How to Schedule Up To 350 Social Media Posts at Once

As a social media pro, you probably have a lot of content to share—and not a lot of time to do it.

With that in mind, creating and scheduling posts in bulk will save you a lifetime of sitting at your desk and scheduling posts individually. Our newly improved Bulk Composer feature makes it easy to schedule posts across multiple social networks at once. Here’s how to make the most of it.

Benefits of bulk composing

  • Upload content quickly and easily. Instead of hopping back and forth between social networks, schedule all your messages in bulk from one place.
  • Schedule hundreds of posts—up to 350 messages at a time.
  • Reach multiple timezones. Use Bulk Composer to schedule your messages ahead of time to reach audiences all around the world.
  • Pre-plan campaign messages. Draw your audience towards a big event, release, or product launch. Scheduling multiple messages to promote an event is a great way to build anticipation.
  • Improve consistency. Being consistent with your updates can teach your audience when to expect new content from you. Avoiding pauses or sudden breaks in your social media schedule also ensures maximum engagement.

How to use Hootsuite’s Bulk Composer

Watch the video to learn how our follow the step-by-step instructions below.

1. Compose your messages

To bulk schedule messages in Hootsuite, the first step is—not surprisingly—composing your messages. This is where your social media content strategy comes into play. Get crafty and make ‘em count.

Bulk Composer uses .CSV files, so we recommend creating your content in Google Sheets, or a plain text editor like TextEdit. Another option is crafting your messages using a bulk scheduling template.

Formatting rules

You’ll use three columns to set up your messages. Column A is the date and time you want your message to be scheduled for, Column B is the message itself, and Column C is where you’ll include a URL (if needed in your post).

How to bulk schedule social media posts

Important formatting rules to keep in mind:

Column A: Date and time are in mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm or dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm

  • Be sure to use the same date format for each of your messages.
  • Times must be set in the future (at least 10 minutes from upload time) and should end in either a 5 or a 0, i.e. 10:45 or 10:50.

Column B: Your carefully crafted content

  • For Twitter there is a limit of 140 characters (not including attached media).

Column C: URL (optional)

  • The full URL you want to include in your message.
  • You can choose to have these automatically shortened to ow.ly links.

2. Upload your messages

To prepare a bulk message file:

  • Select Publisher, the paper airplane icon, from the launch menu
  • Under Content Sources, click Bulk Composer
  • Click Select File to Upload
  • Select your .CSV file
  • Click Open
  • Choose which social networks to publish the messages to
  • Optional: If you do not want your URLs shortened to ow.ly links, click on Do Not Shorten Links
  • Click Next: Review Messages

3. Fix any errors

If the Bulk Composer detects any errors in your uploaded messages, you’ll spot them easily—they’ll display a red banner explaining the issue.

A message cannot be scheduled until the issue is fixed. This could be a formatting error, a duplicate message, or too many characters.

4. Edit and customize your messages

Last minute changes? Bulk Composer lets you select messages individually to review and edit them before the final send-off.

Select a message from the list to:

  • Fix errors: Edit the message text or make any last minute changes.
  • Preview how it will look: Click Preview in the top-right corner to see how the post will look on each social network.
  • Customize link preview image: Click Select an image to upload or Replace link preview with media and add an image.
  • Customize link title or description: Click Customize on the link preview to remove or customize the link preview image, or edit the link title or description, and then click Save.
  • Change the scheduled time: Click the scheduled time at the bottom of the post to edit the time you want your message to be published.
  • Switch the social network: To edit the social networks the message is being published to, or the links included in the message, edit the message in the Publisher section (denoted by a paper airplane icon) after the message is scheduled.

5. Schedule

You’ve made it this far, young Padawan. You’re at the final steps of the Bulk Composer journey but there’s one last crucial thing to do: schedule your messages.

Located in the editing pane, click Schedule in the bottom-right corner to schedule a message on its own, or click Schedule All Messages to upload all messages in your queue.

Time to get into scheduling in bulk. Select messages in your queue by ticking the check box, then click Schedule Selected.

Having up to 350 messages in your queue can be a handful. Feel free to filter your scheduled messages by profile or by social network for better organization.

Dos and don’ts

Do: space out your posts

Stagger your posts so you don’t bombard your readers with the same content, over and over again.

Don’t: get flagged as spam by posting duplicate messages

Most social networks use an algorithm that look at a number of factors including the frequency of posts, if they have received reports about a specific profile, and whether any of the links used are flagged as spam

So while there are a few reasons a post could get flagged, the number one thing you can do to ensure yours don’t is to vary the message of each post, if only slightly. Don’t send identical messages to the same profile in a short timeframe, so you can avoid getting error messages like this:

bulk-schedule

This is also a good reminder to keep your content fresh and interesting.

Do: take time to craft meaningful messages

You (should) already know this one—but creating relevant content is key to engaging audiences and increasing social reach. There’s a reason it’s a social media best practice that never gets old.

Stuck for ideas? In just a few seconds, Hootsuite Suggestions can help you craft compelling messages.

Don’t: forget about character count

Your total word count is limited in characters by whichever network you’re posting to. Twitter, for example, has a limit of 140 characters. If you include a link, the URL will take up 24 characters (23 for the URL itself and one more for the space between the URL and the rest of your message). But don’t fret. Any post that exceeds a character limit will be flagged by Bulk Composer with an error message.

Save time managing your social presence by using Hootsuite to create and schedule content in bulk with the click of a button.

Get Started For Free

The post How to Schedule Up To 350 Social Media Posts at Once appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

Hootsuite Social Media Management

RetroSupply Co.’s Tips for A/B Testing and List Growth

retro-supply

Like so many MailChimp customers’ small businesses, RetroSupply Co. started out as a side hustle. Dustin Lee’s attempt to build a startup hadn’t panned out as he’d hoped.

“I was completely broke, I had $ 35,000 in credit card debt, and I’d quit all my freelance work to focus on this startup,” he says. “I had no money coming in.”

So he started setting his alarm for 4:30 am to get in a few extra hours of graphic design work each morning and began creating the products that would come to define RetroSupply today: graphic styles, fonts, textures, Adobe Photoshop templates, brushes. He took his work to Creative Market, a platform that allows independent makers to showcase and sell their wares.

And then The Slot Machine Morning dawned: the day his phone pinged so many times with sales that it sounded like a casino in the coffee shop.

“I closed my MacBook, ran home to my wife, and said, ‘Listen. Every time you hear this sound, that’s $ 9 in our pocket.’”

By the end of the day, he’d made $ 1,500.

It’s all about the list

“Creative Market is my closest partner,” he says. “But I also knew from my other business that one of the most important things I could do is build my own email list and have control over that.”

His strategy remains the same today: Drive all traffic toward the goal of building the list. “Even a small list of people who are into what you’re doing gives you tremendous leverage,” Dustin says. “I would give up everything I’ve ever made to keep our email list.”

To put that list to work, he chose MailChimp. “MailChimp had the mostly cleanly designed site, and it’s friendly,” he says. “I hate tech stuff that looks intimidating and MailChimp isn’t. Before I send, and the monkey’s finger sweats—that kind of stuff is so smart. It reminds me that I need to double-check things but makes it fun.”

Plus, our integration with Shopify allows him to use purchase data to target his customers more precisely, and A/B testing gives him insight into his customers.

The real value of testing

For one test with a new product, he hypothesized that short-form content with a buy button would result in more revenue than a long-form email full of photos. Instead, he found that while the short email created more clicks to the site, the long-form version tripled the revenue numbers. Even though the email was long, people who were really interested in the product learned everything they needed to know to make a purchase.

MailChimp’s data science team has found that when e-commerce customers use A/B or multivariate testing with revenue as their test metric, they typically earn 20% more revenue than they would from a standard campaign.

And testing shouldn’t just influence your emails, Dustin says. “It should inform the way you do business.”

For example, he wondered whether his customers were more interested in the authenticity of RetroSupply Co.’s products or behind-the-scenes content. He wrote one email subject line about crayons made of 65-year-old wax and one about behind-the-scenes tour of its creation.

“Way more people clicked on the crayons,” he says. “So when we do Instagram, when we write blog posts, we know that people are curious about our authenticity, and that affects everything we do.”

nighthawk

Deepen the relationship

“Our main goal,” he says, “is to get people on our email list, then build trust, make them like us, and show that we’re different and unique. If they open our email, they’re going to smile or find a novelty they want to look at, even if they don’t buy.”

They’ve also recently begun writing blog posts, which has had the added benefit of helping their ranking in SEO, and partnering with other blogs.

His other tip for small businesses? Surveys, which he runs through a third-party integration with MailChimp. He asks one question: If we made you any product, what would you want?

“When we build it, we know we’re solving a problem,” he says. “We’re not guessing. It’s really just being a good listener.”

Make neat stuff that people want and tell them about it. Then, send emails that make them smile and let them know you’re listening. That’s RetroSupply Co.’s approach. And it’s paid off. Dustin got rid of that credit card debt in 6 months.

MailChimp Email Marketing BlogMailChimp Email Marketing Blog

On the Origin of Spamtraps

Some of the most common email compliance questions I get around being blacklisted seem to center on how they were listed in the first place and what email address specifically got their company’s IP address listed, which inevitably leads to a conversation around spamtraps… which can get confusing, fast. So, I figured it was about time to write up a three part series on what a spamtrap is, how you can wind up with one (or a few) on your list, and a few myths around them. Today, let’s chat about the different types of spamtraps.

To start with some history, the definition of a spamtrap has evolved with the email industry. Initially, spamtraps were simply secret email addresses that had never been used, so it was just a “trap” address that only spammers could find and send mail to. If you sent mail to those spamtraps, you would wind up blacklisted.

However, as email filtering evolved, so did spamtraps. Now they’re defined as (still secret) addresses that receive spam. That’s a pretty interesting change, as the new definition of spamtrap was a response to different methods for creating and managing spamtrap addresses, which gave us different ways of collecting information on how email senders acquire email addresses.

There are now two different “classes” of spamtraps: pristine and repurposed. Pristine spamtraps are ones that have never signed up for marketing email, which tells the spamtrap owner that the sender is either randomly creating addresses or is scraping lists online. Repurposed spamtraps are ones that belonged to someone once, but were abandoned and reclaimed by either the ISP or a spamtrap creator, which tells the spamtrap owner that there are likely bad marketing practices at play. Below, I’ve included the typical name for the kind of spamtrap and whether it is considered pristine or repurposed. Laura Atkins over at Word To The Wise has a phenomenal writeup on this (with some other spamtraps I haven’t covered) that I’d definitely recommend checking out for further reading!

Dead address- Repurposed

These are email addresses that formerly belonged to someone, but have been abandoned. Generally, dead addresses are used by ISPs who then reclaim this email address. They will then often send back a bounce notification for 12-18 months, so marketers have the chance to remove this prospect from their lists. After that bounce timeframe, the addresses are live again and are considered spamtraps. Anyone who is following appropriate best practices for bounce management and handling should not have issues with these spamtraps. Dead spamtraps are best for determining if there are issues with purchased lists or poor list management practices.

Classic – Pristine

Classic spamtraps most closely follow the spamtrap type that was first created. It’s an address that isn’t found anywhere on the Internet, but if the sender is randomly creating addresses, they may hit this classic trap. Alternately, a classic trap might be actual users submitting junk data to forms, without actually owning the domain they’re typing in. That could lead to an accidental spam trap hit by an otherwise legitimate marketing sender.

Seed traps- Pristine

Seed traps are ones that are similar to classic traps in that they’re email addresses that never opt in, but seed traps are placed on websites for scraping tools to find. Seed traps are particularly useful for determining whether someone is scraping email addresses or is buying lists from someone who scrapes the internet for email addresses.

Under “Seed traps”, I would also include live email traps. These are, in my experience, used by known members of the email sending community that can be trusted to know precisely what they’d opted in to receiving on that address. For example, my personal email never opts into any marketing email, for any reason. If I ever get marketing email to that address, I can write to that abuse desk letting them know what the situation with that email address is. From my perspective, my live email address is a great indicator of someone using a purchased list or scraping from my college’s email database.

Typo- Pristine

Typo traps are similar to classic traps, but are close enough to a regular address or domain that a typo might get that spamtrap on your list. For example, I could type in “support@slaesforce.com”, and someone happens to own slaesforce.com… which they’ve turned into a spamtrap domain. Typically, typo addresses can be problematic, as they may often be a source of legitimate email, and someone just happened to mess up their typing. How many of us have accidentally typed in @gamil.com instead of @gmail.com before? Mail to a typo trap at least tells us there was probably a person behind that email address signup, so typo traps aren’t really the most accurate way for spamtrap owners to determine if someone is truly sending spam or is sending legitimate email. Typo traps aren’t the best traps for someone to be using as their sole source of data when analyzing an email stream, but they are quite useful when used in conjunction with other spamtrap types.

That’s it for today’s post! Tune in next time for part 2: How does a spamtrap get onto your list?

Email Marketing – Pardot

How We Tackled Scalability in the Real Estate Industry with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is everywhere. As more and more businesses move towards digital transformation, there’s an inevitable push toward automating time consuming processes, and scaling the tactics that generate revenue. In the past, marketing has been seen as totally separate from sales, but today, digital media has brought the two teams together, aligning the sales and marketing cycle from brand awareness to closing a deal. At Elegran, closing this loop has allowed us to scale a real estate business more like a tech company, and enabled some great wins for our sales team.

tighcs

Learning to Market at Scale

Marketing automation has closed the loop in the consumer lifecycle, allowing our automated processes to streamline the time consuming administrative tasks our sales and marketing teams used to have to manage manually, and generating the intelligence to let ROI drive business decisions.

At Elegran, we built a complex, multi-channel marketing strategy covering search engine optimization, search engine advertising, display and re-marketing, inbound, content and social media marketing, email and many, many more media channels… As a result, we had a large database of leads to feed our sales team, but lacked the high level insight to follow every prospect all the way through the sales funnel.

While “automation” and “scalability” are two of the biggest buzzwords heard around our management team, real estate has typically not been a scalable business model. Overhead always limits expansion, as managing a team of independent contractors becomes increasingly difficult with a larger team.

Leveraging Marketing Automation to Streamline Processes

Once we had a marketing automation platform in place, we saw that building an organizational data architecture would provide the foundation for growth and scalability, and empower both our sales and marketing teams. To create this structure, we dove into the entire consumer journey of a client, from their first exposure to our brand as a prospect, to the needs of a long term client working on a repeat deal, and every potential step in between.

This meant thinking about real estate as a lead ecosystem, with a continuous churn to understand where the bulk of our clientele was at every potential step in the purchasing process. Our consumer research resulted in four categories: Awareness, Follow Up, Nurture and Re-Engagement. Each stage was further organized by lead type (Landlords, Sellers, Buyers, Renters, Brokers), as well as micro-segmented by buying criteria, such as price point, neighborhood or amenity.

End Result: Success!

This segmentation then allowed our marketing team to create hyper-targeted drip campaigns, with messaging catered to the lead type, and serve dynamic content to consumers based on their buying criteria. For example, a buyer in Chelsea in Manhattan might receive an entirely different email than a renter looking in Midtown… automatically.

Thanks to these drip campaigns, prospects that would have been discarded or overlooked last year were categorized, then converted into luxury real estate clients, and our business has grown rapidly as a result.

E-Book: Marketing Automation and Your CRM

Marketing Automation – Pardot

PPC Advertising Hack: Super-Targeted Live Chat Prompts

How do I get potential customers to engage on my site?

If you’re trying to run a business online, this is a critically important question to answer—especially if you’re running any sort of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Clicks and site traffic simply aren’t enough. If you want your business to succeed, you need conversions and sales.

Now, hopefully, since you’re here on the Kissmetrics blog, you already know that. You’re constantly improving your PPC traffic and optimizing your landing pages for maximum conversion rate.

But still, you want more out of your site. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to get even more people to engage on your site and convert?

Well, fortunately, at Disruptive, we’ve come up with a PPC advertising hack that uses live chat prompts to quadruple chats and increase conversion rates by up to 20%.

Here’s how it works:

People Love to Talk

Whenever someone visits your site, it’s because they need something. Maybe they have a problem they need fixed. Maybe they have a question they need answered. Maybe they simply want to feel understood.

No matter what the reason, people come to your site because they need something. If you can get them to talk about what they need, they are much more likely to feel connected to and engage with your business.

In fact, if you can get people talking, you’re much more likely to win their business—half of leads choose the first company they speak with.

The good news is, people love to talk and they especially like to talk about their problems, concerns and frustrations—the exact things that brought them to your site! All you have to do is find a good way to start the conversation.

Vanilla Chat Prompts

To better understand this, pretend you’re a guy who’s going to propose to his girlfriend soon. You enter a local jewelry store and start looking at the diamond engagement rings. A salesperson walks up and greets you with a cheerful, “It’s a pleasure to see you today! What can I help you with?”

How would you respond? Odds are, if you didn’t already have a specific question in mind, you’d probably just shrug and say “Oh nothing, I’m just looking.”

That’s not very helpful to either of you, is it?

Well, guess what? Most chat prompts start with generic questions like, “Can I help?” For example, check out the chat prompt below:

answering-service-care-good

This doesn’t really do much for them or you, unless you show up on their site with a burning question you’re dying to ask.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this sort of chat prompt is great if you’re in the customer service department, but we’re marketers. We’re trying to start a conversation, not fill a troubleshooting queue.

Useful Chat Prompts

So, what sort of chat prompt start a conversation? Let’s go back to our engagement ring example.

After a somewhat underwhelming experience at the first jewelry store, you check out a second place and a new salesperson appears. This guy, however, asks you a specific question that relates to what you’re looking at, like “Is there specific cut you’re looking for?”

This is a much better conversation starter now isn’t it? It’s an open-ended, specific question that shows the salesperson’s interest in helping you.

Let’s apply this to chat prompts.

Instead of leading with “Can I help you with anything?” consider leading with something more directly relevant to your business. For our answering service, that might look like this:

answering-service-care-better

A chat prompt like this uses something the answering service knows about their visitors (they are probably there because they need a high-quality answering service) to try and start a conversation.

After all, if you want to prove that you’re a high-quality answering service, what better way than to let people try before they buy?

It’s a great idea, but the problem with this prompt is that it still doesn’t really draw people into a conversation. If someone is seriously considering this service, they’re probably going to chat in, but a lot of those people probably would have converted anyways.

Engaging Chat Prompts

Truly engaging chat prompts aren’t just focused on meeting customer needs—they actually get people to talk about those needs, wants and desires.

Back to our engagement ring salesperson example. You still weren’t sold in store #2, so you head to jeweler #3. Here, the salesperson came up to you and said, “I noticed you’re checking out our engagement rings. When are you popping the question?”

The answer to that question will give the salesperson everything he needs to get a conversation started, steer you to your ideal ring and close the sale.

For example, if you answer, “I want to ask her in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to see what my ring options are,” he might respond with:

“Great! Congratulations! I asked my wife to marry me in December, too. Do you have any idea what sort of cut she likes?”

Look at that! You’re only a few sentences into the conversation, but the salesperson has already identified your needs, made a connection with you and shown that he’s on your team.

Assuming each salesperson has a ring and a price that fits your needs, which store are you more likely to buy from? If you’re like most people, the answer is jeweler #3!

Crafting a Conversation Starter

Now, all of this is great advice for jewelry salespeople, but how do you start a conversation like this online?

Well, the secret to salesperson #3’s success was the fact that he used what he knew about you and why you were there to draw you into a conversation. Your PPC ads tell you the exact same information—all you have to do is use it!

For example, let’s take a look at how I ended up on that call answering service page. I found their page by searching for “virtual answering service” on Google.

answering-service-ads

The search term I used and the ad I clicked tells them a couple of important things about me:

  1. I’m looking for a virtual answering service. The fact that I typed in “virtual answering service” means I know what a virtual answering service is, what it does and I think I might need one.
  2. Their ad resonated with me in some way. Quite a few selling points appear in this ad (call recording, price, family owned, etc), but the main message seems to be “24/7- Never Miss Another Call!” Clicking on their ad tells them that this idea probably resonated with me.

Taken together, these two points tell a story about me that the answering service can use to create a great conversation starter—possible something like this?

answering-service-care-best

Odds are, if I’m looking for a virtual answering service and clicking on an ad that tells me “never miss another call,” missing calls is a real problem for my business. I’m probably frustrated, angry and would love to vent to someone about it.

What better way to get me talking than to ask me about the very thing that brought me to their site in the first place?

Not only will this start a conversation, it will also tell the chat operator a lot about what I am looking for in an answering service, which will allow the operator to emphasize the selling points I really care about.

For example, if I talk about a valuable prospective customer that I lost because no one was there to answer the phone at 3 in the morning, then the operator can emphasize that their service can respond to calls at all hours of the day.

See how powerful starting a conversation can be?

How To Customize Chat Prompts

Now, at this point, you may be thinking something like, “Well, that’s all great, Jake, but how would I ever even start customizing my chats like this?”

It’s actually pretty simple. All you have to do is use your UTM parameters.

Setting Up UTM Parameters

Hopefully, you’re already using UTM parameters to track marketing performance in Google Analytics.

If you’re not, don’t worry, it’s easy. Google has an online URL builder that’s quite easy to use. All you need to do is enter your landing page’s URL, put in the info that you need tracked and then Google will generate the UTM parameters for you:

utm-parameters-demo

In addition to helping you track your PPC results, UTM parameters also create a unique URL you can use to customize your chat prompts.

Using Your UTM Parameters

Personally, I find that the easiest way to set up custom, highly targeted chat prompts is using Olark (note, I don’t have any financial relationship with Olark, they just have a great tool). So, for the purposes of this article, I’ll show you how to set things up in Olark.

To set up customized chat prompts, all you have to do is log into your Olark account and choose Settings, then Targeted Chat, then +New Rule.

setting-up-targeted-chat

Once you’ve done that, add a UTM parameter that’s specific to your ad to the “Current URL contains” section and change “Expand the Olark chat box” to “Send this message to your visitor” as follows:

targeted-chat-demo

Last of all, add your conversation starter and hit “Save Rule.” You’re good to go!

Once you’ve got this in place, when someone clicks on your PPC ad and arrives on a page with your UTM parameters, your custom, targeted conversation starter will pop up and get them talking!

Conclusion

Remember, as you’re getting used to this, you may not get a ton of chats right off the bat. As with site optimization, you’ll probably need to test a bunch of different prompts until you find one that really catches your traffic’s attention.

Still, in our experience, creating targeted, conversation-starting chats can be a tremendous way to boost the conversion rate of your page.

So, take a bit of time, come up with some chat prompts that address the real reasons why people are on your site and start testing!

What do you think of this strategy? Does it make sense to you?

Once you’ve tried this tactic, let me know what your results were in the comments!

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

7 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Landing Page Examples [with critiques]

Cyber Monday Landing Page Examples

Psst: This post was published previously on the Unbounce Blog. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, we’ve updated it with helpful tips and critiques that will inspire your upcoming holiday campaigns.

It’s that time again: Holiday shopping season.

And every business is trying to take advantage of the billions of consumer dollars that will be spent over the next four weeks.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were only the beginning.

We all know that there were millions of consumers heading online and into stores to grab the first amazing deals of the season. The question is, which brands left money on the table?

Over the past weekend, I took a look at a bunch of Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing campaigns that were promoted through Twitter, Facebook and Google Adwords.

Some marketers knocked it out of the park.

Others, not so much.

I took a quick tally of how many websites were promoting their sales through the use of landing pages, and I was disappointed to say the least.

cyber-monday-landing-pages

This was a random sample of campaigns found by searching for Cyber Monday & Black Friday keywords

Just 8 out of 34 campaigns used a landing page that focused on the black Friday sale.

16 of the campaigns sent traffic to a corporate website, using some sort of headline or banner to promote the sale.

And a whopping 10 out of 34 companies just sent traffic to their normal homepage without a single mention of Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

That’s huge.

I mean, almost 30% of the companies I looked at figured all they had to do was send out a tweet or an ad to promote themselves on Black Friday weekend!

Thankfully, you know better – you know the power of landing pages.

So what are the tricks you can use on your landing pages to knock holiday shopping season out of the park? Let’s take a look at 7 sites that actually used a landing page to promote themselves this past weekend, and the different strategies they employed to pull it off.

1. Autozone

autozone

Strategy: The flash sale [promoted via Twitter]

I love the premise of this page. Auto parts retailer Autozone set up a bunch of “flash sales” that were released throughout the day. The counter on the page told visitors when the next flash sale would be available.

In theory, this should increase the engagement of the page and keep visitors’ attention longer by getting them excited about the next sale.

But there are a couple of problems with how they went about it:

Is this page already sold out?

The words “SOLD OUT” are very large on this page. It’s the first thing you see, and I’d be afraid of this driving traffic away from the site. If you went into a store on Black Friday and saw a huge sign that said “SOLD OUT” would you stick around?

I would make the headline more explanatory. Something like this:

“Our latest sale has SOLD OUT, our next sale starts in: 00:02:57”

Don’t make me wait!

Another drawback I see with this page is a high abandon rate. Sure, you’re going to get a few people interested enough to stick around, but a good portion of your visitors are going to bounce off this page and forget about it.

The solution is to add a quick opt-in. Why not say something like:

“Don’t miss our next sale! Enter your email address below and we’ll notify you when our next flash sale begins!”

That way you’re not only building a list for the future, you’re also keeping visitors engaged throughout Cyber Monday.

2. Snack Tools

snacktools

Strategy: The overlay [promoted via Twitter and Facebook]

All right, so this example isn’t a landing page, but it represents an effective way to boost conversions during the holidays.

Web app company Snack Tools put an overlay on its site with the details of a holiday promotion for visitors who arrived via social media.

Their technique presents a few problems:

My attention span is short, give me the quick points

The trouble with competing on Cyber Monday or Black Friday is that everyone is trying to find the best deal. That means they don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time on your page to decide if your deal is right for them.

This overlay needs less copy and preferably fewer membership benefits. Less is more when it comes to using overlays.

Another option is to remove the close button and turn this into a real landing page! However, if the copy is strong and the offer is clear, this overlay will be able to drive conversions as well as any standalone page.

Pro tip: Targeted overlays create more conversion opportunities… which means more conversions for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. Build and publish high-converting overlays in *just a few minutes* with Unbounce’s drag and drop builder.

Just remember, using overlays is a great way to increase sales and conversions. The deal you’re offering is front and center is sure to capture visitors’’ attention.

This call to action is rubbish

“Post your order” is only slightly better than “Submit” – and we all know you should never submit.

No need to get fancy, but a simple “Activate My Account” would be a much better call to action.

3. ONE Medical Group

onemedicalgroup

Strategy: Promotional code [promoted via Google Adwords and Twitter]

This is an example of a promotion code landing page. It seems visually appealing at first glance, but there are some serious issues with this page:

Am I shopping for furniture?

The photo in the background looks like a furniture store, not anything medical. Images on a landing page are very important. They reassure visitors that they’ve arrived in the right place.

What exactly does this company do?

This entire page focuses on the Cyber Monday deal, but makes no mention of the product itself. If I were a visitor who didn’t know anything about this service, I would not have enough information to move forward.

Make sure not to lose focus on your product and the benefits it will bring to your visitors. Ultimately, that’s what will sell your product or service.

Where’s the call to action?

Oh right, it’s those two orange buttons. The problem with these buttons is that they’re the exact same colour as the logo (Yikes!).

As a result, they get lost in the shuffle. By making your calls to action look like buttons and giving them enough contrast with the other elements of your landing page, you’ll get a higher click-through rate on your landing pages.

4. Sage

sage 50

Strategy: Minor modifications to existing landing pages [promoted via Google Adwords]

Why reinvent the wheel? If you already have a successful landing page that’s crushing conversions for your company, you may not need to make large sweeping changes for a holiday promotion.

If you’re in a pinch, you can set up a landing page just like this. Sage sells account software, and it looks like they’re using a basic template for their landing pages. This allows them to swap out the background image and the headlines for various promotions quickly and easily.

But what about urgency?!

This page is simple and to the point, but it could use more urgency. The beauty of Cyber Monday/Black Friday is that you have that urgency built right in. Remind your visitors that this is a limited time offer and it’s going to expire very soon.

Sage could throw a countdown on this landing page, which might give visitors that extra little push to convert.

5. The New York Times

New York Times Landing Page example

Strategy: Focus on one step at a time [promoted via their website]

I like this page.

It cuts to the core of the offer and doesn’t have any fluff.

My only critiques are that the headline could be more readable and the end date doesn’t have very much emphasis; you want to make sure that every visitor is aware that the deal is limited, which creates a sense of urgency.

Here’s what I like so much about this page:

Frequently asked questions are available, but don’t take up space

The FAQs are on the bottom left of the page. If you don’t need them, they don’t take up much room anyway. But if you’re interested in seeing them, they’re just one click away.

Awesome.

The page stays simple until it needs more information

When you first land on this page the only two options are “For myself” and “For a gift.”

When you make a choice, the page expands and gives you more options.

newyorktimes2

The reason this is so great is that it keeps the user focused on the task at hand. Giving a visitor too many options all at once can be overwhelming and increase the page’s bounce rate. Well done, New York Times marketers!

No need to get fancy, but a simple “Activate My Account” would be a much better call to action.

6. Vimeo

vimeo

Strategy: Get cheeky [promoted via Twitter]

This is an excellent Cyber Monday landing page. Vimeo has taken Cyber Monday and a unique spin on it with “Cyborg” Monday.

The deal is laid out very clearly and the product and its benefits are outlined in the green section of the page.

But can they improve this page?

My main critique of this page is that the call to actions don’t look like buttons. Also, a fun play on a cyborg countdown could enhance the page and add a sense of scarcity.

7. Young and Reckless

youngandrestless

Strategy: The storefront landing page [promoted via Twitter]

If you’re a marketer for an e-commerce site then listen up!

Young and Reckless is the ONLY online retailer I saw the entire weekend that effectively used a landing page concept on their store.

This store/landing page is specially designed to sell their products on Cyber Monday. There is no menu navigation, no distractions and no fluff. Just selling.

The only problem is that they didn’t quite go all the way:

Where is the offer???

The shirts on this page are listed between 25% and 50% off, so where is the headline telling me about it?

A headline like this would be more effective:

“Cyber Monday”
“Until Midnight Only: Save up to 50% on everything you see below”

Just add urgency

This is a long page because there are lots of items listed. Why not include a timer that follows the visitor down the page reminding them how much time they have left on Cyber Monday?

It’s just another element that could drive home the scarcity of the sale.

Now it’s your turn.

Take these strategies and apply them to your own campaigns for better results. The holiday buying season is well worth the extra effort.

What creative campaigns will you come up with before the holiday season is over?

Let me know in the comments below.

— Eric Sloan

Blog – Unbounce

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