That Time Unbounce Stopped Posting for 2 Weeks… And Scored 700 New Leads

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In my kitchen I have a poster that reads, “SLOW DOWN.”

publishing-hiatus-slow-down

It’s a simple reminder, but one that I need constantly. Walk more slowly. Stop and appreciate the simple things. Take a break and call your mom.

We live in an era of high-speed internet and keyboard shortcuts and push(y) notifications and instant gratification. Even our food is expected to be fast — slap a patty on the bun and get the customer their order as quickly as possible.

Sometimes, content creation can feel a little like that: pump out piece after piece. Slap on a lead gen form. Run the reports. Rinse and repeat until you grow old and gray.

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Of course, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with being a productive content producer! 💪

But it’s problematic if you get so caught up in the daily grind that you never take a step back and look critically at your day-to-day work and processes.

Which is why the Unbounce content team decided to halt publishing for two weeks: so we could slow down, do our research and find opportunities for experimentation and optimization.

The optimization work we did in this two-week period gave us a welcomed break from feeling like we were on a hamster wheel at a content farm. But it also brought us measurable results that exceeded our expectations (and that of our bosses):

  • 274% more conversions from our 17 highest traffic posts
  • More engagement from our readers
  • A better understanding of our audience and what they’d like to see next so we can keep creating relevant, high-converting content
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Mmmmm, results.

We achieved all that by slowing down, taking a step back and finding small areas for improvement and experimentation.

But if we weren’t producing fresh content, what in the heck were we doing (and how can you do it too)?

I’ll tell you right now… if you promise to call your mom later.

Phase I: Optimize high traffic posts (especially for lead gen)

If you do any digging around in Google Analytics, you may notice that the same 5-10 posts consistently bring you the most traffic month after month. Most often, these are posts on high-interest topics that you’re ranking for in search engines.

For us, some of these posts dated as far back as 2012. And while the content was still relevant and actionable, there was always something to optimize — especially in regards to lead generation.

We created a spreadsheet with our 20 highest-traffic posts for the past month. It looked a little something like this:

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Click for larger image.

The blog team (comprised of Helen, Amy and I) took a close look at each post and determined whether it was evergreen and if it still met our editorial standards:

  • Are there any broken links?
  • Is content still up to date?
  • Are all graphics and images still in line with brand guidelines?

Making sure that you can still stand behind older content is key — but for us, the focus of our optimization lay in the calls to action…

Optimize for lead generation

Some of our high-traffic posts linked to outdated assets or had lead gen forms all the way at the bottom, buried under 3,000 words.

What’s worse — we found that some of these posts were dead ends, with no clear “next step” for readers.

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Updating your high-traffic posts for lead generation is when things really get interesting. Ask yourself:

  • Are there recently created conversion carrots (ebook/worksheets/webinar recordings) that are more relevant to article topic? Especially for really old posts, we had a ton of new assets to choose from.
  • Can you create a new high-value, hyper-relevant conversion carrot with minimal effort? In one case, we created an email subject line worksheet that we thought would be valuable to readers.
  • Is your lead gen form placed contextually within the article, rather than all the way at the bottom? It should come as no surprise that we’ve run heat map tests that reveal most people don’t make it to the bottom of the page. Test incorporating forms contextually into the post — we generally place inline forms no lower than 1/3 of the way through the post.
  • Does the conversion carrot require more “selling” or is its value communicated inherently in the article? If it’s a simple asset that has been explained by the post, test an inline form like the one below. If you’re giving away something that requires a bit of explanation (like a breakdown of ebook chapters), test linking to a landing page.

Ready to optimize your high-traffic posts for lead gen?

Heres a blog post optimization checklist to help you get started leave no lead… unled?

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All that work seems to have paid off so far.

In total, we optimized 17 posts. In a one-month period before the experiment, organic traffic to these posts brought us a total of 248 conversions (form completions).

One month post-optimization, those same 17 posts brought us 928 conversions — a 274% increase.

Bonus tip: Once you’ve done the legwork of optimizing that monster 5,000 word post from 2012 that search engines love so much, why not share it with new blog subscribers by bumping it to the top of your RSS? During our two-week optimization period, we flagged some of our favorite “oldie but goodie”s to be republished. Then we republished them!

Phase II: Get to know your leads

Okay, phase two sounds less sexy than phase one, which promised you’d “get more leads.”

But it’ll pay off in the long run.

Because the end goal of any business usually isn’t to “generate leads.” It’s to make money.

And if you want to generate more of the right type of leads who are more likely to fall in love with you and your solution and eventually become customers, then you need to get to know who you’re talking to.

Because a billion blog subscribers are useless to you if none of them are dealing with a problem your product solves.


A billion blog subscribers are useless if none of them want your product.
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We dedicated about half our time during the two-week experiment to learning more about our dear readers to better understand their pains and goals so we could serve them up more of what they want.

Ask your readers what they want

Generating leads gives you quantitative feedback about whether your content is desirable, but sometimes all you need to do to determine what readers want is to… just ask.

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This powerful question can teach you about the person you are dating (for better or for worse) and is equally as effective in a business context.

During our hiatus, we did two things to better get to know our prospects.

1. Survey says…

2-week-hiatus-post

In our blog post giving readers a heads up that we were going to cool it for two weeks to optimize some stuff, we sent readers to a Typeform survey.

You can take the survey and steal the questions we used here.

2. Encourage engagement on blog welcome emails

We also wanted to be able to engage with readers in a more personal way — potentially even start a discussion — to show that there are living, breathing humans behind our blog.

Plus, we knew we could do better than our old welcome email:

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We updated this welcome email to sound more like it was coming from a human rather than a business. Most importantly, though, we prompted new subscribers to reply to the email with a marketing problem that is currently baffling them:

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Before this email, I rarely received replies to the welcome email. I honestly can’t think of a single reply.

As I’m writing this post, the new welcome series has been live for a week, and I’ve received a handful of really thoughtful replies to this email. I anticipate many, many more.

It allows me to get to know our readers in a super personal way, while over-delivering in value by offering advice when I can. Bonus? If I get the same question again and again, I can answer it with a blog post. 🙂

Would we do it all again?

Our blog publishing hiatus allowed us to meet business goals in a way that will keep on giving — by organically bringing in more leads every month.

It allowed us to take the time to treat our readers like humans and really listen to what they want more of (so we can continue to #dobetter on the blog).

But the hiatus had unintended results too — we had more time and perspective to discuss the structure of the blog team and who should own what (the subject of its own post, perhaps?).

It allowed us to meet our personal goals of feeling excited about our work by stepping back and experimenting with new things.

Maybe you’ve heard us say this (about 51 times) before…

always-be-testing-unbounce-blog-search

I think we’d be fools not to do it again!



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Next Level Landing Page Optimization: Before and After the Conversion

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We spend a lot of time on this blog waxing poetic about the importance of optimizing your landing pages.

But landing pages are only one element of a stellar, high-converting marketing campaign. And focusing all of your attention on optimizing only one element is just foolish.

‘Cause — pardon the cliché — but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

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Image via Giphy.

If you’ve optimized your landing pages and you’re still not getting the results you wished for, maybe there are broken links elsewhere in your conversion chain — like before and after the landing page?

Not sure? We created a 24-page guide for Unbounce customers to help them maximize the value of their landing pages, but we like you too and figured you might find it useful — regardless of whether you use Unbounce to build your landing pages or not.

The guide will help you optimize every step of your prospect’s conversion journey:

  • Before the landing page: Are you doing enough to send healthy doses of traffic to your landing pages? Are there distribution channels you’re missing? How can you use each most effectively?
  • On the landing page: Are you making the most of that sweet traffic by constantly optimizing every element of your landing page for more conversions?
  • After the landing page: After people convert on your optimized page, are you making their next step crystal clear? Are you missing additional conversion and nurturing opportunities on your thank you page?

Are you optimizing your entire conversion funnel?

Download this 24-page whitepaper and learn how to better optimize your entire conversion funnel — both before and after your landing page.

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Do You Believe in… Conversion Magic?

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conversion elixir
Do you believe in… conversion magic? Image via Shutterstock.

Like any potions master would attest, the secret to a great elixir lies in the measured combination of its ingredients.

Over the years, Titan PPC, a full-service pay-per-click advertising agency based in Vancouver, has developed a “magic formula” for designing lead generation landing pages that convert at average of 15% or higher.

The secret ingredient? For company founder, Patrick Schrodt, it doesn’t boil down to just one.

Read on to find out what key ingredients make Patrick’s lead gen landing pages so powerful. Then test them yourself with the new, kick-ass Hyperion template in the Unbounce app.

1. Make your landing pages relevant

Any smart marketer knows that when visitors reach a landing page, they won’t all have the same intentions for being there. Some may have clicked an ad looking for a plumber in West Seattle where others may have clicked one looking for a plumber in Capitol Hill.

But if your client is a plumbing company that serves the entire Seattle metropolitan area, your landing page should show both the visitors from West Seattle and Capitol Hill that you’ve got the service they need in the location they want it.

In other words, you want to use geo-targeting to make your landing pages especially relevant to your prospects. As Patrick explains:

There’s always been geo-based searches and there always will be. For our own campaigns, we’ve gone as targeted as including a map on every landing page. We highlight a visitors location on the map depending on the where their search is coming from — people go crazy for it!

And the conversion rates don’t lie.

Watch this clip to hear how Titan PPC used geo-targeting to increase a client’s on-page conversion rates from 6% to 33%, practically overnight.

Interview with Patrick Schrodt, founder of Titan PPC.

2. Use (awesome) images to break up your body copy

Never judge a book by its cover… right?

Well, fact is, when a prospect reaches your lead gen landing page, the first thing they’ll do is judge your offer or product by the way you’ve presented it to them. And they’ll do it within seconds.

That’s why you want to make sure it looks so good they won’t want to leave.

The key to keeping prospects interested? Great photography. According to Patrick:

Images help prospects get a clear picture of your client’s product or offer, and it shows them you’re a professional.

Titan PPC adds full-page horizontal image galleries throughout their lead gen landing pages.

It helps break up a visitor’s attention as they scroll by giving them something nice to look at.

But you can’t just slap a bunch of images into a gallery and hope that it all comes together.

If you’re going to source images for clients, you have to make sure you grab photos from a series. I’ve seen landing pages where it’s obvious that each image belongs to a different suite and it’s not coherent or nice to look at.

Check out this example of cohesive image galleries on one of Titan PPC’s lead gen landing pages for a lawn mowing client in Philadelphia:

GrasLawn

Screenshot of cohesive image galleries, landing page designed by Titan PPC.

3. Remind visitors why they are on your page

Remember that bit about making sure your landing pages were super relevant to your visitors? Well, that sometimes means reminding them exactly why they are on your landing page.

For Titan PPC, the best way to do that is by adding a smooth scroll call-to-action (CTA) bar right below the horizontal image gallery.

Why? Because it brings a prospect right back to where you want them: the form.

It works because every time a visitor sees something visual and eye catching [like the image galleries], they’re then prompted to fill out the form.

4. Make the form match the offer

Speaking of taking prospects back to where you want them, the design of a form on your landing page should never be an afterthought. That means weighing, measuring and sifting every item from the questions to the CTA so it’s fully optimized to ensure a conversion.

It’s so key that the form matches the offer. Otherwise a prospect will just be turned off.

So if your client is offering a 100% free quote on plumbing services, then the form on your landing page should reiterate, loud and clear, that the offer comes at no price.

Sounds pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it?

But matching a form to an offer also means making sure you have a solid understanding of your target audience. As Patrick explains:

For real-estate clients, the CTA is always to download a free floor plan. But for clients that are service based, like plumbers or roofers, the CTA is always to get a free quote.

It all comes back to personalization: different types of prospects want to see different kinds of offers. According to Patrick, real-estate prospects want the feeling of exclusivity, whereas service-seeking prospects are probably just looking for the cheapest way to fix a runny faucet or leaky roof.

Titan PPC’s last tip for optimizing the form? Make the form catch your prospect’s attention.

We always put a starburst or icon in the corner of the form. It’s usually something like ‘100% free’ so it pulls a visitor in and reminds them why they want to fill it out!”

Here’s an example of what Patrick means:

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 2.28.41 PM
Screenshot of a high-converting landing page form, designed by Titan PPC.

From showing your visitors ultra-relevant content to making sure that content has awesome design and flow, the landing page magic formula is all about giving prospects exactly what they’re looking for and expecting to see when they land on your page.

Care to try some of Patrick’s tricks yourself?

Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Unbounce and try the Hyperion template, a design inspired by Titan PPC’s powerful elixir for high-converting landing pages.



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