Tag Archive | "Examples"

5 Real Examples of Advanced Content Promotion Strategies

Posted by bsmarketer

Content promotion isn’t tweeting or upvoting. Those tiny, one-off tactics are fine for beginners. They might make a dent, but they definitely won’t move the needle. Companies that want to grow big and grow fast need to grow differently.

Here’s how Kissmetrics, Sourcify, Sales Hacker, Kinsta, and BuildFire have used advanced content promotion tips like newsjacking and paid social to elevate their brands above the competition.

1. Use content to fuel social media distribution (and not the other way around)

Prior to selling the brand and blog to Neil Patel, Kissmetrics had no dedicated social media manager at the height of their success. The Kissmetrics blog received nearly 85% of its traffic from organic search. The second biggest traffic-driver was the newsletter.

Social media did drive traffic to their posts. However, former blog editor Zach Buylgo’s research showed that these traffic segments often had the lowest engagement (like time on site) and the least conversions (like trial or demo opt-ins) — so they didn’t prioritize it. The bulk of Zach’s day was instead focused on editing posts, making changes himself, adding comments and suggestions for the author to fix, and checking for regurgitated content. Stellar, long-form content was priority number one. And two. And three.

So Zach wasn’t just looking for technically-correct content. He was optimizing for uniqueness: the exact same area where most cheap content falls short. That’s an issue because many times, a simple SERP analysis would reveal that one submission:

benefits of content marketing (crowd content)

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…Looked exactly like the number-one result from Content Marketing Institute:

benefits of content marketing CMI

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Today’s plagiarism tools can catch the obvious stuff, but these derivatives often slip through the cracks. Recurring paid writers contributed the bulk of the TOFU content, which would free Zach up to focus more on MOFU use cases and case studies to help visitors understand how to get the most out of their product set (from the in-house person who knows it best).

They produced marketing guides and weekly webinars to transform initial attention into new leads:

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They also created free marketing tools to give prospects an interactive way to continue engaging with their brand:

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In other words, they focused on doing the things that matter most — the 20% that would generate the biggest bang for their buck. They won’t ignore social networks completely, though. They still had hundreds of thousands of followers across each network. Instead, their intern would take the frontlines. That person would watch out for anything critical, like a customer question, which will then be passed off to the Customer Success Manager that will get back to them within a few hours.

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New blog posts would get the obligatory push to Twitter and LinkedIn. (Facebook is used primarily for their weekly webinar updates.) Zach used Pablo from Buffer to design and create featured images for the blog posts.

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Then he’d use an Open Graph Protocol WordPress plugin to automatically add all appropriate tags for each network. That way, all he had to do was add the file and basic post meta data. The plugin would then customize how it shows up on each network afterward. Instead of using Buffer to promote new posts, though, Zach likes MeetEdgar.

Why? Doesn’t that seem like an extra step at first glance? Like Buffer, MeetEdgar allows you to select when you’d like to schedule content. You can just load up the queue with content, and the tool will manage the rest. The difference is that Buffer constantly requires new content — you need to keep topping it off, whereas MeetEdgar will automatically recycle the old stuff you’ve previously added. This saved a blog like Kissmetrics, with thousands of content pieces, TONS of time.

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He would then use Sleeknote to build forms tailored to each blog category to transform blog readers into top-of-the-funnel leads:

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But that’s about it. Zach didn’t do a ton of custom tweets. There weren’t a lot of personal replies. It’s not that they didn’t care. They just preferred to focus on what drives the most results for their particular business. They focused on building a brand that people recognize and trust. That means others would do the social sharing for them.

Respected industry vets like Avinash Kaushik, for example, would often share their blog posts. And Avinash was the perfect fit, because he already has a loyal, data-driven audience following him.

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So that single tweet brings in a ton of highly-qualified traffic — traffic that turns into leads and customers, not just fans.

2. Combine original research and newsjacking to go viral

Sourcify has grown almost exclusively through content marketing. Founder Nathan Resnick speaks, attends, and hosts everything from webinars to live events and meetups. Most of their events are brand-building efforts to connect face-to-face with other entrepreneurs. But what’s put them on the map has been leveraging their own experience and platform to fuel viral stories.

Last summer, the record-breaking Mayweather vs. McGregor fight was gaining steam. McGregor was already infamous for his legendary trash-talking and shade-throwing abilities. He also liked to indulge in attention-grabbing sartorial splendor. But the suit he wore to the very first press conference somehow managed to combine the best of both personality quirks:

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This was no off-the-shelf suit. He had it custom made. Nathan recalls seeing this press conference suit fondly: “Literally, the team came in after the press conference, thinking, ‘Man, this is an epic suit.’” So they did what any other rational human being did after seeing it on TV: they tried to buy it online.

“Except, the dude was charging like $ 10,000 to cover it and taking six weeks to produce.” That gave Nathan an idea. “I think we can produce this way faster.”

They “used their own platform, had samples done in less than a week, and had a site up the same day.”

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“We took photos, sent them to different factories, and took guesstimates on letter sizing, colors, fonts, etc. You can often manufacture products based on images if it’s within certain product categories.” The goal all along was to use the suit as a case study. They partnered with a local marketing firm to help split the promotion, work, and costs.

“The next day we signed a contract with a few marketers based in San Francisco to split the profits 50–50 after we both covered our costs. They cover the ad spend and setup; we cover the inventory and logistics cost,” Nathan wrote in an article for The Hustle. When they were ready to go, the marketing company began running ad campaigns and pushing out stories. They went viral on BroBible quickly after launch and pulled in over $ 23,000 in sales within the first week.

The only problem is that they used some images of Conor in the process. And apparently, his attorney’s didn’t love the IP infringement. A cease and desist letter wasn’t far behind:

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This result wasn’t completely unexpected. Both Nathan and the marketing partner knew they were skirting a thin line. But either way, Nathan got what he wanted out of it.

3. Drive targeted, bottom-of-the-funnel leads with Quora

Quora packs another punch that often elevates it over the other social channels: higher-quality traffic. Site visitors are asking detailed questions, expecting to comb through in-depth answers to each query. In other words, they’re invested. They’re smart. And if they’re expressing interest in managed WordPress hosting, it means they’ve got dough, too.

Both Sales Hacker and Kinsta take full advantage. Today, Gaetano DiNardi is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva. But before that, he lead marketing at Sales Hacker before they were acquired. There, content was central to their stratospheric growth. With Quora, Gaetano would take his latest content pieces and use them to solve customer problems and address pain points in the general sales and marketing space:

By using Quora as a research tool, he would find new topics that he can create content around to drive new traffic and connect with their current audience:

He found questions that they already had content for and used it as a chance to engage users and provide value. He can drive tons of relevant traffic for free by linking back to the Sales Hacker blog:

Kinsta, a managed WordPress hosting company out of Europe, also uses uses relevant threads and Quora ads. CMO Brian Jackson jumps into conversations directly, lending his experience and expertise where appropriate. His technical background makes it easy to talk shop with others looking for a sophisticated conversation about performance (beyond the standard, PR-speak most marketers offer up):

Brian targets different WordPress-related categories, questions, or interests. Technically, the units are “display ads, but they look like text.” The ad copy is short and to the point. Usually something like, “Premium hosting plans starting at $ XX/month” to fit within their length requirements.

4. Rank faster with paid (not organic) social promotion

Kinsta co-founder Tom Zsomborgi wrote about their journey in a bootstrapping blog post that went live last November. It instantly hit the top of Hacker News, resulting in their website getting a consistent 400+ concurrent visitors all day:

Within hours their post was also ranking on the first page for the term “bootstrapping,” which receives around 256,000 monthly searches.

How did that happen?

“There’s a direct correlation between social proof and increased search traffic. It’s more than people think,” said Brian. Essentially, you’re paying Facebook to increase organic rankings. You take good content, add paid syndication, and watch keyword rankings go up.

Kinsta’s big goal with content promotion is to build traffic and get as many eyeballs as possible. Then they’ll use AdRoll for display retargeting messages, targeting the people who just visited with lead gen offers to start a free trial. (“But I don’t use AdRoll for Facebook because it tags on their middleman fee.”)

Brian uses the “Click Campaigns” objective on Facebook Ads for both lead gen and content promotion. “It’s the best for getting traffic.”

Facebook’s organic reach fell by 52% in 2016 alone. That means your ability to promote content to your own page fans is quickly approaching zero.

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“It’s almost not even worth posting if you’re not paying,” confirms Brian. Kinsta will promote new posts to make sure it comes across their fans’ News Feed. Anecdotally, that reach number with a paid assist might jump up around 30%.

If they don’t see it, Brian will “turn it into an ad and run it separately.” It’s “re-written a second time to target a broader audience.”

In addition to new post promotion, Brian has an evergreen campaign that’s constantly delivering the “best posts ever written” on their site. It’s “never-ending” because it gives Brian a steady-stream of new site visitors — or new potential prospects to target with lead gen ads further down the funnel. That’s why Brian asserts that today’s social managers need to understand PPC and lead gen. “A lot of people hire social media managers and just do organic promotion. But Facebook organic just sucks anyway. It’s becoming “pay to play.’”

“Organic reach is just going to get worse and worse and worse. It’s never going to get better.” Also, advertising gets you “more data for targeting,” which then enables you to create more in-depth A/B tests.

We confirmed this through a series of promoted content tests, where different ad types (custom images vs. videos) would perform better based on the campaign objectives and placements.

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That’s why “best practices” are past practices — or BS practices. You don’t know what’s going to perform best until you actually do it for yourself. And advertising accelerates that feedback loop.

5. Constantly refresh your retargeting ad creative to keep engagement high

Almost every single stat shows that remarketing is one of the most efficient ways to close more customers. The more ad remarketing impressions someone sees, the higher the conversion rate. Remarketing ads are also incredibly cheap compared to your standard AdWords search ad when trying to reach new cold traffic.

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There’s only one problem to watch out for: ad fatigue. The image creative plays a massive role in Facebook ad success. But over time (a few days to a few weeks), the performance of that ad will decline. The image becomes stale. The audience has seen it too many times. The trick is to continually cycle through similar, but different, ad examples.

Here’s how David Zheng does it for BuildFire:

His team will either (a) create the ad creative image directly inside Canva, or (b) have their designers create a background ‘template’ that they can use to manipulate quickly. That way, they can make fast adjustments on the fly, A/B testing small elements like background color to keep ads fresh and conversions as high as possible.

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All retargeting or remarketing campaigns will be sent to a tightly controlled audience. For example, let’s say you have leads who’ve downloaded an eBook and ones who’ve participated in a consultation call. You can just lump those two types into the same campaign, right? I mean, they’re both technically ‘leads.’

But that’s a mistake. Sure, they’re both leads. However, they’re at different levels of interest. Your goal with the first group is to get them on a free consultation call, while your goal with the second is to get them to sign up for a free trial. That means two campaigns, which means two audiences.

Facebook’s custom audiences makes this easy, as does LinkedIn’s new-ish Matched Audiences feature. Like with Facebook, you can pick people who’ve visited certain pages on your site, belong to specific lists in your CRM, or whose email address is on a custom .CSV file:

If both of these leads fall off after a few weeks and fail to follow up, you can go back to the beginning to re-engage them. You can use content-based ads all over again to hit back at the primary pain points behind the product or service that you sell.

This seems like a lot of detailed work — largely because it is. But it’s worth it because of scale. You can set these campaigns up, once, and then simply monitor or tweak performance as you go. That means technology is largely running each individual campaign. You don’t need as many people internally to manage each hands-on.

And best of all, it forces you to create a logical system. You’re taking people through a step-by-step process, one tiny commitment at a time, until they seamlessly move from stranger into customer.

Conclusion

Sending out a few tweets won’t make an impact at the end of the day. There’s more competition (read: noise) than ever before, while organic reach has never been lower. The trick isn’t to follow some faux influencer who talks the loudest, but rather the practitioners who are doing it day-in, day-out, with the KPIs to prove it.

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Better Than Basics: Custom-Tailoring Your SEO Approach (With Real-World Examples)

Posted by Laura.Lippay

Just like people, websites come in all shapes and sizes. They’re different ages, with different backgrounds, histories, motivations, and resources at hand. So when it comes to approaching SEO for a site, one-size-fits-all best practices are typically not the most effective way to go about it (also, you’re better than that).

An analogy might be if you were a fitness coach. You have three clients. One is a 105lb high school kid who wants to beef up a little. One is a 65-year-old librarian who wants better heart health. One is a heavyweight lumberjack who’s working to be the world’s top springboard chopper. Would you consider giving each of them the same diet and workout routine? Probably not. You’re probably going to:

  1. Learn all you can about their current diet, health, and fitness situations.
  2. Come up with the best approach and the best tactics for each situation.
  3. Test your way into it and optimize, as you learn what works and what doesn’t.

In SEO, consider how your priorities might be different if you saw similar symptoms — let’s say problems ranking anything on the first page — for:

  1. New sites vs existing sites
  2. New content vs older content
  3. Enterprise vs small biz
  4. Local vs global
  5. Type of market — for example, a news site, e-commerce site, photo pinning, or a parenting community

A new site might need more sweat equity or have previous domain spam issues, while an older site might have years of technical mess to clean up. New content may need the right promotional touch while old content might just simply be stale. The approach for enterprise is often, at its core, about getting different parts of the organization to work together on things they don’t normally do, while the approach for small biz is usually more scrappy and entrepreneurial.

With the lack of trust in SEO today, people want to know if you can actually help them and how. Getting to know the client or project intimately and proposing custom solutions shows that you took the time to get to know the details and can suggest an effective way forward. And let’s not forget that your SEO game plan isn’t just important for the success of the client — it’s important for building your own successes, trust, and reputation in this niche industry.

How to customize an approach for a proposal

Do: Listen first

Begin by asking questions. Learn as much as you can about the situation at hand, the history, the competition, resources, budget, timeline, etc. Maybe even sleep on it and ask more questions before you provide a proposal for your approach.

Consider the fitness trainer analogy again. Now that you’ve asked questions, you know that the high school kid is already at the gym on a regular basis and is overeating junk food in his attempt to beef up. The librarian has been on a low-salt paleo diet since her heart attack a few years ago, and knows she knows she needs to exercise but refuses to set foot in a gym. The lumberjack is simply a couch potato.

Now that you know more, you can really tailor a proposed approach that might appeal to your potential client and allow you and the client to see how you might reach some initial successes.

Do: Understand business priorities.

What will fly? What won’t fly? What can we push for and what’s off the table? Even if you feel strongly about particular tactics, if you can’t shape your work within a client’s business priorities you may have no client at all.

Real-world example:

Site A wanted to see how well they could rank against their biggest content-heavy SERP competitors like Wikipedia but wanted to keep a sleek, content-light experience. Big-brand SEO vendors working for Site A pushed general, content-heavy SEO best practices. Because Site A wanted solutions that fit into their current workload along with a sleek, content-light experience, they pushed back.

The vendors couldn’t keep the client because they weren’t willing to get into the clients workload groove and go beyond general best practices. They didn’t listen to and work within the client’s specific business objectives.

Site A hired internal SEO resources and tested into an amount of content that they were comfortable with, in sync with technical optimization and promotional SEO tactics, and saw rankings slowly improve. Wikipedia and the other content-heavy sites are still sometimes outranking Site A, but Site A is now a stronger page one competitor, driving more traffic and leads, and can make the decision from here whether it’s worth it to continue to stay content-light or ramp up even more to get top 3 rankings more often.

The vendors weren’t necessarily incorrect in suggesting going content-heavy for the purpose of competitive ranking, but they weren’t willing to find the middle ground to test into light content first, and they lost a big brand client. At its current state, Site A could ramp up content even more, but gobs of text doesn’t fit the sleek brand image and it’s not proven that it would be worth the engineering maintenance costs for that particular site — a very practical, “not everything in SEO is most important all the time” approach.

Do: Find the momentum

It’s easiest to inject SEO where there’s already momentum into a business running full-speed ahead. Are there any opportunities to latch onto an effort that’s just getting underway? This may be more important than your typical best practice priorities.

Real-world example:

Brand X had 12–20 properties (websites) at any given time, but their small SEO team could only manage about 3 at a time. Therefore the SEO team had to occasionally assess which properties they would be working with. Properties were chosen based on:

  1. Which ones have the biggest need or opportunities?
  2. Which ones have resources that they’re willing to dedicate?
  3. Which ones are company priorities?

#2 was important. Without it, the idea that one of the properties might have the biggest search traffic opportunity didn’t matter if they had no resources to dedicate to implement the SEO team’s recommendations.

Similarly, in the first example above, the vendors weren’t able to go with the client’s workflow and lost the client. Make sure you’re able to identify which wheels are moving that you can take advantage of now, in order to get things done. There may be some tactics that will have higher impact, but if the client isn’t ready or willing to do them right now, you’re pushing a boulder uphill.

Do: Understand the competitive landscape

What is this site up against? What is the realistic chance they can compete? Knowing what the competitive landscape looks like, how will that influence your approach?

Real-world example:

Site B has a section of pages competing against old, strong, well-known, content-heavy, link-rich sites. Since it’s a new site section, almost everything needs to be done for Site B — technical optimization, building content, promotion, and generating links. However, the nature of this competitive landscape shows us that being first to publish might be important here. Site B’s competitors oftentimes have content out weeks if not months before the actual content brand owner (Site B). How? By staying on top of Site B’s press releases. The competitors created landing pages immediately after Site B put out a press release, while Site B didn’t have a landing page until the product actually launched. Once this was realized, being first to publish became an important factor. And because Site B is an enterprise site, and changing that process takes time internally, other technical and content optimization for the page templates happened concurrently, so that there was at least the minimal technical optimization and content on these pages by the time the process for first-publishing was shaped.

Site B is now generating product landing pages at the time of press release, with links to the landing pages in those press releases that are picked up by news outlets, giving Site B the first page and the first links, and this is generating more links than their top competitor in the first 7 days 80% of the time.

Site B didn’t audit the site and suggest tactics by simply checking off a list of technical optimizations prioritized by an SEO tool or ranking factors, but instead took a more calculated approach based on what’s happening in the competitive landscape, combined with the top prioritized technical and content optimizations. Optimizing the site itself without understanding the competitive landscape in this case would be leaving the competitors, who also have optimized sites with a lot of content, a leg up because they were cited (linked to) and picked up by Google first.

Do: Ask what has worked and hasn’t worked before

Asking this question can be very informative and help to drill down on areas that might be a more effective use of time. If the site has been around for a while, and especially if they already have an SEO working with them, try to find out what they’ve already done that has worked and that hasn’t worked to give you clues on what approaches might be successful or not..

General example:

Site C has hundreds, sometimes thousands of internal cross-links on their pages, very little unique text content, and doesn’t see as much movement for cross-linking projects as they do when adding unique text.

Site D knows from previous testing that generating more keyword-rich content on their landing pages hasn’t been as effective as implementing better cross-linking, especially since there is very little cross-linking now.

Therefore each of these sites should be prioritizing text and cross-linking tactics differently. Be sure to ask the client or potential client about previous tests or ranking successes and failures in order to learn what tactics may be more relevant for this site before you suggest and prioritize your own.

Do: Make sure you have data

Ask the client what they’re using to monitor performance. If they do not have the basics, suggest setting it up or fold that into your proposal as a first step. Define what data essentials you need to analyze the site by asking the client about their goals, walking through how to measure those goals with them, and then determining the tools and analytics setup you need. Those essentials might be something like:

  • Webmaster tools set up. I like to have at least Google and Bing, so I can compare across search engines to help determine if a spike or a drop is happening in both search engines, which might indicate that the cause is from something happening with the site, or in just one search engine, which might indicate that the cause is algo-related.
  • Organic search engine traffic. At the very least, you should be able to see organic search traffic by page type (ex: service pages versus product pages). At best, you can also filter by things like URL structure, country, date, referrers/source and be able to run regex queries for granularity.
  • User testing & focus groups. Optional, but useful if it’s available & can help prioritization. Has the site gathered any insights from users that could be helpful in deciding on and prioritizing SEO tactics? For example, focus groups on one site showed us that people were more likely to convert if they could see a certain type of content that wouldn’t have necessarily been a priority for SEO otherwise. If they’re more likely to convert, they’re less likely to bounce back to search results, so adding that previously lower-priority content could have double advantages for the site: higher conversions and lower bounce rate back to SERPs.

Don’t: Make empty promises.

Put simply, please, SEOs, do not blanket promise anything. Hopeful promises leads to SEOs being called snake oil salesmen. This is a real problem for all of us, and you can help turn it around.

Clients and managers will try to squeeze you until you break and give them a number or a promised rank. Don’t do it. This is like a new judoka asking the coach to promise they’ll make it to the Olympics if they sign up for the program. The level of success depends on what the judoka puts into it, what her competition looks like, what is her tenacity for courage, endurance, competition, resistance… You promise, she signs up, says “Oh, this takes work so I’m only going to come to practice on Saturdays,” and everybody loses.

Goals are great. Promises are trouble. Good contracts are imperative.

Here are some examples:

  • We will get you to page 1. No matter how successful you may have been in the past, every site, competitive landscape, and team behind the site is a different challenge. A promise of #1 rankings may be a selling point to get clients, but can you live up to it? What will happen to your reputation of not? This industry is small enough that word gets around when people are not doing right by their clients.
  • Rehashing vague stats. I recently watched a well-known agency tell a room full of SEOs: “The search result will provide in-line answers for 47% of your customer queries”. Obviously this isn’t going to be true for every SEO in the room, since different types of queries have different SERPS, and the SERP UI constantly changes, but how many of the people in that room went back to their companies and their clients and told them that? What happens to those SEOs if that doesn’t prove true?
  • We will increase traffic by n%. Remember, hopeful promises can lead to being called snake oil salesmen. If you can avoid performance promises, especially in the proposal process, by all means please do. Set well-informed goals rather than high-risk promises, and be conservative when you can. It always looks better to over-perform than to not reach a goal.
  • You will definitely see improvement. Honestly, I wouldn’t even promise this unless you would *for real* bet your life on it. You may see plenty of opportunities for optimization but you can’t be sure they’ll implement anything, they’ll implement things correctly, implementations will not get overwritten, competitors won’t step it up or new ones rise, or that the optimization opportunities you see will even work on this site.

Don’t: Use the same proposal for every situation at hand.

If your proposal is so vague that it might actually seem to apply to any site, then you really should consider taking a deeper look at each situation at hand before you propose.

Would you want your doctor to prescribe the same thing for your (not yet known) pregnancy as the next person’s (not yet known) fungal blood infection, when you both just came in complaining of fatigue?

Do: Cover yourself in your contract

As a side note for consultants, this is a clause I include in my contract with clients for protection against being sued if clients aren’t happy with their results. It’s especially helpful for stubborn clients who don’t want to do the work and expect you to perform magic. Feel free to use it:

Consultant makes no warranty, express, implied or statutory, with respect to the services provided hereunder, including without limitation any implied warranty of reliability, usefulness, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, noninfringement, or those arising from the course of performance, dealing, usage or trade. By signing this agreement, you acknowledge that Consultant neither owns nor governs the actions of any search engine or the Customer’s full implementations of recommendations provided by Consultant. You also acknowledge that due to non-responsibility over full implementations, fluctuations in the relative competitiveness of some search terms, recurring changes in search engine algorithms and other competitive factors, it is impossible to guarantee number one rankings or consistent top ten rankings, or any other specific search engines rankings, traffic or performance.”

Go get ‘em!

The way you approach a new SEO client or project is critical to setting yourself up for success. And I believe we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Have you thought outside the SEO standards box to find success with any of your clients or projects? Please share in the comments!

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People Buy From People: Five examples of how to bring the humanity back to marketing

As a B2B marketer, you understand how important the right tech stack is. But don’t forget why you have that technology to begin with – to serve customers. So get some ideas for how to best serve prospective customers as people in today’s blog post.
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Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Sleazy: 5 Real-World Examples

In my youth, a former coworker once told me, “I’d never date anyone who works in marketing.” When I inquired about his reasoning, he replied: “It’s just so sleazy. Choosing that line of work says a lot about a person.” Since I was young and impressionable, that sentiment stayed with me. So I was naturally
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The post Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Sleazy: 5 Real-World Examples appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to build links without creating content: 5 examples

Link building and content marketing often complement each other, but columnist Andrew Dennis notes that there are plenty of ways to build links, even if you don’t have the resources to create content.

The post How to build links without creating content: 5 examples appeared first on Search Engine…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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B2B Mobile Marketing for Demand Generation? Yes! Examples and Quick Tips

B2B Mobile MarketingWhen you think of mobile marketing, visions of searches for store hours, maps and getting tips from Facebook friends about good restaurants probably come to mind – all consumer focused. But what about B2B marketing and mobile?

Why mobile marketing for B2B demand generation:
In many countries, including the U.S., more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers. (Google). That means B2B demand gen content must be mobile friendly.  Also, 52% of B2B customers are using smartphones to research products for their businesses. (Forrester) so the demand is certainly there.

So which B2B companies using mobile marketing can we learn from?

Here are a few examples:

Fedex Access Mobile Magazine
ACCESS is a FedEx Corp publication available for mobile consumption through iPad, Kindle Fire and Android devices. The ACCESS mobile magazine app offers interactive features designed specifically for tablets and Android smartphones, including videos and dynamic slideshows.

Power More Dell Mobile
Power More is a Dell content platform that provides customized content to technology decision-makers optimized for mobile devices.
 (Disclosure, Dell is a TopRank Marketing client)

Gateway Emerson Mobile
Gateway to Emerson is an iPad app that is among numerous mobile apps and mobile optimized experiences launched by Emerson Electric Co.for their businesses including
Emerson Climate Technologies Apps
multiple iPhone and iPad apps for Emerson Climate Technologies.

3M Post-it® Plus App
3M’s Post-it® Plus
 app for iPhone and iPad enables users to capture images of their Post-it notes, share and collaborate with other business people.

To put mobile marketing to work for your own B2B demand gen programs, here are a few “quick hit” tactics to implement:

1. Optimize for Mobile: At a minimum, marketers can ensure their websites are optimized for mobile experiences. Whether the site is simply responsive and adaptable across devices, a dedicated mobile site is created or an app – B2B marketers should learn their customer’s preferences for mobile content discovery and consumption so those content experiences can be optimized.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use Google’s tool.

2. Faster Mobile Content FTW! Also, make sure your demand gen content loads quickly in mobile devices or it can suffer in mobile search engine rankings. Check your website’s page load speed with this tool from Google.

3. Make video mobile ready. Video is a top content type consumed on mobile devices, 61% of B2B users watch mobile video relating to their work (IDG). But some video formats and hosting platforms only work on desktops. Make sure your B2B video content is mobile friendly for the best possible experience for your prospects.

By creating content that can be discovered, consumed and interacted with in ways your B2B buyers prefer, you can optimize your ability to attract, engage and convert more leads, deals and revenue. That sounds like a perfect opportunity for B2B marketers, don’t you think?

Top photo: Shutterstock


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5 Dazzling Design Examples of What’s Possible with the Genesis Framework for WordPress

411 screenshot

I am so sick of this doggone website.

It had been a good 18 months since I’d updated the design. It didn’t use HTML5. It wasn’t mobile responsive. And the form and function of the site no longer fit the content as well as it could.

Worst of all, it just looked … old. It felt tired. I needed a change, but I’m no coder. Nor did I want to pay for a custom design.

Ever had a similar string of thoughts yourself about your own site?

Here’s how to remedy that …

It’s time to get re-energized

The dissatisfaction I was feeling with my site was quickly alleviated when I installed one of our new Genesis Pro themes — Agency Pro. (Working for Copyblogger does have its perks.)

Just a couple fun hours of tinkering and customizing later, I had a brand-new, cutting-edge design that would have been impossible for me to do by myself and would have cost me thousands of dollars to hire someone to do for me.

I felt great about my site again and energized to create new content for it.

Want to get re-energized about your own site?

Here are five other sites that serve as pristine examples of how you can have a modern, mobile-ready website darn near right out of the box … all for less than $ 100.

Be bold, be Beautiful

These first two websites employ our new Beautiful Pro Theme.

This first site, AllisonVesterfelt.com, shows you how naturally alluring the design for Beautiful is with only basic customizations being made.

Allison Vesterfelt screenshot

Compare it to the demo and you will see that it didn’t take much for the Vesterfelts to take Beautiful and make it completely their own.

Taking Beautiful even further is WhitneyCapps.com

This site, designed by Erin Ulrich, adds a textured background and substitutes a stylish text logo for the horizontal header image.

Whitney Capps screenshot

These two sites put the simplicity and versatility of Genesis on full display.

You can get a gorgeous new design right out of the box, or you can take it to the next level by employing one of the Genesis community’s many talented developers to add even more of your own unique flair.

See the Beautiful Pro Theme demo here, or purchase Beautiful for immediate use on your site here.

Beyond design with Sixteen Nine

Sixteen Nine, the recently released child theme that all Synthesis customers receive upon signing up, keeps the nav bar and widgets simple so that the audience’s full attention is on the content.

You can see this in action at PlacesBeyond.com, a site chronicling a motorcycle journey from California to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

Places Beyond screenshot

Check out the Sixteen Nine demo here, and you’ll see how closely Places Beyond sticks with the basic format of the child theme while still carving out a unique feel thanks to the design acumen of Megan Gray.

If you are not a Synthesis customer, you can get Sixteen Nine for your site here.

Innovating with eleven40

The eleven40 theme has long been one of StudioPress’ best sellers. With the additions made to the Pro version — HTML5 markup, mobile responsiveness, a layout that incorporates modern design trends — eleven40 will surely remain at or near the top of the most popular list.

TodaysInnovativeWoman.com is an impressive example of what is possible when a solid theme is infused with the creativity of a great designer like Jennifer Bourn.

Todays Innovative Woman screenshot

You can compare Jennifer’s work to the eleven40 demo here, or you can dive right in and add eleven40 to your site here.

Write away with Wintersong

This final example is another that shows the out-of-the-box power of Genesis, specifically the Wintersong Pro theme.

Wintersong is one of many StudioPress themes that began as the design of StudioPress founder Brian Gardner’s personal website. (You can see the latest such design, The 411, right here and in the image at the top of this post.)

The site pictured below, Just-Thauna.com, takes the base Wintersong design and adds nothing more than a custom header image (which can be uploaded and formatted in less than a minute from the dashboard) and a new color scheme to create an ideal look for Thauna’s personal blog.

Just Thauna screenshot

Thauna is a designer herself, specializing in Genesis designs. So she knows how to add flair to a Genesis site, even if she didn’t do too much to Wintersong for her own site — she didn’t need to.

Check out the demo for Wintersong here, or go ahead and grab a copy for yourself here.

101,000+ people take WordPress further with StudioPress

Image of Genesis 2.0 Logo

Our Genesis Framework for WordPress empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress.

With search-optimized code and functions, 55 turn-key designs, state-of-the-art security, and unlimited support, updates, and websites you can build, Mashable calls Genesis the “best of the best” among premium WordPress themes.

Serious online publishers trust Genesis to provide a solid foundation for their sites. By serious, I mean people planning to get somewhere with this Internet thing.

Whether you’re a novice, or an advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the rock-solid infrastructure to take WordPress places you never thought it could go.

Pick up Genesis (and a child theme) today!

Need a little help?

If you have questions about Genesis that you’d like to get answered before purchasing, please contact our Support Division directly.

If you are an existing StudioPress customer, please log in to MyStudioPress for all support questions.

For non-support related discussions about WordPress, CSS, design, and site feedback, please jump into the StudioPress Community Forums anytime.

Thanks!

About the author

Jerod Morris

Jerod Morris is the Director of Content for Copyblogger Media and a founding member of the Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting team. Get more from Jerod on Twitter and .

The post 5 Dazzling Design Examples of What’s Possible with the Genesis Framework for WordPress appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Learn About Robots.txt with Interactive Examples

Posted by willcritchlow

One of the things that excites me most about the development of the web is the growth in learning resources. When I went to college in 1998, it was exciting enough to be able to search journals, get access to thousands of dollars-worth of textbooks, and download open source software. These days, technologies like Khan Academy, iTunesU, Treehouse and Codecademy take that to another level.

I've been particularly excited by the possibilities for interactive learning we see coming out of places like Codecademy. It's obviously most suited to learning things that look like programming languages – where computers are naturally good at interpreting the "answer" – which got me thinking about what bits of online marketing look like that.

The kinds of things that computers are designed to interpret in our marketing world are:

  • Search queries – particularly those that look more like programming constructs than natural language queries such as [site:distilled.net -inurl:www]
  • The on-site part of setting up analytics – setting custom variables and events, adding virtual pageviews, modifying e-commerce tracking, and the like
  • Robots.txt syntax and rules
  • HTML constructs like links, meta page information, alt attributes, etc.
  • Skills like Excel formulae that many of us find a critical part of our day-to-day job

I've been gradually building out codecademy-style interactive learning environments for all of these things for DistilledU, our online training platform, but most of them are only available to paying members. I thought it would make a nice start to 2013 to pull one of these modules out from behind the paywall and give it away to the SEOmoz community. I picked the robots.txt one because our in-app feedback is showing that it's one of the ones from which people learned the most.

Also, despite years of experience, I discovered some things I didn't know as I wrote this module (particularly about precedence of different rules and the interaction of wildcards with explicit rules). I'm hoping that it'll be useful to many of you as well – beginners and experts alike.

Interactive guide to Robots.txt

Robots.txt is a plain-text file found in the root of a domain (e.g. www.example.com/robots.txt). It is a widely-acknowledged standard and allows webmasters to control all kinds of automated consumption of their site, not just by search engines.

In addition to reading about the protocol, robots.txt is one of the more accessible areas of SEO since you can access any site's robots.txt. Once you have completed this module, you will find value in making sure you understand the robots.txt files of some large sites (for example Google and Amazon).

For each of the following sections, modify the text in the textareas and see them go green when you get the right answer.

Basic Exclusion

The most common use-case for robots.txt is to block robots from accessing specific pages. The simplest version applies the rule to all robots with a line saying User-agent: *. Subsequent lines contain specific exclusions that work cumulatively, so the code below blocks robots from accessing /secret.html.

Add another rule to block access to /secret2.html in addition to /secret.html.

Exclude Directories

If you end an exclusion directive with a trailing slash ("/") such as Disallow: /private/ then everything within the directory is blocked.

Modify the exclusion rule below to block the folder called secret instead of the page secret.html.

Allow Specific Paths

In addition to disallowing specific paths, the robots.txt syntax allows for allowing specific paths. Note that allowing robot access is the default state, so if there are no rules in a file, all paths are allowed.

The primary use for the Allow: directive is to over-ride more general Disallow: directives. The precedence rule states that "the most specific rule based on the length of the [path] entry will trump the less specific (shorter) rule. The order of precedence for rules with wildcards is undefined.".

We will demonstrate this by modifying the exclusion of the /secret/ folder below with an Allow: rule allowing /secret/not-secret.html. Since this rule is longer, it will take precedence.

Restrict to Specific User Agents

All the directives we have worked with have applied equally to all robots. This is specified by the User-agent: * that begins our commands. By replacing the *, however, we can design rules that only apply to specific named robots.

Replace the * with googlebot in the example below to create a rule that applies only to Google's robot.

Add Multiple Blocks

It is possible to have multiple blocks of commands targeting different sets of robots. The robots.txt example below will allow googlebot to access all files except those in the /secret/ directory and will block all other robots from the whole site. Note that because there is a set of directives aimed explicitly at googlebot, googlebot will entirely ignore the directives aimed at all robots. This means you can't build up your exclusions from a base of common exclusions. If you want to target named robots, each block must specify all its own rules.

Add a second block of directives targeting all robots (User-agent: *) that blocks the whole site (Disallow: /). This will create a robots.txt file that blocks the whole site from all robots except googlebot which can crawl any page except those in the /secret/ folder.

Use More Specific User Agents

There are occasions when you wish to control the behavior of specific crawlers such as Google's Images crawler differently from the main googlebot. In order to enable this in robots.txt, these crawlers will choose to listen to the most specific user-agent string that applies to them. So, for example, if there is a block of instructions for googlebot and one for googlebot-images then the images crawler will obey the latter set of directives. If there is no specific set of instructions for googlebot-images (or any of the other specialist googlebots) they will obey the regular googlebot directives.

Note that a crawler will only ever obey one set of directives – there is no concept of cumulatively applying directives across groups.

Given the following robots.txt, googlebot-images will obey the googlebot directives (in other words will not crawl the /secret/ folder. Modify this so that the instructions for googlebot (and googlebot-news etc.) remain the same but googlebot-images has a specific set of directives meaning that it will not crawl the /secret/ folder or the /copyright/ folder:

Basic Wildcards

Trailing wildcards (designated with *) are ignored so Disallow: /private* is the same as Disallow: /private. Wildcards are useful however for matching multiple kinds of pages at once. The star character (*) matches 0 or more instances of any valid character (including /, ?, etc.).

For example, Disallow: news*.html blocks:

  • news.html
  • news1.html
  • news1234.html
  • newsy.html
  • news1234.html?id=1

But does not block:

  • newshtml note the lack of a "."
  • News.html matches are case sensitive
  • /directory/news.html

Modify the following pattern to block only pages ending .html in the blog directory instead of the whole blog directory:

Block Certain Parameters

One common use-case of wildcards is to block certain parameters. For example, one way of handling faceted navigation is to block combinations of 4 or more facets. One way to do this is to have your system add a parameter to all combinations of 4+ facets such as ?crawl=no. This would mean for example that the URL for 3 facets might be /facet1/facet2/facet3/ but that when a fourth is added, this becomes /facet1/facet2/facet3/facet4/?crawl=no.

The robots rule that blocks this should look for *crawl=no (not *?crawl=no because a query string of ?sort=asc&crawl=no would be valid).

Add a Disallow: rule to the robots.txt below to prevent any pages that contain crawl=no being crawled.

Match Whole Filenames

As we saw with folder exclusions (where a pattern like /private/ would match paths of files contained within that folder such as /private/privatefile.html), by default the patterns we specify in robots.txt are happy to match only a portion of the filename and allow anything to come afterwards even without explicit wildcards.

There are times when we want to be able to enforce a pattern matching an entire filename (with or without wildcards). For example, the following robots.txt looks like it prevents jpg files from being crawled but in fact would also prevent a file named explanation-of-.jpg.html from being crawled because that also matches the pattern.

If you want a pattern to match to the end of the filename then we should end it with a $ sign which signifies "line end". For example, modifying an exclusion from Disallow: /private.html to Disallow: /private.html$ would stop the pattern matching /private.html?sort=asc and hence allow that page to be crawled.

Modify the pattern below to exclude actual .jpg files (i.e. those that end with .jpg).

Add an XML Sitemap

The last line in many robots.txt files is a directive specifying the location of the site's XML sitemap. There are many good reasons for including a sitemap for your site and also for listing it in your robots.txt file. You can read more about XML sitemaps here.

You specify your sitemap's location using a directive of the form Sitemap: <path>.

Add a sitemap directive to the following robots.txt for a sitemap called my-sitemap.xml that can be found at /my-sitemap.xml.

Add a Video Sitemap

In fact, you can add multiple XML sitemaps (each on their own line) using this syntax. Go ahead and modify the robots.txt below to also include a video sitemap called my-video-sitemap.xml that lives at /my-video-sitemap.xml.

What to do if you are stuck on any of these tests

Firstly, there is every chance that I've made a mistake with my JavaScript tests to fail to grade some correct solutions the right way. Sorry if that's the case – I'll try to fix them up if you let me know.

Whether you think you've got the answer right (but the box hasn't gone green) or you are stuck and haven't got a clue how to proceed, please just:

  1. Check the comments to see if anyone else has had the same issue; if not:
  2. Leave a comment saying which test you are trying to complete and what your best guess answer is

This will let me help you out as quickly as possible.

Obligatory disclaimers

Please don't use any of the robots.txt snippets above on your own site – they are illustrative only (and some would be a very bad idea). The idea of this post is to teach the general principles about how robots.txt files are interpreted rather than to explain the best ways of using them. For more of the latter, I recommend the following posts:

I hope that you've found something useful in these exercises whether you're a beginner or a pro. I look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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Outreach Letters for Link Building [Real Examples]

Posted by Peter Attia

opening letterOutreach letters are a primary element in any quality link building campaign: If you're not getting responses, you're not getting links. It takes a lot of trial and error to find what works, which can be difficult for new link builders. To make things easier for everyone, I wanted to give several outreach letters I use for contacting different sites.

Although I have done a lot of testing with different letters, I’m by no means suggesting mine are the best of the best. These are what work for me and I do use the conversion rate of my emails as a factor.

Guest Posts

For guest posting, you want to have a more personal approach in your email. However, you don’t want to be overly personal and invade their bubble. I like to do some light digging and find something I can personally connect with them on (if you can't find something in 5 minutes, move on). I find this works better than trying to explain why the article would be a great fit for their site. Also, I found that adding a small incentive boosts the response rate.

Hey Taylor,

I recently came across BanjosOnTheGreen.com and saw that you play a Deering Banjo. I broke the neck on my banjo a few days ago so I’ve been looking for a new one. I’ve never played a Deering before though: what’s your take on them?

Also, I’ve been writing up music articles and would love the chance to write on your blog. I’d be happy to send over a new set of banjo strings as a thanks!

Cheers,
-Peter

Michael King wrote a great article with a scenario on how you can be personal to leverage a link. This is a perfect example of the quality links you can obtain through manual outreach.

Real Correspondence Example:

guest post correspondence

Broken link building

I target personal sites for broken links. These can be blogs or enthusiast sites and usually have a page of resources or a blogroll. I’m a fan of keeping emails short, so I try not to get personal on these.

Hey David,

I was looking through your suggested links on SportRacerHeaven.com and noticed a few broken links. Let me know how to reach the webmaster and I can send a list their way!

Also, if you’re open to suggestions, I think KingKongBikeParts.com would be a great fit. They have a large variety of customized parts that I’ve had trouble finding elsewhere.

All the Best,
-Peter

The webmaster will nearly always be the person you are contacting. I just use the second sentence as a buffer to get a response before providing a list. Once I get a response (And hopefully a link) I provide them with a list I’ve acquired. You can see a great correspondence example of this on Nick Leroy's broken link building post.

Also, If broken link building is still a new concept to you, Anthony Nelson wrote a tutorial on broken link building that's definitely worth checking out!

Links to a Local Business Site

Local businesses are great to target if you have something to provide in return. For example, if you have a tool that would be beneficial for them to use on their site.

Judy,

My name is Peter. I work for StrictlyBusinessRealty.com and we’ve recently created a tool for real estate businesses to help their visitors find movers in their area. Since we’re located out of Charlotte, we’re offering this tool to Charlotte businesses for free for a limited time.

You can customize the tool at StrictlyBusinessRealty.com/moving-tool/

If you have any questions or need any help setting it up, let me know!

Thanks,
-Peter

Real Correspondence Example:

Correspondence Example

Outreach Through Blog Commenting

This is what you can resort to if you can’t find any contact information on a blog. You want to be fairly vague, so that you’re not publicly displaying who your client is. I’ve seen bloggers get quite upset about outreaching to them through a comment and you obviously don’t want them publicly talking about your client negatively.

Hey Todd,

I was wondering if you accepted any guest posting on MyBliggidyBlog.com. I couldn’t manage to find your email on the site. If you could get a hold of me at notmyrealemail@gmail.com, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks,
-Peter

Note: Sometimes people will respond through another comment first, so you want to make sure you’re subscribed to get emails on comments made on that post.

Real Correspondence Example:

blog comment correspondence

 

I then got a response via email and was able to negotiate from there.

Paid Advertising

This is more for bloggers than businesses. Businesses that have paid advertising are pretty straightforward about it. You just need to find the “advertise” button on their site and wait for them to send you an obnoxiously long media kit.

Hey Jay,

My name is Peter. I’m doing promotions for a dog related site and would like the chance to put up a small advertisement on RufusTheAllMighty.com. I think it would be a great fit considering the relevancy. If this is something you’d be interested in, just let me know! Thanks in advance!

All the Best
-Peter

Real Correspondence Example:

Paid Advertisement Correspondence

 

How to Increase Your Response Rate

I do this for hard to get links, like EDU's. I basically open with a "soft email" to get a response. After that response, I'll hit them with my actual proposal. This works well for propositions that require a long explanation, where people tend to just skim through instead of actually reading your email.

Hello,

I’m trying to get in contact with the person in charge of the CollegeUniversity.com/housing/ page. If you could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

All the Best,
-Peter

After I get a response, I give my full pitch. Since they've already committed to a conversation with me, they will read my email word for word instead of skimming through.

Real Correspondence Example:

increase response rate email

Conclusion

Keeping your emails short and sweet is a great way to go. I constantly try new forms of outreach and always end up reverting back to small quick emails. They grab attention at a glance and someone can see the point of your email right away. They're also easier to construct on the fly, which allows you to send out several emails faster.

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17 Examples of Twitter Brand Page Backgrounds to Inspire You

blank wall paintsintermediate

Although none of us really like to admit it, let’s be honest: first impressions matter. So if you’re trying to build a remarkable social media presence, you can bet that the look and feel of your brand pages in social media will make an impression on new visitors who know nothing or little about you. It’s no secret that people will judge a book by its cover. And if that’s the case, wouldn’t you want to make sure the first impression of your brand page is one that captures visitors’ attention, making them inclined to stick around and learn more about you?

Take Twitter brand pages for example. The background of the page literally provides businesses with a blank canvas to decorate, so to overlook the marketing potential of this valuable Twitter real estate would be a disadvantage to marketers. Smart marketers are using this space to visually and creatively capture visitors’ attention, emphasize their value proposition, promote offers and campaigns, and provide more information than the character limit in their bios allow. Are you?

If you could use some inspiration, here are some great examples of how real brands are painting their Twitter landscapes. And to get started designing your own Twitter background, check out our handy guide (with a video tutorial) on how to create a custom Twitter background.

1) Etica Wines

etica wines resized 600The Etica Wines Twitter page is a perfect blend of interesting design, branding, and links for visitors to learn more about the company, a wine guide and resource, as well as connect with them on Facebook or via email.

2) Spotify

spotify resized 600The Twitter background design for Spotify, a music discovery and sharing application for all genres, effectively demonstrates Spotify’s value proposition, both in its imagery as well as its minimalistic copy.

3) IdeaPaint

ideapaint resized 600IdeaPaint’s Twitter background cleverly features the brand’s signature product — paint that transforms walls into whiteboards — in action. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!

4) Dropbox

dropbox resized 600

The Twitter background design for Dropbox, a file and folder sharing service, features a cute and clever cartoon that embodies its brand/product. Your first impression? Dropbox is such a likable brand!

5) Adrants

describe the imageAdrants, a quirky marketing and advertising publication, uses its Twitter background to mimic that of its website, simply and consistently extending brand recognition.

6) The Sales Lion

the sales lion resized 600Similarly, The Sales Lion’s Twitter background perpetuates the branding elements of its website’s masthead while also providing visitors with a quick snippet of information about what The Sales Lion is and what it offers.

7) Snapple

snapple resized 600

Snapple uses its Twitter background as a call-to-action to promote its latest Twitter campaign, which encourages Twitter users to tweet at the brand using either the hashtag #lemonade or #tea (depending on Twitter users’ preference for which part of the popular Half & Half flavor is their favorite) for a chance to win ‘Snapply’ prizes.*

8) Modcloth

describe the image

Online retailer Modcloth uses its Twitter background to feature one of its retro-inspired swimsuits in a way that is fun, feminine, friendly, and very on brand, at the same time promoting its other Twitter accounts to direct Twitter users to the most appropriate Twitter contacts for their particular inquiries.

9) Salesforce

salesforce resized 600Salesforce uses its Twitter background real estate to emphasize its cloud branding and also show the faces behind the brand’s tweets. (Note: Using ^ followed by a person’s initials is a way for brands to show who authors individual tweets when Twitter is managed by multiple contributors).*

10) Target

target resized 600

While we usually find patterned backgrounds to be a little bit on the distracting/annoying/headache-inducing side, Target strikes a healthy balance between pattern and white space on its Twitter background, while also providing ways for Twitter users to connect with the brand on other social networks.

11) Zendesk

zendesk resized 600There’s nothing wrong with a simple, clean design, and Zendesk’s background definitely demonstrates that, along with an unobtrusive call-to-action to follow the brand — and what you’ll get if you do.

12) Livestrong

livestrong resized 600

Livestrong’s fierce Twitter background also inspires, empowering visitors to connect with the foundation in a number of ways to appeal to each of the brand’s different personas.

13) MLT Creative

mlt creative resized 600

MLT Creative, a B2B marketing agency, uses its page to feature its mission, to “make ideas work,” and emphasize its agency’s creativity. Clean, professional-looking, and intriguing!

14) Zipcar

zipcar resized 600

Zipcar’s background creatively showcases its happy users, putting customers at the forefront of its Twitter marketing strategy. The page also includes a call-to-action to learn more and sign up for Zipcar on its website.

15) IMPACT Branding

impact branding resized 600

Inbound marketing agency IMPACT Branding’s Twitter page proves that looking professional and appealing doesn’t have to mean complicated designwork. With its sleek design, the page highlights IMPACT’s value prop and where Twitter users can find more information.

16) McDonald’s

mcdonalds resized 600

Like Snapple, McDonald’s uses its Twitter background to reflect its current marketing promotion, Dollar Menu University, an interactive game that it also promotes using its banner image and the pinned tweet at the top of its page.*

17) HubSpot

describe the image

While we didn’t find many examples of businesses using their Twitter backgrounds to feature calls-to-action for particular promotions, offers, or events, we’re currently using HubSpot’s very own Twitter background to promote our upcoming marketing conference, Inbound 2012. Don’t be afraid to use your Twitter background to highlight your campaigns and drive Twitter users to action. Remember: you can update your background as often as you’d like!

(*Note: Use of features such as page banners/pinned tweets you see on pages like Snapple, Salesforce, McDonald’s, and HubSpot is available only to businesses with Enhanced Brand Pages, currently only available to select brands.)

What other creative business uses of Twitter backgrounds have you come across? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

twitter-intermediate-ebook

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