Website Spring Cleaning: A 5 Web Clinic crash-course to help you tidy up your webpages

With winter firmly in our rearview mirrors, spring is officially here. Daylight savings time is upon us. March Madness is in full swing. And baseball’s opening day will have taken place by the time you’ve read this (Go Cubs!).

What better time then than to do a little spring cleaning of our webpages?

Don’t worry, at MarketingExperiments, we’ve got you covered. For more than a decade, we’ve been hosting Web clinics to help you – the marketer – maximize the effectiveness of your collateral. And, as we’ve seen again and again throughout the years, it’s often the smallest tweaks and cleanups that lead to the biggest results.

Read on to learn how you can harness your inner-Danny Tanner, grab your HTML mop and bottle of marketer’s 409, and turn that cluttered mess of a legacy page into a squeaky-clean, highly effective conversion machine.


Five key elements

To help get you started, I’ve identified five common elements of most webpages:

  • banner
  • headline
  • copy
  • call-to-action
  • form

Your page may not have, or need, all five of these elements, but chances are it will have most.

Here’s an example of these elements, from Fitbit’s website:



Element #1. Site Banners – Engage, don’t advertise

In March’s Web clinic, we were joined by Mike Loveridge, Head of Digital Test and Learn, Humana, to discuss site banners, when to use them and how to best leverage this key real estate on your page. Watch the replay to learn how to design site banners that are dedicated to your value focus, aligned with customer motivation and invite customers to engage.

Watch the Web clinic: Site Banners Tested: How minor changes led to a 433% increase in clickthrough for Humana


Element #2. Headlines – Don’t bury the lead


Last September, the MarketingExperiments team brought you this 35-minute Web clinic focused solely on headline optimization. Based on a meta-analysis of 15 years of research by our parent company, MECLABS Institute, this clinic includes more than a dozen real-world tests demonstrating the power of clear, customer-centric and value-first headlines.

When these headlines are aligned with customer motivation and given the proper graphical weight, these simple changes – often just a couple of words – can yield outsized results.

Watch the Web clinic: How to Write Headlines That Convert: Key discoveries from a meta-analysis of 15 years of behavioral research


Element #3. Copy – Arrest attention with clarity, not creativity


In November, we dedicated our Web clinic to copy.

Specifically, we aimed to build a webinar that could help the viewer significantly strengthen their copywriting skills in less than one hour. Watch the replay to learn how to write clear copy, quickly arrest the attention of your prospect, build the problem before presenting the solution, and ruthlessly eliminate text that you may be attached to but adds nothing of value to your page.

Watch the Web clinic:Strengthen Your Copy in 35 Minutes: Proven strategies to boost the effectiveness of your words


Element #4. Call-to-action – Make the right ask, at the right time


In March 2014, Jon Powell, Senior Manager, Executive Research and Development, MECLABS Institute, carried out an in-depth meta-analysis of more than 100 statistically validated call-to-action tests to bring you, the MarketingExperiments reader, this popular Web clinic.

View the session to discover how Jon learned that calls-to-action must not be viewed in a vacuum, but must instead be looked at in context of the entire conversation occurring in the customer’s mind. Then, leverage these five simple principles to strengthen your CTAs.

Watch the Web clinic: The Most Effective Calls-to-Action: 5 principles discovered for increasing customer response


Element #5. Form – Create value, not cost


Does your form gather only the information your company really needs? If not, is there a way to reduce the number of required fields or regroup existing fields to decrease length-based friction? Or, if you’re looking for higher quality leads, is there a way to increase the number fields?

This Web clinic from May 2014 will equip you with the knowledge you need to increase the perceived value of every field in your form, and present your form in a way that logically guides the visitor through the process of completing it.

Watch the Web clinic: Optimizing Web Forms: How one company generated 226% more leads from a complex Web form (without significantly reducing fields)


But remember – Testing is key

Don’t just blindly trust us, every audience is different.

Test these principles on your pages, analyze the results and apply the learnings. Not only will you enjoy increased page performance, but you’ll build a more sophisticated customer theory.


You can follow Ken Bowen, Managing Editor of MarketingExperiments, MECLABS Institute, on Twitter at @KenBowenJax


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Ignite Your B2B Content Marketing Effectiveness at #C2C16

B2B Content Marketing Tips from Content2Conversion

The opportunity to surround yourself with top content thought leaders and practitioners is one that you should always take. That\’s just what we will be doing February 15 -17 at the 2016 B2B Content2Conversion conference in Scottsdale Arizona.

We\’ll be packing our bags and leaving the cold Minnesota climate for warmer weather and three days filled with top-notch B2B content marketing education. But before we dig into that, lets review the current state of content marketing for B2B marketers and why conferences like this are so essential.

A recent Content Marketing Institute study revealed that a full 88% of B2B marketers have adopted some form of content marketing. Go a layer deeper in this same study and you\’ll discover that 55% of these same folks are unsure what B2B content marketing effectiveness really looks like. Is it time to pump the brakes on content marketing? Or, are half of B2B marketers simply missing the mark?

At TopRank Marketing, we\’ve had the pleasure of partnering with amazing brands and thought leaders on numerous B2B content marketing initiatives. And the picture of success is slightly different for each program. But despite these differences, there\’s one common thread among effective B2B content marketing initiatives: we know exactly what success looks like before we publish a single piece of content.

There are countless resources and tools available online for B2B marketers looking to ignite their content marketing skills. But in truth, the best way to learn is from peers. Below is a preview of some of the sessions I\’m most excited about attending at this years B2B Content2Conversion conference.

SEO for Content Marketers

Speaker: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing

Date & Time: Wednesday February 17th, 2:40pm

As search engine algorithms continue to evolve, so too should the nature of our SEO skill-set. According to LinkedIn data, SEO is one of the most in-demand skills for 2016. With today\’s increasingly self-directed business buyers, content that is easily found through search is even more crucial and important for marketers. This presentation will cover how smart B2B marketers are integrating SEO with content. Other topics include the importance of mobile and other recent changes with Google that B2B content marketers need to be aware of. Lastly, this presentation will cover content SEO best practices.

For a rare one-on-one session with Lee, also check out:

Content Tune-up session at C2C:

Date & time: Wednesday, 2/17, 10:45 – 11:30 AM

Content Tuneup – 15-Minute 1:1s With The Expert

Location: North Foyer Hallway

The New Rules And Realities of Sales And Marketing

Speaker: David Meerman Scott, Author, The New Rules of Marketing & PR

Date & Time: Tuesday, February 16th at 8:45am

There are new rules for growing business, spreading ideas and generating attention in our always-on, Web-driven world. Advanced planning is out – speed and agility are in! Scale and media buying power are no longer a decisive advantage. Instead, real-time is the mindset for the future where content is king! In this session, Author David Meerman Scott will discuss how content, the web and customers have completely turned B2B marketing on it\’s head.

Advocacy: Your New Source Of Impactful And Authentic Content

Speaker: Laura Ramos, VP Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Date & Time: Tuesday, February 16th at 4:20pm

Laura Ramos writes research for B2B Chief Marketing Officers. She helps Forrester\’s clients plan, build, and deliver marketing programs that combine traditional, digital, and social approaches that lead with business issues and fuel their company\’s topline growth. In Laura\’s session, you\’ll learn how applying advocacy to your content marketing programs can garner authenticity and deeper impact.

Right Message, Right Buyer – at the Right Time

Speaker: Heidi Bullock, VP of Demand Generation, Marketo

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 17th at 9:35am

Heidi has over 10 years of B2B marketing experience in high tech companies. Her expertise includes product positioning, brand strategy, product marketing, and demand generation. In this session, she will discuss the all-important aspect of timing in content marketing. All too often, marketers push content to customers who may not be interested in the brand or message. Heidi will discuss how content marketers can utilize the plethora of data available to make smarter decisions about their message, buyer and content timing.

See You at #C2C16

If you\’re attending the conference, feel free to reach out or flag me down in person. I\’d love to chat about how you can ignite your content marketing! Otherwise, be sure to follow our liveblogging here on TopRank\’s Online Marketing Blog.

Catch us on Twitter too at: @TopRank, @leeodden and @knutesands.

Looking forward to a great conference!

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When Selecting Alternative Sources of Electricity in Your Home, Consider Solar Energy Panels

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If you’ve ever considered installing solar panels on your home, you should be as informed as possible on the use of solar energy as a source of electricity before buying one. The use of solar energy was a topic in the media and in politics for many years, and its popularity has fluctuated. This can make it difficult for consumers to buy trusted panels and at ease to free themselves from sources of natural gas or electricity with coal. It is therefore imperative that you, as a consumer, his research on solar panels made to ensure that this is the choice of the appropriate energy for your home.

Know the company you buy their panels.

Many companies are in the field of tax exemptions of solar energy in the short term, so make sure you research the company before allowing them to install the panels. It is smart to do business with a company that has been operating in the region for more than a few years. You may want to not think about it, but the panels have the potential to function properly, and if the company that installed is out of business, you may have trouble finding a service company boards not theirs. In addition, it is advisable to choose local suppliers to be easily available to service its panels.

Know your financial options and reduce costs before buying solar panels.

There are breaks and incentives for use of solar panels and the potential to ultimately save money for the future of the tax on energy consumption. These help to offset the initial cost of installation of panels. Products and installation can cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your home. In the US, the government offers specific credits and rebates to those using the sun for energy according to their residence tax status.

How solar panels will save you money.

Overall, households are finally starting to save and make money from your solar panels within five years of installation. This is because the excess energy that the panels capture the sun sends to the power meter so that your local power company will credit your account and allow you to use energy when sunlight is not available.

Know that you are helping the environment.

The sun is a renewable energy source that is environmentally friendly and durable. Compare solar electricity from coal or natural gas burning energy, and see that it is clear that the “green” option. Coal pollutes our air and is toxic to humans, and natural gas produces carbon dioxide when burned. Coal and natural gas are non-renewable sources of electricity, and one day we will be without these fuels.

Make an appointment to discuss the options with your local solar supplier. They must be able to provide a free quote for the service and to analyze their payment options.


Back to the Lab: Our Top 5 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2015


Marketing is a science as much as an art, and the TopRank Online Marketing blog is an ongoing experiment. We’re constantly going back to the lab to try new approaches, research new topics, and refine our writing skills. As 2015 draws to a close, we’re taking a look at our most popular posts to see which ones you thought were the most shareworthy.

Social media marketing was a big topic for marketers this year. Facebook changed its algorithm to limit organic reach to as little as two percent. Twitter removed share counts from its API, taking away a powerful tool for marketers to provide social proof to their audience.

Despite these controversial decisions, social media remains a powerful way to build brand awareness and interact with our audience. Social drives over 30% of all traffic to websites, and social media spending is expected to top $12.3 billion this year.

To help you improve your social media experiments in the coming year, here are our five most-shared social media marketing posts for 2015.

#1 – Social Media Marketing for Business: Expectation Vs. Reality

Social Media For Business

After taking a few years to explore other opportunities, Ashley Zeckman came back to the TopRank team mid-year and quickly became a blogging force to be reckoned with. This post cuts through the social media myths to give solid advice for new and veteran marketers.

#2 – New Report Reveals the Impact of Social Media Marketing for Business

Impact of Social Media

Ashley delivers the goods again with this exhaustive round-up of the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry report. There are quality takeaways a-plenty here, supported with informative infographics.

#3 – Three Ways to Measure the Value of Your Social Media Marketing Program

Measure Your SOcial Media Marketing

Evaluating outcomes and proving ROI are constant concerns for social media marketers. Debbie Friez, an MVP of our social media team, outlines a three-step process for creating social media programs with measurement built in.

#4 – 5 Ways to Woo Your B2B Social Media Audience & 3 Brands That Are Doing it Well

Woo Social Media Audience

Social media marketing is tricky for B2B: It’s important to give your brand personality, but challenging to preserve the professionalism and authority B2B buyers need. Ashley backs up her tips in this post with inspiring examples from HP, FedEx, and GE.

#5 – 9 Step Social Media Audit for Improving LinkedIn Business Page Results

Social Media Audit

While Facebook is still the most popular platform for B2C marketing, LinkedIn dominates the B2B space—and B2C brands are starting to take notice, too. Emily Bacheller brings her social media strategy expertise to this post.

Bonus! 3 Great Social Media Marketing Posts from Other Sources

We’ve Been Failing on Social Media for 2 Years. Here’s What We Think it Means

This SlideShare from social media giant Buffer is everything good content should be. It’s brutally honest, authentic, has a genuine human voice, and addresses a real problem many marketers face with humor and determination. It couldn’t have been easy to write, but it’s a great read.

New Data: What Types of Content Perform Best on Social Media?

This blog post and infographic present the results of a 220,000-post analysis of social media shares. Fractl’s Andrea Lehr distils the massive amount of data into takeaways any social media marketer can use.

The Hierarchy of Needs for an Engaged Social Media Audience

Hootsuite’s Olsy Sorokina applies sociological concepts to get at the basic principles underlying social media success in this brief but thought-provoking piece. Olsy’s conclusions are both surprising and obvious in retrospect—one of those where you think, “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Thanks to our stellar blogging team for generously sharing their knowledge in these posts. And thanks to our readers for writing, commenting, and sharing this year. We’ll use your feedback to make the blog an even better resource in 2016.

Are there any posts you loved that didn’t make the list? Are there any social media topics you would like to see us cover more? Let us know in the comments.

Header image via Shutterstock

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How Solar Energy Systems Work and How They Benefit You

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All around the world and especially in the US, people are adopting lifestyles that benefit the earth by limiting chemical use, power use, and just all around choosing to “go green”. One of the ways that people are changing their lifestyles is by using alternative forms of energy that save money. Today you can learn how systems fueled by solar energy can be useful in your own household. Utility expenses will dramatically decrease and you’ll be able to save big time. You will also have peace of mind from knowing that your lifestyle is benefiting your environment and health by utilizing natural resources.

If you are wondering what solar energy is and how it works, here’s your chance to find out. This type of energy basically comes from the sun. Yes, the same yellow fire ball that sits up in the sky shining down on us all can be used as a source of energy right inside your own home. Of course the sun is used for more than just providing beautiful days outdoors. Today there are different sun fueled systems that you can choose from for your house that will effectively run the daily activities of your home in a more cost effective manner.

To explain things simply, panels can be installed upon the top of your house. The sunlight that shines upon the rooftop will then be transformed into electricity. This electricity from the sun can then be converted into the exact electricity that you use in your household. It is quite simple. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of sun fueled energy systems that can be installed within the home. Other systems include the sun energy system that controls the hot water in your home. This process involves the sun’s heat warming liquid through the roof and heating the water tank then traveling back to the roof to continue the cycle.

There are many great benefits to having solar energy systems in your home. As mentioned earlier it will be cost efficient. Your electricity bill will not be the same because you are using natural power. Another great benefit is that it is safe, natural, and harmless. Energy from the sun does not produce chemicals or gases that pollute the environment at all. And as long as the sun exists, there will always be this type of energy available. It’s priceless. And because of how the sun works, this type of energy is available anywhere, even away from your home.

You have always been aware of the sun, but you probable have never thought fully about all that it can do. The sun provides you with warmth, light, and beauty. But it can do this in so many ways. Making the switch to solar energy systems can be the best decision you will make for you and your family. The costs to install these systems are well worth it. You will see results and also save so much money. And you will also be contributing to a healthier earth.