Last weekend I ended up in Chikmagalur with friends – completely impromptu.

To give you some context, Chikmagalur is around 240 Kms from Bangalore, is called the coffee land of Karnataka and to misquote Elmore Leonard, gets by on its good looks, unlike Bangalore that has to work for a living.

This is what I mean.

Chikmagalur - landing page experience mistake that I realized on a trip
PC: Riju K (Flickr)

While we drove down, we somehow managed to book an accommodation (wasn’t easy – every place seemed overbooked).

The nice people at the hotel/homestay/resort sent the address to me via text, and I thought we were all set.

That’s when the misadventures began.

Four hours later, as we entered the town, I set the “Resort, shall we call it Hotel Elusive” as the destination on Maps, and followed the directions. The maps led us to an area that definitely wasn’t our destination (there was no trace of civilization anywhere in the vicinity). I called the folks at Hotel Elusive, who informed me that the place had shifted.

My bad; I should have called them first; maybe I should not have relied just on maps and double checked the address that they sent (which I half-tried, but everyone we could find at that point either did not speak the language or did not know the address).

But, my experience was disrupted. They had a broken link somewhere – Map leading to an address that had shifted.

Landing page experience mistake #1

Leading your users to the wrong address

How often have you landed on a broken link after clicking on a search ad? Something of this sort:

Make My Trip ad - landing page experience mistake
Make my trip landing page error - landing page experience mistake

I bet even more frequently you would have landed on a homepage after clicking on an offer specific ad; finding that specific offer in the jungle that’s an average website is frustrating, isn’t it.

But, are you making the same mistakes in your own campaigns?

If the user is really patient, he’ll try to find the right page, despite the bad landing page experience. We did that by the way – called our Hotel Elusive folks, and drove another 12 Km to get to the place.

But, in most cases, the user is not that patient, and really, it’s not “you” they are looking for. It’s a solution to their problem. We were looking for an accommodation too; not particularly that address – just that we didn’t have an alternative.

On our drive down, I was continuously trying to call other places trying to find an alternate. (See, the trust had started to waver.)

But, that didn’t happen fast enough.

So, we were now in the correct area. The only problem now, there were no signboards anywhere directing us to the place.

Also, it was in the middle of nowhere, so all our phones had lost signals too. Each time we wanted to get directions, we’d have to drive out to a particular area, where our phones were functional again, make the call and go back down the same road again.

Landing page experience mistake #2

No cues/clear message on the next course of action

After the users land on your page, inform them in simple language of the next course of action – what to do, where to go. That would improve the landing page experience of your users. Again, online users are not that patient.

Anyway, in the meantime, on one of those trips to the “functional mobile” area, I managed to get a booking at another resort (I had an alternate now – the conversion opportunity is slipping).

However, by now, Hotel Elusive’s owner had sent someone out looking for us, so we went in to check out the place anyway.

However, once inside, we were confronted with yet another problem. Instead of a 3-seater room, they had booked a small one just enough for 2 people.

And, because they were so packed, didn’t have an extra bed either. I get that they were overbooked, and it’s great, but it would have been in the good interest of everyone involved if we were informed of the fact.

Landing page experience mistake #3

Not giving what you advertise

Now, I am not the one to throw a hissy fit over an extra bed, but they had lost us right at the second mistake, hadn’t they, when we got that other place to stay. We were suddenly not in a fix anymore; we had another alternative, and so we headed there, and they lost our business.

So, yes, deliver what you promise on your landing page. Otherwise, you’d lose credibility for a second chance.

I have been a part of marketing for some time now, and we talk about good landing page experience – clear messaging, focused offer, one-directional navigation etc., on a daily basis.

But, as the saying goes, unless you have been on the other side of a problem, you don’t truly understand the gravity of it.

We lost 4 hours of our travel time in the whole fiasco and came out with a bad experience with good old Hotel Elusive; maybe visitors to your landing pages are facing a similar problem too.

Fix it.

(P.S: Check some other PPC landing page mistakes you might be making)

In our last webinar, we discussed lead engagement sources that marketers and business owners may not be using. In case you missed it, you can watch the recording here:

View the Recording

We have also compiled questions asked by attendees at the session and addressed them below.

Question 1

For an IT company, what would be the best medium to engage prospects?

Of course, email is one medium that you should try. But you have to think about the content. If you are sending emails, what is the content that you are sharing. More than the platform that you choose or the tool, it is important for you to understand what exactly does your audience want, as in the kind of content.

You would generally share white papers, and ebooks with your prospects and customers, and word it in such a manner that people are able to understand it. In case of many IT companies, I have seen that certain emails do not sound Human and are not easy to read. Such emails generally get lost in the inbox. Use email, but change the way you have been using email.

Question 2

While building customer communities looks easy, how do you build communities of prospects and should do that?

In the example quoted in the presentation, the Bhive community doesn’t just have customers. A lot of other startup founders, freelancers, and marketers are also a part of that community. They are leveraging the community, that initially may have started with customers and friends only, and extended it by providing things of value to other people who might be interested. So they are the prospects.

In other words, you start building a community and eventually if you are providing enough value, then the community becomes big enough to include people who are not your customers yet. That’s how big brands are built. It takes a lot of time and is not easy. You can get started with this webinar recording on community development.

Question 3

Do you have examples of an IT Product or IT Services company having utilized social media effectively? Do you have any case studies?

LeadSquared is a SaaS product. Right now we are not doing a lot of promotion on social media but in the past we have gotten good responses from our social media campaigns. We have started again.

Here are a few case studies on IT Products and IT Services companies who have utilized social media for their marketing:

Question 4

The risk of building a prospect community could be that if one of them buys a competitor’s product/service, he/she may sway other members of  the community to competitor’s products. How do you mitigate that risk?

That risk is always going to be there. We are in a completely open environment right now. Everything is on social. We cannot really do anything sneakily. If your product is good enough and if you are providing enough value to your community, then your community would also develop some kind of loyalty towards your brand and would not be swayed so easily. You mitigate that risk by providing enough value.

Question 5

Are text emails better than the creatively done HTML emails which often land in junk box?

If you are writing emails in a conversational, human manner and they are just plain simple text emails, they will do better because they don’t have images and a million links in them. That is why such emails generally do not move to the spam box.

But it does not mean that all HTML emails land into the junk box. There are certain things you need to take care of and you have to make it personal and conversational without too many images and links. Most of the HTML emails land in the junk box because of their design – they look as if it is a bulk spam campaign.

Test it. Send a text version to a set of people and an HTML version to another set of people and see how they perform.

Question 6

What kind of coding will be required to install WebEngage? Does it work for all websites?

It’s very simple. You just need to put a simple code in. They have all the instructions there to help you do it. If you are built on a WordPress website, it will be much easier for you. Otherwise, you can just give it to your webmaster and it’s a one-step process.

Question 7

Any Indian examples for quizzes, that worked without advertising?

The education client mentioned in the presentation is an Indian client. The quizzes that we created were online tests for an IIT-JEE training institute. It was shared a lot on Facebook so we did not put any money into it. Their blog was also very popular and got us a lot of organic traction. Therefore, we didn’t need to promote it at all.

Question 8

What is the best format for sending an email so that it does not move into spam?

Emails moving into spam would depend on several factors. Take a look at this post to find out what you need to do to ensure that your emails do not hit the spam box.

Google Remarketing Strategies to Take your Leads Down the Sales Funnel

Google Remarketing Strategies have proven to be beneficial for many businesses around the globe. Though it has minor implications (as marketers report), better optimization and doozy strategies can make your Remarketing campaigns successfully convert leads into customers. But of course its not a piece of cake. It requires immense patience and dedication to actually achieve the online marketing goals of your business.

Here we have discussed a simple Remarketing Strategy in the context of an Education Business. This will help you get an idea about how you can strategically optimize your remarketing campaigns to take down your leads through the sales funnel. There is no hard and fast rule that marketers must design Google Remarketing strategies according to what is said here. I have just tried to lay down a small map to help you plan a remarketing strategy to target your audiences better.

To begin with Remarketing one has to first create an account on Google Adwords. Running an ad campaign on Adwords will help you  attract leads to the website from different sources like Google Search and other display networks.

Now let’s assume that you have a Marketing Company which specializes in Lead Generation Services and Email Marketing Tool. So to attract leads to your website you decide to run a Google Adwords Campaign.

Stage 1: Attract Audiences

Step 1:

Structure your first ad campaign using two different ad groups. One on Lead Generation and another on Email Marketing. Highlight the product features and service offers through the ads. Target audiences on the search engines and attract all the interested leads to your landing page or website (run your ad campaigns for a month or two, to analyze the results better).

The image below is an example of Google Adwords ad campaign that appear as sponsored links on the search engine.

Step 2:

Now you can apply Google Remarketing Strategies to your Adwords Campaign and engage your leads to push them down the sales process. Follow these steps to create your First Google Remarketing Campaign. Next you will have to create a remarketing list (Homepage Audience List) that consists of all the leads (visitors) who had already visited the homepage of your website or the landing pages of your first Adwords campaign (which ever page you might have redirected your audiences to).

Stage 2: Engage Leads

Step 3:

Create a new Remarketing ad campaign next. Lets say, a Free E-Book Download ad campaign for leads who have already visited your website (or the landing page of your first Adwords campaign). Make sure it targets all the leads in the Homepage Audience List. This ad will follow and appear to all the leads throughout the Google Display Network and help you take your leads down the sales process.

The image below is an example of how Google Remarketing works. Click on the image to know more about it.

Step 4:

The next stage involves creating another remarketing list for those leads who have clicked on your Free E-Book Download ad campaign and visited the landing page. Now here it may get a bit complicated as you may have to divide your leads into two categories:

Lead Category 1:

This category includes those leads who did not download the Free E-Book even after visiting the landing page. This group of leads did not complete the sales process and simply left the page. So you can put them into a new Remarketing List A that targets customers who did not download the E-book. Now you can create a new remarketing campaign which will keep reminding them that they have to complete the sales process by downloading the Free E-book. Show them the benefits of downloading the E-book in this ad and keep your fingers crossed.

Lead Category 2:

These are the leads who provided their details and downloaded the Free E-book. This group of leads must be categorized under a separate Remarketing List B which targets people who successfully downloaded the E-book. These leads have shown interest to know more about your product or service and thus, can be filtered down to the next stage of the sales pipeline.https://www.leadsquared.com/learn/sales/sales-pipeline/

Stage 3: Nurture Leads

Step 5:

At this stage you will have to nurture your leads with more attractive offers and benefits of using your service or product. So you may just offer a Free Trial (with limited features or for a limited duration) of your software to them. So you can create a new ad campaign with a CTA that offers a Free Trial of the software. This will help you to filter down a few interested leads who might try out your product to explore its features. Now at this stage again, you can categorize your leads in two separate categories:

Lead Category 3:

This group of leads are the ones who did not sign up for a free trial. This group of leads did not complete the sales process and thus, will be put into a separate Remarketing List C. You can again create a remarketing campaign for this group that will remind the leads to complete the sales process and follow them everywhere.

Lead Category 4:

These leads are the ones who signed up for a free trial of your software. They are your prospective customers who have showed interest in your product and services so far. These leads may be really small in number as they have been filtered down the sales funnel. So you can put them into a new Remarketing List D of leads who are now qualified to enter the next stage.

Stage 4: Sell

Step 6:

This is where you can try selling your products to your prospective customers. You would want to take your leads further down the sales funnel and make a purchase. The remarketing campaigns must now highlight the benefits of purchasing (or buying a subscription) your product. This stage will include communicating with your leads through email marketing, tele-prospecting and product demos. When it comes to buying a product or a service, people prefer to get double assured of the advantages it provides. So you will have to have patience and be prepared for the worse (at max they might just deny taking up the subscription).

Step 7:

For the leads who did not yet convert into customers, you might have to keep nurturing them with regular follow-up calls and emails. This is where you require more patience and will power. You need to showcase the benefits of subscribing for your product or service. Convince them to buy your product and complete the sales process. So more than remarketing strategies, direct communication would be profitable.

Stage 5: Deliver Service

The leads who agreed to buy your product or took a subscription, have completed the sales process successfully. You will now have to deliver impartial service to all your customers and keep up to their expectations. Your motive, henceforth, will be to win back your customers loyalty with each new offer that you generate for them. While you keep doing your online marketing tasks to attract new leads each day, you will also have to keep a track of your customers needs and satisfaction.

In our last post of the series ‘How to Start Blogging – A Guide for Small Businesses’, we answered the most common questions you might have in your mind about kick-starting your blog. After reading today’s blog post, we expect you to finish these basic steps:  

Finalize a Name for your blog.
Get a domain, and hosting.
Install WP, and Set up a theme.
Install and Activate all the important plugins.

Comprende? Okay, let us get started: 

 

 

Choosing a CMS

With various open source CMSs at the business owner’s disposal, setting up a blog is easier that a beginner might imagine. Like majority of other bloggers, our favorite is WordPress, I will tell you why!

 

1) It is easy to use  

2) Built for hosting blogs  

3) It is free  

4) There is an enormous community of developers, enabling rich features on your blog.   

Setting up WordPress.org

   

1. Finding yourself a host 

 
You have a lot of options to host your WordPress based blog. You can choose:  

ballFree plans from WordPress.com
ballLow cost options from hosting companies like HostGator, BlueHost
ballPremium Options from WP Engine

Here is a comparison of WP.com free plans and self-hosted WP.org.  

1) Themes: With a self-hosted WP, you have full control over the themes. You have many free and paid themes at your disposal, whereas with a free WP, you are limited to just the themes that WP provides. WP.org wins this.  

2) Plugins/Widgets: Wordpress.com does not allow you to add any plugins or widgets except the default ones provided by WordPress; whereas self-hosted WordPress gives you the control to upload as many free/paid plugins as you like. WP.org wins this.  

3) Cost: On a casual glance, WordPress.com (WP hosted) wins this one, however a careful observation would make it clear that self-hosted WP is a better choice. Agreed, there are a few obvious costs associated with WordPress.org, like domain registration and hosting fee, and WP.com is free.  

However, if you want better control over the WP.com theme options, widgets etc. you would have to purchase certain add-ons (the cost would eventually be higher than a self-hosted WP).  

4) Maintenance: This is the only one, where WP.com has an actual advantage over WP.org. With a self-hosted version, you will have to take care of keeping your site spam free. Though there are many free plugins that would help you take care of that without much hassle.  

Our choice is WordPress.org; because the endless possibilities that it allows you far surpass the costs involved. Here is an awesome infograph, explaining the difference more clearly.  

2. Choosing the Domain Name:

You can register the domain at the hosting site you choose.   If you are setting up your website for the first time, I would suggest having it completely on the WordPress system. This way the website and the blog would not be two separate entities.

If you already have a website, you have the option of choosing a completely new domain independent of your website. If you are not going with the standard yourwebsite.com/blog, as the blog name, and want an independent domain, you can look at using a keyword rich domain. This has SEO benefits, and might help your blog rank easily for the relevant keywords. For instance, greatevents.com for an Event Management company.  

3. Installing WordPress

You can check out the complete procedure of Registering a Domain and Host, and Installing WordPress here.  

4. Setting up a theme

Using a blog theme appropriate to your website content is very important. There are a number of themes to choose from, both paid and free in case of self-hosted WordPress.org.  

Not just this, there is a plethora of themes available at nominal prices to spoil you thoroughly. Various sites like https://themeforest.net/ and http://www.premiumwp.com/ allow you to buy themes of your choice, with prices ranging from $35 to $75 per theme.

 

5. Installing and Setting up Basic Plugins 

This is a very important part of the blog setup. You would choose wordpress.org over wordpress.com mainly because of the amount of free plugins available. Following is a basic list of plugins you cannot do without –  

  • An SEO Plugin: The primary motive of setting up a blog is to have a better online presence. A good SEO plugin would help you adopt better SEO practices in the whole blog setup. It can help you rank better in Google. We prefer using WordPress SEO by Yoast.
  • An XML sitemap Plugin: If you decide to use Yoast, there is an XML Option there; if not, Google XML plugin would help. This is once again important for better SEO, and a better overall blog navigation. The search engine crawlers tend to rank a blog higher if there is a clear navigation through the blog; an XML plugin would help you achieve that.
  • An Editor Plugin: Though there are many options available in the WP default editor, it is just not enough for a few advanced options. An Editor Plugin like ‘WP-Super Edit’ would give you the freedom to add many more options in the editor itself.

 

  • A Contact Form Plugin: A well-set blog and good blog posts would definitely be rewarded with quality traffic. However, once the traffic starts coming in, you need to make sure that you do not miss out an opportunity to turn those visitors into leads. You can use a free plugin like Contact Form 7 or a paid one like Gravity Forms to start with. 

 

  • An Analytics Plugin – As you would have understood by now, blogging is not a standalone activity. It comes with a host of other tag-along tasks, that though often overlooked are very important in making sure you are writing what people want. Analyzing your blog’s performance is one such activity, and I would say the most one. You have to measure parameters like what are the keywords people are using to come to your website, what is the average time on a visitor on the website etc. Here is a list of parameters an Analytics Plugin must monitor.

Google Analytics would do for beginners.

  • A Social Sharing Buttons Plugin: Social is the new word of mouth, and therefore has the power to help you influence people. No matter how good is the content that you write, if it isn’t being shared on social platforms it is not getting nearly as much exposure that it deserves. Adding a social sharing plugin would make it easier for people to share. IMHO, a floating plugin like ShareBar works the best. However, as Sharebar hasn’t been upgraded for the new WP versions, you can look at other plugins like Socialize, AA’s Digg Digg Alternative etc. 

 

  • Social Profiles Plugins: This would make sure that your visitors have an opportunity to connect with you on different social platforms.

 

  • Facebook Like Box

 

  • A Comments Plugin: Without a response from the listeners (readers in this case) end, a conversation is not complete. They can converse by sharing your posts on different platforms, or by actually commenting. Make it easy for them.

Even though there are many more plugins, you would want in your blog, before you can call the blog well equipped, but these would definitely help you get started.   Alright, over to you folks. Get started now, and start setting up your blog. Let us know how it goes! Happy Blogging!

The All New ‘Undo’ Button in Google Adwords Change History Reports

What’s better than being able to undo changes with just one click. Yes, you heard it right! Now with the new ‘Undo’ button in Google Adwords change history reports getting back your previous settings is much easier. Finally all of us can have a backup for our previous settings. Advertisers can now test different campaigns and keywords anytime and undo those changes that do not work.

2013-11-28_1127
This picture is taken from an article of Search Engine Watch. The Undo button has not yet been active in our Adwords account, as the roll out is still in process.

The Undo button in Google Adwords will surely help advertisers save a lot of time and of course money. It will be a lot easier now to return back to previous setups and formats, if new ones do not generate the expected return on investment or results.

But, as we all know that changes are sometimes inter-related to each other, one change might trigger a series of changes to occur and probably affect the campaign. So, advertisers will have to carefully evaluate the usefulness of the undo button and pay attention to the changes that occur. While the roll out is in progress and yet to get activated on many other accounts, it is high time that advertisers who already got the new feature start testing the button’s usability and benefits.

This ‘Undo’ button in Google Adwords Change History reports is certainly a much desired feature that has been released. But it’s efficiency and importance can only be judged after it appears for all advertisers worldwide and people start sharing their reviews/likeness about it.

Top Design Tools for Marketers

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But, let’s get real! We live in a visual world. So be it content for lead generation or social media, CTAs or infogrphics, a good looking cover is sure an added advantage. In my earlier posts, I have discussed about the Top 9 Video Marketing Tools for Marketers and Top 5 Infographic Tools for Marketers, here I will discuss the Top Design Tools for marketers. Fret not! Not everyone is a designer but this handy list of tools will let you create amazing looking marketing campaigns in no time.

This blog is divided into the following segments and the benefits of each for marketers have been elaborately discussed:

Landing Page Creating ToolsEmail-Marketing ToolsImage Editing ToolsButton Generator Tools
UnbounceCampaign MonitorPicadiloDa Button Factory
LanderMailchimpPixlrVertical Response
LeadSquaredLeadSquaredPizap As Button Generator

A) Landing Page Creating Tools

A landing page is the dominant part of any marketing campaign. The right landing page can lead to a major breakthrough in your marketing strategy. Here are some tools to help you create great looking landing pages in minutes.

I. Unbounce

This is a paid DIY landing page creating top design tool to help marketers build, publish, test and optimize creative landing pages right from scratch.

top design tools

Benefits for a Marketer: 

top design tools Drag & Drop feature: With Unbounce, you do not need a technical team to help you create landing pages. All you have to do is drag and drop what you want onto your page and start editing.

top design tools No HTML knowledge required: You need No or Minimal tech knowledge to be able to create landing pages.

top design tools In-built landing page templates: Choose from over 50 highly flexible & easily customizable in-built landing page templates to suit your marketing goals.

top design tools Blog and social network integration: Once your landing page is ready, with a click of a button, you can share it on your social networking sites and integrate it on your blog.

top design tools A/B testing: A/B testing is a simple way to test changes made to your page as against the current landing page and determine which one is giving better conversions, i.e. you can make changes to the current landing page, publish it and see which landing page is giving better results, the previous one or the one with changes.

Unbounce is entirely paid, here are their various plans.

II. Lander

Lander is an easy DIY tool which helps marketers create landing pages in minutes. They also have a free trial.

top design tools

Benefits for a Marketer: 

top design tools Easy to use Editor: Building an awesome landing page was never this easy. Drag and drop stuff that you want onto the pre-set templates, upload images, add text and voila! You’re done!

top design tools Varied Layouts: Lander provides different layouts for different marketing campaigns. 

top design tools A/B testing: You can change text, images, layout, call-to-actions and test up to three different versions of your landing page. This is a real plus point. don’t you think?

top design tools Free Trial: Lander also has a free trial which includes, 500 visitors per month, Google Analytics integration , Social Networking Integration and  Lander Branding. Here are the details of their paid plans.

Check out this landing page that I created using Lander. (Note: This is just a landing page template, it has not been integrated with any website or social network.)

III. LeadSquared

LeadSquared marketing software enables marketers to design, publish and analyze landing pages along with providing tools for email campaigns, lead tracking & analytics.

top design tools

Benefits for a Marketer: 

top design tools Easy to use: LeadSquared provides DIY HTML editor to modify templates or custom design new landing pages.

top design tools In-built templates: They provide ready to use and conversion optimized landing page templates.

top design tools Auto Response: Auto-responses are send via emails to leads and lead generation alerts for sales and marketing team.

top design tools 30 days free trial: Fill in this form for to get a free 30 day trial.

B) Email Marketing Tools

Several reports have shown that the most used lead generation tactic over the years has been email marketing, i.e. getting in touch with clients or prospects via email. Here are a few such email marketing tools for lead generation.

I. Campaign Monitor:

This tool makes it easy to attract new subscribers, send them beautiful email newsletters and see stunning reports on the results.

top design tools

Benefits for a Marketer: 

top design tools Designer Templates: They have a in-built template builder which lets marketers build engaging templates in minutes. Each device is then automatically optimized for desktop and mobile.

top design tools Easy user interface: Once you log in, choose your campaign name, template, drag and drop or copy paste stuff onto your email template, provide email addresses of recipients and you are good to go. Yes, its that easy!

top design tools Insightful Analytics: Every time you send a campaign, you will get real-time reports to see who opened your mail, what they were interested in and who they shared it with and much more.

top design tools Social Media Embedding: You can also embed a ‘Tweet’ or ‘Like’ CTA button on your email and link it to your social profiles/company website.

top design tools Flexibility of paid plans: There are several plans you can choose from. Here is a detailed list of their paid plans.

Here is a screen shot of the Email campaign that I created using Campaign Monitor. (As a test I sent it out to 4 people).

tpp design tools

II. Mailchimp

Did you know that more than 3 million people use MailChimp’s Email Marketing Tool to design and send email marketing campaigns? So, if you are not one of them, what are you waiting for?

top design tools

Benefits for a Marketer: 

top design tools Easy user interface: Their easy drag and drop feature makes it easy for marketers to add content and send mails. They have a key feature of letting a marketer gather information from readers and then send them newsletters with their segmentation feature – users are segmented by the kind of choice they make when filling in the sign-up form.

top design tools Easy Accessibility: You can gain access to your MailChimp account from any device and use the Mailchimp iPad & Android app to compose and edit campaigns, even when you’re not online.

top design tools Integration with Google Analytic: You will not only get a free report once your email campaign has been sent, you can also  integrate your account with Google Analytics for a detailed analysis.

top design tools Basic plan is free: The Basic plan where in you can send 12,000 emails is absolutely free. Post this, you will have to upgrade your account to a paid plan.

Here is a screen shot of an Email that I sent using Mail Chimp. I used one of their in-built templates. (What you see on the left is the desktop version and on the right is their mobile version.) design tools       design tools

III. LeadSquared

Send email campaigns with better delivery and tracking capabilities using LeadSquared Lead Management Marketing Software.

top design tools

Benefits for a Marketer:

top design tools Ready to use templates: You will get dozens of ready to use templates for Emails, Newsletters, Product Promotions, Offers and much more.

top design tools Easy to use: Use their do-it-yourself HTML editor to modify the templates or design new emails.

top design tools Easy to track leads: You can find the leads who have engaged with your email campaigns using campaign analytics.

C) Image Editing Tools

Next time, you need a graphic designer for your images, fret not! Here are a few such online image editing tools that will make you a pro in minutes.  Apart from the tools like Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.Net and PhoXo, the below mentioned tools are online tools, i.e, you can edit your images online, save them and use them as and when you need them.

I. Picadilo

Picadilo is a 100% free online photo editing tool. Its not only easy to use but also a very powerful tool.

picadilo_logo

Benefits for a Marketer:

top design tools Its 100% free: You don’t have to pay a penny to use the amazing features of Picadilo. Unlike other editing tools wherein you have to upgrade to a paid plan for superior features,  all features on Picadilo are present on the canvas where you edit the pictures.

top design tools Easy to use: A slick interface and simple yet powerful features make Picadilo very easy to use. For an amateur who is new to photo editing, this top design tool can be a great learning experience because all templates are responsive as you progress with your work.

top design tools No download needed: You don’t have to go through the annoying process of downloading, installing and then start work with this image editing tool. On the home page, click on the ‘Start’ button, drag and drop a photo from your computer/upload from Facebook and start editing.

top design tools Work on multiple photos: Don’t be restricted to working on just one photograph at a time. You can load more than one photo on the same canvas and work on them side by side.

II. Pixlr

This full-featured photo editor is a web based alternative to the ever popular Photoshop.

top design tools

Benefits for a Marketer:

top design tools Absolutely Free: Pixlr software is absolutely free for use. The layout is clean and easy to understand for marketers who are new to this type of software.

top design tools Works in layers: Pixlr works with Flash. When you work with the image, you can do so in  layers. For example, in a image which contains several characters like sky, hills, houses, tress etc in different distances from the eye, you can fix each layer as you want it to look. This is especially helpful when a marketer is creating a banner (for ads or his website). The background image can be on a lower layer, while the text can stand out on an upper layer. If you want to change the background color/image, you can do so without re-typing the text in your working file.

top design tools Adjustments: Like Photoshop, Pixlr also provides great adjustment options to a user – exposure (looks pleasing to the eye), adjust brightness and contrast, along with some standard filter presets like Sepia (monochrome photos giving the 19th Century feel to the image), desaturate (black & white) etc.

top design tools User Interface in 23 Languages: The user interface of Pixlr is very easy. Also, did you know that with editing interface in 23 different languages, Pixlr is the most multi-lingual online image editor on the web?

top design tools Mobile Friendly:  Create stunning photos with mobile apps Pixlr Express and Pixlr-o-matic. This way, you are never far way from editing important images for your website/blog and uploading them.

What you see on the left is the original photo and on the right is the image that I edited using Pixlr. 

Tulips
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III. Pizap

PiZap is a free online image editing tool featuring hundreds of one click photo effects, collages and stickers for your digital photos. You can also add custom text and speech bubble to your images and then upload them instantly , on social networking sites. PiZap also has built in tools for e-cards, downloading the edited image, embedding them on any website and or sharing the link.

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Benefits for a Marketer:

top design tools No registration required: You do not have to register for a Pizap account and can access it for free anytime anywhere.

top design tools Easy User Interface: You can easily edit your photos and add speech bubbles to deliver important information in a fun way. You can edit pics by uploading them from your computer or Facebook. You can also add pictures using Picasa, Myspace, Flickr, Photobucket or even your web camera.

The image on the left is the original one and one on the right is the edited version.

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D) Button Generation Tools

Custom made buttons are the easiest way to draw attention of the masses. We often click on buttons like ‘Download’,’Subscribe Now, ‘Get it in your Inbox’ etc off the web, don’t we? So, these tabs are nothing but call-to-action buttons. Buttons are also the newest tool in town to attract users to various social networking sites.

Benefits for Marketers to use Button Generation Tools: 

top design tools Great Call-To-Action Tool: An interesting and dynamic CTA button is the first impression of your website that a user sees.  They need to be appropriately, to make them notable and leave an indelible mark on someone’s mind. The positioning, appearance, size and color play a vital role in inducing the customer to click on it to view further details. ‘Buy Now’, ‘Sign up now, ‘Get a Quote’ or ‘Download Now’ are ideal options.

top design tools Get new customers: The right kind of CTA button is the make or break point for your website. When you ask a user to download a PDF, fill out a form, buy a product or just click onto your website, they have to go through your CTA button.

top design tools Measure your site’s success: Count the clicks on your button to keep a tab on your conversions.

top design tools Social Media Integration: Also make sure that your social media CTA buttons are integrated onto your website for users to click on them and visit your various social profiles.

Here are some of the button generation tools for marketers.

I. Da Button Factory

If you need a button in a jiffy, then Da Button factory is your ideal choice. Create pretty buttons online within no time and use them as CTAs. You do not have to download any software to create buttons. There are lots of custom options that are easy to control. You can change colors, fonts, shadows and add borders with just a few clicks.

Check out this button that I have created.

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II.   Vertical Response

Vertical Response is an easy and wonderful free top design tool to generate buttons. Responsive templates and various design options help you create buttons in a pinch. Once your button is ready, feed in your mail id and you will be send a downloadable link that will provide you with your button. Done!!

Here is a button I created using Vertical Response.

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III. As Button Generator: 

With this button generator top design tool, the options cover a lot of ground and will satisfy all your button creation requirements. The final result can be downloaded as a PNG image file.

Here is an example:

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Note: Above mentioned have been created only as examples. They have not been linked to any website/social network. 

Have I missed out on any of  your favorite design tools? I would love to know about them. Do share by leaving me a comment.