Social Media

Multi-Channel Lead Generation Tactics for Cloud Providers

For a company that specializes in cloud products and services, how can you generate leads that will turn into revenues?
Lead generation is always a constant challenge every business faces. But as with every problem, there is always a solution at hand as well. Cloud services are no exception. As always, there are many ways to B2B lead generation, but for today we want to focus on the use of multi-channel lead generation tactics for cloud services.
Multi-channel lead generation is not as difficult or complicated as it may seem and it’s undeniable that it also is the future of B2B marketing. Read on to learn about multi-channel lead generation for your cloud products and services.
Objectives
First things first. You cannot just dive right in head first without clarifying your objectives first. Every company is different when it comes to this. There are two ways in measuring the success of your lead gen activity.
One is the sales-qualified leads (SQLs) which determines the number of probable clients that are ready to talk sales. Another is by the number and the total amount of deals closed, which is the simpler way to measure the success of your lead gen.
Stay somewhere in between to keep a balance. Your marketing should be evaluated by both your number of sales and also keep your lead generation up.
Email Marketing
One of the few online marketing channels that have stood the test of time. Hence why it takes the number one spot in a lead generation for cloud companies. Traditional newsletters and email marketing are still important and so is the ability to capture data on users. As cloud providers, do not overlook this important medium to generate leads.
Social Media
Of course, Social media is not just for liking funny cat videos or tweeting about what you ate today. Many businesses are taking advantage of this channel. By using this channel, just make sure that you just follow the general rule of thumb: build a loyal following, social media is a dialogue and not just a one-way street, and influence connections for content sharing.
As cloud service providers, take full advantage of this. Make sure you choose the right channels that will deem as the most effective for your clients and incorporate special cloud services that they can only find with you and nowhere else.
At the end of the days, it all boils down to having a perfectly healthy balance between your inbound and outbound. In keeping up this marketing strategy, it will do the trick in getting your message across as well as garner you more leads that way.

How to Generate Leads for Cloud Companies
How does lead generation work for cloud companies in general terms? Easy. There are two categories to this which are Inbound and Outbound.
Inbound leads
Perform keyword research and optimize your website for all the on-page factors like title, meta tags, keywords, image tags, etc., and off page link building. Other tools include Keyword Planner, Google Trends and Insight, Alexa.
Don’t forget your content marketing which includes blog post writing on your website and other social media platforms. Some tools to be used for this are BuzzSumo, PitchBox, Buffer, DrumUp.
Outbound leads
There are many software solutions that are available today to help you find leads from LinkedIn, and many more.
The catch is that manually generating tech leads can be quite a time consuming and hectic. This is why most companies opt to use better and faster alternatives like outsourcing the services of a B2B lead generation company. But hey, if you have the extra time, money and patience to generate leads in-house, then knock yourselves out.

Cloud Computing trends in 2019
A rapidly growing technology is Cloud Computing and many companies and businesses are adopting its digital transformation. The cloud tech services market is projected to grow by 17.3% in 2019, and by 2022, 90% of organizations will be using cloud services, according to Gartner report.
That being said, there are quite a few new Cloud Computing trends to look forward to this 2019.

Hybrid & Multi-Cloud Solutions
The dominant business model in the future is going to be the Hybrid Cloud. A simple public cloud cannot be a good fit for all types of solutions as well as shifting everything onto it can be a difficult task due to certain requirements. To make things easier, The Hybrid Cloud model will offer transition solutions that merge your current on-premises infrastructure with open cloud & private cloud services. So, while you are being effective and flexible, your organization will be able to shift to The Cloud technology at their own pace.
No Server Needed
2019 is the year where Serverless Computing becomes more and more popular. Not that it wasn’t before, of course. But with our advancing technology, it sure is gaining more popularity. Your customers won’t have to shell out money or rent services, neither do they need to configure them. Thanks to the Cloud for being responsible for providing the platform, it’s configuration, and a wide range of helpful tools used for designing applications, and working data.
Artificial Intelligence Platforms
AI platforms support a faster, more effective, and more efficient way to work together with data scientists and other team members. In addition, AI platforms can help reduce the costs in various ways, such as turning simple tasks into automated ones, preventing duplication of efforts, and taking over some expensive labor tasks like copying or extraction of data.
Cloud Security
One of the most – if not, the most important aspect of technology. Thankfully, it upgrades and improves with each year. With cloud computing, security is a very serious consideration. 2019 introduces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in which security concerns have risen and are an essential thing to monitor. Since many businesses are shifting to cloud computing, and oftentimes without serious consideration of its security compliance protocols, the GDPR will be of utmost importance this year.
Welcome 5G and Improved Internet Services
We can all agree that there is nothing more irritating that slow internet connection. Especially when working with data that are being generated and stored on cloud-based platforms. As the number increases, so does the need for higher and better internet connection. Thankfully, internet providers are always working and striving to find ways of improving the quality of their services. Taking it a step further, network providers are also working on developing the 5G network
This article is originally published at The Savvy Marketer.

How Conversational Marketing Helps You Connect with Your Customers

We live in a post-traditional sales world. Prospective customers expect to receive personalized content. There is so much noise and content available online that, in order to focus, people filter out anything that is not particularly relevant. Personalized content ensures that messaging is relevant to the reader which help that message stand out.
That makes our role as salespeople a little more challenging. But challenging in a good way. Like exercising after Thanksgiving. We all know it’s important. We may not want to do it, but it’s better for us in the long run. Right?!?
Enter conversational marketing.
In order to connect with prospects in a more effective way, marketing and sales teams need to talk to prospects like real people – i.e. be conversational and not salesy, and don’t use industry speak your audience may not understand. To achieve this at scale, you can personalize content using marketing automation software. Smart content and automation can help you target prospects when they are ready to engage.
What Is Personalization and Why Is It Important?
There are at least three layers of personalization when communicating with your audience. The first is including basic information that’s readily available. With minimal marketing automation capabilities, you can include someone’s name in the subject and greeting of your email. You can do this for large lists of contacts and it will look like you directly typed in their name.
Customize Contact Information
This:

Turns into this:

But that’s not enough these days. You have to go further. With marketing automation software, HubSpot, for example, marketers and salespeople can view recent online activity, such as what e-books a person has downloaded and pages they’ve visited.
Salespeople can use that information to offer value. For example, if you know someone downloaded an e-book on how to develop buyer personas, you can follow up and provide additional feedback or resources to aid their learning process.
If you utilize form fills to enable a prospect to share about a challenge he or she is dealing with, you can become a resource to the prospect. Reference the information you have and let the prospect know that you have solutions to their challenges.
Connect on Social Media
Next, you can connect with prospects through social media. Following and engaging with a prospect on LinkedIn and Twitter can get you on their radar in a welcome way before you reach out by email. Then, when you do email, you can reference some activity you saw, such as a conference they attended.
Timing Is Everything
For your outreach to be most effective, you need to reach out at the right time. Using lead scoring, you can determine the time a prospective customer will be most receptive to your outreach.
Perhaps this is after they’ve downloaded specific content or after they’ve watched a webinar. For each business, this process will be different. Implementing these practices will give you data to work with, and over time, you can test and hone in on the right process and timeline for your business.
Reaching out at the right time is critical to building trust and growing relationships with prospects. Otherwise, you’re just another source of noise that a person is trying to shut out in order to be the most productive they can be in their super busy world.
Conversational Marketing Is Marketing That Adds Value
Oftentimes, when people are immersed in an industry, they get stuck regurgitating industry speak. They might use acronyms and slang that only other people immersed in the industry know. That’s an obstacle for reaching prospective clients.
Many prospects are not as knowledgeable about industry lingo and they quickly get lost or tune out when acronyms are thrown around. They may not tell you they don’t understand what you’re talking about. They will just stop reading your material or they’ll check out during your phone calls.
It is important, whenever connecting with someone new, to utilize conversational marketing. To take a conversational marketing approach, you need to get a baseline understanding of a prospect’s level of expertise. You don’t want to assume everyone either knows or doesn’t know standard industry terminology.
Align Marketing and Sales
Marketing and sales both play important roles in speaking to customers and prospects like humans. Marketing communication collateral needs to align with sales’ conversational approach so that prospects and customers experience a unified brand.

Social Media and Lead Generation for SaaS Companies

Before we begin, let’s get one thing straight: in nearly any SaaS context, social media probably shouldn’t be the channel you primarily look to for leads. However, it also doesn’t deserve to be entirely discounted when it comes to the lead generation process. Social channels have very important indirect roles in creating leads.
For example, you post a blog on your LinkedIn channel. Someone clicks on it, reads the blog, and then proceeds to wander around your website. Maybe they don’t even download anything – but they come back later and eventually convert and become a lead. Yes, that lead did come from social media, but it came through because social media drives traffic to your website. Your website is the true lead conversion tool; social media just drove the traffic.
Social media is still an important tool when it comes to lead generation for SaaS companies. Here’s how.
Lead Research
It’s almost a given that the average person overshares on social media. It’s actually a little scary how much you can find out about someone from their profile. You can typically see where they live, their interests, hobbies, family members, and more. This can be used to your advantage when researching a lead for the first time.
Once you have your eye on a specific lead, social media can be used to help foster a connection with them. For example, a quick cursory glance at their Facebook shows you they love dogs. It would be a good idea to use that talking point as a mutual connection. You can more easily build trust by connecting with a prospect over a mutual interest. Social media can give you that interest.
If you don’t have a specific contact at a company, you can still use a social platform to research a company. Often, you can even find the right contact to call via LinkedIn. All you have to do is look up your target company, click on employees, and see if there’s contact information for someone on the ops team. When it comes to lead generation for SaaS companies, social platforms are often underestimated as a research tool. Take advantage of them to learn more about your potential leads.
Creating a Sales “Web”
Your company social profile on its own probably isn’t going to generate too many leads. But it can provide an anchor point for what we like to call a sales “web.” This strategy works particularly well on LinkedIn. The idea is that your sales team would interact regularly with your company page, sharing articles and blogs, commenting on posts, and otherwise driving traffic to the company profile. If their own profiles have a large number of connections, this can significantly increase the amount of traffic the profile drives to your website.
The sales web is also advantageous for building trust with potential customers. When employees start sharing, liking, or otherwise interacting with a company page, now potential customers can put a face to the brand.
Lead generation for SaaS companies via social media doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Often, just optimizing your employees’ profiles allows you to increase traffic driven to the company page and the website, increasing your potential for leads.
Linking to the Website
Are each of your social platforms linking to the company website? Sometimes companies miss this crucial step and forget to link their social profiles to their website. If these platforms aren’t linked, then this significantly decreases the amount of traffic driven to the website via social.
There are several different places you can link to your website on your average social profile: in the About section, the CTA button at the top of the profile, in the Facebook story section, and in the Twitter and Instagram bio, to name a few. Take advantage of your employees’ profiles as well. Every employee’s LinkedIn profile should link to the company website, via both the bio section and the digital resume.
Boost the amount of traffic driven to your website by using your employees’ social media profiles for lead generation for SaaS.
Grow Trust with Potential Leads
So far, we’ve discussed how to optimize social profiles, how to create a sales web, and how to use social media to research potential leads. But what about the content you post on social profiles? Posting strategically to social profiles can grow trust between a company and potential leads. And, as all sales professionals know, without trust it’s extremely hard to grow a business relationship with a contact.
To optimize lead generation for SaaS companies, your social media content should be a good mix of company culture, thought-leader content, and third-party articles. By showcasing company culture, you’re giving potential customers an inside look at your values, employees, and day-to-day routine. It allows potential customers to more thoroughly connect with you on a “face-to-face” basis instead of just focusing on the professional.
Thought-leader content takes on the form of blog articles, whitepapers, and other content created by your team. This is your chance to showcase your expertise. By sharing your expertise, you’re allowing potential customers to read more about your approach to a topic and become more familiar with how you operate. Through your blogs and whitepapers, you can show your audience that you’re an authority on a topic.
Engaging with third-party articles is extremely important in order to showcase that your company stays up-to-date on industry trends and is an authority within the industry. Comment on trending articles with insightful advice or share news that will greatly impact your customers. By engaging with news and the thought content of other companies, you’re able to increase your reputation as an authority.
No matter how you use social media as a lead generation tool for SaaS companies, it’s important that you put it to work. Don’t waste effort on creating great social profiles only to let them sit around without generating leads or driving traffic. For more information on finding leads on social media, check out this whitepaper to discover the best ways to connect with people who will be interested in your business.

Preventing Terrible CEO Blogs

TheAngryTeddy / Pixabay
Last time we discussed the reasons it’s probably a good idea to talk your CEO out of starting their own blog. A lack of resources, a tendency to be pretty pointless and the proven habit of running out of ideas fairly quickly are all good reasons to keep them away from blogging.
But let’s not forget the tiny ray of hope a CEO blog, however doomed, represents. We all know plenty of CEOs and other senior executives who would rather chew tinfoil than proactively communicate anything.
So what do we do with the eager leader who needs to talk to her employees but should not blog (which is most of them)?. Here are some shiny objects you can try instead.
Podcasts
I know, they’re having a moment, and with good reason. Podcasts, particularly the audio kind, are much more portable and accessible than boring old written stuff. For the CEO who’s got plenty to say and not a lot of time to write stuff down, a podcast may be just the ticket. I recommend you do the interview kind. Find someone (not another executive) who can be the moderator, tee up three or four questions and hit the record the button.
Pros

They require less effort and preparation on the part of the CEO than a blog
They are likely to be perceived as more authentic
They can be consumed out of the office — who doesn’t want to walk the dog while learning about strategic pillars?
They’re a great way to tease a bit of humanity out of your CEO
You can probably pull in other leaders to be guests or stand-ins if the CEO gets busy
If you have a clear phone line and a conference service that lets you record, you can put a decent, basic podcase together yourself
You can lock up your CEO and record two or three podcasts in a single sitting

Cons

If you want good production values, editing, music and stuff, you will need to get some resources
Low prep doesn’t mean no prep — you need to make sure your CEO has talking points and can get through it all in under 15 minutes
If your CEO hasn’t got enough content for a blog, they will run out of gas just as fast on a podcast, so plot out a full year’s worth and make sure you have something new to say each time

Good for

Monthly updates
Communicating special projects
Including other executives

Videos
Videos share many of the benefits of podcasts, but add the advantage of being visual (Millennials like it when the pictures move).
Pros

They’re great if you want to show your CEO being all executive and decisive, or if you want to include visuals of locations or fun charts and graphs
If your CEO can live with mediocre production values, you can probably shoot them yourself with a phone and a mike

Cons

Production costs on video are a lot higher than audio so if your CEO needs makeup, decent lighting, teleprompters and titles, you are talking some pretty big bucks
They can take forever to shoot and produce
Some CEOs just should not be on video
It’s harder to pick up dog poop while you’re watching a video, so portability may suffer

Good for

Occasional updates
Special announcements
Highlighting locationsCEOs who know wat they are doing with video

Social Media:

I’m a big fan of letting communicative leaders have a go at internal social media platforms. If you’ve got Yammer or Facebook Workplace or another simple, accessible messaging platform, this could solve a bunch of things.

Pros:

There’s no expectation of regular posts — so your CEO can be as random as they please
As long as you trust them to keep it appropriate and brief, it may not require much in the way of resources to support them
It’s real-time and accessible
Done well, it’s authentic
It’s easy for employees to respond

Cons:

Not all CEOs know what they’re doing on social and many of them struggle with brevity
Someone needs to be looking at and responding to the comments and questions — in case you’re wondering, that is not likely to be your CEO’s job
It’s really difficult to undo regrettable things on some platforms

AMA (Ask-Me-Anything)
For CEOs with lots to say and zero time to work on saying it, these can be fantastic tools. Basically, you’re setting up a conference call (don’t bother with video, the live stream never works) and letting employees call or text whatever questions they want.
Pros

It’s technically about as simple as it gets
You can record it as a podcast
Your CEO gets to practice his listening skills
It’s pretty authentic
It can build engagement
It’s a good diagnostic tool for sentiment and communication gaps
It works nicely on mobile platforms and allows questions by chat

Cons

Not all employees may be able to participate live
Not all CEOs are good with the impromptu stuff
You can’t control what people will ask

Good for

Big initiatives where there is a lot of change
Communicating strategies
Responding to issues
Organizations where it isn’t feasible for the CEO to visit all locations
Organizations with lots of mobile or undesked workers

Webinars
Kissing cousins to the AMA but employees have to sit through a presentation first. I like these as an alternative to roadshows or as a rehearsal for a roadshow series.
Pros

Great reach and fairly easy to pull off if you have a good platform like Webex or Zoom
Allows for two-way communications and listening
Can (and should) be recorded

Cons

Employees probably need to be at their desk to consume them
Can run a bit long
Inevitable technical issues

Good for

Updates or complicated subjects involving visuals

Roadshows
They’re expensive, they’re complicated, they’re incredibly time consuming and guess what? They work. Sooner or later your CEO needs to go out there and get in front of the workforce. Done poorly they are painful, protracted time-wasters. Done well, they build engagement, trust and alignment. Here are some reasons they often suck.
Pros

In person is always better than not in person
Authentic
Human
Interactive

Cons

Propensity to suck
Complicated
Expensive
Not all employees can attend
The recordings are usually beyond awful to watch

Good for

Big, fun project launches
Big, not-so-fun organizational announcements
Rallying everyone behind an idea
Introducing new CEOs or leadership teams

There are plenty of other alternatives to the dreaded CEO blog. Guest blogging on public sites and sharing it internally can work (nothing says you have to share the awful ones), “meet and greet” sessions with small groups of employees and just sending the damn email all have their places too. The important thing is to give them some choices and set them up to build and keep momentum.

Tiny Tips for Delivering Out-of-This-World Customer Support on Social Media

If you’re serious about building a remarkable brand on social media, we believe that a core component of your strategy needs to be engagement.
Engagement with fans.
Engagement with your audience.
And engagement with your customers.
One of the primary components to engagement is customer support, working with your team to answer questions and serve customers on social.
We’ll give you a toolbox filled to the brim with ideas, tips, and tools that you can put into practice today. With this knowledge, you can be on the crest of the wave of social media support and make a meaningful impression on your customers.
Let’s dive in.

Why social media customer support is so important
Why does social media engagement matter?
Why should you make it a priority to reply to everyone on social media?
Your customers long to be close to you on social media. They want to engage directly with you to get help, to get questions answered, and to participate in conversations. A Forrester study claimed that four out of every five consumers use social media to engage with brands.
So why is social media customer care so important? Well, first and foremost, it’s because your customers are turning to social media to get in touch with you.
And today’s top brands know that engagement is key to winning trust and love on social media. All you really have to do is show up. Simply by responding, you set yourself apart from the competition. Eighty-eight percent of brands don’t respond to messages that need a reply. Really! You can be among that elite 12 percent; this is a competitive advantage sitting at your fingertips.
Not only that, but there seems to be a disconnect between brands and customers. For instance, 80% of brands are under the impression that they are doing social media customer service exceptionally well. Only 8% of their customers agree.
Yikes.
There are worlds of opportunity here!

Tip #1: Choose the right social media customer support tools
There are a ton of great social media support tools out there, whether it’s an all-in-one solution or a product tailor-made for social media.
For us at Buffer, we use a combination of Help Scout to manage our email support, and we use Buffer Reply to manage all our conversations on social media. Reply incorporates all messages from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and we are able to work together in a single team inbox to help our customers.
A look at our customer support setup with Buffer Reply
In fact, the whole Buffer company spent one day last week answering questions in our inboxes. I’d never seen so many faces in the inbox at one time!
Beyond Help Scout and Reply, we’ve also come across a handful of other tools that are useful for social media support, in case you want to shop around.
For multichannel support — this would be things like email, phone, live chat, social media, and knowledge bases — there are tools like:

Zendesk
Freshdesk
Desk
Groove

And for social customer care, we’ve mentioned Buffer Reply, and there’s also social tools within products like Spark Central and Sprout Social.
For live chat, we’ve heard great things about

Intercom
Zendesk chat (formerly Zopim)
Drift

Oh and while we’re on the topic of tools, I’d love to add a couple of my favorite productivity hacks. I spend my days answering tweets and messages from the Buffer audience — I may have been in touch with some of you who are listening even — so these tools make a big difference for me.

You can use Text Expander to create shortcuts for messages that you type over and over
CloudApp is amazing for quickly making screenshots, GIFs and screencasts that you can share with customers, and
Statuspage.io lets you easily share your app’s status with your customers whenever there’s downtime.

Sample of CloudApp screenshots
Tip #2: Convey empathy in your replies
In person, we naturally display empathy and active listening through gestures, facial expressions, and through our general energy. So how do we convey this online without that face-to-face interaction?
Well, the very best way we’ve found is to: Demonstrate active listening.
In person, we communicate “active listening” with body language such as leaning closer, nodding our heads, having an open posture, or making steady eye contact.
When we can’t use body language on social media, we have to use words instead. Fortunately, the same phrases that show empathy face-to-face can also be used to show support when we’re typing on social media.
A few of our favorite phrases at Buffer are:

“Wow! That must be so …”
“I understand how you feel …”
“It sounds like…”
“I’ve felt that way too.”
“I can sense that you’re feeling…”
“Let me see if I understand correctly…”
“What I hear you saying is…”

Beyond the words, there are also a few things you can add to really take communication to the next level. A few of our favorites are:

Lean forward while typing.
Be honest, and use simple phrases like “I hear you” and “I’m sorry”
Use people’s first names.
Add a personal touch by including your first name as a signoff.
Re-read your message out loud before you hit send.
And don’t forget to say “thank you” whenever you can.

Tip #3: Words to avoid saying to customers.
1. Actually
One of the big ones is “actually.”
You might be wondering, What’s the problem with “actually”?
It’s a subtle one, but what we’ve found is that it almost doesn’t matter how good the news is. If it comes after “actually,” we feel like we were somehow wrong about something.
Consider these two sentences:

Actually, you can do this under “Settings.”
Sure thing, you can do this under “Settings!”

Do those feel any different to you?
We don’t ever want customers to feel stupid, or wrong, or corrected. The word “actually” can imply some of these feelings. Our team’s writing and speaking gets so much brighter when we lose the “actuallys”
2. But
Again, consider these two sentences:

I really appreciate you writing in, but unfortunately we don’t have this feature available.
I really appreciate you writing in! Unfortunately, we don’t have this feature available.

The word “but” renders whatever you said right before it to be completely obsolete. What we try to do instead is to substitute the word “but” for an exclamation point or semi-colon.
Tip #4: Respond fast with a Slack integration
We’ve found Slack to be most useful as a customer support tool when your social media response volume is low or if you filter the types of messages you send into Slack. With tools like Buffer Reply or Help Scout or Groove or Intercom, you can integrate them right into Slack so that you’re alerted whenever a new conversations happen.
If your team spends a lot of time in Slack anyway, these notifications can let you know when something timely needs addressed on social media or in the inbox.
When first building a support team, start by funneling notifications right into the General channel, where most of the day-to-day chatter happens. This is a great starting place because it makes sure you see each message from your customers. And it allows you to jump onto urgent issues at the same speed you can reply to a message from a teammate.
As the volume of notifications increases, it’s important to set up a dedicated channel for these notifications — otherwise you’ll likely find yourself swimming in Slack notifications. You can set up a #notifications channel in Slack to funnel them all through. Just remember to keep an eye on it throughout the day.
Note: you can set up a Do Not Disturb schedule where Slack won’t notify you between specific hours. This is great for when you might want to mute notifications after business hours.
Tip #5: Choose the right customer support metrics
One of the best ways to provide an exceptional support experience is to understand what’s working in your current process and where you might have room to improve.
Of course, this raises the question:
How do you measure the performance of your support on social media?
1. Contact volume by channel
What you’re trying to find out here is how many customer requests, issues and problems are you replying to on each channel in a given reporting period?
This total volume by channel can tell you a couple of things, like how big the workload is and how many people you need on the team to make sure you’re keeping customers happy.
You can also see how things change over time, which will help you discover trends in the popularity of certain support channels as well as the time of day when you get the most social media conversations.
2. Resolution rate
This one is pretty straightforward to calculate: Out of all the support requests you receive, how many did your team resolve?
Knowing this number will help you see how effective your support is, not just how fast.
3. Time to first reply & time to resolution
It does help to know how fast you’re responding on social media.You can look at the time to the first reply. This measures how long, on average, does it take the team to reply to a support request.
Another way to look at speed is to look at the time to resolution. What you’re looking for here is the answer to how long it takes to resolve an issue for a customer — starting from the moment they first reach out to the final, conclusive answer.

9 Elements of a Website that Converts Job Seekers into Applicants

No longer can the Careers portion of your website simply be a list of job postings, or even just a single page. In order to attract and recruit top talent, your website needs to communicate why someone would want to work for you through a strong employer brand and employee value proposition.
In today’s web-centric world, job seekers almost certainly will visit your website before applying to a job. So you need to sell your company to them! Just as your website should be a strong engine for business development, communicating the “why” to prospective customers, your Careers section should sell your company to prospective employees as a great place to work.
If your website fails to bring qualified candidates to you, you are missing out on one of the most important recruiting tools you have! It’s a candidate’s market now, so as an employer, you need to be ready to compete. Here are 9 essential elements of a Careers section that will help you win over top talent.
1. Employee Value Proposition
Any employer needs to define and communicate their employee value proposition to prospective job candidates. An EVP answers the question, “Why would a talented person want to work here?” It is the offerings a company provides an employee in exchange for their performance in your workplace. Potential job candidates are looking for job openings that match their skillset, experience and interests, but they’re looking for much more than that in a career. They will want to know about your company culture–what it’s like to work at your firm, what your values are, how you’re involved in the community, and what opportunities there are for personal development and growth. All of these are part of your EVP. Your firm’s personality and branding should be weaved into the messaging, imagery and design of the Careers portion of your site. This will help establish an employer brand, which will be a differentiator that elevates you in the competitive recruiting landscape.
2. Mission, values and culture
Your entire website, and not just your About page, should communicate to visitors who you are. Potential job candidates may not visit any other pages other than the Careers section of your website, so they need to get a clear understanding of the company’s goals, values and vision from this part of your site. Including your mission statement and clearly stating your values will help your company attract candidates who share the same values. It’s also important to candidates that they can see themselves working for you before they decide to apply. Company culture is a huge factor in determining that, so it’s essential that your Careers pages convey what it’s like to work for you. All of these things will encourage like-minded candidates to apply for positions, and it will help narrow your pool of applicants to those who are a better fit.
3. Photos and video
Photos and video are a key part of showing your company culture. Use real photos of your employees and your workspace, and not stock photos! This paints a real picture of your company and makes you seem more personable. It’s an opportunity to share photos of your employees at social events, volunteering, or traveling to conferences, and to give a more behind-the-scenes look into life in and outside the office. This gives potential applicants a taste of who you are and helps them decide if they can see themselves working there. Video is another powerful tool for this and will help you stand out from other employers. Use video to show an insider’s look into your company culture or as an opportunity to tell your company story.
4. Employee Testimonials
Testimonies are powerful, and so having employees share first-hand about their experience working for your firm can be highly influential in an individual’s job search process. It’s like social proof for your job openings. No matter the form—whether simply a quote or a longer-form video—employee testimonials are a compelling way to share about your company values, opportunities for growth, and other aspects of your culture. Hourigan’s Careers page features several examples of this in the form of “Employee Spotlight” videos, where current employees talk about everything from education opportunities to career growth to the family culture of the team.
5. Social Media and News
As you seek to show job candidates what it’s like to work at your company through your website, be sure to link to things like your company news, your blog, and your social media accounts. Nowadays, if you don’t use social media for your business, you are practically invisible. Social media platforms are being used as search engines in many cases and generally are a primary place to reach your audience, so it’s important to have a presence there. So many prospective employees will look at your social profiles before deciding to apply for or accept a position at your company, so keep them up to date and make the feeds prominent on the Careers section of your website. Instagram and Facebook are already the preferred social channels for sharing behind-the-scenes content and a look at your company culture, so they are highly applicable to the Careers section. Applicants are interested in what’s going on at your company, so be sure to also feature your company news and maybe your blog to offer additional perspectives of your firm such as recent awards and recognitions and company-wide updates.
6. Perks and benefits
It’s important that potential applicants can easily find the employee benefits that you offer. This is one of the top pieces of information a job seeker looks for when researching job openings. Take the opportunity to display your benefits and perks in a visually unique way, whether that’s with icons or interactive buttons. Even if it seems like benefits such as PTO and retirement plans are a given, it’s still a box to be checked. Job seekers are looking for your benefits, and by not including them, you may be sending the message that you don’t have any. As you build your website to be a strong talent recruiting tool, this is part of conveying what the value proposition is for your employees.
7. Candidate personas
Buyer personas help B2B marketers better understand their target audience and make their content and messaging more relevant to that audience. Similarly, candidate personas can help you define and understand your ideal job candidate, and then use that knowledge to attract the right people to your Careers section. Your firm likely has multiple candidate personas, so you may want to consider targeting your content to different experience levels or types of jobs. GEI Consultants uniquely breaks up the Careers portion of their website into Students & Recent Graduates, Emerging Professionals, Experienced Professionals, Business Services Professionals and Administrative Professionals. By creating specific, unique content for each segment of job applicants, these pages will each be better optimized for search engines, and GEI is setting themselves up to receive applications for candidates who are the best fits for those jobs.
8. Integrated job postings
Of course, some of the most important content in your Careers section is the actual job postings. Instead of sending candidates to another website, bring the postings into the context of your site. They shouldn’t be the first thing on your page, but do make them easy to find and searchable and/or sortable. Write descriptive position summaries, while staying on brand with your messaging. Even though it may be more formal information, it can still look like you, sound like you, and continue to communicate your EVP.
9. Calls-to-action
Lastly, be sure to include a call-to-action to convert job seekers into applicants! All of the above is important for recruiting, but don’t forget to actually ask job seekers to “Apply Now” to work with you. Display a prominent link or button that directs visitors to an application or to all the job openings, and include simple, clear instructions on how to apply for a job and what next step they should expect.
Refining the process
Make sure your Careers pages are optimized for mobile so that it’s still easy for applicants to read and digest while on their phones. You should also test the site on all devices and practice applying to a job. The application process should be easy to understand with a minimal number of steps to complete. User experience is key because if the process is too complicated, glitchy or confusing, applicants will simply move on and continue their job search elsewhere.
All in all, your website should do much of the recruiting work for you. The beauty of putting more content and effort into your website’s Careers section is that it will bring more candidates into your applicant pool who are a good fit, and deter those who aren’t. If you can effectively convey your values and what it’s like to work at your company, not only will you attract more applicants, but you will attract the right kind of applicants who share your values and culture, therefore setting both you and your prospective job candidates up for success!

How Often Should You Post on Social Media?

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how often should businesses post on social media?
The short answer: There’s not a magic formula to social media success. How often you should post will depend on what platforms your audience are on, their schedules and the kind of content you’re posting.
For example, National Geographic post around 5-7 times a day on Instagram. They get on average more than 225k likes per posts at a 0.23% engagement rate. Whereas Nike who post a few times a month, get an average of 315k likes per post with a 0.38% engagement rate. Both profiles have found huge success despite having very different strategies! [Stats sourced using Meltwater’s influencer marketing tool)

If what you’re posting is rubbish, it doesn’t matter whether you post once a day or thousands it won’t make a difference! It may also seem harder to post interesting comment if you’re a B2B brand, however there are lots of ways to create content that isn’t boring.
However, you probably didn’t read this article to be told ‘it depends’ so we’ve done some research to discover on average how many times a week or a day you should be posting to each of your social media platforms.
How often should you post on Instagram?

Once a day seems to be the general consensus. Some studies even suggest that your following can grow by up to 56% by posting every day!
Based on a number of studies, it seems that how often you post on Instagram doesn’t affect the visibility of your content. However, consistency does.
“If you make a habit of posting several times a day and then transition to only a few times a week, you will start to lose followers and generate less engagement per post. This means that the best posting frequency for Instagram is the posting frequency that you can consistently maintain for the rest of your natural life.” states Social media pro, Neil Patel.
Don’t forget about Instagram stories though! If you have less polished content, Insta stories can be a great way to show it off. Instagram stories can boost engagement without having to worry about things like maintaining a super polished aesthetic. Post as many or as few insta stories as you want, however, remember that stories can be muted and if you spam your audience, they’ll probably get sick of them!
How often should you post on Facebook
Once a day or less! If you have a large audience on Facebook you could probably get away with posting twice a day. However, posting more than twice a day doesn’t tend to lead to social media success.
Reach on Facebook is significantly low these days. Remember, the type of content you post matters. For example, posting a video or live video will have much more impact than if you post a link to an article you’ve written.
Research from Social@Ogilvy found that for Facebook business pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach was as low as 2% – and this was before the most recent algorithm update rolled out. It’s likely reach is even lower now! Success on Facebook isn’t impossible, great content is key!
How often should you post on Twitter

The average lifetime of a tweet is a mere 18 minutes! It is therefore essential that you post at least 10 or more tweets a day to ensure the highest reach of your content. However, if you haven’t got anything interesting to say, don’t just tweet for the sake of it.
Remember, not everything on Twitter has to be your own content. You can post useful articles, videos and tips from industry influencers or publications.
How often should you post on LinkedIn
LinkedIn itself recommends posting every business day on the platform. We’d say aim to post at least 3 times a week and no more than a couple of times a day! According to HubSpot, after posting more than once a day, engagement significantly drops.
As discussed in our ‘when is the best time to post on social media’ blog, don’t underestimate the power of social selling. Social selling is a way of generating leads and increasing your sales opportunities – long term. Specifically, it’s about using social media for engagement and find potential prospects.
Posting on social media top tips:
“Having a clear understanding of target audiences, and sectors, is vital for developing the right strategy and defining who owns each feed. Start this by building audience personas, i.e. analysing the purchasing triggers and characteristics for all your B2B buyers and influencers. Knowing who your b2b audiences are will help you deliver the right strategy and messages to the right people, at the right time.” says Errol Jayawardene, Head of Digital at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.

Choose a routine, be consistent
Think about your audience: when they are online? how often are they checking their social media profiles?
Consider timezones of your audience. If you have both EMEA & America wide audiences, you may want to post more frequently to ensure both timezones see your content
Don’t post for the sake of it
Consider the type of content you’re posting: for example, the Facebook algorithm likes video and thus video content will be more visible
Consider what time you’re posting
Always offer value!
Create social-first content
Optimise content for specific social media sites

This blog was originally posted on Meltwater’s blog on 6th Feb 2019, but has been adapted and updated by the same author on 21st May 2019.

Creating Compelling Content for Social Media

Creating a social media post might seem simple, but there are many factors to keep in mind while you craft content for the various platforms. For one, your audiences differ across all social platforms, so when you are writing the copy for a post, you have to make sure you’re writing for the right people.
Let’s break it down a bit further.
Content creation, as defined by HubSpot, is “the process of generating topic ideas that appeal to your buyer persona, creating written or visual content around those ideas, and making that information accessible to your audience as a blog, video, or other formats”. Although content creation can take on many forms, it wasn’t always that way when it came to posting on social media.
Over the last few years, creating content for social media platforms has changed due to the updates and redesigns of the platforms themselves. For example, Facebook used to be primarily text updates and statuses of what you were currently doing. Now, Facebook is used for events, video content, live video streams, fundraisers, and birthday reminders, just to name a few. To stay fresh and relevant, the platforms change and adapt with the times, which means your content also needs to stay relevant.
Why is creating content important?
Content creation is important because it allows you to provide free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers and prospects to your website, and retain existing customers. In fact, content marketing brings 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62% less (HubSpot). With that being said, content creation is very important, but taking it one step further, creating compelling content is even more important. Quality over quantity.
However, to start creating compelling content, you need to have a plan and strategy in place to support it. A content strategy includes everything from brand and tone, to how you will promote and release your content.
With that being said, you first need to define your goals. What is the purpose behind your content? What do you want to achieve? Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. In other words, you should be crafting SMART goals that align with your overall marketing and business objectives. Once your goals are defined with a purpose, you now craft a customer persona based on your target audience and who you are trying to reach. Developing your persona also helps you identify the messaging and tone for your content, because, after all, you are talking directly to them! Ultimately, when developing the persona, you should be aware of their obstacles, pain points, challenges, and fears. Similarly, you should understand their best possible outcome, their dream solution. Create content that hits these pain points and expresses how you can help them solve their issues. This is how you can make your content resonate with your audience
However, there is more to it than just creating content for your persona. When it comes to creating the right content, you need to make sure you deliver the content to your audience at the right time to help them through the buyer’s journey. Each of your prospects follows a path to a solution — that path involves awareness, consideration, and decision stages. But each of your prospects is in a different part of that journey, so it’s important to use your content to appeal to each stage.
There are various content formats for each stage which can include videos, webinars, books, blogs, images, etc. But, as I mentioned before, you need to make sure you create content that will resonate with your audience during their buyer’s journey. So, what exactly does that look like? Here is a breakdown of some of the content you can create to help your customers through the journey.
The awareness stage is about getting in front of your audience so they know you exist. They are currently experiencing a problem or challenge. The appropriate content for the awareness stage would include blogs, ebooks, infographics, and social media posts.
The consideration stage is the point when the customer knows they have a challenge or problem and they are actively looking for a solution. At this point, it is very critical to hit those pain points with your content and share how you can help them. Do this with podcasts and webinars to show your expertise.
And lastly, the decision stage is where the prospect has a list of potential solutions. Here is where you share free trials, demos of your product or service, or a free consultation.
With that background knowledge, you might be thinking, how do I know what to base the content pieces on? How do I start creating? Content creation starts with an idea or a topic, and you can get these ideas and topics through conducting keyword research, brainstorming with your team, or following along with current industry trends. Knowing what your audience searches for in search engines will be able to provide you with the direction you can take your content. Creating your buyer persona likely gave you some ideas about what topics to write about and what questions your audience might have, which is a great start.
SEO research — a.k.a. keyword research — will show you the search volume of a specific keyword phrase and whether or not it’s worth the investment of creating a piece of content around it. A good way to go about keyword research is to write down some questions that your persona might have based on their obstacles and goals. Then, perform some keyword research around those queries to see if enough people are searching for them. Some tools you can use to do this, are SEMRush, MOZ Keyword Explorer or Google Keyword Planner. Once you determine the keywords you want to base your content on, you can start planning content ideas.
Now that you have created your content based on your customer persona profile and customer journey, backed up with keyword research and various content formats, it’s time to promote your compelling content.
Posting your content on social media is a great way to reach your audience organically. A key to growing organically is to provide value to your audience. There’s a general rule of thumb you should follow that states 70% of your content should be an original value-add content, such as blogs. 20% should be curated content, such as sharing a trend article from an external source. And 10% should be content that sells your products or services. Following this guideline will help you build an audience that doesn’t feel like they are just being sold to, but given free value, which in turn will help you win clients or sell your products or services.
Repurposing content is a great way to bring more attention to your content pieces and be able to continue to post the content. Repetition is very important to get your message across to your audience. In fact, your audience needs to see or hear your message at least 3 times before it starts to click for them. There is no rule that says you cannot post your content more than once!
The best way to share and repurpose your content is to use a content calendar scheduling tool, such as HubSpot, Hootsuite, or Sendible. A content calendar is a calendar in which you put pieces of content in various times slots, that then get posted automatically. These tools allow you to schedule your content in bulk, meaning you can schedule a post 3 months ahead of time. The key is to stay consistent with your posting. If you plan on posting two to three times a week, make sure you do that every week.
Let’s Recap
Remember, in order to create compelling content that resonates with your audience you have to have a solid plan behind it. Determine your SMART goals and the purpose of the content you are creating, craft your customer persona profile to determine their pain points and best solution, conduct keyword research to help you determine content topics, craft the content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, and finally, start promoting!
Best Practices

Conduct a content audit – Take a look at your current efforts. Are you getting the numbers you want? Is your audience engaging? Which formats are you using?
Brainstorm content topics with your team members – Your team members witness different aspects of the customer’s journey and engage with prospects.
Investigate what your competition is writing about. Do certain topics work well for them? Maybe certain types of content always seem to get the most engagement. This could be a good sign that a topic or type of content may be popular in your industry. Just don’t copy, make it your own!
Analyze your content – look at what type of content worked, and what didn’t work.

You Are Not Your Target Audience

You might be surprised to learn just how many businesses don’t have a solid grasp on who their target audience is. As this piece of information is key to fully understanding their interests and motivations, many businesses are missing out on the opportunity to gain deeper insights into precisely what their audience want to see and how they want to consume content.
Misunderstanding who your audience are and what they like can cause your video content and strategy to miss the mark, sometimes seriously. From poorly judged creative decisions, to ill defined brand style and personality, through to misjudged promotional and seeding strategies, making assumptions about your target audience can be costly. At worst it can help to foster a brand identity that will never resonate with your potential customers and clients.
In this article I want to explore how successful brands and businesses seek to understand their audiences and use this information to create content that is loved and shared. But first, let’s turn our attention to the fate of so much content online.

Avoiding the Fate of Orphan Content
Content may still be king, but all kings need a kingdom. Your content may be absolutely incredible, which may get it some initial recognition and lift, but branded content will never get the attention it deserves without a considered and comprehensive activation strategy behind it.
Orphan content is a term we here at Aspect have coined to describe content that has failed to garner enough attention to justify its creation and has therefore been consigned to the sparsely populated and unloved corners of the internet (a sad fate, I know).
Although it is tricky to determine with accuracy just how much orphan content is currently sitting out there online, it is probably a lot more than you initially imagine. To provide some context for this statement, research conducted by Moz and Bussumo in 2015 found that more than 50% of the randomly selected posts that were analysed had 2 or fewer Facebook interactions. Whilst a lot of that content may well have been rubbish, it’s likely that a lot of it wasn’t and deserved a lot more love.

The Causes of Orphan Content
Creating content that is engaging, memorable and powerful is no easy feat but that task is further complicated if you don’t have a fundamental understanding of who you want to engage.
– A Lack of Quality
No amount of promotion will help content that simply doesn’t offer anything of value to its audience. And remember, it is impossible to deliver value to an audience that hasn’t been comprehensively defined.
– An Unsuccessful Activation Strategy
An activation strategy is the process of delivering your content to your intended target audience through a range of media and marketing channels. Getting this wrong means that regardless as to how good your content is, it simply won’t get enough attention to justify its creation.
– An Ineffective Approach to Content Repurposing
Longevity is a core component of successful content. Keeping your content in the spotlight is reliant on your understanding of what your audience wants to see, when they want to see it, and how they want it to be presented to them.
Note that a lack of audience understanding is a common thread running through each of these primary causes of orphan content. With that in mind, let’s now turn our attentions to market research and understanding your target audience.
How to Research your Target Audience
The process of conducting comprehensive target audience research should be taken as your opportunity to turn your attention towards the actual needs of your audience and away from what you think or assume those needs are.
These assumptions are often the result of business leaders assuming their audiences share their values and even interests. This is understandable, especially in the early stages of a startup, when the founders may have genuine affinity and similarities to their target market and their problems (a fact that has allowed them to identify these problems and offer a popular solution). As these companies grow into brands though, this connection becomes more remote and the result is growing dissonance that can result in flat or even irrelevant content strategies.
You, naturally, want to ensure that your messaging is as effective as it can possibly be then, but to do this you need to get to know your audience better. This is where well conducted market research is worth its weight in gold. Successful marketers are more than 200% more likely to conduct audience research on a quarterly basis and more than 50% of leading marketers conduct audience research every month.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into what successful audience research looks like then.

Never Assume you know your Audience
Effectively defining your audience relies in part on your ability not to make assumptions. Although you might have already painted a detailed image of your target market in your mind, it is important not to take any of the anecdotal information you have amassed over the years on customers and clients as a blanket rule on your audience. Actively challenging your thought processes and gathering hard evidence to substantiate your thoughts will help you to ensure that you are in the best possible position to begin creating the kind of content that will resonate with and deliver value to your audience.
As you won’t want to find yourself swimming in a sea of information, understanding what you want to learn from your audience research is critical to identifying the insights you should be focusing on. Whether you want to know where your audience spends time online or what type of content they want to engage with, referring to these questions regularly will ensure that your research remains on track and that you aren’t getting distracted by superfluous information.

Audience Research and Social Media
Social media is an excellent tool to leverage when conducting audience research. Sometimes people aren’t necessarily fully aware of their habits and sometimes they simply won’t be willing to share particular details in interviews that an analysis of social media can also reveal.
Remember, you can use social media to:

See what your customers are saying about your business online
Understand the types of content your audience are sharing
The other individuals, brands and businesses your audience are choosing to follow

Using Audience Research
As soon as you have gathered together your information, you can begin to use it to identify patterns and themes that will inform your digital and marketing strategies. This process is best split into two distinct activities.
– Customer Personas
Creating a set of core customer personas will help you to form a clearer image of your audience. While these won’t be actual customers, they will be fictional characters who will embody the traits of an “average” person within your target audience. They can then be used as a guide and useful anchor during the creative process. If an idea doesn’t seem to resonate with your customer persona, then it probably won’t resonate with your actual customers.
– Idea Generation
As you are analysing your research you will likely begin to form some initial content ideas. Although these might not be fully formed concepts, it is always a good idea to write things down when inspiration strikes. Remember, avoiding assumptions is critical and you should determine that enough of your audience will be interested in every piece of content you ultimately decide to produce.

The Dangers of Failing to Understand your Audience
There are many examples of unsuccessful advertising campaigns. One great example is last year’s disastrous Pepsi advert featuring Kendall Jenner that was both released and pulled shortly thereafter.
The ad was a hugely misjudged attempt by a multinational to jump on the global movement of resistance and street protest. In doing so the company was attempting to piggyback on a cultural bandwagon that in many ways it could be seen as the antithesis of. Pepsi, unfortunately, neglected to recognise this and the audience it most wanted to impress was aghast (as were many in the professional marketing industry). The use of a priviliged model like Kendall Jenner, only compounded this utter failure to understand it’s audience.
While the data Pepsi used did probably did identify that younger generations are politically engaged, the company drastically misinterpreted how this demographic sees the world and how they would respond to this engagement being co-opted in this way for advertising purposes.
In pushing out this misguided campaign, Pepsi illustrated that failing to understand audiences can so easily mean that delivering the levels of authenticity that consumers are looking for, particularly in the young Millennial and Gen Z demographics, is essentially impossible.
Just because someone buys Pepsi (or your product to take another example) that does not mean you can make assumptions about them. It certainly doesn’t mean you can quickly pigeonhole them. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and creating strong branded content that appeals to them means taking the time to understand more about them.
Ultimately, embracing the notion that you are not your audience will help you to ensure that your marketing efforts are always tailored to meeting the needs and expectations of your actual target audience, not the fictional audience you think you are targeting.

Examples of the Best Referral Program Pop-ups

When you’re browsing a website and a pop-up appears out of nowhere, you might think it’s a bit annoying. But that pop-up captured your attention, right?
On your own website, attention-grabbing pop-ups can help increase the number of your customers who refer their friends after making a purchase—and thus help you increase your customer base.
But is using a referral program pop-up effective enough to be worth it? And what types of pop-up messages are best for driving referrals? Let’s dive in and find out.
What is a pop-up and are pop-ups effective?
A pop-up is a window that suddenly appears over the main webpage content, made to look like its own window or like its own page on the screen. It always asks the visitor to perform an action. For example, to refer a friend to your brand.
Don’t be afraid to use pop-ups because you’re concerned about what your website visitors will think. What people do is always more important. And well-executed pop-ups drive customers to sign up for newsletters, make purchases before they leave the site, refer friends, and take other actions your brand wants them to take.
To give you an idea, of what people do…

According to CrazyEgg, one blogger found that an email list pop-up helped her convert 1,375% more subscribers than a traditional sidebar form.
As Web Presence Solutions reports, exit intent pop-ups can drive a 600% increase in sign-ups.
In addition, only “0.25% of new visitors to the average website will make a purchase.” But “when they are encouraged to visit again,” such as through an email they signed up for via a pop-up, ”the chances of making a sale increase by nine times.” (Web Presence Solutions)

Table of Contents

Types of pop-ups

Email pop-ups
Exit intent pop-ups
Welcome pop-ups
Urgency pop-ups
Timed pop-ups
Scroll pop-ups
Click pop-ups
Social Media pop-ups
Referral Program pop-ups

Reasons to use referral program pop-ups
What features make referral pop-ups most successful?

6 Necessities for all referral pop-ups:
6 helpful, but optional, tips

Examples of successful referral pop-ups

Julep
American Apparel
Indochino
Key Takeaways

Types of pop-ups
There are many reasons to use pop-ups on your brand’s website. Here’s a list of the most common pop-ups businesses use:
Email pop-ups
This common pop-up encourages website visitors to subscribe to an email list, such as a newsletter or regular updates on promotions. And receiving an incentive in their email sharply increases the odds that someone will visit your website again—and the odds that they’ll make a purchase.
Some email pop-ups detail the value the user will receive from signing up for the list (for example, the types of tips they’ll receive in the newsletter).
Others offer discount codes, free shipping codes, first access to sales, exclusive access to promotions throughout the year, and/or free items (like ebooks or access to exclusive articles) in exchange for an email address.

An email pop-up from Cafepress.
Exit intent pop-ups
Exit intent pop-ups appear when a user tries to close out of a website, to encourage them to perform an action before they leave.
Often, businesses use exit intent pop-ups on product pages, to convince on-the-fence visitors to make a purchase by offering a discount (or free trial!) in return for their email address.

Discounts are hard to resist, and even if the person does not make a purchase, they did add their name to your email list.

Other brands use a “don’t abandon your cart” exit intent popup.

If a prospective shopper has unpurchased items in their cart and tries to exit, brands will use this type of popup to encourage them to purchase the items and gain closure.

An exit intent pop-up that displays an offer for 15% off. Source: Piwik
Welcome pop-ups
When a visitor enters a webpage, this pop-up appears almost immediately, to inform them of an active sale, discount, or offer. The visitor won’t be able to engage with the page until they engage with the pop-up, but the pop-up presents a valuable offer, so it doesn’t seem “annoying.”
Sometimes, the pop-up will display a discount code, and sometimes, website visitors can click on the pop-up to have a discount applied to their cart immediately. Other welcome pop-ups work just like email list pop-ups.
Urgency pop-ups
Some welcome and exit intent pop-ups fall into the urgency category because they inform visitors about a limited-time offer. Here are some examples:

“Free gift for the first 100 customers!”
“Sale ends in 3 days!”
“Your items are selling out fast—complete your purchase now with 10% off!”

Timed pop-ups
Rather than appearing almost immediately after a user enters a certain webpage, a timed pop-up appears 30 or more seconds after a visitor has started reading a webpage. So, these pop-ups only appear to people who seem like they’re interested in what you have to offer. Timed pop-ups can include discount offers, exclusive content, or any other offer that your business thinks would lead an interested customer to convert.
Scroll pop-ups
Scroll pop-ups appear after a visitor has scrolled through a certain percentage of a webpage (rather than after a certain number of seconds). Like timed pop-ups, scroll pop-ups are a great way to target those visitors who genuinely seem interested in your brand.
Click pop-ups
These pop-ups appear over a webpage when a website visitor clicks on a specific prompt (such as an action button or link somewhere on the page). They are the only pop-ups that website users actively trigger on their own. Often, these pop-ups will contain offers, or prompt visitors to enter their email before they can access exclusive content.
Social Media pop-ups
These pop-ups encourage website visitors to follow or share your brand on social media. The best social media pop-ups offer a compelling reason for visitors to check out your social accounts— or use their own social media muscle to talk about your brand.
Referral Program pop-ups
And of course, there are referral pop-ups, which encourage your customers to refer friends to your brand. Often, these pop-ups will also fall into other categories listed above— they could be exit intent, email, click, timed, social media, or scroll pop-ups, depending on when and where they appear on your website. But why should you use pop-ups to promote a referral program? What messages work best on referral pop-ups, and what types of referral pop-ups are the most effective? Time to find out.
Reasons to use referral program pop-ups
Referral program pop-ups combine the attention-grabbing referral message of a pop-up with the power of trusted referrals:

Nielsen reports that 84% of consumers from various markets trust recommendations from people they know.
76% of consumers are more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people (such as friends who refer them) than content directly shared by brands. (Adweek)
People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. (Nielsen)
83% of Americans say that recommendations from friends or family members make them more likely to purchase that product or service. (Referral Rock)
Referred customers are more likely to stay loyal to your brand than other customers (Referral Rock).

And regardless of how people generally feel about pop-ups, they love sharing products they use and enjoy with friends.
What features make referral pop-ups most successful?
Now, you’ll need to choose the type, location, and text of your referral pop-up.
For any pop-up to be effective, they must be carefully crafted for the purpose you want them to carry out. You’ll need to convince your customer to refer, and you’ll want to make sure that they aren’t inclined to label the pop-up as a nuisance.
Follow these rules and guidelines to design effective pop-ups that will convince customers to refer their friends. All are based on successful referral pop-up examples.
6 Necessities for all referral pop-ups:
On top of these, you’ll have to remember that too many pop-ups can become annoying. But, if you aren’t loaded with too many other pop-ups you’re in the clear. Here are some things you need for a successful referral pop-up.
1. Make sure your referral program pop-ups always offer something of value to a customer or prospective customer

Give your customer incentive to refer, whether it’s a percentage discount, money off of a purchase, or a free gift.
If you choose not to offer an incentive, word your pop-up so your customer sees the act of sharing itself as valuable.

2. Make your goals clear

Customers should be able to recognize immediately that the pop-up is prompting them to refer.

3. Make your offer, and its conditions, clear

Specify exactly what your customer will receive if they refer a friend (and/or what their friend will receive).
Also, specify what conditions must be met for the person making the referral to be rewarded.

4. Use a compelling call to action (CTA) headline

On a pop-up, the CTA is the most prominently displayed text.
Often, your offer will be in your CTA.
In the example below, the CTA is “Share the Loot, Get $5” —displaying part of the offer.

Loot Crate’s CTA is “Share the Loot, Get $5.” Source: Referral Marketing School
5. Make sure it’s easy to find your offer (or a simplified version)

Your offer (or simplified version) should either be in your CTA or under your CTA.
For example: “Give $25, Get $25″ (as a CTA) or “Free pair of socks when you refer a friend” (under a CTA that says “Spread the Love”).

6. Simplify the referral process

The easier it is to refer, the more likely it is that your customers will take action.
Giving customers multiple ways to refer (ex. email, Facebook, Twitter) allows customers to choose the most convenient and easiest option for them.

6 helpful, but optional, tips
If you want to take your pop-up up a notch, you may want to also consider these things.
1. Include an option for users to customize their message

If you add space for customers to write their own referral message, the referral will feel more personal, and the friend will be more likely to trust it. Customization increases authenticity!

2. Add your brand’s personality

Injecting personality makes a pop-up capture more attention, and keeps it on brand.

3. Add social sharing options

Options to share a referral link on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media allow a customer’s referral to reach many friends at once.

4. Include a reminder feature for referral emails

If this option is enabled, the friend will receive a second email if they have not claimed the friend offer within a certain number of days.
Keep this option checked by default.

5. Don’t underestimate the click pop-up

Display a refer-a-friend button or link; users can click it and trigger a pop-up.
Remember: click pop-ups are the only one’s website visitors trigger actively—they don’t appear on their own. So make sure the button or link is easy to find!
Most businesses choose this option for their referral pop-ups.

6. Think about setting up a pop-up to appear after a customer makes a purchase

You may want to add timed or exit intent pop-ups for returning users and recent purchasers, so more of the right people see your pop-up no matter where they click.
People who have already purchased your products, and who are satisfied with them, are more likely to refer.
It’s fine to use more than one pop-up, but choose carefully—you don’t want your visitors to feel inundated with pop-ups.

Examples of successful referral pop-ups
Let’s look at 3 examples of successful referral program pop-up strategies, and review why they are so successful.
These businesses have carefully chosen their pop-up type, location, and text for the maximum impact.
Julep

Julep’s referral program pop-up. Source: Referral Rock
Julep has discontinued its beauty box program, but this previous pop-up of theirs is still an awesome example!
Besides referral, what type(s) of pop-up is this? Social Media
Why It’s Successful:

Concise CTA (“Invite your friends.”)
Offer is easy to find (under CTA) and shows a bit of brand personality (“Refer friends and get a $15 credit for every bestie who joins.”)
Multiple options to refer, including email and Facebook sharing
Clear referral offer and conditions: It’s easy to see that the customer will receive a $15 credit for every friend they refer who joins the program.
Clear friend offer: The pop-up displays exactly what text and image the customer’s friends will see on Facebook, including the friend gift of a free 12-piece polish set.
Option for customers to customize their email message to their friends; can send emails to multiple friends at once
Customizing Facebook offer text is actually required so every Julep referral offer that customers share will feel authentic.

American Apparel

American Apparel’s referral pop-up. Source: American Apparel
This clean pop-up from American Apparel gets straight to the point—and doubles as an email list pop-up. After users enter their email, they can choose from 3 sharing options.
Besides referral, what type(s) of pop-up is this? : Social Media, Email, Click
Why It’s Successful:

Concise CTA with offer inside: “Get $15 for every friend you refer.”
Clear offer and conditions: “Your friends get $15 and you get $15 after their first purchase of $50+”
The clean format lets CTA stand out, makes goals clear, and makes offer easy to understand.
Click pop-up with an easy-to-find “trigger” link displayed above the fold of the website’s landing page
Multiple sharing options (email, Facebook, Messenger, friend link to share anywhere)
The pop-up displays exactly what text and image the customer’s friends will see on Facebook, including the friend gift
Also serves as an email list pop-up (email is required, even if a customer chooses the social media sharing options)
Reminder option for the email referral (reminds friend if the offer isn’t claimed in 3 days; checked off by default)
Customers can customize their email message to their friends

Indochino

Men’s fashion brand Indochino provides plenty of referral options in its click pop-up. Source: Indochino
Besides referral, what type(s) of pop-up is this? : Email, Social Media, Click
Why It’s Successful:

Concise CTA that displays the offer: “Give $25, Get $25”
Multiple sharing options (email, Facebook, Twitter, Messenger)
The pop-up displays exactly what text and image the customer’s friends will see on Facebook, including the friend gift
Reminder option for the email referral (reminds friend if the offer isn’t claimed in a certain number of days; checked off by default)
Customers can customize their email message to their friends
Option to send emails to multiple friends at once (with the same message for each)

Key Takeaways
Referral program pop-ups are an awesome way to catch customers’ attention and harness the power of referrals. Although many referral pop-ups are click pop-ups (the ones users trigger themselves), don’t be afraid to create pop-ups that appear on their own after a customer makes a purchase (like an exit intent pop-up).
Whichever type of referral program pop-up you choose, though, make sure that you offer something of value to your customer, that you write a clear call to action, that the incentives you offer are easy to understand, and that you simplify the referral process as much as possible. And think about adding social sharing options, to increase your program’s reach, and opportunities for customers to customize their message, for increased authenticity.