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7 Call-to-Action (CTA) Tools to Help You Increase Conversions

When you create and add a compelling call-to-action (CTA) to any content — such as a website, blog post, or social media profile — you have the potential to convert more visitors into qualified leads and customers. That’s because a well-crafted CTA helps increase conversions and, therefore, prospects, customers, and revenue.

Call-to-Action Tools

Call-to-action tools, or CTA tools, exist to make the process of creating and adding CTAs to your website, blog, or social media posts simple.

You may already have access to a CTA creator/generator in your current business tools, such as your Marketing Software. If that’s not the case, consider using any of the following CTA tools to efficiently create and add CTAs where you need them most.

Here are seven tools for generating CTAs so can begin increasing conversions.

1. HubSpot Calls-to-Action


HubSpot’s Calls-to-Action tool allows you to create, personalize, test, and optimize CTAs that drive qualified leads to your landing pages in seconds. The easy-to-use CTA builder doesn’t require a designer and helps you make CTA buttons or CTA pop-ups. You can also upload custom button design or image-based CTAs of your own.

When personalizing CTAs, HubSpot provides useful information about individuals from your contact database (e.g. industry, lifecycle stage) to help you tailor the CTA to them. Or, if you’re targeting anonymous visitors, use other helpful details like their location or language.

Once your CTAs are complete, add them to web pages, landing pages, blog articles, or emails. Then, A/B test, analyze, and optimize your CTA’s and their performance — you can easily manage all of your CTA data from a single dashboard in HubSpot that displays views, clicks, and conversions.

2. Wishpond

wishpond call to action cta tool


With Wishpond, create and optimize CTAs for web and landing pages with a drag-and-drop builder and over 20 templates. A/B and/or multivariate test versions of your CTAs to determine which does the best job of converting visitors.

Advanced tracking provides insight into which CTAs are most effective among your visitors. Meanwhile, marketing automation assists with customer segmentation (once visitors have converted, thanks to your CTA, of course) and sending emails. Wishpond also integrates with over 40 different tools to make tasks (such as data analysis, closing deals, and team-wide collaboration) simple.

3. Sniply

sniply cta call to action tool


With Sniply, add CTAs to the links you share (e.g. web page, blog article, social media post) — in other words, overlay a customized CTA on any content.

Simply enter any URL that you want to include a CTA (this can be one of your own URLs or one from a third-party site). Sniply will then generate a slightly different, shareable URL for you. Once your audience clicks on the new URL, your CTA will be visible on the page.

Customize a CTA’s look (color, text, size), type (banner, pop-up), and placement on the page. Then, monitor your results and track CTA engagement from within Sniply to better understand how your audience interacts with your CTAs.

4. ClickMinded

clickminded cta call to action tool


ClickMinded’s Da Button Factory is a free tool for generating CTAs that you can add to your website, social media post, email, or blog article. Decide what you want your CTA to say and look like by selecting button text, font, style, color, background, and size — then, the tool will generate your CTA.

Once you’re ready to implement your new CTA, opt to either download the image file or implement the button as HTML + CSS.

5. Canva

canva cta call to action tool


Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design software with drag-and-drop features and a variety of pre-built templates that you can customize — if you’re looking to design something from scratch, you can easily do that in Canva by simply selecting your own dimensions.

Canva does not currently have a specific template for CTAs, however, it’s easy to build your own. After selecting the dimensions for your CTA, design and brand the button in any way you want. The Canva dashboard is easy to navigate, even for those without any design knowledge.

Once your CTA design is complete, download the final product and upload it to your content management system (CMS) so you can insert the CTA on a landing or web page.

6. ImageFu

imagefu cta call to action tool


ImageFu is a button and badge generator — the tool can create CTAs in seconds. Simply type the text you want to appear in your CTA button (this can span multiple lines) and customize it to your liking. Select your border, background, shadow, corners (type and radius), and size. Then, download the CTA and save it to your device so can add it to your CMS and insert it onto a web page.

7. ButtonOptimizer

button optimizer cta call to action tool


ButtonOptimizer is a free CTA generator that helps you customize CTA buttons for your website or landing page. Select the base color of your CTA as well as the text, size, border, icon, and shadow. Once you’re satisfied with the look of your CTA, the tool will prompt you to decide whether you want to download it as a PNG file or CSS code so you can then insert it on your site.

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Ways to get the most out of your Google Adwords PPC strategy

30-second summary:

  • PPC advertising is a highly effective way to drive targeted prospects to websites, sales pages, or blogs.
  • Even though PPC can take up some parts of your budget, there are important benefits attached to this practice.
  • Did you know, 92% of all keywords that people type into search engines are long tails?
  • This article gives you a brief on the benefits of having a PPC strategy, must-haves for PPC advertising through Google Adwords, elements of attractive and effective PPC Ads, and more on optimizing your Google Adwords PPC strategy.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is an important component of online marketing. Specific strategies can be used by advertisers to maximize the return from their PPC marketing. PPC advertising is a highly effective way to drive targeted prospects to websites, sales pages, or blogs. Digital marketers can choose between Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or Bing Ads. However, most online marketers prefer using Google AdWords for their PPC strategy since it displays their ads on Google SERPs.

A. Benefits of Google Ads PPC advertising

Though PPC marketing costs money, it has five important benefits:

1. Convenience and speed

Advertisers can set up their PPC ad campaigns easily and quickly. They can use PPC ads to target their prospects with precision and get results almost immediately. According to Neil Patel, SEO expert and co-founder of both Crazy Egg and Hello Bar:

                    “With PPC, you can drive visitors to your website in hours, not months”

2. Adaptability

Ad text, keywords, and other elements of PPC ads can be constantly tweaked to optimize and so maximize their effectiveness.

3. Cost-effectiveness

Google Adwords charges advertisers only when there are clicks on their ads and not merely when ads are displayed.

4. Budget flexibility

Advertisers can decide on the budget of their PPC campaign since Google Adwords does not have any minimum spending limits. For instance, they can set a maximum daily budget of twenty dollars and a maximum cost of twenty cents for each click on their ad, which they can change whenever they want.

5. Predictability

With a PPC campaign, digital marketers can easily predict the number of their visitors based on how much they spend. The search engine algorithm is less of a factor. In one of his PPC related articles, Neil Patel stated,

“Spend more, get more visitors. If you want exactly 10,000 visitors, you can get exactly 10,000 visitors”,

Despite all these benefits of Google Ads PPC advertising, first-time digital marketers should be attentive as they may lose a lot on their invested money if they ever fail to properly set up their PPC marketing campaigns.

B. Preparation before starting a Google Ads PPC campaign

The first thing new marketers should do is to read thoroughly the Google Adwords Getting Started Guide, which has a large amount of useful information. Next, they should use the Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion Tool and create a comprehensive list of relevant keywords for their products or services.

Use of long-tail keyword phrases

Since the price per click of PPC ads is determined by competitive bidding of search terms, popular search terms such as “insurance”, “stop smoking”, and “weight-loss” cost several dollars for the top three positions on the search results. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are phrases that are not searched very often but are more likely to be used by people who are willing to buy.

Ahrefs, in fact, reports that 92% of all keywords get 10 or fewer searches per month. In other words, 92% of all keywords that people type into search engines are long tails.

C. Elements of attractive and effective PPC ads

Well written ads are decisive to the success of a Google Ads PPC strategy. They should highlight the key benefit of the product or service so that potential clients click on them.

Marketers should also include these elements in their ads:

1. The price of the product

Users who see the price of the product and still click the ad are more likely to buy the product. If they think the price is too high, they may not click on the ad and save the cost of that click.

2. A strong call-to-action

Specific call-to-action phrases such as “purchase”, “buy”, “call today”, “sign up”, and “order ensures” the prospects understand what they are expected to do after they clicking the ad.

3. The best performing keyword preferably in the title of the ad

Whenever users type that keyword and the ad is displayed, the keyword phrase appears “in bold font” within the ad on the Google search page. This will draw their attention to the ad.

4. The URL of the specific page on the website that has the product

If people who click the ad do not find the product on that page, they are likely to exit and click some other ad.

D. Fine-tuning PPC management to boost its profitability

Advertisers can experiment with different offers and call-to-action phrases and test multiple ads. Google Adwords rotates ads automatically within the ad group and displays, more often, the better-performing one. They can remove keywords that are not getting enough clicks and replace them with others. Also, they can decrease or increase the maximum cost-per-click and check the effect on the performance of their ads.

E. Additional strategies to increase the cost-effectiveness of your Google Ads PPC marketing

Submit negative keywords

Advertisers should make a list of keywords that cause their ads to be displayed but are not related to their product. After that, they should submit them as negative keywords by putting a negative sign in front of those keywords. By doing this, they will ensure that anyone using those keywords won’t have their ad displayed to them. For instance, if the product is about “how to stop smoking”, advertisers should exclude anything like “smoking chimneys” or any other sources of smoke!

Some keywords might have far different user intent and bring in clicks that are an immediate bounce but won’t turn into a conversion”.

Explained SEO expert Rinko de Jong, in an email interview.

This could also lead to ad impressions that result in no clicks. Both can weaken the quality score of your ad resulting in negatively impacting your ad placement and cost per click”, he added.

Disallow ads to be displayed in Google’s content network partner sites

Clicks originating from these websites are usually of a lower quality than those from search results because they come from people who are browsing that website, not people who are actively searching for the product of the advertiser. So, these clicks might result in fewer sales but will cost definitely just the same.

Pay-Per-Click marketing has the potential to drive a steady stream of visitors to affiliate sites, sales pages, or websites resulting in increased sales and profits if it is properly set up and constantly monitored.

Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, and inbound marketing consultant.

The post Ways to get the most out of your Google Adwords PPC strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The Best-Laid Plans: Can We Predict Anything About 2021?

Posted by Dr-Pete

I’ve deleted this introduction twice. To say that no one could’ve predicted how 2020 unfolded seems trite since we’re not even a month into 2021, and this new year has already unraveled. Our challenges in the past year, across the globe, have gone far beyond marketing, and I doubt any of us ended the year the way we expected. This graph from Google Trends tells the story better than I can:

The pandemic fundamentally rewrote the global economy in a way none of us has ever experienced, and yet we have to find a path forward. How do we even begin to chart a course in 2021?

What do we know?

Let’s start small. Within our search marketing realm, is there anything we can predict with relative certainty in 2021? Below are some of the major announcements Google has made and trends that are likely to continue. While the timelines on some of these are unclear (and all are subject to change), these shifts in our small world are very likely.

Mobile-only indexing (March)

Mobile-first indexing has been in progress for a while, and most sites rolled over in 2020 or earlier. Google had originally announced that the index would fully default to mobile-first by September 2020, but pushed that timeline back in July (ostensibly due to the pandemic) to March 2021.

If you haven’t made the switch to a mobile-friendly site at this point, there’s not much time left to waste. Keep in mind that “mobile-first” isn’t just about speed and user experience, but making sure that your mobile site is as crawlable as your desktop. If Google can’t reach critical pages via your mobile design and internal links, then those pages are likely to drop out of the index. A page that isn’t indexed is a page that doesn’t rank.

Core Web Vitals (May)

While this date may change, Google has announced that Core Web Vitals will become a ranking factor in 2021. Here’s a bit more detail from the official announcement

Page experience signals in ranking will roll out in May 2021. The new page experience signals combine Core Web Vitals with our existing search signals including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

Many of these page experience signals already impact ranking to some degree, according to Google, so the important part really boils down to Core Web Vitals. You can get more of the details in this Whiteboard Friday from Cyrus, but the short version is that this is currently a set of three metrics (with unfortunately techie names):

(1) Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP measures how quickly the largest, visible block of your page loads. It is one view into perceived load-time and tries to filter out background libraries and other off-page objects.

(2) First Input Delay (FID)
FID measures how much time it takes before a user can interact with your page. “Interact” here means the most fundamental aspects of interaction, like clicking an on-page link.

(3) Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS measures changes to your page layout, such as ads that appear or move after the initial page-load. I suspect the update will apply mostly to abusive or disruptive layout shifts.

While these metrics are a narrow slice of the user experience, the good news is that Google has defined all of them in a fair amount of detail and allows you to track this data with tools like Google Lighthouse. So, we’re in a unique position of being be able to prepare for the May algorithm update.

That said, I think you should improve site speed and user experience because it’s a net-positive overall, not because of a pending 2021 update. If past history — including the HTTPS update and mobile-friendly update — is any indicator, Google’s hope is to use the pre-announcement to push people to make changes now. I strongly suspect that Core Web Vitals will be a very minor ranking factor in the initial update, ramping up over a period of many months.

Passage indexing/ranking (TBD)

In October 2020, Google announced that they were “… now able to not just index web pages, but individual passages from the pages.” They later clarified that this wasn’t so much passage indexing as passage ranking, and the timeline wasn’t initially clear. Danny Sullivan later clarified that this change did not roll out in 2020, but Google’s language suggests that passage ranking is likely to roll out as soon as it’s tested and ready.

While there’s nothing specific you can do to harness passage ranking, according to Google, I think this change is not only an indicator of ML/AI progress but a recognition that you can have valuable, long-form content that addresses multiple topics. The rise of answers in SERPs (especially Featured Snippets and People Also Ask boxes) had a side-effect of causing people to think in terms of more focused, question-and-answer style content. While that’s not entirely bad, I suspect it’s generally driven people away from broader content to shorter, narrower content.

Even in 2020, there are many examples of rich, long-form content that ranks for multiple Featured/Snippets, but I expect passage ranking will re-balance this equation even more and give us increased freedom to create content in the best format for the topic at hand, without worrying too much about being laser-targeted on a single topic.

Core algorithm updates (TBD)

It’s safe to say we can expect more core algorithm updates in 2021. There were three named “Core” updates in 2020 (January, May, and December), but the frequency and timing has been inconsistent. While there are patterns across the updates, thematically, each update seems to contain both new elements and some adjustments to old elements, and my own analysis suggests that the patterns (the same sites winning and losing, for example) aren’t as prominent as we imagine. We can assume that Google’s Core Updates will reflect the philosophy of their quality guidelines over time, but I don’t think we can predict the timing or substance of any particular core update.

Googlebot crawling HTTP/2 (2022+)

Last fall, Google revealed that Googlebot would begin crawling HTTP/2 sites in November of 2020. It’s not clear how much HTTP/2 crawling is currently happening, and Google said they would not penalize sites that don’t support HTTP/2 and would even allow opt-out (for now). Unlike making a site secure (HTTPS) or mobile-friendly, HTTP/2 is not widely available to everyone and may depend on your infrastructure or hosting provider.

While I think we should pay attention to this development, don’t make the switch to HTTP/2 in 2021 just for Google’s sake. If it makes sense for the speed and performance of your site, great, but I suspect Google will be testing HTTP/2 and turning up the volume on it’s impact slowly over the next few months. At some point, we might see a HTTPS-style announcement of a coming ranking impact, but if that happens, I wouldn’t expect it until 2022 or later.

When will this end?

While COVID-19 may not seem like a marketing topic, the global economic impact is painfully clear at this point Any plans we make for 2021 have to consider the COVID-19 timeline, or they’re a fantasy. When can we expect the pandemic to end and businesses to reopen on a national and global scale?

Let me start by saying that I’m not a medical doctor — I’m a research psychologist by training. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know how to read primary sources and piece them together. What follows is my best read of the current facts and the 2021 timeline. I will try to avoid my own personal biases, but note that my read on the situation is heavily US-biased. I will generally avoid worst-case scenarios, like a major mutation of the virus, and stick to a median scenario.

Where are we at right now?

As I’m writing this sentence, over 4,000 people died just yesterday of COVID-19 in the US and over 14,000 globally. As a data scientist, I can tell you that every data point requires context, but when we cherry-pick the context, we deceive ourselves. What data science doesn’t tell us is that everyone one of these data points is a human life, and that matters.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of viable vaccines, including (here in the US and in the UK) the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. These vaccines have been approved in some countries, have demonstrated promising results, and are in production. Here in the US, we’re currently behind the timeline on distribution, with the CDC reporting about 10 million people vaccinated as of mid-January (initial goal was 20 million vaccinated by the end of 2020). In terms of the timeline, it’s important to note that, for maximum effectiveness, the major vaccines require two doses, separated by about 3-4 weeks (this may vary with the vaccine and change as research continues).

Is it getting better or worse?

I don’t want to get mired in the data, but the winter holidays and travel are already showing a negative impact here in the US, and New Year’s Eve may complicate problems. While overall death rates have improved due to better treatment options and knowledge of the disease, many states and countries are at or near peak case rates and peak daily deaths. This situation is very likely to get worse before it gets better.

When might we reopen?

I’m assuming, for better or worse, that reopening does not imply full “herd immunity” or a zero case-rate. We’re talking about a critical mass of vaccinations and a significant flattening of the curve. It’s hard to find a source outside of political debates here in the US, but a recent symposium sponsored by Harvard and the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that — if we can adequately ramp up vaccine distribution in the second quarter of 2021 — we could see measurable positive impact by the end of our summer (or early-to-mid third quarter) here in the US.

Any prediction right now requires a lot of assumptions and there may be massive regional differences in this timeline, but the key point is that the availability of the vaccine, while certainly cause for optimism, is not a magic wand. Manufacturing, distribution, and the need for a second dose all mean that we’re realistically still looking at a few months for medical advances to have widespread impact.

What can we do now?

First, let me say that there is absolutely no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Many local businesses were decimated, while e-commerce grew 32% year-over-year in 2020. If you’re a local restaurant that managed to stay afloat, you may see a rapid return of customers in the summer or fall. If you’re a major online retailer, you could actually see a reduction in sales as brick-and-mortar stores become viable again (although probably not to 2019 levels).

If your e-commerce business was lucky enough to see gains in 2020, Miracle Inameti-Archibong has some great advice for you. To inadequately summarize — don’t take any of this for granted. This is a time to learn from your new customers, re-invest in your marketing, and show goodwill toward the people who are shopping online more because of the difficulties they’re facing.

If you’re stuck waiting to reopen, consider the lead time SEO campaigns require to have an impact. In a recent Whiteboard Friday, I made the case that SEO isn’t an on/off switch. Consider the oversimplified diagram below. Paid search is a bit like the dotted gray line — you flip the switch on, and the leads starting flowing. The trade-off is that when you flip the switch off, the leads dry up almost immediately.

Organic SEO has a ramp-up. It’s more like the blue curve above. The benefit of organic is that the leads keep coming when you stop investing, but it also means that the leads will take time to rebuild when you start to reinvest. This timeline depends on a lot of variables, but an organic campaign can often take 2-3 months or more to get off the ground. If you want to hit the ground running as reopening kicks in, you’re going to need to start re-investing ahead of that timeline. I acknowledge that that might not be easy, and it doesn’t have to be all or none.

In a recent interview, Mary Ellen Coe (head of Google Marketing Solutions) cited a 20,000% increase during the pandemic in searches from consumers looking to support local businesses. There’s a tremendous appetite for reopening and a surge of goodwill for local businesses. If you’re a local business, even if you’re temporarily closed, it’s important to let people know that you’re still around and to keep them up-to-date on your reopening plans as they evolve.

I don’t expect that the new normal will look much like the old normal, and I’m mindful that many businesses didn’t survive to see 2021. We can’t predict the future, but we can’t afford to wait for months and do nothing, either, so I hope this at least gives you some idea of what to expect in the coming year and how we might prepare for it.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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The SMX Report agenda is live!

Your journey to mastering search marketing analytics begins here.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Video: Phillip Thune on finding good writers and writing good content

We also spoke about how SEO behavior changed around content around both the Panda and Penguin releases.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Google crawl stats report now showing more crawls

Google said this is just a reporting change and the change you see in crawling is not reflective of any change in search results.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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DuckDuckGo’s focus on privacy-minded users pushes it past 100 million searches in a single day

Although it’s a long way from being a Google competitor, DuckDuckGo’s business model may serve as a playbook for new search engines.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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13 Tips on How To Nail a Presentation To the Board of Directors

In college, I always made it a point to listen intently to presentations. I knew how stressful and nerve-racking it was to present in a room of peers and authority figures.

I would nod feverishly to let presenters know I was invested in their presentation. And they knew it too. They often zeroed in on me as I became their focus point and silent motivator. The fixation felt awkward at times, but that felt like one of my small contributions to society. That, and an endless supply of cat videos.

Back then, the stakes were relatively low. But when you’re tasked with putting together a presentation to a board of directors, the pressure’s on.

But with a few tricks in your arsenal, you won’t need a sympathetic audience member to gauge how well you’re doing.

Let’s walk through some tips to prepare for your presentation and review some things to avoid.

1. Know your audience.

Knowing your listeners is as important as the content of your presentation. When you understand their priorities, you can put together a presentation that speaks directly to them.

If you don’t know the board well, do some research and get answers to these questions:

What does the board care about?

This will help you see from what lens they look at things. For instance, a board keen on community impact may not be drawn to a presentation focused on return on investment (ROI).

There are a few ways to find this out. You can start by looking into each board member’s professional background. If most members have a finance background, for instance, you’ll want to make sure you cover any financials as it relates to your presentation. This could be cost, expected ROI, or operating margins.

You can also get some insight into what the board cares about by looking back at your interactions with its members. Think about the conversations you’ve had: What comes up most often? Is it company culture, profit, philanthropy, innovation, or something else?

What are their main concerns?

A board of directors is responsible for making decisions that will ensure the growth and sustainability of a company. So naturally, they will be looking out for anything that may impede that process.

Common concerns a board may have are:

  • Costs: How much time and money will it require?
  • Timeline: How long will this project take and is that timeline feasible?
  • Risks: How risky is your proposal and what is the risk-to-return ratio?

You may find that each board member has a different focus, which means your presentation should be well-rounded to tackle these issues.

Once you know this answer, you can subtly handle each concern throughout your presentation. Getting those answers will help you create a presentation that not only interests your audience but also aligns with their goals. This, in turn, will bring you much closer to accomplishing the plans laid out in your presentation.

2. Plan ahead.

The next step in delivering a great presentation is making a plan. This means figuring out the focus of your presentation, what you’ll cover, and what you’ll leave out.

A presentation should follow the structure of any good movie, with a beginning, middle, and an end. Here’s an example outline for a presentation where the head of the marketing team is proposing course offerings as a new lead generation channel.

In the beginning, you should set expectations for what you will cover. This is also an opportunity to set the baseline and explain the current state of affairs. This may look like discussing KPIs or reviewing goals and outcomes.

The middle is the meat and potatoes of your presentation. You’ll likely spend time providing data, contextualizing it, and explaining your approach.

Your ending should bring together your key points and leave your audience with actionable steps. Because what good is providing the information if you have no plan for what to do moving forward?

3. Structure your presentation based on the board’s process.

Not every board of directors operates in the same way. Sure, there are standard guidelines for every meeting. However, the approach may vary for presentations.

Some may operate more like a town hall, pausing periodically to discuss the points as they come up. In this case, leave room after each section of your presentation to discuss what was covered.

Others may follow the more standard approach: presentation followed by a discussion. Studies show that humans remember best the beginning and end of what they read, hear, and see. What’s in the middle tends to get lost. With that in mind, consider sharing your most pertinent information toward the beginning and end of your presentation.

4. Keep it concise.

One thing board members aren’t known for is open availability. That said, you want to make the most of your time with them. How do you do that? Stick to the scope of the presentation.

While it’s great to incorporate storytelling, avoid getting sidetracked and wasting time. Be clear and keep it simple.

If you’re showing data, only share one highlight per data graph. There are several reasons for this:

  • Data itself doesn’t tell a story. You, as the presenter, do. As such, you have to explain what it means and why it matters. Let’s say lead generation at your company has plateaued in the past year across all channels. That’s all the data says. But during your research, you realize it’s due to a shift in how your audience is consuming information. Your role is to present the data and explain the “why” behind the plateau along with a solution.
  • You want to prevent information overload. Share the piece of data that best supports your points and has the most impact. For instance, if a new lead generation channel is the focus of your presentation, diving into the specifics of another channel may not be worth your time.

If you leave it to your audience to make sense of the data, they might reach a conclusion that doesn’t align with your message.

5. Set up early.

There’s nothing more awkward than silence during a technical difficulty.

Everyone’s looking at you while you’re figuring out why technology has forsaken you. The more time the issue takes to resolve, the more panicked you get. We’ve all been there.

To avoid this, set up early and do a run-through before your scheduled presentation time. It’ll give you time to get familiar with the space and any technology you’ll need to run during your presentation.

6. Incorporate visuals into your presentation.

When choosing between words and media, pick the latter.

Visuals help us make sense of information at a much quicker pace than words do. We’re also better at remembering what we see versus what we hear by 55% – it’s called pictorial superiority.

It’s also beneficial to keep your visuals simple. If you have too much going on, your audience will be confused. But if it’s too bare, it will take too many visuals to paint the picture. So, pull your most significant data and use data visualization tools to design intuitive graphics.

7. Focus on results.

A board of directors typically focuses on big-picture decisions that will have a long-term impact on the company.

In this vein, every piece of your presentation should get you closer to answering these questions:

  • Why does this matter?
  • What is the long-term impact?
  • How does this bring the company closer to its goals?
  • Any potential roadblocks? How will you address them?

Incorporating these answers into your presentation will set you up for a smoother Q&A session.

8. Send materials beforehand.

Depending on what you’ll be covering in your presentation, it may be helpful to send the board materials to review in advance. This should only be supplemental information that would be too time-consuming or distracting to cover in a presentation, like reports and demos. This way, the focus during the presentation will be on the “why” and not the “how.”

The one material you don’t want to send is your presentation, as you want to be the one to contextualize it. Otherwise, the board might form an opinion based on limited information.

A week before the meeting is a good rule of thumb, leaving room for you to respond to initial comments or feedback.

Think of this process as an advantage. You get insight into what the board members may bring up during the meeting and more context to prep. Secondly, it ensures everyone is on the same page ahead of the meeting. That way, you can dive straight into key points during your presentation without covering minute details.

9. Build confidence with your power outfit.

Building confidence is one of the less concrete tips on the list to implement. But the good news is, there are research-backed techniques you can use to achieve it. One of them is right within your reach: clothing.

Many of us can relate to the feeling of trying on clothes in a fitting room and feeling like a million bucks. It tends to put us in a better mood and shift our perspective.

Well, turns out there’s a reason for this. In 2012, two researchers coined the term “enclothed cognition” to refer to the impact clothes can have on the psyche. They found that the clothes we wear can shift our perspective.

In that spirit, put on your best blazer or suit the day of your presentation. That outfit may be just the boost you need.

10. Rehearse your script.

During a presentation with a board of directors, you want to avoid the Michael Scott approach at all costs.

Instead, go the exact opposite route: practice. Practice is the cure to presentation jitters and the formula for seamless delivery. The more familiar you become with your content, the better the presentation will be.

If it’s been a while since your last presentation, start by practicing in the mirror. You’ll immediately notice any mannerisms that may be distracting to your audience. Recording yourself also works great.

Then, practice in front of an audience. And, unfortunately, your dog won’t cut it for this one. Practice with family or friends who can give you feedback on how to improve.

And remember: You’re the only one who knows your speech and presentation. So, if you mess up or forget to mention something, you’re likely the only one who noticed.

11. Don’t fall into the PowerPoint trap.

You’ll likely use a tool like PowerPoint to guide you during your presentation. Yet, it’s important that you don’t overly depend on it.

For instance, packing your slides with heavy text or bullet points is a surefire way to lose your audience. In fact, 40% of respondents in a 2018 study by Prezi said it caused disengagement and made it harder to retain information.

So, stick to one key point on each slide. It’s easier for your audience to remember and prevents information overload.

12. Read the room.

Even if you follow every tip listed above, you might hit a point in your presentation where there’s a disconnect between you and your audience. You might notice confused looks or a shift in body language. If that happens, that’s your cue to pivot.

If your audience seems confused, dive in a little bit deeper on your point. If you sense disagreement, tackle those concerns head-on.

Let’s say you’re proposing a new initiative for the company, and you sense some pushback on the timeline.

You can address it by saying something along the lines of, “You may have some concern regarding the timeline and whether it’s feasible given our current projects. While the timeline may seem tight, we have factored in X, Y, and Z, and, given our past initiatives, we believe this timeline will account for A, B, and C.”

A response like this can mitigate the situation while still keeping you on track.

13. Include time for questions.

As a foodie, dinner for me isn’t complete without a good piece of chocolate. Whether it’s a KitKat or a chocolate cake, having chocolate after dinner feels like the perfect ending. Q&A sessions are kind of like that. It’s the audience’s chance to ask questions and discuss the presentation.

Be ready for questions regarding the data and solutions you presented. The length of the Q&A session will vary depending on the length of your presentation, the size of the board, and other factors.

Additionally, it’s your opportunity to address any looming concerns and re-emphasize your key points. Not sure what to do if you don’t have an answer to something? Here are a few responses:

  • “That’s a great question. I don’t have an answer for you at the moment, but I will follow up over email by end of day.”
  • “I don’t have much experience in that X [topic/department/]. However, I will reach out to X and get back to you within a week.”
  • “We haven’t explored that yet, but what I can tell you is …”
  • “That’s a great point we hadn’t considered before. My team and I will reconvene and strategize on the best way to approach this.”

When the stakes are so high, a presentation to the board can seem daunting. By incorporating these tips into your strategy, you can remove the stress and focus instead on your delivery.

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How Do Your Pins Perform? A Beginner's Guide to Pinterest Analytics

Social media is an instrumental component of any business’s marketing strategy. But for users, scrolling through the mass amount of branded content across every social media platform can be exhausting.

However, there’s one social media site where users actually embrace branded content — Pinterest.

Pinterest can be an incredibly useful tool for attracting consumers to your products. In fact, 66% of Pinterest users make a purchase after seeing a brand’s Pins.

Because of Pinterest’s power to influence purchases, it makes sense to develop and maintain a strong Pinterest presence. And, whether your business’s social media goals align with improving brand recognition or increasing traffic, keeping an eye on analytics is critical for ensuring your content strategy is successful.

Additionally, JD Prater, an Ads Evangelist at Quora, told me, “Keep in mind Pinterest is all about discovery. Understand the Pinner’s journey and how it’s influencing future purchases — and not necessarily today’s.”

To ensure you’re able to achieve your Pinterest goals and see success on the platform, we’re going to explore what Pinterest Analytics is, and show you the seven most important metrics you should be tracking.

What is Pinterest Analytics?

Pinterest Analytics is Pinterest’s completely free, native tool that you can use to help measure your performance on Pinterest. Pinterest Analytics lets you collect traffic insights — including impressions and link clicks — so you can modify your strategy to better meet your users’ needs.

To access Pinterest Analytics, you’ll need a business account, which will also unlock the ability for you to create advertisements and promote Pins.

Why Use Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics offers the ability to sort your data from any time period, so whether you’re doing a monthly or yearly report, you’re covered. Data can also be sorted by device, which can be helpful when figuring out how you should optimize for mobile versus desktop.

You can also export your stats in a CSV file, which will come in handy for your next report or audit.

Now that we know a little more about Pinterest Analytics, let’s see what tools we can use to get the most insight.

Pinterest Analytics Tools

1. Pinterest Analytics

Of course, the main tool we’ve discussed so far is Pinterest Analytics.

When you go into Pinterest Analytics, you’ll see the dashboard divided into three major sections — Profile, Audience, and Website analytics.

Pinterest Analytics is also split into four sections — Impressions, Saves, Link clicks, and All-time. Let’s explore those four sections now.

1. Impressions

Impressions are the number of times your Pin has been viewed. This could be through a user’s home feed, category feed, or search.

2. Saves

Saves are the number of times someone has saved one of your Pins to a board. This is how new people discover your content on Pinterest.

3. Link clicks

Link clicks are what drive your users to a destination — whether that be your website, blog post, or another Pin.

4. All-time

Your All-time metrics include an assortment of things dating back to the very beginning of your Pinterest history. Here, you’ll be able to see your most popular Pins, and the content ranked highest in search.

Lastly, it’s important to note — analytics should be used only once you fully understand the Pinterest user.

For instance, as Prater notes,”Before you start analyzing the data and drawing insights, it’s important to understand the Pinner journey. There’s no one way to pin. People’s pinning habits are diverse and are centered on what they care most about (their interests).”

2. Tailwind

Another great tool you can use to analyze your Pinterest metrics is Tailwind. Tailwind is a social media scheduling tool for Pinterest and Instagram that includes analytics as a part of its features.

The tool goes beyond vanity metrics and tracks followers, engagement, and even virality. You can even track your ROI by looking at visits, transactions, and revenue down to the specific pin.

Additionally, there are powerful filtering tools so you can uncover insights by board, interest heatmaps to verify that you’re focusing on the right content, and trending reports to see what’s trending right now even if it was pinned months ago.

If you’re looking for a detailed tool with a lot of insight, Tailwind might be worth exploring.

3. ViralWoot

ViralWoot is a social media scheduling and analytics tool that can help you get your bearings on your Pinterest analytics.

This tool includes an influence score, which will help you understand what you need to do to boost your Pinterest presence.

Besides the influence score, all the important metrics are available to track with this analytics tool. A great feature of the ViralWoot is the straightforward explanations that can help you actually understand your analytics. You can learn what the best days and times to pin are, how to increase your search impressions, and discover trending keywords on Pinterest.

4. Olapic

Olapic is an all-in-one user generated, influencer, short-form video enterprise content platform that helps brands drive engagement.

With its scheduling and analytics tool, you can track ROI, influencer interactions, and engagement.

Pinterest Metrics to Track

There are seven metrics you’ll want to track on your Pinterest account to assess how well your content is performing. Of course, depending on your team’s unique goals, you might want to focus more heavily on a few of these metrics, rather than all of them.

1. Impressions

As with any other social media network, impressions measure the number of times your content is displayed. Pinterest impressions include the number of times your content appears in a user’s feed, search results, or a different category feed.

To get a sense of what your audience is searching for, look for patterns within your content to see which categories and keywords gain the most impressions. For instance, if you notice your “Quotes from impressive marketing leaders” post performs exceptionally well, you might want to lean more heavily into thought leadership content on Pinterest.

2. Repins

Repins are the number of times someone saves your pin to one of their own boards.

Repins are like a retweet on Twitter. It means that the user found your post both interesting and shareable. This action is more valuable than an impression because it counts as actual engagement.

The more people that engage with your content, the more likely it is to show up in people’s search.

3. Clicks

Clicks are the metric that determines whether or not your content is driving your audience to your website. This metric is extremely important if your goal is to increase traffic with your Pinterest presence.

The number of clicks and visits to your website from Pinterest can be found at the bottom of the ‘Site Metrics’ tab in Pinterest Analytics. Clicks indicate the action of a click, while Visitors signal the number of unique users visiting your site.

4. Top Pins

Pinterest content has a long lifespan. This means that your content can accumulate metrics over a longer period of time than they do on other platforms.

Your Top Pins will be useful in determining your best content over time. If you launched an extremely popular campaign that resonated with your audience a year ago, you’ll be able to go back and see the actions taken on that content. You can use that information to inform the strategy of your next campaign.

5. All-time stats

To see what content formats have worked for your account in the past, look at your data dating back to your account’s inception. This data includes your most repinned pins, pins that performed best in search, and the pins most engaged with your most engaged with pins of all time.

Like your Top Pins, you can use your best-performing pins to optimize new content and provide your audience with what they want to see.

6. Audience affinities

In this section, you will see a breakdown of the categories your followers engage with and the top boards to which your content is pinned. This will help you understand your audience and what attracts them to your content.

7. Saves

A save means that people like your content and are saving it for later on one of their boards while, simultaneously, recommending it to their followers.

Saves increase the reach of your post on Pinterest and may indicate that the user plans on further engaging with the content later.

This metric is key to understanding which content your audience is identifying with, which will enable you to build deeper relationships with customers over time.

There are plenty of other metrics that Pinterest provides that will be helpful for your business. Remember, what works for one business’s Pinterest strategy may not work for your company’s unique voice and positioning. Using Analytics can allow you to test different content formats, which will ultimately add value to your customers’ overall experience with your brand.

Take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest Marketing to learn more about how to use Pinterest for your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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2021 Digital marketing predictions for small businesses

30-second summary:

  • Through all of the turmoil, key marketing trends emerged that will impact the way small businesses operate in 2021.
  • From catalyzed digital transformation and conversational marketing to AI’s application and data privacy emphasis, these are some themes that will serve as pillars for marketing success.
  • Five predictions for how these trends will play out this year.

In 2020, small businesses were forced to be nimble to grow and survive. As a result, more small businesses accelerated their digital transformation efforts to quickly and effectively reach customers online.

Through all of the turmoil, key marketing trends emerged that will impact the way small businesses operate in 2021. Here are my predictions for how these trends will play out this year:

1. Small businesses put their foot on the gas to digitally transform

According to the Small and Medium Business Trend Report from Salesforce Research, one in three small business leaders said that the pandemic has accelerated their digitization initiatives, and more than half of growing small businesses said technology drives their customer interactions. Brick and mortar small businesses that once depended on a physical presence adapted to the times and pivoted to ecommerce. Even farming businesses that never established an online presence set up integrated payment systems and chat services to better serve customers.

This year, small businesses will continue their path to digitalization and invest in building and maintaining an online presence. There will be a greater emphasis on tracking the entire customer lifecycle journey online and using data to inform decision making. This will open up more opportunities for small businesses to compete with larger businesses that operate in the same markets.

2. Conversational marketing takes center stage

During the pandemic, internet traffic has skyrocketed and more consumers are engaging in conversations with brands online. While this presents an opportunity for marketers, it also has created a unique challenge. Now, more than ever before, marketers are experimenting with conversational marketing to deliver personalized experiences and collect rich customer insights. With the release of cross-app communication features from Facebook earlier this year, it is becoming even easier for brands to reach customers where they spend most of their time.

In 2021, small businesses and successful brands will invest in conversational marketing to build brand loyalty and boost sales. Personalization will become key and brands that don’t offer customized communications for customers will fall short. As marketers and small businesses invest in conversational marketing, the adoption of instant chat and messenger services as communication channels will increase.

3. Machine learning and AI becomes practical for small businesses 

In the past, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been viewed as valuable technologies, yet only recently have AI and ML-driven campaigns become mainstream practical tools. Marketing automation is now smart enough to adjust messaging based on intent signals, but it relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to make this happen.

This year, artificial intelligence and machine learning will become more useful for small businesses, allowing them to quickly and effectively target and communicate with desired audiences online. Advances in AI-based chatbot services will take place and consumers will be able to engage in a rich two-way conversation, which will provide rich data and valuable insights for small businesses in 2021.

4. Data privacy pressures intensify – Small businesses should prepare

As big tech continues to draw more government scrutiny around how user data is pulled and managed, the demand for privacy protection and transparency from consumers continues to heighten. According to RSA, nearly half of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach within the past year and according to a study by Cisco, 84% of consumers want more control over how their personal information is managed.

Digital marketing is no exception to this and as small businesses continue to fully digitize, they will be faced with the same level of scrutiny on how they manage consumer data. While sourcing data is an essential component of successful marketing, in 2021, small businesses will need to invest in implementing data privacy compliant processes and communicating those transparently to customers.  This becomes an even greater challenge as these small companies fight to survive in the current economy.

5. The market demand increases for all-in-one digital marketing platforms

The demand for all-in-one digital marketing platforms has increased significantly within the past year as more small businesses are engaging with their customers online to drive sales. This has led to widespread innovation across multiple industries including food and beverage, fitness, farming, retail, and more. Larger companies are also turning to these platforms to efficiently manage all of their marketing needs in one place.

As the demand for these platforms continues, more businesses that offer complementary solutions will become partners with companies that offer these solutions to address the market demand. Integrations for payment, sales, helpdesk, and contact management services will become even more powerful and easy to use. Other integrations will also be established to help small businesses streamline their digital marketing operations. As more businesses invest in providing helpful solutions for these platforms, a thriving ecosystem will be established where the services offered for small businesses continue to increase in value.

Looking ahead

To succeed in 2021, it will be vital for small businesses to focus on creating seamless customer experiences online. The small businesses that excel in this area and harness the power of creativity will become stronger than ever before.

Steffen Schebesta is CEO at Sendinblue.

The post 2021 Digital marketing predictions for small businesses appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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