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Recovering Lost Customers (and Revenue) with Kissmetrics

BI Intelligence estimates that $4 trillion dollars worth of merchandise is abandoned in online shopping carts.

$4 trillion dollars!

That $4 trillion dollars either winds up with offline retailers or just flat out never gets spent.

And we know that shopping cart abandonment is a big problem with e-commerce retailers. Almost every online shopper has at some point put a product in their cart only to never return to complete the purchase.

Given this large amount of money left on the table, it seems to me that most e-commerce marketers would be wise to spend their time working to optimize their shopping cart process (each funnel performance differs, of course) for customers.

One of the better, more reliable ways to improve a e-commerce funnel is by remarketing to those abandon customers. And fortunately, if you're a Kissmetrics customer there's a pretty easy way to do it. Here's how.

Using People Search to Find Cart Abandoners

The Kissmetrics People Search is one of our best tools. It allows you to find anyone on your site who fit a specified criteria. So, maybe if you're a SaaS marketer you want to find the people who signed up but haven't used a feature yet.

Or maybe an e-commerce marketer wants to find the people that have put an item in their cart but haven't proceeded to purchasing. Here's how to find those people.

The first step is to choose to find the people who did these events in order. We'll stick with the last 7 days as our date range.

Next we'll add a condition by finding the people that have added a product to their cart:

We'll add another condition by looking for people that have not purchased. So this essentially tells People Search to find the people that have added a product to their cart but haven't purchased.

We want to see when people last added a product to their cart (we don't want to send emails to people who just added a product). To do this we'll add a column to this data by looking at when people last added an item to their cart.

The last step is to run the report and get our list of people:

We'll get a few anonymous IDs (those that aren't email addresses) from people that haven't been identified yet. Once they register for an account or purchase, they'll be identified and all previous activity under that anonymous ID will merge with their new identity (which is an email address).

From here we can export this data to a CSV or export the list to MailChimp. Anonymous IDs will not be transferred to MailChimp (for obvious reasons). In MailChimp we can send an email reminding customers that they still have items left in their cart.

We can also utilize CRM retargeting in an attempt to get customers back on the site.

Lastly, we can click on each email address or ID to see each person's latest activity.

What You'll Need to Get This Data

This is all possible in Kissmetrics, but before you can can get this type of data you'll need to have a couple things in place:

You'll need to properly set-up events and properties. There are some things that work out of the box in Kissmetrics, but for any custom events and properties you'll need help from a developer. We do have Click to Track which can help tremendously in setting up events. You'll have to identify people by email address. Any other form of identification (ie username) won't return a list of email addresses. People Search will only return a list of however you're identifying people, and most of our customers identify people by their email address. Conclusion

This is just one way we built Kissmetrics to help you optimize your marketing. If you'd like to learn more about how Kissmetrics can help, check out our industry pages. We have one for SaaS, e-commerce, and agencies.

Questions? Leave them in the comments.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is the Blog Manager for Kissmetrics.

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How to Use Release Notes to Drive Feature Adoption

Companies are understandably excited to tell the world when they push new features. New developments can take months and they are the hope for more users, greater engagement, and achieving milestones towards success.

So how do teams communicate these big announcements to their users? A blog post, an unread notification, an email, and… that's it. They sit back and wait for impact, but are disappointed if the anticipated uptick in usage doesn't arrive.

Here we'll explain why standard feature announcements are missing the mark, and how to drive new feature adoption amongst your users.

The Standard Feature Announcement

The BJ Fogg behavior model is a big component of our thinking on user experience. It explains that new behaviors form when three elements align:

Motivation-the user wants to perform the action. Ability-the user has the capacity to perform the action. Triggers-the user is nudged to perform the action.

You can see how these three elements intersect in this graph:

When people have high motivation, they are more able to do hard things. When people have low motivation, they will only take action for easy to do behaviors. Triggers will push people into performing the actions, as long as there is sufficient motivation AND ability (above the action line curve).

When trying to change user behavior to adopt a new feature, an announcement serves as the trigger.

However there are three problems with conventional feature announcements:

Users miss them or forget about them because those channels are noisy and are out-of-context. Announcements focus on HOW to use the feature and emails are a terrible way for this: we learn by doing, but emails are not interactive. We explain more here. Announcements don't actually help a user adopt the new behavior, because they don't improve a user's ability (they don't make the new feature “easy to do”).

In these cases, the feature announcement email or notification or blog post is a trigger below the action line, and so it doesn't cause users to act and adopt the new feature or workflow.

Blog & Email Announcements

Blog and email messaging can help motivate users, but they don't help them adopt any new behavior. What's more, when a user is going through their inbox or reading a blog, they are away from the context of the app. Even if they see information about a new feature, it is difficult for them to internalize the new actions just through reading.

Automation tool Zapier has a whole section of their blog devoted to product updates:

They post once a month about new updates to their product. This is great information for new and current customers alike, but it isn't actionable. They are in the wrong place and the wrong frame of mind, so they don't have the ability to make any behavioral changes. They are just reading a blog, not thinking about using the product.

Following this up with an email highlighting the feature is also common. This is an email from email marketing tool MailChimp announcing improvements to their A/B testing tool:

Image Source

This email does tell you all you need to know about the new features. These types of update emails are great for maximum reach as you can send the update to the thousands of users on your email list. If any currently aren't finding good use for your product, this might be enough to bring them back.

But this doesn't help the user actually use the product. The call-to-action at the end of the email is to read more, even though they have just read a very long email about the product. Reading doesn't help the customer internalize the idea of the new feature. Though they might be giving use cases for the new features, the only way people can really learn is by using the product. MailChimp missed the opportunity here to direct the user into the product and to a tour of the new features.

In-app notifications

Ability is slightly higher with in-app announcements. In this case, the user is in the product and they are familiar with how it works.

But they are still way below the threshold needed to get the new user invested in the product. They are often delivered at the wrong time to the wrong user. Also, they just give the user more to read, instead of guiding the user through actions they need to take to get value from the new feature.

Most in-app notifications have this fatal flaw. For instance, if you've ever used project management tool Trello, then you will be familiar with Taco the Husky and his announcements:

Image Source

If you were to click on that link though you would be taken away from the product and to their blog:

This is the opposite of what you want. Users have been moved to a detailed description of your product, possibly raising their motivation, but lowering their ability. Plus, there's no guarantee users will come back once you send them away from your app. How many times have you clicked through a link thinking you'd just read one blog post or article and get back to what you were doing, only to disappear into a hours-long time sink? This is the fate Trello is tempting with this kind of feature announcement.

Instead showing them what to do in bite sized chunks through tooltips and product tours is much more effective. Users can internalize each new concept and start to use that feature, without being overwhelmed.

Increase Adoption with Targeted Product Tours

In each of the feature announcements we've looked at, users are simply told about the new feature and then left to find it themselves. They have low motivation and low ability. You need to get to your users when they have high motivation and high ability. This means teaching users with a product tour within the product.

Some products do this. For instance, Instagram's new Stories feature comes with a quick in-app tour that is easy to find, and pushes you towards using the feature:

These tours work best when they are in-context of what the user is doing at that very moment. For that, you need to segment users by both time and behavior.

Targeting the Right User

Sharing a new feature with all your users may seem the best way to increase engagement. But the truth is that each of your customer personas will have different use cases for your product. They will favor some features over others. Therefore, they will want to hear updates about some new features more than others.

Using behavioral data you can look at how different subsets of users have used a certain feature before, how engaged they currently are with the feature, or if they have used adjacent features recently.

You are looking for a behavior they have exhibited that demonstrates they are ready to learn about your new update. For instance, you could use Kissmetrics Analyze to identify specific customer journeys through your app and target different features to these different journeys.

Another example is the MailChimp feature above. If MailChimp wants to increase the use of their improved A/B testing they could target a tour towards users who exhibit the following behaviors:

Have previously created five regular campaigns - this shows they have the motivation to continually create campaigns, but perhaps not the knowledge of A/B campaigns. Have two or more saved templates - they have the ability to start testing each of these templates immediately with A/B testing. Have 1000+ contacts in their list - they have enough users to make a test statistically useful. Are currently creating their next campaign - they are in the position to start their next campaign.

These are the users that will be ready to use A/B testing in their email campaigns. Users who are just starting out with a single campaign, don't have templates ready, or only a small readership will not find value in this new feature.

Targeting at the Right Time

Targeting at the right time is as critical as targeting the right person. In the MailChimp example above, pinging that ideal customer just as they start generating their new campaign with “Hey, there's a better way!” can be just the trigger to move them to the new feature.

This isn't as simple as targeting someone the moment they sign in or start using a feature. It depends on what the new feature is and how it corresponds to the current feature they are using. Look at this example from survey platform Typeform. They show the announcement at the start of building a new survey:

This is a lost opportunity. At this point I have a form to build. That is my main motivation. I am going to immediately dismiss this tour and continue with my main task. By the time I'm finished, I'll have forgotten about these “cool features.”

If instead this was targeted after I had finished my main task then my motivation could be to check the new features out. Once I had successfully completed one task, I would then be ready to learn more.

Conclusion

Emails, blogs, and in-app notifications all have their place when it comes to feature announcements. Each messaging channel can be used at a different point to inform, teach, and highlight features to users.

But the in-app tour is the most powerful tool at your disposal for engaging users with new features:

You can target the right people: New features will appeal to a certain segment of your users most. Using behavioral data, you can find out who uses the features you're upgrading or aligned features and target a brief tour of the release only to them. You can target those people at the right time: in-app tours let you get your new features in front of users at the exact moment when they would find them most useful. This might be just as they finish a task, or just as they start another. But timing an in-app tour allows users to have the context needed for them to find value in the feature, as well as the ability and motivation to learn more.

When you target a tour to the right people at the right time you will have them when both motivation and ability are high. Then it only requires a small trigger to push them into action.

If you get this targeting right, then you have introduced the best customers to the most valuable features to them, meaning you are building success for them and your product.

About the Author: Pulkit Agrawal is cofounder & CEO of Chameleon, a platform for better user onboarding. He believes that first-user experience is a hidden treasure to drive improved user activation and retention. He writes on the Chameleon blog, which contains great resources on the psychology of effective user engagement. You can converse with him on Twitter.

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All You Need to Know About eCommerce Conversion Optimization | An Interview with Tomasz Mazur

The following is an interview with Tomasz Mazur, a Conversion Rate Optimization expert, currently working as a consultant with Peaks & Pies.

Tomasz has several years of experience working on eCommerce conversion optimization and UX. He has previously worked with Zalando, Europe's leading online fashion website.

Tomasz Mazur, Conversion Rate Optimization expert at Peaks & Pies

Tomasz answers our questions about conversion rate optimization from the perspective of eCommerce professionals.

Regarding the CRO Team and Sponsors 1) What does your ideal eCommerce CRO team consist of?

The team composition varies with the company. However, there are a few key members that every CRO team consists of (or should consist of):

A CRO manager who looks over the entire program-from strategy creation to website analysis and A/B testing A design professional A developer who can create functional test variations

The scale of the work of a CRO team mainly depends on website traffic. The objective is to make use of the entire website traffic always. Therefore, the greater the traffic, the larger a CRO team needs to be. Zalando, for instance, had a sizeable CRO team. There were more than 20 CRO managers working on the entire website traffic. The web analytics team had around 10 people who would attend to the minutest of details on the website such as product sorting algorithms. There was also a user research team that was in charge of qualitative research; the team used methods like usability labs, prototyping, focus groups, user interviews, and so on. As Zalando was operating in 15 markets and had a dedicated mobile website, the large size of the CRO team was justified.

2) Who should be the owner of a CRO program in an eCommerce organization?

The ownership of a CRO program should remain with someone from the higher management who understands the business impact of CRO. This person is the sponsor of the program. With understanding of the business impact of CRO, the sponsor doesn't necessarily have to exhibit knowledge of all the nuances of CRO. The sponsor could be the VP of Marketing, or the VP of Product.

Sponsorship is necessary to ensure proper delivery of resources to a CRO team.

Regarding Coordination with Other Teams 3) Does a CRO team require help from other teams in an eCommerce organization?

One team that works closely with a CRO team is Marketing (especially, the customer acquisition department). The KPIs of the marketing and CRO teams are often aligned. The input of the marketing team is quite valuable-they know the product and the behavior of the customers.

The customer support team also plays a crucial role in highlighting pain points across a website. This team acts as a channel for customer feedback and helps a great deal in developing hypotheses.

A CRO team also needs to have the product team on its side. The product ownership mostly lies with the product team and their buy-in is essential. I know a few organizations where the product team has a “Conversion Lead” who acts as a bridge with the CRO team.

Regarding the CRO Process 4) What is the CRO process that you follow?

The process typically consists of the following steps:

Studying the quantitative and qualitative data of a website Identifying problem areas on the website Developing hypotheses that aim to address the problem areas Creating variations per the hypotheses A/B testing the variations Analyzing the test results and sharing it with the team

Here is a graphic illustrating the process:

5) How do you build a hypothesis?

I use website analytics tools such as Google Analytics to look for optimization opportunities across a website, for example catalog pages, product pages, and the checkout page.

When certain webpages are identified for optimization, these undergo rigorous analysis. I first check if a webpage has the essential eCommerce features (such as a recommendation engine on the home page) or not. If a certain feature is missing, we have got an opportunity for optimization. I use heatmaps and click-tracking tools to find elements or a functionality that require optimization. Gathering user feedback, taking help of usability testing labs, and checking out competitors' websites are other ways of creating strong hypotheses.

I first check if a webpage has the essential eCommerce features (such as a recommendation engine on the home page) or not.

6) How do you prioritize A/B testing hypotheses?

I think a simple prioritization model like PIE-Potential, Importance, and then Ease-can work well for beginners. I personally like the model that is based on Potential, Confidence, and then Ease. This model gives a chance to the CRO team to take into account its past experience. A more sophisticated model can also include “political impact” as a criterion.

Moreover, prioritization needs to be a collaborative task to be successful. To estimate the “potential” of an A/B test, you might require the help of your marketing team. Similarly, the developers and designers can help you estimate the “ease” part.

7) What is the next step after hypothesis creation?

The next step is the design and development of a variation per the hypothesis.

However, before the variation is tested against a control, it must go through a thorough “quality assurance.” I think quality assurance is crucial for highly effective testing, but it is not emphasized enough in the CRO industry. You must make sure that all variations of an A/B test are free of bugs and issues.

Consider this: You are trying to improve a page that is already very optimized. You aim to achieve a humble 5% improvement in the conversion rate. If the variation doesn't work for 5% of your traffic (because you forgot to optimize for mobile users or Firefox users), your test will invariably fail.

I think quality assurance is crucial for highly effective testing, but it is not emphasized enough in the CRO industry.

8) Is sales or revenue always the primary goal of your tests? Or do you look at micro conversions?

I would say the metrics or KPIs you are tracking should always answer your hypothesis.

In some cases, it is quite simple to track the revenue metrics (for instance, while adding new payment options on the checkout page). But in most cases, you have to track a combination of micro and macro metrics.

9) How do you analyze your A/B test results?

To derive valuable learning from a test, we need to conduct a thorough analysis.

I look at both micro and macro goals to get a better context of the results. I also dig deeper by analyzing the test results for different traffic segments. For instance, I compare test results for new visitors versus returning visitors. You need to deal with a concept called novelty effect. Your returning visitors, when encountering a test variation, will recognize the changes on the page and might hold strong feelings about it (similar to how people strongly respond to major changes happening on Facebook or Instagram). However, new visitors will be unbiased with your test variation and would interact without any prejudices. Another set of segments that is relevant to eCommerce is mobile and desktop visitors. The behavior of both kinds of users can vary significantly.

I dig deeper by analyzing the test results for different traffic segments.

An analysis is always followed by summarizing the test results and recommending a plan of action. You check if the hypothesis was valid and whether you need to implement the winning variation or run a follow-up test.

10) If you find that conversions increased for new visitors but decreased for returning visitors, what do you do?

You need to derive learning from the test and realize why the difference in user behavior exists. For example, this could be happening because of an offer for your new visitors such as “10% off for new visitors.” While the new visitors would be encouraged to shop on the website, the returning visitors might feel like they are not being offered the best deal and feel cheated. Your next step would be to set up a system to identify new visitors and display the “10% off on first order” deal exclusively for them. You can additionally have a loyalty program in place for your returning visitors.

The goal of CRO is to not just have winning A/B tests, but also gain more knowledge about your users so that you can provide them a superior experience. Think about the bigger picture-the entire eCommerce ecosystem. If you find that your close-up product pictures work better than zoomed-out ones, you can communicate this idea to your display marketing team and help them create better ads. If you find that the “free delivery” offer works better than a “10$ free voucher,” you can share the knowledge with other teams such as customer support and product.

11) How important is a long-term A/B testing calendar for high-traffic eCommerce websites?

I think a long-term A/B testing calendar is essential for any kind of website. You need to have a prudent approach; clearly define all the tests that you can conduct, along with the time that each test is going to take.

Think of time as a resource. If you are not testing all the time, you are wasting opportunities to optimize your website (the same time that your competitors might capitalize to move ahead of you). With a long-term calendar, you can easily identify time slots in which you can fit quick A/B tests and utilize all your resources effectively.

Here is a sample template that I would use as my CRO roadmap (you can access the template here):

12) How important is a knowledge repository of past A/B tests?

A knowledge repository is crucial to make your CRO program effective. It helps you know what works for your users (and what doesn't) and helps you create better tests in the future. It is also used to introduce newcomers to the testing culture of an organization.

With every test you perform, it is important to document the details. You can start with a simple Google doc, and later get a sophisticated and comprehensive spreadsheet. Share the document with the entire CRO team so that everyone is on the same page and can avoid repeating any mistake. When the number of stakeholders is large, you can even think of a weekly/daily newsletter.

I usually archive my test results for every quarter.

Regarding the Nuances of eCommerce Conversion Optimization 13) Which eCommerce webpages do you think are key to a CRO program?

All of them. It's important to go through the complete customer journey and find optimization opportunities. The most common customer journey path is from the home page to the catalog page to the product page to the cart page, and finally to the checkout page. Of course, there are other customer journey paths as well.

It's important to go through the complete customer journey and find optimization opportunities.

However, a good CRO manager should always be able to identify low hanging fruits. I have seen that home page is the most tested page of eCommerce websites-mostly because it attracts the largest amount of traffic. Next in the list are product pages; these pages have a lot of traffic from channels such as affiliate partners and display ads. Third in the list are the register or login pages of websites.

14) With a large amount of traffic, how long do you run a test?

It is necessary to run an A/B test until it delivers a statistically significant result. However, with eCommerce websites, it is also important to consider the business cycle. For instance, the business cycle for fashion eCommerce is about one to two weeks. So even when a test deliver results in a few days, you need to run it for an entire business cycle to actually derive useful learning.

15) How many A/B tests do large eCommerce enterprises roughly run on a monthly basis?

That completely depends on the scale at which an eCommerce website is operating.

Large eCommerce enterprises like Zalando easily generate a traffic of millions of visitors in a single day. For example, Zalando had traffic from numerous markets and it could allow even 100 tests to run at an instance.

16) How does a festival season or “sale period” affect a CRO process?

I have a good amount of experience working with fashion eCommerce. I'd say that the sale period definitely has an effect on their CRO process. One of the main goals in a sale period is to clear out the inventory. This is when the principle of “urgency” is deployed heavily in CRO campaigns.

This is when the principle of “urgency” is deployed heavily in CRO campaigns.

For other eCommerce websites, the heavy-traffic period can be markedly different. For example, I am working with an eCommerce enterprise that sells premium alcohol. The on-season period for them is winters when people tend to stay at home more and buy alcohol (for personal consumption or as a gift). As a result, this enterprise is focused on optimization activities more during the winter season.

Your Turn

What do you think about this interview? Do you have any question of your own that you would like to ask Tomasz? Post them in the comments section below.

The post All You Need to Know About eCommerce Conversion Optimization | An Interview with Tomasz Mazur appeared first on VWO Blog.

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SearchCap: Google Merchant Center update, SEO & Chrome

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Google Merchant Center update, SEO & Chrome appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
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When Automation Goes Wrong: A Better Approach to Social Media

When Automation Goes Wrong: A Better Approach to Social Media written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pexels

Given the sheer scale of social media and the number of social channels (there are over 90 social networks) – and the volume of people using them (Facebook has over 1.59 billion active monthly users) – you could say it's a bit of a chore keeping up with everything.

Between monitoring, posting, and staying engaged, I'm not surprised that marketers try to automate the process as much as possible. But that's not going to keep people engaged or grow sales through social.

In fact, automation is the opposite of what we should be doing, when you consider that the whole idea of social media is to provide that direct, authentic engagement with our audiences.

And sometimes, brands pay the price for that automation.

We Love Social Media Fails

I think we put social media fails from brands right up there with celebrity gossip. Sometimes those fails are interesting, sometimes they're eye-roll-inducing, and sometimes they're just a trainwreck you can't look away from.

Domino's Pizza is the first brand that comes to mind.

 

After receiving a compliment on its Facebook page from a clearly satisfied customer, Domino's fired off the wrong auto response, posting a message that said “Sorry about that!” It's great that Domino's is prepared for damage control – every brand should be.

Unfortunately, that automation disconnected Domino's from its customer, and resulted in some negative feedback in what could have otherwise been a flawless bit of customer praise.

Oh, Oreo…

Oreo has received some praise in recent years for the mastery of its marketing messages, such as its quick thinking during the Super Bowl blackout in 2013.

But even a brand that has it together like Oreo can slip when it comes to automation. It might feel like you're in full control when automation is set up, but that control goes out the window when you start involving the public.

Oreo found this out in 2014 when it tweeted what was clearly an automated reply to a Twitter troll. That automated response led to a lot of negative PR for the brand.

Reach Out and Touch… Everyone. As Quickly as Possible.

AT&T had attempted to set up an automated campaign around March Madness. The campaign was supposed to create personalized tweets that went out to basketball fans around a Ticket Chasers campaign where fans could win NCAA tickets.

Unfortunately, the automated campaign wound up targeting a much larger audience than intended, which grew by the minute and quickly spammed a huge section of people. AT&T responded by quickly deleting threads and shutting down the bot, and its head of social media at the time issued a formal apology directly to Twitter followers.

Automation Has Its Place in Social

You never think it could happen to you, but the above examples weren't intentional. They were accidents – and accidents can happen.

I'm not advocating that brands and marketers stop using automation; it certainly has its place in your marketing strategy. If you want to effectively use automation, then use it to:

Schedule posts when your team is going to be offline, or if you're going on vacation or to a trade show/event. Fill up your content calendar by using tools like Quuu or Buffer. Then you're filling in gaps around your real-time posts. Find the best times to post content to get the most eyeballs.

None of that really takes away from your engagement with your audience. You're still posting great real-time content and rounding it out with stuff you've curated or scheduled ahead of time to keep up with your audience.

To avoid incidents like those above:

Don't make automated direct messages or automated responses part of your strategy. That ruins engagement, especially if you're not there to reply. Don't try to use scheduled content to blast the same message out to every social channel. You need to cater content to your audience segments, as well as the network you're on. Don't just curate and automate content posts when you haven't read the content or can't screen it. Keep It Authentic

A better approach to social media is to treat it the way it was meant to be used: to directly engage your fans in a sincere and authentic way that best represents your brand.

If you're strapped for time, I get that. I know what it's like to have a packed schedule. It's hard enough finding time to breathe, let alone post to 3 different social networks throughout the day.

When you're struggling to get authentic posts out and keep engagement up, then it's time to either invest in an agency that can manage it for you, delegate it to a team member, or hire a virtual assistant who can keep the social content flowing based on your strategy.

How do you maintain and grow your engagement on social media? Do you use automation tools or do you have a team that handles it for you? Share your approach with me in the comments below:

Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content, and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world's largest and most recognized brands, including Salesforce, Coca-Cola, Target and others, to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, his blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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8 Cool Marketing Analysis Tools for Data Junkies

Data is every marketer's best friend. Without data, we couldn't identify what's working well in our campaigns, diagnose potential problems, or decide upon which areas to focus our efforts. However, some data is more valuable than other data, and knowing which metrics to monitor can mean the difference between success and failure.

 

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of marketing analysis tools available to marketers of all disciplines. Some are free and do one thing really well, whereas others are subscription-based and offer a broad range of functionality. All of them promise the sweet, sweet data you need to run more effective campaigns, but which ones are worth your time?

In today's post, we'll be taking a look at eight marketing analysis tools to see what they do, who they're for, and what they can offer you.

1. Mixpanel – Advanced Web and Mobile Analytics

First up in our list of marketing analysis tools is Mixpanel, a powerful suite of analytical tools that can offer invaluable insights into audience behavior.

 

Image via Mixpanel

What Does It Do?

Mixpanel offers users a wealth of information about how people use websites and mobile apps. You can monitor user interaction with your app or site as a whole, or drill down to individual buttons and features to see exactly how your users are interacting with your product. All of this functionality is possible without requiring a single line of code, meaning that even non-technical personnel can access important data about your site or app.

Who Is It For?

Mixpanel has some impressive clients, including Autodesk, Salesforce, and Twitch, but its competitive pricing (see below) puts it well within reach of even small businesses. Users with complex websites or mobile apps could potentially benefit greatly from the insights offered by Mixpanel.

How Much Does It Cost?

For analysis of up to 25,000 data points per month (a data point is any defined user action, such as clicking a button or taking a specific action on your site or app), Mixpanel is free. The monthly subscription changes depending on the volume of data being analyzed. Check the official pricing page for more details.

2. The AdWords Performance Grader – A Complete PPC Audit in 60 Seconds

PPC is a great way to reach new customers and grow your business, but to say there are a lot of variables that can determine your success would be an understatement. For those new to the world of paid search, even identifying the right areas to focus on can be overwhelming, which is why thousands of small-business owners and advertisers have turned to the AdWords Performance Grader for help.

What Does It Do?

The AdWords Performance Grader quickly and securely evaluates the strength of your AdWords account in 60 seconds or less. Once the Grader has performed its audit of your account, you'll be presented with a detailed report showing the strengths and weaknesses of your account according to 10 key metrics, including mobile optimization, ad text optimization, and impression share.

This information allows you to zero in on the elements of your account that need the most work, offering a strong potential lift in immediate account performance.

Who Is It For?

Anyone with an active AdWords account can benefit from the insights provided by the AdWords Performance Grader, from small businesses to mid-sized agencies.

How Much Does It Cost?

The AdWords Performance Grader is completely free to use. Grade your account for free today!

3. Formisimo – Insight into Web Form Abandonment

Web forms are an integral part of using the web, but their prevalence doesn't make them any less of a challenge from a conversion perspective. That's what makes Formisimo so potentially valuable to marketers.

 

What Does It Do?

Formisimo provides users with actionable data about why people fail to complete web forms. The software analyzes real-time data from your site and compiles intuitive reports according to analysis of your forms against 54 individual metrics. This level of insight can tell you which parts of your forms are deterring prospects from converting, among many other things.

Who Is It For?

Anyone whose website or app uses web forms can benefit from Formisimo. Similarly to Mixpanel, Formisimo is used by some of the web's leading brands and sites, such as Toyota and Uber, but small businesses may benefit even more from the kind of actionable data promised by the software.

How Much Does It Cost?

Formisimo costs $50 per month for the “Startup” package, to $180 per month for agencies.

4. CrazyEgg – Heat Maps Done Right

There are few marketing analytics insights more valuable than heat map data. Seeing precisely where your users are focusing their attention on your site (among other uses) can provide marketers with remarkable insights into their audience's behavior.

 

What Does It Do?

CrazyEgg tracks and analyzes user behavior on websites. It tracks which elements of a page users are interacting with, which creates a heat map visualization of this behavior over time. CrazyEgg can also measure the scroll depth of web pages, revealing at what point you begin to lose visitors' attention. (This is one of the so-called “attention metrics”).

Another really cool feature of CrazyEgg is that it can tell you a great deal about where your clicks came from in the first place. In addition, you can augment your existing audience profile data with information from CrazyEgg, which can offer amazingly granular data and reporting, depending on the plan you opt for (more on this below).

Who Is It For?

If you want to stop guessing what your users are doing and start seeing actual data on what they're doing, CrazyEgg is for you. Heat maps – and the decisions you can make based upon them – can have an immense impact on your conversion rates, as you can literally see what people are doing on your site, as well as revealing areas that are being ignored.

How Much Does It Cost?

Notably, all CrazyEgg plans are completely free for the first 30 days, which is pretty awesome. Beyond that point, CrazyEgg plans start at $9 per month (paid annually for an up-front one-time yearly payment of $108) for the Basic plan, which includes data for 10,000 visits per month across 10 active pages with daily reporting.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Pro plan costs $99 per month (again, paid annually for an up-front, one-time payment of $1,188) and includes 250,000 visits per month across 100 active pages, hourly reporting, advanced filtering and tons of other cool stuff.

5. BuzzSumo – Laser-Focused Content/Social Analysis

Social media is a fickle mistress indeed, and despite the wealth of tools at our disposal to quantify and measure our social media and content marketing efforts, we still can't predict The Next Big Thing every time. We can, however, use BuzzSumo to find out what's really resonating with our audiences, and use that as a starting point.

 

Image via BuzzSumo

What Does It Do?

BuzzSumo is an extremely versatile social media and content analysis dashboard that provides users with data on which topics are trending across all major social media channels. You can analyze data from a range of time periods, from the previous 12 hours or spanning several months. This lets you see at-a-glance which topics in your industry are gaining the most social traction.

BuzzSumo offers a wide range of additional functionality, such as advanced keyword search operators, content type filters, backlink information, and even influencer marketing features. You can then sort and export this data into a spreadsheet-friendly format to examine the data in greater depth or use as the basis for your next content project.

Who Is It For?

Although almost anyone could benefit from being able to distinguish the signal from the noise online, content marketers, social media specialists, and established bloggers will benefit the most from BuzzSumo. WordStream's Founder and CTO, Larry Kim, is a big fan of BuzzSumo, and uses it frequently to help him keep up with the hottest topics in search and identify new content topics. If you work in content or social, you owe it to yourself to give BuzzSumo a shot.

How Much Does It Cost?

BuzzSumo is available in three tiers of service:

Pro - $99 per month Agency - $299 per month Enterprise - $999 per month

BuzzSumo also offers convenient monthly or annual billing options, though paying yearly offers a significant cost savings.

6. Convertable – Go Beyond Form Data

Form data can tell you a lot about your visitors. However, with the “need” for more information comes the temptation to ask too much of your users, potentially alienating them and harming your conversion rate. One analytical tool that might be of help to you if you're relying on web forms as a means of gathering data is Convertable, a tool that goes much deeper than standard form data.

 

Image via Convertable

What Does It Do?

Convertable analyzes the metadata of your web forms to provide you with a great deal more information about your users than form fields will allow. For example, Convertable will tell you potentially crucial data such as how that person arrived at your site (organic, paid etc.), relevant keywords they used to find you, user location, which pages they viewed (and how long they viewed them), and even the operating system and device they were using – all of which could prove valuable to marketers seeking to gain a greater understanding of their audiences.

Who Is It For?

Anyone who relies on web form data in their marketing campaigns can benefit from Convertable. Advertisers who are sending traffic from PPC ads directly to unique landing pages (e.g. all advertisers, in an ideal world) may get even more out of using this software, due to Convertable's keyword functionality and compatibility with both search and display campaigns. There's even a handy WordPress plugin, too, so bloggers can also access this data about their users.

How Much Does It Cost?

Convertable is free to use.

7. Crowdbooster – Social Media Moxie

There are plenty of social media analytics tools out there, but some are better than others. Although many social media marketers rely on Twitter and Facebook's robust built-in reporting to gain insights into their audience engagement, sometimes these tools feel a little lacking. That's where Crowdbooster comes in.

 

Image via Crowdbooster

What Does It Do?

Crowdbooster is a social media analytics platform that allows you to see how well your social media campaigns are performing through a series of intuitive, well-designed dashboards. Among the software's most exciting features is its real-time reporting functionality, which offers up-to-the-second data about who is engaging with your social content, and how.

It doesn't stop there, however. Crowdbooster also allows you to identify your most engaged fans and followers, and provides recommendations on both how to reach more of these brand evangelists, as well as how to improve the content of your social updates themselves for greater engagement. Of course, Crowdbooster also offers scheduling and automation functionality you'd expect from any social media management platform.

Who Is It For?

Crowdbooster seems best suited to social media professionals who are responsible for managing multiple branded or corporate social media accounts. That said, even small businesses just getting started with social could benefit from the insights offered by Crowdbooster, especially given the tool's emphasis on targeting high-engagement users and audiences.

How Much Does It Cost?

Crowdbooster plans begin at $9 per month for the Bronze package, which supports one Twitter account, one Facebook profile, one registered user, and analysis of up to 50,000 followers. At the other end of the spectrum, the Gold plan costs $119 per month, and supports 30 social profiles, 30 registered users, and analysis of unlimited fans and followers. Custom plans designed around your specific needs are also available on a bespoke basis.

8. Open Site Explorer – Advanced Link Profile Diagnostics

Nobody knows SEO like our esteemed friends at Moz. Not only is Moz famous for the breadth and depth of its SEO know-how, Moz is also widely respected for its range of software tools, among the best of which is Open Site Explorer, one of the best competitive intelligence tools for SEOs out there.

 

What Does It Do?

Open Site Explorer (sometimes abbreviated to OSE) is a link analysis tool that examines the link profile of a URL provided by the user. From here, you can examine a wealth of data about your site's link profile, such as domain and page authority, total number of inbound links, top pages, anchor text, and much more. Virtually everything you need to know about your link profile can be quickly and easily found in OSE, making it almost indispensable to SEOs and marketers seeking to increase their site's visibility.

Who Is It For?

While novice digital marketers can get a lot out of OSE, professional SEOs are the product's primary target market, particularly when it comes to OSE's advanced reporting features. However, content managers and even webmasters may find many of the tools in OSE useful, such as the software's spam analysis, link opportunity identification, and anchor text optimization tools.

How Much Does It Cost?

The bare-bones functionality of Open Site Explorer is available for free. However, OSE is best used when fully integrated with Moz Pro, Moz's wider suite of software tools that is available on a subscription basis. Moz Pro plans begin at $99 per month (available in both monthly and yearly billing plans).

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6 Tools That Will Help You Develop a Unified Visual Brand in Your Social Media Images

It's no secret that beautiful, eye-catching imagery is a great tool to getting your brand noticed on social media. Tweets with images tend to get 150% more retweets than ones without and images are easily the most shared and fav'd content on Facebook. But with all the different social media platforms out there it can be hard to keep up and feel like you're sending out a consistent message across all of them. Rather than sharing a patchwork of random images and hoping something somewhere takes off, here are some ways that you can create consistent content that your followers...

The post 6 Tools That Will Help You Develop a Unified Visual Brand in Your Social Media Images appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How Tweaking Your Microcopy Can Instantly Boost Your Conversions

So you want to boost your conversions. You're probably thinking of your headlines, your layout, your copy. You know, the big conversion generating stuff. Maybe you want to try a more attention-grabbing headline, maybe you want to rearrange your layout to follow user eye movement patterns.

Focusing on the big stuff is good. The big stuff is important.

But don't overlook the small stuff. In marketing, as in life, it's often the small stuff that has the greatest impact.

The small stuff could be detail in your design, like the color of a button.

Or it could be a detail in your copy. That's your microcopy.

Microcopy could only be three words long, but it's very important. A small tweak in your microcopy could boost your conversion rates by as much as 161.66%.

Want to know more?

Read on:

What is microcopy?

So what is microcopy exactly?

Microcopy is the the text on a web page that helps the users to do stuff.

Like this text on Zendesk's sign up page.

Microcopy is found on:

Buttons Form fields Form instructions Error messages

Microcopy is something we don't think about much. But it has hidden power. It can make or break your user's experience.

It can also make or break your conversion rate. More on that later.

Why is microcopy important?

Microcopy matters.

Here's why:

It's informative

Microcopy should be clear and eliminate confusion. On a form, it explains what you need your user to do and why. And it does this every step of the way.

For example, your form might ask for your customer's phone number. This could put some people off – they don't want to be bombarded with telemarketing calls.

Now you might explain that you only need their number in case you needed to contact them about their order. This would reassure your user and could make the difference between a sale or a lost opportunity.

It adds a human touch

Users like to interact with other people. Good microcopy makes users feel as if you're there to take care of their needs. It gives them confidence that if there's a problem, you'll be there to help.

It builds trust

Users can be wary of handing over personal or financial information over the internet. If they're not familiar with your company they can be doubly nervous. So you need to give them the reassurance that you're credible and trustworthy. Good microcopy would handle any doubts a user has about registering, subscribing or purchasing.

It expresses who you are

When a user is considering signing up for something you offer, they're about to embark on an experience with your brand. With carefully chosen microcopy you can shape users' expectations right from the outset. So you don't want bare, impersonal prompts.

Use your microcopy to express your brand identity. Be witty and engaging and you'll win them them over right from the outset.

It helps conversions

Sometimes a user is interested in what you offer, but is hesitating about signing up. That snippet of microcopy can clear up their reservations and make them feel welcome. This can make all the difference to increasing your chances of converting them.

The secret to writing amazing microcopy

Want to know how to write amazing microcopy?

Read on:

Know your user

Writing microcopy takes more than good writing skills. The secret of writing great microcopy lies in getting under the skin of your users. Learn to understand what your user is thinking and feeling. Then show them that you're on their side.

As Beth Dunn, HubSpot's UX writer and editor says:

“There's always got to be a sense of us being in it together”

Know your brand

As well as understanding your users you should have a clear understanding of your brand identity and voice. Your microcopy must be in alignment with your brand. If it isn't, you run the risk of confusing your users. A great idea would be to create an internal style guide to ensure that your microcopy remains consistent with your brand message.

Show a bit of personality

Microcopy needs to be functional, but there's nothing to say that it should be humourless. Sprinkling a few jokes, cultural references or irreverent remarks can actually enhance your user's experience.

It shows the humans behind your brand and makes users want to engage with you, to get to know you better.

Check out this cheeky error message by MailChimp.

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The error message reads: “Another user with this username already exists. Maybe it's your evil twin. Spooky.”

Be helpful

If your user makes an error, your microcopy should be there to help them fix it. If there are errors in the form the user has submitted, don't just flash up a “your form contains errors” message. Take the trouble to explain what the error is, and give helpful advice on how to fix it. For example, “It looks like the credit card number you entered is too short”.

Be concise

Users don't want to read lengthy chunks of microcopy. Give them clear instructions and keep it simple and short. Avoid technical jargon. Your microcopy should be so simple that a child could understand it.

Be encouraging

When a user is considering signing up with you they're often in two minds about it. They think you have what they need, but they're not 100% sure. How can they be? After all, they've never used your products or services before.

Your microcopy can nudge them in the right direction by encouraging your users to take action. The best way of doing this is to provide some kind of social proof or reassurance. For example you could set out the benefits you offer, mention the number of satisfied customers you have, or cite a glowing testimonial.

Basecamp does this very well.

Basecamp informs their users that, “Just last week, 6,892 companies got started with Basecamp 3!”

How to identify opportunities for using microcopy

So how do you identify opportunities for microcopy on your web pages? Here are couple of reliable indicators:

Low conversions: If an element on your page has a low conversion rate. User errors: If an element on your page is causing a high rate of user errors.

Even better, you can conduct usability testing to find where users are having problems on your web page. Listen to their feedback, it will tell you all you need.

Having said that, here are a few common opportunities for using microcopy:

To give a reason for taking action

Good microcopy tells your users the benefits they'll receive for taking action. Don't leave it to them to guess. If you want them to fill out a form, make sure you tell them what's in it for them.

Sure, you may already have landing page that covers this in detail. All the same, a few well placed snippets of microcopy can reinforce your message and get you the conversion. Typically the microcopy will go in your form's headlines and buttons.

Just look at Creative Market's popup.

Creative Market informs their users that they'll get “FREE graphics, fonts, themes, photos & more every week” if they sign up.

To answer why

Users don't like to give out personal information, especially if they feel it's unnecessary. In a usability study by the Baymard Institute, users who were asked to give personal details like their phone number often complained. However, the study found that users were far more receptive when a reason was given for needing their phone number.

Giving a reason why can not only boost compliance, it will increase trust as well.

Just look at this simple example.

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Users are told that their phone number is requested in case there's a problem with their account or purchase. They're further reassured that their number will not be shared with telemarketers.

Form headlines

Make it clear to your users exactly what they're signing up for. Form headlines are a great way to do this. The way to make them effective is to make it clear to users what they're getting when they sign up. They should answer the “what's in it for me” question. If you can show they that what you have to offer is relevant and useful, you'll get their attention.

Unbounce does this very well.

Unbounce lets their users know that they're signing up so they can learn “How to get started with A/B testing.”

Form fields

Form fields are a necessary part of gathering information from users. But they're often overlooked in conversion optimization strategies. Forms can be confusing, and users may make inadvertent errors in completing the fields. People aren't going to stick around if the form is making things hard for them.

Helpful microcopy can give users the information they need and tell them what they need to do to rectify an error. This can make the difference between a user signing up or deciding it's not worth the trouble.

Call to action buttons

Call to action buttons, or CTA buttons, are perfect for microcopy. They're the last thing your user sees before they act. Consequently the microcopy you use here can have a huge impact on conversion rates.

Avoid microcopy that simply tells users to click that button. Create phrases which emphasise what they'll be getting once they click. I cover this in detail in my post analyzing 5 great call to actions.

Look at this example from Akismet.

Users are invited to click on the button to “say goodbye to comment spam”.

In site search

If your website has a search bar it can be a source of higher conversions as it lets allows users find exactly what they're looking for. So you should encourage your users to use it.

A good way of doing this is to put some of your popular search terms in your search bar. This will prompt users to use your search function as well as give them some great keywords to start with.

Yelp does this quite well:

By adding “tacos, cheap dinner, Max's” and “San Francisco, CA” as suggested search terms, they subtly encourage their users to use their search function.

So can microcopy boost conversions?

Yes it can. And here's the proof:

Veal

Veaam conducted an on page survey to give them valuable user feedback on their lead generation form. They found that many visitors wanted to know the price of their services.

So they changed the phrase “Request a quote” to “Request pricing”.

Before:

After:

Image Source

The result?

An increase in conversions of 161.66%.

Content Verve

Content Verve added some microcopy to their signup form and conducted an A/B split test to measure the results. Their microcopy emphasised the benefits of signing up, thus encouraging their users to take action.

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The microcopy informed users that they'd be getting case studies & test results, how-to videos & articles, and podcasts with thought leaders.

The changes gave them an 83.75% increase in conversions.

Evergage

Evergage wanted to increase conversions on their landing page for Google Adwords visitors. They tested adding microcopy in the form of a brief welcome message.

Before:

After:

Image Source

Their message reads: “Welcome Googler! Thank you for searching for ways to increase conversions. Enjoy your eBook”.

They saw an increase in conversions by 11%.

Yoast

Yoast decided to optimize their checkout pages to improve their user experience. They anticipated that their changes would also increase conversions.

Yoast made a number of changes including adding strategically placed bits of microcopy. Like the message “there will be no additional costs” and “Continue shopping”.

Before:

After:

Image Source

The “no additional costs” test was added because Yoast realized that hidden costs are the #1 reason why people abandon shopping carts.

Yoast's changes (including microcopy) increased their conversions by 11.30%.

Microcopy is everywhere

Once you've become aware of microcopy, you'll start to see it everywhere. Sure, your headlines and layouts are important for directing attention that can generate conversions.

But microcopy addresses another need: user experience.

To do microcopy right, you voice the thoughts in your audience's head. You provide reassurance and earn their trust.

And this trust is what gets you the conversion you're looking for.

About the Author: Clement Lim helps B2B companies improve their content marketing and boost their conversion rates. Visit him at limwriter.com and download your free ebook “How to Create Content that Converts Like Crazy.” Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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5 Ways to Maximize Audience Engagement with a Single Word: Easy

Let's start with what might sound like an obvious fact: the more engaged your audience, the more likely they are to eventually give you money.

Engagement is, of course, a fluid concept that refers to a host of metrics, including bounce rates, pages per visit, session durations, attention minutes, scroll depth, media clicks, social shares, comments and micro conversions. For content-oriented sites - where “sticky” viewership is what drives sales - optimizing for engagement-oriented metrics is often the best way to maximize revenue.

Why? Because until you have a loyal, engaged audience that's hungry for your content - not to mention, an audience that actually trusts you - you'll never have a chance at monetization.

Unfortunately, the internet is a noisy place. The insane proliferation of all things content – not just blogging but social, mobile, audio, video, and app (thank you Pokémon Go) – have made engagement more difficult than ever. Today, the world's biggest bloggers and content producers are focusing their engagement goals on attention, customizing metrics tools to measure attention, and creating strategies that aim to attract attention.

So, what does it all comes down to?

One word: easy.

Unless your content is easy – easy to (1) scan, (2) interact with, (3) load, (4) share, and even (5) monetize – it doesn't stand a chance.

1. Easy to Scan

Just like the opening line above, this first tip might seem obvious. Sadly many brands still create pages without taking important aspects of their layout into account, such as the font sizes and typefaces of the text, or the use of bullet lists and subheadlines to break up the experience into digestible chunks.

When your visitors open your web pages and see long blog posts with ornate, small text that has no breathing room, this can immediately drive them to leave the site and find something else that's easier to follow.

Eye scan data shows that on the web, people don't exactly read very much. Instead, we “scan” pages, running our eyes from top to bottom along the left side of text blocks, in a pattern that resembles the letter F. When something catches our eye as potentially interesting, we'll read a few words across to the right, but then we move on. The more inviting your design and typography styles are, the more likely people will be to actually read complete sections of your pages.

Tools like FontPair will help you find the perfect Google Font pairings to compliment your site and brand messaging, which can, in turn, help increase your site's visit times and engagement performance. To create your stylesheets with selections based on FontPair's recommended combinations, you can easily identify the fonts most suitable for your brand, download them for free and start publishing pages that are optimized for engagement.

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Alongside of a scannable layout and font, do not overlook the crucial role that visuals play in your pages ability to command attention. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images, and infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than other any other type of content.

As Neil Patel points out in his Guide to Creating a Killer blog:

Be sure to include as much visual content into your articles as possible.

The brain processes images far faster than text. Creating an attention-grabbing image at the top of your article is simply a great way to engage users and encourage them to read the article.

Adding images throughout the article also helps people keep reading, and encourages sharing.

Generally speaking, the more images, the better. Or at least to a point – you don't want to overwhelm people with visual noise.

2. Easy to Interact With

Engagement, attention, and interaction all go hand in hand.

In fact, interactive content is one of the most exciting solutions for keeping users engaged and interested in your site.

With interactive content, site visitors feel a heightened sense of attachment to your pages, as they've essentially played a role in how your content takes shape. By spending time interacting with your site, they're all the more likely to share their content experiences with their peers.

It's easy to create and embed interactive elements for your pages using tools like Playbuzz. A free platform for editorial use, Playbuzz allows you to create customizable content for your website in the form of quizzes, polls, flip cards and more. This platform is an excellent opportunity to increase attention minutes and social sharing, and it also helps inject a sense of meaningful connection to the user experience.

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What's more, interactive content is a powerful monetization strategy. Pura Vida Bracelets, for example, hit the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in large part due to their seven-question quiz:

The quiz has been taken by more than 37,000 site visitors, 18,000 of whom have opted to provide their email addresses, which is a mind blowing conversion rate of 48.6%. Not only does the quiz suggest the perfect bracelet, but also uses the data collected to highlight specific aspects of a visitor's personality. The interactive nature of the quiz can help create strong bonds between the company and customers who ultimately become brand evangelists.

In addition to quizzes, polls, and flip cards, another hallmark of making your content easy to interact with is online chat. Unfortunately, the mistake many companies make on the online-chat front is forcing visitors and customers to come to them through a confusing maze of email strings and on-site logins. Instead, make chat insanely easy by going to your audience through a native tool like Facebook Messenger. Messenger is an easy way to not only provide instant feedback and brand announcements, but to also manage ecommerce engagement.

There are even tools like Bontact that allow marketers to offer multi-platform live chat to site visitors. So a conversation that starts in the widget on your web pages can easily move to Messenger, text, Skype, phone, email, screenshare or any number of other platforms.

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In the age of branded experiences spanning multiple devices, platforms, apps and customer journey phases, giving your site visitors the ability to interact with you on the channel of their choice can make a lasting impression.

3. Easy to Load

One of the biggest attention-killers for websites is the amount of time that it takes for the site to load. Over half of all web sessions are on mobile devices, which don't support the same connectivity speeds as computers. What's more, we're spending more and more time with our screens, so that time is becoming increasingly scarce and user patience is dwindling.

Data shows that just one second in load delays can drop conversions by 7%, three seconds of waiting for pages to load decreases satisfaction rates by 16%, and load time lags of four seconds make for 25% higher bounce rates. That's an engagement killer if ever there was one.

There are, however, solutions for improving your site delivery times, such as minimizing image file sizes with a tool like ImageOptim (Mac) or TinyPNG (web app) and using platforms like Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Content Marketing Institute's recent “Tips and Tools to Ensure Speed Doesn't Kill Your Site” offers a handful of low-hanging, speed-optimizing fruits designed specifically for content marketers to implement.

For truly rapid page loads, however – especially in the world of ecommerce – you may need to look into non-DIY solutions. CMI's last tip is all about investing in a content delivery network (CDN), which is essentially a network of servers that host your site's media assets in different locations around the world, for faster access.

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For best-in-class page load speeds, it's imperative to use intelligent and customizable caching algorithms. On average, websites that use CDNs are much faster and consume significantly less bandwidth than those that don't.

4. Easy to Share

Social sharing is, to a great extent, the highest level of engagement that there is.

When your site visitors share your pages, it means one of two things. Either they've enjoyed the experience so much that they want their like-minded peers to benefit from it as well, or they find your content so valuable that they believe sharing it will make them look good.

One of the best ways to maximize content sharing is to make it easy to do. When all it takes is a click of a button, people will be all the more likely to engage in this manner, putting you in great position to reach new audience members and expand your customer base.

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Social Warfare is one of many WordPress plugins that can add attractive share buttons to content pages. This tool is optimized for speed and aesthetics, but it has other features that differentiate it as well. Social Warfare supports thousands of preset design variations, allows site managers to customize default share text, and even appends UTM codes to share URLs for superior attribution in Google Analytics.

5. Easy to Monetize

The content publishing industry today is faced with some serious financial challenges, as it's getting harder and harder to turn a profit. The online advertising ecosystem is in a state of disarray, with a lack of viable solutions for making money from mobile users, trade groups operating with inconsistent viewability standards, and rampant fraudulent billing practices.

What's more, in their efforts to grab people's attention, publishers have been allowing advertisers to book placements in formats that are too interruptive. This is why we're seeing the rise of ad blockers today, and to win our audiences back, publishers need to change the way they operate. There are even ways to drive revenues from content pages without turning your audience off by being too pushy, intrusive or forceful – ways that increase onsite engagement rather than killing it.

An effective way to achieve this is by integrating contextual ads into your content. Imonomy's technology scans your web pages and automatically pairs your site's images with relevant, engaging banner ads.

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Because the in-image ads are displayed together with, and selected to match, your site's images, this platform delivers high viewability rates and improved engagement with your site's visitors. This, of course, translates to higher revenues in ways that don't compromise on content engagement.

Engagement Should Be Easy

It's essential to have a dynamic, thorough engagement strategy that maximizes interactions and time on site. In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, “Attention is the single most important asset.”

If your company is unable to grab the attention of its target audience and keep them meaningfully engaged on your website, sustainable revenues will be hard to come by.

And the one word to remember – when it comes to engagement and attention – is easy. This means your content should be easy to …

Scan Interact With Load Share Monetize

About the Author: Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the Founder & CEO of InboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. Nadav helps well-known brands in boosting their online visibility through PR, SEO and Social Media.

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4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

Digital marketing.

To some, it's merely another fancy buzzword. To others, it's the backbone of their entire business.

In my life, digital marketing is almost everything I do.

For most entrepreneurs, however, it is a highly underutilized and misunderstood tool.

Most people think digital marketing has to be an expensive endeavor that takes thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to see any success with.

This is simply not the case.

There are a number of free tools and opportunities within digital marketing that most entrepreneurs are missing.

Here are just a few of them to help get you started. 

1. Use the power of blog commenting to build links

Blog commenting has become a practice synonymous with spammers and sleazy online marketers.

Because of this, most entrepreneurs do not take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

Despite the negative connotation, blog comments are a fantastic way to promote your business and build a very natural link profile.

It's only when blog commenting is used improperly (like in the image below) that it's damaging to your Google ranking and personal reputation:

So, how can you use the power of blog commenting to market your content in an authentic, natural, and non-spammy way?

The first and most important step is finding the right blogs to comment on.

The best way to do this is simply to use blogs you regularly read or blogs that show up in your social media feed.

This practice ensures that you are posting on sites relevant to your niche.

It also increases the authenticity of your comments since you are an actual reader and probably have gained real value from the content you are commenting on.

However, if you already comment on your favorite blogs on a regular basis and are looking to expand your reach, there are other ways to find places to comment.

An easy way to do this is to utilize the Google Search Console and Advanced Search Operators.

Let's say you are running an online fitness clothing store for women.

You could enter any of the following search operators into Google:

Women's athletic wear “comments” Women's athletic style “leave a reply” Women's athletic clothing “leave a comment”

For example:

The search operators you are using clearly specify to Google that you only want search results that have the option to comment on the page.

After you've compiled a list of potential blogs to comment on, you can check their Ahrefs ranks to determine whether or not they are worth your time.

Now that you are done with the easy work of finding high quality blogs to comment on, it's time for the hard stuff.

And that's getting your comment approved.

This basically comes down to writing a non-spammy comment that still includes a link to your site.

Since most high-quality blogs have a pretty heavy moderation policy, this is not an easy task.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Always fill the name field with your name-not the name of your site. Comments that have URLs in the name field are deleted most of the time. Leave the website field blank. Since you are going to include a link in the body of your comment, leaving the website field blank will help improve the odds of your comment passing the moderator. The best way to comment is to pick a relevant point from the blog content and then expand on it in an authentic and genuine way.

Take a look at some of the examples below to see the right way to do this:

2. Don't overlook press releases

I know, I know.

“What the heck, Neil? Press releases?! We are in the 21st century here!”

And I get it.

But press releases, when used properly, can actually be a pretty fantastic tool.

If you time the article right, a press release can generate a load of views and shares for your content.

When you have a large number of people, especially journalists, reviewing your content, it is more likely that your work will be picked up by major publications.

This can be a pivotal component of getting your content to go viral.

Press releases can also help your link-building campaigns in a big way, but you have to be intentional about the content.

Here are a few of the benefits, if you can ignore the not-quite-accurate benefits of “rankings” and “links.”

Links and rankings do happen, but only indirectly.

If a journalist or blogger sees your press release and decides to cover your content or include it as a part of a major story, the keywords you'd use would be key.

Make sure your content is filled with keywords you want to rank for.

This way, if a journalist takes a quote from your work, you'll be able to build up links to help boost your rankings.

The most important thing to keep in mind when running a press release, however, is your message.

Unlike with a regular blog post or YouTube video, when you run a press release, you and your content are now in the spotlight.

If you have any incongruency in your messaging, any incorrect data, or serious errors within your release, the PR will do more harm than good.

With a press release, you are shouting your message from a mountaintop.

Make sure you are shouting the right message.

While press releases are typically very expensive endeavors, costing anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, there are tools online that let you generate press coverage for free.

Here are a few of the best:

24-7PressRelease.com PRLog.org IdeaMarketers.com

There are certainly drawbacks to press releases.

They do not directly improve SEO; they are difficult to track; and if you make a mistake, you can do more damage to your brand than good.

However, if you know your way around, you can actually market your content quite effectively using free press release sources.

Just make sure you consider the pros and cons before filing for a release.

3. Get on Google+

With the prevalence of social media in today's marketplace, it surprises me that more businesses do not take advantage of the Google+ platform.

Google+ is a fantastic free way to market yourself, your business, and your content.

Getting started on Google+ is simple.

Because I've already written extensively on how to use Google+ for your marketing campaigns, I'll give you only a brief synopsis in this article.

The first step is to claim authorship with your personal Google+ profile.

Basically, this makes it easier for readers to identify your content, and it will allow you to position yourself as an authority within your niche.

Here's how you can do this as simply as possible, courtesy of Social Media Examiner:

Once you've linked your content to your Google+ account, it's time to start utilizing the power of the Google+ apps.

The first thing I recommend is using the +1'd Content app.

This allows people to recommend a website or a post. It will increase your click-through rate and will allow people to share and comment on content outside of Google+.

Next, you need to set up YouTube integration with your Google+ account:

Source: youtubecreator.blogspot.com

Let me share a little statistic with you.

People spend almost 6 billion hours-a month (!)-consuming YouTube content.

By integrating your Google+ and YouTube accounts, you will expand your reach on both platforms simultaneously and increase the number of eyes viewing and sharing your content.

And finally…

The big one.

Google Hangouts.

Google Hangouts is by far one of my favorite marketing tools.

If you have any degree of authority within your niche, running regular Google hangouts is one of the fastest ways to engage your audience and improve your sales.

When people get to interact with you in a raw and unedited form, they tend to connect with you on a deeper level.

This will build engagement with your audience, transforming them from casual readers to raving fans.

Using a Google Hangout to host a webinar is also a great way to boost sales, especially whenever you are releasing a new product.

However, be warned.

If you are using webinars solely to promote new products, users will leave, and you will damage your online reputation.

You need to offer massive value while hosting webinars before you even mention a new product.

4. Do link outreach (the right way)

When digital and content marketing first started to take off, the tactic of link outreach became very common.

Link outreach basically looked something like this:

And the thing is…

…this used to work.

However, in the modern business world, the above strategy will probably have a 1-3% success rate, likely with lower tier websites and blogs.

But.

The core strategy of connecting with other influencers and having them promote your content (either by replacing a broken link or just sharing it outright) still works.

If you do it the right way.

What is the “right” way?

Focusing on relationships first and link building second.

Here is the deal.

A lot of Internet marketers are a pain in the butt.

They are constantly seeking to gain value from other people-those they have no relationship with-and rarely offer anything in return.

If you want to stand out from this crowd and actually succeed in your link-building efforts, you need to try a different approach.

The first step is to find companies you want a link from in the first place.

I once again recommend you select blogs and websites you are already familiar with and read on a regular basis.

But if you've already worn out all potential opportunities with your “regulars,” you can try another approach (shout-out to Ryan Stewart of Ahrefs.com for introducing me to this).

If you want to find great places to get potential links, then fire up Google, and input one or more of the following searches:

[Your keyword] + “Top posts of the week” [Your keyword] + “Friday link roundup” [Your keyword] + “Best posts of the week”

This will allow you to find blogs and websites already curating great content.

Trust me: it's a lot easier to get a link from one of these resources than from a blogger who only promotes their own content.

Now that you've found the blog you want to get a link from, it's time to connect.

This does not mean you immediately email them, asking for a link to your content.

The first step you need to take is to start following the blog/website/influencer on social media.

Once you are following them, drop them a line with something simple:

Hey, this is so-and-so. I read your piece on XYZ and really enjoyed it! Keep up the great work!

Once you have broken the ice and made the first contact on social media, start commenting on their posts and on their blog.

Do this for about a week, continuing the conversation you started above, if at all possible.

Once you've established good rapport and the influencer is aware of you, it's time to ask for the link.

While this tactic works great for broken links, it works even better if the blogger regularly posts a “Best of the web” article or something similar.

You will end up getting more traffic from a weekly roundup than you would from a broken link.

And, if your content is good, you may end up getting a repeat “customer” who will continue linking to your company for months or years to come.

Conclusion

Digital marketing can be a lot simpler (and less expensive) than people think.

But you have to be willing to take an “outside the box” approach to it.

Equipped with the above four tips and tricks, you'll be able to market your company more quickly and effectively than ever before.

None of the advice I've given here is easy, but it's simple and doable.

Take the time to educate yourself on these four opportunities, and learn how to capitalize on them to grow your business.

And invest your time in uncovering the wealth of other free digital marketing opportunities available in today's marketplace.

You may be surprised at how effectively you can market your company and your content without a big budget.

What is your favorite free digital marketing opportunity?

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5 Ways To Create Content On A Budget

Strategic content management is a touch task: Maintaining editorial calendar, producing high-quality content and promoting it on social media and beyond - all of that takes lots of time and effort. Hiring editors, writers and paying for tools that scale […]

Post from: Search Engine People SEO Blog

5 Ways To Create Content On A Budget

--
Written by Ann Smarty, SEOsmarty.com

The post 5 Ways To Create Content On A Budget appeared first on Search Engine People Blog.

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Why CMOs Need To Be Bullish On Programmatic Advertising

Before I get to my thoughts on why CMOs need to be bullish on programmatic advertising, let's first take a look at just what programmatic advertising is. 

We define it simply as “Automated advertising buying coupled with machine learning.” However, there are no shortages of definitions of the term programmatic advertising.

“Programmatic ad buying typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations and manual insertion orders. It's using machines to buy ads, basically.” -Digiday

“Programmatic advertising helps automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics.” -Marketing Land

The first definition helps explain it in very simply terms whereas the second helps explain what it does. 

In terms of the different types of programmatic advertising, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)-which is an industry organization geared toward ensuring standards across the advertising ecosystem-there are two types of programmatic buying (the process in which you're buying advertising):

1. Programmatic Direct
Also known as Premium Programmatic Advertising, this is an automated technology-driven method used for buying, selling, or fulfilling advertising. It provides for an Automated Guarantee Systematic automation of sales process. No insertion order (IO) or master services agreement (MSA) covered within the partnership.

2. Programmatic Real Time Bidding (RTB)
Two types of RTBs are Open Auction (audience targeting) and Private Marketplace Deals-which require a private marketplace and allow for fixed pricing and data overlays. We are beginning to see more and more of this type of programmatic advertising being used every day. 

Why CMOs Need To Be Bullish On Programmatic Advertising 

The shift to programmatic tactics means a few things for marketers and the industry as a whole. In essence, it has validated and delivered against the need for data-driven, and accountable ROI-based media delivery. Additionally, it has enabled an efficient method for publishers to monetize core inventory. 

In a nutshell, programmatic advertising aligns media with brand lift metrics for real ROI and only spends money where it will be effective. 

And it would appear that many of your fellow CMOs are planning on being bullish as eMarketer predicts that in 2016 programmatic TV spending will climb 127.8% to $710 million and by 2018 will account for 6% of all TV ad spending.

The New Currency of Advertising

Digital delivery and content is the new currency of advertising. Brands must find a way to connect while measuring returns on more than recall or click through rate (CTR). Only programmatic platforms can deliver that value.

Download The Programmatic Guide for Modern Marketers, Publishers, and Media Planners to learn how to deliver advertising that enhances the customer experience and a lot more. 

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Why CMOs Must Shift the Dialogue from Marketing Budgets to Revenue Targets

In 2007, David Court wrote an article entitled The Evolving Role of the CMO, as part of McKinsey & Company's quarterly publication. David spoke to how the CMO was in a position to spearhead the evolution that marketing is is in the middle of, or was back then. This evolution consisted of changing consumer behavior, managing complexity, responding to evolving buying patterns, shaping the public profile, and building new marketing capabilities-the list goes on!

You might ask, why am I referencing an article that is almost a decade old (that's half or one third the life span of some millennials)-the answer is simple-the CMO is still evolving.

As part of this continuous evolution, more and more CMOs are shifting away from a conventional marketing budget and are interested in setting, attaining, and measuring revenue targets. Scrutiny towards marketing is nothing old, nor will ever go away-perhaps that's the only constant most marketers can identify with. However, that scrutiny has helped create a culture of accountability amidst this incredible time of change.

So how do you make this shift?

Marketing cannot exist in silos. As the CMO becomes more and more accountable for the entire customer experience (CX) these swim lanes become blurred-in a good way. The interconnectedness of sales, marketing, customer experience, and support create one holistic view of the customer. Where the shift needs to take place is at this individual level-no longer is that customer a budgeted number of what your organization will spend to sell, service, or support them, but instead they are associated to a revenue number that you will generate through their evoked behaviors.   Reporting has to not only be a snapshot in time, a historical digest, but it has to also reflect a future state that incorporates overall business goals. Reporting to me is like driving. I'm constantly checking my rear view mirror but 90% of the time I am moving forward. Revenue targets can help you evolve that conversation at the C suite level from a cost center to a revenue generating essential component to the organizational strategy. Budgets typically don't increase-in fact they decrease. CMOs have to do more with less and this trend continues to shape how we market. I always share with my clients that it's a lot easier for us to determine a budget if we first understand what the revenue results are that we want to achieve. Your allocation towards technology, consulting expertise, and education should be a byproduct of the revenue results you create. Thus budgets often create constraints where revenue targets help excite you and your team towards a common goal-a future state.

Put it into effect today. Shift the dialogue from this is what I have budgeted to this is what my revenue target is-the impact will surprise you.

To find out the latest trends and how companies are realigning their marketing budgets during this marketing evolution, download the eConsultancy Marketing Budgets Report 2016.

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Labor Day

I've never been one to celebrate Labor Day. It's a US holiday built to say, “Hey good job, workers. You did work!” Seems a bit patronizing to me. I prefer to celebrate work every day. But you can make a holiday what you want, and so I made mine my own.

Labor Day

Over the last handful of days, Jacq launched a new food blog, I launched a nerd blog, and I published a book. I released a new podcast episode, and I've created this blog post.

Continue Reading

The post Labor Day appeared first on chrisbrogan.com.

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How To Turn An Email Subscriber Into A Loyal, Paying Customer

How To Turn An Email Subscriber Into A Loyal, Paying Customer written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

“The money is in the email list”

This has become the mantra of marketers everywhere. In fact, most experts agree that an email subscription list is the most powerful tool in your arsenal.

But, building a subscription list is just the start. Enticing those subscribers to buy something is the tricky part.

Nurturing your subscribers to make a sale

You've probably heard of the 'sales funnel'. You pour leads into the top of the funnel, some become email subscribers, and then a small amount fall through the bottom as a paying customer. It looks like this:

Well, one colleague made me see this in a whole new way. He said “It's more like a mountain. Your leads start at the bottom, and you've got to give them a leg up all the way to the top”.

In other words, you have to actively push them up to the sale – every step of the way – rather than simply letting them fall. Subscribers don't turn into customers without a little 'nurturing'. Here's how you do it:

1. Remind them who you are and why they signed up

The first step to securing a sale is building a trustworthy relationship. That means constantly reminding them who you are and why you deserve a place in their email inbox!

Most of us sign up to newsletters, slowly forget why, and ultimately unsubscribe.

With your first few emails, make it very clear who you are and what value you add. The first step to making a sale is not getting unsubscribed!

2. Offer something valuable for free

The best marketing is reciprocal. This is not a one-way street.

Your very first 'welcome' email should offer something highly valuable for free. If you used a lead magnet to encourage sign ups (eg. a free eBook, report, or web series), they should get this immediately. There are two good reasons for this:

One, subscribers get a warm fuzzy feeling when they get something for free. It's a great way to build a positive relationship and experience. And two, it proves your worth instantly. If you can provide value quickly, they're much more likely to come back and actively look out for your future emails.

P.s. this free content or product should be your best work. This is about rewarding subscribers and proving your value.

3. Do it quickly

This process should all happen very quickly. The longer you leave it to offer value, the quicker they'll forget about you. If your subscriber gets their first email a month after they subscribed, they're unlikely to open it, let alone buy anything.

Email is all about small, successive conversions. Make that first quick, free conversion instantly. Then they're hooked, and you can move on to making a sale.

4. The welcome series

Most websites send their subscribers a 'welcome' email and then move onto regular, general newsletters.

Instead, try a 'welcome journey'. It's a series of emails all connected and focused on making a sale.

photo credit My Emma

One of my clients uses a series of eight emails to tell a connected story from start to finish. During each email, there's a call-to-action to encourage new subscribers to take the next engagement step.

The first welcome email offers access to a free report and begins the story. The second email reminds them about the report and uses a case study to show its importance. The third introduces subscribers to a low-priced product and continues the story.

It keeps your open rate high, establishes your brand, and gives subscribers multiple entry points to engage and buy.

You can use your email client to automate this welcome series. The first email, for example, is dispatched immediately upon subscription. The second follows two days later, the third after a week etc.

5. Offer your subscribers a discount or exclusive offer

Subscribers on your list should feel like they're getting exclusive treatment. There has to be some form of reward or bonus to signing up.

One way to create this feeling is through exclusive offers and discounts. This is also one of the easiest ways to convince subscribers to buy something. Again, that first conversion is the most important, so offer it early.

You can use additional tricks here, such as setting a time limit on the offer to compel subscribers to take action. You could call it a 'one-time introductory offer'. Again, use your welcome series to remind subscribers about the discount along the way.

6. Use tiered pricing and entry-level products

By now, we've established the importance of the quick first sale. It's the entry gate to future sales and long-term custom.

But, naturally, new subscribers aren't going to jump in at the deep-end and purchase your $1,000 tuition series. However, they might buy a $10 report or webinar. They're not going to buy a $1500 camera, but they might test the waters with a $20 accessory.

If you analyse your biggest competitors, you'll probably notice they have a tiered system. See if they're using low-priced entry products to lure customers in.

Prove your worth, then offer an affordable entry product to secure that first real sale. From there, you can build up to the premium products.

7. Reduce the risk!

New subscribers are still figuring out if they can trust you. Their natural instinct is still a little wary, and they'll find any little reason not to buy from you.

It's your job to break down those natural barriers and remove any sense of anxiety. Include testimonials and social proof in your newsletters to show that others trust your service and products.

Offer free delivery to quell any worries about prices. Create a link to a 'live chat' or a direct phone number to show that you're open to customer service.

8. Use a call to action button in every email

Campaign Monitor – one of the leading email marketing platforms – claims that a call-to-action button converts 28% better than a simple link in the text.

photo credit Campaign Monitor

Most people scan an email, so they'll probably glance over a text link. However, they can't miss a big green button. In fact, they'll feel drawn to it. Don't be afraid to be bold. Direct your subscribers where to go next.

9. Remind customers about their empty shopping carts

It's often difficult to differentiate between casual subscribers and those with an intent to buy.

However, if you subscriber has gone to the trouble of adding items to their cart, they're a buyer. All you have to do is give them a nudge.

Remind them about the items in their cart and direct them to the checkout.

 

Building an email list is a core part of any good marketing strategy. However, signing up is just the start! Turning them into a paying customer is the real challenge.

What tricks do you use to convert your email subscribers? Let me know in the comment section!

Daren Low is the founder of Bitcatcha and co-developer of the free Server Speed Checker. With a decade of experience in website development and internet marketing to his name, Daren is considered a premier authority on all things related to building and managing an online presence.  Feel free to pick his brain by connecting via Twitter. 

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From the Editor's Desk: Blab is dead; long live our new podcast!

In this month's column, Editor-In-Chief Matt McGee talks about why we're changing our weekly video show to an audio-only podcast.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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Road Trip – 5 Tips For Creating International Campaigns

International markets can add complexity to any account, but here are a few settings and opportunities to make your global ad strategy stand out in non-US markets.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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When Automation Goes Wrong: A Better Approach to Social Media

When Automation Goes Wrong: A Better Approach to Social Media written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pexels

Given the sheer scale of social media and the number of social channels (there are over 90 social networks) – and the volume of people using them (Facebook has over 1.59 billion active monthly users) – you could say it's a bit of a chore keeping up with everything.

Between monitoring, posting, and staying engaged, I'm not surprised that marketers try to automate the process as much as possible. But that's not going to keep people engaged or grow sales through social.

In fact, automation is the opposite of what we should be doing, when you consider that the whole idea of social media is to provide that direct, authentic engagement with our audiences.

And sometimes, brands pay the price for that automation.

We Love Social Media Fails

I think we put social media fails from brands right up there with celebrity gossip. Sometimes those fails are interesting, sometimes they're eye-roll-inducing, and sometimes they're just a trainwreck you can't look away from.

Domino's Pizza is the first brand that comes to mind.

 

After receiving a compliment on its Facebook page from a clearly satisfied customer, Domino's fired off the wrong auto response, posting a message that said “Sorry about that!” It's great that Domino's is prepared for damage control – every brand should be.

Unfortunately, that automation disconnected Domino's from its customer, and resulted in some negative feedback in what could have otherwise been a flawless bit of customer praise.

Oh, Oreo…

Oreo has received some praise in recent years for the mastery of its marketing messages, such as its quick thinking during the Super Bowl blackout in 2013.

But even a brand that has it together like Oreo can slip when it comes to automation. It might feel like you're in full control when automation is set up, but that control goes out the window when you start involving the public.

Oreo found this out in 2014 when it tweeted what was clearly an automated reply to a Twitter troll. That automated response led to a lot of negative PR for the brand.

Reach Out and Touch… Everyone. As Quickly as Possible.

AT&T had attempted to set up an automated campaign around March Madness. The campaign was supposed to create personalized tweets that went out to basketball fans around a Ticket Chasers campaign where fans could win NCAA tickets.

Unfortunately, the automated campaign wound up targeting a much larger audience than intended, which grew by the minute and quickly spammed a huge section of people. AT&T responded by quickly deleting threads and shutting down the bot, and its head of social media at the time issued a formal apology directly to Twitter followers.

Automation Has Its Place in Social

You never think it could happen to you, but the above examples weren't intentional. They were accidents – and accidents can happen.

I'm not advocating that brands and marketers stop using automation; it certainly has its place in your marketing strategy. If you want to effectively use automation, then use it to:

Schedule posts when your team is going to be offline, or if you're going on vacation or to a trade show/event. Fill up your content calendar by using tools like Quuu or Buffer. Then you're filling in gaps around your real-time posts. Find the best times to post content to get the most eyeballs.

None of that really takes away from your engagement with your audience. You're still posting great real-time content and rounding it out with stuff you've curated or scheduled ahead of time to keep up with your audience.

To avoid incidents like those above:

Don't make automated direct messages or automated responses part of your strategy. That ruins engagement, especially if you're not there to reply. Don't try to use scheduled content to blast the same message out to every social channel. You need to cater content to your audience segments, as well as the network you're on. Don't just curate and automate content posts when you haven't read the content or can't screen it. Keep It Authentic

A better approach to social media is to treat it the way it was meant to be used: to directly engage your fans in a sincere and authentic way that best represents your brand.

If you're strapped for time, I get that. I know what it's like to have a packed schedule. It's hard enough finding time to breathe, let alone post to 3 different social networks throughout the day.

When you're struggling to get authentic posts out and keep engagement up, then it's time to either invest in an agency that can manage it for you, delegate it to a team member, or hire a virtual assistant who can keep the social content flowing based on your strategy.

How do you maintain and grow your engagement on social media? Do you use automation tools or do you have a team that handles it for you? Share your approach with me in the comments below:

Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content, and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world's largest and most recognized brands, including Salesforce, Coca-Cola, Target and others, to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, his blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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6 Tools That Will Help You Develop a Unified Visual Brand in Your Social Media Images

It's no secret that beautiful, eye-catching imagery is a great tool to getting your brand noticed on social media. Tweets with images tend to get 150% more retweets than ones without and images are easily the most shared and fav'd content on Facebook. But with all the different social media platforms out there it can be hard to keep up and feel like you're sending out a consistent message across all of them. Rather than sharing a patchwork of random images and hoping something somewhere takes off, here are some ways that you can create consistent content that your followers...

The post 6 Tools That Will Help You Develop a Unified Visual Brand in Your Social Media Images appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How Tweaking Your Microcopy Can Instantly Boost Your Conversions

So you want to boost your conversions. You're probably thinking of your headlines, your layout, your copy. You know, the big conversion generating stuff. Maybe you want to try a more attention-grabbing headline, maybe you want to rearrange your layout to follow user eye movement patterns.

Focusing on the big stuff is good. The big stuff is important.

But don't overlook the small stuff. In marketing, as in life, it's often the small stuff that has the greatest impact.

The small stuff could be detail in your design, like the color of a button.

Or it could be a detail in your copy. That's your microcopy.

Microcopy could only be three words long, but it's very important. A small tweak in your microcopy could boost your conversion rates by as much as 161.66%.

Want to know more?

Read on:

What is microcopy?

So what is microcopy exactly?

Microcopy is the the text on a web page that helps the users to do stuff.

Like this text on Zendesk's sign up page.

Microcopy is found on:

Buttons Form fields Form instructions Error messages

Microcopy is something we don't think about much. But it has hidden power. It can make or break your user's experience.

It can also make or break your conversion rate. More on that later.

Why is microcopy important?

Microcopy matters.

Here's why:

It's informative

Microcopy should be clear and eliminate confusion. On a form, it explains what you need your user to do and why. And it does this every step of the way.

For example, your form might ask for your customer's phone number. This could put some people off – they don't want to be bombarded with telemarketing calls.

Now you might explain that you only need their number in case you needed to contact them about their order. This would reassure your user and could make the difference between a sale or a lost opportunity.

It adds a human touch

Users like to interact with other people. Good microcopy makes users feel as if you're there to take care of their needs. It gives them confidence that if there's a problem, you'll be there to help.

It builds trust

Users can be wary of handing over personal or financial information over the internet. If they're not familiar with your company they can be doubly nervous. So you need to give them the reassurance that you're credible and trustworthy. Good microcopy would handle any doubts a user has about registering, subscribing or purchasing.

It expresses who you are

When a user is considering signing up for something you offer, they're about to embark on an experience with your brand. With carefully chosen microcopy you can shape users' expectations right from the outset. So you don't want bare, impersonal prompts.

Use your microcopy to express your brand identity. Be witty and engaging and you'll win them them over right from the outset.

It helps conversions

Sometimes a user is interested in what you offer, but is hesitating about signing up. That snippet of microcopy can clear up their reservations and make them feel welcome. This can make all the difference to increasing your chances of converting them.

The secret to writing amazing microcopy

Want to know how to write amazing microcopy?

Read on:

Know your user

Writing microcopy takes more than good writing skills. The secret of writing great microcopy lies in getting under the skin of your users. Learn to understand what your user is thinking and feeling. Then show them that you're on their side.

As Beth Dunn, HubSpot's UX writer and editor says:

“There's always got to be a sense of us being in it together”

Know your brand

As well as understanding your users you should have a clear understanding of your brand identity and voice. Your microcopy must be in alignment with your brand. If it isn't, you run the risk of confusing your users. A great idea would be to create an internal style guide to ensure that your microcopy remains consistent with your brand message.

Show a bit of personality

Microcopy needs to be functional, but there's nothing to say that it should be humourless. Sprinkling a few jokes, cultural references or irreverent remarks can actually enhance your user's experience.

It shows the humans behind your brand and makes users want to engage with you, to get to know you better.

Check out this cheeky error message by MailChimp.

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The error message reads: “Another user with this username already exists. Maybe it's your evil twin. Spooky.”

Be helpful

If your user makes an error, your microcopy should be there to help them fix it. If there are errors in the form the user has submitted, don't just flash up a “your form contains errors” message. Take the trouble to explain what the error is, and give helpful advice on how to fix it. For example, “It looks like the credit card number you entered is too short”.

Be concise

Users don't want to read lengthy chunks of microcopy. Give them clear instructions and keep it simple and short. Avoid technical jargon. Your microcopy should be so simple that a child could understand it.

Be encouraging

When a user is considering signing up with you they're often in two minds about it. They think you have what they need, but they're not 100% sure. How can they be? After all, they've never used your products or services before.

Your microcopy can nudge them in the right direction by encouraging your users to take action. The best way of doing this is to provide some kind of social proof or reassurance. For example you could set out the benefits you offer, mention the number of satisfied customers you have, or cite a glowing testimonial.

Basecamp does this very well.

Basecamp informs their users that, “Just last week, 6,892 companies got started with Basecamp 3!”

How to identify opportunities for using microcopy

So how do you identify opportunities for microcopy on your web pages? Here are couple of reliable indicators:

Low conversions: If an element on your page has a low conversion rate. User errors: If an element on your page is causing a high rate of user errors.

Even better, you can conduct usability testing to find where users are having problems on your web page. Listen to their feedback, it will tell you all you need.

Having said that, here are a few common opportunities for using microcopy:

To give a reason for taking action

Good microcopy tells your users the benefits they'll receive for taking action. Don't leave it to them to guess. If you want them to fill out a form, make sure you tell them what's in it for them.

Sure, you may already have landing page that covers this in detail. All the same, a few well placed snippets of microcopy can reinforce your message and get you the conversion. Typically the microcopy will go in your form's headlines and buttons.

Just look at Creative Market's popup.

Creative Market informs their users that they'll get “FREE graphics, fonts, themes, photos & more every week” if they sign up.

To answer why

Users don't like to give out personal information, especially if they feel it's unnecessary. In a usability study by the Baymard Institute, users who were asked to give personal details like their phone number often complained. However, the study found that users were far more receptive when a reason was given for needing their phone number.

Giving a reason why can not only boost compliance, it will increase trust as well.

Just look at this simple example.

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Users are told that their phone number is requested in case there's a problem with their account or purchase. They're further reassured that their number will not be shared with telemarketers.

Form headlines

Make it clear to your users exactly what they're signing up for. Form headlines are a great way to do this. The way to make them effective is to make it clear to users what they're getting when they sign up. They should answer the “what's in it for me” question. If you can show they that what you have to offer is relevant and useful, you'll get their attention.

Unbounce does this very well.

Unbounce lets their users know that they're signing up so they can learn “How to get started with A/B testing.”

Form fields

Form fields are a necessary part of gathering information from users. But they're often overlooked in conversion optimization strategies. Forms can be confusing, and users may make inadvertent errors in completing the fields. People aren't going to stick around if the form is making things hard for them.

Helpful microcopy can give users the information they need and tell them what they need to do to rectify an error. This can make the difference between a user signing up or deciding it's not worth the trouble.

Call to action buttons

Call to action buttons, or CTA buttons, are perfect for microcopy. They're the last thing your user sees before they act. Consequently the microcopy you use here can have a huge impact on conversion rates.

Avoid microcopy that simply tells users to click that button. Create phrases which emphasise what they'll be getting once they click. I cover this in detail in my post analyzing 5 great call to actions.

Look at this example from Akismet.

Users are invited to click on the button to “say goodbye to comment spam”.

In site search

If your website has a search bar it can be a source of higher conversions as it lets allows users find exactly what they're looking for. So you should encourage your users to use it.

A good way of doing this is to put some of your popular search terms in your search bar. This will prompt users to use your search function as well as give them some great keywords to start with.

Yelp does this quite well:

By adding “tacos, cheap dinner, Max's” and “San Francisco, CA” as suggested search terms, they subtly encourage their users to use their search function.

So can microcopy boost conversions?

Yes it can. And here's the proof:

Veal

Veaam conducted an on page survey to give them valuable user feedback on their lead generation form. They found that many visitors wanted to know the price of their services.

So they changed the phrase “Request a quote” to “Request pricing”.

Before:

After:

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The result?

An increase in conversions of 161.66%.

Content Verve

Content Verve added some microcopy to their signup form and conducted an A/B split test to measure the results. Their microcopy emphasised the benefits of signing up, thus encouraging their users to take action.

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The microcopy informed users that they'd be getting case studies & test results, how-to videos & articles, and podcasts with thought leaders.

The changes gave them an 83.75% increase in conversions.

Evergage

Evergage wanted to increase conversions on their landing page for Google Adwords visitors. They tested adding microcopy in the form of a brief welcome message.

Before:

After:

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Their message reads: “Welcome Googler! Thank you for searching for ways to increase conversions. Enjoy your eBook”.

They saw an increase in conversions by 11%.

Yoast

Yoast decided to optimize their checkout pages to improve their user experience. They anticipated that their changes would also increase conversions.

Yoast made a number of changes including adding strategically placed bits of microcopy. Like the message “there will be no additional costs” and “Continue shopping”.

Before:

After:

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The “no additional costs” test was added because Yoast realized that hidden costs are the #1 reason why people abandon shopping carts.

Yoast's changes (including microcopy) increased their conversions by 11.30%.

Microcopy is everywhere

Once you've become aware of microcopy, you'll start to see it everywhere. Sure, your headlines and layouts are important for directing attention that can generate conversions.

But microcopy addresses another need: user experience.

To do microcopy right, you voice the thoughts in your audience's head. You provide reassurance and earn their trust.

And this trust is what gets you the conversion you're looking for.

About the Author: Clement Lim helps B2B companies improve their content marketing and boost their conversion rates. Visit him at limwriter.com and download your free ebook “How to Create Content that Converts Like Crazy.” Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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5 Ways to Maximize Audience Engagement with a Single Word: Easy

Let's start with what might sound like an obvious fact: the more engaged your audience, the more likely they are to eventually give you money.

Engagement is, of course, a fluid concept that refers to a host of metrics, including bounce rates, pages per visit, session durations, attention minutes, scroll depth, media clicks, social shares, comments and micro conversions. For content-oriented sites - where “sticky” viewership is what drives sales - optimizing for engagement-oriented metrics is often the best way to maximize revenue.

Why? Because until you have a loyal, engaged audience that's hungry for your content - not to mention, an audience that actually trusts you - you'll never have a chance at monetization.

Unfortunately, the internet is a noisy place. The insane proliferation of all things content – not just blogging but social, mobile, audio, video, and app (thank you Pokémon Go) – have made engagement more difficult than ever. Today, the world's biggest bloggers and content producers are focusing their engagement goals on attention, customizing metrics tools to measure attention, and creating strategies that aim to attract attention.

So, what does it all comes down to?

One word: easy.

Unless your content is easy – easy to (1) scan, (2) interact with, (3) load, (4) share, and even (5) monetize – it doesn't stand a chance.

1. Easy to Scan

Just like the opening line above, this first tip might seem obvious. Sadly many brands still create pages without taking important aspects of their layout into account, such as the font sizes and typefaces of the text, or the use of bullet lists and subheadlines to break up the experience into digestible chunks.

When your visitors open your web pages and see long blog posts with ornate, small text that has no breathing room, this can immediately drive them to leave the site and find something else that's easier to follow.

Eye scan data shows that on the web, people don't exactly read very much. Instead, we “scan” pages, running our eyes from top to bottom along the left side of text blocks, in a pattern that resembles the letter F. When something catches our eye as potentially interesting, we'll read a few words across to the right, but then we move on. The more inviting your design and typography styles are, the more likely people will be to actually read complete sections of your pages.

Tools like FontPair will help you find the perfect Google Font pairings to compliment your site and brand messaging, which can, in turn, help increase your site's visit times and engagement performance. To create your stylesheets with selections based on FontPair's recommended combinations, you can easily identify the fonts most suitable for your brand, download them for free and start publishing pages that are optimized for engagement.

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Alongside of a scannable layout and font, do not overlook the crucial role that visuals play in your pages ability to command attention. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images, and infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than other any other type of content.

As Neil Patel points out in his Guide to Creating a Killer blog:

Be sure to include as much visual content into your articles as possible.

The brain processes images far faster than text. Creating an attention-grabbing image at the top of your article is simply a great way to engage users and encourage them to read the article.

Adding images throughout the article also helps people keep reading, and encourages sharing.

Generally speaking, the more images, the better. Or at least to a point – you don't want to overwhelm people with visual noise.

2. Easy to Interact With

Engagement, attention, and interaction all go hand in hand.

In fact, interactive content is one of the most exciting solutions for keeping users engaged and interested in your site.

With interactive content, site visitors feel a heightened sense of attachment to your pages, as they've essentially played a role in how your content takes shape. By spending time interacting with your site, they're all the more likely to share their content experiences with their peers.

It's easy to create and embed interactive elements for your pages using tools like Playbuzz. A free platform for editorial use, Playbuzz allows you to create customizable content for your website in the form of quizzes, polls, flip cards and more. This platform is an excellent opportunity to increase attention minutes and social sharing, and it also helps inject a sense of meaningful connection to the user experience.

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What's more, interactive content is a powerful monetization strategy. Pura Vida Bracelets, for example, hit the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in large part due to their seven-question quiz:

The quiz has been taken by more than 37,000 site visitors, 18,000 of whom have opted to provide their email addresses, which is a mind blowing conversion rate of 48.6%. Not only does the quiz suggest the perfect bracelet, but also uses the data collected to highlight specific aspects of a visitor's personality. The interactive nature of the quiz can help create strong bonds between the company and customers who ultimately become brand evangelists.

In addition to quizzes, polls, and flip cards, another hallmark of making your content easy to interact with is online chat. Unfortunately, the mistake many companies make on the online-chat front is forcing visitors and customers to come to them through a confusing maze of email strings and on-site logins. Instead, make chat insanely easy by going to your audience through a native tool like Facebook Messenger. Messenger is an easy way to not only provide instant feedback and brand announcements, but to also manage ecommerce engagement.

There are even tools like Bontact that allow marketers to offer multi-platform live chat to site visitors. So a conversation that starts in the widget on your web pages can easily move to Messenger, text, Skype, phone, email, screenshare or any number of other platforms.

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In the age of branded experiences spanning multiple devices, platforms, apps and customer journey phases, giving your site visitors the ability to interact with you on the channel of their choice can make a lasting impression.

3. Easy to Load

One of the biggest attention-killers for websites is the amount of time that it takes for the site to load. Over half of all web sessions are on mobile devices, which don't support the same connectivity speeds as computers. What's more, we're spending more and more time with our screens, so that time is becoming increasingly scarce and user patience is dwindling.

Data shows that just one second in load delays can drop conversions by 7%, three seconds of waiting for pages to load decreases satisfaction rates by 16%, and load time lags of four seconds make for 25% higher bounce rates. That's an engagement killer if ever there was one.

There are, however, solutions for improving your site delivery times, such as minimizing image file sizes with a tool like ImageOptim (Mac) or TinyPNG (web app) and using platforms like Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Content Marketing Institute's recent “Tips and Tools to Ensure Speed Doesn't Kill Your Site” offers a handful of low-hanging, speed-optimizing fruits designed specifically for content marketers to implement.

For truly rapid page loads, however – especially in the world of ecommerce – you may need to look into non-DIY solutions. CMI's last tip is all about investing in a content delivery network (CDN), which is essentially a network of servers that host your site's media assets in different locations around the world, for faster access.

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For best-in-class page load speeds, it's imperative to use intelligent and customizable caching algorithms. On average, websites that use CDNs are much faster and consume significantly less bandwidth than those that don't.

4. Easy to Share

Social sharing is, to a great extent, the highest level of engagement that there is.

When your site visitors share your pages, it means one of two things. Either they've enjoyed the experience so much that they want their like-minded peers to benefit from it as well, or they find your content so valuable that they believe sharing it will make them look good.

One of the best ways to maximize content sharing is to make it easy to do. When all it takes is a click of a button, people will be all the more likely to engage in this manner, putting you in great position to reach new audience members and expand your customer base.

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Social Warfare is one of many WordPress plugins that can add attractive share buttons to content pages. This tool is optimized for speed and aesthetics, but it has other features that differentiate it as well. Social Warfare supports thousands of preset design variations, allows site managers to customize default share text, and even appends UTM codes to share URLs for superior attribution in Google Analytics.

5. Easy to Monetize

The content publishing industry today is faced with some serious financial challenges, as it's getting harder and harder to turn a profit. The online advertising ecosystem is in a state of disarray, with a lack of viable solutions for making money from mobile users, trade groups operating with inconsistent viewability standards, and rampant fraudulent billing practices.

What's more, in their efforts to grab people's attention, publishers have been allowing advertisers to book placements in formats that are too interruptive. This is why we're seeing the rise of ad blockers today, and to win our audiences back, publishers need to change the way they operate. There are even ways to drive revenues from content pages without turning your audience off by being too pushy, intrusive or forceful – ways that increase onsite engagement rather than killing it.

An effective way to achieve this is by integrating contextual ads into your content. Imonomy's technology scans your web pages and automatically pairs your site's images with relevant, engaging banner ads.

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Because the in-image ads are displayed together with, and selected to match, your site's images, this platform delivers high viewability rates and improved engagement with your site's visitors. This, of course, translates to higher revenues in ways that don't compromise on content engagement.

Engagement Should Be Easy

It's essential to have a dynamic, thorough engagement strategy that maximizes interactions and time on site. In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, “Attention is the single most important asset.”

If your company is unable to grab the attention of its target audience and keep them meaningfully engaged on your website, sustainable revenues will be hard to come by.

And the one word to remember – when it comes to engagement and attention – is easy. This means your content should be easy to …

Scan Interact With Load Share Monetize

About the Author: Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the Founder & CEO of InboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. Nadav helps well-known brands in boosting their online visibility through PR, SEO and Social Media.

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Networking 101: How to be a Creative Connector

Networking is like dating. What am I going to say? What do I do with my hands? Do they even like me? Don't worry, we've all been there before. Networking is crucial in the working world and that's why if you're not engaging and purposeful, you're probably not going to get that job offer [or second date].…

The post Networking 101: How to be a Creative Connector appeared first on Seer Interactive.

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Marketing Day: Native ads, APIs & mobile-first micro-moments

Here's our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
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5 Things to Know About Today's SaaS Customer

Today's SaaS customers are savvy.

Old marketing tactics don't excite them. And features disguised as benefits are easily recognized.

As technology evolves, consumer behavior changes as well. Buyers expect quality products backed by efficient service.

This is an opportunity for your business to experiment with new strategies and cater to customers differently.

“As marketers, it's essential to pay attention to consumer behavior and to be creative within the constraints of each marketing channel we use,” states Ash Read, content crafter at Buffer.

Start selling like it's 2016, not 1916. Here are five things you should know about today's customer.

1. They Research First

Adweek reports that “81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying.” With access to more information than previous generations, consumers are taking the time to do their homework.

Customers want to know if your product is actually worth their money and time. And to gain that insight, they look for reviews.

Products reviews are vital in online shopping. They offer an honest perspective from a current customer's experience.

Take advantage of this trend. Post reviews from customers on your product pages. Consider creating case studies to showcase how customers benefited from your services.

Unbounce offers their prospective buyers a collection of case studies. Below is a snapshot from the website:

“Businesses that want to generate leads online should focus on making their websites a top destination for information with custom content. People use search engines and social channels to learn about items before purchasing, whether they're shopping for themselves or their businesses,” states Lauren Kaye, marketing editor at Brafton Inc.

And potential buyers aren't just interested in learning about your product. They want to learn about your whole brand.

How are you treating your SaaS employees? Do you use locally sourced suppliers? Are you donating to charities on an annual basis?

Your brand's overall image is important to buyers. So, make your company's information readily available.

2. They Desire Quality

Quality, results-driven products will always outweigh more features. People want reassurance that your services will do more good than harm.

Customers possess explicit and implicit performance expectations. That includes anything from specific product features to service benefits.

For example, if your software experiences an outage, will the problem be solved in a few hours? And do your offer 24/7 customer service?

Quality is a win-win situation. Consumers receive what they desire. And your business has the opportunity to charge customers more.

“Customers desire the best product and service quality and are willing to pay a premium for it. High reliability is assumed,” says Ken Dooley, founder of Madison Productions.

For quality to exist, your entire team must be on the same page. Inform employees on how their actions impact the customer.

“Transparency on quality measures helps create buy-in on quality management and enables employees to understand what role quality plays in how they do work, how they can impact quality, and its effects on their customers' satisfaction. Transparency breeds accountability at the most basic level…”, writes Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland, research program manager at APQC.

Quality is dependent on the customer's perception. Figure out what they want. Then, work with your team to create a transparent strategy.

3. They Demand Speed

SaaS customers want solutions to their problems today, not tomorrow. With next day shipping and one-click subscriptions, buyers consider speed a minimum standard.

This benchmark holds true for customer service. And buyers are accustomed to using fast communication tools.

“Today's customers are media agnostic, having grown up using the phone, email, Web chat, IM, and social media interchangeably. They are comfortable, and may even prefer, communicating online versus face to face or over the phone,” writes Laura Bassett, director of marketing at Avaya.

Some businesses consider speed a downfall. But your customers may think differently.

Zendesk found that “69% of participants associated their good customer service experience with the quick resolution of their issue.”

To encourage speedy response times, Facebook also offers brands an opportunity to earn a page responsiveness badge. Companies that respond to 90% of their received messages within five minutes get the designation.

But offering fast service isn't a new strategy. Innovative businesses have always strived to perform better.

“Forward thinking companies realized how much customers hated being on hold while waiting for a service rep that they invested in technology that would automatically call a customer back when it was their turn,” states Shep Hyken, a customer service expert.

So, start responding to your customers' questions in a timely fashion.

4. They Prefer Consistency

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. The same is true between your company and customers. Buyers want to know that your website won't disappear after they swipe their credit cards.

Plus, consistency eliminates brand confusion. And builds upon your previous success.

“By maintaining the same branding across all your resources – both online and offline – your customers will be able to recognize you much faster and will, hopefully, start to show loyalty to your brand,” says Kelly Haggard Olson, creative content strategist at Blue Zoo Creative.

Research shows that “45% of a brand's image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it.” Consumers prefer a consistent brand experience, whether talking to a salesperson or shopping on your website.

Beth Pop Nikolov, content strategist for Venveo, offers a good analogy:

“When you're getting to know a person, you start to develop opinions, ideas and assumptions about them based on your interactions. If they are dressed in a business suit one day, bermuda shorts and a ratty T-shirt the next and then a scuba diving suit another time, it may be hard to nail down exactly who they are and what they are all about.”

Align your marketing and sales team to ensure the same messaging is communicated to consumers. Talk with your customer service reps to streamline quality across all channels, including live chat and email.

Give your customers the trust they deserve. Be consistent.

5. They Seek Novelty

Boring isn't cool anymore (and it never was). SaaS consumers want one-of-a-kind experiences to share with their colleagues.

Adding novelty to your marketing mix demonstrates creativity. It sparks customers' interests and gets them to pay closer attention to your brand.

Sid Bharath, an entrepreneur and growth hacker, states, “We all want new experiences. We want to see new places, meet new people, and use new products. So don't stop creating something new. Create new products, create new features, create new content, and give your customers new experiences.”

Build originality directly into your company. For instance, how can you enhance your loyalty program?

Coffee maker Nespresso entices their loyal customers with personalized orders, delivery, recycling and customer-service options.

“Put a smile on their face and in their heart. You can do something special for their child, their parent, and their pet. Make them laugh, thank them in a showy way for a major purchase, have a contest or a drawing for something fun that they could share with family and friends,” says Sydney Biddle Barrows, New York-based business consultant.

Go the extra mile. Surprise your customers with your latest product or a free trip to your next conference. Give them an experience worth sharing with others.

Know Your Customer

Customers are smart. False promotions or useless features don't fool them.

Learn how to meet your customers' needs. Make product information readily available. Offer quality that can't be found elsewhere. And give them a unique experience.

Be in the now. Know your SaaS customer.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

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Get Inspired By These 10 Beautiful Landing Page Designs [FREE DOWNLOAD]

You've been designing and building landing pages for a while now.

You may even create landing pages for clients.

You've seen the benefits of landing pages first-hand, and cringe at the thought of sending PPC traffic to a homepage.

You pride yourself on creating pages that are both beautiful and delightful… a recipe for campaign success.

If landing page building was an Olympic sport, you'd be Michael Phelps. Image via Giphy.

But then, unexpectedly, you're hit with a massive wave of landing page creative block. It's a thing, and it can happen to anyone.

Creative block creeps up when you've got all the tools to build a massively high-converting landing page, but the juices just aren't flowing. And without those creative juices, your landing page could end up feeling stuffy and robotic.

Fear not, friends, there's an easy cure for landing page creative block. Simply follow my two-step process and you'll be pumping out beautiful, high-converting pages in no time.

Step 1: De-stress

Here are a few ideas:

Take several deep breaths. Try this guided meditation. Go for a quick walk around the office. Watch this video. Step 2: Download our FREE 2016 Spring Lookbook

Featuring 10 sensational real-life landing pages spanning multiple industries, the 2016 Spring Lookbook is sure to inspire you and get those creative juices flowing.

Feeling a little uninspired?
Download our FREE Spring 2016 Lookbook, packed with landing page design inspiration!
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