December 18, 2018

Most Popular MarketingSherpa Articles of 2018: Get more leads, use impactful words and beat the competition


Busy marketers rarely have time for reflection.

But this is the time of year we tend to look back as a society and see what we can learn from the previous year. So don’t overlook this opportunity to relax, refresh and plan for the year ahead.

To help you improve your marketing in 2019, let’s take a look at the most popular MarketingSherpa articles of 2018.

Read on for the content your peers found to be the most helpful, and get ideas for generating more leads, using impactful words and beating the competition.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute


Let’s get right into it. Here are your peers’ favorite articles from 2018 …

Call-to-Action Optimization: 132% increase in clickthrough from changing four simple words

There are many resource-intensive ways to increase conversion — from major media campaigns to expensive technology implementations.

But marketers shouldn’t overlook the simple changes as well — getting the most value out of each word you’re already using to communicate with customers.

As this experiment shows, a minor word change in a call-to-action can have outsize results.



Ecommerce Marketing Chart: Median conversion rates for 25 industries

Everything is relative. No conversion rate — on its own — is good or bad. It can help to benchmark your performance against that of your peers to see how your conversion is performing.

In this article, we look at data for not only the average ecommerce conversion rates but also at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles to give marketers a more complete picture about the conversion rates other ecommerce marketers are experiencing.

Take a glance at these numbers and see how your ecommerce site’s conversion rates compare.



Landing Page Optimization: How Aetna’s HealthSpire startup generated 638% more leads for its call center

Even as data-driven decisions have grown, marketing has many faith-based practices. For example, “nobody reads long landing pages.”

Experimental data helped Aetna’s HealthSpire discover that a longer landing page generated more leads than a shorter landing page.



Not all of the most impactful articles from 2018 were published this year though. Here are some evergreen topics that were especially popular with your peers this year …

How to Write a Competitive Analysis (with 3 free templates)

Some of the folks that were the most fun for me to work with during my marketing career were in the Competitive Sales Office of a software company.

Hey, we humans are just competitive by nature. So it’s no surprise that the most popular piece of MarketingSherpa content in 2018 was a blog post that included free competitive analysis templates.

It’s kind of awkward to write about your own blog post. So here’s how Logan Merrick explained it when he linked to it from his article The Lightweight Startup Plan

“Competitor analysis — how many competitors are there in your market? Who are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their strategies? Here’s some great templates by Sherpablog to get you started.”



High-impact Email Writing Part I: Useful Lists of Short Words, Strong Verbs, and Blah Words

There were many hype-filled marketing buzzwords in 2018 — from conversational commerce to blockchain-powered digital advertising — and they very well may end up being the future of marketing as we know it.

But this much is sure. Words still matter.


For that reason, one of the most popular articles on MarketingSherpa in 2018 was actually published in 2003.

Like looking back through a high-school yearbook, there are a few cringe-worthy phrases redolent of the early days of internet marketing — “email blasts” — but this article is mostly a simple yet helpful list of shorter, more powerful copywriting words to use in place of less clear (and often more pretentious) words and phrases.

As Laurie Jo Miller Farr wrote on The Travel Vertical, “Read this MarketingSherpa guide to writing better emails with actual words to eliminate (pin it to your wall!) click here.”

If you’re looking to improve the power of your marketing copywriting, you should read this article in the near term soon.



Market Competition 101: The 3 types of competitors to keep an eye on

That competitive fire is strong in marketers, like the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense shutting out the high-powered Colts offense … even though the Jags season is essentially over and they can’t make the playoffs.

This blog post was a basic overview of types of competitors. In referring to the post, Neil Patel explains in 9-Step Cheat Sheet to Stealing Your Competition’s Best Content Ideas that “The three most common categories are direct competitors, indirect competitors, and replacement competitors.”

Who are your company’s true competitors? (hint: you likely need to look past only the companies selling the same product your company is)



Marketing 101: What is conversion?

Conversion is at the heart of marketing — positively influencing a customer choice by helping them better perceive the value of your product and making the right choice for them.

In this blog post, we take a closer look at the definition of conversion. Especially helpful for newer marketers.



Related Resources

Here is some more content that was popular with the MarketingSherpa audience this year …

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