Here are his 7 (technically 8, but I didn’t want to argue with him) questions that he claims can be applied to ANY biblical text to get to the Gospel (we walked through Psalm 24).
GreenBook Blog provides original insight into the challenges faced by the market research industry today. I have just finished reading the latest GRIT Report, and realize that my advice to talk about one’s work is only part of the recipe for developing one’s “Secret Sauce”. In a recent GB Blog post I wrote about how market research agencies were told at the recent Insights Marketing Day  about the importance of finding their own company’s “Secret Sauce” in order to build their own unique brand in, what many perceive to be, an increasingly commoditized business.  Briefly, I suggested that a good way to do that was to talk about work one had already done in a way that potential clients would find it useful and informative. The main suggestion, however, was that researchers need to become more business-focused and consultative in their approach. The report goes on to say that “We need to be more consultative” may be a decades-old cliche in the research industry but that it may be increasing in urgency. Yet, when asked how they self-identified as research professionals, two thirds of respondents (67%) said “Consultant” and 42% said “Big Issue Thinker” (respondents could pick up to 3 from a list of 7).  There seems to be a disconnect here! In short, we tend to stop with an understanding of the research questions they want to ask, but we fail to develop a clear grasp of the business questions our results are meant to address.  A question that seldom gets asked is, “What are the business decisions that will be made based on this research and how will the results affect that decision-making?”  In my experience, this kind of questioning will often lead to a totally different study – and, occasionally, no study at all because the business decision would be essentially the same no matter what the study results were! We are not stepping back and first asking the “consultant” questions about the broader business context that gave rise to the research question.  But wait a minute!  Aren’t we trained, experienced question askers, in-depth probers, professional seekers of underlying dynamics?
Those of us who work on, and develop our “strategic listening skills” will develop an effective “Secret Sauce” – consistently providing valuable, usable insights that address the relevant “big picture” business issues of our clients.  Those of us who don’t – won’t and will be seen as less and less useful or relevant.
Rick Kendall is a consultant specializing in marketing and market research strategy and has done extensive assignments for Internet-based companies in the fields of pharmaceuticals, human resources, healthcare and publishing. Rick, I am honoured and somewhat flattered that my idea about ‘secret sauce’ has inspired you so much!
But we wanted to take those tips one step further and apply them to real-life landing pages. Miscellaneous Goodies: These are other tidbits of advice we can offer to help increase conversion rates.
Health Dialog is a company that provides population analytics, interactive decision aids, and healthcare decision programs to over 17 million people around the world.
Whata€™s great about this landing page is that it's very simple (there's no page clutter), it's focused on one offer and objective, and it's reasonably clear that it's a content offer. I also noticed that this landing page's page title (what gets shown at the top of your browser, and in search engines) is simply a€?From Theory to Practice.a€? From an SEO perspective, this is simply too vague to get found online. I'd change the title from a€?From Theory to Practicea€? to a€?Free Whitepaper: Shared Decision Making for Your Healthcare Practice a€“ by Health Dialoga€? or something similar, to make it keyword-rich and targeted. Revised headline to focus on the benefit of the email subscription first, and provide the incentive second. Curata is a software platform that enables you to easily find, organize, and share content. This is a fairly good landing page in the fact that ita€™s simple, clean, and to-the-point. The attractiveness of making money from blogging seems to overpower the reality of what this entails.
Fortunately, there are many blogging sites with tactical approaches to starting a blog with the goal of making money.
As an avid reader and contributor to the strategic communication industry, I’ve come across my fair share of blogs, ranging from smart and savvy to outdated and dry. How we create, accept, and manage these community systems directly impacts every aspect of our website. To execute proper community management we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the contributor and the shoes of a new visitor. We all know how guest blogging works and the general incentives for both the blogger and the site owner. However, there are layers of vetting that separate a gang of average guest bloggers from a team of great ones. The incentives and lottery-ish style of promoted posts make the opportunity very attractive and valuable.
In turn, these layers of standards and incentives force contributors to work hard on creating something truly unique, timely, and valuable to the community. In both Moz and SME, there is a lengthy editing and approval process, which sustains the standards of high quality content (as subjective as that may seem).
SME contributor articles often describe strategies in a step by step format with screenshots.
The system is clear-cut: challenge contributors to go way beyond the monotony of average industry articles. Out of all these reasons, I think the best takeaway is how a site cements impressions and expectations. When we make an informational search or referral click, the anchor text and rich snippets set an initial expectation.
If it does not provide any context, insight, or added-value, our impression and future expectations are of low quality.
But if it does exceed our expectations, such as a promoted Moz Blog post or tactical SME article, we now expect that level of quality every time. We should now realize that every layer of our site, such as the editorial process, impacts the quality of impressions on new visitors and the expectations of returning ones.
Instead, as site owners, we should be focusing on creating and efficiently managing a contributor system that fosters a standard of quality we know exceeds initial expectations.
If we have the time for manual outreach, there are a few sweet tactics that amp up the signal power of our content.
Mining comments, pingbacks, retweets, reblogs, backlink profiles, hashtags, keywords, and mentions. Most influential marketers and consumer behavior analysts, such as Geoffrey Miller and Seth Godin, stress the importance of subjective segmentation. Grab your pixelated shovel, because we’ll be digging through mounds and mounds of analytics data. Profile groups are created to categorize and measure people based on subjective social signals. The secret sauce of successful blogs involves creating an efficient and effective contributor management system, setting high quality content expectations, and analytics research for actionable strategies. CMI’s overpowering plethora of resources including starter guides, white papers, research, contrubtor articles, training, consulting, and even an exclusive industry magazine.
I think people often associate lots of comments and social shares as defining a popular blog.

So, for 2014 I’m going to focus on writing and promoting and everything else comes second. Haha it was a valiant effort for sure – I think posts like that and discussions on SpinSucks have a real voice that most sites in the strategic communication niche cannot match.
A popular blog isn’t necessarily successful (also depends upon our definition of success). There is nothing wrong with the thought (I am sure we could use the content to convince those commenters to become loyal readers…read and comment not just because of reciprocation, but also because they liked what they read).
Contributors from both sides of the table share their expertise and offer unique perspectives on a wide variety of issues, both strategic and tactical. Prior to starting his own practice, Rick was President of Impakt Health, the consumer division of InnoVision Health Media, the nation’s leading publisher in the field of integrative medicine. At times there’s not a lot of daylight between receipt of the brief and the return, even in large complex studies. Should we be asking clients to lie back on the couch and tell us what they are trying to do while we listen? Submissions & Voting Are Open for the Insight Innovation Competition at IIeX North America 2016! So to find those real-life landing pages, we reached out to our fans in social media and asked them to send us a landing page of theirs that they thought was in need of a little optimization love. While real landing pages are used in this article, the redesigned, or "After", versions of the landing pages are only concepts used to illustrate the recommendations in this article. In the visitora€™s eyes, is this offer's value worth providing contact information via the form in order to redeem it? It also includes many of the landing page must-haves, including a headline, body content, a supporting image, and a lead-capture form. One of the simplest yet best ways to increase conversion rates is to remove any other site navigation from your landing pages. Ita€™s a good practice to make your landing page headline the title of the offer it's promoting, but sometimes using only the title results in some vagueness about that particular offer's value. There is a lot of great stuff in these two paragraphs, and while ita€™s short (which is great!), the benefits of what the visitor will get by downloading the offer are buried in here. I felt that the sub-headline of Health Dialog's whitepaper, a€?Implementing Shared Decision Making at the Point of Care,a€? was far more powerful than the primary headline, a€?From Theory to Practice,a€? simply because it's more descriptive and actionable, and less vague. For example, some studies have shown that red or orange buttons work better than blue or green, but every website and its audience is different. Health Dialog should make sure its page has a strong page title that includes the pagea€™s primary keyword in order to increase organic search traffic to their page. Same as with the Health Dialog example above, Charmed Design should remove the main site navigation so people dona€™t feel tempted to wander off. I think Charmed Design's sub-headline is actually better than its main headline because it contains that action-packed language. Even though the form is short, the fact that it expands across the entire page looks a bit overwhelming. As a best practice, save the social media sharing and follow buttons for AFTER they convert on your form -- such as adding them to the thank-you page or in your auto-responder email -- as a next step. Receiving a 20% off coupon is nice, but you want your email subscribers to have a long-term relationship with you, not just take the coupon and bail afterward.
In this case, I added a couple of bullet points about what people will receive (besides the coupon) by subscribing.
The landing page below is for a demo request of the software, which is one of the companya€™s primary offers. Just because someone visits this landing page doesn't mean they're already sold on the offer or convinced it addresses their pain points. Again, ita€™s important not to overdo it, but a little more descriptive information about the demo will help address visitors' top questions and concerns. This is a minor change, but I reduced the size of the form fields and spacing so that, even when adding extra content above the form, the page length is exactly the same. If youa€™d like to see your own landing page optimized, add your URL and your top challenge in the comments! Some are kind enough to supply their income reports as well, giving us more insight to their revenue streams and strategies.
I thought back to all the sites I’ve learned from and which provided me with the most value. If we value her judgement, just as her 360,000+ followers do, we receive proof similar to seeing a high share count. I think every blog has standard of quality and that effects how their content is accepted and shared. It’s refreshing when humor seeps through what can sometimes feel like a dry wall of educational articles. Although, people who offer services and other products may not necessarily have time to maintain an active community on their blog). Before he joined InnoVision, he was Vice President of Marketing for Cinemax where he had responsibility for consumer and trade marketing for the brand. Or should we, by virtue of our functional or category experience, be able to already understand much of the bigger picture so that we merely need to fill in the blanks with direct, relevant questions. This was done to show you, the readers, what each landing page might look at if the tips were actually applied. This will keep the visitor from getting distracted and browsing other part of your website. Ia€™m not exactly sure whether Health Dialog's audience clearly understands what a€?From Theory to Practicea€? means, but if they don't, it makes sense for them to improve the strength of that title. Instead, Health Dialog should use short and simple bullet points to highlight the best qualities of their whitepaper so visitors can quickly scan the page and understand why they should convert.
Asking someone for their phone number in a form is a huge point of friction, simply because it screams, a€?Submit this form and get contacted by Sales!a€? In fact, if people so much as just see that phone number form field -- whether it's required or not -- they may automatically get turned off and avoid the offer. I may be wrong, and the Health Dialog audience may know exactly what the previous headline means and why ita€™s important, but let's assume they don't.
But again, if you plan to use the author as a main selling point, tell your visitors why he or she adds value and credibility. Now, when visitors quickly scan the form before they decide to fill it out, they know they dona€™t have to give up their phone number to redeem the offer. Only include the keywords that are most applicable to this page and your industry, and place the whitepaper title before your company name.

I chose this page because I come across so many businesses that use an email subscription or newsletter as an offer. I would also reduce the size of the header and remove the social media links that are at the top of the page (again, to reduce distraction).
As a usability issue, the fact that the "required" asterisk markers are to the far right and not directly next to the field labels is also a bit odd. As such, it might be best to highlight the value of the email subscription itself and then add the icing on the cake with a coupon or discount (the incentive). In addition, I added images of jewelry as a visual element, although ita€™s worth testing which types of image works better (e.g.
First, I added a header to the form to urge visitors to a€?Subscribe Now.a€? It might also be interesting for Charmed Design to test a multimedia counter with its limited-time offer, to create a sense of urgency. Furthermore, there is little design friction, and the page contains many of the key elements of great landing pages. Removing the main site nav will keep visitors on the page and focused on this particular offer. Continue the conversation on the landing page from previous pages or channels, and use the headline to pull them further into the page.
To create a sense of urgency and a desire to continuing researching your product, adding some bullet points and benefits can really help increase conversions. Sometimes it helps when a form just appears shorter, even if it contains the same number of fields. Also, looking forward to Wednesday – I think my guest post on a reddit PR crisis is going live Thanks for stopping by Gini, I appreciate it! When someone arrives at your landing page, your main goal should be to keep them there so they take the desired action -- completing the lead-capture form. Even though this field doesn't have a red asterisk (meaning ita€™s not required), the fact that it's an optional field isn't as obvious as it could be, especially considering all  the other fields are required.
To make the title even stronger, I added a€?X Tipsa€? as in a€?15 Tips for Implementinga€¦a€? to the existing title, although you can spin it in other ways (X Ways fora€¦, X Examples fora€¦, etc). Additionally, I added a (fake -- although youa€™ll want to use a real one) testimonial from the author himself.
However, it also makes sense to test other colors that dona€™t match your site colors to see if a color that stands out more moves the needle. If you dona€™t have the technical resources for a counter, adding static text such as a€?Subscribe Now to Receive Your Coupona€? would also do the trick.
I took a stab at a revised headline as an example, but I see far more opportunities to make this better. With an offer thata€™s closer to the bottom of funnel, such as a demo request, ita€™s even more important to nail the page copy so it really resonates with your audience. For me, secret sauce is about a company having a strong belief or philosophy – about consumers, or how brands work, or how to understand hard to reach consumers, or why some customers are more fickle. My hope is that the wonderful marketers who submitted their original landing pages would use the techniques found here and follow-up with performance results. I would emphasize that near the top of the page so it's immediately clear to visitors that they'll be receiving a free whitepaper. To help reduce friction, Health Dialog should add a€?(not required)a€? or something similar next to the 'Phone' label.
People LOVE numbers (such as in the title of this blog post!) because it clearly indicates exactly what they'll get, and creating a really sexy title for your offer is one of the best ways to increase its landing page's conversion rate.
Also, considering this is just a subscription landing page, should last name really be required? Do they really want a€?news,a€? or do they want a€?to be the first to see the latest trends and products in jewelrya€? instead? Additionally, I made 'Last Name' optional (again, do this only if ita€™s not really an important data point for you to capture) and added "HTML" as the pre-selected option for 'Email Format.' The reason for this is that some people might not notice an option is not selected by default. You'll notice I also changed the text on the button to "Subscribe Now" to repeat that sense of urgency I created in the form headline. Why should prospects spend their time demoing your software instead of with your competitors'?
It could be that a company has a particular process or skill in client handling, listening, or delivering effective insights (although they do all say this). If you're going to mention the whitepaper's author in your copy, tell people why he is so awesome, and how he adds value to this offer.
In a nutshell, make your titles and headlines so attractive that it's impossible for people to ignore. I also included his picture, because it always helps to prove someone is a real person (never use stock photography in these cases). If so, thata€™s fine, but if not, Charmed Design may want to make it optional to reduce additional friction.
The popularity of sites like Spin Sucks, Social Media Examiner, Moz, Matthew Woodward has a deeper layer of value, where social engagement impacts their business goals (such as social proof giving us the security to click on an article, where more social proof gives us the security to click on an affiliate link).
Instead of the author, you could also use a quote from an influential thought leader or someone who resonates with your audience about how great the offer is.
Additionally, when shrinking the field sizes, adding more supporting elements to the left and right of the form such as body copy, bullet points, testimonials, or an image of what a subscriber email might look like, can add more value to the offer.
I would suggest trying bigger discounts, as 20% may not be valuable enough to fork over their email address. Another thing for Charmed Design to consider is that the option a€?mobilea€? is a bit unclear. To create urgency, you might also want to offer the discount for a limited-time, or offer a limited quantity, as in, a€?Get a 75% off coupon -- only available for the next 100 people who sign up!a€? This technique is particularly effective during times of seasonality to push more sales during slower periods.
All of these are the types of questions prospects will be asking themselves when they visit this page. The goal is to reduce the amount of questions a visitor has, because when there are questions with unclear answers, it creates friction and doubt. It'd also be helpful to add a sub-headline or brief body copy that informs the visitor why it is valuable to see a demo -- and incorporate elements that create a sense of urgency.

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