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The Marketer’s Guide to Collaborating with Salespeople

(In Part 1 of this series, we addressed the marketer’s needs vs. the designer’s needs. Part 2 explored the marketer’s needs as compared to the developer’s.)

Marketing and sales are two related, yet completely different, functions.

Marketers focus on theoretical strategies about buying behavior. Salespeople close the deal and bring in revenue.

Marketers experiment with various advertising techniques. Salespeople work directly with prospects to convert them into customers.

It’s important to understand your salesperson’s needs and how they compare with a marketer’s needs. And it’s even more crucial to understand how they can work together to help your business succeed.

What Marketers Need From Salespeople

Marketers are strategy oriented. Their job entails creating the advertising plan and discovering the most viable ways to implement it. They are responsible for exciting the target market and priming prospects for buying.

Marketers want:

  • Specific input and feedback from the sales field.
  • Materials salespeople can use to positively impact prospect conversion rates.
  • Technically sound marketing materials that salespeople can’t ruin. (You’ve probably heard horror stories about poorly modified PowerPoint presentations. A bad presentation negatively impacts your brand.)
  • Time to experiment and manipulate ad elements,and test their effectiveness.
  • Salespeople who recognize the difference between features and benefits.

The biggest challenge for marketers is to make their theoretical approaches timely, understandable and practical for salespeople  

What Salespeople Need from Marketers

Salespeople have face to face contact with your customers, and they have their own perspectives about what makes a prospect buy.

After your ad campaign has gone forth, your salesforce must represent that your marketing claims are true.  Then they must convince prospects to part with their cash.

There are sales quotas to meet and time is of the essence, so salespeople want:

  • Marketing collateral that comes ready-made. Salespersons like to hit the ground running. Just give them some sales sheets and business cards so they can get going. They’re in the moment and need great visuals to close those sales.
  • Specific information about the product. Your salespeople should learn all the details about your product. That knowledge offers solutions when prospects have questions. Product knowledge builds trust. People buy from you if they trust you.
  • The ability to create or modify sales products. Salespeople encounter many questions in the field. For example, a prospect may want to know how to use your product in a new way. Materials that can be adapted on the spot will show your versatility.
  • Current advertising media. Sales can be negatively impacted by ad materials that still carry your old logo. Your salesforce shouldn’t promote new products with old marketing materials. Your media should also keep pace with new software releases.
  • An understanding of features vs. benefits. Features are specifics like embedded social media or ecommerce solutions. Benefits are valuable results such as building social connections or reaching consumers globally. Your best salespeople recognize what’s most important to each prospect, features or benefits, and use that knowledge to close the sale.

Achieving Sales and Marketing Consensus

Marketers don’t want salespeople messing up their ad media, but they should be open to the feedback salespeople bring from direct experience with prospects.

Populr combines quality design, sound marketing and sales strategy, and solid development. It creates a winning solution from all points of view:

  • Marketing. Populr creates a multi-media platform in professionally rendered one-page formats. These pages can be branded and customized for any product, service, or marketing strategy.
  • Development. Our developers have worked hard to create a great user interface. The responsive layouts are simple to modify and adapt easily to your content.
  • Sales. Populr’s pages are technology’s exciting, mobile, and interactive answer to the printed sales sheet.

Selling your product or service will only see success when all of these perspectives can find harmony.

Luckily, Populr has something for everyone.

Each of your team members will have their needs met, while also creating seamless collaboration with their peers. That kind of teamwork will positively impact your business growth and make things much easier along the way.

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Web coding and programming flat illustration

The Marketer’s Guide to Collaborating with Developers

(In Part 1 of this series, we addressed the marketer’s needs vs. the designer’s needs. Part 3 will explore the marketer’s needs as compared to salespeople.)

Creating a successful sales product requires a team that’s outstanding at understanding.

Successful collaboration creates products that convert. Without that collaboration, your team members will make each other miserable while progress hobbles to a frustrating halt.

When it comes to the marketer’s needs and the developer’s needs, each teammate has a unique focus. And both of these individuals are crucial for moving your project forward.

What Marketers Need from Developers

Your marketer’s main focus is converting prospects into paying customers.

Marketers gain customers by focusing on developing successful strategies and tools. And (unfortunately for developers) they usually don’t understand the technicalities of backend coding.

Marketers want:

  • Marketing media that helps close sales faster. The marketing process can be time-consuming. It takes several approaches to convert prospects to buyers, and each one must be effective.
  • Advertising materials they can easily modify. Marketers want to make changes on their own as needs arise. And they want to do it without a hassle.
  • Visuals that keep pace with today. Marketers are often forced to work with ad media that is technically outdated or no longer matches the company’s current brand. Visuals that are current and relevant make their presentations easier and more productive.
  • Ad materials that don’t require advanced design skills. Ideally, marketers would love to use  pre-designed templates to create ad packages. They want seamless adaptation to new content. And they don’t want to have to wait to consult with a designer.
  • Materials that allow for experimentation. Marketers must gauge effectiveness using different ad formats, a/b testing metrics, and methods for reaching prospects. They need media they can modify and test in different presentation formats.

Basically, your marketers just want ad materials that work! Meanwhile, the developer is challenged with bringing the marketer’s requests into reality as a functional, responsive product.  

What Developers Need from Marketers

Developers handle the backend coding – the computer programming that makes your project work. To make sure it functions properly, developers need:

  • A clear understanding of the marketer’s vision for the final product.
  • A checklist of product features and user interface needs.
  • A visual design guide for each page layout. (The guide should include links, size, and placement specs.)
  • Content data and graphics files for each site page.
  • To implement any special functionality requested. For example: data capture forms, ecommerce and payment processing, and embedded social media.

Developers must also ensure their code is compliant and responsive. It should meet standards and display correctly in popular browsers.

Developers are not always designers, and rarely are they marketers. Their task is technical and they require specific instructions. Developers can’t write code without a clear picture of the marketer’s vision for the product.

The conflict arises for developers when marketers struggle to clarify what they want.

Bringing Marketers and Developers Together

Marketers and developers come together around the shared goal of achieving conversions. They both want prospects to buy and happily keep coming back for more.

Populr allows you to create and share one-pagers that help you convert prospects to buyers.

With Populr, your marketers can be more productive. They can rewrite content and make quick design changes to your ad media. Populr’s professional themes provide a beautiful selection of responsive layouts. It also simplifies marketing tools like a/b testing, saving additional design and developer expense.

Luckily for developers, there’s also no need for marketers to struggle to articulate what they want. Populr’s available page templates offer the most effective advertising formats, and allow marketers to easily share their vision for the final product.

Your marketers will find Populr excellent for building a branded and successful prospecting strategy. And your developers will thank you.

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populrcollaboratcreatives

The Marketer’s Guide to Collaborating With Creatives

Marketers and creatives are different.

Although they are both capable of yielding a fantastic product, the way they approach the process is extremely different.

Marketers are motivated to test and tweak a product, knowing that it often evolves into something completely different in the end.

Creatives (such as designers) begin with a specific set of instructions, and they follow them. Their final product is a direct result of their initial outline.

Both of these team members are an important part of a business’s success, but the differences in their style of work can cause friction in the workplace. Take a look at some of the common issues marketers and creatives run in to:

1.  Making Changes to the Product

Once a marketer has the “finished” web page in hand, they begin their own testing process. This includes many small changes until the content is how they want it. Because the marketer doesn’t take the web page as-is, the designer (who simply followed instructions) assumes what they made isn’t good enough.

This isn’t the case – the marketers are just following their own process. But a designer takes that response personally. And from the designer’s perspective, the marketer should’ve taken the time initially to think through what they wanted.

2. Being Unprepared

One of the biggest points of friction with designers is the content. If the content isn’t ready, the designer can’t work.

As a result, the designer must use place-holders and try to guess how much space is needed. And 9 times out of 10, when the content finally is ready and put into the design after-the-fact, it doesn’t flow well.

3. Lack of Detail

Designers prefer to use a detailed initial outline, follow it precisely, and create a great product.

One process, one time.

To do this, designers need as much detail as possible about the content upfront. But marketers don’t always know specifically what they want prior to starting a project. Their focus is on testing, analyzing feedback and potential future changes.

Populr—A Marketer’s Dream

Populr can help marketers resolve these problems, and many more.

Marketers no longer have to wait for the designer to build a page. They can start working on content right away – putting together campaigns, landing pages, or entire sections of a website. Marketers also have time to get the content together, using a tool that helps them visualize the final product.

The process is rewarding for designers, too. Populr’s customizable templates help marketers envision a final product and deliver more precise information to the designers. When the marketer creates a detailed POP, it gives the designer all the information they need to build a page – without having to make so many changes after the fact.

Using Populr’s design solutions, marketers have access to effective tools to get a project done. They don’t have to wait on other departments with the ability to easily embed functional items like forms, videos and ecommerce products. And with the ability to test and tweak in the pre-design phase—before passing them onto designers—a marketer can build a working relationship that lasts.

 

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Flat vector concept of web analytics information and development

3 Ways to Increase Your Profit With Existing Customers

To increase profits, many companies focus the majority of their marketing dollars on attracting new customers. However, there are some pretty powerful statistics to convince us to invest more time and budget on existing customers.

Studies show that it costs 5-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one and that small increases in customer retention pay off in much larger increases to the bottom line. So how do you grow your current customers?

The key to sales success is as simple as a series of small “yes-es.”

Take a good look at your services or products. What do your best customers need and want?  What are their pain points when it comes to purchasing? And what solutions are they buying from you?

Once you have the answers, use these three sales strategies to make it easy for a customer to say yes again and again.

1. Cross-sell

Cross-selling is offering a similar or closely related product or service to an existing customer.

The simplest example is an electronics retailer that also sells its customers the necessary batteries and accessories for the product. When you purchase the electronic, the retailer or website will suggest the related batteries as a cross-sell.

Cross-selling is a powerful tool for non-eCommerce as long as the direct sales team or inbound marketing team actually suggest the cross-sell. In eCommerce, cross-selling is often included in the platform – for everyone else, we need to plan it out.

Populr pages provide an easy way to visually make this suggestion to an existing customer. Identify which of your customers are buying product X, create a targeted page to show them product Y, and tell them why they need it. Since pages on Populr have unqiue URL’s, you can share this page with your customer through existing communication channels like email, print (QR codes) and even direct messaging from your sales team.

2. Upsell

Upselling is the process of persuading an existing customer to spend more money on an additional product or service.

An upsell strategy often bundles related products or services for an overall higher transaction value. Think of it as offering expanded solutions to your clients’ pain points. For example, if your consulting business offers social media content creation, an upsell would be to offer them an additional monitoring and measurement service.

With Populr, you can quickly create pages to market bundles of related services or products. A great example of this is our Special Promotion page.  Send the page to targeted customers, follow-up with a phone call, and land the bigger sales. The conversation is pretty simple:  “We’re excited to deliver the product/service you purchased, but also thought these other items could be interesting/valuable”

3. Ask For Referrals

Current satisfied customers are your best low-cost source of new customers. They typically have a wealth of contacts with similar pain points who could benefit from your products or services.

Loyalty reward programs are proven to work, and every company can borrow from this concept in order to gain referrals.

How To Ask For Referrals:

  1. Thank the customer, remind them of your shared satisfaction, and ask, “do you know anyone else I can help?”
  2. Send the client a page to complete, which can be added into a form using a program like Google Forms or JotForm.

How To Create The Thank-You Page:

  1. Create a thank you page as a basis in Populr.
  2. Duplicate your page in Populr, or if you’re using a team account, turn the page into a template.
  3. Create a new page and customize it for the client.
  4. Purchase a digital gift card, upload it as a PDF, and add the gift code or a link to the special URL.
  5. Send the gift card through Populr to track when they download and use it.
  6. Immediately follow up – When you see a client access the gift card, follow up with an email or a phone call asking, “Who did you come up with??

Check out this example of a thank you page that you could share with an existing customer.

There are many time and budget benefits to marketing to your existing clients, and according to Marketing Metrics, the odds of making the additional sale are in your favor – in the range of 60 – 70%.

But perhaps the biggest time and budget-saver is that you don’t have to convince them to buy from you –  because they already are.

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Flag on the peak illustration

How To Take Control of Your Resume Online

Before Google & social networks, the only thing that kept you up the night before your big interview was what your list of references would say about you.

Today there’s an entire internet with links to your info to worry about. It’s not just your list of references anymore, it’s the endless trail you leave behind online. Anyone interested in getting hired is forced to ask themselves that critical question:

“What happens when a potential employer Googles my name?”

Typically, the search results yield a smorgasbord of crumbs related to your life… social media, profiles on sites you’ve created, and maybe the 3rd party reference. As a result, the employer has to ‘piece together’ their first impressions and the result may not be your best foot forward.

But what if I told you that in 6 steps (or 5-10 minutes) you could take control of your online reputation and establish the first thing your potential employer sees? Something that makes you look professional, sophisticated, and most important… desirable!

1. Use one of our personal branding website templates: http://inspiration.populr.me/networking

2. Upload your Professional Headshot.

3. Add links to other professional websites you are on.

4. Include key accomplishments, testimonials, and/or references

5. Attach the PDF or DOC format of your resume to your page (satisfy the old schoolers!)

6. Finish with your contact info

You don’t need to stop there. Here are a few other ideas of things you can add to your resume or personal profile.

  • Embed videos and MP3s
  • Links to your social media channels
  • Different versions of your bio
  • Meeting availability
  • Links to work you’ve done

Here are a few examples of ways Populr users have taken the future of their personal brands and employment into their own hands:

Keeley is a musician and used her POP as an EPK. She embedded samples of her music from Soundcloud and videos from Youtube. She also included Press highlights and tour dates.

Travis is a speaker and sends his page to clients before speaking so they have his headshot, bio and all the other info they need.

Emily is a marketer and used her Pop to show previous experience and visuals of awards.

Mike is a web app developer and created a section at the bottom of his page to quickly and easily showcase his work.

William is a programmer and made his resume available as an attachment as well as linked to all his work throughout the resume. Recently, his Populr resume got him hired. Read the story of how it happened HERE.

What about you?

Take control of what Google is saying about you and create a personal profile in just a few minutes. Here are some templates we’ve created for you to make your personal profile as easy as clicking “duplicate.” http://inspiration.populr.me/networking

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Populr personalize sales process

3 Ways To Personalize Your Sales Process

Most conversations about online sales and marketing revolve around the seller. How do we best present ourselves, our product, and our pitch?

Yet, the best salespeople aren’t thinking about themselves at all.

The best online salespeople are thinking about how to make a potential customer feel more like a person.

According to Monetate.com, “40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience.” This means that 40% of your potential customers spend their money with those who treat them like a person instead of just another faceless customer.

With that in mind, here are 3 painless ways to personalize your sales process for your customers that any company can execute. As you’ll quickly see, the key is to find small ways to improve every stage of your prospect’s experience, from the first point of contact to the last.

1. Take Your Sales Tracking To the Next Level

By tracking your prospect’s activity with Populr, you can easily see if they’ve opened the materials you emailed them and how long they’ve spent reading it. You’ll know if they read your emails and pages and if they downloaded any attached files. A tool like this makes your followup far more intelligent because you can tailor your responses based on where they are in your sales process.

Populr Overview

For example, you can easily track whether or not your prospect opened, viewed and download your proposal after a few days. If they haven’t opened it, you can send  them a quick reminder to review your proposal. If they did check it out, you can see exactly what they looked at on Populr Analytics and for how long. That way you know what they’re interested in and how to tailor your follow up email or call.

You’ll notice in the example of Populr’s analytics below, you can scroll over each email on the left and see the individual analytics for each person that visited the page. You can also see where they clicked how and much time they spent.

Populr Email analytics

2. Don’t Rely on the Contract to do the Selling

Prospects want to have a tangible picture in their mind of what they can expect from you.  Instead of including a list of deliverables in a proposal or contract, give them a peek of what’s on the other side.  Show them the deliverables they can expect as soon as they sign the contract. You can give them a standardized template that walks them through the first month of working together.

This positions you as a partner instead of a vendor, and it’ll also show your prospects that you are always a step ahead.

Here’s a simple, web-based onboarding template from Populr that you can easily personalize and share with new prospects.

Populr onboarding

3. Surprise and Delight

One way to improve your customers’ experience and create advocates  is something you can start doing right now.  And it doesn’t cost a penny.  Find small ways to go those extra couple feet, not even the extra mile. Even a small, meaningful interaction with the client can make all the difference. Or as Napolean Hill says it, “people buy personalities and ideas much more quickly than they buy merchandise.”

Here are a few examples:

Add a little personality to your emails. Check out this email below from Nuts.com. Notice all of the places they squeezed in their personality in what would have been a boring product delivery confirmation email.

Populr personality email

Give small and unexpected gifts to clients. You don’t have to be Zappos to empower your salespeople to make someone’s day. Something small like a $5 gift card to Starbucks (below) or an unexpected discount can turn a one-time buyer into a life-long customer and advocate.

Populr thank you page

Your documents and processes shouldn’t remove you from your prospects, they should free up time so you can focus on serving your prospects. If you’re looking to create deeper connections with your prospects, start with these three simple steps in your sales process. Then watch how they can spread throughout the entire lifecycle of the client.

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Populr templates

11 Free Templates To Make Your Work Faster and Easier

What are we really talking about when we talk about templates?

Processes? Leverage?

When we talk about templates, we’re really talking about ways we can make our business more efficient so we can scale and grow. We’re talking about spending less time on the repetitive tasks to enable us to focus on what matters.

Creating the right templates in your business will help your team to be more efficient and reduce the number of mistakes made throughout your entire organization.

Here’s three quick reasons templates accomplish that:

Keep priorities.

When working with a template, you can spend your creative energy and critical thinking on what needs to be done next, rather than the arbitrary craft of design and layout.

Scale quickly.

Once a template is created or copied, you and your team can repurpose it quickly to reach various audiences.

Increase professionalism.

Just as letterhead brands a company via snail mail, so does a shared template via the web. Sharing a template with your team will keep your brand consistency throughout the organization. Nothing will shred your credibility faster than inconsistent branding.

That’s why at Populr, our quest to put the power of the web in non-technical business people’s hands is so important.

Here are 11 templates that will help streamline your work. Look through each of the web-based templates below to see which one’s you need. Then, just click the image to start editing one of our free Populr templates and create your own!

1. Proposals

Proposals tend to get complicated quickly. They need to be updated constantly and you can have multiple variations for each of your services. That’s why it’s so important to have one central place for the different types of proposals your company uses to allow your salespeople to create variations of those templates while keeping brand consistency.

 

Populr proposal

 

2. Internal Updates

Internal updates are critical for keeping your team in the know. If you already use a project management tool, internal updates are helpful for creating a quick big picture view while your project management software deals with the weeds.

Populr internal updates

3. Profile pages

A profile page template  is a great way to position yourself if you work in multiple industries. You can create several variations of one template for each industry you work in, giving client specific examples and information in their niche. This is an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition.

Populr profile page

4. Case Studies

Case study templates are simple outlines that anyone creating a case study knows what information they need to gather from a project. Don’t forget how your prospects read case studies. They never just read one, they are usually read several case studies at a time. Ensuring you have consistent information across each case study can be the difference between getting the contract and looking like an amateur.

Populr case studies

5. Press Kits

The Press Kit Template is especially important for brand consistency. This is a template that can be used over and over again for specific PR campaigns as well as generic press kits that only get updated occasionally. Be prepared to create these on the fly for PR opportunities that come up unexpectedly.

Populr press kit

6. Email Newsletters 

Newsletters are something we are all familiar with and hopefully have a template for. What we love about Populr is that you can send a POP as a newsletter which makes it extremely simple to update segment of your email list and at the same time, update your social networks with the content.

Populr newsletter

 

7. Thank you pages

It’s sad but a genuine thank you is a rarity in a lot of businesses these days. It doesn’t take much to  to express a small amount of gratitude with a customizable page and even something like a Starbucks gift card attached to it. How would you react if someone emailed you this? Use a Thank You Page Template as a follow up to prospect meetings and recognizing your best clients.

Populr thankyou

8. Job Descriptions

This is another template that can quickly get complicated if you don’t have a system to organize your different job descriptions. Your job descriptions can be the first impression to new hires you’re trying to recruit.  They should be organized in a place that makes it easy to customize, update and send them.

Populr job description

9. Events

If your customers don’t know about the events you are putting on, you probably have a bottleneck in your event promotion process. One commonality we’ve seen is that most of the event pages can only be created by graphic designers. That’s why we recommend taking that off their plate using something simple like Populr to create event pages so anyone in your company can do it.

 

Populr marketing event

10. Promotions

Promotional templates can vary across department and activity but one thing is critical. They need to be easily accessible anytime and anywhere for your company and your prospects. Creating templates for your promotions can give clarity to your marketing messages and reduce on necessary back-and-forth approval time.

Populr promotions

11. Onboarding & Next steps

What happens after your client signs a contract?  You may know but they probably don’t. Having a easy step-by-step template you can send them so they know what to expect can turn a new client into a lifelong customer in advocate for your business.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 2.47.52 PM

 

Don’t reinvent the wheel the next time you create a proposal. Spend your time and your colleagues time communicating more effectively and quickly with this set of free templates.

 

 

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Populr paying users

How Many Paying Users Do You Have?

Here’s a simple question: How many paying customers do you have? As a startup with a freemium business model, understanding this most basic of questions is vital to understanding the health of our business (or rather, since we’re a startup, the health of our business potential). But it’s a question that we struggled to answer for a long time.

It’s not that the question itself is hard. But until we joined Batch 007 of 500 Startups, defining the problem took a back seat to building the product. Does a user count as paying upon entering a credit card, or only after being charged? What about a user who signs up as part of a team account? We’re being paid for that user, but that user didn’t make the decision that Populr was worth paying for. The boss just said sign-up. Does that designate a conversion or not?

As part of 500 Startups, we started being asked growth and acquisition questions much more frequently. We were asked by our advisors, mentors, and potential investors. We needed to chart growth, a task requiring measurable data week over week. But we were simultaneously wrestling with existential questions of identity and building out the product (it wasn’t until late-December that we finally supported IE & Firefox in the editor). And every time we needed to provide an answer, we were daunted by the same questions.

After far too much time attempting to extract answers from our disparate sources of data, we bit the bullet and made a decision. Here it is:

  • A user is converted when we first receive payment from that user.
  • A user churns when a converted user chooses to downgrade, deletes his account, or has a repeated card failure that causes an automatic account downgrade.

Now that we’ve made the decision, it seems obvious. It completely sidesteps all the concerns about free trials and coupons and team users that muddied the water before. And most importantly, it ties directly back to the number that most closely represents our prospects as a company: revenue.

On a related note, if you are struggling with answering questions about churn, LTV, and ARPU, and you use Stripe, then check out Baremetrics. They provide a fantastic dashboard with insight into all manner of financial related questions. If you use Mixpanel, check out our page on Tips for a Successful Mixpanel Integration.

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How to Create a Targeted Promotion in Three Minutes

Burger Up Promotion

How long does it really take to create a Pop from scratch?

It’s a question we hear often and one that we hope to thoroughly answer in the next 3 minutes.

Burger Up is a local Nashville restaurant that’s turning four this year. To celebrate, they’ve launched a super secret menu online.

Lets watch as Burger Up creates a website for their secret menu from scratch in less than 3 minutes.

 

(more…)

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Showcase: 7 Inspiring Populr Marketing Pages

When it comes down to it, we can spend all day telling you how Populr is a good solution to your marketing needs. But, we would rather show you.

Here are 7 of our favorite POPs created for marketing purposes.

1. Clio, the invisible speaker, creates a comprehensive marketing page.

image

“Enjoy room-filling panoramic sound and the freedom of wireless connectivity with the first décor-friendly speaker that uses Edge Motion® technology to disappear into the aesthetic of any room or style.”

Why we like it: This POP has great call to action buttons and excellent visuals throughout the page. (more…)

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