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How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation

This article was contributed by Rukham Khan.

You’ve finally turned that business idea that you’d been dreaming about forever, into an actual product or service.

You can’t wait to get the business started.

Or maybe you’re just really passionate about a certain topic and want to share your love through a blog.

You’ve built an amazing website and just about everything is right…except there’s no traffic.

You’re scratching your head at this point, seemingly having done everything by the book but you’re still not getting any traffic or leads. There’s no need to worry though.

The answer lies in Content Curation.

According to Hubspot, 63% of companies claim that lead generation is their biggest challenge, coupled with 53% of marketers saying blog content creation is a top priority for them. So if all these companies are looking to create leads through content, there must be someone who has figured it out? Right?

Luckily there exists a strategy that substitutes the heavy resource-dependence of content creation, and also increases the number and/or quality of sales-ready leads.

Marketing Challenges

Courtesy Hubspot

Along with creating content for your blog, you’ve got to curate content to keep customers engaged.

What is Content Curation

So now that we’ve figured out that a mix both creating and curating content works best. What actually is content curation? Hootsuite provides an apt explanation:

“the process of content curation is the act of sorting through large amounts of content on the web and presenting the best posts in a meaningful and organized way. The process can include sifting, sorting, arranging, and placing found content into specific themes, and then publishing that information.”

Content Curation

Courtesy Raphaëlle RIDARCH

So basically, content curation is the process of digging the web for content relevant to your brand, selecting and posting the best content for your viewers and adding value through informing them why the content is worth their time.

Good and consistently curated content can help establish your blog as an authority on a topic. When you have credibility and authority, people will come to you to seek information. More people means more traffic and more traffic means an increase in sales leads (or ad revenue potential).

Why Content Curation is the Perfect Strategy

Content Curation Advantages

Some of the advantages of content curation are:

  • Improves your SEO: Curated Content is further indexable pages that people can find through search engines, providing more entryways to your blog/website.
  • Establishes your credibility: When you publish content that your readers engage with, it establishes trust and credibility in you as a thought leader.
  • Supports lead generation: more content means more site visits which means more potential leads.
  • Complements social media and blogs: curated content is also a great tool to keep your social media followers engaged by scheduling industry-relevant content. This facilitates social media conversations and helps you attract more followers.
  • Removes the heavy load from content creation: it can be tiresome to keep consistently producing original and relevant content, curation helps carry some of that load.

These benefits are succinctly summed up by the team at Curata

“content curation helps you deliver improved content marketing ROI, lower per-lead costs, greater efficiency, increased credibility, and all the other benefits of a robust content or ‘inbound’ marketing strategy.”

You can also save a whole lot of money by curating content and not having to hire writers to write for you.

How to Curate Content

Content Filtering

We’ve gone through the whats and the whys of content curation. Now, how do you actually curate content? And how do you make the content personal and relatable?

There are 4 main steps to content curation:

  1. Content Aggregation
  2. Content Filtering
  3. Content Distribution
  4. Content Personalization

Step 1: Aggregate Content

There are a few ways you can start collecting on the topic of your choice, you can

  • Follow influencers on social media who’re experts on the subject of your choosing
  • Use blog aggregation tools like Feedly to collect blogs. They let you view posts from various websites all under a single banner
  • Search for video content on channels like Youtube, DailyMotion, Medium and use Soundcloud to discover relevant podcasts
  • Search Goodreads for Books to research for long-form content (but don’t post or write on Books if you haven’t read them yourselves!)

These sources should get you started. Once you get the feel of collecting from these sources, you’ll have more content than you’ll know what to do with!

It’s best if you save and organize all your content candidates on an app like Evernote, Google Docs, Notability or SmartSheet.

If you’re working as a team, you can even use Asana to collect and schedule your content.

These softwares and services keep your notes, links and clippings archived and organized.

Step 2: Filter Content

You’ve scoured the web and gathered content candidates from all over. Now we sift through these candidates to choose the best content, the stuff we’re going to share.

A right-hand rule to gauging whether the content is worth publishing is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and see if they would enjoy it.

Each piece you publish must demonstrate your interest in the topic or industry you’re posting about, it should establish thought leadership, and/or provide a solution to a specific problem in your chosen domain.

Step 3: Distribute content

After you have decided on what you’re going to share, you will be sharing your expertly curated content across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Emails, and Blogs.

The exact channel selection will depend on your marketing strategy and effectiveness of reach of each channel, a question you must ask is: is this the right platform to be engaging my audience?

You can gauge that if you know you target audience.

For example, if you’re posting content on the latest celebrity news, you can get better engagement on instagram and twitter. Similarly if you share the same content on LinkedIn, you might not get a good response as linked in mostly used for networking and business industry news.

but Email is usually a safe bet, its a universal platform used by almost any one who has a computer or a phone.

80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention. Besides email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content on social media than leads who came through another channel, according to QuickSprout.

There are some great tools to help you design emails, some good options to get you going are MailMunch, Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor. These software integrations offer fully customizable themes and A/B testing, just to name a few features.

Step 4: Add a Personal Touch

Curated Post

The ‘art’ in art of content curation comes from 2 aspects.

First, it comes from practicing content curation and over time developing a keen eye and a knack for great content your audience is bound to enjoy.

Second, the art is in personalizing the content you’re sharing.

Add splashes that colorize the content and brings out your true flavor. These can be commentaries about the post, images, or they can be complete articles responses on your content of choice.

A great practitioner of content curation is Maria Popova who runs the Brain Pickings blog. She writes long-form content with detailed reviews on books and notable historic personalities.

She has 881,000 followers on Twitter, 171,000 on Instagram and a whopping 5 million fans on her Facebook page and god knows how many email list subscribers!

Her success comes from having chosen a brilliant niche to write in. She writes about the meaning of life (which let’s face it everyone is looking for) and she chooses great books and personalities to review. But what makes her content really great is her personal touch of detailed commentary that people really enjoy reading. Here’s how she herself describes how she came to be where she stands today:

“My philosophy, and the one thing I’ve been strategic and deliberate about from the beginning is reader first …”

Take a leaf out of Maria’s book and you can expect great engagement with your curated content.

Know Your Audience

Content Marketing Mistakes

By now you’re hopefully convinced to start curating yourself to drive those traffic numbers up.

But scavenging the internet for influencers, tools, and content will be useless if we don’t actually know who we’re addressing in our curated posts.

Do you really know your audience? A simple question, sure, but one that is more complex than it might seem. Most brands want to create content that reaches millions, but that may not be the right approach. Content strategy should be value over volume.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be striving for volume either, in fact, Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.

What value over volumes means is quality always comes first.

If you are putting out content that offers thin air, you can pump out in excess of 20 posts a month but they won’t mean a thing to your readers and customers.

Patrick Armitage, Director of Marketing at BlogMutt, has great advice for marketers and bloggers looking to curate content:

“Great curators build trust with their audiences and become an indispensable resource as they help to sift through online information to distribute what’s worth reading.”

And the only way to build trust with your audience is to first know who these people are. Really dig in, find out and engage your customers, monitor social media conversations, use segmentation tools, Google Analytics, SEO research…whatever it takes to assemble a complete picture of the people you’re serving.

Another strategy to figure out your consumers is to create ‘audience personas’. These personas are fictional, general qualitative representations of your ideal audience. These personas help to attract the people we want to curate for, and view them as actual humans (and not numbers) while we do it.

Some questions that you can ask to get a better image of your audience includes:

  • What jobs/titles they have
  • What skills do they possess/want to have
  • What are the challenges you can solve for them
  • What type of information do they seek online
  • What sort of content do they enjoy online

These are just some basic questions you can get started with. You can create more specific questions according to the purpose of your blog or website to create more meaningful audience personas.

You Have Great Content… Now What?

There you go, you are now absolutely ready to go out and start collecting and curating content on your own.

Fast forward a bit…

Let’s safely assume you’ve followed all the steps, you’ve found the best sources for content, you’ve figured out your distribution strategy.

You’ve even developed that touch of a professional curator, who knows what and who they’re serving. You keep on rolling out content regularly and surely.

Now what?

It’s great that you’re putting out content, but the story doesn’t end there. The big payoff comes from creating an engaged following and improving your SEO rankings.

As mentioned earlier, whatever topic you curate content for, it is in your benefit to be seen as an authority if you want to make sales or earn ad revenue, and high SEO ranking are one measure of subject authority.

When you have published great content, you need a dedicated following who you can regularly address with your messages.

These customers will receive your finely tuned content, increase visits to your website, and share with others, events that will increase your search rankings. You don’t have to collect website visitors manually though, email capture technologies like MailMunch can assist you in building your email lists.

You can convert visitors into leads through landing pages and pop-ups which are non-intrusive and captivating, and there is little to no coding involved in getting it set-up.

Start using these tips today to curate content. We would love to hear from you how your content curation journey unfolds!


About the author: Rukham Khan writes on e-commerce and email marketing topics to help people understand the industry landscape. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications. In his personal time, he writes on Medium on topics ranging from music to psychedelics. Lead magnet image by VecktorKnight on Shutterstock.

How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation
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10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos

This article was contributed by Sunny Arora.

Do you often find it a herculean task to create compelling content for your business? Do you often get the drowning to death feeling while generating leads for your business?

You are not alone.

Most businesses doing content marketing, are finding it hard to break the cutter and showcase themselves amidst the increasing noise.

Take a look at this stat:

“60% of the marketers fail to produce engaging content, consistently.”

(Source)

The Power of Video

Video is an exciting medium to create story-driven content for your business. Videos grab audience attention and hook them to your content for longer. A video helps you to communicate complex and long information quickly and effectively. It is lively and provides a human touch to your brand communication.

Videos help you tell your brand story in a way that’s both informative and entertaining. They help you to communicate about the USP of your product in as little as just 30 seconds.

Have you started using videos to market your business online?

Take a look at some of these stats:

85% of the audience in the US watches videos online.”

(Source)

  

“61% of businesses have started using video content marketing.” 

(Source)

“E-commerce stores which use video content have an 80% higher conversion rate than those which do not.”

“By 2018, 90% of content shared by Facebook users will be video.”

(Source)

The attention span of an average human being is just eight seconds.

Businesses need to create content that touches their audience on a deeper level. You need to consistently provide valuable and entertaining content to your audience.

Videos help you to breathe life into your content marketing efforts. You can create exciting video content for each of the stages of the buyer’s journey. You can create videos that:

  1. Educate your target audience and spread awareness about your business
  2. Talk about your products and services and their key benefits
  3. Communicate about the success of your business through client testimonials
  4. Thank existing customers for their loyalty

You can create animated videos, documentaries, whiteboard videos, explainer videos, testimonials, corporate culture videos, FAQ videos, personalized videos and instructional videos etc. for promoting your business among your audience.

Ready to create videos for your business? 

Make sure your video builds that connect with the people your business wishes to reach. Your video should have a story, characters, and background music that appeals to your target audience. It is essential to hire the services of a professional video production company to achieve the desired outcome.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which a video’s background music plays a role in its success.

Why the Emphasis on Background Music?

“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.”
― Johnny Depp
 

Good background music makes your video more entertaining and memorable. It adds to how your audience perceives your video.

It is the tune of your brand video that your audience will remember and even hum.

Take a look at this example from Apple iPod:

The music of this ad plays in your heart, long after you have seen it. The background score of your video helps you to build an emotional connection with your audience. A video with bad background music will always come across as something unprofessional.

Here are some tips to help you choose music that will work well for your video:

How to Choose the Right Background Music?

Before deciding on the music, you should be clear on goals of your video:

  1. Is your video skewed towards being informative or entertaining?
  2. Is it an introductory video or does it talk about a specific product?
  3. Do you wish to create a fast-paced video or a slow paced one?

Make sure your music is aligned with your brand values and your campaign objectives. It should be according to the message you wish to convey through your video.

Decide on your music on the basis of how you want your audience to feel after watching it.

You could explore from a variety of emotions:

  1. Happy
  2. Warm
  3. Excited
  4. Curious
  5. Delighted
  6. Inspired

You must also consider factors like the preferred genre, the density of sound, the instruments as well as the tempo.

Avoid using any music that’s dark or gloomy. Remember, your music runs in the background so you must ensure that it’s not so prominent that it distracts the audience from the core message. This is especially true for videos which have a narrative or a voiceover that talks to the audience.

You can also pick up a popular song and include a section from it in your video.

Create a playlist of the possible background scores that could fit into your video. Once you have a playlist you can narrow down to one option that you will use in the final video.

You must ensure that you are using a video that you have the rights to use. Download your music from a resource that provides you with a license or a way to attribute the creator of the music.

Let’s now take a look at some of the best stock music sites that can help you find that awesome background music:

Top Free & Paid Stock Music Resources

earphones close

YouTube Audio Library

The YouTube audio library has a large collection of free music for your videos. You can easily search this extensive resource for your choice of music on the basis of instrument, genre, and mood.

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is another great collection of free, public domain as well Creative Commons tacks. The site offers more than 1500 tracks that you can readily download.

IncompeTech

IncompeTech is another awesome resource to find free music for your videos. They have a variety of music genres to choose from. You can use the music from this site for free if you provide attribution else you can pay and use it without attribution.

Soundstripe

Soundstripe is a paid resource for finding a wide variety of music for your videos. The platform has a simplified user-interface and gives you the option to choose from different music genres, moods, instruments and pace. The yearly subscription of Soundstripe costs you $135 and offers unlimited licenses.

Audio Sparx

This site provides a wide collection of royalty free music, tracks and sounds. You can sign up to create an account and start buying one off music licenses and packs. The site offers a variety of search options such as mood, instrumental, lyrical and regional.
Public Domain 4U
This resource provides you with some interesting collection of public domain music. The collection is slightly old but it is free to use without attribution.

Audio Jungle

Audio Jungle is an Envato Market product and offers more than 586,000 tracks in a variety of genres. The site also offers a range of music kits and sound effects. The site offers royalty free music and the licensing starts from just $1. It has a lot of reasonably priced music options.

Bensound

You can get some amazing variety of royalty free music from this platform. The site’s name is after its owner Bensound who creates all of the music himself. You can provide attribution and use the music on this site for free. You can buy the license in case don’t wish to give attribution.

Epidemic Sound

If you are looking for high-quality background music then Epidemic sound is one option that you can’t afford to miss. The platform allows you to search for the type of music you are looking for, quickly and easily. The licensing on this platform starts at $0.99.

Gerry Music

This site has music that was created by Gerry Black. The resource provides a variety of music for your business videos. You can use the music on this site for free by providing the requisite attribution. Alternatively, you can get a license to use the tracks which start at just $18.

What is Public Domain Music?

There is a lot of music out there that you can use without providing any attribution or a license fee. You can freely copy, distribute and use this type of music commercially. All such music is categorized as public domain music.

What is Creative Commons Music?

One of the most popular public copyright licenses is Creative Commons. It enables free distribution of copyrighted music. You can use Creative Commons music for free by giving an attribution to the creator of the piece.

If you have just started out creating videos for your business, then I would suggest that you go for Creative Commons music and provide attribution for it in your video. You will find some high quality Creative Commons music in the resources mentioned above. When you have the budget you can pay for the license and use it without any attribution.

Background music is the soul of your brand videos. It plays a critical role in the success of a your video marketing campaigns. Choose the right one, it will surely help you to leave a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of your audience.

10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos 10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos 10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos 10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos 10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos 10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos

10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails

This article was contributed by Kevin George.

Emails are constantly evolving. What began as an interdepartmental communication channel is now a vital marketing tool to reach the masses. Unlike a social post which is lost in a sea of updates, your emails reach your subscribers’ inbox, ready to be opened and read.

But the steps every email goes through are almost similar. Your subscriber receives your email, opens it, spends roughly 8 seconds to go through it, decides to either respond or move to the next email and repeats the same steps. Every email marketer struggles to make their emails interesting enough for their subscriber to spend more time and this increased time spent can be really pivotal in converting them into customers.

To make any email engaging, you have two options:

  • Make your email content engaging
  • Make, how your email content is presented, engaging

Email marketers have been using best practices and experimenting with email elements such as layouts, colors, email copy, visually appealing hero images, since long. Now, what if we tweaked the method of presenting the above-stated email elements so that your subscribers interact with your emails to unfold the message?

See here for the anatomy of the perfect email and how to use personalization in email.

Dr.-Marten

Would you like to remind your subscriber about limited sale via text (a) or have a countdown timer (b) in your emails?

Presenting Interactivity in Emails…

Ever since the amalgamation of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) into HTML emails, the scope for including keyframe animation in emails became possible. Using keyframe, any specific element from an email can be moved, expanded, reduced, flipped, etc. The end result is super amazing elements that change according to the user interactions.

We shall look into some of the interactive email elements that are being included by brands to make their emails STAND OUT. With some minor exceptions, the below stated interactive email elements are supported well in most of the widely used email clients.

Countdown Timer

Countdown, in any form, triggers the fear of missing out in the minds of the reader. Leveraging this sense of urgency, email marketers use countdown timers in their sale promotion/ announcement By using CSS, you can enable the timer to countdown from the time the email was opened to the deadline time. Unfortunately, this is currently only supported in Apple devices and Thunderbird, but fortunately for the non-supporting email clients, a GIF of the countdown timer can be a good fallback option.

The E-commerce industry can use countdown timers to depict the expiry of an ongoing offer or even for the abandoned products in the cart.

Dr.-Marten

In the above example, the countdown is right in the first fold. 

Scope of Application:

  • Ecommerce sites can create ‘limited period’ urgency while offering discounts on different products and in their cart abandonment emails.
  • Attendees to an event can be sent reminder by event companies
  • Automobile industry can send emails to enthusiasts with a countdown before the launch of a new car model.

Navigation Menu

Most of the brands now feature a navigation menu in the header or footer of the email. But when the email is opened on a mobile device, the content stacks up to make the email unintentionally long. This can be overcome by hiding the navigation menu within a collapsible menu so that only those interested can click on it. Moreover, the navigation when placed at the footer, shall not force the email content to shift down, as with the case in the navigation menu on the top.

This is compatible currently on Android native and Apple’s Native email clients.

Nike

As you can observe, in the above email the mobile layout features the navigation menu at the bottom

Scope of Application:

  • Links to extensive tour options can be offered by brands in Travel and hospitality services, neatly tucked behind menus within emails.
  • E-commerce websites can provide links to different product sections to showcase new product launches, recommendations and cross selling within the navigation menu.

Rotating Banner

When you need to showcase different products or variation of the same product, stacking them into columns is not a very wise decision in terms of email length. In such cases, integrating all the images into a rotating banner can be really helpful. Rotating banners automatically loop between different images, separated by a preset time interval – one image at a time. This doesn’t require any manual input from the user’s end and it keeps on running in a loop, being especially helpful when viewing on mobile devices.

Rei Ghost - Carousel

Adventure Gear retailer REI’s email features a rotating banner at email header explaining their featured product

Scope of Application:

  • Tour and travel companies can showcase various tour packages in limited space.
  • Academic and educational institutes can have a slideshow of their awards and achievements.

Sliders

Counterpart of rotating banners, sliders perform a similar function but the only difference is that in sliders the subscribers can rotate the banner in either direction, based on their interaction. Moreover, you can have separate CTA buttons for individual frames to help monitor user interactions.
Nest Slider

Home Automation Nest email features the slider showcasing their products.

Scope of Application:

  • Technological companies can display their products/services offerings, customer feedbacks, etc. through a slider.
  • Retailers can show all their newly launched products in one email, courtesy sliders in email.

Scratch & Flip Effect

For a dramatic effect, coupon codes in emails can be hidden behind a silver strip that a subscriber needs to virtually scratch or click in order to reveal. This is helpful in creating a sense of mystery and raises the subscriber’s curiosity level.

In desktop, both effects will work well in Apple Mail & Thunderbird; in mobile devices, it will work in native apps only.

Email-Flip-New

EmailMonks have implemented a flip in their email for Easter offer

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites can create some drama by sending a coupon code that is revealed by a scratch effect and flip-flop a product’s image and information.
  • For a research company, providing stats and a brief about a research can be done successfully through a flip effect.

Accordion Effect

You can reduce the overall email length by hiding the email content behind tabs. When the subscriber clicks a tab, the content expands and any other tab shall get collapsed automatically. Really helpful when you need to share secondary information on a single product that’ll remain hidden until tapped. Although supported in desktop clients, its applications are best enjoyed in emails opened in mobile devices.

Accordion

In the above email, the content is neatly stacked into tabs when viewed in the mobile layout

Scope of Application:

  • Publishers and bloggers can implement accordion to accommodate more content in their email newsletter.
  • eCommerce retailers can provide secondary information about a product that’ll remain hidden until tapped.

Integrated Forms

Integrated Forms

Instead of redirecting your subscribers to a landing page, you can embed in-line forms within your emails for lead generation purposes. By having an integrated form in email, you increase the form filling efficiency manifold. But what needs to be noted is that only Text box, Paragraph, Checkboxes, and Radio Buttons are supported currently.

These come very handy when you need to conduct surveys or collect feedbacks. The data collected in the form field can be redirected to any search engine or your website database to enable search right from your email.

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites, in their post purchase email, can add a form in which the customer can review the product.
  • Restaurant owners can send promotional emails to get subscribers for filling form to process the specific order or for reviewing their experiences.

Tooltips

Tooltips

Similar to the tooltips you encounter on websites and desktop applications, you can integrate a tooltip within an email. This can be really helpful for e-commerce emails, where subscribers can get additional information about a specific product by clicking or tapping on the overlay. Combined with embedded forms in emails, it can be used to provide helpful information.

Scope of Application:

  • Apparel and retail stores can show elaborate information on their products when the user clicks on the tooltip box.
  • Tourism companies can share the details about amazing destinations with related package details displayed on correct word.

Video

The most engaging content since the popularity of Youtube and Snapchat, you can even include a video that is embedded in the email. Upon user interaction, the video can play right inside the email. Currently supported in Apple devices, Outlook for Mac and Android native clients.

In the above email, Eurostar has added a rotating banner using GIF as well as an embedded video right in their email.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing still manages to bring the highest ROI, and innovations such as these interactive elements, keep email at the top as the preferred marketing tool by most marketers. Moreover, those with non-supporting email clients are not left in the dark since all the above interactive emails designs come bundled with appropriate fallbacks in order to not ruin the user experience.

Have you ever received or sent any interactive email? Share your experience in the comments below.

About the author: Kevin, the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free master email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. 

10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails
10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience…

This article was contributed HubMonks.

A strong user experience (UX) is instrumental in your online marketing success. Increased engagement results into increased leads, which translates into greater revenue.

In this article we will specifically dissect the design principles that influence the extent to which your web page performs for users.

Page Objectives

 

It is not enough to say that you want an excellent website with a good user experience. See the difference between UX and UI here. It is vital to define what your visitors and your business should achieve from the web page. It should be understood that your goals and the audience’s goals may differ. Your visitors’ goals are about finding information or getting a downloadable eBook, while your goals may include increasing engagement, form fill-ups or downloads. The trick is to strike a balance to create a win-win situation for both users and your business. Your goals should help you in establishing the following:

  • Who the target audience are?
  • How to craft effective content?
  • How to organize the website?
  • How to measure the effectiveness of the website?

In order to understand marketers’ vision it is important to have the key team-members of the design team while discussing online goals in an organization.

User Journey Mapping

User-journey mapping is a visual or a graphical representation of the overall storytelling from the user’s first touch point with your organization, to building a perspective around your service or product or brand, and communicates with them through various mediums. This process is very narrative in nature and requires a text-based approach to describe the nuances of the customer experience.

The story is told from the customer’s perspective, but also lays importance on the important intersections between user expectations and business requirements. Here are the key points that you will have to include in user journey mapping

  • Visual demonstration of the journey.
  • Understand user behaviour on the existing website analytics.
  • Understand the interactive elements that will help them achieve their goals.

Visual Hierarchy

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

Source: http://edgemm.com

The above picture clearly defines the purpose of visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy covers almost all the considerations of design; however it tends to give importance to the vital elements of your web page where you want to draw the user’s attention. A robust visual hierarchy also groups similar elements and organize them into meaningful patterns to carry an effective communication process with the viewer. How does a designer actually create a good visual hierarchy? Well, they just need to look for that in their inventory! Here are the key components:

  • Size: Using size as a hierarchal tool is a great way to guide them to the key components of your web page.
  • Colour: Colour is a great organizer and also infuses personality. Bold and contrasting colors will demand attention.
  • Contrast: When audience see something on the web page that is a deviation from the others, they want to know more about it. You could differentiate an important part of the page from the core content of the page with the help of contrasting colors.
  • Proximity: If there are multiple sections in a web page, how you place related objects of a section is what defines a good proximity. It helps in clearly associating similar content.
  • Density and Whitespace: When you populate a section of the webpage densely, it looks unfavourable in terms of UX. Similarly, keeping too much space between elements will break the link. So, the elements need to be placed and separated with whitespace to differentiate which elements are related and which aren’t. 

F-Pattern Scanning

Visual signs in text such as headings, sections, bolding help users take shortcuts while scanning through the web page and they don’t need to read everything. When they don’t find these signals, they are left to help themselves. Users create their short while scanning the web page and make out if they would like to engage or not. According to this study by Nielsen Norman Group, the pattern of this scanning behaviour forms the shape of the letter “F.”

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

Source: Monsoon Consulting

If you want to ensure that your users’ attention is drawn towards the most important elements of the web page (Calls-to-action, forms, images, videos), it is highly recommended to follow an F pattern and place your elements accordingly. 

Responsive Design

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

Responsive design is like a jigsaw puzzle! Responsive web design requires movement of various elements of the page that changes the initial design. Organizing elements to fit could be a great challenge with responsive design as larger pages and their elements will have to shrink to fit on narrow platforms for a mobile phone or tablet. We have listed some vital considerations below:

  • Consider a mobile-first strategy.
  • Include a hamburger collapsible menu (or similar) in case of multiple items.
  • Optimize image for all the types of devices (desktop, smartphones, tablets).
  • Optimize the content for mobile devices as the content for desktop will occupy too much space.
  • Check the loading speed once the pages are live and check if certain design components are reducing the load speed.
  • Implement Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) that is meant to optimize the content load time on mobile phones.

Calls-to-action

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

Calls-to-action play a vital role in boosting your website conversions. A single call-to-action is empowered with the responsibility to attract attention and later get clicked on. These two factors will race your website towards a high ROI. So, what are the key principles of a call-to-action that designers need to consider?

  • Size: Decide the size of the call-to-action by ensuring that it gets noticed amongst the other elements of the web page. If the call-to-action button should be placed below a form, the size should be equal to that of the fields of that form.
  • Text: If the marketer has decided on the text for various pages and sections, they should be communicated with the designers with the copy. This will help them in determining the ideal size.
  • Colour: Colour plays 70% of the role in attracting the viewers’ attention. Ensure that it stands out from the rest of the section by smart usage of colours.
  • Button Shape: If there are various sections and smaller objects in a single webpage, how smartly you define a button by carving its shape is important. Ensure that the shape stands out from the rest of the objects.
  • A/B Testing: The best practice to gauge effectiveness of a call-to-action is by creating different variants of colour, text, and fonts. Monitor which CTAs are more successful. At HubMonks we insert the CTA from the HubSpot marketing tool for all our HubSpot COS web development projects so that clients are able to measure the button’s performance. 

Forms

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

There is a huge difference between forms and advanced forms that boost UX. Even forms have various design principles that help users understand its hierarchy and helps designers utilize less space with all the important fields included.

  • Label alignment helps users identify the field with its corresponding label. Proper alignment also consumes less space that ultimately boosts the psychological factor to get form-fills.
  • Placeholder text is a great innovation in forms, wherein the user is able to see the label inside the field which disappears once the user brings the cursor on the box.

Cognitive Load

 10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

Cognitive load in web design refers to the amount of thought process a person has to give while they are engaged in the buyer’s journey. The cognitive load theory is differentiated in two types for user experience:

  • Intrinsic cognitive load: It refers to minimal usage of copy so that the user is not hampered from completing a specific task on the web page.
  • Germane cognitive load: It refers to the effort devoted to process information and how user understands the pattern of the information by mentally organizing categories of information and any relationship among them.

Hick’s Law

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

Source: My Site Auditor

Designers could explain this law to the marketers so that users are not overwhelmed with too much information or options. Hick’s Law tells us that the time taken by a person to make a decision depends upon the number of choices available to him or her. See here for more psychology principles.

Interaction Design

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

Source: colossom.com

Interaction design is dedicated to creating engaging interfaces with prediction about the user behaviour. It is essential to know how users and technology communicate with each other. Here are some questions that you should consider when designing for the best interaction:

  • How users can interact? Which parts of the website will be interacted by the user with mouse, finger, or stylus?
  • Which clues will make it easier for the users to interact? The colour, size, shape, text will differentiate the objects and helps users in understanding these interactive points.
  • Is information chunked into seven items at a time? Users tend to keep only five-nine items in their short term memory.
  • Are various sections of the website differentiated with the help of edges and corners? Elements like menus need to be differentiated by these design considerations. Moreover, they form a boundary stating that the finger or the mouse cannot be moved beyond that boundary.

Conclusion

The whole concept of user experience is centered around having a clear understanding of the targeted users, their needs, their values, abilities, and their limitations. It takes into account your business goals and objectives. The best practices of UX works towards promoting the quality of how the user interacts with your website and the perceptions of the product and all related services.

When you are running a marketing campaign, you tend to pull interested prospects and make them a part of your marketing funnel. At every point of this funnel, your users need guidance to move smoothly towards their journey with your organization. The points discussed in this article will help you create an exceptional user experience that helps them achieve their goals and boost your business initiatives.

Dev is the Head of Marketing at HubMonks, a HubSpot content optimization system (COS) partner for major inbound marketing agencies and brands. You can contact him on Facebook and Twitter. Top photo by PhotoSpin.

10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience... 10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience... 10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience... 10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience... 10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience... 10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience...

lego mercedes logo

Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

This article was contributed by Krzysztof Gilowski.

Although the recipe for a perfect logo does not exist, the knowledge of the features that distinguish legendary designs from the average ones, will allow you to get closer to greatness.

In this article you will get to know the rules that underlie the designs of some of the most valuable brands in the world.

Recognizability is everything

The best logo designs communicate the whole brand image in no time. Lego embodies the joy of children playing with toys. The Mercedes’ logo expresses luxury with an elegant typeface and a geometric abstract symbol.

The most famous logos have a story to tell and that makes them unique.

Simplicity is the key to success

Less is more

What do the  world’s most recognizable logos have in common? The McDonald’s “M”, Nike’s swoosh, or the Apple’s apple with a bite (or byte) taken out of it? They are all extremely simple.

“The only mandate in logo design is that they be distinctive, memorable and clear.”

-Paul Rand

A good logo is original, but it is not exaggerated. An extremely complex logotype will not make your brand look sophisticated. It will only mean that the designer did not understand the meaning of simplicity.

Versatility – saving your nerves and money

Adapting Logos

A logo should present itself well in every possible format: small and large; in black and white (positive / negative); vertically and horizontally. It must be equally effective displayed on a variety of media – smartphones, tablets, computer screens and printed advertising.

Make sure the logo is recognizable after reversing the colors and decreasing the size. Check out how it looks on a stamp and on a truck. Don’t be afraid to make different versions of your logo (aka responsive logos).

A good logo must be timeless

The most beautiful and effective logo is not based on the current trends in the market. These are timeless pieces of work. Their authors, thanks to their experience in design, can predict whether the logo will still be valid in 10, 20 or 50 years.

The BMW’s logo is an example of such a graphic sign. The original logo was designed in 1916 and has changed very little ever since. The style keeps being altered according to the era but the concept remains the same. See more logo evolutions here.

BMW Logo Evolution

6 rules followed by logo designers

  1. Start with black and white

Fitucci Custom Windows Doors Logo

In the early stages of the design the colors are of secondary importance. Moreover, they can draw people’s attention away from the logo itself. Most of the recognizable logos start with black and white drawings and sketches.

  1. Use three colors at most

Examples of valuable logos that would break this rule are rare. Do not try to make an exception here – reality shows that it does not pay off. Paradoxically, a timeless logo that would be memorable is very simple and minimal colors.

Use the right colors depending on the mood you want to create. Learn color psychology.

Color in Logos

  1. Use one or two fonts

To keep your logo clear and transparent, you may want to limit your design to one or two types of fonts. Depending on the nature of your business, use fonts with sharp or soft lines. See here for great font combinations.

  1. Choose practicality over originality

Your logo has to be easily remembered. Accept the principle that a graphic design should be easy to describe on the phone.

A good logo should be easy to describe on the phone.

Something that will stay in someone’s memory should not be very complicated. Always choose practicality over originality.

Below you can see a case study of 1500 people attempting to draw logos from memory. It’s difficult!

Hand drawn logos from memory

  1. Avoid unnecessary details

Remove anything that is unnecessary from your design. The ideal logo is not the one that cannot have anything added to it. The best one is the one that cannot have a single element removed from it.

  1. Do not use ready-made graphics

Under no circumstances, create a logo with ready-made items (stock graphics, cliparts, pre-made designs). Creating your logo from ready-made templates and pictures makes your logo non-unique and replicable. Not to mention that a part of your logo may be legally used in your competitors’ graphics.

Stock Logos No

4 major characteristics of projects that lack professionalism

If you are looking for a logo design, the following tips will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your designer’s work.

  1. Materials full of defects

The files with logo designs that you receive from your designer should not contain any technical imperfections. The curves should not overlap and should be as smooth as possible and the nodal points should be minimized. If the logo is symmetrical, then the symmetry should be perfect such as below.

Remember that the presentation of a logotype in a different scale, such as zooming and placing it on a truck, will expose all of its possible errors and defects.

Below is a logo by that has been designed by Jeroen van Eerden with a grid system to avoid these defects.

Zen Logo

  1. Monogram as a starting point

An inexperienced designer often cannot resist the temptation to create a logo based on the company’s initials (for example, the name “Great Company” would create the logo form ‘G’ and ‘C’).

While this seems like a good idea, it’s hard to build company’s credibility or convey branding information with that kind of logo. It’s quite common in the fashion industry although they have huge marketing budgets. Monograms do not work for all industries.

Monogram Logos

  1. Shortening the name to acronym

It is often a mistake to try to shorten the name of a new company to acronym size. Yes, this is an effective strategy, as demonstrated by the IBM’s, KFC’s, or AOL’s logos. However, the names of these companies became acronyms only after many years of market presence and costly exposure.

  1. Using graphics programs does not guarantee quality

A logo created in Photoshop or Gimp may not be usable when you want to engrave it or significantly enlarge it. A professional logo should look just as good on different devices, but a raster logo (presenting the image with a pixel grid) does not assure that effect.

A vector logo (which defines points mathematically) created in software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw will provide appropriate image reproduction on any scale – without the loss of quality.

Do you have any further logo design tips or mistakes to avoid?

About the author: Krzysztof Gilowski is CEO at Juicy – a company that creates memorable brands for small companies. Check out their guide on designing a restaurant logo on their blog.

Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

20 Famous Animated Logo Designs – Inspirational Showcase

This article was contributed by Anil Parmar.

Looking for logo animation ideas? You’ve come to the right place.

Animated logos have the power to draw attention and communicate messages in ways that a static logo can not. Get inspired by these 20 famous animated logo designs.

Amazon

The Amazon logo not only delivers a smile but it also depicts that they sell everything from A to Z.

Takeaway

Define the services you provide in the logo itself.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox Logo Animation

The well-known browser shows a fiery fox encircling the earth conveying its global reach around the entire world. The fox represents the blazing speed of the browser.

Takeaway

Convey your brand’s values within the logo. eg. speed

Google

Google Logo Animation

This name needs no introduction. The animation demonstrates the Google Speak Now functionality in the brand’s colors.

Takeaway

Use color and motion to convey your brand in its simplest form.

Intel

Intel Logo Animation

Intel is the world’s best commercial microprocessor chip making company. The logo conveys this, showing that it makes processors for tablets, computers and mobile phones.

Takeaway

Make your animation show your unique selling point, such as Intel’s chips.

Burger-King

Burger King Logo Animation

The Burger King logo is animated in piece by piece, in a 3D manner.

Takeaway

Consider giving dimension to your logo animation.

FedEx

FedEx Logo Animation

A well known courier delivery service uses the arrow for demonstrating its service.

Takeaway

Use your logo’s key feature / negative space to convey motion.

Hype Film

Hype Logo Animation

Hype film is a production company and camera film revolves around a loudspeaker to spell HYPE.

Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to add new elements to the logo animation sequence such as how HYPE uses film to build their loudspeaker.

Pixate

Pixate Logo Animation 

Pixate runs mobile app prototypes and the black background with four colorful leaves shows the creative side of the app.

Takeaway

Speed is crucial in animation, making for a smooth animation.

Nat Geo

National Geographic Logo Animation

The National Geographic’s famous yellow border is broken up and brought in piece by piece.

Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to split your logo into separate pieces for the animation.

Mail Chimp Snap

Mailchimp Snap Logo Animation

Send simple email newsletters from your mobile. (now discontinued)

Takeaway

Build your logo up, with dimension.

Fanta

Fanta Animated Logo

The bubbly fun nature of the type and orange circle shape is brought to life with animation.

Takeaway

Use your logo’s key attritbutes for the animation such as the type and orange circle in this case.

Uber

Uber Animated Logo

Building on the line ways points of a map, it creates a nice sequence to reveal the logo.

Takeaway

Use elements from your app or brand for the animation.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

The professional network connects business people all over the world, which is conveyed by the bouncy man and case.

Takeaway

Business can also be fun!

Instagram

Instagram Animated Logo

The photo sharing app owned by Facebook combines the traditional camera and polaroid to form their text based logo.

Takeaway

Illustrate your brand’s key features and then the logo itself.

Vimeo

Vimeo Animated Logo

Vimeo’s video sharing platform uses video buttons such as play, pause to illustrate their service.

Takeaway

Make the logo functional and leave subtle hints to the brand.

Master Card

Mastercard Animated Logo

Mastercard illustrate’s its multifaceted uses such as experiences, travel and food. Priceless.

Takeaway

Show how diverse your product is by illustrating various elements.

Dell

Dell Animated Logo

Dell’s high-performance laptops  and PCS are illustrated by 4 icons coming together. The ultimate collaboration of security, handling documents, analytics and cloud storage.

Takeaway

Depict the most effective characteristics of the product you supply to your customers.

Spotify

Spotify Animated Logo

Get instant access to millions of songs with Spotify.

Takeaway

Pick the logical part from the service/product and give it motion.

Pinterest

Pinterest Animated Logo

The logo in the animation shows a pin / P followed by written text ‘Pinterest’, a platform to discover information globally, by images.

Takeaway

A single symbol can show the entire motive of the brand and its identity.

Flickr

20 Famous Animated Logo Designs - Inspirational Showcase

Flickr is one of the most significant platforms for sharing videos and photos. The logo conveys a world of creativity and inspiration.

Takeaway

A simple idea is often the most effective. Two dots can evolve into something so large!

Nike

Nike Animated Logo

The Nike Swoosh animated with bright vivid paint, highlighting the active nature of the swoosh.

Takeaway

If your logo already has motion, use it to its advantage.

Do you have any other favorite famous animated logos? Let us know!

Anil Parmar is the co-founder of Glorywebs that aims to help clients with professional web design services, app design & development, digital marketing and more. Find him on Twitter @abparmar99.

20 Famous Animated Logo Designs - Inspirational Showcase 20 Famous Animated Logo Designs - Inspirational Showcase 20 Famous Animated Logo Designs - Inspirational Showcase 20 Famous Animated Logo Designs - Inspirational Showcase 20 Famous Animated Logo Designs - Inspirational Showcase 20 Famous Animated Logo Designs - Inspirational Showcase
Netflix

25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration

Content is king. You’ve probably heard this phrase so many times that it has now been engraved in your memory.

We all know content is important, that it drives loyalty, engagement and trust, and that it is among the most clear indications of a company’s expertise. But content marketing is still rarely associated with design.

Rarely do we see a designer being praised for content, as it is the meaning and message that matter most. Texts and carefully crafted, punchy social media posts are the two most widespread content types online. They are written, edited and published on the web for the public to read and learn from. However, everything we create, regardless of whether it’s a visual or auditory asset, is also an experience. And in creating an experience, design supports content as much as content supports design. From infographics and white papers to gifs, memes and blog post images, design attracts the eyes of the audience and helps get the point across. So if companies want to drive engagement, they need to create a perfect balance between the message and the aesthetics.

Designers as visionaries of brand should drive the content marketing process and ensure it is aligned with the brand vision. Some brands are still struggling with the idea, making their social media feeds look like a collection of unrelated images. Others have perfected the craft to such an extent that we keep coming back for more content, even when there is nothing new to learn.

Here are 25 brands that are currently winning at the visual content marketing game:

  1. Animated GIFs – Netflix

Despite having a myriad of shows on the channel, Netflix maintains its brand colors across all Facebook posts – they are dark, blurry and mysterious. The animated GIFs on their Facebook page deserve special praise, as they express a sense of wonder, tell the story and bring you right into the heart of the Netflix universe.

  1. Color splashes and undertones – Lufthansa

Scroll through the Lufthansa Facebook page and pay attention to the overarching color scheme. You will notice that the brand’s signature gold color can be found in almost every photo, content piece or graphic. Even when the photo is unrelated to the brand’s promotions, Lufthansa still incorporates a bit of gold into the picture.

  1. Big fonts and atmospheric imagery – Equinox

Equinox

When it comes to content formats we’re often restricted by the social network rules. You can’t post custom size images, you can’t create a new page layout and you can’t change the background. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Equinox created videos that adhere to the usual Facebook square dimensions, only they allowed for lots of white space and decided to fit the message within a tiny, cropped frame. With this approach their content defies all creative boundaries and catches the public’s attention.

  1. The power of sharing and individual tastes combined – Starbucks

Combine the social connotations of coffee, pretty packaging and knowledge of the most important calendar dates and you can get an Instagram feed that rivals Starbucks. The lesson here can be summed up as, “showcase the product but make it a part of the bigger story”.

  1. Creating a sense of abundance – Whole Foods

Whole Foods

Creatives at Whole Foods know how to create a feeling of abundance. Their images feature lots of products, their signature green color and create a rustic, farm-like atmosphere. Abundance leads to positive emotions and that’s why the brand is so appealing.

  1. Focus on characters and the story – National Geographic

Another skillful storyteller, National Geographic features close-up shots of people, animals and historic buildings. These are not just stunning photos from professional photographers – the pictures create a feeling of presence, evoke curiosity and compel users to read the captions.

  1. Calmness through color and relatable illustration – Headspace

Headspace

How to do you convey mindfulness visually? By taking funny characters, a fascinating narrative, neutral pale colors and rounded shapes to create animated videos and graphics that pull you from the hectic pace of life back to the present moment.

  1. Outsource content from the community – GoPro

GoPro is the pioneer of outsourced content. The brand is known for creating a community of adventure lovers first and then convincing them that a GoPro is a staple accessory. The brand follows the same community building principles in its Instagram feed and features content sourced from fans and professional athletes.

  1. Asymmetrical layouts and playful fonts -Reformation

Reformation

Reformation is killing it in the content creation field. Their models shoulder dance, use expressive gestures, roll their eyes and are captured in all the different poses that are anything but conventional. This playful attitude is also reflected in graphics.

  1. Rounded shapes – Warby Parker

Warby Parker

Are you using signature shapes or patterns in your branding? Look for similar shapes in your surrounding context as well. Chances are you will find some inspiration to base your content on. Check out how Warby Parker used the solar eclipse to drive engagement.

  1. Powerful shots and slow motion – Roam

Roam

Celebrating the true spirit of adventure, Roam creates mind blowing videos featuring panoramic shots, aspirational characters and life risking experiences. Roam uses a combination of outsourced and internally produced content.

  1. United by the mascot theme – Trello

Trello

Instagram is rarely a priority channel for software brands due to its visual nature, but Trello makes it work with all the photos united by two central themes – they either feature the company’s mascot or show the perks of working in an awesome team.

  1. Wider perspective – Opera National De Paris

Panoramic shots broken down into instagrammable pieces are another trick used by brands to make content stand out. Opera National de Paris creates an aspirational story in which theater itself is the hero.

  1. Vintage posters – Shiseido

If you want to emphasize a brand’s historical and cultural background, there is no better way than to use images from the archives. Shiseido frequently posts Japanese posters, vintage graphics and mood boards. Surprisingly, you won’t see many product pictures. Instead of trying to sell the brand excessively, Shiseido chose to converse with its audience and that strategy seems to be paying off so far.

  1. Square cropped videos – Conde Nast Traveler

All content on Conde Nast Traveler’s page follow the same stylistic direction: they are minimal, with lots of white space. The brand also uses a lot of drone shots that add to its inspirational, almost dreamy image.

  1. Lifestyles in comparison – Airbnb

AirBnB

The staff at Airbnb quickly realized that if they don’t tap into the power of social, the platform will quickly become just another room renting service. First, they got us swooning over dreamlike tree houses in the jungle and magnificent igloos under the skies pierced by the Northern lights. Then they created #LoveThisLiveThere campaign, where they compare the lifestyles and sights of two different cities. Wouldn’t you be tempted by these photos, clearly showing that there is someone on the other side of the globe sharing the same passion?

  1. Words in pictures – Story

Not sure whether to tell the story with written text or visual cues? This brand uses both by showing us material things such as mugs, plates, books and walls featuring slogans.

  1. Showing life through the eyes of a character – MailChimp

Mailchimp

Among numerous useful blog posts on email automation, once in a while MailChimp throws in a custom image of its iconic monkey pictured in different settings. It shows that the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously. This simple trick also keeps the audience entertained while they familiarize themselves with data driven, educational content.

  1. A peek into a lifestyle – SaturdaysNYC

Fashion brands often fall victim to promotional content – their social media pages look like an ecommerce store. While it’s okay to use social media to drive sales, too much promotion and product driven content can drive people away. Instead, look at your fashion brand from a lifestyle point of view. Clothes, interiors, sport, hobbies can all be an inspiration for content.

  1. Mini comics – Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club

Illustrations are a great way to attract attention, but they are already quite ubiquitous. Dollar Shave Club uses comics instead. Comics are mini illustrated stories that convey the message in a cool, casual way, making them a perfect example of visually driven content marketing.

  1. Minimalism and white space – Tesla Motors

Looking to convey a premium image and show your craftsmanship skills? Then consider making your Instagram page look visually consistent and use lots of white space in your imagery. Tesla’s page is creative, original and is a feast for designer’s eyes.

  1. People centered content – Everlane

Everlane

Brands with socially charged missions can learn a lot from Everlane. Not only does the fashion brand challenge the traditional process of making designer clothes, but it also puts craftsmen at the center of its content strategy. Launched this July, the #FactoryFriday campaign features factory employees holding the shoes they’re making. The campaign makes the brand more personable and sparks user engagement.

  1. Product in action – Play-Doh

Have a great product that can be used in different creative ways? Teach, inspire and show people how to use the product by displaying the variety of possible creations and results. Play-Doh makes cute, little playdough figures and features them in its social media content.

  1. Geometrical shapes – Défoncé Chocolatier

Defonce Chocolatier

Nothing informs visually driven content better than the product shape. Défoncé Chocolatier is a brand of triangle shaped chocolate bars with a Californian twist. Look at how the brand uses various geometrical shapes in all their content: from the traditional triangle and rectangle to three dimensional rhombus and pyramid shapes, all of the brand’s content is informed by universal geometrical themes.

  1. Consistent color palette – Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger

Another brand that sticks to the same color palette. Tommy Hilfiger’s signature white, red and blue colors can be seen throughout its social media presence – in clothes, pictures, model lipstick, backgrounds and video filters.

Summary

Content marketing is an intricate playing field that gets more complex and competitive each year. Yet, it is still one of the most effective ways to create connections and attract a loyal following. Brands are constantly being challenged to come up with new, exciting ideas for content in order to stay relevant and break through the clutter of advertising noise. And designers, with their ability and skills to create visually appealing, engaging content, can play a major role in this process.

25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration 25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration 25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration 25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration 25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration 25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration
Software 3D

How to Use Social Media to Get Design Clients

This article was contributed by Pratik Dholakiya.

These days, if your business is not on social media, it amounts to people not being sure your company even exists. Today nearly 70% of customers use social media for researching businesses and items before purchasing.

Social media has become one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience in a way that directly leads to increased sales. You need to learn how to use this vast audience to your advantage and leverage your social media presence to gain more clients for your design business.

Here are ten easy ways to use social media as a way to gain more clients for your design business.

  1. Live stream a Q&A or tutorial to show your expertise

Numerous studies have hammered home the fact that people prefer to watch videos over all other types of marketing content. Live streaming is the newest extension of video marketing, but it has shown to be a highly effective way to increase audience engagement. In fact, now the three major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) all offer live streaming capabilities, and they will notify your followers as soon as the cameras start rolling.

One of the best ways to use live stream is to market your skills by offering a Q&A session or giving a tutorial. By livestreaming, you are allowing your audience to send in questions or comments in real time, so use that to your advantage. Acknowledge followers, answer questions, and respond to compliments during your video. See here for Live Video tips & ideas.

  1. Post videos of your design process to YouTube

The statistics for YouTube use are staggering; every minute, 300 hours of content are uploaded to the site, and it is the second largest search engine in the world. Using YouTube to promote your design business will actually help your SEO rankings, leading to increased organic searches and conversions.

Giving your followers a little glimpse into the behind-the-scenes process makes your brand seem more personal, and how-to videos are one of the most popular category uploaded on YouTube. It’s also a creative way to display your talents and expertise to potential clients.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbC5f0RaJYQ&w=560&h=315]
Easy heh?

  1. Geotag your posts to attract local businesses or clients

Location marketing is a way to truly home in on your target customers or businesses. Be sure to tag your location for your posts, check in to businesses, and clearly display your location in your contact information. Geotagging your location also boosts your SEO rankings when that location is searched. Any clients searching for your services in their area will be glad to see exactly where your business is located, since it takes out the guess work for logistics.

You can also take location marketing one step further with ad targeting based on location. Facebook is one of the most commonly used platforms for this type of marketing, since many users openly share their location and actually allow Facebook to track them for recommendation purposes. With Facebook Ads, you can set your parameters and hyper-target your ads for a specific location.

See here for how to make Facebook more SEO friendly and how to optimize your posts for maximum shareability.

  1. Connect with influencers

Grumpy Cat

Social media influencers have founded a sense of authority on various topics by establishing accounts with large followings, high engagement through likes and comments, and regular posting. By connecting your business with their name, you benefit by receiving that credibility. Facebook and Instagram are the primary channels for this type of marketing, but connecting with bloggers or content marketers is another highly effective way to market your designs. Source

  1. Network through LinkedIn & Post Links to Your Published Work

Since LinkedIn is not necessarily known for its creativity, it may not be the first social media platform that comes to mind for a design business. However, it is actually one of the strongest social media sites for sales conversions – with rates over 240% higher than Facebook sales conversions! It’s also one of the best ways to find qualified leads – bringing in up to 80% of many business’s leads.

Create a portfolio on LinkedIn by posting links to your finished work. LinkedIn is all about networking, so ask your clients if you can tag them in your posts, and perhaps ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing your links as well.

  1. Create stories through Instagram and Snapchat

Shoes

Story-telling has consistently been an effective way to connect with your audience, and advertisers have been using this strategy for years and years. Now, the popularity of posting to your personal “story” on social media (what better for a design business than to make it “visual”!) makes it easy for businesses and individuals alike to become story-tellers through sharing snippets of their day and experiences.

Studies have shown that posting content in sequences have 9x the follow-through view rate. Plan out your story-line ahead of time, and don’t be afraid to get creative with it. For example, Instagram Stories let you use features like hashtags and locations to personalize your story. Use these features to your advantage to make your content visually appealing and unique. Share the progression of a project, show a before and after, or share other exciting content that will appeal to your audience.

  1. Use social media to promote giveaways

Facebook Post

Everyone loves freebies, and hosting a contest through social media is one strategy to increase your number of followers. Promoting a giveaway can draw in higher traffic to your website and boost your SEO. Be strategic and set a goal you want this content to accomplish. If you want to increase your followers, require contestants to follow you, share your post, or tag friends. If you want to promote a new service or product, then use it as the prize. The key is to promote it by posting high quality photos or pictures, clearly explaining the rules, and, of course, following through by picking a winner. Source.

  1. Include purchase options on all channels

Make your social media your easiest point of sale by embedding buttons that lead customers directly to your website check out. Since this makes the purchase process quicker for the customer, it will decrease the amount of abandoned shopping carts and website bounces.

Instagram recently added in a feature where brands can embed sales information (such as price) in photos, with live links to your site. Pinterest also lets you create Buyable Pins that direct customers to your website. You can easily add purchase buttons on your social media posts if you use a DIY ecommerce platform like Shopify for your online store. Shopify has built-in social plugins and apps to help you create product posts with embedded links, which can be shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, and more.

  1. Track the links you share

Adding in links to your website or product page can eat up precious room in your social media posts. Most platforms set character limits. Anyway, shorter text descriptions tend to do better than longer posts. Make the most of the limited real estate by shortening your links into 13 character links with Google’s URL Shortener or Bitly.

Track Emails

The key advantage to this system, besides saving space in your posts, is that you are able to track each link you create. This means you can see exactly which posts produced the highest amount of clicks, and it can help you determine with social media channel is the most effective for your business.

  1. Integrate posts with your overall content strategy

Social Media Calendar

Lots of companies have conducted extensive research to determine the optimal times to post. Scheduling out your posts so they go live during peak hours will increase audience reach and engagement.

Now, the trouble with so many social networks where you need to maintain a presence is, present day scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Buffer only offer you the option to schedule across networks, not to time them correctly in line with your overall content strategy.

Staying on track for your posting schedule can be tricky, especially if you’ve got a lot on your plate. The best way to stay ahead of your deadlines and organize your posting schedule is by creating a calendar that is integrated into your overall marketing campaign. For instance, a collaboration and task management tool like Workzone will notify you when events are due, such as when you need to make a post or produce new content.

If you need to coordinate across departments or with clients for a campaign, you can combine calendars easily with the whole team so that everyone is on the same page.

In Conclusion

One of the best things about social media is that is provides a platform for you to connect personally with your audience. Use your creative skills to strategize your social media strategy by sharing videos that provide your audience insight into your business. Connect with local businesses easily, share your design portfolio, and collaborate with big names in the industry with a few clicks and shares. With just about 70% of the American population active on social media, if you are not reaching out then you are missing out.

About the author: Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M, a full service digital marketing agency and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.

How to Use Social Media to Get Design Clients How to Use Social Media to Get Design Clients How to Use Social Media to Get Design Clients How to Use Social Media to Get Design Clients How to Use Social Media to Get Design Clients How to Use Social Media to Get Design Clients
Phone on Desk

8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business

This article was contributed by Mark Velarga.

You have an amazing brand, and you want to maximize your customer engagement via Instagram. But how should you go about doing it?

With over 700 million monthly users, Instagram is a veritable gold mine for engagement, helping businesses to connect with their customers and increase sales without having to fork over a fortune for travel and paid advertising. But how?

The task may seem daunting at first, but with the right plan of attack, anyone can get results. If you’re looking to increase your following, engagement and customer base on Instagram, check out the following 8 steps to build a roadmap for Insta-success!

Create an Instagram Business Account

Did you know that Instagram’s engagement rate is about 2.26%? That’s over 2% higher than both Twitter and Facebook! Obviously, there’s tremendous potential on the platform that growing businesses would be foolish to ignore.

So where to start? Like any other successful endeavor, it begins with building a solid foundation, and the first step involves creating a business account.

You have two options: either convert an existing personal account or start from scratch. With a business account, you’ll be privy to business features and free analytics through Instagram Insights (more on metrics later).

Here are some helpful tips for creating a business profile:

  • Complete your profile (Don’t leave unfinished!)
  • Make sure it is public
  • Use business name
  • Upload branded profile image
  • Include a compelling bio statement (update frequently!)
  • Provide a link to your website

Consistency and recognizability are key to success. You’ll want to ensure that your brand’s name, image, products, services, etc. are presented with clarity in purpose and focus.

Make sure that your message is clear and consistent. The last thing you want to do is confuse viewers and lose potential customers.

Remember: This is not about you personally.

Focus on an approach that showcases your company and save the selfies for your personal account.

Establish your business goals from the beginning, and your experience will be much smoother!

Take Followers on a Journey

Phone in Hand Bushes

For most product-based companies, the general practice is to turn to generic product content. Don’t do it!

It’s important to add a bit of personality to your Instagram account. When you know your audience, it can help you develop a narrative, style and tone — this is your chance to share your brand story.

Instead of uploading dry or disconnected content, think of it like a scrapbook. By adding interesting photos and videos periodically, you paint an ever-growing picture your followers can connect with and be part of the journey.

This is not limited to images and video. You can also provide dynamic and engaging captions that appeal to your viewers. This will not only enhance their experience but will increase the chances of them becoming loyal customers.

People are also interested in how products are made. To satiate this curiosity, take them behind the scenes. This can be done through factory tour videos, sketches and diagrams, and anything that you think would be interesting to share. Remember to tell a story that’s fun, informative and provides a glimpse into your company’s inner workings.

By sharing everyday moments in a candid (and sometimes quirky) way, your company will appear more approachable to your followers. This is what separates winning businesses from the rest. 

Provide Quality Content

Strawberry Pancakes 

A poor image or video can be a big turn-off. If your content is not high-res and interesting, don’t upload it! Great content should be the cornerstone of your strategy. (Of course, if you’re going for a more lo-fi aesthetic, incorporate what best serves your vision.)

Quality, for example, can be developed through thoughtful direction of content, editing apps and positioning. Whether service-oriented or product-based, your content should be relevant to your viewers and convey the focus of your business. Also try experimenting with videos and creative captions.

Another good tip is to vary your product content creatively. This will ensure that your followers won’t get bored. Your audience will thank you!

Whatever approach you plan on implementing, make sure it’s consistent and attracts your intended audience. And don’t go for the hard sell. Ultimately, this will lead to followers who embrace your brand and purchase your products.

Inspire, Connect & Follow Back

Woman Playing with Hair

Many Instagram users love to be inspired. And who doesn’t? When viewers connect with your content emotionally, they will keep coming back for more. Leave behind the cut-and-dry and offer your followers images, videos and captions that truly resonate.

Engage with your customers through commenting and liking other pages, especially when you are starting out. It shows you aren’t just trying to get them to follow you. Go that extra mile, and you we’ll be rewarded with a loyal fan!

The focus doesn’t always have to be on products or services. For example, you can showcase employees, company activities and fun events. Creating this type of environment will help cement your bond and gain trust even more.

Another good practice is updating your bio section. A mistake many users make is to put up a boring blurb, add the company link and leave it at that. What you need to do is update it frequently. It provides the only clickable link, so get creative with its use. Think about how you can drive traffic to promotional events, registration, sales, etc.

The value of the Instagram page is typically measured by the number of followers versus those you are following — the more followers, the better. However, it is essential that you also follow back influencers and others who provide value for your business. This could lead to some great opportunities and collaborations in the future.

Build a Following

Chess People

So, the all-important question: How do you get more followers?

The process is not exactly easy, but with patience and creativity, you can create a buzz that will lead to greater click-through rates and amazing sales growth. Put in the work, and it will be well worth the effort!

Here’s a list of things you can do to build a massive following:

Use Hashtags: Makes it easier for people to find and follow you. Use a mixture of company-specific and universally popular hashtags.

Content Marketing; According to PakFactory, a custom packaging company, one way you can enhance your business’s brand is by creating valuable & quality content. Elevate your expertise and become a guest contributor for other related blogs.

Make sure to have a link to your instagram because if that particular content gets noticed and becomes viral, you might be receiving more followers than you imagined.

Get Mentioned: Instagram offers one of the best ways to spotlight collaborators and customers alike. Share your photos with other notable instagram accounts and get them to mention you. You can also give shout-outs through tagging (@tags).

Host Contests: Everyone loves a giveaway, right? Be creative and have fun with how you present your contests. They will come in droves if executed properly.

Offer Exclusivity and Create Anticipation: Keeping viewers interested is important. Upload teasers and offer your loyal followers rewards in the form of exclusive content.

Collaborate: We all can’t do this on our own. Search out for companies or individuals that align with your mission and create a project together that will help each one’s brand.

Explore Instagram Stories

Typewriter on Desk

What’s better than one powerful image? How about a slideshow filled with dynamic content?

Instagram Stories allows you to string together your images and videos to create even more immersive content that your followers can experience at their own pace throughout the day (all content disappears after 24 hours).

Since this has become a prominent feature, more and more businesses have started experimenting with it. Other than its sheer engagement potential, the feature offers several benefits:

  • Share as much as you want (displays in chronological sequence)
  • Offers text, face filters and drawing tools
  • Provides more dynamic value to your followers
  • Higher discoverability through Story Search
  • Showcase a more comprehensive story
  • Stories are displayed at top of follower timelines

Go ahead, get creative and see what you can do with Instagram Stories! Your followers will be more enthusiastic and want more. It’s an addiction that we can all get on board with. 

Post on a Regular Basis

Instagram on Phone

You may one day come up with the perfect Instagram post that garners thousands of likes, but if you aren’t posting regularly, it won’t make a difference.

Consistent content is the name of the game. If you want to grab and hold your audience’s attention, you need to employ content scheduling.

Fortunately, there are several tools that can help keep track of your visual campaigns. These include Schedugram, Autogrammer, Later and Planoly, among others. If you decide to forgo these options and go old school, make sure that you use a method (calendar, notebook, etc.) that keeps everything organized and easy to work with.

Harness the Power of Metrics

Man on Computer

Let’s face it, if you are using Instagram and want to capture as much value as possible, you need to embrace metrics. Relative to other social media platforms, it can seem like there aren’t as many options in this department. But don’t worry. Thankfully, there are several instagram metrics that can help you figure out what’s performing well and what’s not.

Instagram Metrics

Most people would assume that the number of likes would be the most important metric, but once you delve into the data, you’ll find that comments received is a better signifier of overall engagement. Once you get a feel for analytics, you’ll be able to focus on the information that gets you results.

There are some handy (and free) analytics tools to assist you, including Instagram Insights (through Instagram business account), Socialbakers, Simply Measured, Union Metrics and SquareLovin.

With these tools, you’ll be able to analyze essential data, not only from yourself but from your competition as well, and improve the performance of your business account.

And there you have it!

By establishing these steps from the beginning, you will greatly increase your chances of success and limit the headaches associated with shoddy strategy. As you become more comfortable with the basics, stretch out creatively and experiment a little. Remember to also have fun while your posting. Good luck!

Get your first 10,000 Instagram Followers

Get your first 10,000 Instagram followers, with this step-by-step Instagram marketing course. Learn how to attract hyper-targeted Instagram followers, convert followers to paying customers and expand your brand using Instagram.

Mark Velarga is the Head of Content & Digital Marketing at PakFactory. Mark is also a self-development advocator for young entrepreneurs & aspiring leaders, as well as a tennis coach & enthusiast. You can connect with him on LinkedIn. 

8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business 8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business 8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business 8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business 8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business 8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business
Netflix Landing Page Design

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business

This is a guest article contributed by Matt Janaway.

Having a landing page exit-rate that stinks can be quite depressing. This is especially true if you and your team spent blood sweat and tears to create a professional-looking landing page, only to see your audience ignore your call-to-action buttons.

The thing is, there is more to a high-converting landing page than just its looks. Relying on your page’s aesthetics alone isn’t going to cut it since it can only do so much for you.

If you want to create a landing page that’s going to bring home the bacon, then allow me to share with you the anatomy of a perfect landing page for your business.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Compelling copy.

Just because your copy reads well and it doesn’t have any typos or grammar mistakes, doesn’t mean that it is enough to compel your audience to take action on your CTA’s.

Compelling copies have psychological elements embedded into them like social validation, tapping into the audiences’ fear of loss, etc.

These elements are often what compels the audience to take action.

2. Sprinkle your call-to-action buttons in strategic places.

Where these strategic areas are specifically, I’m afraid I won’t be able to tell you. Simply because these things vary depending on the dynamics of the type of landing page that you’re using (yes, there are different types of landing pages), and your design among other things.

However, I can tell you that as a general rule, it is a good practice to add your CTAs in areas where you’ve provided massive value to your readers like the image above, taken from Netflix. That way, if they are convinced that they need your help, then they can contact you immediately without having to look for your CTA buttons.

Adding a floating CTA also works. A good example is Furl.co.uk’s “Talk to Us” button. A quick visit to their website and you will see that no matter where you’ve scrolled at the page, their “Talk to Us” button is still highly visible because it is floating.

3. The relevance of the page is apparent.

Those who arrive on landing pages often have a goal in mind. That is why you need to convey to your readers immediately that your page is relevant to what they’re looking for, otherwise, they might think that they’re in the wrong place which will then cause them to click away.

A perfect way to deal with this is to make sure that your title directly addresses their concerns. Since your title is one of the first things they’ll see immediately after arriving at your page, the issue of relevance no longer becomes a threat.

4. No distractions.

Busy Web Design

It is ideal to use one type of call-to-action per landing page. That way, your audience doesn’t end up getting confused or distracted from doing the primary goal that you predetermined when you created your landing page.

That being said, do not ask your audience to share, buy, or contact you all at the same time and be careful not to distract your visitors from your main goal. Here’s an example of a homepage which distracts the visitor from completing a goal (in this instance, a purchase).

Just pick one type of CTA then sprinkle it strategically across the page. Also, make sure that your CTA buttons “pop.” If they aren’t highly visible, then your audience might not see them.

5. Carefully crafted headlines.

Your headline needs to be clear, concise, relevant, and punchy. These characteristics will ensure (somewhat) that your audience will continue reading the copy on your landing page.

See here for some tools for optimizing headlines and the ultimate list of headlines.

6. Add testimonials.

Malibu Web

Adding testimonials on your landing page will skyrocket its credibility. What makes it so effective is the fact that testimonials are not sales pitches, and they come across as unbiased.

To make the testimonials on your landing page look more credible, add your client’s profile picture and a short information about who they are.

At Marketing Labs, we include our clients’ name, their position in the company, and their business names. This is how our testimonials section looks.

When your prospect customers see the testimonies shared by your previous customers about how positive their experience is with you, it becomes a lot easier for them to trust you and do business with you.

7. Use images or videos that are relevant to the copy.

Countless case studies are showing that images and videos can boost your conversion rates. The thing with images and videos is they can help your audience create a clearer mental picture of the ideas that you want to convey.

Of course, the ideas that we’re talking about here are meant to influence them to take action on your offers. This effort from Spotify is excellent and encapsulates the impression of peacefulness.

Music Landing Page

When your audience can create a mental picture of themselves experiencing happiness, convenience, and joy (among other things) because of your product, it becomes almost impossible for them to leave your landing page without taking action on your offers.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page Infographic

Anatomy of Perfect Landing Page Infographic

Infographic by SmartBugMedia.com

What’s next?

I know for a fact that I’m just scratching the surface with the points that I shared above. If you have wisdom bombs that you’d like to share about creating a high-converting landing page, then please share them in the comments section below. Cheers!

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business