How to A/B Test CTAs Like HubSpot Experts

How to A/B Test CTAs Like HubSpot Experts

The call to action is a put up or shut up moment that can turn curiosity into a legitimate business opportunity. It’s the bridge between visitors and leads — a point of entry that allows you to capitalize on the web traffic you generate.

Despite its potentially massive business implications, your average CTA is generally pretty small and unassuming — maybe a button or a line of text. It might seem like the blog post or product page the CTA is placed on is all that matters when it comes to how many leads it ultimately generates

It’s easy to think that the copy, color, or placement of a call to action doesn’t really matter, but that’s not the case. A lot goes into creating an effective CTA. The best ones have been carefully crafted and consistently tested. Here, we’ll focus on that process.

We’ll learn how to A/B test CTAs successfully and get some insight on the subject from some expert HubSpotters.

1. Decide on a specific factor you want to test.

A/B testing isn’t supposed to be some indiscriminately applied process. In this context, it’s designed to help you best optimize specific aspects of your CTAs. That means conducting a thoughtful, effective A/B test rests on you definitively selecting the individual variables you want to better understand.

Are you trying to zero in on the best word-choice for your CTA? Are you looking for its optimum visual characteristics? Do you want to identify where its most effective placement on your blog posts might be?

Try to lock in on one factor — above all others. You don’t want to A/B test multiple CTAs with different shapes, colors, and copy all at once.

2. Create multiple, distinct CTAs.

There’s a reason A/B testing is called “A/B” testing — not just “A” testing. The concept itself rests on comparing multiple options, so naturally, if you want to A/B test CTAs, you need more than one.

There are a variety of variables you can use to create unique, distinguishable CTAs, including color, position, size, shape, and wording. Here’s an example of the components of an A/B test with multiple variants HubSpot used to test the efficacy of some anchor text CTAs.

How to AB Test CTAs like HubSpot Marketers test

This A/B test took fundamentally similar CTAs that conveyed the same information in unique ways. It leveraged unique — but not outrageously different — options to help it hone in on the slight distinctions between choices blog readers would be most receptive to.

3. Measure your Results

Identify a date range you’d like to use as your reference point for your experiment. Once you’ve carried out your testing across that period, take the time to analyze and understand your results.

Get a feel for how your various choices performed in terms of metrics like overall views, clicks, and submissions to see which of your CTAs are garnering the most attention and converting the best. Here’s an example of what that looks like from HubSpot’s own experiment with including brackets in anchor CTAs.

How to AB Test CTAs like HubSpot Marketers  results

Once you have your results, you can start to identify the more effective aspects of each option and start to piece together CTAs that will consistently deliver the results you need.

How to A/B Test CTAs like HubSpot Marketers

Avoid testing multiple variables at the same time.

It’s recommended that you don’t employ radically different variations of the same CTA when A/B testing. The hope in carrying out these tests is to identify the specific factors that make your CTAs most effective.

If you’re comparing CTAs with various aspects when A/B testing, your results might be muddled. You won’t have a clear idea of which aspects are most effective — you’ll lose out on the ability to identify the factors worth applying to your CTAs going forward.

As Carly Stec, Team Manager for Blog and Academy Acquisition at HubSpot, suggests you “avoid testing multiple variables at the same time.” She stresses the value of keeping things straightforward.

She discussed a recent series of A/B tests her team ran for HubSpot’s thank-you pages that involved changing the messaging, placement, and visuals of a CTA. She noticed strong increases in conversion but didn’t have a firm picture of the key factor at play, “While we saw a strong increase in conversion, we were left wondering, what exactly did the trick? Was it one of the elements or all three?”

Her team opted to partition the tests to identify what was making the difference. As she put it, “We reran the test as three separate single variable tests and found that placement actually had the most influence on conversion. The lesson? Keep it simple so success is easier to trace.”

Treat it as a marathon — not a sprint.

Slow and steady — that’s the name of the game when it comes to A/B testing CTAs. It’s a piece-by-piece process. Your most successful CTAs will be the sum of several minor adjustments, often carried out over somewhat substantial periods of time.

As AJ Beltis, HubSpot Marketing Manager for Content and Acquisition, put it, “Don’t be afraid to start testing incremental changes.” Minor tweaks to language, visual characteristics, placement, and other factors wind up making for the most effective CTAs. If every A/B test you run for your CTAs is based on a major overhaul, you might pass over the aspects that were working best for you.

Beltis went on to discuss an experience with some tests he and his team ran for the HubSpot blog, “For example, we did an entire series on testing our anchor text CTAs. While we saw marginal increases from every test, it was the combination of these results that resulted in the optimal version of this CTA, which has resulted in a significant increase in annual leads from the blog.”

What HubSpot Learned From A/B Testing CTAs

If there’s one lesson that HubSpot has taken away from A/B testing CTAs, it’s that there’s always room for improvement. A/B testing CTAs is an ongoing process. As Stec put it, “At HubSpot, we constantly iterate on our tests to make sure we’re not settling for the winner. Just because something won once, doesn’t mean it can’t be beat. Keep going.”

A/B testing CTAs is about zeroing in on the perfect option — the caveat here is that perfection isn’t real. Always aspire to consistently improve your CTAs, and A/B testing is central to that process.

It’s important to maintain focus and effort when it comes to this process, and Stec captured the essence of that mindset when she said, “Don’t underestimate the importance of persistence in A/B testing.”

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How to Create LinkedIn Videos That Work

How to Create LinkedIn Videos That Work

Want to use more video in your LinkedIn marketing? Wondering what kind of LinkedIn video to create? In this article, you’ll discover how to produce LinkedIn video that connects with your audience. #1: Begin With a Video Content Audit Research shows that expertise and competence are two of the critical components people require to trust a brand, […]

The post How to Create LinkedIn Videos That Work appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

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HubSpot Marketers’ Favorite Integrated Marketing Campaigns

HubSpot Marketers’ Favorite Integrated Marketing Campaigns

A tv show is returning, and I am pumped. “The Umbrella Academy” is a sci-fi show based on the comic book of the same name, and it’s nothing short of fantastic. 

Superheroes, comedy, a talking animal, and saving the world from imploding — what more could you want?

When I first learned about the season, I was scrolling Twitter and came across the video announcement. I was stoked. A little later, I decided to check Facebook, and saw promo stills for the new season — only building my excitement.

A couple of weeks later, I saw the official trailer for the first time on Instagram, and again on YouTube. Up until that point, I’d come across promotional content from three different channels for the new season.

This rollout has become one of my favorite integrated marketing campaigns of 2020. The Netflix team is pulling out all the stops across multiple different fronts to keep users excited about the premiere.

It’s working for me — I can hardly wait. And in this post, we’re going to go over other integrated marketing examples that were extremely effective for them.

HubSpot’s Favorite Integrated Marketing Campaigns

Integrated marketing is any marketing campaign that uses multiple channels in execution. For example, you might see a popular new donut flavor in a commercial, then drive past the donut shop to see posters of the donut. And if you flip through Instagram once you get to your destination, you might see a GIF on your feed, displaying the donut.

This style of marketing is great for boosting leads and brand awareness. Using multiple sources to deliver the same campaign diversifies the audience that interacts with its content. Let’s look at some recent integrated marketing campaigns that delivered a great experience for customers and leads alike.

1. Hulu’s HAHA Awards

Channels: Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Website

One of my favorite integrated marketing campaigns to come along is the launch of Hulu’s HAHA Awards. HAHA is a clever acronym, standing for “Hilarious Animated Hulu Awards,” which I love.

Initially, I saw the commercial during a regular ad break while watching — of course — Hulu:

Because there’s no awards show for animated content, the team at Hulu decided to change that — and get fans involved. Fans can vote for the awards on Twitter and Hulu’s website.

I appreciate that anyone with a Twitter account can participate in voting, regardless of if they are Hulu customers. Some of the categories are popular tv shows, like Archer and Bob Burgers, so the masses can vote. Additionally, people without a Twitter or Hulu account can vote, just by visiting the website.

The tactic of using YouTube to introduce the campaign, as well as alternate methods of voting, make this campaign a chance for Hulu to delight customers and earn more quality leads from social media.

2. Victoria Monet’s “Audience”

Channels: Instagram, Facebook, Billboards

For new single, “Experience,” R&B singers Victoria Monet and Khalid collaborated with Spotify for a release campaign. The campaign included online and in-person marketing tactics, and is the favorite campaign of staff writer Jay Fuchs.

In Canada, there was a billboard put up in Toronto, promoting the song’s Spotify release. In response, Monet posted a picture on Instagram to share with her fans and promote the single:

The use of online and in-person marketing methods makes this integrated campaign one that can be seen by eyes from anywhere. From the billboard in Canada, to international Facebook and Instagram fans, the release of “Experience” was anticipated globally. In fact, in one month, the single has become Monet’s most popular song on the streaming service.

3. Gillette, “The Best Men Can Be”

Channels: Website, YouTube

“In 2019, Gillette launched their campaign, “The Best Men Can Be”. The campaign included an inspiring video, a landing page that celebrates male advocates and leaders in the community, and a hashtag, #thebestmencanbe, to encourage user participation across social channels,” says HubSpot’s Marketing Blog Editor, Caroline Forsey.

Gillette's "The Best Men Can Be" landing page

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“The campaign, created in response to the #metoo movement, urged men to hold themselves to a higher standard,” says Forsey. In the corresponding ad for the movement, viewers are shown hypothetical real-life instances of men stepping in to be themselves, and making positive change in their community. To heighten awareness of the movement, the landing page highlights real accounts of men upholding the hashtag Gillette created.

“While the campaign received some backlash from both stakeholders and consumers, I think it was worth the price because it redefined the shaving brand as a relevant, values-oriented brand. For me personally, I shared the ad with all my male friends and family members, and it sparked a discussion — which, really, is what marketing is all about,” Forsey commented.

Gillette’s tactic of getting their customers involved proved to be successful in the moment and long-term. Discussions, like the one Forsey had with males in her life, were happening nationwide; In fact, my university class had one about the campaign. This integrated campaign, boosted by real accounts, was proven to be not only successful, but valuable.

4. REI, #RecreateResponsibly

Channels: Website, Instagram

Outdoor activity is at the core of REI’s products. REI sells camping essentials, such as tents, clothes, and insulated containers. In 2020, REI partnered with several groups in Washington state that aim to preserve wildlife and nature, making it the favorite campaign of service blog manager, Clint Fontanella.

Outdoor Alliance, The Outdoor Industry Association, and national parks came together for the #RecreateResponsibly campaign. The point of which was to educate the public about how to stay safe when venturing outdoors, with the main content player being graphics similar to the one below:

#RecreateResponsibility by REI

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This graphic was shared on social media to spread awareness of tips to responsibly venture outdoors to avoid health concerns. #RecreateResponsibly‘s hashtag asks followers to share the tips in real life situations, shared by REI’s Instagram.

With the hashtag and partnerships, the campaign is also boosted by related blog posts on REI’s website. Posts like this one offer ways to stay safe while traveling.

The hashtag has been used by The National Park Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Los Angeles National Forest, and brings awareness to large audiences. The partnerships and REI’s content share an educational message and an interactive component — making this campaign diverse and engaging.

5. Melt Cosmetics, “She’s in Parties”

Channels: Website, Instagram, Facebook

“She’s in Parties” is the name of an eyeshadow palette from Melt Cosmetics. Says staff writer Rebecca Riserbato, “The purple palette sparked a hashtag of the same name on Instagram. On the landing page for the collection, there’s a section dedicated to Instagram posts with the hashtag.”

The campaign inspired a purple theme, which took over the company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Along with this social media content, influencers who were sent the palette began to upload their reviews on YouTube.

For this launch, a variety of social tactics were used. A matching social campaign, user-generated hashtag, YouTube recommendations, and a revolving landing page were all contributions to where the campaign was distributed. When you know where your audience spends their time, like the team at Melt, you can reach them with a diverse, omnichannel strategy.

6. Brew Dr. Kombucha, “Love Wins”

Channels: Website, Instagram

“In May 2020, Brew Dr. Kombucha released its signature kombucha with limited-edition colorful, rainbow-wrapping for Pride Month,” Forsey recalls. “The wrapping has the lifeline number to The Trevor Project printed directly on it — the company partnered with The Trevor Project and supports the organization through proceeds of its limited-edition kombucha.”

The "Love Wins" campaign for Brew Dr.

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“Along with the limited-edition wrapping, the company created a dedicated landing page for #LoveWins, and supported Pride Month with the #LoveWins hashtag across its social channels.”

Forsey continues, “Ultimately, I chose this campaign as one of my favorite integrated campaigns of 2020 because I was inspired to see this brand uplift and inspire communities while giving proceeds back to an incredibly worthy cause.”

The brand chose a social movement that was important to them, Pride, and celebrated it with this integrated campaign. This tactic brings awareness to a social cause, a respected organization, and enhances a celebration.

7. The New York Times, “The Truth Is Hard”

Channels: Commercial, Facebook, Billboard

In early 2018, newspaper The New York Times was struggling. With dwindling subscriptions and dwindling trust in the news from the general public, the team behind the famous publication had to figure out how to build widespread trust.

That’s where “The Truth Is Hard” came in — It was a campaign designed to offer transparency. “I think the best advertising not only gets you to pause and pay attention in the moment, but also encourages the viewer to take action and learn more after the fact,” says Alicia Collins, senior brand manager.

The New York Times’ ‘The Truth Is Hard’ campaign does that. It tells a clear and impactful story, and demonstrates the value and importance of journalism right away.”

Following a tribute to journalism at the 2018 Oscars, the campaign began. The Times aired a minimalist film to display the clarity of newsprint, and challenged viewers to think about what truth means to them.

Refugee crises, sickness, and wars — the second phase dove deep into conveying what journalists endure in order to deliver the most accurate coverage. And, with a paid media campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all of this content was broadcasted for the world to see.

The New York Times campaign billboard.

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This campaign earned the Times their highest number of new subscriptions since the paywall started, increasing signups by 100%. The multiple channels used by the news source to restore their image to the public worked, and made this integrated campaign a win.

I’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see the return of The Umbrella Academy. I’m sure until then, I’ll see more diverse social media content. In the meantime, what are some of your favorite integrated marketing campaigns — did they make the list?

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25 Stats That Prove Why You Need Link-Building in Your SEO Strategy

25 Stats That Prove Why You Need Link-Building in Your SEO Strategy

You probably already know how crucial SEO is for your website’s traffic.

One of the most important sub tactics within an SEO strategy is link-building. Not sure what this means? Here’s the quick explanation.

When websites link to your website, search algorithms determine that you have “authority” in  your industry because other brands are referring to you. The higher your authority gets, the better your search rankings could be. Additionally, linking to other posts within your site can also help to boost your authority as its a sign to algorithms that you’ve thoroughly covered a topic you’re discussing.

But, here’s where it gets a bit more tricky. When a more credible website, such as a notable publication with a high search ranking links to you, that link counts for more than an internal link or a link from a site with less search credibility. Also, if you link a blog post or page to a site with no or poor search authority, your ranking might go down because you aren’t linking to sources that search algorithms deem as credible.

These are just a few of the nuances that make link building difficult and time-consuming for many marketers. But, research shows that taking the time to build a solid link strategy can quickly boost your search rankings.

In fact, in 2019, most SEO experts said external links were one of the three most valuable aspects of their search optimization strategies. Meanwhile, 51% of marketers say they notice positive effects of general link building strategies within one to three months of executing on those tactics.

The above stats are just a taste of what link building can do for your web strategy. To help you understand the opportunities, challenges, common tactics, and costs behind successful link building, here are 25 helpful stats.

Link Building Opportunities and Challenges

  • Links are one of the top two criteria considered in Google’s page ranking algorithm. (Search Engine Land)
  • SEO experts say the third most important factor for search optimization is external linking. (Databox)
  • In the near future, 53% of marketers believe link building will have the same impact on search rankings, while 41% think it will have less of an impact. (Aira)
  • 52% of marketers believe brand mentions impact organic search rankings. (Aira)
  • In five years, 92% of marketers believe that links will still be ranking criteria in Google algorithms. (Aira)
  • 13% of search experts say link building is the most valuable SEO tactic. (Ascend)
  • 51% of marketers say it takes one to three months to see the impact of link-building efforts. (Aira)
  • In a study of web content, zero correlation between backlinks and social shares. (Backlinko)
  • 94% of the world’s content gets zero external links. (Backlinko)
  • Only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites. (Backlinko)
  • 41% of SEO experts consider link building to be the most difficult part of search optimization, (Ascend)
  • 65% of marketers measure their link quality by looking at their domain authority. Meanwhile, marketers also use domain ratings (48%) and page authority (36%) to determine link quality. (Aira)
  • If they could only choose one metric for studying link quality, 34% of marketers would look at domain authority while 22% would look at domain rating. (Aira)
  • 38% of marketers say page rankings are the top KPI they use to determine the effectiveness of their link-building efforts. (Aira)

Link Building Processes

  • 36% of businesses hire outside experts or freelancers for link building efforts. (Aira)
  • 48% of marketers report on “nofollow” links as part of their process. (Aira)
  • 42% of SEOs spend equal time on building internal and external links. (Databox)

SEOs spend most of their link building time on getting external links

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Link Building Costs

  • 46% of marketers spend $10,000 or more annually on link building, while 22% spend between $1,000 and $2,500. (Aira)
  • 61% of marketers say they use zero to ten percent of their total budget on link building.  (Aira)
  • It often costs brands $1,000 or more to gain a quality link. (Siege Media)
  • 41% of marketers expect the cost of link building to increase in the future. (Aira)

Common Link Building Tactics

  • 69% of marketers believe that buying links positively impacts search rankings. (Aira)
  • “Why” posts, “What” posts, and infographics received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts. (Backlinko)
  • Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition. (Backlinko)

long form blog content pulls in the highest amount of backlinks

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  • 51% of SEOs say bloggers should include two to three internal links in a blog post while 36% say three to five should be included. (Databox)

How to Embrace Link Building

As you can see from the stats above, link building can be crucial for search rankings, but can also be quite challenging. Luckily, there are a few simple strategies that you can take on immediately to help boost your site’s authority through links.

For example, you can include internal links in your blog posts and web content, publish original quotes or data that people will link to, or create a basic outreach strategy that allows you to share your newest posts. To learn more about how you can start or broaden your SEO strategy, check out this detailed link building guide.

Want to learn about other search optimization techniques and tools? You might also enjoy our Ultimate Guide to SEO.

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How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Products

How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Products

Want to promote your products and services with Instagram Stories? Looking for actionable tips to create intrigue and excitement via Instagram Stories? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Instagram Stories features to create a sense of urgency and leverage scarcity for limited products or offers. To learn how to use Instagram Stories to […]

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