Personal income increased by $71.7 billion in July, growing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.5%, according to the most recent data release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditure rose by 0.3%, after a 0.6% increase in June. Disposable personal income – income remaining after deducting personal income taxes – continued its steady growth, and so… Read More ›
Video production is not just about making videos for awareness purposes. In our experience, using video strategically can help you at every step of the marketing funnel from lead generation to revenue growth.
In order to reach these goals, savvy marketing teams want to make videos that drive conversions. Whether you’re hoping someone will find your website organically, sign up for a product demo, or even purchase your product — a well strategized video can help boost your conversion rate.
A video that converts needs to be clear in its goal. What do you want this video to accomplish? What should be the next step that your viewer takes in their journey after watching your video? You want that next step to be as clear as possible, making conversion a seamless experience for your audience.
Identifying and Leveraging Conversion Opportunities
Increasing Your Video’s Play Rate to Boost Conversion
With just a few simple tweaks, you can dramatically boost your videos’ play rates. Small changes can make all the difference for someone watching your video — whether it be a product video or a webinar.
1) Make the Thumbnail Friendly
The video thumbnail is the first thing your audience sees when they look at your video. Think of it as your video’s CEO. It represents your video to your audience, just like a CEO represents her company to the world. When putting up a video, many companies use the generic thumbnail image — usually a frame somewhere in the middle of your video. Using a custom thumbnail, however, can increase your play rate by 34%.
Your thumbnail should be something to consider before you put your video out into the wild. Each video’s thumbnail is either encouraging or discouraging engagement from your audience. If you have a person in your video, choose a thumbnail that features the face of an actor. A smiling, friendly looking person will encourage a viewer to click play and see what the video is all about.
2) Show Off Your Brand’s Colors
Your brand’s look and feel is crucial to brand recognition. You wouldn’t want your video player to stand out in the wrong way. Adjusting your player color will bring your website or email together in a cohesive and branded way. We’ve found that choosing a custom player color that represents your brand increases your video’s play rate by a full 19%.
You can choose to use a color that is the same as the elements on your website, landing page, or email to bring the content together and make it look more professional, influencing a higher percentage of your audience to click play and ultimately convert.
3) Keep It Short
You’ve probably heard it a million times — in today’s age, humans have short attention spans. We’re bombarded with content, and much of that content is in video form. In order to keep your audience’s engagement strong and convince them to convert, your video should stay within a certain time frame.
We’ve recently pulled some numbers around video length and engagement, and unsurprisingly, two minutes is the ultimate cutoff. Videos that are up to one minute long have an average 70% play rate — that’s huge! For one minute, 70% of your audience is engaged, willing to stick around and learn more about the content in your video. Once your video gets just over two minutes, however, you’re in hot water. Engagement drops by 5% at two minutes, and starts to freefall after that.
These simple changes can really make a difference in your play rate, engagement rate, and ultimately, your conversion rate. Just changing your video’s thumbnail and player color can increase your play rate by 53%, making it that much more likely that your audience will convert or follow your CTA. Keeping your video under two minutes long will hold your engagement rate right where you want it — above 65%. These simple actions have a huge impact, and there’s so much more you can do to increase your video’s conversion rates. Let’s look into some of the more in-depth ways where conversion is the main attraction.
Boosting Your Conversion Rate
Whether your call to action is asking someone to sign up to your email list and become a lead, to register for a webinar, to come to a physical event, or maybe to simply buy your product — your call to action is what makes the conversion. There are many different ways to include a call to action in your video. There are several different options for how to include video CTA beyond just changing the text or color — consider your video’s goal before choosing a type
4) Leverage CTAs and Annotations
When considering where to put your call to action in a video, whether it be an annotation or a lead generation form, think past the usual places. CTAs are most often put at the end of videos, but we’ve found that CTAs in the middle of the video perform way better, with conversion rates at 16.95%, as compared to 10.98% at the end.
You can make your CTA engaging in the middle of your video by pointing it out in your script. Script around the CTA and weave them together to create an interesting viewer experience that will make folks excited to click. Your CTA should be very clear and have a very specific goal. You can then measure how your CTA does depending on how you weave it into your video. The more custom and clear it is, the better it will convert your viewers.
5) Put the Turnstile Where It Counts
A turnstile is basically a lead generation form. Using a turnstile in your video allows you to capture your audience member’s email address by pulling up a form in the beginning, middle, or end of your video. Where you put this turnstile really matters, and the conversion rate differs depending on where in your video the turnstile appears.
Many video marketers choose to put their turnstile in the beginning or the end of the video, so it does not interrupt the viewer’s experience. However, we’ve found that the highest converting position for a turnstile is actually in the middle of the video, with a conversion rate of 22.17%, over a 3.05% or a 8.49% conversion rate for post and pre-roll turnstiles, respectively.
Adding your turnstile to the middle of your video may seem tricky — doesn’t interrupting the viewing experience leave your audience with a bad taste in their mouth? You can incorporate a mid-roll turnstile without making the viewer feel cheated. Add your turnstile into your script in order to work around the lead generation form. Creating a script that flows around the turnstile and warns viewers that it’s coming up prepares them for what’s next. Try something like “Interested? Enter your email address and let’s get in a little deeper”, or “Enter your email for more information.
After the Video
Phew! You’ve gone through the whole process. You’ve created a custom thumbnail, added your custom player color to match your brand, and made sure your video doesn’t go above the two minute mark. You’ve even woven in a CTA and/or turnstile into your video’s script to make it flawless and engaging. You’re set up for success–but what now?
6) Leverage Post-Production Analytics
Make sure you’re tracking your video’s analytics. It’s important to keep in mind where folks watched and re-watched your video. Was there a bump in re-watches at a certain point mid-video? That may mean that folks are especially interested in what was conveyed at that time, meaning you have an opportunity to create another video specifically focusing on that topic. Re-watches help you figure out where your audience’s interest was piqued, letting you create more relevant content for them in the future.
See how many folks converted on your turnstile and CTAs. You can take that data and test future videos depending on what you’ve done in the past. Each piece of data counts when making a high-converting, high impact video.
7) Invest In Videos For Lead Nurturing
Once your viewer has converted, you want to take them one step further in the process. Videos can be perfect for nurturing leads that have already raised their hand for your content. Making a short video that welcomes folks who have converted on partnership content, for example, can delight your audience and act as a great reminder of your company and the problems you solve. We do this after large lead generation campaigns, and especially after co-marketing projects.
When it comes to onboarding lead nurturing campaigns, video is a great asset in boosting your click through rates, increasing the probability of your audience taking the action you want them to take. You can easily tweak your onboarding workflow to reap the rewards video creates! For example, we’ve found that using a video thumbnail with a play button in an email, instead of a plain image, resulted in a 300% lift in our CTRs! You can’t beat those numbers.
Your onboarding lead nurturing emails should have a goal, and video can help you test that goal. Our onboarding emails, for example, contain a video thumbnail that links new Wistia users to a video that walks them through uploading a new video to their account. We’ve found that 48% of users who start watching the uploading video actually do upload their video—this is huge! Without that video thumbnail in our onboarding workflow, we’d have missed a huge opportunity to get folks to engage more with the product.
8) Focus On the Close
Of course, once you’ve converted and nurtured a lead, you want to focus on the close. If your final goal is to get your leads to become customers, using video can help you get your close rates up. Specifically, try making videos that are personal and human, creating a relationship with your potential customer. Sending one-on-one videos to prospects introducing yourself and letting them know that you value their business will help create trust, and may just raise your chances of sealing the deal.
Marketing agency Bluleadz does a great job pioneering one-on-videos in the close stage of their prospective customer’s journey. They send out a video when the prospect has already talked to sales in-depth and is in decision mode. Their videos look something like this:
These one-on-one videos help create the human element behind Bluleadz business — and they work! Bluleadz has found that prospects who receive these videos before a purchase decision close at a rate of 63%, as compared to 46% for prospects who do not receive videos. That’s a big difference!
With all these tips, it’s time to put your videos to work! How do you make videos that convert? Let us know in the comments!
Longtime editor Kristin van Ogtrop is stepping down as editor in chief of Real Simple. She joined the magazine as an editor in 2003 after working as Glamour’s executive editor. A permanent replacement for van Ogtrop has not yet been named, and Sarah Collins will serve as interim editor in chief. Follow Real Simple on Twitter.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released the second estimate of real GDP growth for the second quarter of 2016 based on more complete source data than was available for the advance estimate. Real GDP grew at a 1.1% seasonally adjusted annual rate, little changed from the 1.2% earlier estimate. The revisions were mixed, consumer spending was slightly stronger, investment… Read More ›
At one point or another, we all need inspiration to do our jobs better. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a marketing veteran who has navigated through years of changing technology or a newbie fresh out of college — we all need examples of outstanding content. It helps us get through creative ruts, make the case to our boss for experimentation, and improve our own marketing.
Most of the time, inspiration is easy to find because most marketing content is publicly available. You can scour the internet or go on your favorite social network to see what your connections are talking about.
But there’s one marketing channel that is really, really hard to find good examples of unless you’re already in the know: email. There’s nothing casual about it — you usually need to be subscribed to an email list to find great examples of emails. And even if you’re subscribed to good emails, they are often bombarding you day after day, so it’s hard to notice the gems.
Because it’s so difficult to find good email marketing examples, we decided to do the scouring and compiling for you. Read on to discover some great emails and get the lowdown on what makes them great — or just keep on scrolling to get a general feel for each. However you like to be inspired is fine by us!
15 Examples of Effective Email Marketing
1) charity: water
When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form to purchasing a product to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that email marketers set and forget.
Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water projects, their money takes a long journey. Most charities don’t tell you about that journey at all — charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don’t even really need to read the email — you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move on to other things in your inbox.
I already have a soft spot for BuzzFeed content (21 Puppies so Cute You Will Literally Gasp and Then Probably Cry, anyone?), but that isn’t the only reason I fell in love with its emails.
First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They are always short and punchy — which fits in perfectly with the rest of BuzzFeed’s content. I especially love how the preview text will accompany the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the one below), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after it:
Once you open up an email from them, the copy is equally awesome. Just take a look at that glorious alt text action happening where the images should be. The email still conveys what it is supposed to convey — and looks great — whether you use an image or not. That’s definitely something to admire.
The beauty of Uber‘s emails is in their simplicity. They let their email subscribers know about deals and promotions by sending an email like the one you see below. We love how brief the initial description is, paired with a very clear call-to-action — which is perfect for subscribers who are quickly skimming the email. For the people who want to learn more, these are followed by a more detailed (but still pleasingly simple), step-by-step explanation of how the deal works.
We also love how consistent the design of their emails is with their brand. Like their app, website, social media photos, and other parts of their visual brand, their emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of their communications and marketing assets tell their brand’s story — and brand consistency is one tactic Uber’s nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.
We’ve written about TheSkimm’s daily newsletter before — especially its clean design and its short, punchy paragraphs. But newsletters aren’t TheSkimm’s only strength when it comes to email. Check out their subscriber engagement email below, which rewarded my colleague Ginny Mineo for being subscribed for two years.
Emails triggered by milestones like anniversary emails and birthday emails are fun to get — who doesn’t like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails in particular is that they don’t require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders and the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.
Here, the folks at TheSkimm took it a step further by asking her if she’d like to earn the title of brand ambassador as a loyal subscriber — which would require her to share the link with ten friends, of course.
5) Mom and Dad Money
Think you know all about the people who are reading your marketing emails? How much of what you “know” about them is based on assumptions? The strongest buyer personas are based on insights you gather from your actual readership, through surveys, interviews, and so on, in addition to the market research. That’s exactly what Matt Becker of Mom and Dad Money does — and he does it very, very well.
Here’s an example of an email I got in my inbox a few weeks ago. Design-wise, it’s nothing special — but that’s the point. It reads just like an email from a friend or colleague asking for a quick favor.
Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.
Some of the best emails out there pair super simple design with brief, clever copy. When it comes down to it, my daily emails from Poncho, which sends me customizable weather forecasts each morning, takes the cake. They’re colorful, use delightful images and GIFs, and very easy to scan. The copy is brief but clever — some great puns in there — and aligns perfectly with the brand. Check out the copy near the bottom asking to “hang out outside of email.” Hats off to Poncho for using design to better communicate its message.
The subject line of this email from beauty product subscription service Birchbox got my colleague Pam Vaughan clicking. It read: “We Forgot Something in Your February Box!” Of course, if you read the email copy below, they didn’t actually forget to put that discount code in her box — but it was certainly a clever way to get her attention.
And the discount code for Rent the Runway, a dress rental company that likely fits the interest profile of most Birchbox customers, certainly didn’t disappoint. That’s a great co-marketing partnership right there.
I’ve gotta say, I’m a sucker for GIFs. They’re easy to consume, they catch your eye, and they have an emotional impact — like the fun GIF in one of Postmates‘ emails that’s not only delightful to watch, but also makes you crave some delicious Chipotle.
You too can use animated GIFs in your marketing to show a fun header, to draw people’s eye to a certain part of the email, or to display your products and services in action. Here are the best places to find GIFs on the internet, and here’s an easy Photoshop tutorial for making your own.
You might think it’d be hard to love an email from a company whose product you haven’t been using. But Dropbox found a way to make their “come back to us!” email cute and funny, thanks to a pair of whimsical cartoons and an emoticon.
Plus, they kept the email short and sweet to emphasize the message that they don’t want to intrude, they just want to remind the recipient that they exist and why they could be helpful. When sending these types of email, you might include an incentive for recipients to come back to using your service, like a limited-time coupon.
10) InVision App
Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week’s, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn’t exist.
Not only is their newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly — which is especially important because their newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on their call-to-action buttons, too.
11) Warby Parker
What goes better with a new prescription than a new pair of glasses? The folks at Warby Parker made that connection very clear in their email to a friend of mine back in 2014. It’s an older email, but it’s such a good example of personalized email marketing that I had to include it in here.
The subject line was: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring.” What a clever email trigger. And you’ve gotta love ’em for reminding you your prescription needs updating.
Speaking of which … check out the clever co-marketing at the bottom of the email: If you don’t know where to go to renew your subscription, the information for an optometrist is right in the email. Now there’s no excuse not to shop for new glasses!
12) Cook Smarts
I’ve been a huge fan of Cook Smarts‘ “Weekly Eats” newsletter for a while. The company sends yummy recipes in meal plan form to my inbox every week. But I didn’t just include it because of its delicious recipes … I’m truly a fan of its emails. I love the layout: Each email features three distinct sections (one for the menu, one for kitchen how-to’s, and one for the tips). This means you don’t have to go hunting to find the most interesting part of its blog posts — you know exactly where to look after an email or two.
I also love Cook Smarts’ “Forward to a Friend” call-to-action in the top-right of the email. Emails are super shareable on — you guessed it — email, so you should also think about reminding your subscribers to forward your emails to friends, coworkers, or heck, even family.
“Saying goodbye is never easy to do… So, we thought we’d give you a chance to rethink things”. That was the subject of this automated unsubscribe email from HireVue. We love the simple, guilt-free messaging here, from the funny header images to the great call-to-action button copy.
Not only are the design and copy here top-notch, but we applaud the folks at HireVue for sending automated unsubscribe emails in the first place. It’s smart to purge your subscriber lists of folks who aren’t opening your email lists because low open rates can seriously hurt email deliverability. We sent out a similar email in December 2015 when we automatically unsubscribed people once they became unengaged, which you can read about here.
14) Paperless Post
When you think of “holiday email marketing,” your mind might jump straight to Christmas, but there are other holidays sprinkled throughout the rest of the year that you can create campaigns around.
Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear call-to-action that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, “Wait, when is Mother’s Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?” Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and is quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself — click on any one of them and you will be taken to a purchase page.
Humans crave personalized experiences. It’s science. When emails appear to be created especially for you, you feel special — you’re not just getting what everyone else is getting. You might even feel like the company sending you the email knows you in some way, and that they care about your preferences and making you happy.
That’s why I love on-demand podcast/radio show app Stitcher‘s “Recommended For You” email. I tend to listen to episodes from the same podcast instead of branching out to new ones. But Stitcher wants me to discover (and subscribe to) all the other awesome content they have — and I probably wouldn’t without their encouragement.
I think this email is also quite a brilliant use of responsive design. The colors are bright, and it’s not too hard to scroll and click — notice the CTAs are large enough for me to hit with my thumbs. Also, the mobile email actually has features that make sense for recipients who are on their mobile device. Check out the CTA at the bottom of the email, for example: The “Open Stitcher Radio” button prompts the app to open on your phone.
These are just some of our favorite emails. Don’t just follow best practice when it comes to your marketing emails. Every email you send from your work email address also can be optimised to convert. Try out our free email signature generator now. Check out some more of our favorite HubSpot marketing email examples.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Andrew Dowell will soon take on a new role overseeing Asia Pacific coverage at The Wall Street Journal. He will replace Paul Beckett, who is moving back stateside in early 2017 to serve as Washington bureau chief. Dowell is currently deputy financial editor for the WSJ Money & Investing section. Previously, he served as chief for the Corporate Bureau, deputy managing editor for the Dow Jones Newswires Ticker, and as editor for the Newswires’ energy content. Follow The Wall Street Journal’s news updates from Asia on Twitter.
In its quarterly National Delinquency Survey, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that 3.11% of 1-4 family mortgages were seriously delinquent in the second quarter of 2016. Measured on a not seasonally adjusted basis, the rate of serious delinquency, which includes both mortgages that are 90 or more days past due and mortgages in foreclosure, was 0.84 percentage point less than the 3.95%… Read More ›
Google is no stranger to algorithmic change. And usually, those changes are made for the sake of the user. Looking at a history of Google’s product announcements, usability is usually at the heart of the modification.
So when Google announced its impending smackdown on mobile pop-up ads earlier this week, it came as no surprise that the major reason behind it was to enhance the user
For many businesses, the announcement carries major implications. Those that rely on advertisements as a primary source of revenue, for example, will be some of the hardest hit. To help you navigate this change, we put together everything you need to know below, from what the update entails to how to prepare accordingly.
What’s New in Mobile Search Results
Back in 2014, Google added a “mobile-friendly” label for search results that were optimized for such platforms — where text is readable without zooming or horizontal scrolling, and links are spaced well enough so that there’s a reduced chance of mis-tapping.
But two years later, Google has found that 85% of mobile search results are optimized that way. As a result, the search engine is doing away with that label, and introducing new mobile-specific ranking criteria.
And now, pages with mobile pop-ups — or what Google is calling “interstitials” — probably won’t be ranking as highly when these algorithmic changes take effect on January 10, 2017.
“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” Google’s official announcement states. “This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.”
Not all pop-ups are created equal, though, so there are some specifics around which types of interstitials Google considers to be disruptive to the user experience. Some are legally required — like ones used by liquor companies that verify the user’s age — so they won’t impact the page’s rank.
According to the official statement, interstitials affected by Google’s crackdown include the following:
- “Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
- Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.”
What Does It Mean For Marketers?
As we mentioned before, the companies that rely on these interstitials for income will be especially impacted by this change. They’re the ones who, as Emma Hinchliffe of Mashable points out, need that ad revenue to survive. Now, these businesses face a difficult choice: Rank, or profit.
But losing SEO traffic can “crush” these companies, says HubSpot’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Marcus Andrews. And that makes sense — 51% percent of digital media is consumed via mobile, compared to a lagging 42% on desktop.
Andrews suggests that, if they haven’t done so already, marketers solve for mobile SEO first. The pain that comes with changing a revenue model is inevitable, but shorter-term — and businesses that rely on advertiser dollars, he says, should figure out ways “to make money that don’t totally disrupt the mobile user experience.”
“Google is very focused on the user,” Andrews continues. “Marketers are always looking for hacky ways to increase traffic and conversion rates, and every once in a while, Google needs to make a correction to improve the user experience.”
That actually creates a great opportunity for marketers to think more about the user — both the experience, and what that person is offered. It’s what HubSpot’s Director of Product Development, Nicholas Holland, calls a “forcing function.” It makes marketers seriously consider the increasing overtaking of mobile technology, and what the implications will be on their overall business operations.
Basically, these developments from Google are a giant wake-up call to those who “create a bad viewer experience,” Holland says — especially those who might not even realize it. Now, they absolute must “think through alternative revenue methods.”
But what are those methods, exactly?
First — if it isn’t obvious by now — remove any pop-ups you’ve been using.
“As inbound marketers, we rely on driving relevant visitors to content,” says HubSpot’s Principal Product Marketing Manager, Jeffrey Vocell. “Interstitials, especially interruptive ones, do not provide a good experience, and in many cases actually block or limit the content that can be seen.”
That’s why your best option might be to create valuable content that draws the visitors that Vocell is alluding to. When you do that, Holland advises, you can focus on driving revenue — or at least leads — using calls to action and embedded forms. (And to learn more about converting those leads, check out our free ebook on optimizing landing pages.)
Replacing intrusive interstitials with valuable content is a double-edged SEO sword. Not only are you giving the user what he or she is searching for — and improving your rank accordingly — but you’re also getting rid of the invasive pop-ups that, come January, would be lowering it.
What You Can Do Now to Prepare
If you’re freaking out about Google’s announcement, that’s okay — but please, don’t be. As we mentioned, these changes actually provide a great opportunity to use inbound marketing to generally enhance your marketing presence — on mobile, or otherwise.
Here’s what you can do to get ready for the rollout:
- If you relied on interstitials for ad revenue, figure out where that money is going to come from now.
- Find ways to generate revenue without obstructing the user experience, and in a way that optimizes your page for mobile. Both of those factors will likely remain crucial to search engine rank.
- Know that those solutions often exist in the content you create. Make something valuable for the user. By gating it behind a landing page, you’re generating leads — and eventually sales — in a much less intrusive way that brings visitors to you.
What do you think about Google’s latest announcement, and what are you doing to prepare for it? Let us know in the comments.