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Working around Google Analytics to improve your content marketing

The way Google Analytics reports bounce rate and time on page leave a lot to be desired. Contributor Marcus Miller outlines two easy ways to get better data on single-page visits so marketers understand how users engage with their content.



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Getting Around the "One Form" Problem in Unbounce

Posted by R0bin_L0rd

What is Unbounce?

Unbounce is a well-known and well-regarded landing page creation tool designed to allow HTML novices to create impressive and impactful landing pages, while offering scope for more experienced coders to have a bit more fun.

In this post, I’m going to list some solutions to what I refer to as the “one form” problem of Unbounce, their strengths and weaknesses, and which I personally prefer.

What is the “one form” problem?

As with any system that tries to take complex processes and make them simple to implement, there’s a certain amount of nuance and flexibility that has to be sacrificed.

One limitation is that each landing page on Unbounce can only have one embedded form (there are a few community articles discussing the topic, for instance: 1, 2, 3). While there’s a definite risk of call-to-action fatigue if you bombard your visitors with forms, it’s a reasonable requirement to want to provide easy access to your form at more than one point.

For example, you could lead with a strong call to action and the form at the top of the page, then follow up further down the page when users have had time to absorb more information about your offering. A simple example of this is the below Teambit landing page, which was featured in Hubspot’s 16 of the Best Landing Page Design Examples You Need to See in 2017.

The top of this Teambit page features a simple email collection form

The form is repeated at the bottom of the page once visitors have had a chance to read more.

Potential solutions to the one-form issue

Now that we’ve established the problem, let’s run through some solutions, shall we?

Fortunately, there are a few possible ways to solve this problem, either using built-in Unbounce tools or by adding code through open HTML, CSS, and JavaScript inputs.

It’s worth bearing in mind that one solution is to not have the form on your page at all, and have your call-to-action buttons linking to other pages with forms. This is the approach Unbounce uses in the example below. While that’s a perfectly valid approach, I wouldn’t call it so much a solution to this problem as a completely different format, so I haven’t included it in the list below.

Here Unbounce use two CTAs (the orange buttons), but don’t rely on having the form on the page.

1. Scrolling anchor button

This is potentially the simplest solution, as it’s natively supported by Unbounce:

  1. Create a button further down the page where you would want your second form.
  2. Edit that button, in the “Click Action” section of the right-hand button settings panel, where you would normally put the URL you are linking to
  3. Add in the unique ID code for the box that holds your form (you can find that by editing the box and scrolling to the bottom of the right-hand panel to “Element Metadata”)

Register button

“Click Action” section of right-hand button settings panel

“Element Metadata” section at bottom of right-hand element setting panel

Benefits

Quick and easy to implement, little direct JavaScript or HTML manipulation needed.

Drawbacks

There are far more seamless ways to achieve this from the user perspective. Even with smooth scrolling (see “bonus points” below), the experience can be a little jarring for users, particularly if they want to go back to check information elsewhere on a page.

Bonus points

Just adding that in as-is will mean a pretty jarring experience for users. When they click the button, the page will jump back to your form as though it’s loaded a new page. To help visitors understand what’s going on, add smooth scrolling through JavaScript. Unbounce has how-to information here.

Double bonus

The link anchors work by aligning the top of your screen with the top of the thing you’ve anchored. That can leave it looking like you’ve undershot a bit, because the form is almost falling off the screen. You can solve this simply by putting a tiny, one-pixel-wide box a little bit above the form, with no fill or border, positioning it how you want, and linking to the ID of that box instead, allowing a bit of breathing room above your form.

Without and with the one-pixel-wide box for headroom

2. iFrames

Unbounce allows free <HTML> blocks, which you can use to embed a form from another service or even another Unbounce page that consists of only a form. You’ll need to drag the “Custom HTML” block from the left bar to where you want the form to be and paste in your iFrame code.

The “Custom HTML” block in the left-hand bar

Blank HTML box that pops up

How HTML blocks look in the editor

Benefits

This will allow for multiple forms, for each form to be positioned differently on the page, to function in a different way, and for entries to each form to be tagged differently (which will offer insight on the effectiveness of the page).

This solution will also allow you to make the most of functionality from other services, such as Wufoo (Unbounce has documented the process for that here).

Drawbacks

Having chosen Unbounce as a one-stop-shop for creating landing pages, breaking out of that to use external forms could be considered a step away from the original purpose. This also introduces complications in construction, because you can’t see how the form will look on the page in the editing mode. So your workflow for changes could look like:

  1. Change external form
  2. Review page and see styling issues
  3. Change layout in Unbounce editor
  4. Review page and see that the external form isn’t as readable
  5. Change external form
  6. Etc.

Bonus points

Unbounce can’t track conversions through an iFrame, so even if you use another Unbounce page as the form you draw in, you’re going to be breaking out of Unbounce’s native tracking. They have a script here you can use to fire external tracking hits to track page success more centrally so you get more of a feel for whether individual pages are performing well.

Double bonus

Even if you’re using an identical Unbounce page to pull through the same form functionality twice, tag the form completions differently to give you an idea of whether users are more likely to convert at the top of the page before they get distracted, or lower down when they have had time to absorb the benefits of your offering.

3. Sticky form (always there)

An option that will keep everything on the same page is a sticky form. You can use CSS styling to fix it in place on a screen rather than on a page, then when your visitor scrolls down, the form or CTA will travel with them — always within easy reach.

This simple CSS code will fix a form on the right-hand side of a page for screen widths over 800px (that being where Unbounce switches from Desktop to Mobile design, meaning the positioning needs to be different).

Each ID element below corresponds to a different box which I wanted to move together. You’ll need to change the “lp-pom-box-xxx” below to match the IDs of what you want to move down the page with the user (you can find those IDs in the “Element Metadata” section as described in the Scrolling Anchor Button solution above).

<style>
@media (min-width: 800px) {
    #lp-pom-box-56{ position:fixed; left:50%; margin-left: 123px; top:25%; margin-top:-70px}
    #lp-pom-form-59{ position:fixed; left:50%; margin-left: 141px; top:25%; margin-top:60px}
    #lp-pom-box-54{ position:fixed; left:50%; margin-left: 123px; top:25%; margin-top:50px}}
</style>

Benefits

This allows you to keep tracking within Unbounce. It cuts out a lot of the back and forth of building the form elsewhere and then trying to make that form, within an iFrame, act on your page the way you want it to.

Drawbacks

The problem with this is that users can quickly become blind to a CTA that travels with them, adding some kind of regular attention seeking effect is likely to just annoy them. The solution here is to have your call to action or form obscured during parts of the page, only to reappear at other, more appropriate times (as in the next section).

It can be difficult to see exactly where the form will appear because your CSS changes won’t take effect in the editor preview, but you will be able to see the impact when you save and preview the page.

4. Sticky form (appearing and disappearing)

The simplest way to achieve this is using z-index. In short, the z-index is a way of communicating layers through HTML, an image with a z-index of 2 will be interpreted as closer to the user than a box with a z-index of 1, so when viewing the page it’ll look like the image is in front of the box.

For this method, you’ll need some kind of opaque box in each section of your page. The box can be filled with a color, image, gradient — it doesn’t matter as long as it isn’t transparent. After you’ve put the boxes in place, make a note of their z-index, which you can find in the “Meta Data” section of the right-hand settings bar, the same place that the Element ID is shown.

This box has a z-index of 31, so it’ll cover something with an index of 30

Then use CSS to select the elements you’re moving down the page and set their z-index to a lower number. In the below lines I’ve selected two elements and set their z-index to 30, which means that they’ll be hidden behind the box above, which has a z-index of 31. Again, here you’ll want to replace the IDs that start #lp-pom-box-xxxx with the same IDs you used in the Sticky Form (Always There) solution above.

<style>
    #lp-pom-box-133{z-index: 30; }
    #lp-pom-box-135{z-index: 30; }
</style>

When you’re choosing the place where you want your form to be visible again, just remove any items that might obscure the form during that section. It’ll scroll into view.

Benefits

This will allow you to offer a full form for users to fill out, at different points on the page, without having to worry about it becoming wallpaper or whether you can marry up external conversions. Using only CSS will also mean that you don’t have to worry about users with JavaScript turned off (while the bonus points below rely on JavaScript, this will fall back gracefully if JavaScript is turned off).

Drawbacks

Unlike the iFrame method, this won’t allow you to use more than one form format. It also requires a bit more CSS knowledge (and the bonus points will require at least a bit of trial and error with JavaScript).

Bonus points

Use JavaScript to apply and remove CSS classes based on your scrolling position on the page. For example you can create CSS classes like these which make elements fade in and out of view.

CSS:

<style>
@media (min-width: 800px) {
   /* make the opacity of an element 0 where it has this class */
       .hide {
       opacity: 0;
}
   /* instead of applying an effect immediately, apply it gradually over 0.2 seconds */    .transition {
   -webkit-transition: all 0.2s ease-in-out;
       -moz-transition: all 0.2s ease-in-out;
       -o-transition: all 0.2s ease-in-out;
       transition: all 0.2s ease-in-out;
    }}
</style>

You could then use this JavaScript to apply the .hide class when user scrolls through certain points, and remove it when they get to the points where you want them to see the form. This can be used for finer-grained control of where the form appears, without having to just cover it up. As before, you’ll need to update the #lp-pom-box-xxx strings to match the IDs in your account.

JavaScript:

<script>
// This script applies the “hide” class, which makes opacity zero, to certain elements when we scroll more than 100 pixels away from the top of the page. Effectively, if we scroll down the page these items will fade away.
$  (window).scroll(function() {
    if ($  (window).scrollTop() > 100 ){
        $  ('#lp-pom-box-54').addClass('hide');
        $  ('#lp-pom-box-228').addClass('hide');
}
// This section removes the hide class if we’re less than 500 pixels from the bottom of the page or scroll back up to be less than 100 from the top. This means that those elements will fade back into view when we’re near the bottom of the page or go back to the top.
if ($  (document).height() - ($  (window).height() + $  (window).scrollTop()) < 500 ||
$  (window).scrollTop() < 100 ){
    $  ('#lp-pom-box-54').removeClass('hide');
    $  ('#lp-pom-box-228').removeClass('hide');
}}
</script>

Double bonus

You could consider using JavaScript to selectively hide or show form fields at different points. That would allow you to show a longer form initially, for example, and a shorter form when it appears the second time, despite it actually being the same form each time.

For this, you’d just add to your .scroll JavaScript function above:

   if ($  (document).height() - ($  (window).height() + $  (window).scrollTop()) < 75){
// This part hides the “full name” part of the form, moves the submit button up and reduces the size of the box when we scroll down to less than 75 pixels away from the bottom of the page
    $  ('#container_full_name').addClass('hide');
    $  ('#lp-pom-box-54').stop().animate({height: "200px"},200);
    $  ('.lp-pom-button-60-unmoved').animate({top: '-=75'}, 200);
    $  ('#lp-pom-button-60').removeClass('lp-pom-button-60-unmoved');
    $  ('#lp-pom-button-60').addClass('lp-pom-button-60-moved');}
    else{
// This part adds the “full name” part back in to the form, moves the submit button back down and increases the size of the box if we scroll back up.
    $  ('#container_full_name').removeClass('hide');
    $  ('#lp-pom-box-54').stop().animate({height: "300px"},200);
    $  ('.lp-pom-button-60-moved').animate({top: '+=75'}, 200);
    $  ('#lp-pom-button-60').removeClass('lp-pom-button-60-moved');
    $  ('#lp-pom-button-60').addClass('lp-pom-button-60-unmoved');

When scrolling within 75px of the bottom of the page, our JavaScript hides the Full Name field, reduces the size of the box, and moves the button up. This could all happen when the form is hidden from view; I’ve just done it in view to demonstrate.

Conclusion

In the table below I’ve pulled together a quick list of the different solutions and their strengths and weaknesses.

Solution

Strengths

Weaknesses

Scrolling anchor button

Easy implementation, little coding needed

Jarring user experience

iFrame

Multiple different forms

Requires building the form elsewhere and introduces some styling and analytics complexity to workflow

Sticky form (always there)

Keeps and design tracking within one Unbounce project

CTA fatigue, using up a lot of page space

Sticky form (appearing and disappearing)

The benefits of a sticky form, plus avoiding the CTA fatigue and large space requirement

CSS knowledge required, can only use one form

Personally, my favorite has been the Sticky Form (appearing and disappearing) option, to reduce the need to integrate external tools, but if I had to use multiple different forms I could definitely imagine using an iFrame.

Which is your favorite? Have I missed any cool solutions? Feel free to ping me in the comments.

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Google & NORAD Santa Trackers show St. Nick already in flight for his 2017 trip around the world

The two sites will be tracking Santa’s whereabouts for the next 24 hours.

The post Google & NORAD Santa Trackers show St. Nick already in flight for his 2017 trip around the world appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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They Won’t Bite: How talking to customers helped Dell EMC turn its content strategy around

Taking the time to pause production and speak with our customers about the kind of content they want to see is one of those “why didn’t we do this sooner?” moments we talk about so much in marketing.
The Dell EMC had just such a moment. It stopped producing content that was seeing absolutely no traction and began not only focusing on content that customers actually wanted but also getting it in front of them.
Watch this Media Center interview with Lindsay Lyons, Director of Global Content Strategy, Dell EMC, to gain insights into how her team was able to transform their internal processes to produce effective, customer-first content.

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Exploring a newly-granted Google patent around social signals

Columnist Dave Davies takes a deep dive into a recently published Google patent for clues on how the search giant is thinking about social signals and search results.

The post Exploring a newly-granted Google patent around social signals appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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A Business Built Around Mentoring Fledgling Lawyers

hero's journey - helping lawyers get a strong start

Some of the best businesses are built when an entrepreneur wants to right a wrong, and today’s story is a perfect example.

As a young lawyer himself, Chris Hargreaves saw that budding lawyers were thrown into the profession with little-to-no support. They were expected to figure things out for themselves, and as a result, took longer to get up to speed with their field.

And that was bad — for their clients, their employers, and their own careers.

Chris’s story is this month’s Hero’s Journey feature. We’re tapping the collective wisdom of our community members to bring you reports from the front lines of the content marketing world. Read all the Hero’s Journey posts here.

Now let’s hear Chris explain what he does in his own words.

Moonlighting as a mentor

Chris Hargreaves: By day I’m a full-time lawyer, but by night (and lunchtimes, early mornings, bus trips, and any other minutes I’m not attending to my wife and kids) I create media at Tips For Lawyers.

I help train young lawyers in the essential skills that are largely forgotten by university education. I genuinely care about the development of young lawyers — for their sake, for the sake of their employers, and for the sake of their clients.

Often what these young lawyers learn is ‘how it’s always been done’ — which is a terrible reason to do something the dumb way, but something that lawyers are renowned for.

The result? Their questions go unanswered, their issues go untouched, and their stresses go unaddressed.

I believe that the legal practice doesn’t have to be a stagnate cesspool of cynicism and ego. It can be seen as something people aspire towards, look up to, and give one of their most valuable assets to — their trust.

Hopefully people see that in the way I present, interact, and engage with them. That might not be unique in all circles, but it is among this profession.

A compassionate reality check

Chris Hargreaves: A few years ago, I observed that most new lawyers had no Earthly idea what it’s like to be a lawyer in practice.

Instead, they had created a lovely little story in their heads about what life was going to be like once they graduated from law school: full of money, long lunches, clients who pay bills, and an orderly, sophisticated professional life.

That story bears little resemblance to the reality.

So I wrote an ebook.

Of course, then I realized I didn’t have anyone to sell the ebook to, and I had exhausted my personal contacts within about 34 seconds.

Coming off of that experience, I decided I should actually figure out what I’m doing and learn how to go about building a business ‘on the side.’

First stop: iTunes. I began trawling through the business podcasts, gradually realizing that there is a whole world of digital business people who aren’t in snake oil sales.

I began listening to Pat Flynn’s podcast, Smart Passive Income. From there, I went down the rabbit hole of online business and sifted the wheat from the chaff in terms of who I liked to learn from and be inspired by, and who I didn’t.

After seeing just how easy it is to build a website these days (last time I did it, it was not easy), I started Tips for Lawyers.

Then I saw the potential it had, in terms of building a tribe. As I expanded into more and more ventures (videos, podcasts, courses), I recognized that there was a real need among young professionals for the type of mentoring and guidance I offered many of my younger colleagues in person already.

And that’s what I do.

How to manage your expectations and clarify your most-important goal

Chris Hargreaves: It turns out that I am prone to dramatically overestimating how many of “Thing X” I’m actually likely to sell.

See, the issue is this: lawyers don’t like to part with their money. It’s a fairly challenging market, because I’m on an uphill battle from the very beginning.

Most recently, I experienced this with my first membership site launch: the Lawyers’ Academy. It was slow, tedious, and very disappointing from the outset.

I frequently want to give up when I realize how hard this is. After all, I’ve got a decent job that I enjoy, so why put myself through the added burden?

It also annoys me a bit to be honest, because I know what I’m offering is valuable. I want to take some people by the shoulders and shake them into realizing just how much better they could be.

When I tell you how I solved this issue, I could talk about my launch process, email funnels, opt-in magnets, marketing automation, Facebook ads, trial and error, and split-testing. I could mention trying to use language that resonates, or maybe just my charming smile.

But all of those things are secondary.

What I discovered is that it’s really about building trust.

Lawyers and law students don’t like to part with their money, but they will if they trust you.

As a lawyer, a big part of my job is to build trust, and so I place a premium on it.

As much as humanly possible, I try to ensure that my interactions with everyone are friendly, helpful, and useful. Ultimately, that builds trust on each occasion.

Gradually, the people I have built relationships with over time came to the party and joined up.

A new focus that made all the difference

Chris Hargreaves: It’s comforting to have a target, even if it is a nebulous one — build enough trust with my audience to convince them that it’s worth taking a risk on my paid products.

With a focus on trust, I can refine all of my content (free and paid) around that fundamental goal.

Obviously, I’m also glad that I didn’t waste dozens of hours on the Academy. It got less members than my rose-colored-glasses prediction but more than my “this isn’t worth the effort” bottom line.

The content library effect strikes again

Chris Hargreaves: At the risk of admitting that Copyblogger was right, I’ve had surprising success with the content library opt-in model, in terms of conversions.

Of course, I added an evil pop-up into the process that does fairly well, but I genuinely thought my email sign-ups would go down because of the higher barrier to entry. Instead, they’ve gone up.

Which Rainmaker Digital products do you use, and how do you use them?

Chris Hargreaves: My main site, Tips for Lawyers, runs on the Rainmaker Platform. That’s where you’ll find my blog posts, podcasts, courses, and membership site.

I use the content library as an opt-in, and I imagine I’ll soon transition to using the built-in email marketing as well.

Beyond that, I also have the StudioPress Pro Plus Pack, which is my starting point when I build any new sites I create (my latest is AModernProfessional.com, where I feed my inner nerd a bit more than I can at Tips for Lawyers).

How Chris is building on his initial success

Chris Hargreaves: My focus is to:

  • Make the Lawyers’ Academy successful with ecstatic members who generate a few life-changing testimonials
  • Expand into different revenue models, including a bit of affiliate marketing
  • Create three to five books
  • Add a few more targeted courses

Find Chris Hargreaves online …

Thanks to Chris for appearing in our Hero’s Journey series.

We’ll be back next month with another story to teach, inspire, and encourage you along your journey.

About the author

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital. Follow her on Twitter, and find more from her at BigBrandSystem.com.

The post A Business Built Around Mentoring Fledgling Lawyers appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Bridget Hilton on Building a Business Around Your Passions

bridget-hilton

Today’s guest on Hack the Entrepreneur is a social entrepreneur. About 10 years ago, she took some off-the-cuff advice that said, “you should build your career around three things you are passionate about.”

For her, these three things are music, charity, and the environment.

She is presently the founder of LSTN Headphones, a company with the goal of giving the gift of hearing to those without.

Perhaps you are one of the millions of people who have seen the commercial on YouTube — where they put headphones into a young girl’s ears and she can hear for the first time ever. That’s LSTN Headphones.

Every pair of headphones LSTN sells gives the gift of hearing to someone. They have been able to give that gift to more than 15,000 people in the U.S., Kenya, Peru, and Uganda.

Prior to founding her own company, today’s guest began her career working at a record store and promoting concerts. She eventually worked her way up and landed at Universal Music Group at just 19.

Now, let’s hack …

Bridget Hilton.

In this 32-minute episode of Hack the Entrepreneur, host Jon Nastor and Bridget Hilton discuss:

  • The importance of keeping yourself informed and reading voraciously
  • How traveling can help grow and build your business
  • The value of self-education
  • Admitting that you are wrong and taking the blame
  • How music changed Bridget’s life and what she wants to do with it

Click Here to Listen to

Hack the Entrepreneur on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post Bridget Hilton on Building a Business Around Your Passions appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Content Marketing: How McGladrey built a strategy around content development [Video]

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, watch an excerpt from a session at last year’s B2B Summit. In this video excerpt, Eric Webb, Senior Director of Corporate Communication, McGladrey, shares the steps the accounting and consulting firm took to improve its content marketing efforts and, ultimately, execute a 300% increase in content production.
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Loyalty Marketing: How to get customers to stick around (and keep buying)

Marketing is not just about selling; it’s also about building and fostering relationships with customers and your audience. In today’s blog post, we explain why brand loyalty is so important and provide some insight on how you can get your customers to stick around, for the long haul.
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