be worth the cost when it comes to creating the most effective landing pages.

There’s a bit of art and science to what makes a landing page work, so testing and tweaking will always be required, but the following tips should be used to get started optimizing your landing pages.

Only one thing – Your landing page is to do one thing and one thing only – ie: get a subscriber, offer an ebook, or create an enrollment for an event. Use every bit of the real estate to sell that call to action. Don’t try to introduce other possible options or you will find your pages will simply confuse.

Test variations – You must test multiple variations of your page elements at all times. One of the easiest ways to do this is using Google’s Website Optimizer tool that offers simple A/B testing. If you are using Google AdWords, or any other online advertising platform, make sure you are tracking individual ad conversions as well.

Message and ad – It may prove to be a good idea to have specific landing pages for each ad you are running. It can really help conversions when the landing page copy specifically matches the ad copy that brought them there. Tweaking your ads is just another part of the testing too.

Use video – It’s been proven in many studies that video on landing pages increases conversion. This is due to the fact that your call to action can be explained, you build trust when the visitors sees and hears a real person, and video is simply more engaging and harder to ignore. (Make sure you test you videos too!)

Make it easy – Make sure that’s it is obvious what you want the visitor to do and even more obvious how to do it. (This is where the use of video, audio, arrows and buttons can be effective.) Limit any data collection to name and email or your conversions will drop unless what you are offering is so valuable people will give more information.

Offer sharing – These days you’ll want to make it easy for a visitor to tweet, share and forward your page and their actions on your page. Add as much social networking functionality as possible. This is where the landing page services can come in handy.

Make thank you pay – After your visitor takes the prescribed action you should direct them to a conversion or thank you page, but don’t waste that space, use it to create even more engagement by offering an unexpected freebie ebook or download of some sort.

For more info on this topic, here are three books to consider. Landing Page Optimization: Tim Ash, Always Be Testing: Bryan Eisenberg, and Web Analytics 2.0: Avinash Kaushik

Image credit: spaceamoeba

5 Weekend Favs July Thirty One

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

Image credit: marfis75

Good stuff I found this week:

Before & After Magazine – Great resource for design examples and some nice free tutorials.

12-Step Landing Page Rehab – Very cool landing page conversion rehab infographic from unbounce. Print it out poster size.

Who’s Talking – Simple social media search engine to find out who’s saying what.