Friday, 29 July 2016

CRO for Inbound Marketing: 6 Conversion Optimization Initiatives to Implement Today


Conversion rate optimization (CRO) and inbound marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly. After all, nobody is more concerned with (and obsessed with) conversion rates than the inbound marketer.

But many inbound marketers find themselves navigating a new world of CRO with a sense that there’s so much to test, and they’re not quite sure where to start. Here are 6 CRO initiatives you can undertake today to help give your conversion rates—and inbound marketing performance—a boost.

1) Start learning with visitor heatmaps

In 2016, there’s really no excuse for running an inbound program without also running heat mapping software on your site’s core conversion pages. There’s just no substitute for seeing, with real tracking data, how site visitors are making their way through your conversion funnel. Simply put, the best and only true source of data is the experience of visitors themselves while they use your site.


A heatmap delivers an aggregate picture of the click activity on a page, giving you insight into the elements of the page design that are attracting attention and driving action. Here are a few examples of what to look for as you conduct your first visitor heatmap tests:

Confusing Page Elements

Are there elements on the page that get a lot of clicks but aren’t actually clickable? It might surprise you how many visitor clicks are wasted. You can often get a solid conversion rate bump just by making an element that visitors are telling you they want clickable, actually clickable.

Desired Content

Are visitors’ click patterns telling you what content they actually want to see? No matter how user-focused you might think your site design is, visitors sometimes have a way of telling you what’s really important. Is there a tab that’s hidden on page load that the majority of page visitors click to surface? You may want to make that the default page state. Is there a piece of content further down the page that seems to get an inordinate amount of visitor attention? You may want to test a version of the page that presents this information closer to the top of the page.  

Misplaced Priorities

Sometimes your heatmap test will reveal that an area of page that you put a lot of focus on is actually being ignored by site visitors. If you have a homepage carousel, this is a key area to watch in your first heatmap test. Are people actually using the carousel? The majority of homepage carousels we have tested simply do not convert beyond the content featured on the first slide, with first slide clicks often accounting for over 90% of total carousel engagement. If your test turns up similar results, it’s probably time to redesign that part of your homepage and ditch the carousel in favour of a well-designed CTA.

2) Try a different button color

Insignificant as it may seem, the color of your call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your site could be holding back your conversion rate. The good news is that testing it is easy, and doing so is a great way to get started with CRO.

Most conversion rate optimization platforms, such as Visual Website Optimizer, make split testing button colors incredibly simple—no developer or designer required.


There are plenty of articles singing the praises of red or orange buttons as top performers. Don’t believe the hype—our testing has shown that contrast is typically a more important determinant of success than any red or orange rule-of-thumb.

Start by testing complementary button colors that sit opposite of your site’s primary palette on the color wheel. Often, that extra contrast is exactly what’s needed to lift the page’s conversion performance. We’ve seen conversion rate lifts of over 25% simply from changing the color of a CTA button, which is well worth the minimal cost of testing.

3) A/B test your PPC landing page headlines

All right, sure—you could test headlines on any landing page. But I chose PPC landing pages for a reason: you’re paying to send people there, so you should try to get the most out of that traffic.

Most CRO platforms offer the ability to easily test landing page headlines. The harder part is coming up with the right headlines to test. As you build out your headline options, a quick Google search will reveal countless headline formulas that you can take for a test drive. And by all means, go ahead and give ‘em a try.

One bit of advice on headline writing: learn from the best. David Ogilvy’s copywriting genius is well-documented. And when you look at his bestselling headlines, you’ll notice that there isn’t a clear plug-and-play formula for success. There is, however, a lot of wisdom to be found in those timeless advertising headlines.

In developing my headline testing options for PPC landing pages, I like to generate a range of options that loosely fit within the following categories:  

Benefits-focused: Headlines that communicate the benefit of the product or service offering. e.g. “Get more leads faster with Inbound Marketing”

Descriptive: Headlines that tell you what the product or service is. e.g. “Conversion Optimized Inbound Marketing Services”

Emotional: Headlines that attempt to appeal to the reader on an emotional level, often describing a feeling they may get by purchasing a product or service. e.g. “You’re going to love being a better marketer”

Match the Ad: Particularly with PPC conversion funnels, many marketers have found their best results when there is symmetry between the search term someone uses, the PPC ad headline, and the landing page headline. For example, to capture people searching for “inbound marketing services”, you would make “Inbound Marketing Services” the headline for both the PPC ad AND the PPC landing page.

4) Split test your most visited landing page

It is important to draw a distinction between Split Testing and A/B Testing. While often used interchangeably, a helpful distinction is to use the term Split Testing when you’re testing designs that vary greatly from each other, while using A/B Testing to refer to when you’re testing two versions of a specific page element (e.g. testing 2 headline options on a landing page). 

Armed with new insights into how your visitors are experiencing the page and the headlines that are resonating best, you’re ready to create and split test a fresh landing page design.

In addition to translating learnings from earlier tests into your new design, consider taking this opportunity to answer additional key questions that leads might have, or testing a new conversion-focused design element (like, say, the old directional photo looking at the CTA button trick).


As you might expect, successful landing page tests often lead to even bigger gains as winning changes are duplicated elsewhere across the site. We reversed that scenario somewhat here at Kula Partners in an effort to test a new site design.

Earlier this year, using the landing page of one of our most downloaded content offers (the Executive’s Guide to Inbound Marketing), we started testing our new site design. Getting a sense of how people were interacting with the new layout and monitoring how well it converted proved extremely valuable in evolving the design and optimizing its flow.

And, while choosing your most-visited landing page for the test might not be the best approach in all instances, for many brands the benefit of getting statistically significant test results faster will outweigh the perceived risks of testing a highly visited page.

5) Mix up your email subject lines for improved open rates

Subject lines are the headlines of email. To once again borrow from Ogilvy, once you’ve written your headline (or email subject line, in this case), you’ve already spent 80% of your marketing investment.


It always surprises me how some people can spend countless hours in meetings nailing down the specifics of a promotion, only to hit send on the email with an atrocious, ill-considered subject line. It’s pretty simple—your message has to be opened to be actioned, and it’s the subject line that determines whether or not it gets opened.

Beyond the typical headline writing formulas, there are number of different subject line approaches to test. For example, while you have to be careful to not overdo it, adding personalization to your email subject lines is often a great way to boost open rates. Just make sure you’ve accounted for any contacts who do not have complete personalization data in your contact database.

While they aren’t right for every brand, using emojis in your subject lines has also been shown to deliver a nice open rate lift.

So test early and test often—there are real gains to be made by getting those subject lines right and getting more emails opened. 

6) Try a radically different lead nurturing sequence

This tip assumes you have some experience in inbound marketing, and you’ve already implemented a lead nurturing sequence. Unfortunately, too many inbound marketers treat their lead nurturing sequences as a set-it-and-forget-it exercise—quickly turning their attention to some of the, shall we say, sexier aspects of inbound.

If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your lead nurturing sequences, now might be the time to take a fresh look. Chances are, you know more as a marketer (and about the business you’re marketing) now than you did when you created the nurturing sequence. Moreover, you probably have more content to draw from now than when you started. Step back, ask the hard questions about the objections and curiosities that your leads have at various stages in the customer journey, and craft a new lead nurturing sequence from scratch.

Don’t feel like you have to adhere to the structure (number of emails, timing, etc.) of your current lead nurturing sequence. Take this opportunity to start with a clean slate. I’ve found that many inbound marketers’ first lead nurturing sequences have too few messages that are spaced too far apart. If that sounds like you, try integrating some recent blog posts or case studies into your nurture sequences to increase the number of messages you're sending by 50% or more.

Today’s the second best time to start

If you’ve made it this far in the post, it’s safe to say that you’ve been thinking about CRO for a while now. Like a lot of things, the best time to start with CRO was probably years ago—and the second best time is now.

To recap (or to provide a TL;DR version for those of you who skipped right to the bottom), the 6 CRO initiatives you can implement today are:

  1. Start learning with visitor heatmaps: gain real user data to track and analyze behavior throughout your funnel
  2. Test button colors that sit opposite of your site’s primary palette on the color wheel
  3. A/B test the headlines on your PPC landing pages
  4. Split test your most-visited landing page to measure the success of design changes
  5. Take a critical look at your email subject lines, and try something different
  6. Radically overhaul your email lead nurturing sequence.

Optimizing your conversion rates will pay immediate dividends while giving your future inbound marketing efforts their best chance at success. So give these 6 tests a try, get comfortable with CRO, and get ready for better inbound marketing results.

Want to learn more about CRO for Inbound Marketing? Download a free copy of The Inbound Marketer's Quick Start Guide to CRO


from HubSpot Marketing Blog

Customer Data: The Solution to Lead Generation

More leads, please.

In most companies, it’s an ongoing process to generate interested buyers to your product and services.

We want qualified leads that move effortlessly throughout the sales cycle.

But the problem lies in our preparation. Some of us just don’t have enough information about our prospects.

The CSO Insight study reported that “42 percent of sales reps feel that they don’t have the right information before making a call.”

Use accurate customer data to prepare your team. Knowing key insights can make or break the deal.

Power up your data profile. Leverage it to produce more qualified leads.

Gathering Reliable Data

Based on a Ascend2 study, “35 percent of those surveyed said the biggest barrier to lead generation success is the lack of quality data.” Your data should tell a vivid story of your customer.

To gather reliable data, track anonymous users who visit your website. Watch leads interact with your content via session replays.

Ask for feedback from current customers. Monitor the trends of loyal consumers.

B2B marketers must also “embrace more third party and real-time data sets to really understand buyer’s across the entire customer journey.” For example, that may include using social logins to access a prospect’s profile information.

Data is widely available. Your team must decide which acquisition channels work for your company.

What’s the best way to collect email addresses? Or how can you quickly accumulate customer preferences?


“Understanding who your customers are and, in turn, what they like, will undoubtedly enable you to increase conversions and sales. Make it easy for your customers to share their data with you, and use that data to keep them engaged with your business,” says Josh George, a senior applications engineer at Lyons Consulting Group.

Know who you’re serving. Collect valid data for better results.

Enhancing Buyer Personas

Get inside your prospects’ minds. Map out your ideal customer to understand their reasons for buying.

But, what’s the point?

Buyer personas are roadmaps to navigating through your prospects’ interests, dislikes, and habits. If you’re aware of their behaviors, your team can create targeted solutions.

“By developing research-based buyer personas, you can create effective, highly targeted marketing campaigns. Each piece of communication ties back to your buyer personas so that every message addresses relevant pain points and positions your software as a viable solution,” states Brie Rangel, Account Strategist at IMPACT.

Knowing the basic demographics of your buyer is a given. Your team’s goal is to dive deeper. Learn your customers’ goals, challenges, and personal story.

Below is an example of a buyer persona for a specific startup founder. The story section offers a complete picture of the prospect, everything from the stage of his product to what he does for fun.


The role of customer data is to provide accurate information for your buyer personas. You don’t want to waste time selling enterprise-level B2B SaaS software to a B2C startup.

Moreover, inaccurate buyer preferences and habits will leave both the prospect and sales rep frustrated. So, double-check your personas.
Because in the end, your mission is to match your product with a qualified lead. That’s how you bring in sales.

“Use personas to spend more time with qualified leads, because they’re the ones who are most likely to turn into those long-term customers you’re looking for,” says Nicole Dieker, freelance writer and copywriter.

Enhance your buyer personas. Use data to add a face to the customer.

Segmenting Your Audience

After learning your customers distinct behaviors, it’s time to serve those individual needs.
It makes no sense to group everyone together.

If Sally specifically likes apples, why send her emails about oranges and grapefruits? Instead, educate her about the difference between gala apples and pink lady apples.

That’s a mental hurdle for most SaaS teams. We assume if our customers like X; they will definitely love Y. It isn’t always that simple.

Segmentation comes in many shapes and sizes. From geographical to behavioral differences, your customers vary. And it’s up to your team discover how to connect with them.


You might consider a city in a particular state or the buyer’s readiness to purchase. Work with your team to develop a goal.

Define your reason for segmentation. Experienced marketing and product leader Doug Goldstein offers the following common segmentation objectives:

  • Create segmented ads & marketing communications
  • Develop differentiated customer servicing & retention strategies
  • Target prospects with the greatest profit potential
  • Optimize your sales-channel mix

Segmentation is impossible without customer data. Add insights derived from analytics to guide how you group prospects.

And don’t be afraid to experiment. Testing is how you’ll discover the right messaging for your sales reps. Plus, it can help you market product information on your site.

“When practicing website optimization, leveraging customer segmentation provides a framework for running intentional, well-hypothesized experiments on your website that drive value,” writes Junan Pang, a solutions architect at Optimizely.

Segment your audience to deliver more personalized and timely experiences. With a segmented list, you’ll be able to target the right services to interested buyers.

Building The Relationship

You can collect the data, create the buyer personas, and segment your audience. But all that data can’t substitute customer relationships.

And that’s where most businesses miss their opportunity.

“[C]ompanies often manage relationships haphazardly and unprofitably, committing blunders that undermine their connections with customers,” states Jill Avery, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.

Customer data is intended to facilitate the relationship between the sales rep and the buyer. However, research shows that companies without sophisticated data management tools “derive erroneous results that annoy customers, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in potential revenue gains.”


Don’t attempt to foster a customer relationship with poor-quality data. If you do, prospects will seek out your competitors.

TechTarget executive editor Lauren Horwitz and SearchCRM site editor Tim Ehrens agree:

“Customer data management often falls to the bottom of the priority list. Organizations get bogged down with more pressing issues, such as cutting costs or keeping daily operations running. But relying on poor-quality customer data almost always frustrates customers — and many of them take their business elsewhere.”

Relationships are built on human-to-human contact. That means being genuinely interested in your buyer’s concerns.

How can you make their lives better? Where can you offer convenience?

And sometimes your product won’t be the solution. Yes, your SaaS service may not be the best option for that particular person.

Sales teams must recognize that it’s okay to remove unqualified prospects from the pipeline. This action should be commended, not frowned upon.

Use customer data as a tool to score leads. Then, gain insight on how to target prospects that matter to your company.

Data shouldn’t supplant the customer relationship. Make the human connection.

Go for the Data

Your team needs qualified leads. Focus on customer data as a solution.

Gather data from reliable sources. Use buyer personas to target your audience. Segment their behavior to create a personalized approach. And focus on building relationships throughout the sales cycle.

Want more leads? Go for the data.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

4 Ways All Marketers Can Use Facebook’s Offline Conversions API to Optimize Campaigns

4 Ways All Marketers Can Use Facebook’s Offline Conversions API to Optimize Campaigns

Author: Mike Stocker

Facebook’s recent announcement of their new Offline Conversions API generated a lot of buzz and excitement among marketers and for good reason. The new API provides stores and retailers with a way to see how many people made offline purchases after seeing a Facebook campaign—connecting offline conversions to digital campaigns. They can then use these offline activities to optimize their ad campaigns and ad spend.

As a Facebook marketing partner, Marketo was excited to be a part of their launch announcement. Even more exciting is that our integration enables an expansion of this offline conversion concept to a much broader set of use cases that apply to all marketers, B2B marketers included. Before I get into the details of how you can use the new Offline Conversions API with Marketo, let’s start with some basics.

What is an offline conversion event?

In this case, an “offline” conversion event happens when a contact in your database performs a desired action on a channel not measured by Facebook.

When Facebook made their announcement, most business publications (Forbes, AdWeek, etc.) focused on the retail use case. While that is certainly a huge use case for an offline conversion event, I’d argue there are a lot more potential “offline” conversion events that impact marketers. In fact, offline conversion events can give marketers a complete omni-channel view of all the sales and conversions attributable to Facebook, regardless of location, channel, or campaign.

Here are a few examples of offline conversion events that come to mind:

  • MQL (marketing qualified lead)
  • SQL (sales qualified lead)
  • Event attendance
  • Target account
  • Onsite sales consultation
  • Automotive test drive
  • Sports game attendance
  • Demo given
  • Content downloaded
  • Score threshold met
  • Call occurred
  • Call duration
  • Postal mail/package received

More specifically, here are four unique ways to use offline conversion events to improve your marketing campaigns:

1. Increase MQLs

Let’s say that you’re a B2B marketer on the demand generation team for a SaaS company. If your team buys Facebook Lead Ads to drive top-of-funnel growth, you shouldn’t just optimize your campaign based on form submissions. Instead, tie it to a metric that’s measured internally: the number of MQLs (marketing qualified leads) it drives.

All leads are scored within Marketo based on pre-defined criteria to determine if they are ready to be passed to the sales team, and they are considered MQLs only if they meet the right qualifications. This is an important metric to track, since MQLs that are further qualified by sales become SQLS (sales qualified leads), which can ultimately translate into new opportunities and revenue.

In the image below, an example revenue model, you can see how leads come in at the top-of-the-funnel as names, then progress further into the funnel as they continue to engage with your company. By optimizing your Facebook campaign for MQLs and not form submissions, you can increase the number of conversions that drive more qualified leads down the funnel.Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 4.19.14 PM

2. Optimize Your Scoring Model

For B2B marketers, and even some consumer marketers, it’s likely that you have (or would) set up a scoring model within Marketo to qualify incoming leads or contacts. Scoring models attach values to various online and offline engagement events between your brand and the buyer.

With the integration of Facebook’s Offline Conversions API and Marketo, you can optimize your scoring model so that when a lead has reached a specific lead score as the result of a combination of different interactions, it’s defined as a conversion event. This way, a lead doesn’t need to, for example, download content or attend an event for it to be considered a conversion.

The example below shows how a revenue cycle might be modeled within your marketing automation platform, governed by how each buyer interacts with your brand—their behavior across channels, their engagement with your campaigns, their lead score, and even data changes in your CRM system.

Scoring Model

By tracking when a lead hits a specific score that signals a conversion event, you can optimize your campaigns to tailor your ads to them appropriately. For example, for existing customers who have a score much higher than a MQL, you’re still able to identify scoring thresholds that signals they’re ready for cross-sell.

3. Boost In-Home Appointments

If your company sells products that require in-home consultations, such as window treatments, you may want to optimize your Facebook Ads towards the number of in-home appointments it generates, rather than the number of online appointment requests.

It’s likely that there’s a discrepancy between the number of online appointments booked and the physical appointments completed, but previously, this type of data was hard to track and made it hard to follow up on. Now, because of this integration, your sales consultant can log physical in-home appointments into Marketo and that data will be sent as an offline conversion event to Facebook. Then, your paid media team can re-evaluate their campaigns to understand how to optimize their ad spend to drive more completed in-home appointments.

4. Track Follow-Throughs

For a digital marketer at a car dealership, one of your initiatives probably include increasing the number of visits to your show room and test drives by prospective customers. Previously, you might’ve used Facebook Ads to encourage prospective customers to fill out their info in forms online, but it was tough to tie those initial interest requests to actual test drives. Now, with Facebook’s Offline Conversion tied to Marketo, you can capture how Facebook Ads results in in-person interest and test drives—connecting your Facebook ad spend directly to a test drive of a car so you can better optimize to ultimately improve sales.

As you can see, Facebook’s new Offline Conversion API can be used for a whole variety of broader use cases for ALL marketers, not just retail and physical purchases. In conjunction with Marketo, you can drive alignment between your paid media campaigns and other campaigns to improve results and ROI and offer a better customer experience.

Have you set up Facebook Lead Ads within Marketo yet? I’d love to hear your use cases in the comments below!

4 Ways All Marketers Can Use Facebook’s Offline Conversions API to Optimize Campaigns was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership. |

The post 4 Ways All Marketers Can Use Facebook’s Offline Conversions API to Optimize Campaigns appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog

A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram


With 500 million active monthly users, Instagram offers a unique opportunity for marketers to reach their target audiences through ad campaigns.

The other perk of advertising on Instagram? The ads can look almost no different than regular posts, making them much less invasive than other ad types.

But setting up ads on any platform requires a lot of thought: What should your target audience look like? What should your copy say? What image should you use? Not to mention, the more technical aspects like what size your image needs to be or how long your ad should run for. Download our essential guide to Instagram advertising here.

To simplify the process, we’ve put together a checklist to help you set up a campaign, one step at a time.

How to Create Instagram Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram

If you’ve ever set up a Facebook ad, you’re about 75% of the way there. After Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012, the platforms conveniently merged, making setting up Instagram and Facebook ads merely the difference of a couple clicks. So even though your intent is to run ads on Instagram, all of the ad setup, budgeting, scheduling, and creation is done through Facebook's platform.

To start, log in to your company’s Facebook portal and select the account you wish to use. (Note: To run ads on Instagram you'll need to use a Facebook Page. Pages are specifically for businesses, brands, and organizations, while regular Facebook accounts are for personal use.)

1) Select an editor and create your campaign.

You can create Instagram ads using a few different tools:

When choosing which tool to use, you’ll want to consider both your company size and the number of ads you plan to run at once. If you're managing a large number of campaigns, or you're looking for really precise control over your campaigns, you might want to lean towards the Power Editor. However, the Ad Manager suits most marketers' needs, so that's what we'll use for the sake of this article. (For more on the Facebook Ads API option, check out this page.)

Once you've selected an editor, you’ll see an option to either view all campaigns, or create a new one. To get started with an Instagram ad, you'll want to create a new campaign.

2) Choose an objective.

You'll notice that there are several different campaign objective options to choose from here. However, in order for your ad to be eligible to appear on Instagram, you'll have to choose from a slightly shorter list:

  • Boost your posts
  • Send people to your website
  • Increase conversions on your website
  • Get installs of your app
  • Increase engagement in your app
  • Get video views


For this article, we're going to select: "Send people to your website."

When you select this option, you’ll be prompted to name your campaign. This may seem like a simple task (and it is) but it's a good idea to have some sort of naming convention or set process within your company. This will make it easier for you to keep campaigns straight as you continue to create them.

Here at HubSpot, we like to name them in this format:

Company Department | Content/Offer/Asset Being Advertised | Date | Name of Creator

3) Choose your audience.

If you’re just starting out with Instagram advertising, odds are you won't know exactly which audience you want to go after. This will come with time, and you may just have to play around with it at first. (If you want tips to help you choose the right audience, check out this page.)

During this step, you'll find that the platform’s built-in targeting can be as simple or as extensive as you need it to be, with options such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial Status
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (U.S. only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

You can create what’s called a custom audience to reach people who’ve already interacted with your business, or a lookalike audience to reach new people on Facebook who are similar to your most valuable audiences.


The ads platform also allows you to save the audience you create to be used again at a later time, which can be good if you’re experimenting and want to remember the exact audience you used for certain campaigns.

In terms of the objective we selected -- "send people to your website" -- we'll want to target a more specific group of people: the type of people that are actually going to be interested in the content we present.

To do this, you'd jump down to the "Detailed Targeting" section, and search for different demographics, interests, or behaviors that apply to your target audience. Here’s an example of a (very small) audience, just to show you the different ways you can target certain people:


To give you a sense of the audience you’ve chosen, Facebook provides an "audience definition gauge." This gives you immediate feedback on how narrow or broad your audience is, as well as the estimated reach number of your ad. Since we didn’t add very much criteria to our targeting, you'll notice that the audience appears “fairly broad.”


4) Set your placement.

This step is the biggest differentiator between setting up Facebook ads vs. Instagram ads. To move forward with the Instagram ad, you’ll want to uncheck all the boxes except for "Instagram."


5) Set your budget and schedule.

You have the option to select either a daily budget or a lifetime budget for your campaign. The difference is this:

  • Daily budget sets your ad up to run continuously throughout the day, meaning that the algorithm will automatically pace your spending per day. Keep in mind that there is a minimum daily budget depending on different factors in your campaign, usually around $1.00.
  • Lifetime budget sets your ad up to run for a specified length of time, meaning the ads algorithm paces your spending over that entire time period.

The other aspect to setting your budget is setting your schedule. You’ll need to choose exactly when you want your campaign to start and finish running, down to the minute. There are also options to set parameters so that your ad runs only during certain hours of the day or during specific days of the week. You can find these options in the "Ad Scheduling" section.


Set your optimization for ad delivery.

Here you have three options that will influence who sees your ads:

  1. Link Clicks (which is what the platform recommends): Your ads will be delivered accordingly to get the most clicks to your website at the lowest cost. This is all based on the platform's algorithm.
  2. Impressions: Your ads will be delivered to people as many times as possible. Ever see the same ad on your newsfeed all day long? That company is most likely using this option.
  3. Daily Unique Reach: Your ad will be delivered to people up to once a day. People may see your ad multiple times, but at least not multiple times a day.

Set your bid amount.

This determines how effectively your ad is delivered. When you look "behind the scenes," you’re competing with other advertisers trying to reach a similar audience in a constant auction.

You can choose either Manual or Automatic. Automatic leaves it up to Facebook’s algorithm to deliver your ad -- ideally getting you the most clicks for the lowest cost. Manual allows you to set a price for link clicks. If a link click is worth a lot to you, try setting a higher than suggested bid, and your ad will be displayed over a competitor with a lower bid.

You can choose to pay based on impressions or link clicks. This is up to you.

Set your delivery schedule.

You have two options for the delivery of your ads:

  1. Standard: shows your ads throughout the day.
  2. Accelerated: helps you reach an audience quickly for time-sensitive ads.

(Note: the accelerated delivery option requires manual bid pricing.)

Name your ad set.

This step is for internal purposes. Simply give your ad set a name so that you can identify it later.

6) Set your ad creative.

Choose your format.

This is where your creativity comes in. Here you'll decide what you want your ad to look like, which will depend on your original objective, of course.

On Instagram, you have a couple different options for your ad:


Single image, video, or slideshow.


Image Credit: Marketing Land


Yes, they’re warm. Yes, they're gooey. Yes, they’re delicious. Our new chocolate chip cookie is here! 🍪🎉

A video posted by dunkindonuts (@dunkindonuts) on May 18, 2016 at 7:25am PDT

Multiple Images (also called "Carousel").

Up to 5 images for the viewer to scroll through, at no extra cost.


Image Credit: Instagram

We actually ran some tests to see which type of ad performed the best for different purposes. Check out the results in here.

Once you pick your ad type, click on it and you’ll be prompted to browse and upload your imagery, whether that be images or a video.

Upload your media.

For any ad type, the Facebook ads platform recommends you don’t include more than 20% of text. Previously, an ad with over 20% of text wouldn’t even be approved to run, but it has recently changed to more of a suggestion than anything. Learn more about the rules and guidelines here.

Some requirements for Instagram ad imagery:

File Type

  • .jpeg
  • .png


  • Recommended: 125 characters
  • Maximum: 2,200 characters

For square of video Instagram ads ...

  • Recommended Image Size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution Accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 1:1

For landscape image or video Instagram ads ...

  • Recommended Image Size: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution Accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 1:1

7) Set your page & links.

Connect your Facebook Page and Instagram account.

Select the Facebook Page of the account you want your ads to come from, even if you’re not planning on running them on Facebook. (If you've made it this far in the Ads Manager, you are already logged into a Facebook account.)

However, since our intent is to post ads on Instagram, you’ll need to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook ad account. To do so, click “Add Account” (you'll need your Instagram username and password to do so).

If your business doesn’t have an Instagram account, you can still run ads on Instagram -- they’ll just come from your business' Facebook Page instead. In other words, your Facebook Page name and profile picture will be used to represent your business within your ad as it runs on Instagram.

Add the website URL.

Next is a very important step: putting in the website URL to which you’re trying to drive more traffic. If you're using marketing automation software, be sure to create a unique tracking URL with UTM parameters for this to ensure that you'll be able to keep track of traffic and conversions from this ad.

(HubSpot customers: Learn more about creating a tracking URL here.)


Add a headline.

This is not usually displayed to viewers of your ad on Instagram, but it’s always a good idea to complete it just in case. Enter a brief headline describing where people will visit.

Create a caption.

You have up to 2,200 characters -- but don’t go crazy. Facebook recommends you keep your text under 125 characters, which is the amount that’s displayed without needing to click “more." (Read this for tips on how to write good Instagram captions.)

Select a Call-to-Action.

There are several different options for your CTA button, depending on what the page you’re taking visitors to looks like. You can choose to have no button, or select any of the following:

  • Learn More
  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Hope Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch More

For our sake, we’ll stick with “Learn More,” as we’re just driving people to our website.

Once your image is uploaded and your text is set, check out the preview of your ad to make sure everything looks right.

At this point, you'll have the option to edit the "Advanced Options," but only if you wish to. Advanced Options include adding tags, changing your display link, entering URL parameters, setting up sponsors, and opting in or out of pixel tracking.

8) Place the order.

Once everything is all set, you're ready to place your order. Doing so is pretty easy: Just click the big green button in the bottom left corner.


As always, be sure to check over everything -- especially since your ads have the potential to be seen by a large audience. If you want someone else on your team to take a look at them before they go live, set your schedule to include a delay, but still place your order.

You run the risk of losing all the work you've done if you don't place the order right away so we'd encourage you to place it first, and then go back and adjust the timing if need be. 

9) Report on the performance.

Once your ads are up and running on Instagram, it’s important to keep an eye on how they’re doing. You can go back in and tweak most aspects of the ad, so if you catch a mistake you made or your image isn’t doing as well as you’d like it to, you can go in and alter these things.

You can look at results of your ads in two places:

  1. The Facebook Ads Manager
  2. Your marketing software

In the Ads Manager:

There’s a sophisticated and extensive dashboard that provides users with an overview of all their campaigns. Without customizing any settings, you’ll find data on reach, cost per result, and amount spent.

In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see a button that says “Columns: Performance.” If you click the drop down menu, there’s an option to customize columns, which allows you to choose the specific data you want to see. There’s data ranging from CPC or CTR, to things much more specific like "Adds to Cart" for ecommerce stores.

Here are the categories that the available metrics fall into:

  • Performance (reach, results, frequency, etc.)
  • Engagement (post likes, post comments, post shares, etc.)
  • Videos (video views, average percent of video viewed, etc.)
  • Website (checkouts, payment details, adds to cart, etc.)
  • Apps (installs, engagement, cost per app engagement, etc.)
  • Events (event responses, cost per event response, etc.)
  • Clicks (unique clicks, social clicks, CTR, CPC)
  • Settings (start date, end date, ad set name, delivery, bit, ad ID, and objective)


With your marketing software:

With so many metrics to track, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. To truly track your success, take advantage of your marketing software and the UTM codes you used in your ads to measure your ads’ full-funnel effectiveness.

Looking at the specific tracking codes through your marketing software will help you keep track of how many leads (or better yet, customers) you actually generated through your Instagram advertising campaign. This ROI information can then be used to inform other campaigns down the line.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create unique tracking codes for your Instagram campaign by following the instructions here. All you’ll need to do is plug in the URL, attach a campaign, and choose the source you want the URL to be attributed to in your Sources Report.

Once your ad launches and you start getting traffic and conversions to your website, you’ll be able to easily track how many visits, contacts, and customers you’re generating.

Have you seen success with Instagram ads? Let us know in the comments section below.

free guide to advertising on Instagram

from HubSpot Marketing Blog

How to Deliver Negative Feedback & Why It Matters [Infographic]


Most managers dread giving negative feedback almost as much as employees dread hearing it. It's uncomfortable to tell someone they're not performing well at something.

But the truth is, your employees want to learn and grow -- and they'll only learn and grow when the work and skills that need improvement are given some course correction. Giving them no feedback hurts more than it helps: 70% of employees say getting no feedback at all makes them feel disengaged.

It's all about how you give that negative feedback. If you prepare and deliver it the right ways, then it can actually make your employees feel more engaged at work. In other words, tough love might work after all.

Check out the infographic below from Resourceful Manager to learn more about why bad feedback is better than none, and how you can deliver it in a positive way.


learn how to build an inbound marketing team

from HubSpot Marketing Blog

4 Warning Signs Your Prospect Isn't Ready to Invest in Marketing

Imagine yourself sitting across the table from a prospective client's CEO at a coffee shop. She’s engaged, ready to listen, and apparently in a positive state of mind. This is a marketer's dream situation; you feel that any question is fair game and honest answers will be forthcoming. If you could ask her just one question to qualify her business for your services, what would it be?

Try this one on for size: As you see it, what is the current and future role of marketing in your business?

Now brace yourself: The answer to this question can give any marketer aspirations for greatness or fears of the calamity that lies ahead.

On one hand, the leader could give you a dream answer, paraphrasing Peter Drucker: "Our business has two-and only two-basic functions: marketing and innovation. The rest are costs."

Now that’s an answer that inspires confidence in the critical role marketing plays in creating and delighting customers. This CEO or CMO sees marketing no differently than innovation; she understands that a business without strong research and development (i.e., innovation) cannot deliver new and improved products and services.

But what if your prospect doesn’t initially recognize the value of marketing?

It's truly unfortunate for marketers when leadership teams do not value marketing as an essential business function. CEOs who see marketing as mainly tactical, fulfillment and/or only end result-focused demonstrate a lack of leadership and complete organizational understanding. When a CEO sees the core purpose of marketing as increasing shareholder value, supporting sales, and generating leads, this could be an indication that there's a tactical view of marketing at the highest levels of your prospect's company. As a result, the business may not be as culturally or organizationally ready for marketing as it needs to be.

As a founder and CEO of an industrial marketing agency, I have had the pleasure to work and interact with over a thousand brands. It is my job to help organizations challenge their thinking on marketing and determine if they are ready, willing, and able to affect positive organizational and cultural change that elevates marketing to an essential business function -- or as we like to say, "make marketing the strength of their business."

Here are a few tell-tale signs that you should address directly to determine if your prospective client is ready for marketing:

1) Clarity

Brand clarity must be the "undercurrent of any downstream marketing activity." In other words, before a single line of art, prose, copy or code is ever conceived, everyone from the leaders down to the marketers should be on the same page about the company's identity. If this is not the case, your prospect's business is not ready for marketing because it cannot speak with one voice.

2) Time and Attention

Leaders -- and anyone responsible for the success of marketing -- must give you their full attention. Leaders clearly will not be thinking of marketing exclusively, but marketing should command their undivided attention for at least a few minutes a week.

Marketing efforts require contributions from finance, sales, IT, and leadership at various times and for different reasons. Agencies see this all the time: They're working with a client on developing a new marketing strategy, only to have their point person in the marketing department reassigned to more pressing matters like sales collateral fulfillment.

Leaders and marketers who only pay attention to budgeting are not engaged. Your prospect is not ready for marketing if leaders classify time for marketing as "not important" or "not urgent."


3) Access and Resources

Marketers require support from a variety of internal and external resources to succeed. These can include anything from subject matter experts to inform content, to business and data systems for automation, contact management, finance, and proving ROI.

Being held accountable to results requires access to data across the entire customer journey -- right down to accounts receivable. To this day, many organizations refuse to provide access to internal systems, data, vendors, and most importantly, the money needed to get the job done.

It has been said many times before: Where companies choose to spend their money truly reflects what they value most. Companies that do not provide access to the resources necessary for running a sustainable marketing department are not ready for marketing.

4) The Right People in the Right Seats

Many marketing practices are developed internally. As a result, organizations can find themselves without the full expertise needed to build up a robust marketing department. Often marketing leadership roles are combined with other areas of responsibility. For example, many companies have a single sales and marketing vice president. In situations where one individual is stretched between different priorities, sales support usually ends up consuming the vast majority of their time, resources, attention, and expertise.

Take a look at how your prospect's organization is structured. Are the right people in the right seats? Is the marketing coordinator in a position where they can rally access to attention and resources on a daily basis? If your prospect's organization does not have an established marketing leader, they are not ready for marketing.   

While it might be exciting to get in on the ground floor of a new company that is hiring its first agency, it is important to realize where this prospect's organization currently stands. The signs discussed in this article should help give you an idea of how an organization's leadership presently prioritizes marketing and whether or not they're ready for an agency's help. As you consider a discussion with your prospective client, be prepared to communicate the potential value that marketing can bring to the company and exactly what you'll need to get there. If any of the red flags discussed here come up, it's a sign that your prospect might not be in an ideal place to hire your agency. 


from HubSpot Marketing Blog

Thursday, 28 July 2016

9 Ways For Marketers To Do Amazing Technical Things Without Knowing Code

As a marketer, you are always looking to do more with less. You may get the sense that technology can help you do better and you’re right. Follow along as I explain exactly how you can harness this force without writing a single line of code.

1. Do A/B Split Tests and Personalization

Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely that allow you to drag and drop your changes across the website by simply copy and pasting a snippet of code across your website (or getting somebody technical to help you do that). Both tools allow you to customize your website for different types of visitors, and they’ll allow you to run controlled experiments to see which variations of your web pages perform best.
Optimizely allows you to drag and drop different variations of your web page without any code.

2. Build Landing Pages

Maybe you don’t want to optimize your website – you want to build some new pages. Maybe it’s a new campaign announcing a new product launch, or maybe you’re running an event you want to collect an email waiting list for. Whatever it is, you’ll need a web page that describes what you’re doing, a landing page. Thankfully, you don’t have to build anything in HTML or CSS. You can use drag and drop editors in Unbounce or, if you’re really looking to maximize conversion, marketing-based solutions like Leadpages.

3. Build Entire Websites

Don’t want to stop at just building a web page? Maybe you want to look to build an entire website for a new product. Thankfully, you don’t have to call a web agency to do everything for you at a high price! You can use solutions like Squarespace or Wix to build everything in your website without a line of code. And if you want to get even more customized, grab a theme from Themeforest and learn the basics of WordPress! You’ll soon be building beautiful websites with layers of personalized complexity–without a line of code.

4. Scrape Links, Content and More with Python (but use with caution!)

By downloading Anaconda and using the iPython Notebook contained within, you can use Python scripts and copy + paste the outputs.

The easiest and most powerful use of this is to take links and data from other websites. Be careful though, a lot of websites will have terms of use that prohibit the use of their content. Nevertheless, it might be a good tool to use to get raw data, or to get useful links that point to certain resources. You might, for example, want to get all of the links of your competitors profiled in a certain blog post, or you might want to get all of the links of different services in a directory.


This script above will take all the links from a sample page (in this case the Wikipedia page for the Python language)

Here’s the raw script you can copy + paste in Python 3.5 mode:

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
import requests
r = requests.get(“”)
soup = BeautifulSoup(r.text,”lxml”)
for link in soup.find_all(‘a’):

5. Send Newsletters and Automate Emails

Email is one of the most effective marketing channels out there, and the best for return on investment. If you can get people coming back by filling their inbox with valuable information, you’ve reached marketing nirvana.


Instead of doing all the messy work coding up HTML-rich emails, you can use the drag & drop and email list capabilities of MailChimp. If you want to automate emails a layer beyond, and take people through an in-depth series of automated emails, you could use a solution like Drip.

6. Get Data

Ever needed to take a quick look at certain data, like the demographic traits of a certain country? Need to source the latest financial data? Look no further than Quandl. You’ll be able to find all sorts of data, from the average age of first marriage for women to life expectancy at birth. Best of all, you can export that data directly in Excel, stepping away from all of the code if you needed.

7. Filter Through Data

Most people think of Google Apps as a great way to collaborate with others, but they don’t know about the full power of this suite of tools. Google built a way for you to add layers of functionality on top of their powerful software, allowing you to do so much more with different types of data. Best of all, you can copy + paste pre-made scripts and benefit from the effects without being technical!

Check to see if your website is online or save all tweets that match a certain hashtag to a spreadsheet. You can do that or a variety of other tasks through scripts that will save you time and money.


Use these scripts for good, not evil.

8. Building Popups and Other Interactive Elements on a Website

Sometimes, you want to add an additional layer of interactivity to a website, whether it’s a popup to highlight a brand new feature, or a walkthrough that will help guide users. Thankfully, with tools like Engage and HelloBar you can add different modals or elements to your website that can help you collect emails, direct traffic elsewhere, or dictate what users should look at in a web page.


9. Dig Deeper into Websites, and See How Your Website Looks in mobile

Most people don’t know about the handy Google Chrome Inspector or its equivalent Firebug on Firefox. While most of the time it is used by developers to spot errors or mock up certain changes in the code, you can use the Inspector to check into the exact URLs of images, and how your website displays on different screen sizes, from iPhones to tablets.


The responsive design tool in these inspector tools will allow you to simulate what your website looks like from device-to-device, a crucial need to see if your website is mobile-friendly. This is a factor that’s critically important for websites with mobile traffic, and one that Google uses to rank webpages.


By harnessing technology, you’ll be at the cutting-edge of digital marketing. You won’t even need to learn how to code to get an awesome array of new powers. Save yourself time and money, and make sure you use your new capabilities for good!

About the Author: Roger is a digital marketer who self-taught himself to code but recognizes when code is useful and when it isn’t. He manages Growth for edtech company Springboard, and will often write about new technologies at his own personal blog code(love). You can find him on Twitter.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

7 AdWords Features You Didn't Know Existed


Over the years Google AdWords has evolved into a marketing tool that helps businesses drive leads and outrank their competitors. But what if I told you that the majority of business owners, marketers, and strategists weren’t taking full advantage of all AdWords has to offer? Queue the motivation for this article. Check out these 7n AdWords features you didn’t know existed to help elevate your campaigns to the next level.

1) Call-only campaigns

Google has cited that 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results. Because of this proven consumer behavior, in February 2015, Google AdWords introduced Call-Only Campaigns. These campaigns are for businesses who place more value on a phone call than a website visit conversion.

Call only campaigns are only for mobile devices and feature a large clickable number with a few short lines for text. In theory, every click you pay for is a phone call to your company. This type of conversion allows you to create a bidding strategy based on how much value your company places on a phone call.


2) Ad Extensions

Have you ever noticed that some ads appear to be “bulkier” or have extra features than others? That’s because they are using ad extensions! These extensions allow you to get a higher click-through rate (CTR), increased visibility, and better user experience. To give you an idea of what each manual extension is used for, here is a brief synopsis:

  • Sitelink extensions - Allows you to add links from your website to help people find what they are searching for.
  • Call extensions - Allows searchers the ability to click a number to call your business.
  • Callout extensions - Allows you to add extra ad copy so you can tell searchers what sets you apart from the competition.
  • Location extensions - Allows searchers nearby to find your location or give you a call (map pin, navigation assistance, or call option).
  • Review extensions - Allows you to showcase reviews from reputable sources.
  • App extensions - Allows searchers to click a link that sends them to the app store to download your app.
  • Structured Snippets - Allows you to add descriptive text to learn more about a product/ service.

Below is an example of an ad with callout, sitelinks, & location extensions:


*For a more in depth look at ad extensions, check out this blog “7 AdWords Extensions You Should Utilize to Improve PPC Conversion Rate”.

3) Customer Match

If you follow inbound marketing best practices then you probably have a few email lists built up from your efforts. Lucky for you, AdWords has a way of retargeting those users in their Google search engine with customer match!

You can now upload a list of email addresses to AdWords and show those prospects ads when they are signed into Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail. This will allow you to show them new products or promotions to re-engage them back into your sales funnel.

4) Ad Customizers

Ad customizers enable you to change the text in your ads based on what someone’s search query is. For example, if you have several products in the same category (like different HP printer ink cartridges) you can set your AdWords ad up so the displayed text will match the specific product a searcher is looking for: “HP printer ink 564” vs. “HP ink”.



This is also especially helpful when you have an offer or sale that is only for a limited time. Before ad customizers, you had to change your ad text everyday to reflect the countdown, but now you can set a new dynamic ad parameter that automatically changes the ad text to a new number each day.


5) Interest Targeting

Gone are the days where the only way to target searchers was through keywords alone. Nowadays, Google’s Display Network offers a few different ways you can target audiences by interest to increase the chances your ad will be shown to people who are most likely interested in your product/service.

In-market Audiences

To reach an audience who is actively searching and comparing your product or service, use in-market audiences. How does this work? Google looks at browser history (via cookie tracking) to find out what market segment a person is researching, and temporarily categorizes them in that market. Thus tailoring ads related to the theme that person is searching.

Affinity Audiences

Compared to in-market audiences, custom affinity audiences are analyzed based on overall interests and identity. Google will analyze online patterns in order to find possible matches to an interest category. This means that although they may not be actively searching within that category, they still have a connection that makes it likely they would be interested in a product/service.

6) Promote App Downloads Directly

For companies that have their own app, Google now has App Promotion Ads. Simply put, these ads have buttons that allow searchers to click and download the app straight from the app store on their mobile phones.

This helps eliminate any extra steps the user has to take in order to convert (like visit your website to download, only to be taken to the app store from there).


7) AdWords Editor

To round out our list of features you didn’t know existed, this last feature will help you manage and stay on top of your campaigns. The AdWords Editor is a free desktop app where you can download and manage multiple accounts for offline editing. The benefits? This editor allows you to do more things in less time than using the web-based interface.

Features include the ability to:

  • View different parts of your account at the same time
  • Edit items side by side
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to jump around account
  • Easily undo/ redo changes
  • Bulk edit to make multiple changes

Next Steps

Are you taking advantage of all 7 of these AdWords features? If not, I would encourage you to explore all of the tools AdWords has to offer to assist in the success of your campaigns and alleviate some of the burden of maintaining your account. If you haven’t yet made the plunge into incorporating AdWords into your marketing strategy, be sure to download this free ebook “Why Google AdWords Should Be Part of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy”:

New Call-to-action

from HubSpot Marketing Blog