A Legendary Copywriting Formula 4 U [PODCAST]

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This simple formula will help you delight readers and attract qualified customers… every time. Image by J. Pellgen via Flickr.

In this episode of the Call to Action podcast, we explore how to write amazing landing page copy.

First, we tell a story of what happened when we made our “About Us” page copy a little bit too much… about us.

Then, Unbounce’s Dan Levy talks to direct response copywriter Marc Aarons about embarrassing writing habits and an easy-to-remember landing page copywriting formula for making sure you’re simultaneously delighting readers and attracting qualified customers.

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In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews direct response copywriter, Marc Aarons.

Dan Levy: Copywriting is kind of a tough thing to talk about because it, on the surface, seems kind of personal and specific to each company and their audience. Can it really be boiled down to a formula?

Marc Aarons: Yes and no. So it’s such a great question because formulas – I like to think of formulas almost like frameworks. They get us started, and they get us very close to the target. But at the end of the day, you’re always going to want to customize your entire sales message, your landing page, your sales page, video sales letters – whichever advertisement you’re actually creating for your audience. You always want to customize it specifically for them. We always start with the audience.

Dan Levy: So tell us about the 4 U Formula. How did that come about, and what are those 4 U’s anyway?

Marc Aarons: The 4 U Formula was actually developed by Michael Masterson, and he is best known as a serial entrepreneur. He is also a direct response copywriter, and he helped grow Agora Inc. – I think their financial division – from somewhere in the single digit millions to a nine-figure company. And he developed a number of techniques and innovative strategies that are now taught through the American Writers and Artists Incorporated, one of them being the 4 U Formula. And the 4 U Formula really breaks down into four questions. Is this useful? Is this unique? Is this urgent? And is it ultra-specific to our audience?

Dan Levy: Right. I want to get a little more specific there. But first, this post is about using the 4 U Formula on your landing pages in particular. And you say to either pick your headline or your subheadline or your benefits, which are usually in the bullet points of your landing page, when going about using this formula on your pages. Is there a particular one that you should start with?

Marc Aarons: So the beautiful thing about writing copy for landing pages is every single direct response copywriter that I’ve spoken to, they start in one of two places. Either they start in the body copy, which here, would be the benefits. Or they start with the headline/subheadline. So it’s either an inside/out or outside/in approach, if you will.

Dan Levy: Okay, so either start with the first thing you see on the page, or start with – well, actually, how about the call to action button? Where does that come in? Because I was going to say that’s sort of what the page is culminating toward, right?

Marc Aarons: Right. You know, the call to action, I would personally leave that to be the very last thing that I actually write because in the writing process, it’s like Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, “You have characters in your story. And as you write your story, they’re going to involve because you’re still getting to know your characters.” And writing a landing page or a sales page or even a video sales letter, it’s very much the same. You’re going to be learning a bit more about your audience and the message that you want to convey as you write the first draft, then re-edit the first draft to get to your second and third. And once you’ve got to your third, once you’ve got the final core message to offer the benefits, then the call to action button – and for some copywriters, the headline – is almost like the icing on the cake.

Dan Levy: That’s really interesting. The copywriter Joanna Wiebe talks about starting with your page goal, the call to action button, and working backwards. But here what you’re saying is as the page evolves, sometimes that call to action button might change.

Marc Aarons: Yes, absolutely. It can change. However, we always start with the plan, and the purpose of the plan is not just to stick to the plan, but to allow you to deviate from the plan if a better plan starts to make itself available to you.

Dan Levy: That’s what you were saying before. A formula is a great place to start, but you have to remain flexible.

Marc Aarons: Yes.

Dan Levy: So the goal here is to nail at least three out of those four U’s. But if you don’t, how would you go about revising that copy?

Marc Aarons: This is also a great question because it brings us right back to the heart of every single landing page and sales message: who is our audience? What is it that they want to accomplish? So if we’re going to ask ourselves – say, for example, we want to make a headline more useful. The question that we’re asking is: does this provide value to the visitor? Or, does it imply that there’s going to be value found if they actually click through and opt in or purchase something? So we start with that question, and then we contextualize it for the audience.

Dan Levy: Okay. Before we go into some examples of this, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your writing process. Do you have any specific techniques for getting started writing a landing page, like templates or a spreadsheet filled with notes and ideas?

Marc Aarons: I love this one because my writing process is something that I’ve refined for maybe five plus years now, and it always starts with research, and there are actually three kinds of research. And this is getting, probably, a little bit deeper than we need or –

Dan Levy: No, I love it. Let’s get into the weeds here.

Marc Aarons: Oh, cool, perfect.

Dan Levy: Let’s get nerdy.

Marc Aarons: I totally love this part. So we have three kinds of research. You have customer research, you have product research and you have competitor research. And the purpose of customer research is to understand what it is that your audience finds most valuable. What are their burning pains? What are their hopes, fears and dreams? What are their wants and aspirations?

And from there, we get into product research. We are going to look at our product, or even maybe our service, to then find out, “Okay, what’s the unique selling proposition, what differentiates us from everybody else that’s out there? And how does our product specifically address the wants and the fears and the frustrations that our customers are going through that we uncovered in our customer research?”

The third kind of research is competitive analysis, or competitor research. Then we look at everyone else, maybe even just the top three competitors that are out there, to see what it is that they’re offering, what their unique selling propositions are. Because once we know what else our customers are looking at, then we know how to differentiate ourselves from the competition and everything else that’s out there.

Dan Levy: Right. So once you’ve done all this research, how do you collect that into one place and then go about turning that into great copy?

Marc Aarons: Oh, so that’s also a great question. I like to use just one document to brain dump everything in, and it’s almost like writing the first draft. The research – you want to separate your research process into collecting and then organizing your data. And if you’re doing it for a client, then there’s also the reporting process as well where you’re going to make it legible or understandable for your client. So the first step, you go through the research process, you collect everything, and you put it into those three different sections – the customer, the product research and the competitor research.

Dan Levy: Is that like an Excel spreadsheet or Google doc or something like that?

Marc Aarons: Great question – Google doc. You can use an Excel spreadsheet. However, I actually use a combination of both. I use Google spreadsheets as well as Google Docs. Google spreadsheets, especially, if I’m going to be going through a lot of blogs and blog comments and reviewing a lot of books on Amazon and things like that because that just keeps it neatly in one place. Then I’ll actually go into a Google document to create the narrative because I need to summarize it to about just one to two pages, which allows me to glance at it as I’m actually writing so I don’t get stuck in the writing process.

Dan Levy: Yeah, I feel like we all have these secretly shameful, messy documents where we dump all our ideas, and then we have to go about cleaning that up and putting it into some sort of narrative for our client or just to make some sense out of it.

Marc Aarons: Always. I definitely get messy in my process as well. And then afterwards, to make myself feel like a good human being, I’ll go clean it up.

Dan Levy: Totally. In your post, you take a close look at a landing page by Noah Kagan for an email marketing course that he was involved with. So the page passes the 4 U test, but you suggest that he could actually improve on one of his 4 U’s by adding more urgency. Can you break this one down for us?

Marc Aarons: Yeah, sure thing. He did many things there as well, but for us to up the urgency factor, we could show through social proof how many other people are actually taking this course as well. So if we say something like, “Join 5,000 other sharp marketers,” or whatever the specific number is right now, then that may trigger someone who’s reading it to say, “Oh, wow. Everyone else is doing this, and they’re getting ahead of me, and I don’t want to get left behind. So let me go ahead and opt in right now before all of my other competitors and everybody else gets the jump on this.”

Dan Levy: You also say later in the post, though, that urgency can actually backfire sometimes. How so?

Marc Aarons: Totally. So if you push too hard – and this comes right back to knowing specifically who it is that you’re talking to – because if you push the envelope too hard, it’s almost like the used car salesman who’s trying to get you to buy, buy, buy, buy now. It is like, “Whoa, why are you trying to push this so hard?” Maybe it actually isn’t that good, which totally goes into this whole deeper thing of demand and supply and all that kind of stuff. But if you push the urgency factor too high, it will actually repel the person that you’re trying to target, and it may actually attract the wrong kind of person because if you use too much urgency, then you’re going to be attracting people who act on impulse and who respond to that. And you’ll have to continue to sell to them because that’s the customer that you now have in your sales funnel.

Dan Levy: There’s a carpet store that’s on my corner that’s been going out of business, I think for six or seven years now. So it’s like, “Act fast,” and I think a lot of customers can see through that. But that’s an interesting point, too, about attracting the wrong kind of customer on unqualified leads or customers that are ultimately going to be a drain on your resources – maybe on the customer success side.

Marc Aarons: Absolutely.

Dan Levy: You mentioned a statistic that Brian Clark of Copyblogger and others have written about, which is that 95 percent of the most effective headlines from the early years of magazine advertising were actually eight words or fewer. Eight words aren’t that much, really, but are eight words really enough to be ultra-specific about a complex offer?

Marc Aarons: The answer is, again, yes and no. It depends on the offer so I actually want to give both examples. So in the example where it’s “yes,” then sometimes it’s actually possible to really boil it down and really just get the core benefit or the core driving question down. And speaking of core driving question, that gets a little bit into the “no” part because the real purpose of any headline and subheadline is to just get them to continue reading the copy. That’s it. You just want them to read on. That is the whole purpose. And once they read the first line, the purpose of the first line is to get them to read the second line, and so on and so forth until they get to the call to action. And then finally, the whole purpose of all of that buildup is to then get them to click that button, opt in, or make a purchase.

Dan Levy: Right. To go back to the yes and no thing and your post – with the caveat that of course all of this needs to actually be tested on your landing page. But you say if all else fails, you could seduce them with empathy. Recently, I actually spoke to Andy Crestodina about approaching your content marketing with empathy, but what does empathy mean in regards to copywriting?

Marc Aarons: So this is a great question, and I actually think of Brené Brown and her Ted talk on empathy, which if everyone hasn’t gotten a chance to look at it, I would highly recommend it. But what she says is empathy is feeling the emotions that someone else is feeling, and it can actually be taught and practiced. And the way that comes into copywriting is the best sales pages of – I was actually recently at a nine figure direct response company just earlier on this weekend, and everybody agreed that as you’re writing the copy, the more you can visualize one single person that you’re writing this letter to is the better the copy comes out. Because that’s exactly what it is – it’s writing a letter. So if you can have empathy for the single person who is the customer avatar of your audience, then you’re headlines get stronger, your subheadlines get stronger, your calls to actions get stronger, and your bullets and benefits also get stronger.

Dan Levy: I have to admit that as a writer myself, sometimes the idea of applying formulas to the writing process feels – I don’t know. I’m not going to say soulless, but in some ways, the opposite of a more human-centered approach. You seem to be suggesting that this kind of framework can actually help you be more empathetic, which is interesting.

Marc Aarons: Yes. It’s so funny because formulas I kind of see as boundaries. They’re almost like the walls of a house. We know that when we walk into a house that we’re safe. We’re home. Those boundaries allow us the freedom to express ourselves within this safe space. So in some ways its structure can provide freedom.

Dan Levy: Yeah, that’s the way it is with any parts of the creative process. When you’re given just a blank page and told, “Free write,” it’s super, super daunting. But when you’re given some sort of boundary, some sort of guideline, then all of a sudden, it kind of opens that creative part of your mind.

Marc Aarons: Absolutely.

Dan Levy: Great. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Marc Aarons: Likewise.

Transcript by GMR Transcription


A Legendary Copywriting Formula 4 U [PODCAST]

How to Start Using Explainer Videos (Infographic)

Tell me if you’ve experienced this problem. After sitting at your computer for a couple of hours writing copy for your product/service, you have your first draft complete. Then you realize it’s over 1,000 words long, and no one is going to read it.

For many companies, explaining a product/service through text can seem like writing a book. That’s why video has become so appealing, and why it has been widely adopted as a means of explaining an offering.

There are a few advantages video has over text-based copy:

  • Visuals help people understand
  • You can convey more information in the same amount of time
  • In general, people are more likely to watch video than read text

Given these benefits, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many marketers achieve a conversion boost after implementing an explainer video. Tech products like Slack, Salesforce, Crazy Egg, and Help Scout are all currently running videos on their homepages for a reason. Why not give it a try?

Today’s infographic provides guidance on why videos work so well, the different types of videos (along with how much they cost), and tips for producing a great video.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Killer Explainer Video
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

If you don’t produce in-house, check out firms like Demo Duck, Grain and Mortar, Switch Video, or Sean Duran. All are quality producers and will deliver excellent work.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

How to Start Using Explainer Videos (Infographic)

How to Disrupt Your Sales Funnel for Better Results

The sales funnel guides customers through a journey. Your business should aim to change the ordinary purchasing transaction into a fun-filled festival. Lead your team toward more sales with a creative approach.

Generating sales online is a process, not a single event. To acquire customers, a variety of marketing and sales strategies must be implemented to convert prospects into paying customers.

Moreover, a business’s sales funnel is only as effective as the team that runs and maintains the sales process. According to MarketingSherpa, 57% of B2B organizations identify “converting qualified leads into paying customers” as a top funnel priority, but 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing.

If you desire better results, it’s time to do things differently. Disrupt your sales funnel with these five strategies:

1. Reimagine Your Ideal Customer

No business exists without its clients. However, every client won’t help build your business. Discover how your product or service can avoid fear, refocus desire, or channel pain.

Learn the psychology behind your ideal clients’ problems. The ideal customer profile should include more than the person’s age, gender, and job status. Demographics only offer broad descriptions of people such as, female executives aged 40-65 or mid-level managers at a consulting firm. You should strive to dig deeper.

Consider learning about your clients’ psychographics. Study their behaviors, habits, and lifestyles. Learn how they spend their money and time.

Image1_idealclient

Source: Building An Ideal Client-Customer Profile

Analyzing your customers’ complaints can help you develop the profile. Ivana Taylor, a marketing strategist, states:

“When you think about it, a complaint actually uncovers what your customer is ‘committed to’ or is trying to do but doesn’t succeed. So if you uncover complaints about late deliveries, you have customers who have tight time commitments and that is a powerful profiling attribute.”

Lesson #1: SaaS Sales Funnel

Meet Jerry. He owns a custom software development company. After testing his marketing site and ads without landing any customers, Jerry sought out Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures.

Fed up with the lack of results, Jerry wanted to get moving. His initial thoughts were to reduce free trial time and set up a credit card wall. Murphy advised against this approach because punishing prospects wouldn’t increase Jerry’s conversions.

Instead, Murphy helped Jerry define his ideal customer. Who would immediately receive value from his software? More importantly, Jerry also described the wrong customer for his business.

After these simple exercises, Jerry realized that the wrong customers were signing up for his free trial offers. With a better understanding of his ideal customer, Jerry fixed his leaky sales funnel and started targeting his ideal customer.

Next Steps

  • Create an ideal customer profile with your team.
  • Restructure your sales and marketing strategies to fit your clients’ needs.
  • Learn more about customers via surveys and focus groups.
  • Analyze customers’ complaints to adjust your sales approach.

2. Transform the Onboarding Experience

First impressions always matter. When people visit your website, they should experience a theme park adventure. Prospects should be awed by your work, greeted by friendly help desk reps, and streamlined through a purchase process.

Don’t make false promises. Customers may expect a few minor mistakes when a new product rolls out. However, don’t launch a product to market if you are not ready to fully deliver on your promises.

When you set unrealistic public expectations, your customers move on, and your company will lose integrity. So, create a strategy where new users can quickly succeed.

Lesson #2: Groove’s Early Days

Groove offers help desk software to small businesses. The founder and CEO Alex Turnbull is transparent about the early failures of the startup.

The company initially had a wish list of features. Like most startups, the team thought more features would add more value to the product. However, each “new” feature did just the opposite and pushed their launch date back.

Turnbull and his team recognized that boatloads of features and ancillary apps didn’t equate to paying customers. Groove’s sign-up conversion rate was less than 2%.

Image2_earlyonboarding

This onboarding experience is pretty involved…

Image3_simplesite

Much better! Source: 3 Early Fails That Nearly Killed Our Startup

In the end, the team learned to focus on what they did best. They launched a three-page site that was “hyper-focused on the benefits.” (See image above.) And guess what happened? Conversions tripled overnight!

Next Steps

  • Show customers your product benefits, not features.
  • Test assumptions often and early.
  • Make the sign-up process easy.
  • Create behavior-driven messages to get your clients to take action.

3. Reevaluate Conversion Benchmarks

Are you aiming too high or too low? Discuss metrics with your team members. From website traffic to free trial users to email signups, decide what it takes to convert prospects into buyers.

Develop sturdy conversion architecture. Your audience should be moving smoothly from the unaware visitor stage to the satisfied purchaser stage. Keeping potential buyers engaged with content updates and email newsletters work well. You also should try other cost-effective opportunities, like mini-workshops or webinars.

Metrics vary from business to business. Hence, there are no one-size-fits-all benchmarks, but Fred Spring, cofounder of 98toGo, recommends you focus on five metrics to check sales funnel efficiency:

  1. Content Visits or Page Views
  2. CTA Click-through Rates
  3. Landing Page Submission Rates
  4. Email Click Rates
  5. Conversion Rates

Lesson #3: Reducing Churn by 22%

Mention, a real-time media monitoring app, struggled with its churn. The team realized it couldn’t sustain due to a huge leap in customer growth—from hundreds to over 200,000. They also knew “paid and free trial members were more valuable than users with a free plan” and that webinars were a great conversion tool.

Various techniques changed how the company offered value. First, users were segmented by membership type to prioritize help tickets of more valuable users. Automated marketing emails were sent to entice free trial users to receive “Pro Tips” after activation.

Mention emailed monthly case studies highlighting success stories, like the one pictured below. In addition, they created a webinar that demonstrated the service’s potential with examples from actual clients.

By increasing communication with its customers, Mention reduced it churn by 22% in a single month.

Image4_mention

Source: 9 Case Studies That’ll Help You Reduce SaaS Churn

Next Steps

  • Track actions leading to customer cancellations.
  • Calculate customer acquisition costs and lifetime value.
  • Show the value of your service; offer guides and tutorials.

4. Increase Human Follow Up

Automation can become dull and too predictable. Emails are good, but phone calls are even better. Give clients more human interaction.

The customer service experience is a make-or-break event. According to the 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report, 89% of shoppers have stopped buying from online stores after experiencing poor customer service. A research study also found that 31% of online shoppers in the US and UK are more likely make a purchase after a live chat.

Leo Widrich, co-founder and COO of Buffer, says, “Customer support is the very rare opportunity to connect to your customers on an emotional level. You can’t do that in any other way.”

Image5_Rewards

Source: What Bad Customer Service Costs Your Business

Lesson #4: Make Another Call

Not every person falls in love with your product after the first showing. And most likely, it doesn’t mean they won’t purchase the product. It just means your team needs to engage the potential client more effectively.

Lead nurturing is about follow up. According to the Lead Simple Academy, “The goal is to stay in front of prospects in a way that creates value rather than annoyance.”

Create a follow up schedule. Set clear expectations for discussion topics and contact times. Be mindful that your frequency of communication will depend on the level of interest from the prospect.

Image6_schedule

Source: Dominant Follow Up Strategies

Next Steps

  • Brainstorm how to amplify the customer service experience.
  • Build an emotional connection with customers; skip the superficial relationships.
  • Actually talk to your customers, and ask them meaningful questions.
  • Create surprise reciprocity.

5. Reward Loyal Customers

Don’t get addicted to constantly wanting new leads. Break ground by rewarding your current customers with special offers and first-time access to new products. Generate more sales with the folks who love you the most.

Similar to other types of businesses, SaaS companies are susceptible to customer disloyalty. If you expect to earn recurring revenue, expect to give recurring value. By satisfying customers regularly, you decrease the risk of customer churn.

Jenna Hanington, a marketing content specialist at Pardot, suggests you consider the following three questions when making goals to increase your customer retention rates:

  1. Are you actively cultivating relationships with your existing customer base, and not just with potential buyers?
  2. Are you running upsell campaigns to encourage your current customers to try different products or services that you offer?
  3. Do you have ways to reward loyal customers?

Image7_customerswant

Source: Finding Benefits in SMB Loyalty Programs

Lesson #5: Flow’s Delight Days

The team at Flow, a collaborative task management app, strives to make their customers smile. The staff enjoys watching their users discover something brand new.

So, the team created Delight Days. The purpose of the designated day is to focus on taking the organization to the next level by working on “pet projects, small annoyances, and silly ideas.”

In one day, the team manages to suggest, design, and build concepts.

From creating new copy to updating tutorial videos, the short timeline gives employees a different workflow, while “ensuring that customers are always the #1 consideration.” It’s a simple reminder that happiness starts with the customer.

Next Steps

  • Create a customer loyalty program that adds value.
  • Initiate an email campaign to inform loyal clients about new services.
  • Let your team execute projects for the sole purpose of improving the customer experience.

The same plan will get your company the same results. Mix up your strategies to achieve better results. From the onboarding experience to loyalty programs, your company possesses the potential to change your sales funnel process.

Forget stagnant business growth. Think exponential possibilities.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, the law and social responsibility. She inspires a new breed of innovative attorneys at Hearsay Marketing. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice

How to Disrupt Your Sales Funnel for Better Results

Climate Change – The Real Deal

 

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It was in the spring of 2011 which was long remembered by the scale and horror of many violent tornadoes that tore through the Midwest and parts of the eastern United States. With the massive flooding of the Mississippi River in Illinois all the way to New Orleans created a catastrophic disaster. It seems like every spring has seen its share of storms where torrential rain causes immense suffering and loss of life. Once again we have drought conditions in many areas of our country and through out the world.

We realized that climate change increases the risk of hostility and conflict. The sea level rise today already cover the coastal landscapes around the world forcing people to leave their homes. In general, we are seeing migration, while due to the rising waters forced. This migration of refugees of climate change continues to grow each year. With drought conditions worsen shortages have become the strongest fresh water and food. Consequently, there has been and still is an increased competition for remaining resources never there. And this increased competition continues to exacerbate tensions, not only in all the countries concerned but throughout the world.

To understand the impact of climate change today is that one of its consequences has led to instability in Nigeria. This instability, now operated by the terrorist group Boko Haram continues to exasperate economic conditions worsen and throughout Africa. The drought and subsequent food shortages not only rising food prices intensified, has helped fuel the riots in early Syria. Today, with the country torn by civil war and the rise of ISIS caused serious risks, not only for the global economy, but has also had disastrous effects on humanity as well.

In the US, it has not been since 1920 in this country has experienced such devastation of nature in many places in a short period of time. Following all this devastation left much of the United States almost helpless. Too many lives lost, so much destruction, and many livelihoods in ruins was the result. Today, nature in all its fury unleashed chaos and destruction that continues to shake that nation. Man-induced climate change is attributed to a global quagmire of misery and death?

Throughout the centuries mankind has continued to upset the balance of nature. Man laid the foundation for the natural disasters that have transformed our world. Each nation is guilty of some environmental atrocity of one kind or another. Voluntarily or not the man continues to pollute, destroy, steal and our environment without worrying about the consequences of our actions, inactions and now to facilitate the devastation. To speculate that the Earth goes through its normal cycle of climate change as the reason why there are so many homes storms, longer droughts, earthquakes or massive flooding is too casual.

Monetary restrictions imposed by the reactions always change in the environment caused by human interference. The tragedies of humanity are imbued with blatant disregard for the environment, nature and all the inhabitants of the earth. Even with all the currently available more pollution than any other period of history is continuously discharged into our rivers, streams, lakes and oceans causing catastrophic damage to marine life technology, people from coast, all economies around the world . The need is very obvious, the technology is available, and resources can be provided to eliminate global pollution that threatens our very existence.

What it has happened since the arrival of the first industrial revolution in which man continues to drain the oil fields, groundwater deposits of coal and other minerals, which is a parody of our planet. Our continued reliability of fossil fuels on earth creates large gaps that contribute to the movement of earth plates along the lithosphere resulting from earthquakes, tsunamis, and even sink holes that cause terrible damage man and the nature. We also have to realize what humanity has done to the tropical forests of the Amazon. Destruction and almost total annihilation of the greatest resources of the stability of Earth’s climate, now it has become the greatest threat of the planets climate instability.

To not capitalizing the already abundant, automatic replenishment, and environmental sources of renewable energy humanity has made the land can not remain stable. Of course, the planet has experienced throughout the history of climate change, but mans continued escalation of fossil fuel consumption only increases and accelerates a change in the climate of the earth. When the weather changes drastically in a relatively short time period of great upheavals they have always happened. Worldwide, more frequently and with greater intensity have become. Always in the most horrible human suffering, nature and the environment and it is almost powerless to restore stability. All this while the costs to restore balance and stability today far exceeds the cost that would have been spent to prevent such disasters from happening in the first place.

All that is needed is the will of nations once and for all band together to solve the climate of the earth is directly related and influenced by human interference. To curb the acceleration of global warming, end the catastrophic pollution, and restore our depleted forests every nation must help restore the delicate balance of the earth. This, for humanity now be able to end the massive human suffering that causes more aggression and destabilization of nations worldwide-out. All this can be done using the technology available today. By making the sources of the first and second electrical obsolete industrialization is the fastest way to restore stability worldwide. The availability of solar, wind, hydro electric, magnetic energy and other green energy sources are easily available now. All that is needed is the political will to make them more accessible and affordable. The ability to restore the balance of nature on earth is at hand. And doing so could only alleviate many human tragedies that have placed man about to fall back into the caves of the Neanderthals.

Climate Change – The Real Deal

Your Campaigns Are Doomed Without These 5 Articles on User Experience

User Experience for Marketers

When smart marketers design landing pages, they follow the principles of conversion-centered design, which are focused on guiding the user toward completing an action that serves a single business goal.

But in the process of corralling as many conversions as possible, it can be easy to lose focus on the needs of each individual user. If people have a terrible experience on your landing page or at any step of your campaign, you’re gonna have a bad time when you start counting your conversions.

That’s why all marketers could stand to learn a little bit more about user experience (UX) design.

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get entirely different answers for what UX design means, so let’s keep it simple: it’s designing the way users interact with and consume content, and is concerned much more with how a design works than how it looks.

Whereas conversion-centered design persuades users to take action, user-centered design seeks to enable users to accomplish those actions as easily as possible. Ideally, both of these design philosophies should lead to the same endpoint: the user gets what they want, and the business gets what they want. Everybody wins!

Ready for more win-win scenarios in your marketing campaigns? From mobile modals to the science of clickability, here’s some of the best content in the UX community right now — with some campaign-specific takeaways just for you.

1. How to Create UX Personas by Gregg Bernstein for UX Mastery

Meet Jane. She’s in her late 20s, lives in New York City, and tends to use her phone more than her laptop to access the web. She’s a manager at a small boutique that is looking for tools to help her manage her inventory without breaking her budget.

She also doesn’t exist. She’s a persona, a fictional character meant to serve as a stand-in for a segment of the market that shares specific traits.

Personas are one of the backbones of modern marketing. By creating personas and targeting our campaigns toward them, we can deliver focused messaging and offers rather than just targeting everyone and hoping it works out okay. A landing page designed with Jane in mind is going to look a lot different from a page targeted at someone in their 40s who isn’t technically savvy.

Both marketers and UX designers use personas to better understand the needs, desires, limitations and even the personalities of our audiences. UX designers use this information to design products that are frictionless and fun to use; we can do the same for our marketing campaigns.

This three-minute video from MailChimp’s research manager, Gregg Bernstein, illustrates a great persona framework for marketers and designers alike.

2. Modals on Mobile: How to Use Them Wisely by Chris Wigley for UX Magazine

Overlays (also known as modals) have been in the spotlight a lot recently. Once largely relegated to the realm of interface design, they’re now a mainstay of lead generation campaigns. In particular, exit overlays — which trigger only when the user’s cursor moves to close the tab — have been shown to have hugely positive effects on landing page conversion rates.

Despite their efficacy, opinion is pretty split on whether these overlays provide a good user experience. A poorly designed overlay can transform into an unconscionably bad user experience, especially on mobile.

In this piece for UX Magazine, Chris Wigley highlights the pitfalls of not redesigning your modals for mobile, and starts off by pointing out that these things are really not designed for one-handed interaction.

Since the close button is usually in the upper-right of the screen, reaching it with your thumb can be tough — especially as phones get more gargantuan every year. Worse, the consequences of tapping in the wrong spot can be frustrating:

Upper right placement of the close button also increases the likelihood of the dreaded accidental refresh (when I fat-finger the refresh button instead of the close button because they’re both so small and on Safari they’re right next to each other).

(If this seems like a detail that never would have occurred to you: welcome to the wonderful world of user experience design!)

Wigley recommends exercising caution when using modals on mobile, and I’d recommend the same. Just look at this overlay I got from Contently on my phone the other night:

Contently Overlay

Thankfully, the close button was low enough to reach one-handed, but looking at the email field and submit button, it’s pretty clear that nobody thought about making sure this modal was a good fit for mobile.

Check out the full piece at UX Magazine for more smart overlay advice.

3. Beyond Blue Links: Making Clickable Elements Recognizable by Hora Loranger for Nielson Norman Group

Whether it’s opening a page or submitting a form, the click is the action that conversion-centered marketers hold above all else.

Beyond Blue Links: Making Clickable Elements Recognizable begins by tracing the link back to its humble blue-and-underlined origins, and goes on to highlight the consequences of the enduringly-trendy flat movement, which abandons simulated dimensionality (bevels, gradients and shadows) in favour of a purely-digital look that focuses on typography and flat colors.

Flat Landing Page
The CTA button on this page by Schoolrunner shows how the flat movement has lead to design that strips away many of the things that once indicated to users that something was clickable: gradients, bevels and shadows.

While flat design may be a bit easier on the eyes, it comes with some serious tradeoffs. As Hoa observes:

The idea behind flat design is to simplify the interface. However, stripping away too much undermines this objective by making the interaction more complex. A major issue with many flat designs is that one of the strongest clickability signifiers — the 3-dimensionality — is removed from the equation. Textures that users were long relied upon for cues are stripped away, making it difficult for users to determine what is clickable and what is not.

I don’t know about you, but anything that includes the term clickability signifiers gets my blood pumping. (It’s a real problem and my doctors are at a loss to do anything about it.)

Conversion-centered marketers have known for a long time that making interactive elements stand out and appear tactile has a very real impact on conversions, but this article breaks down in stunning detail exactly what it is that makes something irresistibly clickable.

4. Why Great Web Design Needs Great Copywriting by Jerry Cao for Creative Bloq

Compelling copy is the cornerstone of a high-converting landing page — that’s why we always advise that you write your page’s copy before you start designing it.

That’s an idea that’s gaining a lot of steam within the web design community, too. UXPin’s content strategist Jerry Cao makes the case in this piece for Creative Bloq:

Regardless of whether you use a copywriter or not, the important thing is that your design factors in the writing earlier rather than in the later stages.

Jerry explains that there are two main reasons that you want to incorporate copy very early into the design process:

Reason #1: Copy dictates the tone and personality of a page

It would be pretty weird if a page with somber, somewhat cautious copy was matched with a design that was colorful and fun, right? But that’s exactly what can happen if you design a page before you’ve seen the words that go into it. Cao writes:

Phrasing, tone, and word choice all affect the personality the site design exudes … It’s not enough that the tone match the visuals – the tone has to match the product as well. The writing is, after all, the product’s voice.

Moving copy to the top of your priority list will help you ensure from the beginning that the messaging and visuals both work to best represent the campaign you’re developing.

Reason #2: Copy must be “designed” so that users actually read it

Compelling copywriting is about more than just the words themselves; it’s also about how those words are structured. As Cao writes:

It’s now common knowledge that users will not read every word on your site, and the more blocks of text they see, the more likely they are to scan for what they’re looking for.

Copy has to be laid out in such a way that optimizes readability and pairs the right words with the right visual elements. But how are you going to do that when your copy is some latin gibberish?

When designers and writers work concurrently with each other, it can make the process feel more complicated, because each is adjusting their work based on the feedback of the other. But the result is almost always better.

Continue reading at Creative Bloq for more tips on integrating copy into the design process.

5. Why You Should Ignore UX Best Practice by David Mannheim for UX Mastery

Perhaps it’s just me, but there seems to have been an increase in scrutiny toward so-called “best practices” over the past few months. That’s probably due, at least in part, to recent high-profile failures of best practices.

Crocheted birdhouse emporium Etsy found that their users wanted more results per page, and they wanted those results faster. So the team at Etsy did the obvious: they started testing an infinite scroll implementation, so that users could simply continue scrolling to see more items. Surely a big UX win, right?

Not so fast. In an article for UX Mastery, conversion rate optimizer David Mannheim breaks it down:

The team knew that this is what users wanted, and the user need was backed up by research. Surely this exciting new feature was embraced by the subset of users involved in the test?

Hardly.

Etsy discovered that:

  • Visitors seeing infinite scroll clicked fewer results than the control group
  • Visitors seeing infinite scroll saved fewer items as favourites
  • Visitors seeing infinite scroll purchased fewer items from search

The thing about best practices is that they’re actually just assumptions based on someone else’s success. And you know what they say about assumptions!

(They say you shouldn’t make them, because claiming something is true without evidence could cause you shame among your family and/or peer group if those claims turn out to be unfounded.)

Now, I’m not advocating that you start breaking every rule in the conversion-centered design book. Keep your visually-prominent buttons and your directional cues — we know they work.

But go crazy with testing out new ideas instead of simply following what other marketers are doing. Just because something worked well for someone else doesn’t mean it will work well for us, too.

Learn more about how breaking the rules is cool in the full article.

Broadening your horizons

Every single marketing campaign includes aspects of graphic design, UX design, copywriting, data analysis, SEO, CRO and countless other marketing disciplines.

While I’d never recommend one dedicate their energy to becoming a jack of all trades yet a master of none, staying abreast of marketing and technology trends, regardless of whether or not they’re your specialty, can only serve to make you a better marketer.

After all, if you never peek your head out of the box, how can you be expected to think outside of it?

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Your Campaigns Are Doomed Without These 5 Articles on User Experience

5 Real Estate Landing Page Templates for Your Appraisal

real-estate-landing-page
If showing houses were this easy, no one in real estate would need a landing page. But it ain’t. Image source.

Do a Google search for the name of your city + “real estate.” Click on a few of the sponsored ads. Did you find a landing page?

Chances are you didn’t, because most real estate agents have not yet caught on to the fact that they need to be sending their paid traffic to dedicated landing pages.

If you’re a real estate agent, a broker, realtor or even an agency working on behalf of any of these people, this represents an awesome opportunity for you to stand out from your competition, establish trust and collect a lot more leads.

A few weeks back we held a landing page design competition with our friends over at ThemeForest and got more than 100 submissions in 18 categories. Here are five outstanding real estate landing page templates that anyone can use to give their business that extra edge over the competition.

We’ll break down what’s great about them, and how you can use them to make your marketing more successful.

1. WorkMan

 

This real estate template comes in two styles: click-through and lead generation.

You can use the click-through template (pictured) for showing off specific properties. Give readers a taste of the houses you’re selling along with a description.

The lead generation template has a form for potential buyers to fill in their information right at the top of the page. This one would be most useful for real estate agents who want to offer prospects a quote or give their visitors information about the service they offer. This information could come in the form of an ebook about how to purchase real estate, a guide to city neighborhoods, or any other content that might be of value to potential homeowners.

Each version of the template has a nice, big space for your hero shot at the top of the page. This is perfect for real estate agents, as it gives you the opportunity to show your prospects some aspirational image that can help them get a better idea of what you’re offering them. As Unbounce’s co-founder Oli Gardner says in his 5 Essential Elements of a Winning Landing Page post:

The idea here is to get your customers to empathize and place themselves in a scenario where they are using it.

In this case, “it” refers to the house you’re selling. On a real estate landing page, that image might be a happy couple in front of a house, a family playing in the backyard, or some folks relaxing on a porch. Whatever you choose, it should help people imagine themselves living in that house.

2. Luxra

luxra-real-estate-unbounce_sm
 

This page uses conversion centered design, and includes a feature that will be of particular interest to real estate agents — the video section.

Videos increase the length of time people stay on your page, giving your message more time to sink in. And if you feature yourself or company employees in the video, it gives prospects the opportunity to get to know you better. There’s a reason real estate agents put their face on “for sale” signs; people are more likely to buy from people that they know and trust.

Video can be used to address buyer modalities. These are profiles that describe different buyer behaviors.

As CRO extraordinaire (and friend of Unbounce) Angie Schottmuller explains, different buyers require different amounts of information. Video appeals to buyers who need more information and visuals.

If you’re using multiple advertising channels (AdWords, Facebook, Bing, etc), be sure to A/B test a page with video versus one without. This will help you to establish which of those channels is most receptive to video.


Use video to appeal to landing page visitors who want more information!

 

Click To Tweet

 


3. Agents

unbounce-real-estate-agent_sm
 

I love this lead generation page. It reminds me a bit of the benches or billboards that you see with pictures of real estate agents’ bright, smiling faces. Except that this page has a form where folks can immediately send you their information so that you can get in touch with them.

A real estate agent could, for example, offer a free consultation to potential customers on this page.

As a real estate agent, you know the importance of selling yourself to potential clients before you sell a house, and this landing page template offers the opportunity for you to really let your personality shine through.

4. Avira

 

This is a landing page that would work well for someone selling multiple properties in a new suburban development, for example. From top to bottom, each section gives you the opportunity to show off features of the community that set it apart from others, and the different types of dwellings one might find there.

The map next to the icons that display the amenities in the immediate area is a great touch, as well. It gives your readers a sense of the neighborhood, and may very well generate further interest in the property.  

The other thing this page has going for it is contrast. Notice the use of whitespace, which gives the page plenty of room to breathe. This breaks up the page and draws the eye from one section to the next, allowing you to present your message in nice, bite-sized pieces.


Whitespace on a landing page gives content *and* visitors room to breathe.

 

Click To Tweet

 


5. Homes

 

Now that literally* everyone has a smartphone, landing pages that are mobile responsive are not just a nice thing to have – they’re a necessary part of any marketing campaign. In June of 2014, Google searches from a mobile device totaled 27% of all real estate-related searches. A Google Consumer Study from April 2014 states:

Most people would use their mobile device to do at least one of the following: search for listings, find directions to a house, look for more information on a listing, call or e-mail an agent directly, or watch a video while out looking for a home.

Like the others in this category, this page is mobile responsive. But this page has something that might help readers keep scrolling when they first arrive on their mobile device.

The arrow that points towards the form at the right of the page is a great directional cue that helps draw attention to your form. When designing for mobile, you could take that arrow and point it downward instead. This would give your readers the impetus to keep on scrolling down the page to get all the information they need to convert.

Little touches like this can go a long way towards capturing leads on mobile, so make sure to make the most of them (and test them too)!

*Not literally.

Get what you need to convert

There are more than 170 Unbounce landing page templates on ThemeForest, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, make sure to get over there and take a look.

And don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty with some A/B testing. The most important thing you can do when using landing pages for real estate marketing campaigns is to test variations to make sure that you’re reaching your audience in the right way.

You never know what might make the difference between a page that sends you qualified leads, and one that gets ignored.

Be sure to test, test, and then test again!

5 Real Estate Landing Page Templates for Your Appraisal

How To Make A DIY Solar Panel

 

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The economic vitality is essential for both individuals and earth. As a family unit, with the possibility of saving money for electricity bills is an extraordinary method of management. Rather than spend more money in fees, they can put something aside for emergencies. The vitality of the economy can also save the earth. It hurts when power plants one little power is turned on. However the use of less energy can make a huge show on earth homes.

 

 

How to make a solar panel?

 

These are the things that you can easily find at home or near the tool shop, you could make a solar panel to help progress towards the environment and economical. Here progress Making a board of sunshine fed and the things you need:

 

Sheet metal clippers

 

Copper flashing piece of ½ feet

 

Glass vessels or plastic flasks

 

Tap water

 

Electronic drill, sand paper

 

Electronic burner

 

Alligator clip leads

 

Micro-ammeter

 

Safety spectacles

 

Table salt

 

Steps to Make:

 

Use sandpaper to reduce the signs of consumption of copper and completely clean fire. At this point, metal cutting shears so that he would coordinate with the burner.

 

Put the light on burner and cook for at least 30 minutes to make the copper oxide dark thick enough. When a decent coverage of the copper oxide framed, let cool until chips.

Clean the copper cooled with tap water, however, gradually to the fact that the type of red copper oxide, which has shaped the heating another bright copper away.Cut not the same size as little time recently. Gator with clasps, join the two letters he has done inside the glass container with a wide opening and a plastic container with a higher court. The tips should not touch each other and the curve with the state of the glass or carafe.

Join the crocodile’s head cut extravagant annexed intact on the positive side of the unit. Clasp changed to the plate with the copper oxide must be connected to the negative side. Make an arrangement and salt water. Make a response that can adequately splash motherboards. Fasteners must be between the hammer and the anvil.

Place in the sun and perceive how you can make the leap from the gauge. Then you can use it to help power different machines.

So if you want to organize electricity to effective and affordable then this is the best idea for you, especially when you think about decorating the dining room or formal living room in a professional manner.

How To Make A DIY Solar Panel