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4 Hot Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016

Few things have had such a profound effect on the way we live, work, play and socialize as mobile devices. From sending emails and texts to incorporating cameras, GPS navigation, menu ordering and entertainment, no one could have predicted that the humble “brick” would evolve to become such an integral part of our digital lifestyle.

But just as devices and technologies change, so too do our marketing methods. 2015 was the first year that mobile traffic exceeded that of desktop users. As marketers, this opens up a whole new field of ideas to try and avenues to pursue in order to reach these customers, create dialogues and forge relationships with them in a way that makes our offer irresistible.

Gone are the days of top-down communications, of intrusive ads and poorly aligned customer outreach campaigns. Today, we have more data than ever, and we’re leveraging it to come up with innovative trends and ideas like these:

Customer-Centric will become Customer-Obsessive

Big Data becomes Meaningful Data in our rush to learn more about our customers.
Image source: Connexia

It sounds like the makings of a horror stalker film, but the fact is, in our race to become more customer-centric, we, as marketers, are already bordering on obsession. We’re finally at the point where we’re not being swallowed up by wave after wave of big data, and can start using it to create more meaningful interactions.

Mobile is the vehicle that makes this happen. Few other things are as pivotal to sealing the deal as a device that the customer carries with them everywhere. Figuring out how to make that impact is something that companies are still working on, but you can bet it will be the customer, not the corporation, that powers how these decisions are made.

Search Engine Results Will Display More than Pages

You got Apps in my SERPs!

Google already displays videos in search results, but they’ve recently been experimenting with video ads as well. Other search engines, as well as other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, already leverage these types of ads in the form of auto-playing videos and Vines respectively – but at the moment Google is still testing the waters to determine how audiences respond to video-based ads.

Assuming users are receptive of the idea, don’t be surprised to see apps also sharing a place at the SERPs table. Sure, we already have app directories and recommendations, but apps as part of search results will take these directories and stores to a whole new level.

Also, don’t be surprised to see big shifts in mobile search. UI and UX specialists are still learning how we gesture, point, flick and tap on our devices, and with a search interface that’s designed for typing and scrolling, you can see how trying to wrangle a process built for computers into a small screen with taps and flicks just becomes an exercise in frustration. With so much data available, and so many past browsing habits to draw from, coming up with a page full of results is no longer going to cut it. It’s very likely we’ll see fully optimized, fine-tuned mobile search that enlists the help of third party apps to not just recommend a particular product, but find it in the customer’s preferred color, size, location, price range and much more.

Brands will Blur the Lines Between Apps, E-Commerce and Social

Well-known social platforms are taking their awkward first steps into becoming shopping centers.
Image Source: Adweek

2016 will be the year of even greater innovation from apps we already know and recognize. More seamless integration between those apps and their corresponding e-commerce and social outlets will become commonplace. Many social platforms are already tying e-commerce features into their networks. From Instagram’s “Shop Now” to Pinterest’s “Buyable Pins”, today’s hottest platforms are looking for ways to blur the lines between web, social, app and e-commerce.

As you might expect, the rallying cry from marketing has been “people don’t shop on social media!” but as mobile, social and e-commerce become more integrated, the possibilities open up to hit the right combination of buying and browsing buttons to turn that notion around.

Apps Become Reflections of our Lifestyles

Apps will evolve to become more feature-full in an attempt to position themselves as a lifestyle choice rather than a novelty.
Image Source: EATT Magazine

The problem so far with consistent app adoption has been nailed down to one singular issue – bandwidth. With caps on data and insane overage charges, brands really can’t get as creative or forward-thinking as they might like to with restraints like those holding them back. These days, you might have one app for weather, one to track your fitness level and food input, and another to remind you when it’s time to pick up the kids from school.

Expect apps in 2016 to become less about individual features and more about becoming an integral part of your life – a fitness journal that displays the weather before your run and reminds you when it’s time to get the kids. Sound a bit far-fetched? Not to app developers. As long as there are forced restrictions on how much you can download, apps themselves play a pivotal role in position themselves as more of a lifestyle attachment than a usable “thing” that can quickly be uninstalled in favor of the next big thing. There’s only so much bandwidth that will fit in a mobile plan – better make sure your app is making the most of it.

What’s more, the apps you choose could very well communicate your values in terms of your lifestyle. Just like Doritos and the Superbowl or Mountain Dew and gamers, the apps you use every day could tell people “I’m proud to be a _______ and that’s why I use (app). The more attuned these apps become to our goals, likes and dislikes in life, the more they’ll find themselves being used likely far beyond what the original developers envisioned.

The Next Big Thing?

2016 is bursting at the seams with mobile potential, and that’s not even counting things like wearable technology and mobile automation systems like Echo, Cortana and Siri. At the end of the next year, we’ll take a look back and see how these trends played out. Did they catch on or fizzle out? Did something new and unexpected take hold of our collective attention? What do you think will be the next big thing? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

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INFINii Presentation - INFINii Review Video

Join the INFINii Pre Launch List HERE: hhttp://greenleaf.leadpages.co/i-pre-launch/ Get more info on INFINii HERE: http://www.seanagnew.net/infinii-review Check out more videos on my YouTube Channel HERE: http://www.youtube.com/greenleafvideos13 Follow me on Facebook HERE: http://www.facebook.com/seanagnewfanpage Please be sure to like, comment and subscribe - Thanks! ================================================ INFINii Presentation - INFINii Review Video Description: INFINii is a brand new e-commerce platform that will pre-launch on November 9, 2015 with an official launch date of December 1, 2015. In this INFINii Review Pre Launch Webinar you will discover a rewards plan that is the best in the network marketing industry as well as a done-for-you e-commerce solution that will help you grow your Amazon business WITHOUT ever having to source a product, ship a product or even have an Amazon account! To get more information on INFINii please make sure to get on the pre-launch list below. I will be offering exclusive bonuses to my team when it launches! Join the INFINii Pre Launch List HERE: http://www.workwithseanagnew.com/joininfinii ================================================ CONTACT DETAILS (I would love to hear from you!) Email: seancagnew@gmail.com Phone: 954-378-9503 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seancagnew Website: http://www.seanagnew.net ================================================ RELATED VIDEOS REPLAY - INFINii Presentation - INFINii Review Video: https://youtu.be/bPYmrO657_c ================================================ EXCLUSIVE INFINII BONUSES (you only get this if you partner with me) coming soon... ================================================
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4 Things I’ve Learned from 2,000+ AdWords Audits

In the last 2 years, I’ve audited a lot of AdWords accounts. And, after reviewing thousands of accounts, you start to notice a few trends.

Unfortunately, one of my most consistent observations has been that AdWords is a great way to lose a lot of money.

Now, I’ve used AdWords to grow a client’s company from 25 employees to 250 employees, so I’ll be the first to tell you that AdWords can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. However, a few common mistakes prevent most companies from realizing their AdWords potential.

So, why do most companies fail at AdWords? The answers are both simple and surprising.

1. Inadequate Tracking

The foundation of any good AdWords campaign is analytics. In fact, according to Hubspot’s State of Inbound report, companies that track their inbound marketing are 17x more likely to see a positive ROI than companies without good analytics in place.

Now, if you’re already effectively using an analytics platform like Google Tag Manager or Kissmetrics, this figure should come as little surprise. After all, you can’t improve if you don’t know whether or not something is working!

The problem is, only about half of AdWords accounts actually have tracking set up for their site and campaigns.

What is this craziness?

Unfortunately, this finding seems to be one that most companies experience with inbound marketing. Referring back to Hubspot’s report, only 53% of companies track their marketing ROI.

I won’t bore you with the math; but, if you run Hubspot’s numbers, the statistics are daunting:

Without good analytics, 97% of AdWords campaigns fail.

Not surprisingly, almost every single account I’ve audited that didn’t have a great analytics solution in place was struggling to turn a profit on Google.

Fixing the Problem

Fortunately, even if your IT expertise is limited, AdWords doesn’t have to be the marketing version of Russian Roulette. With a little bit of time and patience, you can easily set up conversion tracking in AdWords.

Tracking conversions in AdWords is really as simple as placing the right bit of code on the right page on your site. AdWords even generates the code for you, so you really don’t have a good excuse for not setting this level of tracking up for your campaigns.

Why stop there, though? If you’ve got a decent developer, you can implement Google Tag Manager in 15 minutes. Here are some of the basics you should be tracking. Of course, Kissmetrics is also a great way to get at the data you need.

Yes, setting up analytics is extra work, but it enables you to learn from your successes and your mistakes.

2. Keyword Drain

Here’s where things start to get really interesting. Looking at the 1,000 or so companies that had conversion tracking in place, I discovered that—on average—all of the conversions in an AdWords account come from just 12% of the account’s keywords.

Yes, you read that right—all of the conversions.

To put it simply, for every 10 keywords you bid on, 9 of them produce nothing! Absolutely nothing! And here’s the kicker – that useless 88% of your keywords eats up 61% of your ad spend.

Why does this happen?

Most companies take a shotgun approach to their keyword strategy. Yes, this sort of approach increases your likelihood of some keyword being on target, but it also means that your ads show up for less relevant searches and produce less relevant clicks that aren’t likely to convert.

Plugging the Drain

To figure out which keywords are draining your budget, open AdWords and—while viewing “All campaigns”—go to the Keywords tab. Open the “Details” drop down menu and click “Search Terms All.”

From there, export the report into an Excel file. Using Excel, you can filter your data to show only search terms with zero conversions. Sum the cost data to see how much you’re spending on search terms that haven’t produced any conversions.

As a rule of thumb, I recommend pulling at least 3-6 months of data to make sure you really have a good picture of which search terms are truly worthless.

Once you’ve identified your budget-sucking keywords, go back into AdWords and eliminate them!

3. Poor Landing Page Strategy

Another problem with the shotgun approach to AdWords is that it makes implementing an effective landing page strategy a daunting task.

Truth be told, nearly 90% of the AdWords accounts I’ve audited had a poor landing page strategy. In fact, 52% of the accounts were pointing their pay-per-click traffic to their homepage. And, of the 48% with a dedicated landing page, less than 15% were conducting landing page tests!

For example, if someone is looking for a new cat and types in “adopt a cat,” they might see the following ad:

Getting clicks—even the right sort of clicks—to your site, isn’t enough to make your campaigns effective. That’s just the beginning. Research conducted at Stanford has shown that a poor initial website experience can eliminate up to 75% of your potential sales; so, if your site doesn’t convert clicks into leads or sales, you’re just giving money to Google.

Making it Better

If you want to make money on AdWords, your customers need to have a consistent and compelling experience from keyword to ad copy to landing page.

To create this experience, you need to get granular. You need to dial in to the search intent of your target audience and then match your keywords, ad copy and landing pages to that intent.

With the shotgun approach to keywords, it’s very hard to create this level of granularity. Sure, dynamic keyword insertion can help; but, for most industries, DKI doesn’t give you the messaging control you need to match your searchers’ intent.

This ad does a good job of matching the searcher’s intent…until it sends them to this landing page.

Sure, the DKI algorithm put “Cat” in the headline, but the pug hero shot creates an immediate cognitive dissonance that leaves the user thinking, “Wait, what?”

On the other hand, setting up your ad groups with 5 (or less) very similar keywords allows you control what searches trigger your ads. Then, write ads that are highly relevant to those specific searches. Carry that relevance through to the landing page and you’ve just created a very powerful customer experience!

See? Much better.

With this technique, we often see a 50% lift to conversion rates on our first tests with new clients. And that’s before we start optimization testing…

4. Lack of Attention

Ultimately, the biggest reason that most AdWords campaigns fail is a lack of attention.

No tracking? Spend enough time in AdWords and a lack of conversion data will make you crazy enough that you’ll do whatever it takes to get analytics in place.

Bidding on the wrong search terms? Add enough negative search terms over time and you’ll eventually narrow your campaigns down to what really works.

Inconsistent customer experience? Test your ad copy and landing pages for long enough and you’ll end up with a really compelling click-to-close advertising cycle.

However, according to Larry Kim, only about 10% of AdWords accounts are optimized even once a week. Based on the accounts I’ve reviewed, 72% of accounts haven’t been touched in over a month!

If you don’t give your account enough attention, you are setting yourself up to fail.

The Fix

So, how often should you be optimizing your account? The best answer is that it depends on your traffic and budget.

For budgets over $10,000/month, you should be at least giving your campaigns a thorough review at least once a week. However, to really get the most out of your account, I recommend reviewing your campaigns at least 3 times per week.

For a new campaign, you need to be even more involved. I typically check up on the account at least 3 times per day.

As a general rule of them, the more time you spend in your AdWords account, the better it will perform. Of course, you don’t have to make major changes 3 times a day or week, but keeping close tabs on your account will give you the insight you need to really get great performance.

Conclusion

While most companies struggle to make AdWords work, most businesses can succeed by fixing a few common mistakes. Whether it’s setting up a great tracking program, eliminating useless keywords, creating a holistic landing page strategy or simply giving the account the attention it deserves, these problems can be overcome with a little extra effort.

If you feel like you’re struggling with one of these common problems, let me know in the comments below. I’d be happy to help.

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Using Kissmetrics to See Which Backlinks Are Driving Signups

Chances are your product or service is mentioned in various places throughout the web. Maybe a couple TechCrunch mentions, some press releases, guest posts, and all over social media.

With all these links pointing back to your site, certainly some of the people visiting are signing up or buying your product, right?

But if you’re not using an analytics tool like Kissmetrics, how would you ever know?

That’s what this post is about. Let’s get started.

See How People Move Through a Website Flow with the Funnel Report

The Kissmetrics Funnel Report allows marketers to see how visitors move through a particular website flow. Many marketers set up a funnel in various areas of their site:

Signup Funnel Onboarding Funnel Checkout Funnel

The Funnel Report shows marketers what percentage of people move through each step. They can quickly identify roadblocks to conversion and work to improve their funnel performance. We talk about this more in a previous post.

Segment Traffic With Properties

Beyond just seeing how people move through a flow, marketers can also break down the funnel and see how segments (aka groups) of traffic move through the funnel. This can help identify top performing channels.

Now that we know what a Funnel Report does, let’s get into the use case.

Using the Funnel Report to See Which Links Drive Traffic and Customers

Meet Cindy, the Director of Marketing for a medium-sized B2B SaaS company.

Cindy and her marketing team know they have backlinks across the web. They’ve written guest posts, get good PR, and have their bases covered on social media.

To help her see what’s working and what’s not, Cindy uses the KIssmetrics Funnel Report. Here’s how her report looks:

In this report, Cindy is tracking three steps:

The people that visit the site Out of those that visit, how many of them signup for a trial How many of the free trial users end up converting to being a paid customer?

We can see that she gets a good amount of traffic to her site, and a fair percentage of those people signup. This is a pretty healthy funnel, but there is always room for improvement.

To see which backlinks are driving signups and customers, Cindy segments her data. This is done in a few simple steps:

1. She’ll click this dropdown and select “Referrer”

2. After that she’ll click on the gear icon and get a few options:

She’ll select the formatting to URL:

3. She’ll also set it to “referrer” at the time of visited site:

Cindy clicks Apply and gets the list of backlinks that are driving traffic:

This doesn’t display the full Url in this view, but if you hover over each url you’ll see it.

While Cindy can look at all backlinks that send traffic to her site, she chooses to view the top 11 to get a quick glance.

Here are a few takeaways from this data:

The TechCrunch article has brought a lot of traffic, signups, and better-than-average conversion rate. She knows she should continue to get good coverage through TechCrunch. An article on medium.com (again, Cindy can find out the exact web page just be clicking on the medium.com/… link) has brought traffic and signups, but no paying customers for this month. The PR on Marketwired has delivered the best conversion rate. Given this, Cindy knows she should continue her PR efforts. A few mentions and guest posts on other sites (the Kissmetrics Blog, Hitenism, Quick Sprout, etc) deliver quality traffic. One link from Twitter (t.co) has brought Cindy 5 customers this month. To find the link, she can copy the full t.co link and paste it into Google to see the originating tweets. If this is coming from industry influencers, Cindy knows she should continue to reach out to these people. Recap

Here’s what we went through:

What marketer wouldn’t love to know exactly which backlinks are driving not just traffic, but also customers? With Kissmetrics, they can. They can get all this data with the Kissmetrics Funnel Report. To view the data, just load the Kissmetrics Funnel Report, segment the traffic by Referrer, full URL, and select the referrer at the time of “Visited Site”.

Not using Kissmetrics yet? Request a personal demo to learn more about how we can help you optimize your marketing.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

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The Agile Marketing Framework RealtimeBoard Used to Acquire 675k Signups

The growing popularity of “growth hacking” has resulted in a lot of young startups that know a lot about hacks that give you quick wins, but cannot build long term success based on experiments.

But if you have a process, you can win in the long term and ‘hack’ continuously. Like a lot of companies that use agile methods to build successful products (we all know that it works!), marketers can implement agile for their growth process.

The agile marketing framework described in the article helped us acquire 675K signups while spending zero on user acquisition, and I’m happy to share some tips and tricks that any startup can use.

Agile Marketing: Number of Hacks vs Process

First, you should understand the difference between the number of hacks and process. You can find a lot of things on the Internet that promise you new audience (and they work). You can conduct 100 experiments per month (and some of them work), but the real goal is not implementation of all the possible hacks, the goal is the right product for the right audience and deliver it in the right time and place. We used to make a lot of experiments, but finally we understood that system of experiments gives us greater results. That’s why we decided to rebuild our marketing process and took some practices from our development team.

Step 1. Choose the right metrics

The goals should be measurable, that’s why before you start any process, you should choose the ruler to measure your success or failure. We are using AARRR metrics by Dave McClure as we think it describes our users’ path to success.

3 lessons learned: Use services that can help you analyze your users behavior. We’ve implemented Kissmetrics after several months of product development, and that was a bit late – we were blind without data. Measure everything you can from the very beginning, this will help you take decisions based on data. If you have something specific in your product, you can add a metric to measure. For example, as we are offering Free trial and have Free limited plan at the same time, we have included the number of trials in the AARRR funnel. There is one metric that can be tricky to define – it’s Activation. It’s about so-called a-ha moment, but actually it cannot be simply measured. But you can see what your returned visitors did in the first session and then allow your inner Sherlock find the reasons and motivation. In our case we used Kissmetrics to analyze user actions that led to return and active usage. In the picture below you can see data about active usage of different features by returned and one-day users.

Step 2. Define goals and rhythm

The first step of implementing agile marketing was defining our goals in terms of product metrics. For each AARRR letter we defined a quarterly goal. I.e. Q1 Retention: Increase Day 1 Retention by 15%.

But a quarter is a very long period of time for agile marketers, that’s why we defined a sprint time – it’s time for conducting a number of experiments, and at the end of each sprint we measure the results. It’s one week for us, but you can take more time if you need. The sprint length can be extended to a month and it depends on:

the number of members in your marketing and development teams (yes, some experiments need coding) the time they need to conduct an experiment

Each week we have a meeting and discuss results, set goals and choose experiments for the next sprint. For remote team members we use online whiteboards and Google Docs, it helps us keep everybody on the same page. Trello and Sprintly are also good options.

Step 3. Build hypotheses

Every single article you read can inspire you do something with your product or marketing strategy. We add these ideas to our backlog – even crazy ones. After that we choose some of them for the future evaluation, but everyone in the team can contribute to our marketing backlog, which is divided into 5 sections that correspond to AARRR metrics. Here’s what our agile board looks like:

Step 4. Evaluate, prioritize and implement hypotheses – ICE Framework

Sean Ellis introduced amazing ICE Score framework that allows you evaluate all the hypotheses before you spend time and money on testing. It helps teams reduce costs significantly:

All you have to do is to ask yourself three questions:

What will the impact be if this works? (we measure it in percentage of growth of a metric) How confident am I that this will work? (from 0 to 1) How much time/money/effort is required? (from simple 5 to 1)

The hypotheses with the highest score go to To-Do section, that means we are working on them during the next sprint.

What if’s What if I have an amazing idea in the middle of the sprint? Don’t start working on it right now – add to backlog. The team already has the number of hypotheses to test, don’t interrupt them. What if we cannot achieve the result during the sprint? You usually can. Just do something that you can measure or touch, remove everything that is really not required. What if the idea got the high score, but you don’t believe in that idea? Frameworks are great, but you should also follow your vision and base your decisions on empathy. That works for us. Step 5. Test and analyze the results

When the experiment starts, we collect the data from different sources and visualize it on the board to make it visible for the whole team:

I can’t say it enough – our life is impossible to imagine without testing. We tried many services, but due to several reasons our toolbox contains the following products nowadays.

Statistics – Kissmetrics, Google Analytics A/B testing – Optimizely, Google Website Optimizer User testing – User Testing, Crazy Egg Visual monitoring after user sessions – Inspectlet Visualization, discussion, test planning – RealtimeBoard Step 6. Repeat

The sprint ends with retrospective, the meeting where we discuss the results and plan the next sprint, where the steps from 3 to 5 are repeated. At the meeting each member of the team answers the following questions:

What worked well for us? What did not work well for us? What actions can we take to improve our process going forward?

It’s a very important part of agile marketing as it helps you remove the obstacles and improve the process. With every cycle you’ll have more practice and you’ll become more trained in agile marketing and spend less time and money on your experiments.

Conclusion

agile marketing is a great approach taken from software development, and it gives us an opportunity to make not just hacks but build the process of growth saving time and money on things that just do not work. The framework described above is not rigid though. Find your own rhythm, prioritize goals, test, analyze the results and improve your growth process from sprint to sprint.

About the Author: Anna Boiarkina is the Head of Marketing at RealtimeBoard, an online whiteboarding and collaboration service for teams. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.

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How Variance Testing Increased Conversion 45% for Extra Space Storage

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When it comes to testing, A/B testing typically steals the spotlight, casting its sister procedure, variance testing, in the shadows. However, according to Emily Emmer, Senior Interactive Marketing Manager, Extra Space Storage, that’s a mistake.

At MarketingSherpa MarketingExperiments Web Optimization Summit 2014, Emily presented on how her team was able to utilize variance testing to transform Extra Space Storage’s Wild West testing culture into a wildly successful testing environment.

Before the team conducted variance testing, the company’s testing environment was structured like a free-for-all. There were few, if any, set rules in place, and, according to Emily, the person with the highest title and the loudest voice typically had their test implemented. All of this changed after the Extra Space Storage team ran some variance tests.

Variance testing measures two identical Web experiences to determine a site or page’s natural variability. This procedure generally constructs the rules for subsequent A/B tests to follow.

By focusing on variance testing and translating the results from this procedure into rules for A/B testing, Extra Space Storage achieved a 45% increase in conversion rate from the previous year. Watch the below excerpt to learn the results of the team’s test, the rules they developed and Emily’s advice on when to start variance testing and how to implement it.

Run variance experiments and interpret results

Emily and her team ran five simultaneous variance tests on Extra Space Storage’s homepage, which measured:

Experiment #1: 35% traffic per treatment (two treatments) Experiment #2: 18% traffic per treatment (four treatments) Experiment #3: 12% traffic per treatment (six treatments) Experiment #4: 7% traffic per treatment (six treatments) Experiment #5: 3% traffic per treatment (six treatments)

Taking the data from these five experiments, Emily was able to extrapolate that information into rules that Extra Space Storage could use for testing moving forward, she said. Below are the results she was able to achieve:

“So you can see between Experiment 2 and Experiment 3 — really big difference, right? So moving from like a four and five percent difference in conversion rate to like a 24 and 14 percent conversion rate — that was about the breaking point,” Emily explained.

Altogether, Emily and her team developed four different testing rules from this effort, including that all tests need to run for at least two weeks.

Advice on variance testing

Emily advised anyone who runs or plans on running A/B tests to conduct variance testing beforehand. This will give future tests a baseline for how much of your traffic you can test and still expect to gain workable results.

She recommended that companies run variance testing if:

The site has high or low points of traffic throughout the year (i.e., if there is seasonality) Major changes have been made to the structure of the site There have been any big changes in terms of the traffic

You might also like

Reserve your seat for MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 — February 22-24, 2016 at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas

Testing and Optimization: Variance testing for B2C contributes to 45% lift in conversion rate [MarketingSherpa video replay]

Marketing Mashup: Top takeaways from Web Optimization Summit 2014 [MarketingSherpa webinar]

B2C Marketing: Site and search optimization leads to 15% increase in average order value [MarketingSherpa case study]

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How to Unlock The True Power of Salesforce Using Trailhead

When Code Academy first came out in 2011, aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere couldn’t sign up quickly enough. “Learn to code interactively, for free” is the latest slogan on the homepage, and it couldn’t be more apt. I’m happy to be one of the 24 million+ users behind the brand who recognize its fantastic value proposition.

That’s why I was so surprised by the fun, user-friendly experience of Salesforce Trailhead. As a marketing consultant who works with Fortune 500s, and a Salesforce veteran, I work closely with Salesforce environments and help my clients use Salesforce more effectively. But I wasn’t expecting something as refreshing as Trailhead.

Trailhead is like Code Academy for Salesforce. Signing up for a developer environment is totally free. There are beginner, intermediate, and expert courses in both declarative and programmatic solutions. You can even earn points for completing challenges.

The ultimate goal of Trailhead is to transform how customers learn to use Salesforce, by radically simplifying and redefining the learning experience.

What Can You Do In Trailhead?

If your job involves managing databases, spreadsheets, or contact lists, you should be on Trailhead. It doesn’t matter whether you already know how to use Salesforce—Trailhead makes the learning experience fun and will teach you how to make apps that will greatly simplify your job.

If you do use Salesforce, you probably suspect that you aren’t leveraging it the way you could be. But you aren’t sure where to start learning, either. There are so many things you could learn. It probably seems easier to just make do with what you already know.

Let’s say you’re a B2B business owner hosting an event to build up your client base. You need get in touch with more CXOs and more stakeholders. You invite a lot of speakers, as well as your warmest leads and their friends at work. And then, in no time at all—it’s the day of the event.

If you’re like 99% of business owners out there today, you would rely on a traditional pen-and-paper signups to capture information from attendees. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but chances are you’re already using Salesforce anyway. So why not impress your attendees with a simple app?

By using Trailhead’s declarative Schema Builder (a drag-and-drop flowchart that allows you to intuitively “program” without any programming knowledge), you can email each of your attendees a link to a survey that automatically populates Salesforce fields with their responses. You don’t need to know any programming to do this. And you could set this all up in less than one hour.

Check out the first lesson (Salesforce Platform Basics) to see what I mean. I completed it in a little under 20 minutes, and it taught me everything I needed to know to get started on an app similar to the one I just described. I even got 900 points and a nifty badge for completing the post-lesson challenge.

Following The Trail

Most of us already use Salesforce, but we find it intimidating. This shouldn’t be the way of things.

You don’t have to be a developer or a Salesforce admin to take advantage of what Trailhead has to offer. Anyone with a business and a client list could be supercharging their Salesforce experience with Trailhead and getting the best bang for their buck in 2015.

If you want to learn more about how Trailhead can modernize the way you use Salesforce, take a look at this helpful video from Adam Seligman at the 2015 Salesforce Developer Keynote.

About the Author: Alp Mimaroglu is a Marketing Luminary at Symantec. He specializes in marketing automation, demand generation, analytics, and marketing technology. Alp has extensive experience with both business and consumer marketing. He’s passionate about how technology is rapidly becoming the key to success in both the corporate sales and marketing landscapes. Follow Alp on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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How to Charge Your Clients for Landing Page Services

Pricing any service at an agency is tough because of all the variables — unexpected delays, crazy review cycles and borderline-silly-and-sometimes-seemingly-impossible client requests.

“It needs to pop more! Give it some pizzazz!” Image source.

And when it comes to adding landing pages to your list of services, things can get especially tricky. (Still working on convincing your clients of the value of landing pages? Here’s some help.)

Is landing page design a staple service of yours? Will you offer follow up, maintenance and optimization services? Or are landing pages simply an add-on that you’ll teach clients to maintain themselves?

No matter which pricing model you go with, you want to present landing page services to clients in a way that shows their potential for exponential ROI, while leaving the client feeling like they’re getting a good deal… all while turning a profit.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways that agencies are charging their clients for landing page services, while keeping both their clients and accountants happy.

1. Include landing pages in your retainer fee

A lot of agencies work on a retainer fee model. They get paid upfront to provide specific services over a period of time. For these agencies, a good practice is to build the fees for landing pages into that initial retainer.

Jacob Baadsgaard, the founder and CEO over at Disruptive Advertising in Provo, Utah, uses this pricing model. Says Jacob:

It’s included in the pricing. That’s just one of the perks that we give them… We just say ‘this is a simple, inexpensive solution that’s included in our pricing anyway, whether you use it or not.’ I’d say 95% of our clients use it.

Clients are often receptive to an agency charging for a third-party marketing tool like Unbounce, as long as it’s clearly outlined in a retainer fee breakdown and they’re aware of the positive impact it will have on their business.

Guidelines for using this pricing structure: Make sure you account for all variables before calculating the fee. Will you offer analytics and optimization services? What level of service is reasonable for your flat rate? Set expectations about the revision process and whether you’ll provide ongoing support. Is your client expecting more advanced functionality, mock-ups, or other things that will be resource-intensive for you? If clients want to go over the bar that you’ve set, work together on additional pricing. 2. Charge your client for landing pages directly

For other agencies, it makes more sense to charge landing pages as a separate line item.

Maybe your campaign requires particularly sophistical landing pages with custom coding and custom design. Or, as Liesl Barrell, CEO at Montreal boutique digital marketing agency Third Wunder has found, different campaigns might require more landing pages than others. Liesl asks:

How many landing pages will they need? Will they require updates to copy or creative? Do they need ongoing support? These are the questions we need to ask to establish pricing and manage expectations.

Based on the answer to this question, Third Wunder establishes a flat fee and then makes additions based on the client’s needs.

Vancouver agency Titan PPC, charges a flat fee of around $500-$700 for a custom landing page. That may sound like a lot, but included in that price are as many variations as the client desires for the lifetime of that page.

Guidelines for using this pricing structure: Start by identifying the scope of your project. How many pages does the campaign call for? Which additional resources (custom functionality, custom design) will be required? Make sure that the client understands what they’re getting and at what price from the very beginning. This will help you manage expectations and keep them happy in the long term. The best landing page pricing model

It’s worth sitting down with your team and establishing how landing pages fit into your offering. Are they a critical part of the service you provide or are they add-ons? How can you offer continued support without undervaluing any custom work your clients might ask of you?

The best pricing model is the one that works best for your clients and for you — it’s all about finding that sweet spot where clients feel that they’re getting a great deal, and you feel that your expertise is being properly valued. 

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How to Use Quizzes in Your Marketing Strategy

As marketers, we try to get our hands on the most sustainable content that not only increases sales, but also gives us the competitive edge in the industry. The problem many of us face is figuring out which form of content is worth investing our time and money in that’s had the most success with other brands.

If you haven’t caught on to Buzzfeed yet, the solution to your problem might’ve gone undetected. Using quizzes as a part of your marketing strategy is one of the most underrated types of content that every marketer should be trying, and we’d be lying if we didn’t tell how effective they really were.

It isn’t enough for us to just convince you to implement quizzes in your marketing strategy, so we’re going to show you exactly how to create an effective quiz, how to distribute it, and how to follow it with marketing automation.

After following this guide, you’ll come across several brands that we’ll be highlighting to give you an idea on how they used quizzes in their marketing strategy so that you can walk away with a little more insight.

Part I: Creating Your Quiz Title Selection & Quiz Types

There’s more to a quiz than you might actually think. Did you know that 80% of readers decide whether something’s worth checking out or not based on its title? That means we’re going to have to make a pretty good first impression.

The very first step to creating a quiz would be coming up with the title for it. Once you’ve got that down, you’re going to want to figure out what type of quiz you want to make.

Let’s see what options we have available for us:

Choosing Your Title The “Actually” Title – Believe it or not, adding the word “actually” can turn a simple question into a challenge. Compare “How much do you know about the Golden State Warriors” against “How much do you actually know about the Golden State Warriors” and you’ll see what we mean. No one likes to back down from a challenge, right? “The Which (Blank) Are You?” Title – This one’s a classic. Due to our innate inquisitive nature, sometimes we just have to know which Marvel superhero we are before we die. It’s just one of those things we have to cross off our bucket list. The “Celebrity Personality” Title – This is your typical personality quiz with the substitution of celebrities to give it that added pizazz. Because of the use of celebrities, they’re more likely to get someone’s attention sheerly through being starstruck.

Choosing The Quiz Type The Personality Quiz – We like to hear good things about ourselves, so because of the “self-serving bias,” personality quizzes work so well. This type of quiz categorizes people into personalities that compliments them based on their answers. If you’re a brand that focuses on product sales, you could use a personality quiz to place individuals into categories with personalized product recommendations based on the answers they gave. The Knowledge Test – This is another commonly encountered type of quiz that you can find on social media. The knowledge test simply challenges anyone’s knowledge on a given subject. You could ask your audience how much they know about your brand, the products it offers, or any of today’s trending topics.

Crafting Quiz Questions

Now that you’ve got a general idea of what kind of quiz you want to create along with a title to go with it, it’s time to bring it to life by filling it up with questions!

Here are some things to keep in mind when formulating your questions:

Infuse Personality into Your Quiz – Breathe some life into your quiz by injecting your personality into it. Approach your audience as if you were talking to them in person. Make your audience feel comfortable so that they’ll be more likely to opt-in later. Use Images for Your Questions – There’s nothing wrong with having text-only questions, but don’t be afraid to use images either. Using pictures keeps things interesting and relevant, it also makes your quiz feel more like a trivia game. Keep Things to a Minimum – People these days don’t have the longest attention spans, so we’re going to want to keep things simple and sweet. Aim between 6 to 10 questions for your quiz, in general this will only take your audience about 2-3 minutes to finish.

Designing A Lead Capture: Do’s and Don’t’s

After coming up with the questions to your quiz, it’s time to create a lead capture form. The purpose of a lead capture is to gather contact information so that you can grow an email list. You can then follow these leads up through marketing automation, which we’ll get into later. For now, here are some helpful do’s and don’t’s you should follow when creating your lead capture:

Do: Incentivize Your Lead Capture Form
Give your audience a reason to provide you with their contact information. Offer incentives like a free eBook or an entry to a free giveaway. Standard incentives include infrequent updates about your brand or a weekly newsletter. Find what works best to encourage your audience to join your mailing list.

Don’t: Ask For Information You Won’t Use
What’s the point in asking your audience for their phone number if you aren’t going to call them? Make sure you only ask for information that your brand will use; the most basic being a first and last name, and an email address. What’s worse than handing someone your number and not getting a call back the next morning? Yeesh.

Do: Be Honest About Your Marketing Strategy
It won’t always be clear to your audience that after you get their contact information, you’ll be contacting them. It’s a good rule of thumb to let your audience know that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon, so don’t be all hush-hush about your marketing strategy. Be honest with your audience. Give them a quick head’s up about what’s to come.

Creating Shareable Results

Now onto the results! This is the moment your audience has been waiting for. You want to make sure your results are something they’re going to like and share with others, so creating share-worthy results will be your priority. Here are a couple of pointers that will help you create results worth sharing:

Be Honest and Positive – Positive emotions are more likely to promote sharing, so create results that compliment your audience into sharing what they got. At the same time, be honest with your results. Don’t tell your audience that they’re something they aren’t. Use Share-Worthy Images – Just like how we used images for your questions, we’re going to want to make sure we use images for your results. This time around, you want to use some pretty interesting pictures; ones that are worth sharing. This is what’s going to attract attention when people share their results on social media. Create A Call-To-Action – Don’t let your interaction with the audience end at the results. Provide a call-to-action for your audience. It can be something as simple as a link to your website, or maybe even personalized links to product recommendations.

Part II: Distributing Your Quiz

Now it’s time to put your quiz through the ultimate test by promoting it on social media. Your major outlets for social networks would be Facebook and Twitter, but if you wanted to take it a bit further, you can also use paid advertising on Facebook to give your quiz that extra boost.

Share Your Quiz on Facebook and Twitter

When sharing you quiz on Facebook or Twitter, be sure you check off on each of these to get the most out of promoting your quiz:

Be sure to use an attractive image to represent your quiz. Make sure you have a captivating headline for your quiz. Share both the image and the caption with a shortened link to track results.

Don’t be Afraid to Use Paid Advertising on Facebook

The process of promoting your quiz through Facebook via paid advertising can be a fairly lengthy operation, so to save you guys some time, we’ve truncated the whole process into a more time-friendly summary.

Selecting Your Target Audience – You have your choices of selecting a target audience by location, demographics, behaviors and connections. You can even break these categories down even further. Let’s take location for example. We can narrow down location to country, state/province, city and zip code. Why would we want to do this? Maybe your brand wants to target an audience within its immediate vicinity. We don’t know. It’s up to you how you want to set the parameters for your target audience. So give it a try. Creating A Custom Audience – It sounds complicated, but it isn’t. Creating a custom audience consists of working with a list you’ve uploaded ahead of time. Facebook then generates an audience based on that list of previous customers you’ve already worked with. Part III: Marketing Automation Follow-Ups

Here’s the fun part: following up on the leads you’ve collected with marketing automation emails. With the help of marketing automation, this may not take as much effort on your end as you might’ve thought. We’re going to follow-up on your leads the very moment people opt-in, and in the course of two weeks, we’re going to show you how to nurture these leads until you can finally convert them into paying customers.

Here’s a 4-step sequence that your marketing automation email follow-ups should live and die by:

Thank Your Audience for Taking Your Quiz First – Immediately after someone opts-in, send him or her an email that telling them “Thank you for taking our quiz!” This will remind your audience that they’ve opted-in, and it’ll also help assert your brand. It’ll give people a head’s up that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon. Encourage Your Audience to Retake Your Quiz – After a couple of days, we’re going to pick up where your audience left off: their quiz results. Inform your audience about the other results they could have gotten. This may prompt your audience to retake your quiz, and maybe to even share their new results. This is the perfect transition from your “thank you” email to sending out different content. Build Trust with Case Studies or Testimonials – After a week, now would be a good time to build trust between you and your leads. Introduce testimonials or customer case studies to familiarize your audience with your brand and what other people think about it. This not only makes your brand look good, it lets your audience get more comfortable with who your brand is and what it stands for. Convert Your Leads into Paying Customers – After two weeks, it’s time to convert those leads. Your audience should be familiar with your brand by now. Use incentives like a webinar signup or coupons/discounts to encourage your leads to buy into your brand. The rest is up to you and your expertise in converting leads into customers. These marketing automation follow-ups did most of the work for you, so it’s your turn to close the deal.

Part IV: Examples of Quiz-Use in Every Industry

It’s time to take a quick look at several examples of brands from different industries and how they implemented quizzes in their marketing strategy. Seeing these examples should give you a solid foundation when it comes to considering the use of quizzes in your own marketing strategy.

Retail: Z Gallerie

Z Gallerie is known for their commitment to providing furnishings, art and accessories to both professional and amateur interior designers alike. They created the quiz “What is your Z Gallerie Style Personality?” to provide a personalized experience for every potential and current customer.

Z Gallerie used a personality quiz as a way of bringing results that offered personalized product recommendations as a part of their marketing strategy. This method brought in a massive amount of leads per day which they followed-up with marketing automation. It allowed Z Gallerie to continually recommend products tailored specifically to each person based off of their individual quiz results. Now that’s online shopping done right.

Software: Cloud Sherpas

Cloud Sherpas specialize in cloud advisory and technology services for the world’s leading brands.

Cloud Sherpas used their quiz to gauge each individual’s level of maturity, which helped determine the more qualified leads for their marketing strategy. They also promoted their blog on Facebook with the quiz attached. Cloud Sherpas’ quiz brings in 3-4 qualified leads a day. Nothing like quality over quantity, am I right?

Marketing: The Foundation

The Foundation focuses on building businesses with entrepreneurs through the idea of building backwards. It’s an incredibly interesting concept, and with it, they created the quiz “Do You Have An Entrepreneurial Mind?” based on an existing eBook they had which covered the basic types of business owners.

The Foundation used a quiz in their marketing strategy by pairing it with a Facebook ad campaign. This combination was able to cut their cost per lead from $6.00 to $3.80, and collected over 16,000 leads and millions in revenue. That’s quite the turnout if you ask us.

Nonprofit: Pin Cancer

Pin Cancer’s call-to-action is the rallying of the US wrestling community to fight against, you guessed it: cancer. Their noble efforts have prompted the aid of their quiz “Which USA World Team Member Are You?” as a means of driving social traffic and raising awareness on cancer.

On a site that normally sees 200 visits per day, Pin Cancer had the best day ever when their quiz went up, driving social traffic up to 6,000 in a single day and bringing in 3,800 new email subscribers. Talk about turning the tables on cancer!

@PinCancer @Jakeherbert84 true! Can't match the style of a ninja!

— Reece Humphrey (@ReeceHump60kg) August 25, 2015

Let’s Wrap Things Up

And there you have it. Who knew implementing quizzes into your marketing strategy could go a long way? We’ve just covered a lot of material, but hopefully you got a lot out of it. Just to recap, we went over the entire quiz creation process, so you should be familiar with how to create your own quiz by now. Distributing your quiz will really put it to the test, but as soon as you generate those leads, you know exactly how to nurture them until conversion.

From all of the examples we’ve looked at today, you should be able to walk away with a little hop to your step. Seeing how effective quizzes are in four different industries should be enough of a foundation for you to get started with. Given the various successes these brands have experienced, it’s high time that you join their ranks. So don’t let quizzes fly under your radar any longer; try using them in your marketing strategy to see just how far your brand can get.

About the Author: JP Misenas is the Content Marketing Director & Audio/Visual Technician/Engineer of Interact, a place for creating entertaining and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about innovative ways to connect with customers and to build professional long-lasting relationships with them.

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Lead Nurturing: Content-focused strategy leads to 74% lift in leads for Precor

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One of the most useful tools in the marketer’s workshop is content marketing. If utilized well, this strategy can turn even casual site visitors into potential prospects. However, how do you ensure that the right content makes its way in front of the right audience? That was one of the challenges Stephen Bruner, Marketing Manager, Vertical Markets, Precor, faced when he and his team sought to overhaul Precor’s nurture strategy and email tools.

Precor is a manufacturer of fitness equipment and caters to a global audience. It’s also the second largest industry manufacturer in the United States. The brand is owned by the multi-million dollar company Amer Sports, which is based in Finland.

During his presentation at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Bruner presented on how he and his team combined the lead nurture cycle with the CRM (customer relationship management), implemented a marketing automation effort and better utilized content marketing to reach the right audience. According to Stephen, content is an essential tool for lead nurturing.

“So this is my favorite part, right? Which is once we have the delivery mechanism, we’ve got the dynamic layer, then it comes to how do we nurture them and what do we do?” he said.

Stephen broke the buyer’s funnel down into four parts and listed the content Precor implemented at each step:

Top of the funnel: Buyer’s guide and infographics Middle: Whitepapers (research) Low: Service level interaction Client: Customer service information

According to Stephen, “We wanted to put the customer’s interest first and say, ‘Let’s not confuse the customer. Let’s make sure that … during this period of time where the customer is an opportunity within our CRM system that they can have a one-on-one conversation with Sales.’”

“Once the sale closes, then we start the process over again,” he said.

By developing and utilizing this content, strategically suppressing potential buyers from receiving new marketing communication once they enter the quoting process and using strategic times, such as installation dates and known reorder dates, to restart the communication cycle with the customer, the Precor team has achieved some impressive results, including:

74% increase in raw leads (by integrating behavioral approaches) 3x the engagement from the previous year 67% increase in MQL to SQL velocity

Watch the below video excerpt from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 to learn how Stephen refined Precor’s lead nurturing process using content as well as the challenges behind this effort.

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MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 — Reserve your seat today

Gain access to 14 free sessions from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015

B2B Marketing: 74% lift in leads from email segmentation, content marketing and tool consolidation [MarketingSherpa full session replay]

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015: Top takeaways and strategies from experts and marketers in the field [MarketingSherpa article]

The Benefits of Combining Content Marketing and Segmentation: MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 replay [From the MarketingSherpa blog]

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Will Search Engines Outsmart Marketers One Day?

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a short post for Kissmetrics titled “How Much Do Keywords Still Matter?” After investigating Google’s changing algorithms and how they’ve each affected the SEO game, I figured it would make for a good “What will SEO look like in 20 years?”-type read.

So I was understandably surprised when it got shared a lot more than I expected (over 10,000 times as of this writing when you factor in Entrepreneur’s reprint). This was, apparently, a question that a lot of people had on their mind.

The future of keyword optimization

So, just how much do keywords still matter? It’s really hard to say.

They matter less than they did, but they’re still important. And, based on everything that’s happened with Google search since we started using it, I think it’s safe to say that keywords will continue to matter less and less.

Let’s not forget that Google has already tried a keyword-centric approach and found it wanting. They’re never going back in that direction again.

Simply put, keyword optimization is just about played out.

But what about SEO as a whole?

The future of search engine optimization (SEO)

Google is the gatekeeper of SEO as we know it. Every time a new version of Google search arrives, SEO best practices change.

So, based on Google’s track record, can marketers stay ahead of the curve by predicting the future of SEO? Yes, I think we most certainly can.

With the increasing complexity of semantic search, as well as the growing adoption of mobile search, Google fully intends to move away from a world in which marketers can game SEO to a world in which marketers can only optimize SEO. One in which the context of the search matters more than what a user actually types into the search bar.

This has some very interesting implications for the near future. Effective marketing will depend more on:

high-quality content, engaging writing, and usefulness,

…and less on:

freshness, link-building, and technical SEO.

In some ways, it will almost be like a return to print marketing. Distribution aside, the best marketing of the future, like the best advertising of the past, will be whatever is the smartest and most engaging for consumers.

I almost wish this wasn’t the case. But I think it’s going to happen. Anything that can be gamed will be fixed. Search will become harder and harder to break.

The future of search

Which, of course, leads to the ultimate question: When all’s said and done—at the end of the Information Age and the dawn of the Space Age—what will search look like? What will it have to look like once we start living on other planets, for example?

The answer may be simpler than we think. Everything I’ve seen so far indicates that the future of search is intrinsically tied up with what consumers want rather than what marketers want. Buyers over businesses.

In other words, future search will be ideal search—the type of search in which the searcher is the only stakeholder, and the searched must rely on nothing other than excellent products and services. (Oddly enough, it’s not something that’s really talked about.)

One of the biggest changes is that ideal search will be less entrant-based and more context-based. Here is just some of what might come to pass while we’re all still living on the same planet:

Your real-time location will determine the results you get. Again, we’re already seeing this happen today, but it will be much more pronounced in the future. You could use your phone to search for “best barber” and get a different result each time depending on where you are. What’s nearby will also determine the results you get. This is different than location because of the impending Internet of Things (IoT). You could be in New York, but if an LA attorney with astronomical reviews was in your neighborhood, she still might show up at the top of your search results for “dependable lawyer.” The searcher can be clumsy, but the results will still be accurate. You may not really know what you want, but the search engine will. Maybe you want to figure out the cheapest way to get back home from your precise location after cancelling a return flight, but you enter something generic, like “How do I get back?” Your first result will be the cheapest one-way ticket from your exact location to your most likely destination—in this case the destination of your cancelled return flight.

Future search will be even more impressive than what I’m listing here. As someone who’s still using modern search, my imagination is understandably limited.

The future of marketing

If future search is ideal search, and if ideal search empowers users rather than brands, searchers rather than the searched—what does this all mean for marketing as an industry? Will marketers like us simply disappear?

Of course not.

Even if we can’t game search as much as we’d like, we’ll still have our hands full creating engaging, exciting content that is quite simply the best content out there (compared to our competition).

Inbound marketing and content marketing tactics will have to change with technology (and SEO), but they will be around as long as businesses have products and services to sell. And outbound marketing isn’t going anywhere, either. Disruptive marketing isn’t tied to search (not really), so it will be around no matter what the future holds.

Marketing—thank the digital gods—will be around forever.

About the Author: Alp Mimaroglu is a Marketing Luminary at Symantec. He specializes in marketing automation, demand generation, analytics, and marketing technology. Alp has extensive experience with both business and consumer marketing. He’s passionate about how technology is rapidly becoming the key to success in both the corporate sales and marketing landscapes. Follow Alp on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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How to Put Eyes on Your Content on Day One

The day has finally arrived!

You’re ready to launch your site off into the endless expanse of the internet. You content is polished and beautiful, your site delivers an amazing user experience—after all, there’s no point in driving traffic to a site that no one will like!

You wait, ready to answer any comments, thank everyone who shares your content—and spend all day refreshing your site stats, as a tiny trickle of people come and go, with barely a word to say.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Sure, everyone starts at the bottom, but that doesn’t mean you must start at zero. There are ways to make sure your reach is as large as it can be from that first day—and the faster your start, generally, the faster your rise.

So how do we go about making sure your site has the absolute best debut it possibly can?

Assess Existing Assets Starting Big

You probably recognize the name Neil Patel. If not, he cofounded Kissmetrics, and has since created several very successful blogs. He clearly works harder than most people, and he knows his trade, so chances are good he would have found success regardless of his base. That said, the name recognition, authority, and readership he gained from working here on Kissmetrics probably didn’t hurt, right?


Chances are your first article won’t generate 12,577 views the month you launch your site.

The bigger you want to build a skyscraper, the wider and deeper you have to design the base. Likewise, if you want to build a huge following quickly, the best thing to do is to start with as many people as possible looking at you.

Starting out, you probably don’t have a blog with hundreds of thousands of subscribers to pull from, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything at all.

Today, almost everyone is active on some sort of social media, and most of those who aren’t make up for it by having friends out there in the real world. It’s worth saying, don’t be obnoxious about it, but most of your friends and acquaintances well be happy to give you a boost if you ask them. Your primary goal out the gate is to get people signed up to your email list, because that will bring people back, and your secondary goal is to convince them to share your content, because that will bring new people in. Even a few dozen or hundred people will make a big difference in the short run. We’ll get into why in a minute, but for now let’s talk about how.

Where to Amass Followers

First off, if you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of conversion, it would be a good idea to read up a bit. Your goal here is to create that wide base to build off of, so you get the most out of every post. Different networks offer different advantages, and you can certainly, if you don’t have time for setting up and growing all of them, mix and match to focus on those aspects you believe will be the most important to your specific situation.

Facebook Friends

Facebook is great for starting a site out, especially your first, because they let you invite people to join your business/fan page, where you’ll hopefully have a nice conversion button to take them to your site. User engagement with your posts is higher on some other platforms, but no one else lets you bug people in quite as direct and friendly a way as Facebook. Better yet, people are used to getting invited to random things, so they’re not going to hold it against you.

Likely you’ve already seen the big problem with this, though, which is the nature of your social network on Facebook. Simply put, your friends, family, and acquaintances are not likely to be your actual target market. That’s okay, because, hopefully, a few people in their networks are.

Don’t underestimate the value of joining Facebook groups in your target area, either. These are often very active, but overlooked and underutilized by major players, meaning you only have to compete with other little fish for attention. With any luck, you’ll make some new friends struggling with the same issues you are, and help each other grow into medium-sized fish.

Twitter Followers

Twitter is a fickle beast. Unless you’re very good or very lucky, you will probably see only a trickle of traffic from this site. Even tweets that do very well from a retweeting perspective tend to have low conversion.

Somewhat ironically, given that it’s such a large and impersonal site, what Twitter is best used for early on is building relationships. Follow and reach out to established authorities in your niche. Not only are you genuinely likely to have interests in common, but many are happy to offer advice and support, and a single share of your content from a known authority can open you up to dozens or hundreds of new connections.

To put it another way, your focus on Twitter isn’t bringing floods of people to your site, it’s about bringing a handful of the right people.

Google Plus

Google Plus is another oddball. It might be important for SEO rankings, you need a profile on it, but it’s so convoluted in some respects that it’s hard to grow yourself there. One particularly great thing about it is that anything you share on G+ is almost instantly indexed.

I don’t know entirely why Google Plus is such a mess. Part of it is no doubt the learning curve for G+; while most social media platforms have a clear and obvious thing they do, G+ is trying to be everything to everyone. They want to handle the comments on your blog, they want to merge with your YouTube channel, and so on, so it’s not clear entirely what you’re there for at first glance.

Most of the people who use it fall into one of two categories:

Power Users: These people really get a lot done with G+. They’ve taken the time to figure out how to take advantage of its strengths, and they’re reaching other experts. This, oddly, makes G+ a great place for interacting with other people who are serious about what they’re doing.


Jeff Bullas’ Google+ profile has almost thirty thousand followers and is closing in on four million views.

Autoposters: These people set their blogs to autopost to their G+ page and have never, ever, been back. This is almost everyone who could be described as a beginner, novice, or casual blogger.

In other words, most people either get a lot from it, or nothing at all. If you’d like to jump into getting the maximum from Google’s own take on the social network, start with the basics, and work out from there.

Pinterest and Instagram

This is a wildcard. If you are operating in a visually engaging niche, Pinterest and Instagram are both incredibly powerful. If you happen to be able to create small montages of eye-catching images, Instagram is possibly the easiest social media network to gain a big following on.

Pinterest doesn’t amass followers as quickly, but has been show to have a high conversion rate compared to most other social media platforms. In other words, if you can get people to look at your stuff on Pinterest, there’s a relatively high chance they’ll follow it to your site.

On the other hand, if your niche doesn’t lend itself to pretty pictures, these sites will be of somewhat diminished value to you. It’s also important to note that while both Instagram and Pinterest rely primarily on visual content, they are not created equal. Pinterest is a great place to share infographics and other more complex posts, while the structure and culture of Instagram reward collages and photographs more strongly. Including infographics in your articles is a great way to expand the reach of your content on that platform.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been making big, and very overdue changes lately with how they deliver content. It now functions as something of a hybrid of Facebook’s News Feed and Tumblr, where you have a feed delivering content generated or shared by people you follow, as well as items LinkedIn thinks you might like – or was paid to show you.

One aspect which has not yet been overhauled, but is hopefully on the list, is the groups feature of LinkedIn, which is reminiscent of the forums that have existed on the internet since nearly the beginning. Like-minded people can gather together, create topic threads, and discuss those topics, to their hearts’ content. It should be an extraordinary tool for outreach to your target market, but in its current iteration is just a kind of okay one. By posting often, and linking to good content (yours and others’) you can usually bring in a pretty steady trickle of new people, with a relatively high conversion rate to subscribers, since they’re already interested in what you’re talking about.

The good news is that LinkedIn is the absolute easiest network to grow your network on. Everybody is there to, digitally speaking, exchange business cards.

The first step to creating a big following is to contact people you actually know. LinkedIn will then help you out by importing your contact lists and so on. You want to get about one hundred followers, so you look like a real person rather than a bot. Of course, one hundred people is way too small a number to really expand the reach of your content, so you’ll want to acquire more followers.

What should you do next? Well . . . This is sort of bad form, so don’t tell anyone I told you to do this, but what you should do is use the “People you may know . . .” feature to send out invitations to connect to as many people as you can. Target peers in your field in and your target audience—you want shares from the former and clicks from the latter.

Once you have five hundred friends on LinkedIn, your count simply shows as 500+ and you never have to send out a request again to grow your network, because you’ll get a steady stream of requests indefinitely.

Is this abusing the system a bit? Absolutely. Is it the best way to get something valuable out of LinkedIn? As far as I’ve been able to tell.

Other Websites

One of your biggest assets isn’t social media at all. Do you have any friends with blogs or websites? Acquaintances? Cousins of friends of friends?

Ask them to link to your new site, even just a mention. This will help you rise through the SEO page rankings by growing your domain authority.

If they have a more popular site, this can really translate to a huge bump.

Guest Posts

Even better than a link, reach out to people and ask for a chance to guest post. Many sites will be happy to extend at least the opportunity, and if you do it far enough in advance, they’ll be happy schedule the articles for your site launch or soon after. This is a three-fold win for you. It raises your domain authority, and it sends people your way, which is great. The big thing it does, though, is give you an opportunity to interact with the users of the other site, answer their questions and create rapport.

In fact, commenting on other blogs and websites is another great way to gain followers!

Many of the people you interact with (assuming the interactions are positive) will check out your own site. Even if they don’t, though, they’ve got one more reason to remember your name. If you’re showing up on a number of sites, they’ll see you again and again, and they’ll start thinking of you as someone whose advice is sought. An authority. Someone to pay attention to and follow.

Just remember to write insightful comments. Generic comments like “hey great post” won’t help. Since a lot of commenting systems allow readers to rank (thumbs up/down) comments, it becomes even more crucial to write something that will get the attention of readers. If you have nothing to say, don’t write anything.


Here, a commenter makes an insightful comment on a post from Both Sides of the Table. Reading his comment, it’s clear that he read the post, understood the content, and was able to make a useful insight.

There is some debate over whether the value of guest posts is deteriorating, but they certainly remain invaluable to sites in their early stages.

Don’t be afraid to ask

How do you get guest posting opportunities? You ask. Ask on Twitter or through email. However works, but do ask. Most sites, even relatively low traffic ones, get many, many, requests for guest blogging opportunities, but if they know you’re a real person, and you can show them you’ll do a good job, then at least a few of them will likely acquiesce.

This isn’t about taking the internet by storm, it’s about opening a door. As your name recognition increases, you’ll get more opportunities—that’s a long term concern though, and we’re talking about putting eyes on the page on day one. What you’re doing by guest blogging is diverting a tiny portion of as many larger sites’ traffic as you’re able to towards your own site. Many small streams make a river.

It should probably go without saying (but won’t) that your social profiles should be polished. You want to be wearing the digital equivalent of a nice suit, so that you look professional. Perfect formatting and grammar are necessary. The picture you choose is also important – people will judge you by this. Choose a professional photo – something you’d put on a resume.

Why Leveraging These Platforms Matters

I did promise to tell you why all this matter. Well, in all honesty it’s not critical that this all happens on day one. That’s just what this article is about, and there’s no reason you can’t have it all ready to go, so why wouldn’t you?

Blog growth tends to be happen slowly, if the blog’s doing well. You have ten in month one, twenty in month two, forty in month three, and so on. Give or take, of course, there isn’t some industry-standard growth curve. That said, you’ll have some average rate of conversion of visitors, and the more visitors you convert, the more visitors there will be to convert, so things gain steam. In other words, if you’re going to grow at all, in two or three years it won’t really matter whether you started with one subscriber or one hundred, because you’ll have thousands. However, there’s a big difference between a three month growth curve starting with one, ten, and one hundred followers.

Let’s look at a very simplified growth rate of 10% per month for twelve months.

Starting with ten followers, you’ll end the first month with thirteen, and the year with thirty-three. Starting with three hundred thirty. The math on this isn’t exactly hard. At this arbitrary growth rate every subscriber you have at the start is an extra tenth of a follower each month.

Does it really work this way? Of course not! This example is simple, and reality doesn’t have time for simple. Your growth will probably follow something close to this pattern at first, after that, things get complicated. At some point you’ll hit plateaus or viral spikes, and there will be good months and bad.

The point is, the more people you start with, the faster you’re going to grow if you’re doing everything else right. And that’s why we care about starting strong.

Followers are just the start, though, because, “. . . if you’re doing everything else right,” is a very big if.

Test All Tech

You’re going to have some technical difficulties. It’s going to happen. Still, it’s better if you don’t shoot yourself in the foot at the start of the race.

Technical difficulties can break a launch, and often do

Make sure everything is working. I can’t give you a real checklist for this, because it’s a big, complex topic, and since there are so many ways to build, host, and run a site, anything specific I wrote would be 90% irrelevant to everyone who read this. That said, there are some basic items which should be in the forefront of your mind.

Make sure your site works for all major browsers

Even Internet Explorer. There are very few things more frustrating when designing a site than making something very cool and discovering that it works in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and . . . not Internet Explorer, because if one browser is messing up, it’s always Internet Explorer. IE is still the browser of choice for about 10% of the internet (which is millions of people). So, if you don’t support it, that’s ten percent of your potential market, poof, gone. Maybe that’s worth it to you, maybe it’s not, but be aware.

Ensure Everything Works Properly on Mobile

More and more people are visiting sites from mobile devices, so it’s very important to make sure your site renders properly on these devices. If they have to pinch and zoom or try to adjust your site so that it is readable, it will leave a bad impression and most visitors will likely leave and never come back again. Even worse, it hurts your SEO with Google. Use Google’s mobile friendly test to make sure your site works properly.

Get Open Graph Working Correctly

You know when people share an article on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook and there’s a catchy image that appears? That’s no accident. Their Open Graph is working properly.

Make sure key features work

Like I said, I can’t really give you a definitive guide, but there are some critical growth opportunities that you’ll lose if you don’t have the following features working: comments, follow, share, and subscribe.

Fully Integrate Your Social Media Platforms

Speaking of following and sharing, since you have gone to the trouble of growing your potential readership through social media from the outset, it would probably be a good idea to make sure your site can properly leverage these media. This is another good reason to grow your following in advance, as you’ll have to set up the various accounts to connect them to your site anyway.

Make sure all the buttons work. Seriously.

So speaks the voice of painful personal experience! Make sure every single button you have on the site actually does what it’s supposed to be doing. Don’t just assume it will.

Make it Easy For Users To Give You Their Email Address

Remember, the prize bit of user engagement (aside from actual sales) is the email subscription. You don’t want users to leave without giving you their email. Look at Kissmetrics. What’s the first thing you see in the top left, right where your eyes look when you start reading the page? A box for your email and name . . . and this is a site which is all about the science of conversion. What does that tell you about how important email subscriptions are?


Easy signup process

So make sure they can give you their email address! Any funnels you have for convincing people to give them to you are well constructed, but also don’t put up any barriers; if the user wants to skip your pitch and just commit, don’t force them to click through a million reasons why they should do exactly what they were already planning to do.

And make it clear what they’ll be getting when they sign up. An email every time a new post goes live on your blog? Will this be everyday, a few times a day, once a month, etc? Make it very clear before they signup. And, of course, tell them that you’ll never spam them (assuming you won’t).

Ensure all content is optimized to share easily

This is another tricky one, because “optimized to share” is different for different platforms, and, also, changes for each platform from time-to-time. While individual platforms change what sizes and types of content look best only rarely, with all the platforms out there, it’s a pretty constant trickle.

What you want to consider are the sizes of the images, the length and content of your excerpts, and the length and content of your titles. There are other aspects to consider, but basically you should put some real though into making people want to click on whatever stub you’re showing them.

Keeping track of those details is a huge headache, but luckily there are sites dedicated to doing just that.

Observe Some Simple Best Practices

There are a few more miscellaneous things you can do to really maximize your return on investment right at the start, simply by avoiding missteps.

Don’t include content which will anger people unless that’s what you’re going for.

Making people angry is actually a great way to make money, judging by the number of big sites which seem to specialize in it. That said, don’t do it accidentally. What a mess that is. Just think before you post.

Don’t get too fancy

Bells, whistles, buttons, video intros, etc. There is always a new next big thing, and it’s okay to indulge now and then, but you should, especially right at the start, be focusing on strong fundamentals. You look better sinking one from the free throw line than barely missing ten from the half court.

Don’t mislead

Honesty, honesty, honesty. If people don’t trust your brand, you are sunk. You’ll be shopping for office space on the lower deck of the Titanic. So don’t be sketchy. Even if it pays off immediately, it will hurt you in the long haul.

Don’t Spam

People are trusting you with their time, their contact info, and their attention. Don’t abuse it, simple as that. Treat their time as your own. If you’re good about it almost all the time, most people will forgive you when you slip up.

Project Professionalism

This is sort of an extension of everything above. Perception is important. If you want to look like a business authority, maybe use an “about me” photo featuring yourself in a type of suit that doesn’t begin with any of the following words: swim, jump, gimp, or birthday.

An exception would be the word “space”. If you’re an astronaut, play that up.

Have a Post Bank Saved Up Prior to Launch Start Your Organic Rise

Okay, let’s touch on the organic search results, because you should start building your domain authority right at the start. We’ve already mentioned how to position yourself to squeeze out lackluster competitors, but there are a few more things to consider.

Ensure your content is at or above the quality of top competitors in your niche.
I won’t go into this too deep, because everyone who’s even sort of an expert in internet marketing and SEO has already written an entire post on it, but the best way to rise in your niche rankings is to find searches where the top result is mediocre or worst, and answer the same question better.

Write several articles on topics related to your niche.

You want to have several articles, perhaps half a dozen, populating your site right at the word go. This way, anyone who arrives has few things to read or share—and, better yet, link back to. But take your time with writing. To write something truly insightful and useful is a lot of work. Quality over quantity.

Establish (and Keep) a Schedule.

One of the biggest predictors of whether or not a site will grow is whether or not someone keeps creating new content on a schedule. Now, this probably isn’t a perfect correlation, because the people who are busy creating content are also the people who are going to be working hard at all the other aspects of making a site fly.

Advertising

How much depends on your budget, but let’s be honest here, advertising is still an amazing way to bring people in, and expand your reach. Services like Outbrain are specialized for content.

Always Be Learning

Creating great content that gets shared and has great SEO is tough. It requires a lot of learning and practice. Don’t expect to know it all from the start. Begin with reading Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Read it and live it.

It’s also worth reading up on Bing’s guide to building quality content and even Wikipedia’s guide to writing.

Additionally, spend time learning why other sites rank well and are well-respected. What do the New York Times, The Atlantic, and even Pitchfork have that gets them the respect, authority, and traffic? Know what makes good content and what makes bad content.

Conclusion

This is all a lot of work, I know. Running a site is a lot of work.

Momentum takes awhile to accrue—that’s both the pleasure and the pain of it, but, generally speaking, if you follow these guidelines, you’ll have tilted the ground in your favor. All you have to do now is push as hard as you can, as long as you can, to take advantage of the friendly terrain. There’s no road to easy success, because, if the road is easy, you’re going to get lapped by all the people giving it their all.

What advice do you have to help people put eyes on their content from day one?

About the Author: Anja Skrba has been blogging for over five years. You can find her at FirstSiteGuide.com whereshe shares tips on blogging basics and trends.

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How Your Keyword Strategy is Failing You (And How to Fix It)

One day very soon, we’re all going to stop worrying about “keywords”.

And then we can all rejoice.


via GIPHY

But until that happens, whenever “SEO” comes up, the next phrase muttered usually involves “keywords” and “rankings”.

This unhealthy obsession with “keyword + rankings” (that was a search operator joke) has long been misleading.

Historically, keywords gave us a fairly reliable way to measure progress in the otherwise abstract and confusing world of SEO. (Not to mention, the very real danger of cheap SEO providers.)

The problem is that today, keyword rankings are basically useless. Which means the way we’ve traditionally optimized and measured for them is basically useless as well.

Here’s why.

Why Your 2005 Keyword Strategy Doesn’t Work in 2015

Rightfully (or wrongfully), keyword rankings have been SEO KPI #1 for over a decade.

And back in the day, this made sense.

Search engines were more-or-less one dimensional, which made SEO a very straightforward process. Everyone, no matter who you were or where in the world you were searching from, would largely see the same exact search engine result pages (SERPs) when looking for a specific keyword.

In this environment, keyword rankings (as a metric) were very simple, reliable, and (I can’t believe I’m going to say this when referencing Google) transparent.

On top of that, analytics programs freely passed keyword referral data back to webmasters. Meaning you could see exactly which terms people used to arrive at your site.

By matching keyword positions or rankings with the referral data you were seeing in analytics, you could easily see the $money keywords – or which ones were driving success (in terms of traffic and conversions).

Unfortunately, none of this is true anymore.

So good thing you scanned over the last ~165 words anyway. :)

Something About Personalization

Today, everyone’s search engine result pages (SERPs) are being personalized based on your:

Past browsing history Physical location Social media connections

Just to name a few. :/

That means the keyword rankings you’re seeing, instead of being static and universal like the good-ol-days, are completely personalized to you as an individual.

For example, look up a traditionally head (or super popular) keyphrase like, “Pizza” and you now get this:

Modern SERP’s pull from a variety of different sources (here you’ll see the huge prevalence and opportunity of local search emphasized), with traditional “organic” results pushed off a bit.

(This also means the role of “SEO” has evolved to include influential satellites like AdWords and Yelp. But that’s a topic for another day.)

The concept of keywords having one specific rank, and then benchmarking efforts against it, is today at best worthless, and at worst misleading.

But wait, there’s more!

Dude, Where’s My Keywords?

The second part of the keyword ranking equation was using referral data from your analytics to see how and where people are coming from.

With this info, then you could at least get an idea of (a) how people are looking for you and (b) how to use that information to do a better job of optimizing your site.

So even if keyword rankings are losing value, this referral data was extremely helpful in giving you clues to influential topics and keyphrases.

Now, SEO encompasses much more than just Google Search. Hoooooweeevverrr… Google Search is a virtual monopoly, meaning they can pretty much do whatever they’d like. Starting with, taking away almost all keyword referral data that gets passed to webmasters and site owners.

A few years ago, they moved to make all searches secure (except for ad clicks). Now in your analytics program, where you used to see the specific keywords sending you traffic under “organic”, you now see a [not provided] placeholder that accounts for the majority (~70-90%).

That means you can no longer see what keywords are sending you traffic from organic search….

… due to “privacy reasons”…

… but you can, however, pay them for it via AdWords.

How ironic. And convenient.

Keyphrases are still very important. Trouble is, we now have to infer or assume what keyphrases are popular and how to best optimize with huge gaps in verifiable data (and you know what they say about when you assume).

One of the easiest ways, is to simply alter our strategy a bit and focus on what we can control (our website) instead of what we can’t (keyword rankings).

The Simple Change to Update Your Strategy

If (a) keyword rankings are unreliable, and (b) keyword referral data is nonexistent, then… something needs to give.

Going forward, it’s easier to shift focus away from keywords (directly), to the performance of your landing and content pages instead (so you can indirectly assess topic performance).

Then reverse-engineer success based on topic – i.e. a broad set of long-tail keyphrases – instead of only one specific keyphrase. It’s messy, but practically easier (unless you’re interested in getting your PhD in SEO and analytics).

For example, one simple way is to take a look at your most popular content in Google Analytics from organic search:

Then cross-reference this information with some (remaining) query data in Google’s Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools):

And you can kinda get an idea of the long-tail keyphrases sending this page traffic (along with some position-related info – but let’s not over-emphasize this now, shall we?).

You can also use some paid tools, like Moz, to help track a certain number of keyphrases against specific landing pages:

In a way, this backwards process should actually benefit you by ensuring extra attention-to-detail when strategizing the information architecture of a site’s pages (and their respective keyphrases) in the first place.

The Holistic Future of Search Optimization

In today’s dynamic marketing landscape, SEO isn’t “SEO”.

Instead, SEO now takes a multi-faceted approach where you’re involving different disciplines (i.e. content, email, advertising, social), building a brand (i.e. investing in intangibles, not just conversions), and competing on multiple fronts (i.e. paid search positions, review & aggregation sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, beefing up your local listings, and more) – all at the same time.

Needless to say, this requires a lot of time, man (or woman – can’t accuse me of discrimination!) power, and sufficient investment.

The days of competing solely on (and overprioritizing) SEO are numbered.

But that’s not to say it’s any less important. In fact, search is only becoming more important and more influential in the buying process of customers.

Finding what you’re specifically looking for will always be priority #1 online. And that means search will be omnipresent and omnipotent because it’s so valuable (and profitable).

The trick will be to remain holistic and nimble as trends and platforms evolve.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the author of a BS-free SEO guide that shows you how to fix common mistakes while avoiding algorithm chasing. He’s a founding partner at Codeless Interactive, a digital marketing firm digital agency specializing in creating personalized customer experiences.

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The Importance of Testing: How one test applied to two email sends resulted in different audience responses

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At MarketingExperiments, sister company of MarketingSherpa and parent company of MECLABS, we believe in testing. Our Web clinics are a testament to this belief – every month we share research that is designed to help marketers do their jobs better.

This culture of testing encouraged me to run my own test.

First, I ran the test on a MarketingSherpa send. After the results of that test came back, the same test was then applied to a MarketingExperiments’ newsletter.

By running virtually the same test twice for two different audiences not only did I learn more about the preferences of ourreaders, but I also learned how incredibly important it is to test, even when you are sure you know what the results will be.

The MarketingSherpa test

As the copy editor at MECLABS, I get to see all of the copy produced by both MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa. One of my responsibilities is overseeing the email newsletter sends. Every Monday, MarketingSherpa sends out a Best of the Week newsletter which features the most popular articles of the previous week and introduces the new book for the MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway.

The copy in these newsletters was extensive. Every article listed had a full summary which, as a reader, I imagined would seem overwhelming when opening this email on a Monday morning.

With the help of Selena Blue, Manager of Editoral Content, and Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, I decided to change reduce the length of the Best of the Week newsletter and use an A/B split test to determine which format our readers preferred.

Below is a side-by-side of the Control and the Treatment. 

After running this test for six weeks, there was a definite trend of higher total and unique clickthrough happening for the shorter treatment versions. My hypothesis proved to be true — less copy in the email meant higher engagement rates with readers.

The MarketingExperiments’ test

Based on the success of the MarketingSherpa test, I thought it would be interesting to run the same test on MarketingExperiments’ Best of the Month newsletter send, which is sent to readers on the first of every month. Similar to the Best of the Week email send, the Best of the Month features the most popular articles of the month, gives a recap of the latest Web clinic and provides a description of the upcoming Web clinic. This was done with the help of Ken Bowen, Managing Editor, MarketingExperiments.

The Best of the Month send has more information in it, so it is naturally a longer newsletter than the Best of the Week email previously tested. Therefore, it felt like a natural mental leap to assume that the shorter Treatment would once again get higher clickthrough rates as it seemed to be more reader-friendly.

As you can see with the below Control of the Best of the Month from August, there was a lot of copy in these sends.

For the Treatment, we once again cut the article summaries. In addition to losing this copy, we also cut the recap of the previous month’s research and instead just had the upcoming month’s Web clinic description. We ran this A/B split test for three months.

Due to the results of the Best of the Week testing, I knew what the results of this testing would be. If one audience responded positively the lessened copy, certainly so would another audience. The fact that we were virtually re-running the same test seemed to me to just be a formality.

Spoiler Alert: This is why testing is so imperative.

If I had applied the results from one test to all newsletter sends, I would have been doing our readers a disservice. Below are the results broken down by month.

Of the three months of testing, only one month validated. Although the Treatment had slightly higher clickthrough rates, it wasn’t significant enough to regularly validate as it did with the Best of the Week send. It appears that readers of the Best of the Month newsletter may find value in the summaries and extended copy that the Control version had.

Testing allowed us to change the MarketingSherpa Best of the Week send to better serve our readers and also learn that the same changes made to the Best of the Month send did not make a statistically significant difference to MarketingExperiments’ readers.

Results

Testing is so important. I work for a company that values testing and is continually striving to best suit the needs of our readers. The editors and directors overseeing both MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments were very open to my experimenting with the format of a send that has been with the company much longer than I have.

And while the change of the format itself is important, so was the testing involved. It allowed me to really see how our readers were digesting the information that I was sending to them on a weekly or monthly basis. To better understand the patterns and behaviors of our audience only benefits me as a copy editor.

This meant that one audience preferred the lessened copy while the other may find value with more text . Without re-running the test, I would have blindly assumed that the MarketingExperiments audience had the same reading preferences as our MarketingSherpa audience.

Testing allows us to validate even that which we are sure to be true, and to humble us when this in fact turns out to be false.

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The Complete Guide to Website Push Notifications for Ecommerce

Website push notifications are clickable messages that are sent by a website to their subscribers’ browsers. They work very similarly to mobile app push notifications (notifications sent by a mobile app that land in your notification tray) except that they work on websites instead of apps and can be accessed on all devices (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc).

In this article, we’re going to take a look at website push notifications in the Ecommerce space. We’re going to discuss why Ecommerce players cannot afford to ignore website push notifications, how they work and how to optimize your push notification campaigns to deliver great results for your online store. Let’s start!

Why use Website Push Notifications A brief look at the communication channels for Ecommerce

Ecommerce businesses use a variety of ways to grow their traffic i.e. new visitors, as well as engage with their existing traffic i.e. the folks who have already visited your website. These include exploring various communication channels – email, social media, SMS, push notifications (both websites and apps); it also involves employing these channels in different kinds of campaigns to reach and engage users. Let us take a brief look at each of these channels and try to understand where they prove useful.

Email

Email is most commonly used to deliver curated product suggestions, advertise upcoming sales and discount offers, ask for product reviews, recover abandoned carts, deliver transactional information such as order confirmation, tracking details etc.

The main advantage of email marketing is that it has a wide reach – a study by The Radicati Group reveals that there are currently 2.6 billion email users, which means that more than 1 out of 3 people have an email account. Another very important advantage is that an email stays in the inbox, accessible anytime, unlike social media messages and notifications, which are harder to access later (or even impossible). This is particularly useful for delivering important information like order and tracking details.

Where email marketing misses out, however, is the ability to deliver time-sensitive information. According to Zipstripe, the average time for email recipients to view an email message is 6.4 hours. This means that email is not effective for sending time-bound emails, such as coupons with a tight redemption period, or important actionable information such as “Your package is out for delivery”.

Social Media

Social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) work better than email marketing when it comes to delivering short-time offers and discounts since people spend more time on social media websites than on any other online activity. So, what’s the problem? It’s the problem of engagement – only 0.07% of your Facebook audience interacts with your posts and the figure is 0.03% for Twitter. What this means is that social media is not very effective for messages designed to achieve a specific purpose in a specific time, since so few of your audience will actually react to that message. Instead, social media is better employed as a means to establish your brand and build a relationship with your audience.

SMS

SMS is effective if you want your user to read your message very quickly – 90% of SMS messages are read within the first 3 minutes. This makes it useful for communicating important business-information like “Your cab is arriving” or “Your item will be delivered today”.

SMS should not be used for information that the user will need to access later, such as receipts. SMS messages are difficult to search later on. Another disadvantage of SMS messages is that they can only contain a maximum of 160 characters, which drastically limits the kind of communications you can have through SMS.

Push Notifications (Mobile apps)

Push notifications is the default way by which mobile apps communicate. It scores over email for promotional content in that it delivers messages in real-time and it has also reported higher response rates compared to email (Open rates for push notifications are 50 percent higher than for email, and click rates are up to twice as high, according to this survey).

It is tempting to think of app push notifications and SMS as the same but they have crucial differences – the opt-in/opt-out options in app push notifications give the user greater control over what kind of messages he/she wants to receive. SMS on the other hand, often comes unsolicited and it is harder for the user to disable. Because of this, SMS is often perceived to be a lower messaging medium.

Where does Website Push Notifications fit into the picture

Website push notifications fit into a very unique spot in this entire spectrum. It differs from mobile app push notifications in that while app push notifications are limited to mobile devices and tablets, website push notifications also covers desktops. Desktop usage still accounts for 42% of total internet time. Web push notifications deliver the power of real-time push notifications to this 42% of internet users.

Another point which makes website push notifications very important for Ecommerce is the cost factor. Building a quality app is an expensive affair and sometimes the ROI can be difficult to justify. In fact, for small and medium sized companies, mobile websites may reach more people than mobile apps do. This makes website push notifications more critical since it gives businesses the ability to send push notifications without investing in an app.

All in all, it can be seen that website push notifications is an important channel for Ecommerce since it gives websites the power of instant communication via websites and that too on all devices, be it desktop mobile or tablet.

How do Website Push Notifications work

By default, whenever you install a mobile app, you give the app the permission to send you push notifications on your device. Websites, however, have to explicitly take permission from their users to send them push messages. This is how website push notifications work:

The first step is getting opt-in from visitors. As soon as someone arrives on a website, an opt-in box is triggered. If the visitor clicks on “Allow”, he/she is added to your subscriber list.


Opt-in modal box

As soon as a ‘visitor’ becomes a ‘subscriber’, you can send them push notifications from your website. The title message and the text message are customizable within certain character limits and a URL has to be specified. These notifications will arrive in real-time even if the browser is not open at that point of time. Clicking on the notification will take the subscriber to the URL specified.


How the notifications look Optimizing Push Notifications

Now that we’ve established the importance of push notifications and how they work, it’s time to take a look into how to optimize your push notifications to drive more sales from your existing subscribers. This section is divided into the following subsections – writing great push notification copy, when to send a push notification, how frequently should you send push notifications, using segmentation to send personalized notifications and, lastly, what metrics to track.

Copywriting for Push Notifications

Since push notifications impose character limits on the title as well as the message, the copywriting becomes that much more important since you have to squeeze your message into a small package while still retaining its effectiveness.

Whenever you are writing the title and message text for a push notification, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the purpose of the copy is to get subscribers to click. For that, your copy needs to, above all, provide some value to the subscriber. People will only click on the notification if they find it valuable.

Here are a few tips you can follow:

Be clear in what you are saying – Your subscribers have busy schedules and do not have time for vague messages. Do not test their patience by making them think. A clear message will have a greater click rate by the very virtue of the fact that it is action-oriented. In a fight between “Have you read Jeffrey Archer’s latest?” and “Jeffrey Archer’s latest novel available for purchase”, I’ll always go for the latter because it is clearer in its message as opposed to the former. Be crisp in your copy – Different platforms have different character limits for push notifications but all of them fall in the range of 40-120 characters. Thus, it is very important for you to be very concise in what you are saying. This often means that you need to identify the one most important value proposition of your message and let that shine through in the notification copy. Use scarcity to create urgency – According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, we are more motivated by the idea of potential loss than of potential gain. That is, if we find that an opportunity is closing, we want it that much more. This is also known as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
You can use this psychological principle when you write your push notification copy. For example, if you have a sale coming up for your online store, try sending a push notification that says something like, “Flash Sale! 12 hours only”. Use Social Proof – IBM’s marketing slogan in the 80s, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”, is one of the most powerful marketing phrase ever created. This is one of the most powerful examples of social proof, where the company used the tendency of people to go along the established route.
In push notifications, social proof can be used to increase click rate. For example, you can write something like, “4000 marketers have already registered for this event” if you want people to register for an event or “This post has more than 1000 Twitter shares” if you want subscribers to click through to a blog post.
Keep in mind, though, that this is not the 80s and internet users have access to all the information they need on their fingertips. Thus, it is important to not go overboard with claims and only write stuff that is credible. When to send Push Notifications

Website Push Notifications, by their very nature, require an instant response on the part of the receiver. This makes timing all the more important. A classic mistake when sending push notifications is not take into account the time zone your subscribers are located in. To fix this, you need to have a clear understanding of how your subscribers are spread around the globe and be very particular that each time zone receives the message at an appropriate time. It’s definitely more complicated than sending out a notification in a single batch, but that’s the kind of effort that is required in this highly-personalized environment. For example, you don’t want to end up this notification when the stars are twinkling, do you?


A wrong time to send this notification

Another thing that you need to consider is that different kinds of notifications work at different times of the day. If you are sending a promotional message, you want your users to be in a restful state of mind so that they have the mental bandwidth to check out your offer. Choosing to send something funny and light-hearted? Go for the afternoon, when people are feeling bored in the office and want something to crack them up.

How Frequently to Send

Probably the most important thing to consider as you scale up your push notification campaigns is the frequency of your messages. Since push notifications is a high-engagement communication channel, you need to be really careful not to inundate your subscribers with more notifications that they can handle.

Since website push notifications is a fairly new technology, there is no data out there on optimal frequency. At this stage, you need to carefully monitor your click rates, time on page, bounce rate and opt-outs after every push notification to find out which frequency works best for your audience.

Using Segmentation to Send Personalized Notifications

As Ecommerce marketers, personalized messages are nothing new for us. We all know that they work. However, it is doubly critical to not follow the spray-and-pray approach when it comes to website push notifications, simply because opting-out is so easy and there is no way for you to get those unsubscribers back, unless they change their settings. For example, this guy is totally opting-out after receiving this notification.


A poorly personalized push notification

Ecommerce players, therefore, need to categorize their subscribers into different buckets that are as narrowly defined as possible. One way of doing this is to ask subscribers for preferences at the time of opting-in. Another very effective way is to go for behavioral segmentation i.e. putting subscribers into different segments based on their on-page activities like type of pages viewed, number of views of a particular page etc. For example, if I’ve been checking out books in the spy thriller genre lately, the store should mark me as someone who’s interested in the genre and send me a notification whenever something new is published in that category.

What Metrics to Track

The most immediate metric that comes to mind when thinking website push notifications is click rate. This is how many people clicked on the notification as a percentage of the number of people to whom that notification was delivered.

However, just focusing on this one metric can lead your analysis astray. Instead, you should strongly focus on the business goals you deem most important, which in this case would be sales (primary goal) and visits to checkout page, add to cart (secondary goals). Tag your notification links with the proper UTM parameters and then sift through the data in Google Analytics and other analytics tools you are using to find out how many people arriving on your website via push notifications are actually performing the above actions. This is the only way that you will be able to determine whether website push notifications are working for you or not.

That’s it! This covers almost everything you need to know as you start with website push notifications for your online store. Just remember – keep listening to what your audience is trying to say and keep iterating on the basis of that!

About the Author: Anand Kansal works at PushCrew, a tool that enables websites to send push notifications on desktops, mobiles and tablets. He tweets about push notifications and online marketing in general at @PushCrewHQ.

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5 Strategies to Personalize Your Upsells and Cross-Sells

Would you like fries with that?

Research shows that upsells and cross-sells count for more than 30% of eCommerce revenue.

As shoppers, we are accustomed to the standard sales tactics. Companies have more products. And they want us to buy more.

The problem arises when brands force us to buy services we don’t want, and quite frankly, don’t need.

But SaaS companies face a set of unique challenges. Their profitability hinges on low churn rates and recurring revenue.

However, that’s no excuse to take the nickel-and-dime approach. SaaS businesses can enhance customer value.

How? Through upselling and cross-selling.

And not by taking the traditional path. I’m talking about: personalized upgrades that will add to the customer’s experience.

Let’s explore five techniques to customize your upsells and cross-sells.

1. Focus on Timing & Limitations

Especially in the SaaS market, you want customers coming back. It’s up to your team to not only provide value, but also to give value at the right time.

Start with who you know. Marketing Metrics reports that it’s 50% easier to sell to existing customers than to new prospects.

Consider it a natural next step in the customer lifecycle. Use data to identify what problems your current customers want solved.

Then, demonstrate to consumers how your additional services can help them achieve greater success.

Upselling to customers at the right time matters. For instance, don’t sell a blog management platform to a company who recently outsourced these duties.

To turn a single sale into multiple purchases, be well-acquainted with your consumers’ needs.

Also, try limiting your product’s usage to create extra upsell opportunities.

Gareth Goh at InsightSquared agrees, “People, by nature, want what they can’t have. If they have reached the limits in terms of how much they can use your product, their want and need for more of it will inevitably spike.”

Placing customized limitations on your services gives consumers a taste of what you have to offer. Figure out how much (or how little) will entice each buyer.

Once they notice the value your services provide, customers will ask for more. And that’s your chance to upsell.

2. Add User-Generated Content

Building customer trust is one of the main issues plaguing eCommerce businesses. A typical shopper’s mind generates skeptical questions, like: “Are their products really good?” or “Will they return my money back if I’m dissatisfied?”

That’s why genuine customer reviews bring value to the purchasing process. People want to hear an impartial opinion, not an advertisement.

User-generated content offers brands the opportunity to supply that social proof. Rather than spending big bucks on paid promotion, let your customer’s social media content encourage cross-sells.

Yotpo’s data scientists “found that from reviews shared to social, the conversion rate is an average of 40% higher for Facebook, 8.4 times higher for Twitter and 5.3 times higher for LinkedIn.”


Image Source

UGC strengthens the trust factor. To shorten the sales cycle, provide customers with reviews of cross-sell items. A section labeled “What People Are Saying About Product X” will work well.

To deepen the personalization, filter the reviews that will resonate with the customer’s interests. For example, if the customer’s past purchase behavior relied on product quality, offer them specific reviews highlighting this concern.

Let the data determine your UGC selection and that will increase your likelihood of a cross-sell purchase.

3. Offer Personal Product Recommendations

Examine the historical and affinity data of your customers. Then, offer product recommendations based on these trends.

Words matter. So, speak directly to the consumer. How your brand crafts the cross-sell message will dictate how the shopper responds.

Customized messaging is powerful. As humans, we pay attention when someone says our name. That’s one reason why Starbucks’ baristas ask for our names with each order.

At a minimum, your cross-sell language should communicate on an individual level. Use words like: you, your, and yours. This way the shopper can imagine themselves with the product.

Here is an example from Buffer:

To kick it up a notch, make it more personable. Identify the shopper by name. This is how Bodybuilding.com does it:


Image Source

4. Consider Pricing Options

Learn your customer’s price sensitivity. If a customer bought a $100 item, they may not be willing to purchase a $1,000 product right after.

But don’t shy away from trying upsells with payment plans.

Kissmetrics and CrazyEgg co-founder Neil Patel suggests, “offering your customers an additional product for six monthly payments of $47 instead of a one-time payment of $282.”

Bundling is another cross-selling strategy. It’s the science of delivering à la carte items into a perfect package that will delight customers. To shoppers, it translates into a bargain.

Even though bundling doesn’t require learning the theory of relativity, it does require a few best practices to follow.

For example, products within the bundle should also be sold separately. If the customer can only get the item within the bundle, then it’s a single product, rather than a package deal. Meaning the consumer has no choice and receives no real perceived bargain.

Recommend items that will fit your consumer’s current budget, not your lofty sales goals.

5. Remember Customer Support Interactions

Can your support team spot upsell opportunities?

If so, they can meet the customer’s needs with product offers. However, don’t abuse this outreach strategy. Give honest product suggestions.

Disclaimer: All customer support interactions don’t equal a sales opportunity.

The purpose of a support team is to solve the customer’s problem. As your business grows and problems arise, team members may recognize patterns that can eventually be resolved through your company’s services.

Groove’s Head of Marketing Len Markidan suggests two conditions to sell in a support situation:

The customer is happy with your service. – Never sell a solution to an angry customer. It only makes them angrier, and your brand looks worse. The customer’s unmet need can be solved by you. – After solving the customer’s initial problem, did the interaction reveal that more value could be delivered?

Before Groove ended its Live Chat app, they offered it as a solution to help their customers prevent a constant flow of emails. This typical upsell solved a problem and added value to the customer.


Image Source

In the example above, you can see how Mo related to the customer’s concerns. Her response was customized to fit this specific consumer’s needs. She stated the person’s name, created a sense of understanding, and offered to set up a free 14-day trial.

Monitor your shopper’s needs. Your #1 priority is to assist them with their problems. Then, customize ways to insert upsells into conversations that will help everyone involved.

Personalize to Sell More

Upselling and cross-selling are timeless marketing approaches. If used correctly, they can boost revenue growth and increase customer lifetime value.

To give your SaaS brand a sales reboot, incorporate personalization into your strategy. Amplify user-generated content and consider your pricing when bundling.

Customize. Upsell. Sell more.

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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Survey Results Are In: The Marketer’s View on Metrics & Priorities

First of all, a tremendous thanks to everyone who shared their feedback on our recent survey. We hope it’s the first of many discoveries we can share. We want our blog to cover the topics that you care about, so please share any suggestions in comments, in future surveys, or by email to blog@kissmetrics.com.

Here’s our top 5 surprises that we found from your responses:

We are advocates. Some of the obvious findings are trends that most marketers know; word of mouth is important, especially with the advent of social. But we found that not only are our readers on the receiving side of word of mouth, you’re also the first to provide recommendations when you find a tool or product that works for you. Data visualization drives cross-business success. And while data visualization is a priority, it’s not because you need basic analytics. It’s because you are distributing your insights throughout your company as part of your goal to share value of your work. It’s directly linked to management support and shared confidence in results. The data visualization is key not just to internal communication for decisions, it’s appreciated across an organization to show business program value and articulate other top level issues. Sophisticated users are leaning on data visualization to prove tool value across the company. We all dig into the people details. Another correlation hinted that where organizations used analytics to make business decisions, consumer behavioral tracking was a key priority. Most analytics tools are complementary, not competitive. For blog readers, your favorite tool overall was Google Analytics, and of course Kissmetrics. We’ll definitely continue to write to those categories. We also saw a spread of social media tool mentions across ad and content applications. Everyone has their own favorite feature, but we all want them to connect. Your absolutely necessary feature set? That was an even wider gamut of response. Connections between systems is a recurring theme, as well as data visualization, funnel reports, and segmentation. Integrations and use of API to connect disparate systems work in tandem with data visualization to communicate across the business.

Does this sound like you? Is there anything we missed? As we continue to print the 3D model of what the analytical marketer looks like, we hope to hear from each of you.

About the Author: Maura Ginty is the VP of Marketing at Kissmetrics.

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How Brands Can Take Advantage of Snapchat (Infographic)

Sometimes it’s the craziest ideas that take off.

A social network where users send and read 140 character messages.

An app where users send the message “Yo” to one another.

And now we have Snapchat, an app that launched with a simple value proposition. Allow users to send pictures to each other that disappear after 10 seconds.

And now that idea has turned into a $10 billion company. But the product has evolved to become a more full-fledged social network.

If you think Snapchat is still used by a bunch of kids sending pictures to each other, it’s time to reevaluate. Here’s what you may have missed:

It launched features like Discover and Stories, which major brands like General Electric, Acura, Coca-Cola, CNN and National Geographic are using to connect with their fans. There are over 100 million people using it everyday. Its most active age demographic are the young adults between 18-24.

Now obviously Snapchat isn’t for everyone. If you’re a B2B marketer targeting high-level decision makers at corporations than Snapchat isn’t your best bet.

But if you’re selling to young consumers and looking for a new way to connect with them, Snapchat might be your new untapped outlet.

Today’s infographic outlines the reach of Snapchat, what brands are using it, how they are using it, and some tips for brands that are new to the platform.

As is the case with all communication tools, it’s important to avoid spamming your followers. The definition of spam differs for many people. For some it’s sending too many snaps, sending too many promotional snaps, or a combination of both.

Be selective in who you choose to run your Snapchat (and all social media accounts). These people carry the loudspeaker and are the voice for your brand and have a direct line to your customers and evangelists. Be sure they know what your brand is about and that it’s consistent with how you want it to be conveyed.

Brought to you by Social Marketing Software by Marketo

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

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INFINii Review Pre Launch Interview - Hitesh Juneja

Join the INFINii Pre Launch List HERE: hhttp://greenleaf.leadpages.co/i-pre-launch/ Get more info on INFINii HERE: http://www.seanagnew.net/infinii-review Check out more videos on my YouTube Channel HERE: http://www.youtube.com/greenleafvideos13 Follow me on Facebook HERE: http://www.facebook.com/seanagnewfanpage Please be sure to like, comment and subscribe - Thanks! ================================================ INFINii Review - INFINii Review Pre Launch Interview - Hitesh Juneja INFINii is a brand new e-commerce platform that will pre-launch on November 9, 2015 with an official launch date of December 1, 2015. In this INFINii Review INFINii Review Pre Launch Interview, we interview CEO Hitesh Juneja to get his insights on the INFINii Pre Launch and INFINii as a company. Make sure to pay attention to the very end of this video so you get all the info. To get more information on INFINii please make sure to get on the pre-launch list below. I will be offering exclusive bonuses to my team when it launches! Join the INFINii Pre Launch List HERE: http://www.workwithseanagnew.com/joininfinii ================================================ CONTACT DETAILS (I would love to hear from you!) Email: seancagnew@gmail.com Phone: 954-378-9503 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seancagnew Website: http://www.seanagnew.net ================================================ RELATED VIDEOS REPLAY - INFINii Review Pre Launch Interview - Hitesh Juneja: https://youtu.be/bxbeYv7LUn4 INFINii Review - INFINii Pre Launch Webinar Nov 6 2015: https://youtu.be/bxbeYv7LUn4 ================================================ EXCLUSIVE INFINII BONUSES (you only get this if you partner with me) ================================================
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INFINii Review from Sean Agnew

Hey... I just discovered this amazing e-commerce opportunity called infinii. You can generate money on Amazon or eBay and some of it is on autopilot. Check out the INFINii Review for more info

http://www.seanagnew.net/infinii-review
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6 Tips to Master the Facebook Power Editor

As a marketer, you probably already know that Facebook advertising has taken storm in the online world. And unless you jump on board you give your competition a huge leg up. So in order for you to really conquer Facebook advertising, you need to fully understand the Power Editor.

The Power Editor is a tool designed for larger advertisers who need to create lots of ads at once and have precise control of their campaigns.

Essentially, it’s a killer tool when it comes to social media marketing. Follow these 6 steps to master the Facebook Power Editor.

1. Know the Character Limit

As you may know, the Ads Manager has quite a few restrictions when it comes to your ads, especially with text. You’re limited to only 90 characters.

The Power Editor, though, gives you so much more freedom.

You have a significantly increased character limit, with 500 characters on desktop and 110 characters for mobile.

This is perfect for marketers and copywriters because it gives them more room to craft the perfect message.

2. Make Sure You Have Ad Basics Down First

In order to master the Facebook Power Editor, you need to first master ad basics.

That means you need to understand just how important it is to use engaging images, catchy headlines, and strong CTAs that convert. So a great first step is to research other Facebook ads that have done really well. Here’s an example of one that we did for a client that got great results:

The catchy headline, “Want floors so clean you could eat off them?” along with the strong monetary offer of $29 carpet cleaning special caused this ad to bring in quality leads for our client. In less than a month, this campaign had already generated them 25 conversions.

3. Manage Your Page Posts/ Analytics Through the Editor

This is one of my favorite features. The Power Editor shows you all kinds of analytics about the different posts on your business’ Facebook page that you really can’t get elsewhere. You’ll see the reach of your posts, engaged users, and how many people are talking about your company. Compare each ad side-by-side and see which ones deliver the best results.

The important thing is to learn from this data. Analytics are great, but if you aren’t changing or learning from them then you might as well not even use it. Let the analytics guide you towards better future ad performance.

4. Take Full Advantage of All Its Features

The main reason the Power Editor can seem so foreign is because it’s unfamiliar. It’s different from Ads Manager – but that’s a good thing. The Power Editor allows you do a lot more.

For example, Power Editor has made it incredibly easy to duplicate your ads. And that’s really handy when you want to continue the same campaign without creating an entirely new ad.

The Power Editor also makes it very simple to shift through your different ads with ease. Let’s say you have a campaign with several different ads. In order to check on those ads, you no longer have to open an entirely separate window like you do in Ads Manager. This allows you to optimize, review, and research all under one umbrella so you can really get into the nitty gritty of your marketing efforts.

5. Make Sure You Know How to Get Niche with Your Targeting

You put a lot of effort and time you put into your ad research and creation. Now you want to make sure your ad is seen by the right people.

That means you need to understand your audience settings and targeting metrics. First you’ll research your target audience, which can be seen through Google Analytics’ Audience data.

You’ll also want to look at your current clients and see what traits overlap there. These are the factors you’ll want to target with your audience setting (gender, sex, interests, behaviors, and so on).

6. Utilize the Reporting Features

This feature is really cool. It allows you to capture all of your campaign information and export it into a beautiful report. This is especially great for marketers who want to send Facebook ad results to clients.

The reporting features show insights such as cost per conversion, total spend on a campaign, the reach of your campaign, frequency, impressions, unique clicks, and more. You can customize which of these insights you’d like to capture. This is useful because it allows you to monitor certain aspects of your ad performance so you can determine what you want to optimize.

Also, make sure you are looking at the metrics that are important to your objective. If you’re running a campaign to increase page likes, you might not be as concerned about CTR or conversions. But it you’re running an ad to sell a product or service, you might not care as much about page likes or impressions as much as you would clicks. So when you’re viewing the spreadsheet, monitor the insights that are most important to that specific campaign.

Conclusion

Marketers tend to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. But that’s because we all know just how important it is for business. To become great at paid acquisition, you’ll need to be able to conquer the Facebook world. And a huge part of that includes the Power Editor!

If you have any questions on how to get started with your next campaign, drop a comment below – let’s brainstorm together.

About the Author: Mike Arce is the founder and CEO of Loud Rumor, an online advertising company for small businesses. Mike has a passion for local businesses and helping them grow. He has spoken for companies like Infusionsoft, the Better Business Bureau, ASBA, Local First and more! Follow Mike on Twitter.

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5 Must-Know Google Analytics Strategies To Measure SEO Success

You know what they say, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” In Search Engine Optimization measurement is critical to success. Sure, keyword rankings are a great measure of SEO. More keywords ranking higher means more traffic, right? But, reporting solely on keywords devalues the marketer’s role and doesn’t paint the full picture of why SEO is important to the organization. Going beyond keyword rankings allows marketing teams to showcase what really matters: how organic search brings revenue and profit to the business. Thankfully, one of the best tools for measuring SEO is freely available, and probably already installed on your website – Google Analytics!

Although every business is unique and every website has different metrics that matter, this post is a universal list of 5 ways to use Google Analytics to report the success of your businesses SEO efforts.

1. How to View Only Organic Search Traffic

This one might seem obvious. I’m always surprised at how many companies see a decline in overall website traffic and immediately jump to the conclusion that the traffic loss is due to a decline in organic search traffic. Many times digging a little deeper can actually reveal that organic traffic is up while other traffic sources are down which is resulting in the overall traffic decline.

The first step in looking at Organic Search traffic over time is to open your Channel Grouping report which can be found by clicking Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. There you will see traffic sources segmented by channel.

Clicking on the “Organic Search” channel will give you a more detailed report which includes only organic search traffic metrics.

This report will be the Swiss Army Knife to your SEO reporting. From this report you can determine things such as the top landing pages for search traffic, keywords driving the most traffic, which search engines are sending the most traffic, top exit pages and much, much more.

2. How to Measure The Quality of SEO Traffic

A lot of times I hear that “quality” is subjective, so you can’t really measure it. I don’t believe this to be true and in fact, I’d say there are a lot of ways to measure the quality of any traffic source, not just search.

The most common report I use to measure an improvement or decline in the quality of search traffic is the Assisted Conversions report (Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions). With this report active I like to start by setting the date range to ‘Last month’ and comparing it to ‘Previous period’. What you’re left with is a month-to-month comparison of conversions directly from search, or in the event of multiple visits to the site, conversions where search played a role but is not directly attributed with the conversion (ie: the visitor found the company through search, but returned directly and converted).

Use this report to look for a decline or improvement in conversions from search traffic. If businesses notice a decline in conversions from search, yet overall search traffic is steady, it’s easy to determine that the traffic coming from search is not qualified or of a very high quality.

Likewise, if you begin focusing on a more refined set of keywords and see an improvement in conversions from search traffic, you can say your SEO traffic quality is improving.

3. Assigning Dollar Values to Organic Traffic

This is a strategy I use for businesses who are looking for a more traditional way to understand the value SEO is bringing to their business beyond improvements in traffic, visibility and conversions by assigning a dollar value to their organic traffic results. To assign a total dollar value to a sites organic traffic, I compare how much the keywords would cost if purchased in a Google AdWords campaign.

Note: For this strategy to work you will need access to a Google AdWords account, and your Analytics will need to be synced with your Search Console account.

To find a sites keyword search phrases and queries, navigate to Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.

With this report pulled up, open your AdWords account in a new tab and click Tools > Keyword Planner. For this strategy we want to choose “Get search volume data and trends”, enter the top keywords from your Google Analytics Queries report, and click “Get search volume.” On the next screen click “Keyword Ideas.” Each keyword you’ve entered will have a Suggested Bid amount which is an estimate of what advertisers are currently paying per click for each keyword listed.

In a spreadsheet I will list all known keywords driving traffic to the website, the amount of click-throughs from each keyword, and the estimated cost-per-click. The final column in the spreadsheet is the sum of the estimated cost per click multiplied by the amount of clicks, resulting in the total organic traffic value per keyword.

This is a great strategy to visualize what kind of dollars and cents a businesses SEO strategy is saving them on traffic they would otherwise have to pay for.

4. Identifying Slow Loading Page Times

The need to optimize page load times is one item that is majorly overlooked by many SEO’s. In addition to how slow loading pages affect the user experience, page speed has become a major factor in search rankings. That’s why I always suggest that if a business is investing time and money in SEO and keyword rankings, don’t blow it by overlooking a slow loading website.

While we aren’t going to talk about how to make a website load faster, I want to look at how to identify slow loading pages and measure their impact on conversion rates.

To measure page load times on a page-by-page basis navigate to Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings. I like to set the middle column to ‘Avg. Page Load Time’ and the right column to ‘% Exit’. I also will typically add a ‘Secondary Dimension’ of Medium, and filter down to show only organic traffic.

What this report shows us in the top most row is the average page load time site wide, and the average exit percentage (where a visitor decides to leave the site) on a page-by-page basis. It’s also fairly easy to see in this report that as our page load time surpasses our site wide average, our exit percentages begin to skyrocket.

As an SEO, what I will do is bring this report to the site developers and ask them to do everything they can to optimize page load times. Once page load times have been improved, I will run this same report and compare it to the old data to show how much additional search traffic we’ve retained, and most likely converted due to the improvement in page load times.

5. Create Your Own SEO Dashboard

Sometimes all it takes to move a client or boss from a skeptic to a believer in your work is how the data is presented. It’s easy as an internet marketer – or more specifically an SEO – to over explain ourselves, or lean on hard-to-grasp metrics. Sometimes all the client wants to see is bar graphs, pie charts and other less intimidating forms of measurement.

The best way I’ve found to present Google Analytics and SEO data is through the built in Dashboard interface. A Dashboard is essentially a series of Widgets which pull all of the individual reports into a single view which is easy to access, share, and print. The bonus to having an easily presentable PDF of SEO metrics is the fact that having this dashboard will also cut down on your time spent reviewing Analytics letting you focus on actually doing the SEO work.

If you want to skip the details and import my dashboard you can do that, otherwise click on Dashboards > + New Dashboard.

The first widget I always set up is a simple counter to measure total visits to the site from organic search. Click on “+ Add Widget”, and title it “Total Organic Visits”. For this widget I usually stick with the ‘Metric’ display. Under “Show the following metric:” select ‘Sessions’. Since we only want to see traffic from organic search we need to create a filter. Under “Filter this data:” select Only show > Medium > Exactly matching > organic.

Let’s set up one more widget. My second favorite widget measures keyword phrases sorted by the amount of sessions and goal completions resulting from the respective keyword. Let’s add a new widget like before, but this time let’s set our display as “Table”. Under “Display the following columns:”, choose Keyword > Sessions > Goal Completions. We also want to apply the same organic traffic filter as our first widget.

I like tailor these reports to the specific client, but other widgets I usually create include:

All Organic Visits Over Time (Timeline) Top SEO Landing Pages Top Organic Keywords & % of New Visits Pages per Visit by Organic Keyword Most Successful Keywords by Goal Completions Turning a Challenge Into a Strength

By far, the single most challenging aspect of being an SEO is being able to effectively articulate the value you are bringing to a business. It’s easy for an SEO to show another SEO how his or her numbers are improving, but being able to quantify your work from a traffic and revenue stand point to a client or your boss is essential to earning and retaining business. If a client doesn’t understand what that check they’re writing is doing for their business, it won’t be long before they stop writing that check.

Pay attention to what metrics resonate with your client or boss and find a creative way to represent this data in your monthly SEO reports. For extra brownie points, when clients or bosses have shared access to the Analytics I always make a point to walk them through the custom dashboards showing them exactly what each widget is tracking and why it’s important to measure. Being able to educate your client on your process helps them appreciate the value you’re bringing to their business and view you as an asset to their future traffic goals.

About the Author: Dallas McLaughlin is a Digital Marketing Specialist at The James Agency, a full service advertising agency in Phoenix, Arizona. He blogs frequently at DallasMcLaughlin.com about Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click, and Social Media Marketing trends. If you have any questions, you can tweet him directly at @BossDJay.

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How Kissmetrics Helped Smart Insights Increase Monthly Revenue by 120%

Some say that running a fast-growing business is like flying a plane while they’re building it. We believe that being agile in your approach is essential, but equally important, you have to be crystal-clear on your goals and put in place the best measurement system to track performance against target and use detailed insights to optimize your inbound marketing and user experience.

I’m the CEO of Smart Insights and my company offers downloadable templates, guides and courses to help businesses use a more strategic, measured approach to increase leads and sales.

Based on this, you can easily guess we push out a lot of free content assets such as benchmarking, strategy and optimization templates. Because we have such a strong marketing content engine which gets us millions of uniques each year and thousands of leads each month, I needed to figure out how to best nurture the interest we are getting. Most people that download our content are not ready to pay for premium services straightaway. And we need to convince those that are under our freemium subscription plan that they will get more value out of our premium ‘Expert member’ plans.

Google Analytics didn’t allow me to make any actionable decisions – so I tried Kissmetrics.

Understanding, in detail, how and why our customers buy is essential to growing our business. So when we launched our Expert membership, the first thing I asked myself was: How do I figure out what my members are doing and what can I do to give them what they want?

As a digital marketing consultant, like any marketer, I immediately turned to Google Analytics. It’s great since it’s free and easy for non-specialists to pick it up and get started to view trends.

However, I wanted to see detailed insights about our customers like how long they take to buy, the latency between interacting with different content. I wanted to see this for individual freemium members when signed in and as cohorts we could track as we optimized our site. I also wanted a clear business dashboard I could review with my co-founders each month and link to our growth forecasts.

I was frustrated since we knew the insights we needed to run the business, but Google Analytics couldn’t give us the right information, with the right level of depth or accuracy due to its sampling methods. In a nutshell, we couldn’t easily figure out which content our users, prospects, freemium, and paid customers are engaging with. This is what our main member page looks like and as you can see, there are many actions (CTAs, click-throughs, hovers) that one member can take:

This is why we turned to Kissmetrics. We set up tracking on all the key actions as you see above. With Kissmetrics we get full visibility on the conversion funnel because we’re now tracking what each individual person is doing on my site as they interact with different content. We also get reports that show us precisely how the business is performing each day/week/month and year which means we can prioritise our optimization efforts better.

Kissmetrics helped me grow my monthly revenue by 120%

Before I go into specific examples, I really want to share how I use Kissmetrics’ dashboards because I think every business leader needs something like this if they want to grow their business and make their customers happy.

I and my co-directors review our customized dashboard with all the KPIs that I care about as our daily business health check. We rely on the emails from Kissmetrics to hit our inboxes before I get up every morning to make sure my business is on track. We’ve configured our dashboard so we have a breakdown of things like revenue, leads, sales–and the conversion of those–and we can easily track all these KPIs against our multiple membership tiers.

A more concrete example is when we launched our new interactive benchmarking tool a couple months ago and now with Kissmetrics we’re able to see exactly how many people started using this new product mapped back to their membership tier, role and organisation. I was able to figure out what features were the most useful for the different segments. This datapoint is gold for marketing programs because we can then create a different onboarding sequence for our freemium users and paid customers. But prior to Kissmetrics, we had no idea what content is most popular to these groups. We can now run the Power Report and many others like it we have set up to get the answers to most ‘what if’ questions when we’re trying to figure out things like this. I find the Power Reports indispensable because it allows us to validate and prioritizes our ideas.

We also advertised and promoted this new product on different channels so not only is it important to nurture the ones who are interested but it’s equally important to feed the funnel with new interests. By running the Cohort Reports, week by week and month by month, I can start to break out what channels are bringing in the best traffic. Thanks to our content marketing machine, SEO accounts for 70% of our conversion and email marketing is strong too. With all these insights I can then break out and welcome different segments of users with a “welcome message” that is more personalized (or in other words, a higher chance for them to convert).

I’m not going to say reporting and optimization is easy. I know from speaking in many conferences and training workshops that marketers struggle with it. This is hard work but it pays off because it impacts the bottom line of any business. For SmartInsights.com, not only are we able to increase traffic to basic membership by 214% but we now have ways to increase our monthly recurring revenue significantly by converting more free members to paid.

To Summarize

Got all that? Here’s a recap:

Google Analytics did not give us any actionable data. We turned to Kissmetrics to give us detailed insights that would help grow our business. We use the Metrics Dashboard to give an overview of our Key Performance Indicators (Revenue, Leads, Sales, Conversion Rates). The Daily Metrics emails keeps our team up to date on how our business is performing. The Power Report helps us answer ‘what if’ questions that previously would gone unanswered. The Cohort Report allows me to see which marketing channels are bringing the highest quality traffic. The Funnel Report shows me what each person is doing on my site and how they interact with different content. Using insights we gathered from Kissmetrics, we were able to increase traffic to basic membership by 214% and increase our monthly revenue by 120%.

About the Author: Dave Chaffey is the CEO of Smart Insights.

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How to Get Customer Feedback from Mobile Users

Customer feedback can help you understand what features to add, what features to get rid of, and where to direct your development efforts. Adding it into your marketing plan is a no-brainer.

But mobile app companies have a unique challenge. When it comes to communicating with customers, they’re at the hands of Apple and Google.

Because these two giants privatize your customers’ information, it’s impossible to get feedback in conventional ways. Unless your users create an account, you can’t email out a survey to a customer or email list, or search for your customers on social media. You have to be creative.

Thankfully, mobile app companies have found savvy ways to get feedback from their users.

In this post, I’ll explain how you can learn what customers really think of your app:

Ask for Reviews

The simplest way to get feedback is to ask for reviews within the app. On both iOS and Android, developers can program a request for a user to rate the app, and leave a review.

The key is to find the perfect time to ask. Many mobile apps ask for ratings and reviews immediately, but this can annoy customers as they’re not yet familiar enough with the app to really give a score. Additionally, mobile app ratings aren’t just important for potential customers– they also affect how easily the app can be found in the App Store or Google Play Store.

Clear, a to-do list app for iOS, has found a clever time to ask for reviews. After users have used the app for a few weeks, and checked items off their to-do list, Clear will ask for a review. At this moment, users are feeling happy about how productive they were, and are willing to share their positive feelings about the app.

Watch out: Once you have reviews, you need to read them and address your users’ issues. If you’re on the quest for positive reviews, it might be difficult to get the feedback you need to improve your app.

Use In-App Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a way to measure general customer sentiment, but also allows customers to send individualized feedback. This process divides respondents into three groups: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors, based on how they answer the following question:

By measuring how many people would recommend your product, you’re able to learn your customer’s general sentiment.

NPS includes a follow-up question, as well, which asks users to explain their score. In the follow-up question, you’ll be able to get rich, individualized feedback that you can act upon.

The best part of NPS is that you can easily add it to your mobile app. The process is seamless for users– they don’t have to leave your app to give feedback. Wootric has mobile SDKs for Android and iOS, so you can add an NPS survey directly into your app and collect rich customer feedback immediately.

You can also prompt Promoters to review your app in the App Store, which will help your overall app ratings.

Watch out: NPS works best when you’re regimented about when you’re collecting data. You need to make sure you’re asking customers how they feel at the right times, whether the survey is triggered by events (user completes a task) or amount of time (user has had the app for 10 days).

Savvy Support Communities

You’re focused on mobile, but that doesn’t mean you should do everything from your app. A great way to collect customer feedback is to create off-app communities where users can voice their opinions, ask for help, and engage with your team.

Here are a few ways app companies can create communities:

Offer support through social media (Twitter works well) and email Create a blog that encourages users to share their stories. Make sure to have a comments section. Create a web forum on your site to help users connect and share their experiences. UserVoice is a great product for gathering feedback and hearing from users. Make sure there are tons of avenues for customers to get in touch directly with your team.

Watch out: Communities are great, but the process for collecting feedback isn’t seamless, as users have to leave the app. This can affect the amount and quality of the feedback.

Use Beta Tests

Mobile app developers often use beta tests to learn how customers feel about their apps, especially before releasing full versions.

“Beta testing does not need to be on a big scale or have to be overly complex to be useful,” wrote Mike Fine, Director at Center Code, a beta test management company, on Quora. “In fact, a mobile developer can execute a small test among his or her users to great success as long as a strict beta process is followed and best practices are used.”

On your website, you can collect potential beta users with a web form requesting their email addresses. Then, you’ll have a good way to communicate with these users as they explore your app.

Watch out: Make sure your beta tests follow best practices and that you use a refined process when asking for feedback. Don’t email back and forth with beta testers– instead, come up with a survey to send them.

Act Upon Mobile Feedback

Once you’ve got feedback from your mobile users, you need to act upon it. Otherwise, your customers will feel like their voices don’t matter, and that you’re not interested in creating a better experience for them.

Track the Right Metrics

Mobile is taking over the world, and in order to be successful, you need to be tracking the right metrics. You should track:

The percent of purchases made through mobile devices The amount of web visits from mobile Time on site on mobile vs. your website Number of daily installs, and their sources Measuring effectiveness of marketing initiatives

This post details more about must-have mobile metrics.

How to Mine Customer Feedback When You Have Tons of It

If you’re using automated feedback mechanisms, such as triggered requests for app reviews or NPS, then you might get inundated with customer feedback.

Focus on things that are easily quantifiable. For example, if you’re using NPS, you’ll easily be able to determine how many customers love your app, simply by seeing how many customers are Promoters.

If you’re not using NPS, you should search the feedback for common strains. Are many people complaining about bugs? Are people unhappy with how slow the app is?

How to Encourage Customers to Give Continuous Feedback

Sending out a survey once a year isn’t a great way to get feedback. It happens once, and you’ll spend the rest of the year wondering what customers are thinking.

In order to encourage customers to give continuous feedback, build feedback channels into the app experience. Come up with a schedule that’s triggered by a user’s actions.

For example, when they’ve been using the app for 10 days, ask for a review. After three months of active use, ask them to update their review.

Get Going

It’s challenging to get helpful feedback from mobile users, but with a little creativity and the right tools, it’s easily possible. Got any other ideas on how to get feedback from mobile app users? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author: Emma Siemasko is a freelance writer and content strategist who helps SaaS and mobile tech companies share their stories. She’s the founder of Stories by Emma, and you can connect with her on Twitter.

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How to Get More Customers in Your Sales Funnel with Engaging Lead Generation

In business and in marketing – it’s all about the leads. But today, with so many choices, options and research available, getting the average visitor to take action is a lot more challenging than it used to be.

The core concept of the sales funnel itself hasn’t changed much: you’ll always get more interested prospects at the top than at the bottom. But how you engage with those prospects at every step of the funnel has changed dramatically. Let’s take a closer look at how you can not only entice more users to take the first step, but also brainstorm new and innovative ideas to keep them interested as they make their way through to becoming loyal brand advocates.

The Big Top-of-Funnel Mistake that Nearly Everyone is Making

By far the biggest problem I see marketers and companies of every size and scope making with regards to filling the top of their funnel is this:

Mentioning your product.

“But Sherice!” I can hear you saying, “They need to be aware of the product before they can take action!”

I understand your concern – but let’s look at this from the customer’s perspective. Say I’m looking to invest in a system that provides scalable, cloud-based hosting for my website. Much to the impulsive marketer’s dismay, at this point in the funnel, I don’t want to download a white paper about “How XYZ Company Delivers Scalable Cloud Hosting Solutions”, yet that’s exactly the kind of thing that’s thrown at me from every website.

Educate at the Top of the Funnel First

Take a step back and look at ways to educate, rather than persuade the customer. At this point in the funnel, they’re not looking seriously at solutions. They’re involved in the discovery process – learning what’s out there and what options they have available. You need to prove you’re even worth listening to by illustrating your expertise in a way that’s helpful and knowledgeable, not pushy.

This means filling the top of the funnel with bite-sized, visually scan-able tidbits of content in the medium and format your users prefer. And don’t just wait for the prospect to be the first to act – make sure that your content is hosted anywhere they might go as part of their research and discovery track, whether that’s video, infographics, podcasts or slide shows. They shouldn’t have to go to your site in order to learn more.

Here again, the information you send them shouldn’t be talking about your company directly at all, but rather acting as a guide to help them solve whatever issue or question they have. Going back to my previous example about cloud-based hosting, I may want to know about things like:

Which apps/services are supported? What type of platform is best for my needs? What are SaaS, IaaS and PaaS? How close is the server to my location? What options do I have for databases and storage? How much of the server can I control or access myself?

And so on. Even at this “Awareness/Interest stage of the funnel, it’s best to educate and guide rather than push for a sale. Once the interest is piqued, the question then becomes, how can you carry over more of your prospects to the next level of the funnel?

In short, how do you tie this education and guidance to your brand without pushing the consumer away?

Going from Prospect to Purchase

This is the point at which many marketers jump ravenously on the sale, but too often, the pressure is too much, too soon. Remember, they’re considering your offer among many likely competitors so how you differentiate yourself (in a way that’s meaningful to the consumer) is what’s going to warrant them giving you even more serious consideration.

This is where you put your email marketing muscle into action – reach out and learn what your prospect’s biggest concerns are. What do they specifically have questions about? Then set your content and marketing teams about forging relevant, personalized drip campaigns that answer those questions in such a way as to position your product heads and shoulders above the rest.

Common techniques that work best at this time are things like feature lists, comparison charts and pricing breakdowns. Once the consumer sees exactly what they’ll get, what it costs and what it includes, it’s time for the sales team to make their move and reach out to the customer to start planting those “loyalty seeds”.

Things like a free, one-on-one demonstration of the product, a fully featured trial account and tutorials can go a long way in showing the customer that you’ve got their best interests at heart. If you’ve got new features lined up for release, invite them to be one of the first to see how these new updates will benefit their business and how to use them effectively!

Follow Up After the Sale

After the sale may feel like the time to celebrate – but resting on your laurels at this point just makes it easier for competitors to swoop in and convince your newly hard-earned customer that your product or service isn’t the best choice for them. This is why every customer should be looked at more as an ally rather than another notch on your sales belt.

Always be looking for ways where you can create the kind of experience that the customer just can’t help but talk about. It sounds cliché to talk about delivering a phenomenal customer experience, but doing so at every stage of the process – from the website to the technical support to the newsletter and every outreach avenue and touch-point in between is what creates unbreakable loyalty.

Here, things like reward/referral programs, loyalty exclusives, how-to newsletters, social media coupons and other incentives can solidify that loyalty. Don’t just throw sale after sale notification at them – make them an integral part of your brand, and your brand a part of their lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling shoes or scalable hosting.

Always be looking for ways to add value – not what you think is valuable, but what the customer finds valuable. Every marketing initiative at each stage in the funnel should continually ask “what can we do to make this even better?”

By asking the right kinds of questions at the right points throughout the sale funnel process, you’ll not only win over more prospects, but you’ll be creating an iron-clad foundation of loyalty and communication that people (even your competition!) can’t help but admire and try to duplicate. Always look for ways to refine your funnel at any point where you find “leaks”. Seek out disconnects where the message doesn’t match the intent or where the content isn’t meeting the reader’s needs. An engaging sales funnel isn’t made of stone: it’s a fluid, ever-changing and adapting product that demonstrates precisely how you put customers first.

Have you created some unique, engaging or compelling content for your sales funnel that customers just can’t stop talking about? Tell us more about it in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

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