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4 Ways To Improve Your Conversion Rate OptimisationOn Wednesday and Thursday of this week the RDS in Dublin played host to over 4,200 attendees at the Dublin Web Summit. There were a whole host of amazing talks from speakers across different industries, from countries across the globe. All the talks were broadcasted via live stream during the event and you can also now view the recordings if you missed out on anything.

One of my favourite talks was by Joanna Lord from SEOmoz, an SEO software company based in Seattle. Unlike some of her fellow speakers, who fell into the trap of only pitching their own company, Joanna had some great insights into how marketers could be doing things differently, and during her short 15 minute presentation managed to give the audience 4 great takeaways for how they could improve their Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)…

Today’s Consumer Is Very Different

Today’s consumer is very different to the consumer of even a few years ago. Today they are more social. The purchase funnel has changed and the discovery process is different. Consumers ask for a lot more  feedback from friends than they used to.

So what kind of metrics can you, as a marketer, test for this new type of user? We used to focus solely on lead generation and website results, on words and buttons, on layouts and forms. Nowadays though, marketers don’t just want leads, they want engagement and conversation. This means offline results, as well as online results.

Marketers need to build loyalty and build communities. Marketers need to build something exceptional and get more evangelists for our brands.

So, as Joanna said, take a breath, and now rethink everything you know about CRO …

4  Things To Start Improving

#1 – Your Story

Marketers need to focus on the why? We need to start creating a better story for our companies.

Joanna referenced the Golden Circle Theory which you can learn more about by watching Simon Sinek’s TedTalk.

Most of us spend a lot of our time on the what? – the products and services. Your unique value proposition is in the how? But nothing will win you as much as if you get to the why? Look at Zappos and Threadless as great examples of ‘why companies’; they woke up and realised there was a gap in the market, and that drives them.

It’s also really important how you present your story. Etsy’s mission is to “empower people to change the way the global economy works” … it’s a great message but it’s not presented well on their website, in fact, it’s near impossible to find.

#2 – Your Relationships

Showcase others who are doing great things. Partners who you work with and trust. SEOmoz does this via their ‘pro perks‘ and it drives huge loyalty and engagement for them, as well as driving trials and demos.

Rethink your relationships and how you showcase them. Consider making it part of your ‘about us’ page and not just tucked away elsewhere. Put up great photos and videos of you with your partners.

These days people won’t buy into your brand unless they know who you’re supporting and who you are supported by.

#3 – Your Triggers

Marketers are too driven by changing words. Words do not change the success of the company. The way those words play off each other – a holistic story – does. And that involves all 3 of the brains …

  • Most of us test for the ‘new brain’ – the rational data. When we tell consumers that our company is the safest choice, the fastest etc. This marketing was working well until a few years ago.
  • The ‘middle brain’ is newer to us, it is emotion driven. This is where consumers are being retargetted in their social network without them perhaps consciously realising they are being marketed to, or when a friend tells them in person to check a brand out.
  • The ‘reptilian brain’ checks both of these out and then makes a decision.

We need to be targetting all 3 of these brains, and testing for all of them, for every homepage, landing page, email subject line etc. that we create.

Check out http://bit.ly/4n7AN3 to learn more about NeuroMarketing.

#4 – Thank You

How do you thank people once they’ve done what you wanted them to do? Marketers need to try to take from the middle funnel and drive these leads all the way in. Try to  build loyalty from early on. One way of doing this is via your thank you email once they have signed up for something.

  • Paypal is a bad example of the thank you email – they have a stockphoto of  some man, lots of text that doesn’t mean much and no personalisation.
  • Chill.com and Sephora send great emails – they make the experience personal and offer value to the consumer.

Marketers need to stop sending emails without value!

Think Bigger

Conversation Rate Optimisation is more than just testing. It’s about your story and relationships, its about value and loyalty.

Think bigger than just running the same tests that traditional marketers would run.

Watch Joanna’s full presentation here (it’s the second video on the page).

More On The Dublin Web Summit

If you want to get more of a flavour of what went on during the 2 day Dublin Web Summit check out my 2 Storify stories.

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This post originally appeared on TweakYourBiz.Com

Many companies are afraid of social media…. some are afraid of being involved, some are afraid of not being involved. Which is worse?

Anyone who has seen the socialnomics video has probably been persuaded that social media is important for business, both B2B and B2C. Unfortunately some companies get caught up in a panic and jump in without having any strategy or plan of action in mind. This leads to problems.

There is little worse than a Facebook page that is unmonitored – fans clamouring for attention and none being given. The key is in the name – social media. You need to be involved with your audience – you wouldn’t go to a seminar, put on a slideshow and then ignore the audience would you? So why ignore them online?

If you’re lucky enough to have an interested audience who is willing to engage with you, then you need to appreciate them and respond to their queries and concerns. Ignoring questions on social platforms is far worse for your image than having no presence at all; no presence is not great, it shows you’re not in touch with the new way people are doing business, but having a presence and ignoring people shows you don’t care about them at all – a far worse message to send.

A Tale Of Transformation

There is a skincare brand that I am particularly fond of; it’s an English brand started by two women on the Isle of Wight back in 1995. The brand has always projected an image of integrity, quality and, despite their growth, friendliness and caring. In my experience their telephone customer service is second to none (half the time you feel like having a cup of tea and a chat with the customer service rep – they are that friendly). But for some reason when they branched into social media none of this translated.

They had a Facebook page and a Twitter account; the Twitter account had very little interaction and on Facebook they were largely ignoring their fans. It was all broadcasting and no engagement. On one particular day there was a backlash against a post the company had placed on Facebook. The backlash went on for hours and hours without any comment from the company. It was quite clear that they were not paying any attention.

The error of their ways was brought to their attention however, and one year later the brand’s online presence is unrecognisable from what it was. They are now engaging properly with their community and responding to queries and answering questions. They are actively checking Twitter to see who is talking about them and responding to people.

The company has now matched its virtual reputation with its real life reputation. No mean feat, but if one company can do it, everyone can.

Marketing Takeaway

Even if you jumped into social media without a plan and have let it flounder, it’s not too late. Grab the bull by the horns, draw up a proper plan of action and go all guns blazing for the rest of 2012. It’s not too late to be great online….

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There is a YouTube video doing the rounds at the moment that you may have seen. It was posted by Alamo Drafthouse, a theatre in Austin, that have a very strictly enforced no-using-your-phone-AT-ALL-in-the-theatre policy.

 

Recently a woman was kicked out of the theatre for texting during the movie and then left a very irate message on their answering machine.

 

Alamo turned her voicemail into an ad for their theatre and posted the video on YouTube. It’s pretty funny, although I’m guessing that woman is even less happy about it now that it has become a YouTube sensation!

 

The video was reasonably risky. Alamo were betting that people would side with them, but it could’ve gone either way.

 

Fortunately most people pretty much HATE other people using their phone in the theatre. It doesn’t matter how far away from you they are sitting, that illuminated screen is like a beacon, distracting everyone from the movie.

 

The video has had 5,000+ comments, 1.76 million hits on YouTube and has been even been posted on the Huffington Post.

 

It’s a great marketing tip – turn negative interactions into a positive! Anyone who hates others using their phone during a moive, now knows what theatre they can go to without that happening.

 

Everyone is in love with Alamo Drafthouse! If I lived in Austin I would definitely be visiting!

 

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Many bloggers and tweeters spend a lot of time knocking companies down, we’re pretty much all guilty of doing it at some stage, whether online or in person. Rarely though do we commend companies on a job well done, and so (I try) when I come across a company who ‘gets it’, to give them a shout out.

 

Last week I attended the Inbound Marketing Summit conference in San Francisco. Having only signed up a week in advance and then realising I had no business cards, I needed to get some fast. A quick Google revealed that MOO seemed very popular and the cards looked great. I picked a card and put in all my details and was told the  cards would be delivered on Monday 6th June – the day before the conference – close, but it’d get the job done. However, when I placed the ordered a few hours later (had to double check some things first) the delivered date had changed to Tuesday 7th June – the day of the conference – not good!

 

I sent an email to their customer service and got the usual boot reply “Thanks for contacting blah blah blah” and saying they’d be back to me by close of business Friday. Given the time issues I decided to give Twitter a whirl. MOO operate under the Twitter handle @overheardatmoo, which doesn’t imply customer service but I figured I’d give it a shot.

 

I sent a tweet (it was very late Wednesday night west cost time) and got a response within 10 minutes asking for my order number and saying they’d try expedite my query with Customer Service.

 

The next morning I awoke to find an email from ‘Dan M’ of MOO customer service who said he was going to see if the US Operations team could pull off ‘a small miracle’ and get the cards to me by Monday.

 

…They arrived on Saturday.

 

At every step of the way through Twitter and the email exchanges with Dan M I felt like a highly valued MOO customer, despite the fact that this was not an expensive order and I was a first time customer.

 

MOO clearly have figured out that going the extra mile for every customer is what it’s all about.

 

(Plus the cards look fab!)

 

Well done to MOO, I will definitely be back. Let’s hope some other companies out there take a leaf out of your book!

 

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Bad Cop

 

Bad Cop Threatening Man

The New York Times recently published the article A Bully Finds A Pulpit On The Web. In it the journalist tells of the bullying tactics used by the owner of an online store for designer glasses. The owner is deliberately and inexcusably horrible to his customers, and has gone so far as to threaten them physically. And incredibly, he claims this is all part of his SEO plan. The owner says that when unhappy customers take to the web to rant about him, they name both him and the company, with lots of relevant keywords, which increases his search engine rankings.

 

“I’ve exploited this opportunity because it works. No matter where they post their negative comments, it helps my return on investment. So I decided, why not use that negativity to my advantage?”

 

I am not going to name either the owner or the company as I don’t wish to add any fuel to this fire, but you can read the NY Times article.

 

Many of those in the industry will have heard of ‘Black Hat SEO’, that is to say SEO which employs unethical tactics to hit the top of search engine rankings. Tactics which include invisible text (white text on white background that the user won’t see but a search engine will) and keyword stuffing (a long list of keywords on a page that mean nothing to the user but that might attract the search engine spiders).

 

These tactics are frown on and if Google finds out they can ban you from the search results, as happened BMW previously, and let’s face it, if you aren’t on Google you may as well not exist.

 

But the tactics employed by this particular individual take black hat to a level I would never have dreamed people would stoop to.

 

Threatening people and getting arrested all so you can sell some more units? That’s no way to live your life and you are ruining other people’s.

 

Good Cop

Good Cop Smiling

 

And then you have the companies that are just so lovely and treat customers so incredibly well . . .

 

I recently bought a present for a friend’s baby from Threadless, a little babygro in pink. Unfortunately when the package arrived they had sent the babygro in blue.

 

I went online and opened a ticket with the customer service to report the problem.

 

I received an almost immediate response which:

1) apologised for the error;

2) advised that the correct item was being shipping straight away;

3) offered a coupon code for $5 off;

and

4) said I was to keep the incorrect item as a further apology.

 

Threadless Card

Card From Threadless

Now if that wasn’t impressive enough, when the package arrived with the correct item, there was a handwritten card inside apologising again!

 

As a result I think I love Threadless even more now – and I’m obviously talking about the experience on my blog – which will also be tweeted – talk about turning a negative experience into a positive one!

 

Which Camp?

 

Some people might feel that the negative experience is going to get talked about more online, and maybe this particular incidence will, given the extreme nature of it. But as mentioned in a previous post people online want to read positive comments and stories, and your followers actual decrease the more you post negatively.

 

Also, while Google and others might not use sentiment analysis at the moment, you can hedge your bets that they will start integrating customer reviews soon enough (some already have) and then . . . well people using the negative tactics will tumble to the bottom of the heap never to return.

 

It pays to be nice . . . plus . . . what would your mother think!



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Excellence Road SignAt the weekend myself and my husband decided to take advantage of being so close to LA and took a trip to Disneyland. We had looked online a couple of weeks ago to try and see if we could get a reasonable deal, although we weren’t sure we would be able to during the holiday season, but we were delighted to find Southwest Vacations and booked a great package that included flights, hotel, shuttle bus tickets and park passes. The website was easy to navigate and book through, and the tickets arrived in the post within the week.

 

Being from Ireland we had never flown with Southwest before, but had heard that they were a low fares airline similar to Ryanair, an Irish budget airline. We discovered that like Ryanair, Southwest had free seating onboard, however that seems to be where the similarities ended. The staff were unbelievably friendly from check in – which took a grand total of about 2 minutes – to onboard service – the air steward whispered over my sleeping husband’s head, so as not to wake him, when asking me for my drink order. Our flight arrived on time and our bag came out quickly. All in all a pleasant experience.

 

But it was nothing compared to our return journey . . .

 

In order to get a full day in the park, we had booked a 9.40pm return flight on Sunday, however flights were being delayed due to bad weather on the west coast that evening and our flight was going to be delayed by a minimum of 1 hour, with a high likelihood of it being delayed further. However, an earlier flight which had been delayed was now due to leave a 9.45pm, so we went up to the desk to see if there was any availability on that flight. The woman at the desk was extremely friendly and said she’d put us on the standby list. About 10 minutes later her colleague handed us new boarding passes and we boarded the flight, arriving into San Francisco without any fuss . . . and (!) . . . our bag was waiting for us on the conveyor belt in SFO . . . we were unbelievably impressed given how little time the baggage handlers must have had to move our bag.

 

Overall we were extremely impressed by the service, especially given the ‘low fares airline’ tag, as we had been expecting a ‘low fares airline’ service. We will without question fly with Southwest again.

 

It goes to show that just because you are offering an economy service, doesn’t mean you can’t provide first class customer service. And, if all your employees work together to provide a consistently good experience for your customers, then you can’t fail to make a good impression.

 

All businesses should put customer service at the top of their 2011 priority list. Making your customers your number one priority will help keep your business going through the hard times.

 

Have you had a great customer service experience? Are you providing a great customer service experience? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

 

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