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We cut our bounce rate by 85% and increased demo-requests by 190%. Here is what we did.

website_optimization_imgLike pretty much every company out there, we’re constantly trying to optimize our website. And like every other marketing team out there, we release iterations that suck and versions that rock. Our newest website is one of the latter and below is our ‘secret sauce’.

Here are the numbers —comparing the first week of December 2014 to the first week of March 2015. Let me walk you through what we did, step by step.

data

TL;DR: We released a very effective and highly performing website. To do it, we took time to go through market research and customer feedback, adjusted our voice to match what we are–young, fun and clever–removed all unnecessary industry jargon, excluded boring feature lists from the public site, and trusted our awesome designer to turn it all into a visually appealing product. Look at the screenshot above–it worked for us!

1. Take your time

The first part is setting yourself up for success.

Like any creative process, building a website requires a ton of prep work. We wrote down a list of questions to answer before even thinking about the color palette, the keyword ratios or anything else

We had 30 sub-questions in three main categories:

  • Who are we making this website for?
  • How does our target audience express the problems they are looking to solve?
  • What is appealing to them and what do they hate?

And we did our homework. To nail down how our target audience is searching for a solution, we reached our Google API request limit. More importantly, we spent hours on the phone with our clients to get an understanding for what they loved about our product, what they didn’t like, and the main value they saw in integrating Pressly to their workflow.

 It also allowed us to go back to our beloved software team with some interesting feedback, which is never a bad thing!

Ultimately, I knew it would take us around a month to build the new version of the site. To make sure we’d deliver without rushing through the last steps, I budgeted 6 weeks with our CEO Jeff.

2. Cut the crap. Copy makes a difference

Screw that jargon.

Let’s be honest: Marketing jargon is the worst.

Do you really think anyone picks up on something when they read, ‘our next generation of innovative software enables customers to efficiently implement streamlined strategies while thoroughly tracking the ROI of their multi-channel initiatives in a sophisticated, safe and secure cloud-based platform… blah bla bla’?

 We’ve all made this mistake at some point. When you read other marketing copy day after day, you just learn and repeat by osmosis.

Good copywriters are able to convey a message, using a voice and tone that not only match your brand but are aligned with what your target audience expects. Personally, I think that cutting the number of words used to express a simple idea is a high-value skill. Aren’t the best programmers those who are able to shrink a code base while keeping all of it working?

Pressly Website Screenshot

 

Stay away from feature lists

For this website, we focused on expressing what Pressly can do at a high-level along with what you can expect in terms of results.

For both our homepage and product page, we decided to stay away from feature lists and in-depth descriptions of our software. Why? Because Pressly is a sophisticated web app and we couldn’t possibly convey it all outside of a demo.

 Our assumption was, if the website did a good enough job at showcasing the output product (Pressly hubs from our customers rotate below the fold), our potential buyers would engage with us and ask to see it. So we optimized our demo request pop-ups and added quotes from thought leaders to decrease the defection rate as much as possible.

It works for us: our demo request rate from the website jumped by 185%.

Humor helps

We are a startup so we can be a bit more liberal with our voice than, say, Salesforce or SAP.

Humor is a great tool to create a connection, humanize the website, and encourage engagement. Under our product description, we added a fun bit at the end of each section to keep readers interested through to the next paragraph instead of closing the tab out of boredom.

As a result, we have seen a 45% increase in average visit duration. This told us that our tone and voice encourage visitors to browse through other sections of the site: on average our visitors go through 4.6 pages instead of 1.6 as before.

 

Make CTAs less boring.

Changing ‘Request a demo’ to ‘Don’t be shy, request a demo” made the pricing page one of the most effective lead-generation areas of the site. Don’t be scared to test CTA copy, as long as it matches your overall voice and tone.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 6.03.18 PM

3. Have a kickass designer

Even if you write the best copy in the world and have the most effective website structure, it will still fall short if the overall product looks like sh*t.

For the design, we went back to simplicity. Making the visuals match the overall idea is key and Liam, our boss designer, did an amazing job. The color palette has been updated, the sticky menu lets every visitor navigate to other areas of the site at any time, and the calls to action stand out.

We’ll cover the design part more thoroughly in a future post. That’s a scout’s honor!

Feedback, questions? Shoot me an email at alex@pressly.com. And don’t forget to follow us @Pressly!

What are the first words that come to customers’ minds when they hear “sales”?

@DanielPink at the #MME15

When 7000 people were surveyed on the first word that comes to mind when they think of “sales” or “selling”:

Daniel Pink @MME15

Daniel Pink @MME15

- Slimy

- Difficult

- Dishonest

- Annoying

- Painful

- Swarmy

- Challenging

- Necessary

- Ick

- Fake

- Pushy

- Tough

- Sleazy

- Ugh

- Boring

- Uncomfortable

- Aggressive

- Hard

- Manipulative

- Cheesy

- Scary

- Important

- Essential

- Fun

- Yuck

 

[Infographic] Mapping Your Content To Your Sales Cycle

Much like how a department store carefully organizes and displays their goods to guide the shoppers along an ideal route, content marketing does the same for every stage of the sales funnel.

Think about it in terms of educating your potential customers: in the beginning when they are showing initial interest in your service or product, it makes sense to deliver value through a checklist or infographic. If your audience is just about ready to convert, you should be sealing the deal with a juicy case study or customer testimonials.

Before you invest dollars and hours into creating a piece of custom content, take a moment to consider where it will land in your sales cycle. Make sure that you aren’t just focusing on one phase of the funnel but that you are covering every step of it, guiding your audience all the way to the final sale.

To help you visualize your content to your sales cycle, download our infographic and get a quick overview of the types of content that match up to where your audience is in the lead-nurturing process. For maximum return, we’ve also included the appropriate channels to distribute each piece of content on.

mapping

For more helpful infographics like this one, make sure to download our colossal eBook on content marketing today (it’s free!).

Getting to Know Your Target Audience Beyond Just Demographics

Content marketing comes with a lot of questions: What will engage my audience? Where do I distribute my content? In what format? And how frequently?

The good news is, the answers are all right in front of you: your audience. Content marketing requires a deeper understanding of your audience that goes beyond simple demographics. A combination of research, social listening, and analytics will give you all the answers that you need.

Spend some time to delineate a clear image of your target audience. The research doesn’t have to be too structured, but don’t just skim the surface, either. Focus on the psychographic side of things: their values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. Make it as specific as possible. Find out where they like to hang out online, what piece of content draws them in the most, what social networks they love, what social networks they avoid. What are their needs, their challenges, their ambitions?

To help you get started, use our target audience canvas to start filling out the four core components that will help you define them. Click here for the fillable template.

target_audience

For more actionable items like this canvas, download “Create, Curate, Dominate“, our free eBook on content marketing.

 

Join our awesome team!

Social Media Manager / Content Coach

Toronto, ON - 

 

We’re looking for a talented social media manager to handle our online presence on social networks. On top of spending too many hours on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc, the ideal candidate will help our customer success team to… make our customers successful. If you know what content marketing is, and would be interested in working with top-notch companies to set up their content strategy, you should drop us a line! If you don’t know what content marketing means, you should download the Bible :-)

Responsibilities

  • Expand Pressly’s social presence on selected networks
  • Engage with the community and help establish Pressly as a thought leader in the content marketing space
  • Curate content for Pressly hubs
  • Work with early stage customers to help them define and implement the right content strategy for their business

Qualifications

  • Proven experience in writing, copywriting, and storytelling
  • Demonstrated mastery of content development and social media management
  • Strong planning and organizational skills
  • Excellent communication skills – both spoken and written
  • Enjoy working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment
  • [Bonus points] for HTML, CSS, graphic design skills
  • [Bonus x2] for extremely awesome ping-pong skills

More about Pressly

Content marketing is hard, tedious, and time-consuming.

Pressly is a smart online platform that helps you aggregate the right content for your audience and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

We empower brands to efficiently hand-pick the content your customers are looking for, maximize your audience’s engagement, and convert visitors to buyers more reliably.

Get Your Brand Noticed: No More ‘Where’s Waldo’ At Tradeshows

If you’re like most companies, you attend tradeshows and conventions each year to showcase your products, network with industry peers, expand your brand footprint and, ultimately, increase revenue.

But, getting noticed can feel a lot like this:

whereswaldo
Can you spot Waldo at this tradeshow?

If you found him, how long did it take?  If you didn’t, I bet you don’t want to spend another second looking for him, am I right?

Now, imagine Waldo represents your brand.

Breaking through the noise of our content-centric world is becoming increasingly difficult.  It can be exhausting to stay ahead of your content marketing goals, and your competition.  And once you’ve fallen behind, it becomes overwhelming.

Producing enough quality content for your audience is a painstaking process, eating up your time, money, effort and sanity.  Then – there’s testing, quantifying and honing your strategy to make sure your content’s maximizing brand impact, increasing lead generation and producing engaged conversions.

How do we start working smarter, and not harder?

The answer may not be as obscure as you think – leveraging 3rd party content is a trend quickly becoming the mainstay of content marketing.

For example, DocuSign rose above the chatter at Dreamforce 2014 by curating the topics, trends and people surrounding the event to help surface their own content.

Wouldn’t this be nice?

Whereswaldogreen

 

Docusign generated thousands of unique page views, engaged with their audience, increased lead generation efforts and garnered endorsements from major thought leaders.

Whether it’s Dreamforce, CES, Adobe Summit, Microsoft Convergence or a Where’s Waldo Convention, creating customer-centric content destinations is becoming the rule, instead of the exception.

Is your company executing its content marketing initiatives cheaper, faster and simpler?

If you’d like to learn how this is possible, please feel free to reach out.  Thanks!

To your continued content success,

Mike Schaus
Pressly Inside Sales Representative

Dreamforce News Updates: What happened, What’s next

Day 2 is in the can, leaving us with some memorable keynotes and huge product unveils. Day 3 is underway and promises to be equally astounding and full of news. Without further ado, here’s your Dreamforce news brief, with links for reading below.

Hillary Clinton attacks the Word Gap – Literacy for all

Modern technology has connected us in unprecedented ways. Social media, and mobile phones tie distant people, businesses and education together. But it’s no replacement for good old fashioned face to face interaction.

This was the message from the former First Lady during her keynote address Tuesday at Dreamforce 2014. Clinton lamented that low income children are in dire need of better and more enriched interpersonal communication in this digital age.  The reason, they are exposed to fewer words, fewer books.

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She also advocated net neutrality and philanthropy – and brushed off sneaky questions about her potential run for the big seat in 2016.

Big Data like you never seen

As over 140,000 people streamed the Live Show leading up to CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote for the night, you couldn’t help think you were watching an enormous music concert – with the most eclectic line up imaginable. Starting with some peace-vibe inducing hula music, and blasting to the next level with the Beach Boys in full falsetto glory, Benioff sure knew how to make an intro. Macintosh HD:Users:tobindalrymple:Desktop:Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 4.42.56 PM.png

But if you thought Beach Boys and Hawaii tunes were just eclectic music choices, you are wrong.

They were subtle nods to the big announcement of the night. Benioff finally officialy introduced the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, known as Wave. Even though details were leaked previously, Benioff and team gave an impressive demo of the next generation platform, which aims to make analytics accessible by all, with awesome mobile utility, animation and a “gamification” feeling.

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Analytics nerds everywhere had to wipe the drool from their keyboards. Or so I imagine.

What you can’t miss today

Today will be equally exciting, and a little more musical.

Will.i.am and Neil Young both have two separate announcements. Neil Young’s is sure to be a gem, when he launches Pono, the high-fidelity digital music player, which he funded with a massively successful Kickstarter.  Will.i.am will break into the wearables scene with his own keynote later in the evening.

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Silicon Valley investor guru Marc Andreesen will hold the floor from 3pm to 4pm San Francisco time. And of course break out sessions will continue throughout the day and parties late into the next.

Keep checking back in at this Hub for party news, detailed Keynote coverage and more We’re on twitter with #DF14S, #DF14 and #FrontRow

Further reading:

7 Things You Don’t Want to Miss Today (Wednesday, October 15)

3 Reasons You Can’t Miss Today’s Marketing Cloud Keynote

Salesforce launches Wave: ZDnet coverage

Clinton talks Word Gap and Philanthropy: ZDnet

Curation matters. Just ask Buzzfeed and the New York Times

wtf-coffee-buzzfeed-office-tour-dec-2012-bi-dng

On first blush, The New York Times and Buzzfeed couldn’t be any less similar. One is a flagship of  ethical and investigative journalism, almost synonymous with the notion of journalistic authority itself. The other will give you 19 amazing cat pictures you can’t believe aren’t photoshopped.

But look closer and you’ll see both media giants have evolved in recent days to deliver content in a very similar and compelling way. And the take away for marketers about how these guys are changing their game will make all the difference to your content strategy.

Curation and Creation: Your readers want both

In a recent Digiday article, Ricardo Bilton writes that the Times and Buzzfeed are starting to enter a new age of content curation. Rather than simply publishing their own stuff, they are starting to see the value – or necessity – to start assembling, collecting and giving readers an editorial snapshot of other stuff that is out there.

“It’s pretty odd at this point to imagine a reader only wants stories from any one news organization,” said Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.

The curation-meets-original content approach is an important shift from how most publishers have approached their app strategies so far.

 

It’s this exact topic we’ve been hearing so much about directly from our customers in recent months. Except in this case, we’re talking about marketers and how they can build better, more powerful relationships around their content marketing efforts.

There’s no question great content can be used to efectively move consumers along the buying cycle, particularly at the top of the funnel. But we’re finding that marketers, just like publishers, have been hitting several obstacles. The space is noisey. Consumers, just like readers, think it’s strange to get all their news from just one location. So what are marketers to do?

While there are several obvious pain points we and a lot of our competitors address – we are starting to see a ton of success by doubling down on we what we feel are the two most important and exciting challenges.

Fatigue around 100% owned content experiences

 
Nobody wants to hear a brand just talk about its own products. The majority of brands get this and address this situation by creating content around their industry and/or broader topics relevant to their targets. While this is a great start, it doesn’t go far enough for two reasons.
  • Hard to produce enough great content: Being forced to create enough great original content on a regular basis is a daunting task for the most capable of content teams.
  • Lacks an authentic and complete conversation: Your audience wants to be informed and/or entertained. The more complete and fuller the content destination you can create the better. We recently spoke with a well respected company lauded for their amazing content initiatives. During a recent focus group, their audience revealed that while they love their content around relevant industry topics – it still felt lacking due to it being only their own view point.

It’s for this reason that at Pressly, we believe the future lies in topic-based, curation driven destinations. Giving brands the ability to combine owned, 3rd-party publisher thought leadership and social content into one destination will be the key to building customer relationships around a certain conversation.

Empowering content throughout the company

The second area where we are focusing our attention and seeing amazing results is around helping companies empower their entire organization with content. We often work very closely with the marketing team on creating amazing content destinations around a topic. Once this is accomplished, the next challenge we hear is how do we get our whole team (sales, support, management) to leverage the content we are bringing together. The answer lies in a very simple capability we’ve built into Pressly.

Creating thought leadership visibility

Pressly offers the ability to create individual sub-hubs under the parent hub of an organization. This enables individual team members to create a personal branded hub with the ability to flow-in and customize content from the company’s parent hub that relates to their focus / audience. Individuals can then share the content from this hub to their own social accounts and email their customer relationships.
 

You have them listening. Now what?

Of course, unlike publishers, brands don’t exactly rely on an advertising model to find their bottom line. Instead, marketers need to ensure this mixed strategy of curating and creating context actually leads to real sales.

That’s why it’s so important to not only own the conversation, but own the destination where the conversation is happening. Too many brands simply share out links, blog posts and studies – creating great engagement, but ultimately losing those leads to other websites, never to see them again.

Instead, look for a solution that lets you bring your readers to an environment you can control and set up engagement actions, for example a Pressly Hub. When you share a piece of content on Pressly, people are first taken to your Pressly powered landing page. This gives the ability to provide additional context and thought leadership on why you curated a specific piece of content. As well, Pressly helps facilitate the discovery of other related stories you’ve curated or created on the topic. Thus, keeping people around longer and increasing the opportunity to convert.
 

Drive business results

Because you are now driving engagement on destinations you control, Pressly gives the ability to easily integrate Calls-To-Action alongside content. This gives the ability to tie in your other sales and marketing platforms to complete the circle and drive real business value behind your content initiatives.

9 Incredible Internet of Things Gizmos

The Internet of Things is going to change the way marketers, businesses and people interact with the world. With the rate of things being connected to the internet increasing at an exponential rate, these changes are coming sooner than you might imagine.

Here’s a round up of what we think are some of the coolest, most inspiring and craziest ways IOT will change the face of our world.

As marketers, it’s fun to imagine how we might start to take advantage of these new web based interfaces. From a smart gun, a wireless pill bottle, to the most intimate of body parts, what will the future of marketing look like with this new connected world? Let us know in the comments your bright ideas.

1. K Goal: Vagina tracker

K Goal vagina tracker

It can already stream the internet straight to your face, vibrate around your waist when you’re slouching and track your health using only your wrist. Now, wearable technology is getting even more intimate and attempting to conquer the final frontier: the vagina.

Recently launched on Kickstarter, the KGoal Smart Kegel Trainer, produced by San Fransisco-based sexual health startup Minna Life, describes itself as a “Fitbit for your vagina,” an interactive device to guide, measure and track pelvic floor muscle exercise. It takes the form of a squeezable silicone pillow, connected to a smartphone app, that measures your “clench strength” and feeds the data back to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. It also has an internal motor for “real time vibrational biofeedback.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/jul/04/kgoal-fitness-tracker-vagina-pelvic-floor

2. The iPhone of Guns

Smart Gun

One of California’s largest firearm stores recently added a peculiar new gun to its shelves. It requires an accessory: a black waterproof watch. 

The watch’s primary purpose is not to provide accurate time, though it does. The watch makes the gun think. Electronic chips inside the gun and the watch communicate with each other. If the watch is within close reach of the gun, a light on the grip turns green. Fire away. No watch means no green light. The gun becomes a paperweight.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/we-need-the-iphone-of-guns-will-smart-guns-transform-the-gun-industry/2014/02/17/6ebe76da-8f58-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

3. Smart Lighter to quit smoking

Quitbit

A new Internet-connected lighter called Quitbit will light your cigarette, but wean you off a smoking habit too.

 A new Kickstarter campaign called Quitbit takes the same monitoring principles embedded into fitness trackers and helps users track and cutdown on smoking. In a nod to the name, it’s like a Fitbit for smoking.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/13/smart-lighter-quitbit/

4. Amazon Dash – home scanner

amazon-dash

Let’s be real: Amazon isn’t going to stop until you can go your entire life without setting foot in an actual brick-and-mortar store. Now the company wants to make buying groceries and sundries from its AmazonFresh same-day delivery service even easier, and it’s doing it with a tiny little gadget called the Dash. Yes, move over Fire TV — Amazon’s newest bit of hardware is a free (for now?), WiFi-capable barcode scanner.

Read more: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/04/amazon-dash-amazonfresh/

 

5. Smart Bike – GPS directions on your handle bars

SmartBike

 While some cars these days are smart enough to drive themselves, the bike industry has remained largely untouched in terms of innovation. But a new company wants to pedal forward with what it’s calling the world’s first smart and connected bicycle.

A Kickstarter campaign for the Vanhawks Valour smart bike connects with a smartphone app and brings tech like GPS directly to the handle bars. The concept is part of a greater effort to help bikers keep their eyes on the road, especially during high-traffic commuting times.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/14/smart-bike-vanhawks-valour/

 

6. Nest Protect – Love your smoke alarm

nest-protect1

Everyone by now has heard of Nest’s smart thermostat. But their newest product, Protect, solves another problem at the home: those annoying and sometimes un-safe smoke alarms.  Great design and more proof that the future of smart homes is amazing,

Read more: https://nest.com/ca/smoke-co-alarm/life-with-nest-protect/

 

7.  Electric Objects – smart art

smart art

There’s more art on the Internet than in every gallery and museum on Earth.

But many of these beautiful objects are trapped. They’re trapped inside of devices like our phones, our tablets, our TVs, our laptops — devices designed for distraction, living between texts, tweets, football games and emails from work. 

So we wanted to make a new way to bring art from the Internet into your home.

Read more: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/electricobjects/electric-objects-a-computer-made-for-art

 

8.  Pill Bottle

pillbottle

 AdhereTech, a New York City-based startup, released a wireless pill bottle at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show it claims alerts patients when they have to take their medication and keeps track of their usage and dosage.

The pill bottle uses lights, speakers and sensors to track how often the bottle is opened and closed, humidity and how much medication is removed in real-time. Using cellular technology, it then sends the information on to doctors, pharmacists who can monitor it.

If the medication isn’t taken on time, users receive a phone call or text message alert as a reminder.

 

Read more: http://www.cbronline.com/news/tech/hardware/desktops/5-internet-of-things-devices-for-health-youve-never-heard-of-4317475

 

9. The FingerReader – for visually impaired

blindIoT

Scientists at MIT are developing a ring-shaped device they claim can read aloud text to people with visual disabilities in real-time.

The FingerReader, worn as a ring on the index finger, has a small camera mounted on top and speech software that converts text from books, newspapers and menues into audio.

The audio device, which took three years to design, connects to a laptop or mobile phone and includes a text extraction algorithm, allowing users to read single lines or whole blocks of text when selected.

Read more: http://www.cbronline.com/news/tech/hardware/desktops/5-internet-of-things-devices-for-health-youve-never-heard-of-4317475

5 Great Articles to Get Started as a Content Curator

Five resources for content curators getting started.

Five resources for content curators getting started.

Content curation might be all the rage – but if you’re a marketer trying to break into the practice, where do you begin?

We’ve assembled these keystone content pieces that provide a valuable starting point for anyone hoping to get started as a content curator, or simply wishes to know more.

1. Manifesto For The Content Curator: The Next Big Social Media Job Of The Future ?

Way back in 2009, Rohit Bhargava from the Influential Marketing Blog put his stamp on the Content Curator job title in this seminal manifesto. At the time, the idea was such a novelty that he offered up a free book to anyone who had it has their official role on their business card. Something tells me that today he’d be giving away a lot more books.

A great starting point to see how the need for curation has evolved over time – and what curators are really supposed to be doing, and what their deeper purpose is.

The detached analysis of an algorithm will no longer be enough to find what we are looking for. To satisfy the people’s hunger for great content on any topic imaginable, there will need to be a new category of individual working online.

Read now: http://www.rohitbhargava.com/2009/09/manifesto-for-the-content-curator-the-next-big-social-media-job-of-the-future.html Continue reading “5 Great Articles to Get Started as a Content Curator” »