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Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 2

Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 2

Your website is important.

How important? Well, let’s see.

According to Sweor, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website. Could you blame them? 

Think about it, what is the first thing you want to do when someone recommends something new to you? How about when you see an ad and want to learn more about a company? More often than not, you go straight to their website. 

Because with a website, companies have the chance to showcase themselves. As mentioned in Volume 1 of this topic, first impressions matter. Having a well-developed website can improve the trust and quality of your brand just from the appearance alone. We will learn more about that in a bit.

Here are some of the best practices seen in web development to ensure your website is where it needs to be. 


Let’s start by defining what ‘personalization’ really means. Personalization is the process of creating a customized experience for individual visitors when accessing your website. Rather than providing a broad experience for everyone, personalization allows firms to present unique and specific information tailored to a customer’s needs and desires. 

So how can you start implementing a personal experience on your web page? 

Smart Content

Websites that display smart content or “adaptive” content have aspects of web pages, emails, ads, or landing pages that change based on the interests or past behavior of the viewer. In other words, smart content is an experience that is created specifically to that viewer in a given moment. 

Factors such as location, language, device, and demographics all should go into consideration when creating your smart content.

Take Amazon for example.

Let’s say you shop with Amazon on a weekly basis. Each time you revisit their website, you can expect to see tabs like, “previous purchases,” and “recommended for you.” Amazon is offering unique and relevant content to different users based on past experiences — a great way to demonstrate personalization and the use of smart content. 

Another great benefit of smart personalization with B2B websites is it makes the buying process a lot easier. A study from Evergage found that 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid for a brand that provides a personalized shopping experience.

What does this mean? 

People like to be acknowledged and cared for. When leads visit your page and are greeted with their name or relevant content, they’ll feel more comfortable, which will likely increase the chances of them becoming a customer.

Gartner research predicts that by 2020, smart personalization will be in search engines everywhere and will enable businesses to increase profits by more than 15%!

Want to learn more about smart content and how to use it today? Click here!


B2B website chatbot

Many B2B companies aren’t making the most out of the traffic to their websites. In 2018 alone, Drift conducted a study of over 500 companies and noticed a 58% no response rate to inquiries from leads–not the best course of action if you ask me. 

That’s where Chatbots come in.

Chatbots are one of the easiest ways you can deliver a personalized experience by offering a real-time tool to communicate with visitors as soon as they visit your website. This means when visitors have questions, they can be answered immediately 24 hours a day.

Although research supports that consumers would rather speak with live help when possible, allowing them to get fast answers via a chatbot is certainly better than having nothing at all!

Website personalization is more than just providing personalized content on your site, it’s understanding where and how your customers can be reached at any point in the buying process. Employing the use of a 24-hour chatbot serves this need, and definitively fills one gap that you may be experiencing.

Strong CTAs

The two main goals of a website are to attract and educate your visitors about what you have to offer. Your website needs to cover these basic website fundamentals. The final goal, however, should be some type of strong action for your visitors to take. It can be subscribing to a newsletter or blog, downloading a playbook, or setting up a consultation.

The point is, when someone reads your blog or visits your site, you should make it easy for them to take action if they choose to. The button that the visitor would click is called a CTA, or “click-through action”. Some examples of what a CTA may look like are: “Sign up here,” “Learn more,” “Subscribe,” and “Get Started”.

Website CTA

With B2B sites especially, CTAs are crucial and a must-have, not an option. You must offer actionable steps to these leads as they look around your site, otherwise, how are you going to get them to stay interested in you? For more examples of CTAs and where they can be placed on your page, click here.

Fast Loading Time

Did you know that a one-second delay in your page’s loading time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions? Wall Street’s Neil Patel also found that 40% of people will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in the first 3 seconds. That’s about the amount of time it took you to read that sentence! 

Today, websites are getting larger with more and more content being displayed, but the amount of time people are willing to wait for this content is lessening. Here are some ways to ensure your site is loading fast enough to keep visitors on your page longer. 

Image Size

Cutting down the size of your images can save a lot of time when trying to load your website. Studies show that 80% of people remember what they see more than what they read. You probably already know that images and videos are imperative to your site. What companies don’t know, however, is how much extra time these images take to load. Use tools and applications such as ImageOptim before posting photos to your website to help save bandwidth and reduce the size without affecting the quality of your images. 

Enable Caching 

A cache is a software component that stores website data so that future visits load much faster. This improves performance on your page by lowering load time since the content is already prepared and available without having to be fetched from the servers. For example, if you visit a site that is cache enabled, the server stores this HTML file so the next time someone visits that page, it is already processed and ready to open. 

Use a Content Delivery Network  

Utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is the most effective way you can speed up your website loading time. A CDN is a worldwide network of servers that store information relative to the location of where it was searched. For example, hosting your website on a U.S-only network will provide longer wait times for those trying to access your content internationally. With a CDN, the content is provided much faster from a local server relative to their location instead of going across the world.


Your number one goal as a business stakeholder is to scale your business in a sustainable, cutting-edge way. One essential practice you must embark on is optimizing your website for your specific buyers. 

To ensure you’re doing this, personalize your website with smart content, employ the use of chatbots, litter your website with relevant CTAs, and reduce load times. If you’re able to do any (or all) of these things, you’re already positioning yourself for success down the road.

For more tips and strategies to improve your website check out “Essential Web Development Practices Vol.1” or click here to get in touch! 

Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 1

Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 1

According to Sweor, 75% of consumers judge the credibility and trustworthiness of a company based on their website design. It takes less than half a second for users to form an opinion about a website and whether they stay or not. 

What does this mean? 

First impressions matter!

Think about a time you wanted to try a new restaurant. You walk in to see a menu and notice a bad aroma. While looking around, you also notice nothing looks clean. 

You probably didn’t end up staying there very long, did you? That’s because the first impression deterred you away. 

Even if the food was good, you were never going to give it a chance. The same theory applies to your website.

Losing sight of the primary function of your website can be detrimental to your business. Your site needs good aesthetics, relevant content, and accessibility across multiple devices to prove to your customer base that you can be trusted. 

Here are some of the best practices seen in web development. 

White Space

According to a study from Human Factors International, proper use of white space increases comprehension by 20%. However, that balance of white space to content can be tricky. Have too little, the page will look cluttered. Have too much, the page will seem empty and your message will get lost.

The key to white space is balance. Look for symmetry and consistency with your page so it provides a clear and functional way for readers to view your content. The DailyEgg found that 65% of people are visual learners. Therefore, it is imperative that each of your visitors can see and understand your content clutter-free. 

Let’s look at an example.

The difference between white space and not having white space

Source: Digital Ink

See the difference? 

Minor changes to a page layout can significantly impact the reader’s experience on your website. The layout on the left is an eyesore and may prohibit a reader from even attempting to skim the material. The closer you can get your content to mimic the clarity of the page on the right, the more likely you are to keep the reader’s interest from the beginning.

Mobile Integration 

Mobile integration for B2B websites

Source: Oodles Studio 

Users are on their mobile devices more than ever. 

According to StoneTemple research, 58% of website visits are from a mobile device. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that if your site isn’t mobile integrated, you’re already falling behind.

Mobile integration is the act of transforming your website to fit the screen of mobile devices, such as a cell phone or tablet. A properly integrated site will have layouts specifically designed for various screen sizes and will react appropriately to the dimensions of the browser. 

Fully functional and responsive sites are a must in today’s digital landscape. This also applies to applications — an app that enhances the user experience from a mobile device will only lend your brand more credibility (as long as the design is up to par). Applications are great because they allow greater accessibility to the user. For instance, take a look at your cell phone. The apps you’ve downloaded most likely correlate to the websites you visit most often on a desktop.

Your favorite brands are already focused on enhancing your mobile experience. It’s time for you to do the same.


People love video. In fact, HubSpot found 54% of consumers wish they saw more video content from businesses and brands they support. 


Because videos are engaging. They capture attention more effectively than any other form of media. According to a study from SearchEngineWatch, videos have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain text. As a result, your traffic to MQL conversion rates will increase, resulting in a trickle-down effect that should impact the bottom line!

The more you cater to consumers’ desired forms of content, the better experience they have. In other words, videos will help implement a more effective Inbound Marketing Strategy

Final Thoughts 

Your website is a pivotal component of your brand. There are millions of websites available to viewers. How can you stand out from the rest?

Proper use of white space, mobile integration, and the incorporation of videos on your website will enhance the user experience. When done successfully, your target market will connect better with your brand, getting you one step closer to hitting your next big goal.

For more helpful tips and strategies, check out our blog or contact us today

7 B2B Direct Mail Campaign Ideas to Boost Your Response Rate

7 B2B Direct Mail Campaign Ideas to Boost Your Response Rate

Many think direct mail is dead, but the truth is that it still holds relevance in today’s digital world. In fact, direct mail is the best-performing direct response channel, bringing in results “10 to 30 times better than email” according to Sumo.

And, let’s be honest, there’s a certain amount of excitement that comes with opening a physical letter or package addressed to you and not knowing what’s inside. Evidence of this is the fact that 47% of millennials check their physical mailbox each day and consider going through their direct mail a leisurely activity, according to USPS.

Additionally, USPS found that 69% of people think direct mail is more personal than the internet. This makes sense when you think about the fact that we’re bombarded with generic, automated emails every day. Receiving something by mail isn’t as common, and requires more effort, making it a unique way to reach prospects and customers.

So, whether you’re thinking about creating a direct mail campaign or you’ve tried it before and didn’t achieve your intended results, we’re offering you some ideas and strategies to help you boost your direct mail response rate.

1. Make your design stand out

We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but, when it comes to direct mail, that’s exactly what your audience will be doing. Design is vital because it’s what will grab your viewer’s attention and make them want to read more. Instead of a flat piece of paper in a plain envelope, try a 3-dimensional design. Dimensional mailers include boxes, containers, tubes, and bags. People likely won’t throw out a package without at least seeing what’s inside first, evidence being that dimensional mailers have a nearly 100% open rate.

2. Personalize content

If you work in marketing, you know it never hurts to personalize content. It’s a great way to make your marketing messages feel more like one-on-one communication. Not to mention, when it comes to direct mail, people are more likely to read something that’s addressed directly to them. But, rather than simply showing your prospect that you know their name, try something more creative. For example, PURLs are website addresses that are personalized for each of your prospects. You can use them to take each prospect to a personalized landing page with a special offer. They are also the easiest way to track responses. According to the DMA, the top response rate tracking methods are PURLs (61%), followed by call center or telephone (53%), and code or coupon (42%).

3. Add human elements

Just like email marketing campaigns, direct mail campaigns are made better by human elements such as pictures, quotes, testimonials, and videos. Give people a feel for your brand’s personality through design and copywriting elements like font, color, tone, and writing style. In addition, real stories about your product and how it solved a problem for someone can be powerful, especially when you include a photo of that person. People may be able to relate to that person’s struggle and feel inclined to learn more.

4. Create urgency

When it comes to direct mail, you want to encourage your prospects to act fast. If they don’t, odds are your direct mail will end up in the trash. It helps to use language like “limited time,” “one time only,” “last chance,” or “before it’s gone.” No one wants to miss out on a great deal so it’s important to do all you can to inspire them to take action. Also, it’s important to note that it’s been proven that warmer colors create more urgency and drive action. For this reason, it’s best to opt for a red CTA rather than a green one. You can also create urgency through social proof, such as pointing out the number of customers who have seen success with your product or service.

5. Offer a free gift

While free gifts are always great, you want to ensure you’re providing prospects with something they will actually find valuable. According to HubSpot, Heinz Marketing sent their top prospects empty iPad boxes with a note that promised to give them the iPad if they were willing to sit down and have a conversation with them. Matt Heinz said “we’ve done this with a few companies, and we generate twice as many appointments as we give away iPads.” Although this strategy is expensive, the results were impressive and they received a considerable return on their investment. Moral of the story: don’t hesitate to get creative when it comes to offering a free gift.

6. Focus on benefits, not features

Rather than focusing on the specific features of your product, you’ll want to emphasize the benefits. For example, a prospect will care less about the fact that you offer automation software and more about the fact that you can help them streamline their work. According to Jay Levinson and Al Lautenslager of Guerrilla Marketing, “the most compelling benefits are those that provide emotional or financial return.” An emotional return could be increasing customer satisfaction, while a financial return will likely be related to increasing revenue. Above all, be sure to communicate the value you’re offering customers in a short, concise way. If you do feel inclined to mention features, you should only do so as a means of proof as to how you’re able to provide certain benefits.

7. Make it easy to get in touch

Whether it’s visiting a website, calling a number, or using a discount code, you’ll want to include a clear call-to-action and make it as easy as possible for a prospect to take the next step. You should include your CTA several times throughout the letter since not every prospect will read your mailer from beginning to end. Also, by using a vanity number, you can make it easier for people to remember (1-800-DIRECT-MAIL). Since the CTA is what leads to a response from your direct mail recipients, it’s highly important that you make it bold and enticing. In addition, be sure you have a process in place for following up with prospects who click on the CTA.

As with any marketing tactic, direct mail cannot be a siloed channel and should always be used as one tactic in a broader campaign. If you’re looking to use direct mail in an upcoming campaign and need a marketing partner to help you get things up and running, contact us.

Why No One Is Opening Your Emails

Why No One Is Opening Your Emails

A marketer’s worst nightmare:

You spent valuable time building a piece of content for your subscribers, maybe multiple pieces, only to realize how few are reading it. The good news is that email marketing is still the number one channel for advertising. In fact, Digital Agency Network found it is 40 times more effective than methods such as social media! 

So what’s the bad news? Convincing people to OPEN these emails is not easy.  

According to Campaign Monitor, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day, but only opens 17% of them…Those are tough odds to overcome. 

Take this inbox for example: 


It may even be similar to how your inbox looks right now. People are too busy to read 100+ emails every day. They’ll focus on the ones that are of interest and which capture their attention from the start. Since you can’t change how people’s inboxes look, you’ll have to play the game and find a way to rise above the competition.

But how?!?

Better Subject Lines

A good subject line dramatically increases the likelihood of your emails being opened. In fact, Convince & Convert found a 35% increase in open rates from relevant subject lines alone. While it may be just one component of the email, it’s the first thing recipients see. 

For marketers, subject lines are an opportunity to stand out above the rest, so don’t rush them. Some characteristics of a good subject line include writing with a personalized tone and staying short and sweet. 

For more examples and tips on creating the perfect subject line, click here.

Send Fewer Emails 

Don’t get trigger-happy with the ‘send’ button. A study from HubSpot found that 69% of email users have unsubscribed from a business because the organization sends too many emails (I know I have). When people sign up for a newsletter or subscription, make sure they know what they are getting themselves into. 

Be clear in the intro email about the communication cadence so they have an idea of what to expect. Is this a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter? Without addressing this, you run the risk of becoming a nuisance–leading people right to that ‘unsubscribe’ button. Don’t become a spammer.

Wait, how do I know how many is “too many”? Glad you asked! 

Segment your list of contacts and test different frequencies. For example, consider using A/B testing. A/B testing can be used to try different techniques within a small sample size of your target market.

Source: Split Metrics

In this case, let’s say you have 1,000 contacts in your database. Take a small sample, maybe 300 or so, and split them in half. Send one-half a higher frequency of emails than the other. From there, you can look at the open rates and click-through rates to see which frequency has higher engagement. 

Another quick way to offer a better experience to your audience is by asking them what they want. For instance, let them decide how often they want to hear from you. This can be done within the intro email by giving them an option to choose from: once a day, once a week, twice a month, etc. 

This allows the reader to dictate your relationship with them and provides a more personalized experience as a whole.

Overcome Triggered Spam Alerts

Emails can be sent to spam without having the recipient manually ‘mark as spam.’ Email accounts such as Gmail are becoming smarter as technology continues to grow. As a result, spam detection is becoming more prominent and sensitive to emails originating outside the organization.

A study from Propeller CRM found that 45% of all emails get triggered as some type of spam. 

Yes, you read that correctly! 

Nowadays, email software is designed to detect certain words that are most often found in SPAM. These are known as trigger words. If you use enough of these trigger words, your message will be sent to spam. That’s why it is imperative you understand how sensitive these systems are, and how to avoid overusing trigger words.

Here a few examples of common trigger words, and how to work around them:

Try to avoid using a word like “Free.” This extends to the subject line, title, and body of the email. Instead, try using words like “complementary,” or “at no charge.” Doing so allows you to avoid spam detection while still getting your point across. Other common trigger words include “Guaranteed,” “100% FREE,” “Act Now,” “Attention!,” or any repetitive use of CAPS or character symbols. 

Understanding these trigger words and strategizing around them will keep your emails away from the SPAM folder and give you a better chance to be seen.

Looking Ahead

As mentioned earlier, email is still the most useful tactic for marketers. Experiencing low open rates can be frustrating, but you can use it as an opportunity to step back and assess your strategy.  

Continue to optimize your subject lines, frequency of sends, and keep track of potential trigger words, and you will have a better foundation to analyze your current email strategy to see where improvements can be made.

Interested in more business tips like these? Subscribe to our blog or contact us today to let us help strategize and increase your inbound leads. 


CEO’s Guide to SEO for B2B

CEO’s Guide to SEO for B2B

When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s crucial for companies to be visible online. Studies show that “61% of all B2B decision-makers start their process with a web search, and 71% won’t have a conversation with a salesperson until they’ve undertaken their own research,” according to B2B Marketing. By practicing SEO or search engine optimization, any business can build a strong online presence and drive traffic to its website.

In this blog, we define some of the terms associated with SEO and share strategies that will help you optimize your website.


Search engine results page or SERP is what comes up when you type a query into Google. Although the order of the results page is determined by a complex algorithm, SEO is a determining factor in where your website ranks on this page. By implementing SEO tactics, you can achieve a high ranking on the SERP where you’ll get the most visibility. You should make it your priority to be on the first page since there’s a 71% CTR for page one results while pages two and three have a combined CTR of just 6%.

Types of SEO

  • On-page SEO: includes any activity that’s carried out on the page that will be published such as inserting keywords, links, or meta tags
  • Off-page SEO: includes any activity performed on the page after it goes live such as sharing, liking, or commenting on the post to build engagement
  • Technical SEO: the behind-the-scenes setup of your site that makes it easy to index such as SSL or an XML sitemap


The term indexing refers to adding web pages into Google search. If your site isn’t indexed, it will not show up on the SERP. So how do you get your site get indexed? Well, every website created in WordPress is automatically indexed. But, if you’re not on WordPress, don’t worry- Google has crawlers that follow links and discover websites to add to their index. If you don’t want to wait for this to happen, there are other ways to get your site indexed by Google that you can learn about in this article.

Keyword Research

SEO allows you to rank for certain keywords, meaning your website or webpage is made visible in the results when a keyword is typed into a search engine. For example, a digital marketing agency may want to rank for the keyword phrase “SEO strategy.” In order to determine which keywords you want your business to rank for, it’s necessary to conduct keyword research.

Keyword research is “the process by which you research popular search terms people type into search engines like Google, and include them strategically in your content so that your content appears higher on a search engine results page (SERP),” according to Conductor.

To develop a list of search terms, it helps to start by asking yourself: what are my customers interested in reading about? What are they searching online? You can gather ideas by looking on Reddit, using Google Autocomplete, or seeing what competitors are writing about.

Once you’ve gathered a solid list, try typing some words or phrases into SEMrush. This tool will show you the volume, competition, and keyword difficulty of each keyword. Since B2B is small, it’s best to focus on high-value, low volume keywords. In addition, long-tail keywords, or keywords containing 3 or more words, are generally better to use because they’re more specific.

The Bottom Line

SEO gives you the tools to provide the right audience with the right information at the right time. It helps with lead generation, establishing your company as a credible source, and shows that you understand your audience. To learn how we can help your company with SEO efforts, feel free to contact us.

Is the HubSpot Reporting Add On Worth The Price?

Is the HubSpot Reporting Add On Worth The Price?

Without the proper tools, pinpointing the engine behind company growth — sales, marketing, or the two working in tandem — is an arduous task. In this article, we explore the value of the HubSpot reporting add on tool. 

If this is you, you’re not alone. According to HubSpot’s “State of Inbound 2018” report, 40% of surveyed companies stated that their top marketing challenge was proving the ROI of marketing activities.

Similar issues come with sales. Which representatives are closing the greatest number of deals? Are cold emails working? If you’ve been there, then you’re at a point where in-depth reporting that closes the loop between marketing and sales is a must.

HubSpot comes with standard reporting capabilities, but to drill down to metrics unique to your business, you’re going to need HubSpot’s Reporting Dashboard Add-On on. Priced at $200/ month, it’s not an investment to be taken lightly.

With that price tag, is it worth it? Read on to find out what the tool offers, why it’s unique, and some potential drawbacks.



So, what exactly is HubSpot’s Reporting Dashboard Add-On? It’s a tool for building customized reports in a way that’s organized and easy to understand. You can then syndicate your findings across your organization. Let’s break these components down:

Building Customized Reports

With HubSpot’s Reporting Dashboard Add-On on, you can create a custom visual look at your data that answers virtually any sales or marketing related question. Want to know how many marketing qualified leads became sales qualified leads this month? Done — with the conversion rate in plain sight.

You can choose from pre-made reporting templates or roll your sleeves up and build reports from scratch. Choose from an array of displays; pie charts, bar graphs, donut charts, and more. Data can be viewed in real time, so you’re never left wondering how to pivot your sales and marketing efforts to achieve optimal results.

Organizing Your Reports

Of course, with endless options for creating reports, you need a way to organize them. This is where dashboards come in; Create up to 200 dashboards which can house up to 10 reports each.

Now, everyone in your company can have visibility on aggregated metrics that matter to them — whether that’s a high-level overview of marketing performance or the amount revenue a specific sales representative generated last quarter.

Syndicating Your Reports

Don’t let critical reports go unnoticed. The HubSpot’s Reporting Dashboard Add-On on allows you to send reports to your team’s inbox on customized timelines. Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly — your team will always be aware of their progress.


Why It’s Great

It’s Simple

You don’t need to be a data scientist to understand what you’re looking at. It’s all in one place — organized and in the format that is most useful and convenient for you.

Visual reports allow you to understand trends at a glance, and precise numbers provide a more detailed view of progress.

Enables Sales and Marketing Alignment

When marketing and sales work together, the possibility and fear of a lead slipping through the cracks dissolves. As a result, the ROI of marketing efforts increases, your sales team runs more efficiently, and there is visible top-line growth.

In fact, in organizations where sales and marketing are aligned, marketing acquired leads are 67% more likely to close.

How does this connect with the add-on? With the tool, you can create a report where you can see how many sales qualified leads to become opportunities. If this conversion rate seems a bit low, you have a jumping off point for correcting the problem.

Read, “The Right Way to Follow Up with Marketing and Sales Leads.”

Monitor Metrics Unique to Your Business

Because you can easily build custom reports and dashboards, you have unhindered access to metrics that matter to your business. Say goodbye to scouring your arsenal of tools to find the data points you need. They are neatly and conveniently packaged to be accessed at will.



Drilling Down Into Data

With customized reports, you can’t access granular data on broad metrics. For example, let’s say you build a report that shows how many leads fall into lifecycle stage for the current month. You can’t just click on the sales qualified lead bar to see who these leads are. For this, you will need to create a list where you will define the qualifications for a lead to appear on that list.

The Price

$200 per month is a lot — especially when tools like Google Analytics are free. To decide if it’s worth it, you need to assess why you want the tool. If you are interested in granular data such as bounce rate, entrances, the assets driving conversions, and so on, then you’ll be just fine with Google Analytics.

However, if you have grown to a point where you need to close the loop on marketing and sales efforts, then the HubSpot add-on is worth it. This brings us to the answer to the question that started this blog: Is HubSpot’s Reporting Dashboard Add-On on worth the price?


The Verdict

The tool serves as a single source of truth that encourages visibility throughout your company. Instead of just being a tool on website performance alone, like Google Analytics, it’s the be all end all tool for measuring the health of your organization.

The main drawback is the price, but if you strike up a deal with just one lead that would have slipped through the cracks otherwise, then it’s already paid for itself.

So, the answer is yes. Investing $200 per month for the add-on is worth it.