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Minister’s TV appeal to Korkie’s kidnappers

first_img22 January 2014 International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, who flew out to Yemen on Saturday to negotiate for the release of South African hostage Pierre Korkie, is back in the country, his department said on Wednesday. While in Yemen, Ebrahim made a televised appeal for Korkie’s kidnappers to free him. “South Africa is a country of peace, friendship and goodwill, a country that supports the struggles of people everywhere for dignity and justice, from Palestine on one side of the world to Myanmar on the other,” Ebrahim said in his appeal. Korkie and his wife Yolande, who had been living in Yemen for four years, were captured in May last year in the Yemeni city of Taiz. Yolande was released last week without any ransom being paid, but the kidnappers, believed to be Al-Qaeda militants, have demanded R32-million for the release of the 53-year-old Pierre. They have threatened to execute Korkie if the money is not paid. Ebrahim thanked the kidnappers for the mercy they had shown to Yolande and pleaded with them “to save the life of Pierre, an innocent South African teacher who came to Yemen to contribute to uplifting your wonderful land. “His life is in danger. Islam enjoins us to show mercy and forbids us from harming the sick, even in war. I beg those who are holding him to release him without delay,” he said. “South Africa is a developing country and the Korkies are not a rich family. I appeal to you to cooperate with all initiatives so that Pierre Korkie can come home for the treatment he needs to save his life and be reunited with his family.” Arrangements were made for a written version of the appeal signed by the deputy minister to be sent directly to the kidnappers. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Eight charged with rape and murder of minor in Assam

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Raja Bhaiya decides to float new party

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Can “Thoughtleading” Give You an Edge? Attempts to Quantify Its ROI Say YES

first_img Studies indicate that a quantifiable ROI can in fact be discerned, and, just as happily, indications are that results will be overwhelmingly affirmative. If that sounds like fun, or simply a potentially advantageous way to distinguish your firm’s services, one major hurdle to choosing to implement such a strategy might be the question of ROI, specifically: Does evidence exist that a thoughtleading strategy really will generate new business growth? Is there any way to accurately measure this? Can a “thoughtleading Return-on-Investment (ROI)” be quantified? Jim Masciarelli, Founder & CEO, PowerSkills Solutions, and author of the book PowerSkills: Building Top-Level Relationships for Bottom-Line Results recalls one time when his book clearly led directly to a piece of business that he certainly would not have landed on his own: Have you ever thought about or noticed a competitor utilizing “thoughtleading” as a business development strategy? Positioning yourself and your firm as leading-edge thinkers in your field involves publishing articles and books, speaking regularly to professional groups, getting yourself noticed by the media and surveying your target market in order to produce research data that only you possess. Inbound Marketing You bet.  Are you wondering if all this means that publishing an article or a book, or engaging in other thoughtleading actions such as public speaking, media and research, will automatically yield you new business and/or drive your incomes levels up above that of your competitors? Well, there are no guarantees in life, so no one can say for sure. But it is clear from all the data and anecdotal evidence that the likelihood is there. Happily, the answer to all three questions is “yes.” ” and Chief Imaginative Officer (CIO) of  , which specializes in transforming companies, professional service firms, consultants, executives and individual business experts into “thoughtleaders.” The concrete ROI metric standard until now has always been based on “I-can-see-it-with-my-own-eyes.” This still applies to material goods of course but IC’s decidedly non-Industrial Age elements can be harder to fathom. Mary Adams, Managing, Principal of  “Their portfolio company had just acquired a major Internet company in a 22- billion dollar stock deal,” Jim explains, “but the CEO did not yet have a plan to integrate these companies. The mere announcement of my book (and, with it, my new practice) repositioned me as an expert in his mind in this new line of work I was now pursing. As a result, I got the introduction to the CEO and ultimately the assignment as well.” , specialists in the developing study of IC as an asset that can be measured, explains it this way: “Can you imagine a merchant without an inventory report, having to sell product without knowing the quantity or price of goods he owns? Touchpoints in his marketing/sales process are few, Dan explains, so to expand and maximize them, he integrates his book and articles with the pipeline. “I always tell my prospects that the typical consultant at a big firm doesn’t write and publish articles and books as I do,” he adds. “They just send big bills!” Such relatively “soft” questions leave the interpretation of data and resulting ROI conclusions in the hands (and minds) of analysts to a greater degree than has been true of traditional ROI measurement with its clear numbers and black-and-white company balance sheet. As one example, Kennedy Information, the nation’s premiere management consulting think tank, which regularly conducts surveys of management consulting compensation, has found that firms and individual consultants at the topmost point of the compensation chart are paid way, way better than the remaining 99% below. When asked how the top 1% manage this, the response is crisp and clear: “Oh, those highest revenue-producers are the ones who regularly publish articles and books, do speaking engagements, and connect with the media,” the Kennedy people explain. “They are the thoughtleaders.” Since most of your competitors will ignore it, a thoughtleading business development strategy could be the smartest marketing/sales decision you could make. There are just so very many facts, figures, studies, stories and personal experiences to back you up.center_img “I always email prospects a PDF or two of my published articles early in the sales process,” says Dan. “I want my prospects to see a relevant published article of mine so they will glance at it and be impressed. ‘Wow, this looks pretty cool’ may be all they say, then we move on. But that’s sufficient to stamp my firm as something more than some run-of-the-mill small guy consultancy, which is what they may be thinking.” Yet this is the position that most corporate leaders are in today. They lack basic consolidated information about their most important resources: Do we have the right people, network, and knowledge to meet our goals? Are we positioned for continued innovation? Where are we at risk?” Some studies have even produced clear and definitive measurements sufficient to satisfy even the most old school quantifiability standards. One survey of law firms by Levick Strategic Communications and PR Newswire surveyed 200 firms that had gotten themselves mentioned consistently in the legal media. Their survey found that the 25 firms on its list with the highest revenues were also those with an average increase of nearly 20% in overall media presence over the previous two years. Firms ranked below these 25 in terms of income, however, reported a mere 1% increase in media presence. Trek Consulting LLC Originally published Dec 5, 2008 7:41:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Topics: The Expert’s Edge: Become the Go-To Authority that People Turn to Every Time Another recent study has also correlated increased revenue with publishing, speaking, media and other individual thoughtleading actions, adding that thoughtleading’s ROI will be measurably high when thoughtleading actions are integrated with a firm’s more traditional marketing and sales activities. Article-publishing ROI, for example, incorporated in the marketing and selling pipeline, can easily measured by asking prospects if the firm’s published articles played any part either in their initial decision to approach the company or in their ultimate decision to do business with the company. SOA member Dan Cassidy, Principal of Cassidy Retirement Group, Concord Massachusetts, and author of the book A Manager’s Guide to Strategic Retirement Plan Management can testify to this personally. A few examples from my client files serve to augment the more quantifiable data. One client actuary for example attests, “I load my briefcase with all my published articles before going out on a sales call. At the right time in a meeting, I pull an article out that relates directly to the discussion at hand. This inevitably solidifies my credibility with the prospect in a way that even the glossiest brochure simply cannot.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack emerson consulting group inc. “A partner of a top venture capital firm who knew me from my past career as a retained executive search consultant called me up after receiving an announcement of my book PowerSkills, which details a system I created for building profitable business relationships. He said, ‘I understand you’re now doing advisory and alignment work with CEOs and executive teams. We could really use your help!’ This is a guest post by Ken Lizotte. Ken is author of ” Is there also anecdotal evidence that thoughtleading produces a measurable ROI? Getting to the heart of the issue, however, first requires an understanding that age-old ways of measuring ROI may not always apply here. That’s because a new equation in our economy, one that’s mistier than traditional bottom-line measurements, demands alternative methods of measurement. This new equation is the economic asset of “intellectual capital” (or IC).last_img read more

4 Minutes to Optimize a LinkedIn Profile for SEO

first_img SEO and Social Media Originally published May 22, 2009 8:53:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 There are two really quick things you can do on LinkedIn to optimize your profile for SEO — both to make your LinkedIn profile more discoverable, and to make your profile work for you by sending some SEO authority (link juice) to other pages on the web that you choose.The video below explains it all and shows you exactly how to do it in under 4 minutes.2 Tips to Optimize a LinkedIn Profile for SEOCustomize your URL with your name.  My LinkedIn profile URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikevolpe – and you can have one just like it with your name in the URL making it more likely for your profile to rank for searches for your name because the search engines do look at keywords in the URL.  It is also a much easier URL to remember and looks nicer when you email it to people. Add Custom Anchor Text to Links.  You can have up to 3 links on your profile to other websites, and these links pass SEO authority.  If you customize the anchor text on the links, you can get the most out of them because the search engines do look at the text of links to understand more about the content of pages they link to.  So, if you want your marketing TV show to rank on the first page for “marketing video podcast”, make sure to use that text in your link. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

The Perils of Assimilating to Digital Land [cartoon]

first_img Webinar: Rethinking Marketing Digital Land to learn how to turn your website into an internet marketing machine. Want to learn more about how you can go digital and use inbound marketing to grow your business? Download the free webinarcenter_img Take me to Originally published Feb 4, 2010 8:24:00 AM, updated July 18 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Marie Forleo Encourages Female Entrepreneurs with Creative Marketing

first_img Rich, Happy and Hot B-school -Benefit others. ” You can watch the full interview below. -Dedicate time to customer service and customer response. Originally published May 12, 2011 4:20:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 Rich, Happy and Hot- sounds like a chick flick or a must-read women’s book, right? It’s actually the main brand name of Marie Forleo’s program geared toward female entrepreneurs, encouraging marketing, online marketing and connecting with customers in creative, non-conventional ways. Inbound Marketing Forleo, founder of , is a blogger, content creator, online entrepreneur, speaker, Nike athlete and master trainer, fitness personality, and dancer/choreographer. She is also author of best-selling book, This blog post is based off of David Garland’s interview with Marie Forleo on his HubSpot sponsored web series ” (It’s published in 11 languages!) Topics: Rich, Happy and Hot Make Every Man Want You: How to Be So Irresistible You’ll Barely Keep from Dating Yourself! -Keep a close eye on financial services. The Rise to the Top. , an eight-week business school for women who wish to make it big online. Rich, Happy and Hot Live is a three-day experience connected to the heart and creativity with everything from fitness to marketing. -Offer free content to large groups of people; the right people love it. The business growth brand strives for personal intelligence by promoting financial, spiritual, and emotional wealth entrepreneurship. One program within the program is Relevant to her own personal stories, Forleo shares her advice; key points include: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

20 Awesome Inbound Marketing Blogs You Should Be Reading

first_imgThe problem with using outbound marketing as a primary strategy today is that it is becoming less and less effective while remaining ever so expensive.Luckily for us, inbound marketing was born and has become the next best thing since sliced bread (If you’re a marketer or sales professional, I hope you’d agree!).Now we have content marketing, blogging, SEO, social media, and other ways to attract visitors and leads to our business instead of pushing out unwanted messages to our audience.But there’s a lot to inbound marketing that needs to be understood. After all, it’s constantly changing, and there’s a lot to learn!In addition to the great content we provide here on the HubSpot blog, we thought we would share with you some of our other favorite blogs on everything inbound marketing. So here is a list of 20 awesome inbound marketing blogs you should start reading today. And if you have any favorites that aren’t already on this list, please add them in the comments section. Happy reading!1. AdhereCreative Inbound Marketing & Brand Development BlogAdhere Creative’s marketing blog offers many great tips on how to get the marketing results you’re looking for by using content, blogging, branding, SEO, and more.2. At the Goal Line by In2CommunicationsAt the Goal Line offers thoughts and opinions on sales, marketing, social media, digital content, technology, and social business.3. Bluleadz Inbound Marketing BlogBlueLeadz focuses on everything marketing and more, including SEO, networking, lead generation, and web design.4. Brand & Capture by KunoCreativeThis blog includes topics on content marketing, social media, lead analysis, marketing analytics, branding, mobile marketing, website design — you name it!5. inBlurbs Inbound Marketing BlogThis inbound marketing blog covers all of inbound marketing including SEO, blogging, social media, landing pages, lead generation, and analytics.6. Internet Marketing and SEO Tips by PagetenderThe name of this blog speaks for itself. Go here to learn about the world of internet marketing.7. LyntonWeb Blog: Perspectives on the Social WebLynton’s blog offers some juicy content on blogging, CRM, design, email, Facebook, geolocation — and the list goes on and on!8. The Market8 BlogIf you’re a small business marketer, this blog is for you. It provides tons of thought leadership on marketing strategy, SEO, web design, social media, interactive media, inbound marketing, and creative design.9. MarketingSherpa BlogIf you’re not already familiar with MarketingSherpa, you should be (like right now). They are among the best at testing, research, and knowing what works in marketing.10. Momentum Search Marketing BlogComing to you from the UK is a great inbound marketing resource. It includes a very long laundry list of topics — practically everything you can think of!11. Optimize This by Find & ConvertAuthor, speaker, podcaster, and CEO of Find and Convert, Bernie Borges blogs about the intersection of search and social media, providing sound advice for success.12. Pollock Inbound Marketing BlogPollock offers this great blog for all your online lead generation and inbound marketing needs. Don’t miss a single post!13. PR20/20 BlogPR 20/20’s agency blog features inbound marketing and public relations trends, news, and resources.14. Spark Inbound Marketing BlogThis blog has a lot of great content on — you guessed it — inbound marketing!15. The Best B2B Marketing Blog by Precision Marketing GroupThe authors at Precision Marketing Group really know their stuff. This blog contains frequently updated content to hone your marketing skills and knowledge.16. The Inbound Marketing CompanyYou can’t call yourself The Inbound Marketing Company without having an awesome blog. Luckily, this company does. This blog, too, covers way too many inbound marketing topics to list.17. The Inbound Marketing Spot by Trust eMediaThis is a great source for social media, sales, search marketing, and more.18. WebMarCom BlogWebMarCom gives us news and updates about inbound marketing, lead generation, and the effective use of internet marketing.19. B2BBloggersJeremy Victor maintains an excellent blog here covering a variety of topics in B2B marketing and sales, including how to create a great presence as a business and encourage engagement.20. IMPACT Learning CenterThe IMPACT Learning Center shares high-level inbound marketing expertise and tools you need to grow your sales and your business.Which of these blogs are your favorites? What other blogs would you add to the list?Photo Credit: How can I recycle this Blog Examples Originally published Aug 18, 2011 1:00:00 PM, updated September 13 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

14 Quick Tips for Kick-Ass Lead Management

first_img Originally published Dec 21, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Sales wants more, better leads. Marketing wants sales to call all of the leads they’re delivering. How do you improve lead management so leads aren’t wasted or contacted before they’re ready, and both sales and marketing can live together in harmony?With or without a lead management system, you likely still face these types of problems. That’s because great lead management is kind of, well…hard. It has lots of moving parts, and sometimes too many cooks in the kitchen with very different motivations. If your lead management isn’t operating as smoothly as you wish, read through these 14 kick-ass lead management tips. If you’re not doing all of these things, start incorporating them into your lead management processes for greater success.14 Kick-Ass Tips for Better Lead Management1. Set up SMarketing.SMarketing is the adorable and talented lovechild of sales and marketing, and you need it for lead management success. Meet on a weekly basis to ensure you’re both speaking the same language, have aligned and reasonable goals (do you have a service level agreement in place?), and are meeting those goals you’ve agreed upon. Forcing a weekly meeting may seem unnecessary or uncomfortable at first, but you’ll find that the little things you normally let slide or complain about actually start to get addressed. In the long run, your relationship will be better for it.2. Determine the validity of a lead.What constitutes a junk lead? Do you not sell to agencies, for example? Do you only sell to a specific geographic region? Have a SMarketing agreement on who these people are, and mark them as such in your database so you don’t waste calories on these folks.3. Set up lead nurturing.Remember that not all leads are ready to buy right away. In fact, only 25% of new leads are sales-ready, and another 25% are probably never going to buy from you. Determine what your leads need from you and when they need it so you can make the most out of the leads that have the potential to buy from you. We’ve written a lead nurturing guide that tells you how to get started, as it can be a complicated process.4. Adjust form fields to better qualify and distribute leads.Do you have your sales department divided based on location? Industry? Do you know that information about your leads? You probably should, otherwise the money spent on acquiring those leads will be lost when they are routed to the wrong sales team. Perform A/B tests on your landing pages to ensure you can capture the information you need to qualify and distribute leads correctly and avoid losing conversions in the process.5. Consistently scrub lead data.We definitely recommend de-duplicating leads based on email address at the very least, but you should also verify information such as zip code, phone number, and email address when possible to keep lead records up to date, and thus, functional.6. Iterate on your lead nurturing tracks.Nurtured leads have a 23% shorter sales cycle, but you won’t get it right the first time. Watch how leads respond to the type of content you deliver, the method of communication, and the frequency and timing of the communication to improve your lead nurturing and shorten the sales cycle.7. Score your leads.Instead of having salespeople sift through leads to find what they deem to be the best ones, have an automated system do it for them. Over time, you’ll learn which sequence of events and behaviors indicate a “hot lead.” With a marketing automation system, points can be attributed to a lead when those activities are performed, and when a pre-determined “sales-ready” grade is reached, the lead can be automatically bubbled up to your sales team. Talk about easy lead distribution.8. Ensure Sales keeps an up-to-date database.Because of the volume of communications in which your sales team is engaged, it’s easy for lead records in your database or CRM to get out of date. Train your sales team to keep records updated after every conversation so you can continue to accumulate meaningful lead data and better personalize your communications through the sales cycle.9. Make it easy for sales to keep an up-to-date database.This means you can’t expect your sales team to input loads of data. Be strategic and specific about what information you need out of their communications, what questions they should ask, and make it quick and easy to document it in your CRM.10. Update lead records continuously.Everything your leads are doing should be recorded. Every time they come to your site, what pages they visit, what items they download, and any other ways they interact with your company. This lets Sales know what leads are interested in talking about, and it lets Marketing refine its lead nurturing communications.11. Speaking of which, personalize your lead nurturing.Make sure your sales follow-up and nurturing communications are personalized based on site actions and social behavior. Deliver personalized follow up over a long period of time, as not all leads are sales ready, nor will all leads purchase during their first sales cycle.12. Provide timely follow up to inquiries.According to Harvard Business Review, companies that try to contact potential customers within 1 hour of receiving an inquiry are nearly 7 times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker. Don’t let good leads slip through the cracks (and to your competitors); set up alerts to ensure leads with a high quality score are pinged to your sales team.13. Consider the frequency and timing of your nurturing.Are people unsubscribing at unusually high rates? Are your calls getting dodged? Are you forgetting about time zone differences? Just as you can nurture your leads too little, you can certainly overdo it. Once you nail down your message, experiment with communication frequency and timing to move more leads through the sales funnel.14. Use closed-loop analytics.Track and analyze the cost of acquiring a lead, nurturing that lead, turning them into a customer, and the speed at which they convert. Use closed-loop analytics to analyze this for all prospects based on persona, industry, and vertical so you know how many leads you need to bring in over a given period of time, what types of leads are needed, and how much you can spend to acquire them.Image credit: 24fps Lead Nurturing Topics:last_img read more

How to Master the Design of Compelling Calls-to-Action

first_img Originally published Feb 13, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Calls to Action Topics: Calls-to-action (CTAs) are one of the most important elements of lead generation, and they should be used in each and every one of your marketing tactics: emails, social media updates, press releases, trade shows … the list goes on. In fact, whenever you want to ensure your team is moving in the right direction, pose the question, “What’s the call-to-action we’re using to drive people’s behavior?”Once you have a strategy in mind for which calls-to-action you’ll feature on your website, you’ll probably start obsessing over their design. In this blog post, we present you with some guidelines to master the design of successful calls-to-action.How to Master The Design of Calls to-Action 1. Size Matters: Make Your CTA Big The goal of your call-to-action is to attract the attention of website visitors, and one way to convey its importance is by enlarging it. “You want your button to be large enough to stand out without overwhelming the design,” writes graphic designer Cameron Chapman.Size shouldn’t be determined independently of other factors — it is tightly related to the context of the page and the other characteristics of your call-to-action. For instance, the CTA will naturally be large if it includes a graphic or an image that strengthens the message. This is what we do for HubSpot’s blog: the call-to-action placed at the end of each article is bigger than your standard CTA button because it is contextualized and adds value to the article. Just scroll down to the bottom of this post to see for yourself.2. Spatial Effect: Give it Room to Breathe You know how they say that, sometimes, less is more? Well, that can definitely be true for calls-to-action. If you want to attract more attention to your CTA, you should give it some white space (or in the case below, orange space). Don’t crowd the language unless the information around it is key to taking the action. Simple logic dictates the ‘amount of white space’ decision. Separating the CTA from the rest of the content on a web page will mean it’s a separate item. If there is a tight connection between the call-to-action and some other web page element, then maybe there should be less white space between the two. “The more white space there is in between a call-to-action button versus a surrounding element, the less connected they are,” writes Jacob Gube in SmashingMagazine. “Therefore, if you have other elements that can help convince users to take action, reduce the white space in between those elements and the CTA.” Another tactic here is to fill your call-to-action with warm background colors, such as red and orange, which appear larger than colors suggesting coldness, blue and green. Warm colors appear closer to the viewer. 3. Give it Prominent Placement Your call-to-action needs to be above the fold so viewers don’t have to scroll down in order to spot it. According to an Eyetrack III study, the best placement of online ads is in the top and left position. This tactic, too, is dictated by simple logic. In the English language, we start reading from left to right and from top to bottom. Copywriter Dean Rieck suggests that once your readers get used to a particular placement, they might start ignoring the call-to-action or ad. “So even the prime upper left area won’t work so well if you always put ads there,” he writes. The most effective placement could also depend on the context of the rest of the page, so make sure you do some testing (see the section at the end of this post). For instance, test the ideal top and left position versus a placement in which the call-to-action is right beneath the offer description. Run an A/B test to see if you get more clicks, and pick a winner. 4. Contrast Is Key Contrast is one of the most powerful graphical techniques you can apply to calls-to-action. The fastest way to grab someone’s attention is by making your CTA stand out from the rest of the page and making it dominant. You can achieve that by picking a color for your button that contrasts the background. There has been a huge debate revolving around usage of the color red for call-to-action design. Some marketers argue that red can increase click-through rates significantly. Others explain that the context of the web page should determine the color. Whether you decide to use the color of fire, passion, and also the international stop signal or not, be mindful of your overall website design. While you want to keep the colors contrasting, make sure all of them fit in with your general website color scheme and avoid using patterns. Another way to achieve contrast with your call-to-action is to make the font visually different: some words might be larger or more emphasized than others. Just ensure that the CTA is easy to read. 5. Add Hover Effect Surely, you’ve seen calls-to-action that change when you hover over them with your mouse. This type of hover effect creates a perception that the CTA is instantly clickable. In that sense, the visitor is one step closer to taking the action. Using hover animation, you can make your buttons change color and brightness. You can also give them a shadow or have them zoom in or out. There are many Adobe Photoshop tutorials out there that can teach you how to create such a hover animation and help you create an even more irresistible call-to-action.   6. Embrace Unconventional Shapes Most calls-to-action have the same shape: that of a standard rectangular box. Shay Howe, designer and user interface engineer at Groupon, recommends that you give your CTA shape rounded or circular corners to make it more “button-like.” Square corners, he writes, may signal to visitors that the CTA is an ad or banner, and they might therefore avoid it. Sometimes you will encounter calls-to-action that have more unconventional shapes. For instance, they might be oval, star-like or assuming the contours of another object. This creative approach creates an element of surprise and might prove to be effective for increasing click-through rates. So experiment with call-to-action shapes that are rare, asymmetrical, and out of the ordinary. 7. Create a Sense of Direction Some of the most successful calls-to-action out there have arrows pointing at them. It creates a sense of direction and guides the visitor to the important element on the page. This is a way of prioritizing information and creating a flow. In fact, HubSpot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, found out that if you have a picture of a human looking at a lead-capture form or call-to-action on a page, that’s where the eye of the visitor will also shift to. So don’t add images of people who stare right at your audience; make them stare at what your audience should look at.8. Focus on Text, Not GraphicsThe Eyetrack III study also showed that in ads, website visitors read more text content than graphical content. “People looking for information are looking for text, not pictures,” writes Dean. Make sure your wording is clear, specific, and action-oriented. If you need more information on copywriting for calls-to-action, download our free ebook, which includes specific guidelines for CTA copywriting. While you should focus on your call-to-action text, don’t forget that graphics can help convey meaning and strengthen your message. They are especially useful in explaining a concept that is hard to explain with words alone.9. Consider Adding a Secondary CTAOften times, you have two or three competing actions that you would like your website visitors to take. For instance, you might want to ask them to request a consultation and try out your product. Or you might want them to sign up for your email newsletter and download a whitepaper. Decide which call-to-action has higher priority, and give it more prominent placement and a bigger size. Also, keep in mind that the context of your page will affect click-through rate, so make sure there is a clear alignment between your call-to-action and the content around it.Make sure you use different colors to illustrate which alternative is more desirable. For instance, on HubSpot’s homepage, you will see that in the center we have three calls-to-action that, from left to right, decrease in importance. The key call-to-action, “Request A Demo,” is in orange, followed by the grey “Free Trial” CTA, and then the “Full Feature Set” CTA, which is just hyperlinked text.CTA A/B TestingA lot of the suggestions in this post have represented CTA best practices, but it’s important to understand that sometimes, best practices might not be the best practices for your particular business. One business might find that a red button in the top left corner of a web page performs the best for them, while another business might find that red buttons rarely get clicked, and the top right corner of a web page is the optimal placement for their CTAs.Therefore, marketers who are striving to continually increase their CTA’s click-through and conversion rates are constantly conducting A/B tests to determine the best design for their CTAs. Every design element we’ve mentioned in this post can — and should — be tested. And if you’re a HubSpot customer, the Call-to-Action Module makes it very easy to A/B test different call-to-action buttons to determine which generates the most clicks and conversions.Now that you’re familiar with the key elements in call-to-action design, you should go and see how improving CTAs affects your lead generation efforts. Make sure you share your experiments with us! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more