Why Offering a Free Trial Might Be Dangerous For Your SaaS Product (And How to Figure It Out)

For some reason, people tend to be equating SaaS companies with free trials.

I find this pretty bad indeed.

Here’s why:

It’s true that many software companies see outstanding results with the free trial business model, but it doesn’t imply that everyone should use it. That’s just silly. Every single business is different, and the same strategy never fits all.

Force fitting a free trial system in your business can be really dangerous.

In this post, I’ll cover three of the most common scenarios where a SaaS company should NOT offer a free trial. Take a look through them and see if any describes you.

Scenario #1: The Product Doesn’t Deliver Results in a Reasonable Period of Time

“Do not offer a free trial when your customer can’t get a complete picture of how your product benefits them during a reasonable free trial period.”

– Wayne Mulligan, Co-founder of Crowdability

I couldn’t agree more with Wayne.

Let me explain:

The only purpose of offering a free trial is to remove the risk barrier, right?

Think about it. Companies offer free trials to show their prospective customers the value they’ll get if they decide to buy the product – they just want to alleviate all doubts and help their users make an informed decision. That’s it.

If your product doesn’t show the value within a reasonable time frame, a free trial simply makes no sense.

For example, if the user needs to gather accurate data to measure the value of your software, and he or she can’t get such data within the trial period, then that trial is worthless.

Also, it could be that your customer needs to contribute sensitive data to your system to evaluate it properly. In this case, the free trial won’t be helpful either.

In both examples, the trial period is simply not enough.

Now you might be thinking: “Why not just extend that period?”

Fair question. For some companies, it might be a viable solution. But the truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It all depends on your current situation and many other factors – like your sales cycle and working capital.

To help you out, I’ve listed below three of the most comprehensive guides on the topic. I’m sure they’ll get you on the right path:

Scenario #2: The Product is Too Complicated

Listen:

NEVER assume that your prospective customer will even attempt learning how to use your product. If the process isn’t obvious or – at the very least – simple, they won’t see the value.

In simpler words, if your product is too complicated, a free trial will probably not work for you. Why? Two main reasons:

  1. Without training, enterprise-level software tends to intimidate users, making free trials generally ineffective.
  2. Complicated processes tend to cost more money. Unless you have deep pockets, getting people to use your product for free might not be viable.

And when I say “complicated,” I mean your product lies into one of the following categories:

  • Your product has a complex integrated process. For example, when you need the help of developers to integrate your product into your client’s website or when people require extensive training to use it.
  • Your product involves upfront implementation work.
  • Your product needs third party integration to demonstrate a complete flow.

Companies like Marketo and Infusionsoft understand this concept very well. Both companies offer practical solutions, but they understand that people won’t get the most out of their products if they don’t know how to use them properly. So rather than offering a free trial, they offer free demonstrations.

In fact, Infusionsoft goes beyond your “typical” demo. Instead, you can decide whether to explore the product’s key features on your own, reserve a spot for a live webinar and Q & A session, or even schedule a customized tour from a small business expert.

infusionsoft-demo-options

This kind of attention helps you get a clear feeling of the product’s quality and its value.

Anyways, the bottom line is this:

If your product is too complicated or requires extensive training to deliver its full value, try with free demos. This model might work better for you.

Scenario #3: The Free Trial is Giving Away All The Value

Look:

Be careful about measuring results by focusing on user acquisition. I mean, if those users don’t turn into paying customers, they’re worthless. Savvy companies always bear this in mind.

If you want to increase your bottom line through free trials, you need to integrate the process in your sales funnel first and measure results by sales, not users.

The key lies in this simple, yet neglected concept.

Marketing expert and evangelist Trish Bertuzzi has worked with many SaaS companies, and she makes a fascinating point in his article on Why Free Trials Don’t Always Make Sense:

“…for some applications, there’s very little value delivered beyond the free trial period. If it’s a solution that helps manage a task done once per year – for example, arranging the annual user group conference – why would the prospect actually pay for the solution once that task is done?

In this case, the SaaS company is essentially giving away the full value of its solution. A free trial can attract users, but not many paying customers.” – Trish Bertuzzi

Her recommendations include:

  • Offer a “sandbox demo” – letting your prospective customers try your product in a controlled environment might increase the effectiveness of the demo.
  • Create an explainer video – explainer videos are proven to work extremely well for SaaS companies and – sometimes – a clear video is enough to explain the benefit.
  • Money-back guarantees – if the free trial model doesn’t fit your business, you can still offer a money-back guarantee to reduce the risk involved in the purchase.
  • No-obligation contracts – if your customer doesn’t get what she or he expected from your product, that customer could end the relationship without any problem. This reduces risk and entices more people to buy.

Many startups tend to imitate what other successful companies are doing, but remember, what works for others might not necessarily work for you. If a free trial model isn’t profitable, better rely on different strategies.

Don’t Take My Word For It – Test It Instead

If your business lies within one of the three categories outlined above, a free trial model will probably make no sense for you, BUT, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it at all.

I mean, there’s no way to know for sure unless you test it. Every business is different, and your results may vary. So please, don’t follow my advice blindly. I’m not trying to stop you, but to “awaken” you – never do things just because “you’re supposed to.”

The fact you’re running a SaaS company doesn’t mean you should offer free trials nor copy what your competitors are doing. Better trust on your own testing.

It’s the only way to figure it out.

What do you think? Are you going to test it? What other tips do you have? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments! Brutal or otherwise.

About the Author: Josue Valles is a freelance copywriter, professional blogger, and business writing coach. He’s on a lifelong mission to help businesses find their voice and to turn boring ideas into brilliant stories. If you’re interested in working with Josue, you can email him at josuevallesp@gmail.com

How to Create a Twitter Moment: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Sometimes an event is so remarkably big that it completely takes over social media for a few hours, or even days. Think back to the last awards show, sporting event, or viral meme — how many tweets about it popped onto your Twitter timeline?

When more than 9,000 tweets are published per second, it can be hard to find great content on the platform. So in 2015, Twitter rolled out Twitter Moments — curated tweets revolving around a single topic or story, all in one place.

Initially, only Twitter and its editorial partners, such as BuzzFeed and The New York Times, could curate Moments. Last year, however, Twitter opened up Moments for all Twitter users. Now, all content creators on the platform can compile groups of tweets. Whether it’s about an event, a campaign, or a pop culture moment, marketers can take advantage of this feature and potentially get discovered by new followers.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the 411 on Twitter Moments, how to create them, and how brands can use them.

What Are Twitter Moments?

Twitter Moments are collections of tweets about a topic or event. They can be tweeted, liked, pinned, and embedded like normal tweets, but when you tap to open a Moment, it shows you a collection of different tweets. Moments are published with a cover photo and introduction, so they’re kind of like a “best of” compilation article.

You can find Twitter Moments via desktop by tapping the lightning bolt icon — it’s in the top-left corner of Twitter on your browser.

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You can access Twitter Moments on mobile by tapping the magnifying glass icon — this will take you to the Explore tab, where you can scroll down past Twitter Trends to find Twitter Moments.

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When you tap on a Moment to read more, swipe left to begin reading tweets about the topic:

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Moments are categorized under the following interest areas on a desktop: News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun. Additionally, there is a Today tab that shares the biggest moments of the day on Twitter. Here’s what a Moment looks like embedded on a web page:

And here’s what it looks like when you open it up to read on a desktop:

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Twitter Moments help Twitter users find more quality content about topics they’re interested in. Moments also help brands and creators get discovered in a different way than relying on the Twitter timeline and retweets alone. Now, let’s dive into how to make Moments across platforms and devices.

How to Create a Twitter Moment

How to Create a Twitter Moment: Desktop

1) Navigate to the Moments tab, and tap “Create new Moment” on the right-hand side of your screen.

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2) Choose a title, description, and cover photo for your Moment.

These will appear as a preview of your Moment on the Moments tab and on the Twitter timeline.

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3) Start adding tweets you want to incorporate in your Moment.

You can choose from tweets you’ve liked, review different Twitter accounts to select tweets from a certain brand or individual, or search for tweets by specific keywords and hashtags. You can also enter the URL of a tweet you want to include. You can add tweets to your Moment by tapping the grayed-out check mark next to tweet content.

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4) Customize your Twitter Moment by tapping the up and down arrow buttons to arrange the order the tweets will appear in.

You can also remove tweets from your Moment by tapping the gray x button.

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5) Once you’ve added all the tweets you want to your Moment, tap “Finish later” to save a draft, or “Publish” to push it live on Twitter.

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Once your Moment is published, you can share it in a tweet, embed it on your website, or share a link to your Moment.

You can also create a new Twitter Moment by tapping the1479344284_1656.pngicon next to a tweet and selecting “Add to new Moment,” which will direct you to the Moment creation dashboard described in Step 2.

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How to Create a Twitter Moment: iOS

1) Open your Twitter app, tap the “Me” silhouette icon on the lower right-hand side of your screen, and tap the gear icon next to your profile picture. Then, select “Moments.”

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2) Tap the + symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the “My Moments” screen. From there, you’ll reach a dashboard where you can customize your title, description and cover photo.

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3) Add tweets to your Moment by tapping the “Add Tweets” button in the bottom center of your screen.

You can choose from your tweets, tweets you’ve liked, and by searching for tweets. Add them by tapping the tweets and then tapping the green “Add 1 Tweet” button.

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4) Tap the “Reorder” button in the lower left-hand corner of your Moments dashboard to customize your Moment.

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5) When you’re done, tap “Finish later” to save a draft, or “Publish” to share your Moment on Twitter.

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You can also create a new Moment by tapping the1479344284_1656-1.pngicon next to a tweet and selecting “Add to Moment,” which will direct you to the Moment dashboard in Step 2.

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How to Create a Twitter Moment: Android

To create a Twitter Moment on Android devices, the process is virtually the same — except you access the Moments menu by tapping on your profile picture when you open up Twitter:

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Source: Addictive Tips

How Brands Can Use Twitter Moments

1) Events

Create a Twitter Moment that showcases what’s going on at an event your brand is hosting or participating in. You can share what others are saying about your brand and keep followers up-to-date about what’s going on if they can’t attend the event themselves.

Here’s a Twitter moment published by INBOUND at the kickoff of INBOUND 2016, when Gary Vaynerchuk kicked off the weeklong marketing and sales event with a keynote speech. The Moment compiled various tweets about the speech from different attendees and influencers and provided an inside look at the event for those following along at home.

2) Tweetstorms

For those times when live-tweeting a series of related tweets is necessary, a Moment can serve to showcase a tweetstorm after it’s happened to bring attention to what a brand or individual is tweeting about.

Here’s an example from Persil UK & Ireland, a laundry detergent brand that created a Twitter Moment tweetstorm to promote its social media conversation, #DirtIsGood, about the importance of kids getting outside:

3) Breaking News

Another great use case for Twitter Moments is breaking news. Journalists and publications can produce Twitter Moments to group together tons of tweets about an emerging story. Whether the tweets are all originals from the brand’s account or are a compilation of different voices, the Moment serves to provide Twitter users with as much information as possible.

Here’s a breaking news Twitter Moment from Bloomberg about the World Economic Forum in Davos:

4) Behind-the-scenes

One of the great things about social media is it gives customers a window into brands they love that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Brands can use Moments to create behind-the-scenes looks at products, employees, and events on Twitter.

Here’s Allure’s Moment featuring a behind-the-scenes look at ringing the New York Stock Exchange opening bell:

5) Content Promotion

A multi-channel strategy is key to successfully promoting content you publish on your blog and website, and social media channels are no exception. Try publishing insights and data from your latest blog post or research report in the form of a Twitter Moment.

Here’s an example from the team here at HubSpot. We published a Moment about our annual State of Inbound survey results:

Now that you’re a pro at creating Twitter Moments, try publishing one today to see how it impacts your Twitter engagement. Don’t let your clever tweets and hashtags go to waste — create a Moment and share content with your audience year-round.

How do you use Twitter Moments? Share with us in the comments below.

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4) Behind-the-Scenes

How Generations X, Y, and Z Consume Video Content [Infographic]

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YouTube has over one billion users worldwide, and they all watch different types of videos every day. What’s your favorite type of video to watch on the platform?

As it turns out, your video preferences may vary depending on your date of birth: Influenster surveyed nearly 8,500 YouTube users of all ages to learn about their viewing habits and interests.

Download our free guide to learn how to create and utilize video in your  marketing to increase engagement and conversion rates. 

Although younger generations spend more time on YouTube than their older counterparts, Generations X, Y, and Z all have specific preferences when it comes to how and where they want to consume video content on different topics. For example, while a significant portion of respondents said they liked watching product reviews, Generation X preferred how-to content, and Generation Z liked unboxing videos.

Check out the full infographic from Adweek below, and learn more about how to create compelling social media videos with help from our guide.

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10 of the Best Ads from March: Dinosaur Eggs, Shakespeare, and 80s Nostalgia

Feel like you missed the best agency projects, ad campaigns, and creative videos from this month? 

No worries — we’ve got you covered.

March brought us some delightfully unexpected ad concepts, including a floating house, a child replacement program for dog lovers, and an e-commerce version of Hamlet we didn’t even know we needed.  

We’re rounding up the best of March below.

10 of the Best Ads from March

1) Heinz

With AMC’s Mad Men celebrating the 10th anniversary of the premier this year, it seems like the perfect time to revive one of Don Draper’s memorable ad pitches: his rejected Pass the Heinz campaign.

Originally pitched in an episode of the hit drama by Draper’s fictional 1960s ad firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, the print campaign features tantalizing close-ups of french fries, burgers, and steak, all missing one important thing: Heinz. The folks at (real-life) ad agency David Miami ran the exact designs from the show for the 2017 campaign, with approval and input from Mad Men’s original creator, Matthew Weiner.  

Image credit: Heinz/David Miami

 

2) YouTube

To promote their new six second ad format, YouTube enlisted help from a number of top agencies and filmmakers, asking them to develop ultra-short summaries of classic works of literature. The resulting 19 video campaign proves you can cram quite a lot of plot into just six short seconds.

From this minimalist take on Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, to this delightful puppy-version of Romeo & Juliet, there isn’t a single video in the bunch that isn’t worth watching more than once. But since we had to pick just one to showcase, we chose Rethink’s clever, e-commerce-driven retelling of Hamlet. Watch it below.

 

3) Telia

This comically cynical ad campaign for Swedish wireless company Telia warns us that not everything on the internet is actually as good in real life. Take cats for example: On the internet, cats are always up to some form of hilarious mischief. In real life? Not so much. 

“Most of Telia’s competitors tell people to turn their devices off every now and then, to ‘carpe diem’ and all that crap,” Martin Ringqvist of Swedish agency Forsman and Bodenfors told Adweek. “We decided to go the other way — to embrace the wonderful life online and to wash away people’s bad conscience. Because life, at least sometimes, is way better on the mobile, isn’t it?”

 

4) CoorDown

The phrase “special needs” seems to float inevitably around every conversation about people with disabilities. This ad for CoorDown, Italy’s national organization for people with Down Syndome, wants to us to ask ourselves: Is it really fair to characterize the needs of people living with disabilities as “special?” Don’t they need what everybody else needs?

Produced by Publicis New York, the extended spot stars Glee’s Lauren Potter, who discusses some needs that would actually be fair to classify as “special”, such as eating an exclusive diet of dinosaur eggs, or necessitating regular massages from a cat masseuse. 

 

5) Leroy Merlin

In this cinematic ad for French home improvement retailer Leroy Merlin, agency BETC Shopper chose a poetic metaphor to reflect the sometimes turbulent process of renovating a home: a house floating on the sea.

The video follows a young couple as they go through the (sometimes literal) ups and downs of repairing their modest house — their triumphs and setbacks illustrated by the unpredictable waters they float on. It’s an ambitious campaign that took an expert team of divers, drones, and helicopters to execute. 

 

6) Dominos

In a resolute appeal to 1980s nostalgia, CP+B produced a nearly shot-for-shot remake of the famous running home scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Joe Keery, of the 80s-era Netflix drama Stranger Things, stands in as Ferris, racing home to greet the Dominos delivery guy. 

The ad gets major points for attention to detail, packing in every fence jump, trampoline bounce, and sidewalk sprint from the original. And although the original Ferris — Matthew Broderick — never makes an appearance (as he did in this similarly Bueller-inspired Honda campaign from 2012), we do get a cameo from Alan Ruck, who played Ferris’ reluctant pal Cameron.

 

7) Pedigree

What do you do when your beloved son or daughter leaves for college and the empty nest syndrome starts sinking in? Replace your kid with a dog, says this new Pedigree spot from Colenso BBDO.

The cheekily named “Child Replacement Program” campaign is running in New Zealand, where Colenso BBDO creative group head Simon Vicars says many members of the country’s aging population could benefit immensely from the company of a new four-legged friend. 

 

8) National Canadian Film Day

If you’re going to trust one person to give you an honest film review, shouldn’t it be someone who’s literally incapable of lying? 

Leo Burnett developed this quirky ad to promote National Canadian Film Day, and cast Grey’s Anatomy actress Sandra Oh as “the woman who can’t lie.” 

 

9) Aardman Animations

The studio behind Wallace & Gromit released this clever, animated take on client conference calls that will certainly get some knowing chuckles from agency folks. In “Visualise This,” the group debates the merits of various abstract strategies (“We need something big! Something epic!”) without ever getting into specifics or details. It’s not just funny, it’s an impressive demonstration of what Aardman is capable of. 

“I really wanted to create a piece that could showcase a variety of disciplines I’ve learnt along the way at Aardman, as well as my passions and influences in street culture,” said Aardman designer and director Danny Capozzi, in an interview with Adweek. “Around this same period, I had a series of perplexing conference calls, and that’s when the lightning bolt hit me, to merge the spitballing and often circular nature of a call with a scatter gunning of eye-candy visuals.”

 

10) State Street Global Advisors

On International Women’s Day, Wall Street awoke to a new resident: The Fearless Girl, a bronze statue of a defiant young girl facing down the famous “Charging Bull” statue.

Developed by McCann New York for its client State Street Global Advisors, the relatively small statue was intended to spark a big conversation around female leadership in business.

 “We are firm believers in the principles of stewardship,” State Street Global Advisors chief marketing officer Stephen said in an interview with Adweek. “And we want to reflect that in everything we do — especially as it pertains to our commitment in ESG [environmental, social and governance] investing. The placement of ‘The Fearless Girl’ in the epicenter of the world’s financial capital helps not only promote our commitment to women in leadership today and tomorrow, but it also establishes an interesting emotional and rational aspect to responsible investing.”

What were your favorite agency projects from March? Let us know in the comments.

marketing-campaigns

 

Structuring URLs for Easy Data Gathering and Maximum Efficiency

Posted by Dom-Woodman

Imagine you work for an e-commerce company.

Wouldn’t it be useful to know the total organic sessions and conversions to all of your products? Every week?

If you have access to some analytics for an e-commerce company, try and generate that report now. Give it 5 minutes.

Done?

Or did that quick question turn out to be deceptively complicated? Did you fall into a rabbit hole of scraping and estimations?

Not being able to easily answer that question — and others like it — is costing you thousands every year.

Let’s jump back a step

Every online business, whether it’s a property portal or an e-commerce store, will likely have spent hours and hours agonizing over decisions about how their website should look, feel, and be constructed.

The biggest decision is usually this: What will we build our website with? And from there, there are hundreds of decisions, all the way down to what categories should we have on our blog?

Each of these decisions will generate future costs and opportunities, shaping how the business operates.

Somewhere in this process, a URL structure will be decided on. Hopefully it will be logical, but the context in which it’s created is different from how it ends up being used.

As a business grows, the desire for more information and better analytics grows. We hire data analysts and pay agencies thousands of dollars to go out, gather this data, and wrangle it into a useful format so that smart business decisions can be made.

It’s too late. You’ve already wasted £1000s a year.

It’s already too late; by this point, you’ve already created hours and hours of extra work for the people who have to analyze your data and thousands will be wasted.

All because no one structured the URLs with data gathering in mind.

How about an example?

Let’s go back to the problem we talked about at the start, but go through the whole story. An e-commerce company goes to an agency and asks them to get total organic sessions to all of their product pages. They want to measure performance over time.

Now this company was very diligent when they made their site. They’d read Moz and hired an SEO agency when they designed their website and so they’d read this piece of advice: products need to sit at the root. (E.g. mysite.com/white-t-shirt.)

Apparently a lot of websites read this piece of advice, because with minimal searching you can find plenty of sites whose product pages that rank do sit at the root: Appleyard Flowers, Game, Tesco Direct.

At one level it makes sense: a product might be in multiple categories (LCD & 42” TVs, for example), so you want to avoid duplicate content. Plus, if you changed the categories, you wouldn’t want to have to redirect all the products.

But from a data gathering point of view, this is awful. Why? There is now no way in Google Analytics to select all the products unless we had the foresight to set up something earlier, like a custom dimension or content grouping. There is nothing that separates the product URLs from any other URL we might have at the root.

How could our hypothetical data analyst get the data at this point?

They might have to crawl all the pages on the site so they can pick them out with an HTML footprint (a particular piece of HTML on a page that identifies the template), or get an internal list from whoever owns the data in the organization. Once they’ve got all the product URLs, they’ll then have to match this data to the Google Analytics in Excel, probably with a VLOOKUP or, if the data set is too large, a database.

Shoot. This is starting to sound quite expensive.

And of course, if you want to do this analysis regularly, that list will constantly change. The range of products being sold will change. So it will need to be a scheduled scrape or automated report. If we go the scraping route, we could do this, but crawling regularly isn’t possible with Screaming Frog. Now we’re either spending regular time on Screaming Frog or paying for a cloud crawler that you can schedule. If we go the other route, we could have a dev build us an internal automated report we can go to once we can get the resource internally.

Wow, now this is really expensive: a couple days’ worth of dev time, or a recurring job for your SEO consultant or data analyst each week.

This could’ve been a couple of clicks on a default report.

If we have the foresight to put all the products in a folder called /products/, this entire lengthy process becomes one step:

Load the landing pages report in Google Analytics and filter for URLs beginning with /product/.

Congratulations — you’ve just cut a couple days off your agency fee, saved valuable dev time, or gained the ability to fire your second data analyst because your first is now so damn efficient (sorry, second analysts).

As a data analyst or SEO consultant, you continually bump into these kinds of issues, which suck up time and turn quick tasks into endless chores.

What is unique about a URL?

For most analytics services, it’s the main piece of information you can use to identify the page. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, log files, all of these only have access to the URL most of the time and in some cases that’s all you’ll get — you can never change this.

The vast majority of site analyses requires working with templates and generalizing across groups of similar pages. You need to work with templates and you need to be able to do this by URL.

It’s crucial.

There’s a Jeff Bezos saying that’s appropriate here:

“There are two types of decisions. Type 1 decisions are not reversible, and you have to be very careful making them. Type 2 decisions are like walking through a door — if you don’t like the decision, you can always go back.”

Setting URLs is very much a Type 1 decision. As anyone in SEO knows, you really don’t want to be constantly changing URLs; it causes a lot of problems, so when they’re being set up we need to take our time.

How should you set up your URLs?

How do you pick good URL patterns?

First, let’s define a good pattern. A good pattern is something which we can use to easily select a template of URLs, ideally using contains rather than any complicated regex.

This usually means we’re talking about adding folders because they’re easiest to find with just a contains filter, i.e. /products/, /blogs/, etc.

We also want to keep things human-readable when possible, so we need to bear that in mind when choosing our folders.

So where should we add folders to our URLs?

I always ask the following two questions:

  • Will I need to group the pages in this template together?
    • If a set of pages needs grouping I need to put them in the same folder, so we can identify this by URL.
  • Are there crucial sub-groupings for this set of pages? If there are, are they mutually exclusive and how often might they change?
    • If there are common groupings I may want to make, then I should consider putting this in the URL, unless those data groupings are liable to change.

Let’s look at a couple examples.

Firstly, back to our product example: let’s suppose we’re setting up product URLs for a fashion e-commerce store.

Will I need to group the products together? Yes, almost certainly. There clearly needs to be a way of grouping in the URL. We should put them in a /product/ folder.

Within in this template, how might I need to group these URLs together? The most plausible grouping for products is the product category. Let’s take a black midi dress.

What about putting “little black dress” or “midi” as a category? Well, are they mutually exclusive? Our dress could fit in the “little black dress” category and the “midi dress” category, so that’s probably not something we should add as a folder in the URL.

What about moving up a level and using “dress” as a category? Now that is far more suitable, if we could reasonably split all our products into:

  • Dresses
  • Tops
  • Skirts
  • Trousers
  • Jeans

And if we were happy with having jeans and trousers separate then this might indeed be an excellent fit that would allow us to easily measure the performance of each top-level category. These also seem relatively unlikely to change and, as long as we’re happy having this type of hierarchy at the top (as opposed to, say, “season,” for example), it makes a lot of sense.

What are some common URL patterns people should use?

Product pages

We’ve banged on about this enough and gone through the example above. Stick your products in a /products/ folder.

Articles

Applying the same rules we talked about to articles and two things jump out. The first is top-level categorization.

For example, adding in the following folders would allow you to easily measure the top-level performance of articles:

  • Travel
  • Sports
  • News

You should, of course, be keeping them all in a /blog/ or /guides/ etc. folder too, because you won’t want to group just by category.

Here’s an example of all 3:

  • A bad blog article URL: example.com/this-is-an-article-name/
  • A better blog article URL: example.com/blog/this-is-an-article-name/
  • An even better blog article URL: example.com/blog/sports/this-is-an-article-name

The second, which obeys all our rules, is author groupings, which may be well-suited for editorial sites with a large number of authors that they want performance stats on.

Location grouping

Many types of websites often have category pages per location. For example:

  • Cars for sale in Manchester – /for-sale/vehicles/manchester
  • Cars for sale in Birmingham. – /for-sale/vehicles/birmingham

However, there are many different levels of location granularity. For example, here are 4 different URLs, each a more specific location in the one above it (sorry to all our non-UK readers — just run with me here).

  • Cars for sale in Suffolk – /for-sale/vehicles/suffolk
  • Cars for sale in Ipswich – /for-sale/vehicles/ipswich
  • Cars for sale in Ipswich center – /for-sale/vehicles/ipswich-center
  • Cars for sale on Lancaster road – /for-sale/vehicles/lancaster-road

Obviously every site will have different levels of location granularity, but a grouping often missing here is providing the level of location granularity in the URL. For example:

  • Cars for sale in Suffolk – /for-sale/cars/county/suffolk
  • Cars for sale in Ipswich – /for-sale/vehicles/town/ipswich
  • Cars for sale in Ipswich center – /for-sale/vehicles/area/ipswich-center
  • Cars for sale on Lancaster road – /for-sale/vehicles/street/lancaster-road

This could even just be numbers (although this is less ideal because it breaks our second rule):

  • Cars for sale in Suffolk – /for-sale/vehicles/04/suffolk
  • Cars for sale in Ipswich – /for-sale/vehicles/03/ipswich
  • Cars for sale in Ipswich center – /for-sale/vehicles/02/ipswich-center
  • Cars for sale on Lancaster road – /for-sale/vehicles/01/lancaster-road

This makes it very easy to assess and measure the performance of each layer so you can understand if it’s necessary, or if perhaps you’ve aggregated too much.

What other good (or bad) examples of this has the community come across? Let’s here it!

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The Ultimate Social Media Holiday Calendar for 2017 [Resource]

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Whether it’s International Cat Day, Pizza Day, or Talk Like a Pirate Day, it seems like almost every day, the internet is celebrating a holiday.

Whenever I log onto Twitter, I quickly scan what’s trending on the left-hand side of the screen. Have you ever had this experience — when you see an obscure holiday or observance day trending, and you think to yourself “Yup, I’m celebrating that”?

New Call-to-action

Some of these holidays might be simply too silly for your brand to engage with (and we certainly don’t suggest sharing content on social media and then tacking on a completely irrelevant hashtag for the sake of traffic — that’s just plain annoying). But others might not be. You could be missing valuable opportunities to take advantage of trending topics with fun and relevant “holiday” content on social media.

From food to politics to animals and everything in between, there is a plethora of observance days worldwide during which marketers can share content relevant to their industries, get involved in a movement, or simply generate more awareness.

To help you plan for trending holidays, we created a list that you can bookmark, as well as a downloadable calendar so you can get automatic reminders. The list isn’t exhaustive (there are a lot of food-specific holidays out there) and these dates and hashtags may still be subject to change. But this is a great starting point for social media marketers who want to learn more about what’s trending and how they can plan their content in a way that will be fun and engaging on Twitter and other social platforms.

Downloadable Holiday Calendar

National & Global Holiday Calendar: 2017-2018

March 2017

April 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

February 2018

March 2017

1: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day #PeanutButterLoversDay

2: National Read Across America Day #ReadAcrossAmerica & #DrSeuss

3: National Day of Unplugging #NationalDayOfUnplugging

4: National Grammar Day #NationalGrammarDay

6: National Dentist’s Day #DentistsDay

7: National Be Heard Day #NationalBeHeardDay

National Cereal Day #NationalCerealDay

National Pancake Day #NationalPancakeDay

8: International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange

National Proofreading Day #NationalProofreadingDay

9: Popcorn Lover’s Day #PopcornLoversDay

10: National Pack Your Lunch Day #NationalPackYourLunchDay

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day #NWGHAAD

11: National Worship of Tools Day #WorshipOfToolsDay

12: National Girl Scout Day #GirlScoutDay

Daylight Savings #DaylightSavings

13: National Napping Day #NationalNappingDay

14: Potato Chip Day #NationalPotatoChipDay

Pi Day #PiDay

15: World Consumer Rights Day #WCRD2017

16: National Freedom of Information Day #FreedomOfInformationDay

17: St. Patrick’s Day #StPatricksDay

World Sleep Day #WorldSleepDay

18: Awkward Moments Day #NationalAwkwardMomentsDay

19: National Let’s Laugh Day #NationalLetsLaughDay

20: International Day of Happiness #InternationalDayofHappiness

World Storytelling Day #WorldStorytellingDay

First Day of Spring #FirstDayofSpring

21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination #RacialDiscriminationDay

World Poetry Day #WorldPoetryDay

22: World Water Day #WorldWaterDay

23: National Puppy Day #NationalPuppyDay

24: Red Nose Day #RedNoseDay

25: Earth Hour Day #EarthHour

Tolkien Reading Day #TolkienReadingDay

26: National Spinach Day #NationalSpinachDay

Purple Day #PurpleDay

28: American Diabetes Association Alert Day #AmericanDiabetesAssociationAlertDay

30: Doctor’s Day #NationalDoctorsDay

National Take a Walk in the Park Day #NationalWalkInTheParkDay

31: World Backup Day #WorldBackupDay

Transgender Day of Visibility #TDOV

April 2017

1: April Fools Day #AprilFools

2: World Autism Awareness Day #WAAD

3: Find a Rainbow Day #FindARainbowDay

4: Hug a Newsperson Day #HugANewsperson

5: National Walking Day #NationalWalkingDay

7: World Health Day #LetsTalk

10: National Siblings Day #NationalSiblingsDay

Encourage a Young Writer Day #EncourageAYoungWriterDay

11: National Pet Day #NationalPetDay

12: International Day of Human Space Flight #InternationalDayOfHumanSpaceFlight

14: Equal Pay Day #EqualPayDay

16: National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day #PJDay

17: Haiku Poetry Day #HaikuPoetryDay

18: National Columnist Day #NationalColumnistDay

National Tax Day #TaxDay

20: National Look-Alike Day #NationalLookAlikeDay

Get to Know Your Customers Day #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay

National High-Five Day #NH5D

22: Earth Day #EarthDay2017

23: National Picnic Day #NationalPicnicDay

World Book Day #WorldBookDay

25: National Telephone Day #NationalTelephoneDay

World Malaria Day #EndMalariaForGood

26: National Administrative Professionals Day #AdministrativeProfessionalsDay

27: National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day #COUNTONME

Denim Day #DenimDay

28: Arbor Day #ArborDay

29: International Dance Day #InternationalDanceDay

30: National Honesty Day #NationalHonestyDay

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day #AdoptAShelterPetDay

International Jazz Day #JazzDay

May 2017

1: May Day #MayDay

International Workers Day #IntWorkersDay

2: Thank a Teacher Day #ThankATeacher

World Asthma Day #WorldAsthmaDay

3: World Press Freedom Day #WPFD2017 #PressFreedom

4: World Password Day #WorldPasswordDay

Star Wars Day #StarWarsDay

International Firefighters Day #InternationalFirefightersDay

5: Cinco de Mayo #CincoDeMayo

Space Day #SpaceDay

6: National Nurses Day #NursesDay

7: National Lemonade Day #NationalLemonadeDay

9: Europe Day #EuropeDay

10: National Receptionist Day #NationalReceptionistDay

12: National Limerick Day #NationalLimerickDay

14: Mother’s Day #MothersDay

15: International Day of Families #FamilyDay

16: Love a Tree Day #LoveATreeDay

17: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia #IDAHOT2017

19: National Bike to Work Day #BTWD

Endangered Species Day #EndangeredSpeciesDay

21: National Memo Day #NationalMemoDay

24: National Scavenger Hunt Day #NationalScavengerHuntDay

26: Heat Awareness Day #NoFryDay

27: National Hugging Day #NationalHuggingDay

28: Hamburger Day #NationalHamburgerDay

29: Memorial Day #MemorialDay #MDW

Paperclip Day #PaperclipDay

31: World No-Tobacco Day #NoTobacco

June 2017

1: Global Day of Parents #GlobalDayOfParents

International Children’s Day #ChildrensDay

2: Leave The Office Early Day #LeaveTheOfficeEarlyDay

National Donut Day #NationalDonutDay

4: Civic Day of Hacking #HackForChange

National Cancer Survivor’s Day #NCSD2017

5: World Environment Day #WorldEnvironmentDay

6: Higher Education Day #HigherEducationDay

8: World Oceans Day #WorldOceansDay

Best Friends Day #BestFriendsDay

14: World Blood Donor Day #GiveBlood

National Flag Day #FlagDay

18: Father’s Day #FathersDay

20: World Refugee Day #WithRefugees

21: National Selfie Day #NationalSelfieDay

World Music Day #WorldMusicDay

International Yoga Day #InternationalYogaDay

First Day of Summer

23: Take Your Dog to Work Day #TakeYourDogToWorkDay

27: National Sunglasses Day #NationalSunglassesDay

29: National Handshake Day #HandshakeDay

30: Social Media Day #SMDay

July 2017

1: National Postal Worker Day #NationalPostalWorkerDay

2: World UFO Day #WorldUFODay

4: Independence Day

7: World Chocolate Day #WorldChocolateDay

11: Cheer Up the Lonely Day #CheerUpTheLonelyDay

12: Malala Day #MalalaDay

15: Give Something Away Day #GiveSomethingAwayDay

17: World Emoji Day #WorldEmojiDay

18: Nelson Mandela International Day #MandelaDay

20: Get to Know Your Customers Day #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay

Moon Day #MoonDay

28: Talk in an Elevator Day #TalkInAnElevatorDay

30: International Day of Friendship #DayOfFriendship

August 2017

1: Respect for Parents Day #RespectForParentsDay

2: National Coloring Book Day #NationalColoringBookDay

8: International Cat Day #InternationalCatDay

9: National Book Lovers Day #NationalBookLoversDay

10: National Lazy Day #LazyDay

11: National Sons and Daughters Day #SonsAndDaughtersDay

12: International Youth Day #YouthDay

World Elephant Day #WorldElephantDay

13: International Lefthanders Day #LefthandersDay

15: National Relaxation Day #NationalRelaxationDay

16: National Tell a Joke Day #NationalTellAJokeDay

19: World Photo Day #WorldPhotoDay

World Humanitarian Day #WorldHumanitarianDay

20: National Radio Day #NationalRadioDay

23: National Hug Your Boss Day #HugYourBossDay

26: National Dog Day #NationalDogDay

National Women’s Equality Day #WomensEqualityDay

September 2017

4: Labor Day #LaborDay

National Wildlife Day #NationalWildlifeDay

5: International Day of Charity #CharityDay

6: Read a Book Day #ReadABookDay

8: Stand Up To Cancer Day #KissCancerGoodbye

International Literacy Day #LiteracyDay

10: National Grandparents Day #NationalGrandparentsDay

11: National Day of Service #911Day

12: National Day of Encouragement #DayOfEncouragement

National Video Games Day #NationalVideoGamesDay

19: Talk Like a Pirate Day #TalkLikeAPirateDay

21: International Day of Peace #PeaceDay

Miniature Golf Day #MiniGolfDay

22: Car-Free Day #CarFreeDay

Hobbit Day #HobbitDay

First Day of Fall

25: Family Day #FamilyDay

26: European Day of Languages #EDL2017

27: World Tourism Day #WTD2017

National Women’s Health and Fitness Day #FitnessDay

28: World Rabies Day #WorldRabiesDay

National Good Neighbor Day #GoodNeighborDay

30: International Podcast Day #InternationalPodcastDay

October 2017

1: International Day of Older Persons #UNDOP

International Coffee Day #InternationalCoffeeDay

World Vegetarian Day #WorldVegetarianDay

2: International Day of Nonviolence #InternationalDayOfNonviolence

World Habitat Day #WorldHabitatDay

3: National Techies Day #TechiesDay

4: World Animal Day #WorldAnimalDay

National Taco Day #NationalTacoDay

5: World Teachers Day #WorldTeachersDay

6: World Smile Day #WorldSmileDay

10: World Mental Health Day #WorldMentalHeathDay

11: International Day of the Girl #DayOfTheGirl

12: World Sight Day #WorldSightDay

13: National Train Your Brain Day #TrainYourBrainDay

14: National Dessert Day #DessertDay

15: Global Handwashing Day #GlobalHandwashingDay

16: World Food Day #FoodDay

Bosses Day #BossesDay

Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day #CleanYourVirtualDesktopDay

17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty #EndPoverty

19: Get to Know Your Customers Day #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay

20: World Statistics Day #StatisticsDay

21: Reptile Awareness Day #ReptileAwarenessDay

24: United Nations Day #UNDay

25: Greasy Foods Day #GreasyFoodsDay

29: Internet Day #InternetDay

30: National Publicist Day #NationalPublicistDay

Checklist Day #ChecklistDay

31: Halloween #Halloween

November 2017

1: World Vegan Day #WorldVeganDay

National Authors Day #NationalAuthorsDay

National Cook For Your Pets Day #CookForYourPetsDay

3: National Sandwich Day #NationalSandwichDay

4: Stress Awareness Day #StressAwarenessDay

National Candy Day #NationalCandyDay

5: Daylight Saving Time Ends #DaylightSavings

8: National Cappuccino Day #CappuccinoDay

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) Day #STEMDay

11: Veterans Day #VeteransDay

13: World Kindness Day #WKD

14: World Diabetes Day #WDD

15: Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day #CleanOutYourRefrigeratorDay

America Recycles Day #BeRecycled

16: International Day for Tolerance #ToleranceDay

17: International Students Day #InternationalStudentsDay

19: International Men’s Day #InternationalMensDay

20: Universal Children’s Day #UNChildrensDay

21: World Hello Day #WorldHelloDay

National Entrepreneurs Day #EntrepreneursDay

23: Thanksgiving Day #Thanksgiving

24: National Day of Listening #DayOfListening

25: Small Business Saturday #ShopSmall

26: National Cake Day #NationalCakeDay

27: Cyber Monday #CyberMonday

28: National Day of Giving #GivingTuesday

29: Electronic Greeting Card Day #ElectronicGreetingCardDay

30: Computer Security Day #ComputerSecurityDay

December 2017

1: World AIDS Day #WAD2017

National Pie Day #PieDay

3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities #IDPWD

4: National Cookie Day #NationalCookieDay

5: World Soil Day #WorldSoilDay

6: Microwave Oven Day #MicrowaveOvenDay

8: Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day #PretendToBeATimeTravelerDay

10: Human Rights Day #HumanRightsDay

Nobel Prize Day #NobelPrize

11: International Mountain Day #InternationalMountainDay

21: Crossword Puzzle Day #CrosswordPuzzleDay

First Day of Winter

29: No Interruptions Day – Last Work Day of the Year #NoInterruptionsDay

31: New Year’s Eve #NYE

January 2018

2: Science Fiction Day #ScienceFictionDay

4: National Trivia Day #NationalTriviaDay

5: National Bird Day #NationalBirdDay

8: Clean Off Your Desk Day #CleanOffYourDeskDay

11: Human Trafficking Awareness Day #HumanTraffickingDay

13: National Sticker Day #NationalStickerDay

15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day #MLKDay

National Hat Day #NationalHatDay

18: Get to Know Your Customers Day #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay

20: Cheese Lovers Day #CheeseLoversDay

World Day of Social Justice #SocialJusticeDay

24: National Compliment Day #NationalComplimentDay

25: Community Manager Appreciation Day #CMAD

Opposite Day #OppositeDay

28: Data Privacy Day #PrivacyAware

February 2018

2: Groundhog Day #GroundhogDay

World Wetlands Day #WorldWetlandsDay

4: World Cancer Day #WorldCancerDay

Super Bowl Sunday #SB52

5: National Weatherperson’s Day #NationalWeatherpersonsDay

7: National Send a Card to a Friend Day #SendACardToAFriendDay

8: National Boy Scouts Day #BoyScoutsDay

9: National Pizza Day #NationalPizzaDay

11: Inventors Day #InventorsDay

13: Mardi Gras #MardiGras

World Radio Day #WorldRadioDay

14: Valentine’s Day #ValentinesDay

16: Chinese New Year #YearOfTheDog

17: Random Acts of Kindness Day #RandomActsOfKindnessDay

18: National Battery Day #NationalBatteryDay

19: Presidents Day #PresidentsDay

20: Love Your Pet Day #LoveYourPetDay

21: International Mother Language Day #IMLD

Sources: National Day Calendar, Sprout Social, TrackMaven, Holiday Insights, Brownielocks, National Peace Corps Association, Sparkflow

Which national holidays does your organization acknowledge on social media? Share with us in the comments below.

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January 2018

What Can Your Business Learn From Restaurant Marketing? [Infographic]

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In February 2016, the U.S. magazine Bon Appétit released its inaugural culture-themed issue, in which it explored — among other topics — just how we became so obsessed with food.

Some believe it began with food permeating popular culture — for example, with televised cooking and restaurant exploration shows. Whatever it is, this obsession has left marketers from several other industries wondering, “Can I do that?”

Actually, you can. There’s a lot of advice out there about restaurant marketing — how chefs and owners of these establishments can not only brand themselves to reach celebrity status, but also how they can, you know, grow these businesses in the first place. The following infographic from our friends at Oddle is just one example.  Join 50,000+ other marketers and enroll in our free digital marketing course  here.

But as it turns out, many principles of restaurant marketing can be applied to other industries — including those within the B2B sector. After all, we want to accomplish the same things, like establishing a strong digital presence, creating a great experience (online and off) for customers, and gaining word-of-mouth traction. So which restaurant marketing best practices can be applied to your business? Read on to find out.



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