Fantastic Copywriting Examples: 13 Companies With Truly Creative Copywriters

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You all know the Old Spice guy, right?

 

The years-old “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign was memorable for many reasons, but one of them was that it gave Old Spice a voice — voice that came through in every video, commercial, tagline, Facebook update, tweet … you name it.

 

And do you know who is behind all of that marketing collateral?

 

Copywriters. The ability to find the exact right words to tell your company’s story isn’t an easy feat, and it’s even harder to do so consistently. Download our free guide to copywriting here to learn how to be a better copywriter yourself.

 

So when we come across companies that are doing it successfully, we think their copywriters deserve a pat on the back (and a raise?). Take a look at some of the companies we think have stellar copywriting, and if you’re looking, maybe get some inspiration for your own brand, too.

 

13 Brands That Are Skilled at Writing Copy 

 

1) UrbanDaddy

 

UrbanDaddy has mastered the art of getting me to open emails. And when I click into them, they don’t disappoint. 

 
 

This is the copy from an email they sent me with the subject line, “Fun.”:

 

urbandaddyemail

 

There are a couple things in this email that caught my eye.

 

First of all, there’s no long preamble. The writers get straight to the point — a wise choice for something as simple as a rubber band gun lest the reader feel cheated reading sentence after sentence for something so common.

 

Secondly, take a look at the purposeful sentence structure. This copywriter eschews conventional grammar rules by combining run-on sentences and traditional product promotion copy in sentences like:

 
 

Lock and load with Elastic Precision, a Kansas City-based workshop that manufactures high-powered weaponry except not at all because they actually just shoot rubber bands, now available online.”

 
 

Keep reading, and you see a conversational tone that mildly mocks the silliness of the product, but also loops the reader in on something kinda fun.

 

And then, of course, they close with badgers. And how can you go wrong with badgers?

 

Best of all, UrbanDaddy’s unique tone is found in every single piece of copy they publish — from emails, to homepage copy, even to their editorial policy:

 

urbandaddyeditorialpolicy

 

This company clearly knows its audience, which jokes to crack, and has kept it consistent across all their assets.

 

2) Moosejaw

 

Not many brands are brave enough to touch the actual products they’re selling with unconventional copy … but Moosejaw isn’t afraid to have a little fun. 

 

The outdoor apparel outlet store uses humor as a way to sell their products without being overly forward about it. By appealing to people’s emotions, they’re more engaging and memorable.

 

Here are a few examples:

 

moosejaw-hedgehog-fastpack.png

 

moosejaw-out-dry-backpack.png

 

Same goes for the call-to-action buttons that show up when you hover your mouse over a product photo — like this one, which reads, “Look This Cool.”

 

moosejaw-look-this-cool.png

 

Does their brand voice carry over to the product descriptions, you ask? See for yourself:

 

moosejaw-maverick-mandy.png

 

moosejaw-tent.png

 

If you think the brilliant copy stops at their homepage, think again. They extend it to their return policy, too. Here, they do a great job of not sacrificing clarity for humor. Their copywriters successfully made people laugh while still being helpful.

 

moosejaw-return-policy.png

 

3) First Round Capital

 

While a sign of great copywriting is making people smile, another is making people feel understood. The copywriters at First Round do a phenomenal job at letting the value of their offerings for their customers sell themselves.

 

For example, they hold over 80 events every year connecting their community together. Instead of just explaining that they have events and then listing them out, they begin that section of their website with a simple statement that hits close to home with many entrepreneurs: “Starting a company is lonely.”

 

first-round-events.png

 

Using words like “imperfect,” “safety net,” and “vulnerable” encourages readers to let their guards down and feel understood by the brand and their community.

 

Plus, you’ve gotta love that last line about stick-on name tags. Those things get stuck in my hair.

 

4) Trello

 

Do you know what Trello is? If the answer is no, then behold the copywriting on their website. Their product description — like most of the copy on their site — is crystal clear:

 

trellohomepage

 

And then check out how clear this explainer content is:

 

Trello Basics

 

Some of the use case clarity can be attributed to how smart the product is, but I think copywriters deserve some credit for communicating it clearly, too. They call it like it is, which ultimately makes it really easy to grasp.

 

And I couldn’t write about the copywriting talent at Trello without including the microcopy on their log in page:

 

trello-login-ender-1.png  trello-login-dana-1.png

 

Each time you refresh the login page, you see a different, equally clever example email belonging to a fictional character, like Ender from Ender’s Game and Dana Scully from The X-Files — a great example of nostalgia marketing. This is a small detail, but nonetheless a reminder that there are real humans behind the website and product’s design. Delightful microcopy like this kinda feels like I just shared a private joke with someone at the company.

 

5) Velocity Partners

 

No post from me about excellent copywriting would be complete without mentioning the folks at Velocity Partners. A B2B marketing agency out of the U.K., we’ve featured co-founder Doug Kessler’s SlideShares (like this one on why marketers need to rise above the deluge of “crappy” content) time and again on this blog because he’s the master of word economy.

 

What is “word economy”? It’s taking care that every word you use is the right word. It means getting your point across concisely and not dwelling on the details when you don’t have to. In a world of shortening attention spans, this is the ultimate goal when communicating your message.

 

And since we’re talking about word economy, I’ll shut up and let you check out one of Kessler’s SlideShares for yourself:

 
 
 
 
 

Whereas SlideShares are typically mostly visual, Kessler’s is heavily focused on copy: The design stays constant, and only the text changes. But the copy is engaging and compelling enough for him to pull that off. Why? Because he uses simple words so his readers understand what he’s trying to say without any effort. He writes like he speaks, and it reads like a story, making it easy to flip through in SlideShare form.

 

The copy on Velocity Partners’ homepage stood out to me, too. Check out, for example, how humble they are when introducing their case studies:

 

Our_Work_Velocity_Partners.png

 

I also like how casual and honest they kept their email subscription call-to-action. The header is especially eye-catching — and it plays off of the popular SlideShare about crappy content we mentioned earlier.

 

velocity-partners-opt-in-form.png

 

In fact, Velocity Partners’ Harendra Kapur recently wrote a blog post on what goes in to great B2B writing — starting with this disclaimer, of course.

 

velocity-partners-blog-post.png

 

6) Intrepid Travel

 

The copywriters at Intrepid Travel, a Melbourne-based adventure travel company, are on this list because they understand where the intersection of interesting and informational lies.

 

I love seeing copy that is totally and utterly functional — that delivers critical information, but is so pleasant to read that you actually keep reading. Quite a feat on the internet these days.

 

Take a look at their company description, package names, and package descriptions below for some examples of this fantastically functional copywriting in action:

 

intrepid-travel-homepage-copywriting.png

 

intrepid-travel-latest-blog-posts.png

 

Of course, they do benefit from quite a lovely subject matter, but still — hats off you to, Intrepid Travel.

 

7) Cultivated Wit

 

The copywriters over at the “comedy company” Cultivated Wit do a great job of embracing their own brand of quirk throughout their site. They already have one of the best “About” pages in the game, but their delightful copy is spread throughout their site — sometimes in the most unexpected of places.

 

For example, take a look at the copy around contact information at the very bottom of their homepage:

 

cultivated-wit-contact-us.png

 

This section of the homepage is an afterthought at best for most companies. But for these folks, it was an opportunity to have a little fun.

 

They also have two, unique email subscription calls-to-action on different pages of their website. They’re very different, but both equally funny and delightful. Here’s one from the homepage:

 

cultivated-wit-homepage-copy.png

 

And one from the “About” page:

 

cultivated-wit-newsletter-cta.png

 

8) Cards Against Humanity

 

You may or may not be familiar with Cards Against Humanity, the self-declared “party game for horrible people.” It’s a card game — one that’s simultaneously entertaining and inappropriate. The copywriting on the cards themselves are guaranteed to make you laugh.

 

The brand voice is very distinctive, and can seem a little abrasive, and even a little offensive. But that’s their whole shtick: They’re not trying to appeal to everyone, and that’s perfectly okay. What they do do a great job of doing is appealing to their target audience.

 

One look at their FAQ page and you’ll see what I mean:

 

cards-against-humanity-dumb-questions.png

 

Here’s a sneak peek into some of the answers to these questions. You’ll see they make fun of both themselves and the reader — which is exactly what the card game is about.

 

cards-against-humanity-uk-edition.png

 

cards-against-humanity-ship-foreign.png

 

cards-against-humanity-questions.png

 

9) R/GA

 

With the exception or UrbanDaddy, I’ve been focusing a lot on site copy so far, so I wanted to check out some examples of excellent social media copywriting.

 

I know you all like to see some more B2B examples in here, too, so I surfaced one of the best examples of the holy grail: Twitter copy, from a B2B company, that’s funny. Behold, some recent highlights from the R/GA Twitter account:

 
 
 
 
 
 

10) innocent

 

Check out U.K.-based drink makers innocent, and you’ll see a language, style, and tone that matches their philosophy, product, and even their branding and design. It’s all just clean, straightforward, and simple. And believe it or not, simple is a really, really hard thing to nail in copywriting.

 

This stands out best on their “Things We Make” page. (Isn’t that page name even beautifully simple?)

 

innocent-smoothies.png

 

innocent-kids.png

 

This same straightforward-but-charming copywriting philosophy extends to their site navigation:

 

innocentnav

 

Their meta description is pretty awesome, too:

 

innocent-meta-description.png

 

And my personal favorite:

 

bananaphone

 

11) GymIt

 

I’ve always loved the copy at GymIt. In fact, I check their site and social profiles all the time to see if they’ve freshened anything up. Luckily, they’re no one-trick pony. They continue to keep their site fresh with captivating copy.

 

Here are some of my favorites, all of which hit on the pain points of gym-goers that they try to solve — and actually do solve with their customer-friendly policies.

 

gymit1

 

I can vouch for that one. I know how much of a hassle it is to move far away from your gym — and how refreshing it must be to be able to walk in and just … quit.

 

All of this rolls up to their philosophy, espoused eloquently on their “About” page, that gyms should just be about working out:

 

gymit-description.png

 

Talk about having an understanding of their core audience. The copy both in its value proposition and across its marketing materials reflects a deep understanding of their customers.

 

And how did their copywriters choose to make sure everyone knew what this new gym franchise was about if they didn’t read that “About” page? This tagline:

 

gymittagline

 

Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

 

12) ModCloth

 

ModCloth is a brand that has always had an excellent grasp of their buyer persona, and it comes through in their pun-filled copywriting. All of their products are silly plays on words — check out this screen grab of some of their new arrivals, for example:

 

modcloth-new-arrivals.png

 

Dive into their product description copy, and it’s equally joyous, evocative, and clever — just like their customers. Often, it’ll also tell the story of what you’ll do while wearing their items:

 

modcloth-product-description.png

 

After reading their descriptions, one can imagine what their life would be like if they owned this product. That’s Copywriting 101, but so few brands can actually pull it off like the folks at ModCloth do.

 

13) Ann Handley

 

When it comes to building up your own personal brand, it can be easy to get a little too self-promotional. That’s where the copywriting on your site can make a big difference.

 

On Ann Handley’s personal website, she added bits of microcopy that shows that, despite her many accomplishments (like being a best-selling author and award-winning speaker), she still doesn’t take herself too seriously.

 

Check out her email subscription call-to-action, for example:

 

ann-handley-subscribe-cta.png

 

What other brands have great copywriters? Share with us in the comments.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

 

free guide: how to be a better copywriter

 
 
 

 

 

free guide: how to be a better copywriter

 
 

Best Practices for Practitioner Listings on Google My Business (GMB)

A common question we get in Local SEO is how businesses that have practitioner listings should approach Google My Business. There is a lot of confusion around how to deal with these and if they help or hurt the business’ ranking on Google. 

 

What is a Practitioner Listing?

 

A practitioner or professional listing is a listing on Google Maps that is for a person instead of a place. Businesses that have public-facing professionals that are known and searched by name would have these. Examples of industries that commonly have these would include doctors, dentists, lawyers, realtors, insurance agents, and financial planners.  Often people will search Google for the name of their doctor or lawyer instead of the name of the practice or firm.

 

 

Top Questions Practitioners (or Practices) Have Regarding Their Listings:

 

 

 

What Are the Rules Around Practitioner Listings?

 
 
    • Practitioner listings are not considered duplicates and Google will not remove them or merge them.
 
    • If a review was left on a practitioner listing, Google often will similarly refuse to migrate it over to the practice listing.
 
    • The only exception is if a business only has 1 practitioner (1 dentist, 1 doctor etc). In this case, Google will actually merge the 2 listings. They specify that for solo-practitioners you should only have 1 listing that is formatted [brand/company]: [practitioner name] 
 
 

Should I Merge my Listings if I’m a Solo Practitioner?

 

The answer here is it really depends. If your business is in a really large city, I would probably vote to do it since you will reap the benefit of all the reviews being on one listing (so instead of 1 listing with 5 reviews, another with 10, you now have one with 15). However, if you’re in a small town you will probably get more visibility and exposure if you keep the listings separated since it’s possible to get 2 listings to both rank in the 3-pack for non-competitive terms.  As far as I can tell, Google has no automatic system that looks for these listings and automatically merges them so unless someone reports them as duplicates they should remain separated. 

 

Last year in the fall, I believe Google changed the way they did merges internally. Since late 2015 we no longer see a massive ranking bump in listings that get merged for solo practitioners the way we used to before. I had a chiropractor I worked with earlier last year who had a massive spike in ranking when his listings were combined. This used to be common when Google merged listings but the way they are doing it recently doesn’t appear to pass ranking juice from the duplicate to the main listing. I have a theory that it’s because they started using 302 redirects to help prevent data issues. 

 

Keep in mind that it’s possible that some directories won’t allow you to merge the 2 listings so it might hurt citation consistency. Yelp, for example, has told me that they don’t automatically merge listings for a solo practitioner but if requested, they will consolidate the 2 listings (and merge the reviews) but they use a format that is the opposite of what Google uses. So while Google lists it as “ABC Law Firm: Bob Smith”, Yelp will list it as “Bob Smith – ABC Law Firm”.  I don’t think this is a huge issue considering Google’s ability to normalize data.

 

Should I Verify Listings for all my Practitioners?

 

My rule of thumb is that if Google doesn’t have a listing currently for a practitioner at your office, don’t bother creating one for him/her if your goal is to make the practice listing rank highest.  Usually more listings just creates more competition for yourself.  As well, verifying your practitioner’s listings could be problematic if they decide to leave your office and work elsewhere. According to Google, they would own the listing, not you. 

 

I usually would suggest verifying the listing you want to rank and having that listing point to the homepage. I would then leave the website off the additional listings (or point it to an inner page on the site like the doctor’s profile page). 

 

On the flip side, verifying the practitioner listings will allow you to monitor and respond to reviews. However, if you’re not actively trying to get reviews on them, hopefully you won’t get many. 

 

Another good strategy is working on having multiple listings rank if you have practitioners that specialize in different things.  Let’s say you have a chiropractor who also has a massage therapist at his office.  The massage therapist’s listing could link to a page on the site that ranks high for massage therapy and the chiropractor could rank to the page that ranks highest organically for chiropractic terms. This is a great way to make the pages accomplish more overall instead of competing.  Another example would be a law firm. You could have the main listing for the law firm optimized for things like “law firm” and then have 1 lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and another lawyer who specializes in criminal law.  This would allow you to take advantage of the organic ranking for several different keywords. 

 

 

Keep in mind that if your goal is to have 3 of your listings all rank for the exact same keyword on Google, thus monopolizing the entire 3-pack, this is an unrealistic strategy. Google has filters that keep the same website from appearing too many times in the results and unless you’re in a really niche industry or market, it’s almost impossible to accomplish this.

 

 

 

What Should I do if my Practitioner Listing Outranks the Practice Listing?

 

I would say it depends on which listing it is and what the ultimate goal is. If it’s the practitioner listing for the owner, who would clearly not be likely to leave the practice, I would go with what Google prefers and focus on the practitioner listing. If the listing is for an employee who could, at some point, leave the practice, you should consider what is more important: ranking faster or having more long-term security. I had a law firm hire me recently who had 2 lawyers. We worked on all 3 profiles: the 2 listings for the lawyers and the 1 listing for the firm.  Several months in, the one lawyer left the practice and started her own firm. The remaining lawyer was annoyed that her listing continued to rank well (and even outrank his in certain occasions) and the hard truth was that her profile was strong because we had worked on it.  So when she worked for them, it helped them, but when she left, the strength of the page left with her.  It’s always important to consider this.   For businesses in this boat, I would suggest editing the practitioner listing to try and minimize it (remove all but 1 category, link to an inner page on the site instead of the homepage).  Then I would work on trying to boost the ranking of the practice listing by asking for reviews and making sure that listing is the only one that links to the homepage of the website.  Although it’s often faster and easier to work with the existing practitioner listing that is currently ranking highest, it is possible (with time) to get Google to accept the practice listing as the strongest. The downside to this strategy is that it takes longer and requires more work.  Keep in mind, the age of the listing (how long it’s existed) is a huge ranking factor that I wouldn’t ignore. If the practitioner listing has been around much longer and has much more history, it will make this harder to do.  This is why we always generally don’t answer this question for businesses without doing a thorough audit.

 

 

 

One of my Practitioners no Longer Works Here, What Should I do With Their Listing?

 

One of the most annoying issues is when a practitioner leaves an office. Technically, the person owns their listing, not the practice/company and removing the listing entirely is not an option. Google often suggests that you mark the page as closed, but this is a terrible idea since any patients or customers would think the business is closed when searching for their practitioner by name. 

 

 

Instead, this is what you should do: 

 

1. If the listing is verified via GMB you need to first get it unverified (if possible). If you don’t have access to where it is verified, this is the worst-case scenario since Google might refuse to give you access since they see the individual as the true owner (not their employer).

 

2. Once the listing is unverified, you can have the listing marked as moved to the main practice listing (the practice listing must be verified). 

 

If the practitioner was verified by the former employee and you have no access to it, you have the option of either leaving it alone or reaching out to them to update it to list their new employment information. Neither of these options are ideal which is part of the reason why I don’t generally suggest verifying practitioner listings.

 

 

 

 

How Should I Build Citations for a Practitioner?

 

I would always focus heavily on niche citations for any industry that has practitioners. So if you’re a lawyer, make sure you’re listed in Avvo or if you’re a dentist make sure you’re listed correctly on HealthGrades. There are tons of social media sites and directories that allow more robust features for individuals as opposed to businesses and this is something you can easily take advantage of with practitioners.  For example, LinkenIn allows individuals to list several links on their profile page to different sites and even allows them to customize the anchor text. This isn’t something a listing for a business on LinkedIn is able to do. 

 
 

Do you have a question about practitioner listings that I didn’t address? Please let me know in the comments!

 

Title Tag Length Guidelines: 2016 Edition

Posted by Dr-Pete

For the past couple of weeks, Google has been testing a major change to the width of the left-hand column, expanding containers from 512 pixels to 600 (a 17% increase). Along with this change, Google has increased the available length of result titles:

 
 

 

This naturally begs the question – how many characters can we fit into a display title now? When Google redesigned SERPs in 2014, I recommended a limit of 55 characters. Does a 17% bigger container mean we’ve got 9 more characters to work with?

 
 

Not so fast, my friend…

 

This is where things get messy. It’d be great if we could just count the characters and be done with it, but things are never quite that easy. We’ve got three complications to consider:

 

(1) Character widths vary

 

Google uses the Arial font for result titles, and Arial is proportional. In other words, different characters occupy different amounts of space. A lower- case ‘l’ is going to occupy much less space than an upper-case ‘W’. The total width is measured in pixels, not characters, and the maximum amount you can fit in that space depends on what you’re trying to say.

 

In our 10,000-keyword tracking set, the title below is the longest cut or uncut display title we measured, clocking in at 77 characters:

 

 

This title has 14 i’s and lowercase l’s, 10 lowercase t’s, and 3 narrow punctuation marks, creating a character count bonanza. To count this title and say that yours can be 77 characters would be dangerously misleading.

 

(2) Titles break at whole words

 

Prior to this change, Google was breaking words at whatever point the cut-off happened. Now, they seem to be breaking titles at whole words. If the cut happens in the middle of a long word, the remaining length might be considerably shorter. For example, here’s a word that’s just not going to fit into your display title twice, and so the cut comes well short of the full width:

 

 

(3) Google is appending brands

 

In some cases, Google is cutting off titles and then appending the brand to the end. Unfortunately, this auto-appended brand text still occupies space and counts against your total allowance. This was the shortest truncated display title in our data set, measuring only 34 characters pre-cut:

 

 

The brand text “- The Homestead” was appended by Google and is not part of the sitestag. The next word in the title was “Accommodations”, so the combination of the brand add-on and long word made for a very truncated title.

<h2>Data from 10,000 searches

</h2><p>Examples can be misleading, so we wanted to take a deeper dive. We pulled all of the page-1 display titles from the 10,000-keyword MozCast tracking set, which ends up being just shy of 90,000 titles. Uncut titles don’t tell us much, since they can be very short in some cases. So, let’s focus on the titles that got cut. Here are the character lengths (not counting ” …”) of the cut titles:

<p><img src=”http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745bd07227b20.05940476.png&#8221; rel=”border: 0″ style=”border: 0″>

<p>We’ve got a fairly normal distribution (skewed a little to the left) with both a mean and median right around 63. So, is 63 our magic number? Not quite. Roughly half the cut titles in our data set had less than 63 characters, so that’s still a fairly risky length.

<p>The trick is to pick a number where we feel fairly confident that the title won’t be cut off, on average (a guaranteed safe zone for all titles would be far too restrictive). Here are a few select percentages of truncated titles that were above a certain character length:

<ul>

<li>55% of cut titles >= 63 (+2) characters</li>

<li><strong>91% of cut titles >= 57 (+2)</strong><strong> characters</strong></li>

<li>95% of cut titles >= 55 (+2) characters</li>

<li>99% of cut titles >= 48 (+2) characters</li>

</ul><p>In research, we might stick to a 95% or 99% confidence level (note: this isn’t technically a confidence interval, but the rationale is similar), but I think 90% confidence is a decent practical level. If we factor in the ” …”, that gives us about +2 characters. So, my recommendation is to keep your titles under 60 characters (57+2 = 59).

<p>Keep in mind, of course, that cut-offs aren’t always bad. A well placed “…” might actually increase click-through rates on some titles. A fortuitous cut-off could create suspense, if you trust your fortunes to Google:

<p><img src=”http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745cbabc43513.48295070.png&#8221; rel=”border: 0″ vspace=”10″ style=”border: 0″>

<p>Now that titles are cut at whole words, we also don’t have to worry about text getting cut off at confusing or unfortunate spots. Take, for example, the dangerous predicament of The International Association of Assemblages of Assassin Assets:

<p><img src=”http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745c38fa33539.24952715.png&#8221; rel=”border: 0″ vspace=”10″ style=”border: 0″>

<p>Prior to the redesign, their titles were a minefield. Yes, that contributed nothing to this post, but once I had started down that road, it was already too late.

<h2>So, that’s it then, right?

</h2><p>Well, no. As Google evolves and adapts to a wider range of devices, we can expect them to continue to adjust and test display titles. In fact, they’re currently test a new, card-style format for desktop SERPs where each result is boxed and looks like this:

<p><img src=”http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/5745c582c5e954.69810663.png&#8221; rel=”border: 0″ vspace=”10″ style=”border: 0″>

<p>We’re not even entirely sure that the current change is permanent. The narrower format is still appearing for some people under some conditions. If this design sticks, then I’m comfortable saying that keeping your title length under 60 characters will prevent the majority of cut-offs.

<p><em>Note: People have been asking when we’ll update our title tag tool. We’re waiting to make sure that this design change is permanent, but will try to provide an update ASAP. Updates and a link to that tool will appear in this post when we make a final decision.</em>

<p><a href=”https://moz.com/moztop10″>Sign up for The Moz Top 10</a>, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!</p>

10 Free Apps Worth Checking Out on the Google App Marketplace

Google-Apps-Markplace-Tools.jpg

 

In today’s world, everything needs to be faster, easier, and free to get our attention. I sometimes wonder how anyone got anything done in the days before the internet.

 

While on one hand it’s a little scary to realise how much we depend on digital apps to run a business, on the other hand, it also makes our lives a whole lot easier. 

 

Just take a scroll through Google’s Apps Marketplace. You’ll find everything from reporting tools, to accounting software, to business card creators. And as of this week, you can even find HubSpot CRM there. 

 

While we were busy admiring our new listing, we decided to round up a few of the most helpful free tools we also came across. Check them out below.

 

(Note: While some of the apps on this list do offer paid options with more advanced features, each of them has a free option available.)

 

The Top 10 Free Apps on the Google App Marketplace

 

1) Kami

 
 
    • What is it? A cloud-based all-in-one document viewer and markup tool.
 
    • What does it do? Kami allows you to view, annotate, share, and collaborate on your files on Chrome.
 
    • How can you use it? This tool is particularly useful for folks that frequently collaborate with team members or partners on content or the creation of formal documents such as co-marketing agreements, as it makes it easy to communicate edits.
 
 

Screen_Shot_2016-05-23_at_11.33.33.png

 

[Find it on the Google App Marketplace] 

 

 

2) Mindomo

 
 
    • What is it? A mind mapping and concept building tool.
 
    • What does it do? Mindomo allows you to visually outline complex concepts, tasks, ideas, and other related information in a structured form.
 
    • How can I use it? When it comes to planning out a marketing campaign, you need to think about content assets, promotional channels, budget allocation, and coordination of a hundred different things to get it to launch. This tool can help to organise your ideas and ensure a smooth transition from concept to campaign.
 
 

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[Find it on the Google App Marketplace]

 

3) Weekdone Weekly Reporting

 
 
    • What is it? A simple and fast reporting tool for teams.
 
    • What does it do? It quickly generates team reports for managers to review.
 
    • How can I use it? Sometimes it can be hard for managers to spend time with every employee to discuss how things are going. With this free tool you simply fill in your progress, plans, and problems in minutes and it will send an automatic email report to your manager.
 
 

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[Find it on the Google App Marketplace]

 

4) SurveyLegend

 
 
    • What is it? A free survey tool.
 
    • What does it do? SurveyLegend allows you to create mobile-ready online surveys and forms on your tablet or PC.
 
    • How can I use it? Whether you want to ask for customer feedback, perform buyer persona research, or collect data for a cool piece of content you’re working on, surveys are a part of a marketer’s life. This app allows you to create engaging surveys without installing software and offers real-time results.
 
 

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[Find it on the Google App Marketplace]

 

5) LucidPress

 
 
    • What is it? A free design tool.
 
    • What does it do? The tool allows you to easily create brochures, newsletters, magazines, reports, and more without any design programs or skills.
 
    • How can I use it? Now you can create stunning visual content for print, mobile, or web without relying on your designer or freelancer. 
 
 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

 

 

6) Save Emails (Google Sheets Add-on)

 
 
    • What is it? A tool that stores email content.
 
    • What does it do? This free tool downloads email messages and file attachments from Gmail and automatically saves them to Google Drive as searchable pdf files.
 
    • How can I use it? You can use the add-on to easily backup important emails, video files, large images, Microsoft Office documents, travel receipts, and other emails from Gmail to your Google Drive.
 
 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace] 

 

7) Zipbooks

 
 
    • What is it? A free accounting software.
 
    • What does it do? It looks after things like time tracking, online invoicing, project management, and auto-billing so you can stay more organised.
 
    • How can I use it? With this tool, you can become more efficient in your project management with clients, freelancers, or agencies. It should also help you with budget allocation and keeping tabs on important information to send to your finance department. 
 
 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

 

8) HubSpot CRM  

 
 
    • What is it? A free customer relationship management system.
 
    • What does it do? HubSpot CRM keeps track of all of your contacts (prospects, customers, and past customers) and their interactions with your company across the buyer’s journey.
 
    • How can I use it? This free CRM makes it really easy to add, nurture, and track customers along the buyer’s journey. It provides a deals dashboard, call recording, and email templates. It also integrates with the HubSpot Marketing Platform for valuable sales and marketing alignment.
 
 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

 

9) GQueues

 
 
    • What is it? A task management tool.
 
    • What does it do? GQueues is a collaborative online task manager for Google and Google Apps users.
 
    • How can I use it? With just a couple of clicks, your emails, web pages, and anything else of interest are added to your task list. Your tasks then appear in your Google Calendar and in your task list on the right-hand side of your calendar.
 
 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

 

10) LogoMix

 
 
    • What is it? An app to create business cards.
 
    • What does it do? This app enables you to design and print new business cards quickly and easily.
 
    • How can I use it? With just a few clicks you can design some slick, on-brand business cards without needing to bother your designer. Although this app is not 100% free, your first batch of business cards is, and they are a very low price after that to get more printed.
 
 

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[Find it on the Google Apps Marketplace]

 

What app are you most excited to try out? Share your thoughts below.

 

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How to Get Featured on the First Page of SlideShare [SlideShare]

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Very meta, we know. 

 

When it comes to SlideShare marketing, there’s no better feeling than seeing your prized presentation featured on the SlideShare homepage.

 

In addition to giving a boost to your self-esteem, landing a presentation on the first page of SlideShare will give your performance metrics a boost.

 

With 70 million people checking out the SlideShare website monthly, it’s no surprise that nabbing one of those coveted “featured” spots has the potential to send your presentation’s views, likes, and shares into overdrive.

 

Of course, talking about earning a place on the SlideShare homepage is one thing. Actually doing it? Not so easy. As is the case with many marketing channels, there’s no magic formula that can guarantee success. That being said, the team at Venngage recently reached out to some SlideShare pros to gather their tips for reaching the SlideShare homepage. Check out their advice in the presentation below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Know any other tips for landing your presentation on the SlideShare homepage? Leave a comment below.

 

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Will Intelligent Personal Assistants Replace Websites?

Posted by Tom-Anthony

[Estimated read time: 8 minutes]

 
 

Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs) are capable of radically disrupting the way we search for and consume information on the Internet. The convergence of several trends and technologies has resulted in a new interface through which people will be able to interact with your business. This will have a dramatic impact – if your long-term marketing/business plan doesn’t account for IPAs, you may be in the same boat as those people who said they didn’t need a website in the early 2000s.

 
 

Your website is an API to your business

 

If we look to pre/early Internet, then the primary interface to most businesses was the humble phone. Over the phone you could speak to a business and find out what they had in stock, when they’d be open, whether they had space for your reservation, etc., and then you could go on to order products, ask for directions, or place reservations. The phone was an interface to your business, and your phone line and receptionist were your “API” – the way people interacted with your business.

 
 

 
 

As the Internet matured and the web gained more traction, it increasingly became the case that your website empowered users to do lots of those same things that they previously did via the phone. They could get information and give you money, and your website became the new “API” for your business, allowing users to interact with it. Notice this didn’t necessitate the death of the phone, but lots of the requests that previously came via phone now came via the web, and there was also a reduction in friction for people wanting to interact with your business (they didn’t have to wait for the phone line to be free, or speak to an actual human!).

 
 

Since then, the web has improved as technologies and availability have improved, but fundamentally the concept has stayed the same. Until now.

 
 

The 5 tech giants have all built an intelligent personal assistant

 

The 5 tech giants have all built an Intelligent Personal Assistant

 
 

Intelligent Personal Assistants apps such as Google Now, Siri, Cortana, and Facebook M – as well as the newer appliances such as Amazon Echo, the new Google Home, and the rumored Apple Siri hardware – are going to have a profound effect on the way people search, the types of search they do, and the way they consume and act upon the results of those searches.

 
 

New entries, such as Hound and Viv, show that intelligent personal assistants are growing beyond just something phone makers are adding as a feature, and are becoming a core focus.

 
 

In the last couple of years we’ve discussed a variety of new technologies and their impact on search; a number of these are all feeding into the rise of these personal assistants.

 
 
 

Trend 1: More complex searches

 

The days of searches just being a keyword are long since over. The great improvements of natural language processing, driven by improvements in machine learning, have meant that conversational search has become a thing and we have seen Hummingbird and RankBrain becoming building blocks of how Google understands and handles queries.

 
 

Furthermore, implicit signals have also seen the rise of anticipatory queries with Google Now leading the way in delivering you search results based off of your context without you needing to ask.

 
 

Contributing technologies & trends:

 
 
 
    • Implicit Signals
 
    • Natural Language
 
    • Conversational Search
 
    • Hummingbird & RankBrain
 
 

Watch this video of Will Critchlow speak about these trends to hear more.

 
 

Trend 2: More complex results

 

Search results have moved on from 10 blue links to include the Knowledge Graph, with entities and direct answers being a familiar part of any search result. This has also meant that, since the original Siri, we’ve seen a search interface that doesn’t even do a web search for many queries but instead gives data-driven answers right there in the app. The earliest examples were queries for things like weather, which would turn up a card right there in the app.

 
 

Finally, the rise of conversational search has made possible complex compound queries, where queries can be revised and extended to allow the sorting, filtering, and refining of searches in a back and forth fashion. This phase of searching used to be something you did by reviewing the search results manually and sifting through them, but now search engines understand (rather than just index) the content they discover and can do this step for you.

 
 

Contributing technologies & trends:

 
 
 
 
    • Entities / Direct Answers
 
    • Faceted search
 
    • Data driven answers
 
 

You may like Distilled’s Searchscape which has information and videos on these various trends.

 
 

Trend 3: Bots, conversational UI, and on-demand UIs

 

 

More recently, with the increased interest in bots (especially since Facebook’s F8 announcement), we can see a rise in the number of companies investing in various forms of conversational UI (see this article and this one).

 
 

Bots and conversational UI provide a new interface which lends itself to all of the benefits provided by natural language processing and ways of presenting data-driven answers.

 
 

Note that a conversational UI isn’t limited to purely a spoken or natural language interface, but can also provide an “on demand” UI for certain situations (see this example screenshot from Facebook, or the Siri/Fandango cinema ticket example below).

 
 

Contributing technologies & trends:

 
 
 
 
    • Conversational UI
 
    • Bots
 
    • On-demand UIs within the IPA interface
 
 

Trend 4: 3rd-party integration

 

Going back to the first versions of Siri or Google Now, there were no options for 3rd-party developers to integrate. They could only do a limited set of actions based on what Apple or Google had explicitly programmed in.

 
 

However, over time, the platforms have opened up more and more, such that apps can now provide functionality within the intelligent personal assistant on the same app.

 
 

Google Now, Amazon Echo, Cortana, and Siri (not quite – but rumored to be coming in June) all provide SDKs (software development kits), allowing 3rd-party developers to integrate into these platforms.

 
 

This is an opportunity for all of us integrate directly into the next generation search interface.

 
 

What’s the impact of all this?

 

More searches as friction reduces

 

Google published an (under-reported) paper on some of the research and work that went into Google Now, which when combined with their daily information needs study indicates how hard they’re trying to encourage and enable users to do searches that previously have not been possible.

 
 

The ability of intelligent personal assistants to fulfil more complex search queries (and of “always listening” search appliances like Amazon Echo and Google Home) to remove the friction of doing searches that were previously “too much work” means we’ll see a rise in search queries that simply wouldn’t have happened previously. So rather than cannibalizing web-based searches that came before, a large segment of the queries to IPAs will be wholly new types of searches.

 
 

Web rankings get bypassed, go straight to the top

 

As more and more people search via personal assistants, and with personal assistants trying to deliver answers directly in their interface, we’ll see an increasing number of searches that completely bypass web search rankings. As 3rd-party integration becomes more widespread, there will be an increasing number of dynamic queries that personal assistants can handle directly (e.g. “where can I buy The Martian?,” “flights to Berlin,” or “order a pepperoni pizza”).

 
 

This is a massive opportunity – it does not matter how many links and how much great content your competitor has to help them in “classical SEO” if you’ve integrated straight into the search interface and no web search is ever shown to the user. You can be the only search result shown.

 
 

The classic funnel gets compressed; checking out via IPAs

 

This part is probably the most exciting, from my perspective, and I believe is the most important from the impact it’ll have on users and businesses. People have modeled “the funnel” in a variety of different ways over time, but one common way to look at it is:

 
 

 
 

The search is separate to the browsing/checkout process, and that checkout process happens via a website. Apps have had some impact on this classic picture, but so far it hasn’t been a big part.

 
 

However, conversational search/UI combined with the ability for developers to integrate directly into IPAs opens up a huge opportunity to merge the interfaces for the search step and the steps previously fulfilled by the website (browsing and checking out). There are already examples of the funnel being compressed:

 
 

 
 

In this example, using Siri, you can see I was able to search for movies playing nearby, pick a particular movie and cinema, then pick a particular showing and, finally, I can click to buy, which takes me to the Fandango app. I am most of the way through the checkout process before I leave the intelligent personal assistant app interface. How long until I can do that final step and actually check out inside the personal assistant?

 
 

Integrating with intelligent personal assistant apps currently normally happens via the app model (i.e. you build an app that provides some functionality to the assistant), but how long until we see the possibility to integrate without needing to build an app yourself – the intelligent personal assistant will provide the framework and primary interface.

 
 

Summary

 

Intelligent Personal Assistants bring together all the recent developments in search technology, and as integration options improve, we will see an increasing number of queries/transactions go end-to-end entirely inside the personal assistant itself.

 
 

People will conduct searches, review data, and make purchases entirely inside that one interface, completely bypassing web search (already happening) and even checking out inside the personal assistant (within the next 12 months) and thus bypassing websites.

 
 

IPAs represent an absolutely massive opportunity, and it would be easy to underestimate the impact they will have (in the same way many people underestimated mobile initially). If you’ve been on the fence about building an app, you should re-evaluate that decision, with a focus on apps being the way they can integrate into intelligent personal assistants.

 
 
 

What do you think? I’d love to have a discussion in the comments about how everyone thinks this will play out and how it might change the landscape of search.

 
 

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10 Excellent Examples of Video Marketing on Facebook

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Over recent years, the criteria for engagement on social media has evolved from announcing your brand or product to finding a way to tell a story.

 

Quality branded video campaigns allow companies to project said story in some really creative and unique ways. Whether you’re spreading brand awareness, announcing a new product, or launching a company, great branded video makes customers feel an emotional connection. And that emotional reaction can be really powerful.

 

In fact, a recent survey by eZanga found that 30% of respondents were less likely to skip video content if it was humorous. And research by Dr. Karen Nelson-Field found that 65% of videos that elicited a feeling of exhilaration were most remembered.

 

When it comes to finding the right platform to promote your video, Facebook is a strong contender. In fact, just this past January it announced that platform now sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time. So to help inspire your video marketing efforts on Facebook, I put together a list of 10 clever examples from brands like Apple, LG, BMW, and more. Check them out below.

 

10 Excellent Examples of Video Marketing on Facebook

 

1) #TAYLORvsTREADMILL | Apple

 

When it comes to storytelling and connecting with an audience, Apple is among the marketing elite. Recently, they teamed up with the biggest voice in the anti-streaming movement to promote their new subscription music service, Apple Music.

 

What’s great about this video is that Apple and Taylor Swift managed to create something that is relatable — regardless of her celebrity status. Everyone knows someone who has fallen while running on the treadmill, and there’s something even more hilarious about knowing that this happened to Swift, too. 

 
 

3) #DayItForward | Chevrolet

 

Chevrolet has always been quick to adopt new marketing advances and incorporate them into their strategy. For the #DayItForward campaign, Chevrolet launched multiple videos on Leap Day to promote goodwill and of course, a positive brand image.

 

Rather than leveraging humor like the Apple video, it provokes empathy with viewers. Who doesn’t get the warm fuzzies when watching videos of people giving back? Now, those sentimental feelings translate with consumers when thinking about Chevrolet.

 

“The Chevy #DayItForward campaign resonated strongly with its audience because it was at once entertaining and informative while being tastefully branded,” said the CEO of Philo Media, Kevin Allodi. “Celebrity talent helps draw people in, but to keep them engaged you have to deliver authentic storytelling.”

 
 

4) Story for a Cause | Unicef

 

Over the past few years, you’ve likely seen a ton of media coverage surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis. The political debate that ensued prompted Unicef to create a video that transforms the headlines into a story that tugs at the heartstrings of its viewers.

 

The video turns the political issue into a humanizing and heartbreaking story, that’s meant to shine a positive light on a global issue. This is a powerful example of using a current controversial event to spread brand awareness and a positive message.

 

Note: While this video has been well received by many, it’s important that brands are incredibly careful and thoughtful when creating content around a controversial issue. 

 
 

5) #LikeAGirl | Always

 

Always is perfectly in tune with their audience when it comes to their advertising campaigns. The newest video in the series reaches out to a younger demographic by raising a concerning question about the gender bias in emojis.

 

While Always does incorporate a controversial topic into the story, the newest #LikeAGirl video was a success because of their use of supporting stats. Using the stats and accompanying them with concerns from the girls featured in the video packs a powerful message that leaves little room for criticism.

 
 

6) #LowBatteryAnxiety | LG

 

The mobile device market is extremely competitive. LG’s newest video campaign strives to stand out in a market dominated by Samsung and Apple. They achieve their goal by telling a story that is hilariously relatable.

 

Low battery anxiety is real, people. There’s something about a phone’s battery diving into the single digits that send people into panic mode. LG used the relatable crisis and exaggerated it to create a video that features a dramatic support group that helps people cope with anxiety driven by a low battery. People love to make fun of themselves and LG tapped into the perfect scenario for this campaign.

 
 

7) Groups | Facebook 

 

Since the conception of Facebook, the social networking service has evolved from a collegiate platform to one for the whole family. The company has become infused in our society, making FOMO, or the fear of missing out, a real thing.

 

Meeting friends, and sharing your life with those friends, is the business of Facebook. The platform’s ‘Groups’ video perfectly portrays how it helps people connect with others who share similar interests. It creatively identifies how users can benefit from using Facebook by providing a clearly defined problem and a beginning, middle, and end.

 
 

2) Save a Bro You Know | Organic Valley

 

In Organic Valley’s new video campaign, they embraced their “inner bro” in an effort to promote their new line of protein drinks.

 

What’s great about this video is that it hilariously (yet, not maliciously) pokes fun at the target audience, while also identifying the downfalls of their competitors’ products. Not to mention, they cleverly found a way to increase their share count and views by having users send the video to other “bros” they know on Facebook and other social channels. By urging viewers to rally support for this faux cause, Organic Valley was able to expand the reach of the video and get more out of their investment.

 
 

8) #LoveAtFirstTaste | Knorr 

 

Food is said to be the one thing that is always certain to bring families together. In their latest video campaign, Knorr — a spices and seasonings company — suggests that food and all its flavor has the ability to not only bring families together, but also help people find love.

 

With this genius video, Knorr found a way to connect with a huge audience — garnering over 31 million views in a single week. Everyone loves food and most everyone has experienced love or the desire to be loved. By connecting their product with a human emotion, the video resonates even further with its audience — all while promoting a positive brand image.

 

Knorr even created an accompanying quiz for viewers, to help them find their own unique flavor profile to assist in their quest for love … or just great recipes.

 
 

9) Tea vs. Photo | ROC Live Life Loud

 

Roc Live Life Loud, a speaker and headphone brand by Cristiano Ronaldo and Monster, uses Real Madrid’s star forward to their full advantage in Tea vs. Photo.

 

While the campaign is obviously centered around Cristiano Ronaldo and has little to do with the brand itself, there’s something to be said about the tasteful product placement in the video. It shows a prime example of how the most successful video ads focus more on the story, than the product itself.

 
 

10) #EyesOnGiGi | BMW 

 

Using new innovative technology is a great way to stand out from the competition and captivate an audience. BMW took advantage of Facebook’s latest 360 video technology for their most recent campaign featuring model Gigi Hadid.

 

Sometimes companies struggle when advertising with new technology. However, BMW does a perfect job of utilizing the 360 video by making the content interactive. (Not to mention, having Gigi Hadid as part of the campaign never hurts.) But what really makes this campaign a success is its interactive game that drives viewers to the website to play and share with friends and family.

 
 

What’s your favorite Facebook video ad? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

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