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3 ways to manage Instagram DMs and avoid inbox overload

Instagram DMs can be a powerful channel for customer service and cultivating relationships with your audience. However, overwhelming message volumes, inefficient workflows and a lack of structure can prevent social media teams from making the most of this engagement—and even hamper response times. Add on all of this to juggling Instagram management between your mobile phone separate from the rest of your social tools, and it’s no wonder some social teams feel overwhelmed. 

If some of these challenges sound familiar, you’re not alone. In fact over the past few years, Sprout has received more than 1,000 requests for Instagram DM management in Sprout to help alleviate inbox chaos. Thanks to our partnership with Facebook, we’re excited to roll this feature out to more of our customers. As you get ready to take advantage of Instagram DMs in Sprout, we wanted to share some tips to not just keep your head above water, but to teach you how to expertly swim through your DMs.

In this article, we will walk you through three ways to build an efficient Instagram Inbox workflow:

  1. Create a plan and implement solutions to organize your message volume.
  2. Define your team’s roles and set up efficient workflows.
  3. Automate alerts so you never miss an important Instagram message.

The key to successfully balancing a high volume of Instagram DMs, story mentions, comments and @mentions is having the right systems and tools for the job. We’ll cover how to develop those systems, as well as how Sprout Social can help you further centralize and streamline all of your social messaging workflows. 

Priority #1: Create a plan and implement solutions to organize your message volume 

The importance of planning and organization to achieve your Instagram customer care and community management goals cannot be ignored. When you’re managing a constant stream of incoming DMs, or your brand suddenly goes viral and a wave of @mentions floods in, having the right inbox infrastructure in place can make all the difference. 

What does that organization look like? It can be as simple as identifying relevant message types or customer service message categories that you and your team should prioritize. For example, you may find that Instagram DMs tend to include escalated customer frustrations more than post comments. Similarly, responding to messages about shipping or order issues may be a more time-sensitive priority than quick emoji reactions to a recent Instagram story. 

Understanding your priorities will help you focus your team and develop an infrastructure that elevates these important messages. Here are a few ways to further build out and automate some of these solutions using Sprout Social:

  • Create Tags for different customer service categories. For example, you can create Tags for “Shipping/Returns,” “Damaged Items,” “Customer Love” or anything else that’s important for your team to respond to.
  • Automate message tagging and filter messages. Set up automated rules to tag incoming messages—e.g., every time someone mentions “return” or “refund,” it will automatically be tagged with “Shipping/Returns.” This lets your team filter only the type of messages you need to prioritize in order to cut down on noise.
  • Sort messages into Custom Inboxes. You could create a custom inbox view exclusive for Instagram DMs and comments tagged with “Damaged Items” to help you quickly address these types of messages. These custom views enable you to answer high priority messages first, then move on to the less time-sensitive messages.
  • Save your FAQs. Rather than typing out the same response 200 times a day, have brand- approved responses you can quickly send out. You can build these common responses into Sprout’s Asset Library. In two clicks, team members can populate appropriate responses to incoming messages, saving you time spent typing out responses to each frequently asked question multiple times a day. 
review messages and frequently asked questions in sprout social

Priority #2: Define your team’s roles and set up efficient Instagram workflows

Because social media team sizes and roles can vary, effective collaboration and clear responsibilities are essential. This could mean designating customer care team members with different escalation capabilities based on expertise, or social teams submitting certain responses for manager approval. With a high volume of messages, having multiple team members in your Instagram inbox trying to tackle responses can be a headache. 

Having infrastructure that clarifies each team member’s to-do’s and streamlines processes are critical to conquering your message volume. Here are a few ways to increase collaboration and to ensure your team members are working efficiently with Sprout Social:

  • Task messages to the right team member. If you’ve identified team members with specific expertise around certain customer care or product categories, or have a sense of each individual’s bandwidth, you can take advantage of tasking. Tasking ensures messages are assigned to the team members best suited to answer or who have bandwidth to respond. Tasking a message sends that team member a notification and a list of tasked messages to work through.
  • Send a reply message for approval. This is a great option if you need visibility into  certain responses (e.g., an angry customer with a unique customer care issue) from a manager or other approver. Reply approvals are built into an easy workflow where you can track the status of the approval, and see if the approver has accepted or rejected (with feedback) the reply.
  • Avoid responding to the same message with collision detection. Sprout will show if you and another coworker are interacting with the same message – helping you avoid duplicative work and a confusing customer experience.
manage team collaboration with sprout social

Priority #3: Automate alerts so you never miss an important Instagram message

Have you ever had a stress dream about a social media faux pas, typo or missing an important message? This is where setting up back up systems and automations can give you peace of mind, while also giving your customers a better experience when engaging with your brand on Instagram. You’re only human, after all—so leverage the tools at your disposal to make your life, and social media inbox management, easier. 

The word automation can sound intimidating, especially when it comes to social media. But creating an automation doesn’t have to necessitate writing complex code or using autoresponders. Sprout lets social and customer care teams quickly create automations to ensure no messages or milestones slip through the cracks:

  • Never miss an important message with custom mobile push notifications. Let’s say Instagram DMs and comments are important from a customer care standpoint for your brand, same with @mentions on Twitter. You can set up custom push notifications just for these message types, triggering an alert when an important message comes in. 
  • Stay in the know with Spike Alerts for high volumes of incoming messages. A sudden influx of messages could signal a number of scenarios: Maybe your brand accidentally went viral or (unbeknownst to your team) a new product is showing up consistently damaged. Regardless, Spike Alerts will help you identify a crisis, or opportunity, preemptively rather than innocently logging onto Instagram only to be crushed by 10x the normal amount of messages. 
  • Add specific users to VIP lists. VIP lists allow you to segment inbound messages from loyal customers, influencers or even brand trolls. In Sprout, you can opt to receive alerts whenever a message drops from a VIP, simply mark the message as complete or hide them. These automated features are simple, but will provide a backup so you never miss important messages and hopefully rest easier.
respond to instagram dms directly from sprout social

Dive into easier Instagram management 

Customer care and community engagement on Instagram can be challenging. But the right planning and tools can free up time previously spent slogging through your Instagram inbox so you can focus on more strategic work. We at Sprout are very excited to continue integrating Instagram DMs into Sprout’s Smart Inbox and hope the tips above are helpful in navigating,  organizing and responding to a high volume of Instagram DMs. 

To get started developing optimal workflows and automations for your Instagram management, start a free 30-day trial of Sprout today.

The post 3 ways to manage Instagram DMs and avoid inbox overload appeared first on Sprout Social.

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Why People Visit YouTube & How to Engage Them [New Data]

YouTube is the second largest website globally with over 2 billion global users.

Still, despite its huge audience, it can be challenging to gain engagement on your videos.

Ultimately, to gain views, likes, shares, and even subscribers, your content will have to engage at least part of YouTube’s huge audience while fulfilling their needs.

But, if you’re just starting on YouTube, or struggling to grow your strategy, you might not know what the platform’s audience wants just yet.

To help marketers learn more about YouTube’s huge user pool, and their interests, I asked nearly 300 consumers: “Why do you most commonly visit YouTube?”

Here’s what they said.

Why Do People Visit YouTube?

Before we dive into what people picked as the most common reason they visit YouTube, it’s worth mention one thing you won’t see on the list below: product discovery.

Just a measly 3% of respondents visit YouTube primarily to “learn about products.”

A chart explainingg that most people visit youtube to be entertained

Data Source

However, you shouldn’t panic just yet. Keep in mind that we just polled a small group of general consumers about their most common reason for visiting YouTube. Had we asked them for their top three reasons, polled a larger group, or polled a specific demographic, the results could have been different.

It’s also worth noting that many demographics search out product videos when they’re researching a prospective purchase.

In fact, in a 2020 recent survey, 94% of people said they watch explainer videos to learn about products. While many YouTube users might not go to the YouTube platform just for product videos all the time, they probably still watch them when they’re relevant to their buyer’s journey.

However, knowing what YouTube audiences are looking for on YouTube will help you make a video related to your brand or product that still mixes in elements that can engage them and fulfill their viewing needs.

So, why do people visit YouTube? Let’s dive into the three most popular motives.

1. To watch videos that entertain me.

When we asked consumers why they visited the world’s second-largest platform, a whopping 65% of them said they did so for pure entertainment.

This stat might be terrifying for marketers, especially if you sell a product that might not be considered super flashy or attention-grabbing.

But, the stat above shouldn’t have you panicking just yet. Keep in mind that this is just one small survey. Had we asked people of certain age groups or industries this specific question, the results could have swayed in another direction.

However, it is very important to keep in mind that people on YouTube want to be entertained or at least intrigued by the content they’re watching. So, whether you’re planning to launch YouTube video ads or standard videos, you’ll want to add a touch of entertainment, action, or interesting information to them.

Here’s a great video, created by Headspace and LOL Network, that features actor Kevin Hart struggling to meditate and using the Headspace app to help him relax while jogging.

Even if you can’t work with a big-name celebrity, this video is still a great example of content that tells an entertaining story about how a product solves common problems. While Hart’s fame might pull people in, watching him worry about relatable, everyday things as he jogs could be relatable and funny to audiences.

2. To learn how to do something.

We’ve all had a moment in life where we couldn’t figure out how to do something and scoured the internet for a video that could help. That’s why it’s not surprising that 13% of respondents primarily visit YouTube to “learn how to do something.”

As a marketer, you can leverage the YouTube audience’s need for advice and guidance with videos on how to do things related to your brand, industry, or even your product.

On top of zoning in on the how-to format, you could also mix in entertaining elements, such as an influencer or entertaining video host, to fulfill a viewer’s need for interesting content

Here’s an example of a how-to video from B Simone Beauty, a cosmetics brand named after its founder B Simone. In the video, Simone, also known for her work as a stand-up comedian, offers a step-by-step tutorial on how to give yourself a glamorous makeover.

While the video highlights B Simone Beauty products, it focuses on makeup tutorial tips. Not only does this help audience members who have purchased cosmetics from the brand, but it also gives prospects helpful tips. By watching this video, you not only see what using B Simone products is like in real life, but you also learn how knowledgeable Simone is about makeup. Both of these elements could enable viewers to trust the company and product quality.

3. To learn about something, such as a hobby, interest, or industry.

While some people use YouTube to find step-by-step guides on how to do something, some just watch videos to soak up as much valuable information as possible. In our poll, 13% of respondents said they visit YouTube to “Learn about something related to a hobby, interest, or industry.”

As a marketer, you can also leverage this YouTube user need in your videos or in-stream ads. Here are just a few ways to weave valuable information into your next video.

  • Leading the video with a surprising or interesting stat.
  • Featuring expert tips or insight-filled interviews from your company leaders or industry experts.
  • Recording an explainer video with fun graphics, charts, and interesting information about a topic related to your industry or brand.

Here’s an example of a video HubSpot posted that discusses how TikTok’s audience has begun to mature by discussing stats and facts about the platform.

Although HubSpot isn’t a TikTok tool, it has a large marketing audience that the company is engaging with this video that educates viewers on a highly trendy topic.

By creating informative or educational videos related to your industry, you enable the viewers with similar interests to learn something new while also developing trust for your company. So, even if you aren’t explicitly mentioning your product, viewers could remember your brand and your expertise next time they’re shopping in your immediate space. Similarly, if someone does do product research and comes across your YouTube channel, they might trust that a brand with solid knowledge around an industry will create high-quality products.

Other Answers

Aside from the top three responses, 3% of people said they go to YouTube primarily to watch videos of their “favorite celebrities or influencers” while another 3% primarily use the platform to find videos related to “news and trends.”

While these responses don’t need to inform your strategy, they align well with the themes that people are looking for entertainment and interesting information.

Catering to YouTube’s Giant Audience

Ultimately, it’s unlikely that every single YouTube viewer will love your content or search out the types of videos you make. However, since the audience is so broad, there’s at least a large segment of it that could engage with your marketing strategy. As you develop or fine-tune your tactics, keep these tips in mind:

  • Know your audience: Learn the ins and outs of who uses the platform, identify the best demographics or targets to go after, and look at what types of videos they engage with most.
  • Mix education with entertainment: While many people visit the platform for entertainment or escape from their daily lives, others crave valuable or helpful information. So, try to create content that intrigues viewers, while also giving valuable information related to your brand or industry.
  • Don’t limit yourself to product videos: While you can certainly post a few demos, interesting customer stories, and mention your product in a few videos, keep in mind that YouTube visitors might not be looking for commercial-like content. Try to add variation with explainers, expert interviews, or other interesting, but on-brand, video formats.

Need more help with developing or expanding your YouTube strategy? We’ve got you covered.

Check out this data on why people click out of YouTube videos, this Ultimate Guide to YouTube Marketing, or download the free resource below.

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25 Google Search Statistics to Bookmark ASAP

In many ways, marketing is a game of trend watching. The marketer who’s best at spotting and using trends earns their business market share, brand recognition, and ultimately, revenue.

But how do you search for trends? And where do you start?

Well, since it owns more than 92% of the global search engine market, the answer to both of these questions is, Google.

Google’s nearest competitor, Bing, only holds 2.5% of market share, while Yahoo accounts for 1.5%. The distribution has remained relatively stable over the past few years with Google consistently claiming competitive victory thanks to detailed search results, in-depth analytics, and evolving service offerings.

Consider the rapid uptake of “Google” as a verb meaning, “to search” — “I’ll just Google it,” “can’t you Google that?” “isn’t it on Google?” It’s not an exaggeration to say that when it comes to searching for information online, Google is — by far — the digital frontrunner.

Google also makes efforts to personalize search results, in turn, increasing the chances that users will opt for Google the next time they have a question. For users that aren’t logged into a Gmail or another Google account, the company uses anonymously stored browser cookies to get a sense of search histories and preferences.

For users signed into their Google account, Chrome’s browser history provides the data necessary for Google to construct a profile based on age, language preference, gender and search preferences, which informs the type of search results returned. Location offers an easy example of this approach — if users have location services turned on, Google search results will be filtered by geographic location to increase overall relevance.

Now, let’s look at a few of this year’s top Google Search statistics and take a deeper dive into the trending searches that guide your marketing strategy.

Top Google Search Statistics in 2021

Now that we know how to search for trending topics, let’s look at how Google influences search with these latest statistics.

  1. The top five Google searches in 2020 were “Election results,” “Coronavirus,” “Kobe Bryant,” “Coronavirus update,” and — unsurprisingly — “Coronavirus symptoms.” (Google)
  2. More than 50% of Google searches end without a click. (Search Engine Land)
  3. 92% of all search queries are long-tailed keywords. (Backlinko)
  4. As of October 2020, there were more than 267 million unique U.S. visitors to Google. (Statista)
  5. 89% of URLs and 37% of URLs in positions 1-20 rank differently on mobile and desktop. (SEMRush)
  6. There are now more than 1.8 billion Gmail users worldwide. (TechJury)
  7. Compressing images and text could help 25% of web pages save more than 250KB and 10% save more than 1 MB. These changes reduce bounce rates and increase page rank on Google SERPs. (Google)
  8. Chrome accounted for 69% of web browser market share in 2020. (Net Marketshare)
  9. In 2021, 56% of web traffic took place on mobile phones. (Broadband Search)
  10. 14% of Google searches are a question. (Backlinko)
  11. In 2020, 500 keywords accounted for 8.4% of all search volume. (Backlinko)
  12. The average click-through rate for first place on desktop is higher than that of mobile, at 31.5% and 24% respectively. (Advanced Web Ranking)
  13. Four times as many people are likely to click on a paid search ad on Google (63%) than on any other search engine Amazon (15%), YouTube (9%), and Bing (6%). (Clutch)
  14. 55% of teens use voice search on Google every day. (Marketing Dive)
  15. 55% of people clicking on Google search ads prefer those to be text ads. (Clutch)
  16. For every $1 businesses spend on Google Ads, they make an average of $2 in revenue. (Google)
  17. The average click-through rate in Google Ads across industries is 3.17% in the search network and 0.46% on the display network. (WordStream)
  18. The average cost-per-click for a keyword is about $0.61. (Backlinko)
  19. The average cost-per-click in AdWords across all industries is $48.96 for search and $75.51 for display. (WordStream)
  20. More than 90% of web pages receive zero organic traffic from Google. Just about 5% receive 10 visits or less each month. (Ahrefs)
  21. A third of all Google searches are for an image and 13% of SERPs feature an “Image Pack.” (Moz)
  22. The average keyword is roughly two words long. (Backlinko)
  23. The average conversion rate in AdWords across all industries is 3.75% for search and 1.77% for display. (WordStream)
  24. There are over 190 different versions of Google Search. (GiT Magazine)
  25. 25. When Google opened its proverbial doors in September 1998, it only averaged about 10,000 daily search queries. (“The Search

With search volumes constantly fluctuating in response to world events and evolving news coverage, it’s worth knowing what searches are trending, how quickly they’re ramping up, and how they tie into similar keyword queries.

While one option is a scattershot approach — simply type a potential trend term into Google and see how many total results are reported — more targeted options often provide an easier path to improved search performance.

Let’s review some of the most useful tools available in the section below.

1. Google Trends

Review the “Year in Search,” take Google Trends lessons, and see what’s trending now. You can also view the peaks and valleys of topic interest over time, which uncovers seasonality and allows you to plan your marketing calendar accordingly. Plus, find related topics and queries, and identify sub-regions your topic has been trending to better target your campaigns.


2. Think with Google

Discover articles, benchmark reports, and consumer insights that keep you up to speed on search. From ad bidding strategies to brand jingles, you’ll find interesting content that helps you think bigger while staying educated on how to leverage Google search for your business.


3. Twitter

Sign on to Twitter for more than vaguely hostile political debates. Use the “trends” feature to uncover what’s trending in your state, country, or around the globe. When you click into a trend, you’ll see top tweets about the topic, relevant news stories, and live responses as well.

twitter-trendsImage Source

4. BuzzSumo

Identify the most shared content in the previous 12 months or the last 24 hours with BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo allows you to drill down and analyze the topics that matter to your industry, your competitors, and the influencers you learn from.


5. Feedly

This RSS feed aggregator allows you to follow your favorite brands and see their most recent content in one place. Add your favorites and discover new publishers by searching your industry, skills, or — you guessed it — trending topics. Feedly also allows you to set up keyword alerts, so you’re always tracking the latest trends on topics you’re interested in.


6. Reddit

Freshness and user-based voting determine how content is prioritized on Reddit. A quick visit to the homepage shows you trending or popular posts. And, you can filter by country or recency for a more relevant feed.


7. Ahrefs

Conduct competitive research, home in on a keyword, or search for trending topics. Ahrefs helps you identify trending content and shows you what to do to outrank your competitors.


8. Pocket

Pocket allows you to save content from anywhere on the web. Review your content whenever you wish and head to the Explore page to find trending topics that are relevant to you.


9. Quora

Sign up for Quora and select topic areas that interest you (e.g., “startups,” “marketing,” and “economics”). Quora will stock your feed with questions related to your content interests. This gives you insight into what your customers are asking, real-time debates about competitors, and even allows you to answer questions about topics you have experience in.


Expanding Your Google Impact

Bottom line? Google owns the largest piece of both search and web browser market shares and provides a host of interconnected services that empower the company to deliver personalized, real-time search results.

For marketers, this makes Google an irreplaceable tool for boosting consumer loyalty, courting new clients, and improving customer conversions. Armed with actionable trend data and relevant source statistics, marketing teams can expand their Google impact and ensure the right content gets seen by the right customers to jumpstart the sales process.

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The Simple Guide to Creating an HTML Email [+ Free Templates]

When you create an email using a drag-and-drop or module-based tool, you’re actually generating an HTML email.

There are two main types of email you can send and receive: plain text emails (these are exactly what they sound like — any email that contains just plain old text with no formatting) and HTML emails, which are formatted and styled using HTML and inline CSS.

HTML emails are easy to spot — most of the styled, multimedia marketing emails in your inbox are HTML emails.

As a marketer, you’ve probably compared HTML emails versus plain-text emails and realized that there are different benefits to each type. HTML emails aren’t inherently better than plain text emails, and in different situations, both types can be part of a successful email marketing program.

Here’s what an HTML looks like on the front-end. Click on the HTML button to see the code behind it.

See the Pen HTML Email Template from HubSpot by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.

In this article, we’ll cover how you can get started creating HTML emails, regardless of your experience level and comfort with coding, and share some free templates you can use. Let’s dive in.

How to Create an HTML Email

Good news: You actually don’t need to know how to code to create an HTML email.

Most tools that create and send email (like HubSpot) will offer pre-formatted, ready-to-go HTML templates that enable you to design emails without ever needing to access the actual code on the back-end.

As you make changes in the email editor, those changes will be automatically coded into the final product. Email building tools like this are an ideal option if you don’t have an email designer on your team, but you still want to send professional-looking marketing emails.

Still want to create an HTML email from scratch?

If you’re comfortable with HTML and want more direct control over the code of your emails, most email tools will allow you to import HTML files directly for use as custom email templates.

There are a wide variety of free HTML email templates available on the web (some of which we’ll share below), and if you know your way around an HTML file, it’s usually quite straightforward to adapt the template to the email building tool of your choice.

To create an HTML email completely from scratch, you’ll need to have an advanced knowledge of HTML (or work with a developer who does). This guide offers a solid overview of coding a basic HTML email. Because the process of creating an HTML email from scratch can be quite involved, we recommend working with a developer or using a pre-made HTML email template instead.

Developing an HTML email specifically for HubSpot?

If you’re developing an HTML email template specifically for use in HubSpot, you’ll want to make sure you include the required HubL tokens (these ensure your emails can be customized and are compliant with CAN-SPAM laws). You can find a complete guide to coding HubSpot-specific HTML email templates here. Or alternatively, just use our simple what-you-see-is-what-you-get email editor.

Now that you understand the basics of what goes into developing an HTML email, let’s go over a few important best practices you should keep in mind. No matter what method you plan to use to create HTML emails, these best practices will help improve the design, user experience, and deliverability of your emails.

1. Make sure your HTML email is responsive for different screen sizes and devices.

The way your email looks in a user’s inbox depends on a wide variety of different factors.

One of the biggest and most obvious factors is the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on. An email that looks amazing and well-formatted on a desktop can easily devolve into a tangle of illegible, overlapping text and images when viewed on a smartphone screen.

To ensure your HTML emails look the way you intended across a wide spectrum of screen sizes, the best thing you can do is keep your layout simple and straightforward. When you start adding more complex elements like multiple columns and floated images, it becomes more difficult to translate the format of your email for different screen sizes.

If you do decide to develop a more complex layout, make sure you’re actively solving for how the elements will be rearranged to suit different screen sizes. For example, if your email displays as multi-column on desktop, that same structure won’t fly on mobile — you’ll need to use media queries to define how elements will be displayed on different screen sizes.

Remember, developing truly responsive HTML emails goes beyond the structure and format of your message. Think about how the overall user experience of your email will be perceived on different devices. Make sure your font choices are just as legible on mobile as they are on desktop, and use mobile-friendly buttons or CTAs in place of hyperlinked text (have you ever tried to tap a little line of hyperlinked text on mobile? It’s not very easy).

You can find our more in-depth guide to mobile email best practices right here.

2. Make sure your styling works in different email clients.

Another big factor that heavily impacts the way your HTML emails appear in your subscribers’ inboxes is the email client they’re using to open the message. Every email client loads emails slightly differently, so an email that looks a certain way in Gmail will likely look different in Outlook.

Luckily, if you know how most popular email clients load particular HTML and CSS elements, you can create a pretty consistent experience across different users’ inboxes. It’s all about knowing which unsupported tags to avoid and adapting accordingly. This comprehensive guide explains how the most popular email clients (including Gmail and multiple versions of Outlook) support and render different styling elements.

You can also check out an article we wrote on optimizing emails for different email clients.

3. Be conscious of how long your HTML emails take to load.

How long your email takes to load could very well be the difference between gaining a new customer and losing a frustrated subscriber. While it can be tempting to take advantage of all the different styling options and opportunities to incorporate visuals that HTML emails offer, none of that matters if your email takes too long to load.

As you design your HTML email, remain conscious of how long your email will take to load — especially if someone is, say, opening your message on their morning subway commute with a weak data connection. Here are a few little steps you can take that will go a long way towards improving load time.

Use images sparingly.

That way, you’ll bolster the message you want to get across to subscribers. Always use an image compressor (like to reduce the file size as much as possible. Most image compressors can significantly reduce the file size of an image without compromising on quality, so taking this extra step won’t hurt the visual integrity of your email.

Use standard web fonts.

Custom fonts are great for spicing up a landing page, but they can add an extraneous layer of complexity when added to an email. As we talked about above, all email clients handle style elements differently, and this especially extends to fonts. To be safe, use standard web fonts and check to make sure the email client most of your subscribers use supports a particular font.

Try an HTML minifier.

An HTML minifier (like and automatically removes code that isn’t needed in an HTML file. Repetitive, extra elements will be stripped out, but the actual rendering of your email should remain the same (always test it out!). Each line of code impacts how long an email takes to load, so taking the time to remove junk code can have a positive effect on load time.

Keep your message focused on a single objective.

The best way to reduce email load time is to reduce how much content you add to each of your email sends. It might seem obvious, but too many marketers try to stuff too much content into their emails. Not only does that lead to an off-putting user experience (nobody wants to read a novel in email form), but it can send your load time off the charts and cause users to abandon your email. Keep it simple, and your users will thank you.

4. Plan (as much as you can) for end-user inconsistencies.

The screen size and email client aren’t the only factors that can alter the way your HTML email renders in your subscribers’ inboxes. Elements like the version of their email client, their operating system, their unique user settings, their security software, and whether or not they’re automatically loading images can all impact how your email loads.

As you can probably guess by that hefty list of factors, trying to solve for all of them (every single time you send an email) would probably be enough to make you throw your computer across the room.

But you don’t have to be completely helpless in the face of these variables — you just have to do a little pre-planning.

Consider creating a webpage version of your email.

This is kind of like giving your email a fail-safe button. If for some reason — due to one of the many factors discussed above — your lovingly designed email renders like an absolute mess when a subscriber opens it, they will at least have the option to click “view as web page” and see the email as you intended it to be.

Since style elements render much more consistently across web browsers versus email clients, you’ll be able to have way more control over the web page version of your message. In HubSpot, there’s an option you can turn on that will generate a web page version automatically.

Create a plain text version of your email.

A plain text version is exactly what it sounds like — an alternative version of your HTML email that renders in completely plain text. Adding a plain text version of your HTML email is important because some email clients and user settings can’t (or choose not to) load HTML.

If this is the case, the client will look for a plain text alternative version of your HTML email to load for the user. If one doesn’t exist, it could signal to the recipient’s email server that your message is spam — or potentially dangerous.

Most email tools like HubSpot will automatically provide a plain text version that displays if a recipient’s email server requires it, but if you’re coding an HTML email from scratch, you’ll need to create something called a multipart MIME message.

A multipart MIME message is an email that contains both a plain text and HTML version of the same email. If a recipient’s email client or security system doesn’t allow HTML email, the plain text version will be displayed. This is a process that requires an advanced knowledge of coding, so we recommend working with a developer.

Make sure your email still makes sense if the images don’t load.

Some users have automatic image-loading turned off, which means they’ll see your email without images when they open it. For this reason, don’t rely entirely on images to get the meaning of your message across, and always add alt-text to the images you do include. Alt-text will load even when images don’t, so your subscribers can get the general idea of what the visuals include.

5. Conduct thorough testing.

Finally, you’ll need to test your HTML email at every stage of development to ensure it works across different email clients, operating systems, and device types. Don’t wait until the very end of the process to test out your email — testing as you work is the best way to spot inconsistencies between different email clients and ensure you’re creating the most consistent experience possible for your recipients.

Some email tools (like HubSpot) offer in-app testing within their email builders to make the process easier. If you’re working from scratch, you can use a tool like HTML Email Check or PreviewMyEmail to get a better idea of how your email will look in different email clients and devices.

Simple and Free HTML Email Templates

There are an overwhelming amount of HTML email templates available on the web, and they vary in quality, responsiveness, and price. We’ve pulled together a selection of free HTML email templates that provide a responsive user experience. Be sure to read the terms and conditions on each individual template before use.

1. HubSpot Free HTML Email Template

Free HTML email template by HubSpot

Included in the free version of Marketing Hub, this template is a great place to start if you’re looking for a template with more room for customization. You can easily add images, text, and buttons in an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, and you can be confident that the templates you design will be fully responsive on any device.

2. Company News HTML Email Template by Campaign Monitor

Free HTML email template by Campaign MonitorThis modern template is sophisticated and minimal. The subtle color palette and simple design make it a versatile option for many different industries and purposes, and it’s been tested on different email clients and devices to ensure a consistent user experience across different platforms.

3. Free HTML Email Template by Unlayer

Free HTML email template by Unlayer

Though this template was designed for a fitness company, you can easily adapt it for your own. This clean, muted template is a great way to display content your team has created and connect subscribers with your most recent products or blog posts. The design features two fully responsive columns with multiple color scheme options, and room at the top to highlight a call-to-action.

4. MINImalist Free HTML Email Template

Free HTML email template by Mail Bakery

Proof that sometimes less really is more, this easy, fully responsive design makes the most of whitespace and keeps the focus firmly on your words and visual elements. Without design distractions, your content can really shine — on any device.

5. Free HTML Email Templates from Bee Free

Free HTML email template library by Bee Free

This collection of free, open-source templates are completely responsive and tested across popular email clients. You can edit and build on them on the Bee Free platform, then export the HTML file to your local drive.

These are an ideal option if you want a more styled, polished starting place, but you still want to be able to customize the design to fit your company’s needs. Each template is available in multiple formats for different marketing purposes, like transactional emails, NPS collection, and email subscriber re-engagement.

6. Free HTML Email Template by Campaign Monitor

Free HTML email template by Campaign Monitor advertising a discount code

This sleek, responsive design from Campaign Monitor would be perfect for sending out a discount code — but it could also serve as a stylish way to showcase your latest products to email subscribers. It’s also worth checking out Campaign Monitor’s full library of responsive email templates.

Create HTML Emails to Increase Your Subscriber Count

HTML emails are an engaging way to share what’s happening in your business and keep subscribers coming back for more. With the tips and templates we’ve shared, you’re well on your way to creating beautiful HTML emails without writing a single line of code.

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

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How To Optimize Your Website For Higher Conversion

Wanting to know how to improve your conversion rate to make the most out of your online traffic? Here is how to optimize your website for higher conversion.


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Quora and Reddit: Powerhouses for SEO and marketing in 2021

30-second summary:

  • Reddit is the seventh most popular website in the US while Quora has a DR of 91
  • These factors make for great opportunities to build your brand’s online presence and enhance your E-A-T standing
  • This comprehensive guide helps you take advantage of Quora and Reddit marketing

Get ready to take advantage of the resources that two-third of marketers and SEO specialists miss out on. We’re talking about Quora and Reddit Marketing and you’re about to know how they can bring tons of value to your business.

Raising brand awareness, driving traffic, and diversifying your link profile with useful backlinks – all that is more than feasible with the right, out-of-the-box approach.

Let’s dive right in and take a look at the pros, cons, and everything in-between concerning the promotion of your website on Reddit and Quora.

Content created in partnership with Crowdo.

What makes these two solid platforms for SEO and marketing?

According to Alexa, Reddit is the seventh most popular website in the US, surpassing even Wikipedia. It’s a community-based platform with 130K+ niche-based subreddits brimming with highly active users.

Although different from Reddit in terms of structure, Quora is equally worthy of marketers’ attention. It’s a Q&A platform with a DR of 91, making it a highly trustworthy resource, frequently shown in SERP.

Both platforms have strict moderation and high content standards, which means no spamming or self-promotion is allowed. Google is known to favor links from clean unspammed resources, which is why backlinks from either of these platforms will be useful for your backlink portfolio.

Apart from that, expanding your brand’s online presence is crucial for the EAT Google algorithm. This is aimed to provide users with relevant, and useful information.

This is where Quora answers and Reddit comments and posts come into play. Submitting helpful and informative answers can get you far in your promotion strategy, but let’s first start with some theory.

Are backlinks from Reddit and Quora useful for SEO?

Many SEO specialists don’t consider Quora and Reddit viable sources for link-building because the backlinks coming from these platforms are nofollow.

Taking into account the myth about the uselessness of nofollow links – nofollow translates into no-good for them.

This misconception is easy to clear up:

  1. Your backlink profile looks suspicious to Google and other search engines if it contains dofollow links exclusively. Diluting it with good nofollow links allows creating an organic-looking and diversified link profile.
  2. Google perceives nofollow links as “hints,” which means they still have a positive effect on your promotion. Even Google’s John Mueller confirmed it, just take a look at the tweet below.

John Mu on backlink building on Quora

How to get the most out of Quora: A step-by-step guide

1. Create a well-thought-out user profile

A thorough and properly formatted user profile is essential for Quora. Your profile should look trustworthy for your answers to be considered valuable and included in the feed. Here are some points you need to include:

  • Fill out the “About me” section with information about you and your occupation. Don’t shy away from going into details if it can truly benefit your credibility as an expert. But keep in mind that only 50-character-worth of text, including your name, will be shown above your answers. So make sure you make them count.
  • List your fields of expertise by choosing them from the “Knows About” section. Expert replies are deemed more valuable by the Quora algorithm, which in turn increases the chance that your answers will get into the feed and won’t be collapsed.
  • Link your social media accounts in the Settings section. Verified social media accounts add trustworthiness and make it easier to connect with you.
  • Add credentials

You can either copy them from your LinkedIn profile or fill them out and add some more info. “Credentials” is the part of your profile where you can add links to your portfolio, info about previous companies you worked for, your educational background – anything that can make people believe that you are indeed an expert in your field.

  • Upload a clear and friendly photo of yourself

Profiles with a photo instill more trust and are more relatable for other users. Try to avoid funky pictures or graphics.

Building a profile on Quora

2. Find suitable, niche-related questions

Now that your profile is all set up and looks good, it’s time to get down to business and find relevant questions to showcase the expertise and skills you’ve mentioned.

Start with outlining some keywords, relevant to your niche. You can either do it yourself or you can use a keywords generator tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs.

You can either choose questions with the most views because they’re shown in the feed and get a lot of attention or go for unanswered questions and score a higher chance to get in the top spot.

Finding Q&As in Quora

3. Write informative, source-rich, helpful answers

Your answers on Quora should be informative and answer the question directly – include statistics, references, graphics, and other media that can help illustrate your points and give a better insight into the topic you’re covering.

The Quora algorithm filters out irrelevant answers and collapses them. The more expert and in-depth your answer is, the higher the chance that it gets shown in the feed and won’t get collapsed.

As for the length of the answer – short answers usually don’t look authoritative and insightful. The optimal length of your answer should be between 1500 – 2000 characters, at least that’s what we think at Crowdo.

4. Format your answers in an appealing way

Formatting your answer is essential for making it look professional and easy to understand. No matter how much effort you’ve poured into your answer and prior research – if you submit a wall of text, it won’t do.

Answers like these don’t get enough upvotes and are mostly ignored by the viewers. Use all formatting means necessary to make your answer as appealing as possible: bullet points, appropriate headings, quotes – all of it will help your text look clear, engaging, and comprehensible.

5. If you use someone else’s content – indicate the source

Plagiarism is a big no-no on Quora, and it might get you banned. If you use someone else’s content to emphasize/illustrate/prove your point – always indicate the source.

6. Link to your website naturally

Although Quora allows self-promotion, it doesn’t mean that you can blatantly abuse it. Clickbait titles are frowned upon on Quora, and the same goes for obvious begging for clicks, like “Check out my awesome website!”.

The link to your website must be organically inserted in the text and correspond to the context.

For instance, you can present it as something that provides additional in-depth information: “This detailed overview of best digital marketing practices might come in handy to you.”

7. Use authoritative sources to enrich and add authority to your answer

Answers with a single link to your website look suspiciously promotional and don’t instill trust. Try including other topic-related, helpful links from reputable and authoritative sources like Wikipedia, Reddit, YouTube, or others.

It will add a professional touch to your answer and increase its value for the reader.

Using authoritative sources

How to avoid collapsed answers?

Sometimes, even if you followed the Quora guidelines to the letter, your answer might get collapsed.

collapsed answers

The reasons may vary, from an error in the algorithm that can be corrected by writing a support ticket to a mistake on your part. Let’s take a peek at the most common reasons why answers get collapsed:

Your user profile is lacking trustworthiness

If you haven’t indicated your field of expertise, skipped the credentials and bio description, the Quora algorithm may deem you unfit to answer certain questions due to the lack of trustworthiness of your profile.

Your answers aren’t helpful to the author of the question

Make sure you clearly state the answer to the question.

Posting long text walls containing no definitive answer and brimming with irrelevant links helps no one.

You’re overlinking

A common mistake among those who only start working with Quora is to write as many replies as possible and cram all the links they can think of in their answers.

You have to establish yourself as a trustworthy contributor first, show your expertise and only then strategically insert links into your replies. Start with writing 20+ helpful and informative answers without any links.

Your answers are lacking interaction from other users

If the Quora algorithm detects that your answers have no comments or upvotes, it may deem them unworthy of showing and collapse them.

The ideal way would be to try to benefit the readers as much as possible and get this social traction organically.

The rather “grey” way would be to use other Quora profiles to upvote your answer and increase the view count.

The approach you choose is completely up to you.

Product/service promotion on Reddit: All about Reddiquette and Karma

Being a community-based platform, Reddit pushes you to come to the audience and pour actual value into the content you generate and share. On Reddit, you must be a part of the community if you want to succeed.

Before submitting anything, you need to “get the feel” of what every community is about and tailor the content you contribute to be in line with the customs of each and every subreddit.


An excellent way to start your marketing campaign on Reddit is to learn its basic rules, aka Reddiquette. Let’s take a quick look at the main ones:

  • Don’t rush to submit – Easy does it

Reddit algorithm and moderators take into account your profile’s age and authority, aka Karma (more on this later). If you rush to post right after you registered and haven’t even researched the subreddit you’d like to post on – it’s a sure bet that your post will be removed.

  • Never beg for upvotes

Upvotes and downvotes are used on Reddit to show appreciation or displeasure with posts or comments. Submissions with the highest upvote score rise to the top and may even reach the front page – the holy grail of Reddit. Begging for upvotes is rightfully considered to be a “big no”.

  • Don’t rely on reposting

Reposting is a common bane on Reddit and involves sharing the content of any type, pictures, gifs, videos previously shared by the original poster on another subreddit. In other words, it’s stealing to get upvotes.

In a few cases, the content is reposted to multiple subreddits if it’s extremely important for all, and the more people see it, the better. But in the vast majority of cases, it’s a dishonest way of obtaining Karma points.

  • Don’t spam with useless comments

Comments in threads are a perfect place to help the OP (original poster), give advice, joke around, provide some tips. Users share links and provide valuable insights here.

You can use the comment section to your advantage and write helpful answers with a link to your website.

However…sometimes people just share the link. Comments like these are immensely annoying and bring no value to the discussion. They are typically removed by moderators and will likely lead to a shadowban (more on that in a bit).


Karma is a Redditor’s score determined by the number of upvotes against downvotes their posts and comments received. In other words, Karma is essentially the reflection of the user’s reputation and a trustworthiness indicator.

Some subreddits don’t allow submitting content if one’s Karma score is low. That’s why it’s crucial to spend some time surfing the subreddits, understanding the rules, types of content welcomed in each of your target communities, and contributing helpful and interesting content.

It’s a common mistake among new users to rush into posting with no Karma and include links on top of that. If you do that, there’s a very high chance that your post won’t pass the moderation and will be deleted.

And here comes the shadowbanning that we mentioned earlier.  It implies that the posts you submit are visible only to you. Shadowban is used to filter out promotional posts and comments that are made solely for self-advertising purposes.

Marketing on Reddit: Some ground rules

Keep in mind that each subreddit is a close-knit community protective of its habits, rules, and culture. The one thing communities have in common is the absolute hatred towards those whose sole purpose is self-promotion.

Imagine it as a gathering of friends discussing things they like, and that one guy suddenly starts to preach about some irrelevant business and its benefits. It’ll obviously annoy everyone and get your profile banned.

Let’s take a look at how to approach marketing on Reddit the right way:

  • Grow your Karma by submitting useful content

Learn the ins and outs of every subreddit and contribute content people of the subreddit like to see. The more engaging, useful content you post, the more Karma you’ll generate.

The sure-bet subreddits to grow your Karma are r/aww – for cute pics of animals (no one downvotes these), r/AskReddit – where you can ask literally about anything and everything, or r/explainlikeimfive/ – a helpful and friendly community that rarely downvotes even the most absurd questions.

Remember that your submission history is visible to everyone, and some Redditors make it their point to go through the entire submission history of the person to see if there’s a hint of them being an advertiser.

  • Once again, don’t go crazy with placing links

It’s not a commonly known fact, but only one in ten of your submissions can contain a link to look natural and be accepted – the rest should be contributed without any links, be it posts or comments.

This ratio is directed at making you contribute more than you take, keeping the benefit of the community above all else. If you exceed this ratio, you’ll be immediately suspected of self-promotion and get a shadowban.

Long story short, be a friendly neighbor and not a salesperson.

Avoid excessive linking


Marketing on Quora and Reddit takes a lot of time and effort, but the benefits for SEO (in terms of increased traffic to your website and backlink portfolio diversification), brand awareness, and ultimately sales boost are equally impressive.

Given the extent of work, competence, and resources needed for successful marketing on these platforms, even experienced marketers leave this task to experienced professionals like Crowdo, who offer a standalone Quora and Reddit Promotion Service.

That being said, hopefully, you’ve just discovered two unexplored marketing channels and got a hint of how to approach them wisely!

The post Quora and Reddit: Powerhouses for SEO and marketing in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 3 days ago from

How to Configure Google Analytics for Local Businesses

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. When used properly, it generates important information that can help to make valuable business decisions in online marketing or SEO efforts. 

In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, guest host Alex Ratynski goes through five important steps that local businesses can take to configure Google Analytics efficiently. Check it out below! 

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a larger version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Mozzers. My name is Alex, and I’m the founder of Ratynski Digital. We are a local SEO consultancy for small and medium-size businesses. Today what I want to talk about is how to configure Google Analytics for local businesses.

Now Google Analytics is a super powerful and efficient tool when used properly and when configured accurately. This tells us important information about our website, our visitors, what pages are performing well, perhaps even what search queries we’re coming from, especially when it’s connected with Google Search Console. A lot of important information that can help us to make valuable business decisions for our online marketing or SEO efforts.

1. Exclude bots and spiders

Now there are five important steps we’re going to talk about today for how we can configure our Google Analytics account the most efficiently. The first one is to exclude bots and spiders. Now this is important because some studies have found that upwards of 25% of all traffic is bot traffic. Any of us that have really gotten super granular into our Google Analytics account, I’m sure we’ve actually seen some of those examples of very obvious bot traffic.

So the way we can actually do this is Google actually makes a nice little tool within Google Analytics. You go to Admin > View > View Settings and there’s a nice little box that says Bot Filtering. What this does is it pulls from the IAB, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and it actually makes sure that it pulls from the list of known spiders and bots and makes sure we’re to filter against that.

2. Filter spam and personal traffic

The next step we want to filter spam traffic and personal traffic. Now the reason for this is inaccurate data is worthless data, right? If we don’t have accurate information, we’re really going to struggle to make accurate business decisions regarding our SEO efforts or our online marketing. I can’t tell you how often I run into business owners who have wildly inaccurate numbers and they’re trying to make decisions based off of it.

So it’s super important that we get as accurate information as we can. There always will be some margin of error, but anything we can do to minimize that the better. The way we can filter out our own traffic is to go to Admin > View > View Filters and then Add Filters. What we want to do is make sure to filter out our own IP address, perhaps the IP address of our team, our home office, our physical main office location, things like this.

The way we can do that is to search “What’s my IP” in Google. You’ll actually be able to find your IP address, and then from there you can actually exclude it. 

3. Set up goals

Number three, setting up goals. Goals are super important because setting up goals actually helps us to track our success, right? It’s success tracking. So we can set up goals by going to Admin > View > Goals and then New Goal. 

Destination based goals

There’s a variety of different goal types that we might be able to set up, and it really depends on the business and what you’re looking for. But one of the most popular ones is a thank you page or a destination based goal. 

For example, imagine you’re an HVAC company who’s trying to acquire new customers and you want to see how is your website performing, which pages are bringing the traffic, and what’s kind of the URL path or the goal path if you will. 

So a way we can track that is by using a destination-based goal. We want to make sure that after somebody fills out a form, they actually are sent to that thank you page, and every time somebody interacts with that thank you page, they land on it, it can actually be counted as a goal. This is really helpful to kind of see the success of what we’re looking for, whatever it is, our business goals, what we’re trying to achieve that month or that quarter that we can track that accurately.

Event based goals

Now another type of goal, there are more than two, but we’re just going to talk about two today — destination based goals versus event based goals. Event based goals are a little more advanced to set up, not too tricky, but a little bit more so than destination based goals. Event based goals have nothing to do with a specific page or URL, but actually, as you might guess, the actual event that happened.

So, for example, if a user fills out a form or they click a specific button, those are examples that can be tracked to an event based goal. Now there are some pros and cons to each. A destination based goal, if you have any specific parameters within the URL and it doesn’t match exactly, you might not be able to be counting for that goal.

A way around this is you can change it from “equals to” to “begins with.” Another option, it’s probably a little bit more of a better option, is to learn regular expressions. That can help us to kind of filter out those different options and get us more accurate information. With event based goals, another little caveat that we want to watch out for is to make sure that we have proper validation set up.

So, for example, if a user starts to fill out a form but doesn’t actually fill it out, when they first click that button, it might have been tracked as a goal, even though they didn’t actually complete that goal. So there’s a couple extra steps we want to make sure that we can figure out before we kind of publish it and leave that. That way we can get accurate information.

4. Connect GA to GSC

Number four, connect Google Analytics to Google Search Console. Now we have these two powerful resources of reporting and information, and we want to make sure they can talk to each other efficiently. As we all know, Google Search Console has a lot of valuable data regarding our organic search, what specific search queries, specific pages, how they’re performing, the average position, lots of information like this.

We want to make sure that it’s connected to our Google Analytics account. Now a way we can do that is by going to Admin > Property > Property Settings and then there’s a little choice there for Search Console. Now before we do this, always make sure that you actually have your Google Search Console account set up. That’s always step one. So if we can get that set up, then it’s going to be a lot easier to connect those two.

In fact, you can’t do it unless you’ve set up your Google Search Console. So make sure that’s set up and then make sure you can connect those. 

5. Use UTM tracking codes

Then last but not least, use UTM tracking codes. UTM tracking codes are a really powerful way for us to track the effectiveness of specific campaigns, where did our users come from, our website visitors come from, and what specific sources or mediums or campaigns were effective in that regard.

An example of this is you can add a UTM tracking code in your Google My Business link profile so that any users that come from Google My Business, in your Google Analytics account you’ll be able to accurately see that categorization of website visitors that came specifically from Google My Business. Now this needs to be done regularly, not in the sense of Google My Business, but it needs to be done regularly for each campaign.

So if you’re a smaller, local business who maybe has a limited amount of time or budgets for whoever might be working on this, maybe it’s better to focus on just some of the larger campaigns, anything that’s a little bit more permanent or any specific large campaign. Perhaps you’re doing a local event or you have a special promotion a couple times a year. Those might be events that we really want to track the effectiveness of these campaigns and using UTM tracking codes.

We can actually set this up, for anyone who’s interested in setting up their UTM tracking code, you can use Google’s Campaign URL Builder. We will make sure to link to that exact page here in the notes below. But there’s a couple of different components of a UTM tracking code. Now we’re just going to focus on three today, those being the medium that they came from, the source, and then the campaign name.

So an example of this might be the medium being email, the source being whatever specific newsletter was sent out, and then the campaign name would be what you actually want it to show up as in Google Analytics, how you want that campaign categorized. So those are the three different sections of what might be included in your UTM tracking code. You can enter all that in within Google’s Campaign URL Builder. There’s also a variety of other URL builders. But Google provides one that makes it nice and easy for us. 

Pro tip: learn Google Tag Manager

One last pro tip. Learn Google Tag Manager. There’s a bit of a learning curve to Google Tag Manager, but it’s definitely possible. I guarantee you can do it. When you learn Google Tag Manager, it makes a lot of these other things a lot easier, especially with setting up things like event based goals and connecting some of our different accounts, like Google Search Console and Google Analytics even.

Google Tag Manager is a super powerful tool. That’s all we have today for this week’s Whiteboard Friday. Please feel free to reach out, ask any additional questions on Twitter at @alexratynski. You can also reach me at Feel free to send me an email. I’m more than happy to speak to the Moz community. I absolutely love everybody who’s here.

Really appreciate your guys’ time. That’s all for this week, and until next week when there’s another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by

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How to create a landing page in 8 steps

Creating a landing page is easier than ever these days, but it can still be intimidating to get started. Like most entrepreneurs, you may be concerned about time.

“How long is this going to take? Will it even be worth it?”

Answers: It can take less than an hour. And yes, it’s worth it.

But let’s start with why you want a landing page in the first place. 

High consumer expectations and increased competition makes sales hard. Larger companies have been using targeted marketing for years now, changing how your customers expect to be treated.

In fact, “80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.”

But now, using targeted landing pages, small businesses can live up to these expectations (and increase sales). Landing pages are easy and affordable, they can be built quickly — with or without pre-built templates — and they are surprisingly effective.

So start creating a landing page now — I bet you can do in less than an hour and start getting more sales fast.

In this article, I’ll go over why you should use landing pages to grow your small business and the 8 simple steps it’ll take you to set one up.

But first, what is a landing page?

what is a landing page?

A landing page is a web page that serves a single purpose or goal. Most often, the goal will be to sell a product or service, capture an email address or drive signups to an event or webinar. 

A landing page usually targets a specific audience. In that case, it’ll include a header, imagery and text that speaks directly to the people you want to target. 

Or, you might want to sell a specific product. Let’s say you’re an author looking to tell your brand new book. You could build a landing page focusing on sales of that one book. It could include an image of the cover art, a short description and a link to buy it.

Ultimately, the best landing pages are…

  • Simple — with clean imagery and headlines
  • Direct — leading visitors to a clear action
  • Focused — without distracting links back to a website

The visitor who lands on your page should know exactly what you want them to do in seconds. In less than a minute, they’ll decide whether they want to act — so keep your page short and to the point. 

Related: Landing Page Best Practices to Help You Get More Conversions.

How do landing pages help build your business?

Do you already have a website? If so, you probably spent plenty of time and money building it. So why should you build landing pages, too?

Quite simply: they work.

The average landing page conversion rate is 26%, over 10X higher than the average website conversion rate of 2%

The numbers don’t lie — you can increase marketing results tenfold with this one simple step. Talk about a return on your investment!

But there are a few other reasons to start using landing pages for your business:

  1. They’re easy to set up. You don’t need design or coding skills to set one up. Using platforms like AWeber, you have access to drag-and-drop tools and beautiful templates to guide your way.
  2. They’re affordable. You can set one up for free or at a very low cost. You don’t need expensive website software or hosting.
  3. They’re good for testing. Once you’re an expert builder, try creating two landing pages and compare them to see which product, audience or marketing tactic works better for your business.

Okay, hopefully I’ve convinced you by now that you need a landing page. But how do you actually set one up? 

How to create a landing page that converts in 8 steps

Follow these essential steps to get your landing page up and running in less than an hour. 

1. Start with a goal

Don’t skip this step! The reason landing pages have such high conversion rates is that they are goal-oriented. But that means you need to start with a very specific result in mind.

If you don’t know exactly where to start, try answering these questions:

  • Who is this for? Are you targeting a specific group of people or your whole market? What are your customers like? What do they want to accomplish? What are their pain points?
  • What do you want them to do? Whether it’s “buy a product,” “sign up for an event” or “fill out a form,” make sure you have one — and only one — action you want the visitor to take.
  • How does it benefit them? The visitor isn’t going to do what you want just because you tell them. Have 2 or 3 reasons why yours is the best solution for their pain points.

Once you’ve determined the goal, write it down in one sentence only, following this formula: This landing page will use BENEFIT to have AUDIENCE take ACTION. 

For example: This landing page will use a price discount to have college students purchase my yoga classes.

Following this exercise will give your page direction and help you write in a way that drives your visitors to take action.

2. Choose a template (or build a landing page from scratch)

Most platforms will offer you templates — already built and ready to use. You can find templates that match your industry, like some of these landing pages examples:

Encourage sign ups for a fitness course

landing page example selling a course

Capture contact information in exchange for a free home services quote

service landing page example

Drive podcast streams and subscriptions

podcast landing page example

Templates can also be industry-agnostic, built to drive the action you want visitors to take, like these examples:

Sell a specific product or service

sales landing page

Get more subscribers on your email list

grow your subscriber list

Promote an upcoming livestream or webinar

promote a webinar

Templates include sample colors, images, logos and placeholder text. If you like the general layout of a template, you can always adjust everything else so it matches your brand and goal.

You can also build your landing page from scratch instead of using a template. Most platforms these days have drag-and-drop editors, like ours shown below. 

drag and drop landing page builder

3. Write conversion-focused headlines and text

80% of your visitors will read your headline, but only 20% will read the rest of your site, so focus your time on your headline.

Think about your target audience — what is their key issue you’re offering the solution to? Call out a specific audience directly like this:

“Hey students”

Additionally, you can focus on your solution to their pain point, like this: 

“Custom 30-minute workouts you can do on your lunch break”

Write out a couple of headlines, then send them to a few friends and colleagues for feedback. The more eyes you get on your headline, the better you can make it!

Focus the rest of your text on the benefits readers receive from your offer, keeping sentences short and using bulleted lists to your advantage. 

Even though only 20% of people read past your headline, it should still be benefits-driven and able to be scanned in a minute. And, every piece of text should direct visitors towards the goal you set in step 1.

When you’re done, review and edit all your writing. Unfortunately, small typos can lead to lost conversions and, even worse, reduced brand trust.

4. Create a compelling call to action (CTA)

call to action example

A call to action (CTA) is simply a button or link that invites your potential customers to take an action (achieving step 1’s goal). 

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here — you can use  a common CTA phrases like:

  • Download now
  • Sign up
  • Learn more

Or get more creative, stirring up a sense of urgency and fear of missing out:

  • Don’t miss out
  • Snag the discount
  • Join the tribe

Once you have your CTA copy, set up a button and make sure it does what you want — whether linking to a page, completing a purchase, or signing them up for a list. 

Make your button stand out from the background of your site using bold colors and size. Remember, it’s driving the one purpose for your landing page — having visitors take this action. 

So make your CTA noticeable.

Your landing page doesn’t have to completely match the style of your main website (if you have one) but it should be similar.

Whether you use a template or a drag and drop builder, make sure the background, colors, and other elements are true to your company’s look and feel.

Add a high-resolution logo to the header and footer of your landing page, too. Everything you create online is an extension of your brand — build it to be proud of it.

6. Add compelling imagery

A picture sets the tone of your landing page just as much as your header. Choose one that tells a story about your offer. 

landing page with image

Include imagery of the product or service you’re selling. Or, you could include a picture of the feeling your viewer will feel when they click your CTA. After they take you up on your offer, how are they going to feel?

For instance, the image in the landing page above makes me feel happy, content, peaceful and adventurous. 

Imagery won’t speak for itself, however. So put your image next to or directly above your headline and CTA. 

By now, your landing page should really feel like it’s coming together.

7. Publish your page

You’re almost done! Click to preview your landing page and review it once last time for typos, formatting, and to make sure your CTA works properly. Then, hit publish. 

A landing page isn’t like an email. You can still edit it once it’s live, so don’t obsess too much over making it perfect. 

At this step, you may also want to connect your domain. If you use a platform like AWeber to build your landing page, you can publish it to an auto-generated URL which will look like this:

However, you may want your landing page’s URL to match your domain name, like this:

Depending on the platform, the directions for adding your domain will be different. Here’s how to add your domain to an AWeber account.

8. Promote your landing page

Your beautiful, soon-to-bring-in-business landing page is live. Yay! 

But that doesn’t mean you’re done. If you want people to see your page, you need to promote it.  Use one or more of the following promotion tactics to drive traffic to your landing page:

  • Email marketing — Add your page to an email campaign or broadcast promoting a discount or targeting a custom segment of your subscribers.
  • Social media — Link your landing page to your social media bios on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even TikTok — it’ll work great on a mobile device.
  • Paid advertising — Match the target for your PPC advertising with the perfect landing page and get more conversions from your investment.
  • Sponsorships — Whether you advertise on a podcast or a local news site, you can set up a landing page just for their audience.
  • Partners and affiliates — Work with people or companies in your network to give your mutual audiences something of value. 

Increase conversions with a landing page on AWeber

Now that you know how it’s done, it’s time to get started. 

You can build a landing page (or 20) completely free on AWeber. Plus, you can grow your business even more with 2-step opt-ins, Ecommerce embeds, editing with Canva and a gallery of free templates at your fingertips. 

Build a landing page with AWeber today.

The post How to create a landing page in 8 steps appeared first on AWeber.

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