Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘inbound marketing’

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.

Read Full Post »

During the last week in August I, along with 2,800 other marketers, attended Inbound 2012 (an inbound marketing conference) in Boston. It was an absolutely fantastic week full of wonderful keynotes and great breakout sessions. One of my favourite breakout sessions was ‘How To Create eBooks and Webinars Your Prospects Will Love’, presented by Maggie Georgieva, as I came away with so many ideas for my own marketing.

Here’s what I learnt from Maggie during her 45 minute presentation …

Test Test Test

Marketing should never be based on superstitions or gut feelings. Everything we do should be based on the results of tests we have carried out. Each campaign needs to be built from a solid foundation upwards, with your marketing offer being the foundation, and upon that you build (in order) your landing page, your email, your blog and finally your social media.

There are 3 steps to creating ‘lovable’ offers for your prospects …

1. How To Approach Content Creation

Good content is where the lead generation process starts. Your content should be based on your data:

  • Blog analytics. Check what the top ranking blog topics are to give you ideas for content;
  • Page performance. Check page views to see what pages are the most popular and use this intelligence to produce an offer
  • Landing page analytics. Conversion rates e.g. if your landing pages with ebook offers convert highest, then you should be doing more ebooks.

The format of your offers matter, so see which medium works best for your target market and offer your content to them via that medium, whether it be ebooks, videos, photos etc.

Review your email marketing analytics  to check for patterns in your click through rates (CTR) in order to get more content ideas.

Think of content creation not as a silo but as something you can do across all your channels e.g. if Pinterest is a topic of interest to your target audience don’t just do an ebook, also look at publishing blog posts and webinars on the same topic.

If you don’t have enough internal data to review for content ideas, check out other sources of data e.g. Google News and leverage the current buzz for your own marketing.

All your content decisions should have data to back them up. If you take this approach your offer will be much more successful.

2. Know When To Publish

Perfect is the enemy of good” – Voltaire.

If you constantly chase perfection in your marketing offers, then you will never publish anything. However, if you publish and review your data, then you can improve for your next offer.

The more you publish the more opportunities you have to drive lead conversion.

If time is an issue consider the following tips for creating high quality content fast…

  • Repackage your own existing content:
    • 20 ‘how-to’ blog posts becomes an ebook;
    • An ebook becomes a webinar; or
    • A webinar becomes an ebook.
  • Curate public content (this way you’re gathering existence content and repackaging it, as opposed to creating original content, which is more time consuming to produce):
    • 101 awesome marketing quotes;
    • 54 pearls of marketing wisdom; or
    • Learning Linkedin from the experts.

3. Double Down On What’s Working

Monitor your landing page conversion rates frequently to identify your winning offers, then repeat the activity that got you there.

Discover the offers that deserve your time; check the data and decide which of your offers to maintain, create again or ignore and move on. Focus on what is doing well and optimise those offers to increase conversion even further e.g. A/B test your landing pages and CTAs (call-to-actions).

Also consider incorporating some product information on your company into your top of the funnel content e.g. on your ‘thank you for downloading our whitepaper’ page, add a CTA for a secondary offer to, for example, demo your product.

What If Things Go Wrong?

If something doesn’t work, ask yourself …

  • Is my offer compelling enough?
  • Did I target the right audience?
  • Am I not sending enough traffic to it?

If any of the answers are no, review the data, re-evaluate and try again.

To Summarise … The Key Steps To Succeeding With Marketing Offers Are

  1. Don’t optimise before you build strong foundations.
  2. Use real data to drive your content strategy.
  3. Publish often and iterate later.
  4. Do more of what’s working!

Link to Maggie Georgieva’s presentation slides

 

Read Full Post »

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….

Read Full Post »

Is Your Marketing Seasonal? Why Not?It’s that time of year again, winter is in the air and Christmas is around the corner. But as the seasons change, does your marketing? Just as the best chefs change their menus to mirror the seasons, so too should we marketers change our message with the passing of the months.

What Are Others Doing?

Earlier this week I received an email from the company I switched to for my car insurance this year. The email was titled Winter Help Tips for Drivers and it highlighted some useful reminders for driving in winter weather, such as checking your tyres for adequate thread and watching for black ice, it also had the phone number for breakdown assistance. The email was friendly and helpful and did not seek to sell anything. A lesson could be taken from this – providing valuable information that is relevant to what is happening in the world, without being overtly sales driven is a great way to connect with your customers.

Another good example is from Apple. The last few years iTunes have had their 12 Days of Christmas app, which allowed users to download a free gift of a new song, game or app every day. This is a great way to reward users and also keeps people coming back every day for something new.

What Can You Do?

Think about what you can offer your customers this time of year without always pushing for a sale. This is a time of year to thank customers for their loyalty to you. Offering value to them, without a specific sales message, will still help your sales down the line as your customers will think of your company as one which values them, an important factor for people when deciding where to spend their money.

So get that thinking cap on and do something seasonal in your marketing today!

 

Read Full Post »

Google+ Business Pages - Thriving or Dying?I recently wrote a post about Google+ launching their business pages – after 4 months of businesses kicking their heels and waiting, Google+ business pages were finally announced on 7th November. As with Facebook, you needed to have a personal profile first, but with that set up you could then quickly set up a business page.

On the 16 November, BrightEdge released a report with some interesting Google+ pages stats…

  • 61% of top brands had created a Google+ page in the first week – 93% of them have Facebook pages.
  • Only 12% of the 61% had linked to their Google+ page from their website homepage – compared with 53% who link to their Facebook page.
  • Over two dozen of the top 100 brands have over 1 million fans on Facebook – no brand other than Google has over 50,000 fans, and over two dozen have no fans at all.

This tells us two things –

  1. There was a stampede to get a Google+ business page; and
  2. Not much else seems to be happening – engagement is very low.

Google+ has been called the Facebook killer, and while it may grab a slice of the pie, it is a long way from threatening Facebook’s near total monopoly. Many marketers have said that the primary reason they set up a Google+ business page is to take advantage of the positive affects having a page is bound to have on their SERP ranking, rather than as a way to engage with fans. The fact is that although there are over 50 million users on Google+ most of them are not using the platform regularly, nor engaging with brands at the same level as they do on Facebook. Whether usage and engagement will grow, or Google+ will die a death like Wave and Buzz remains to be seen.

I still feel it is worth having a Google+ business page as it will help improve SERPs, but whether it will ever become the main way you communicate with your fans online looks doubtful right now.

Takeaway Message…

Set up a Google+ business page, but don’t consider abandoning your Facebook page for it.

 

Read Full Post »

The below post was originally published on Bloggertone.

Too often businesses decide that they want a new website for no particular reason. Often this decision is made because the owners of the business themselves feel the current design is tired and they want something ‘new and fresh’. This is where the trouble begins.

A website revamp should be approached with care and attention, and there should be definite reasons for heading down this, usually very expensive, path.

Who Is The New Website For?

Your website is for your potential and current customers – not for you. You spend far more time on the website than anyone else does, and just because you are tired of the current ‘look’ doesn’t mean anyone else is.

The desire for new aesthetics is not a good reason to throw away thousands of euro on an unnecessary redesign.

Know Your Reasons

Your website’s purpose is to help others find the services / products you provide, and to help you convert them from browsing visitors, to interested prospects, and ultimately, to new clients.

If you want a new website because you want to attract more leads, and you want to convert more leads into customers – and your current website doesn’t allow you to do this – well then you should look at getting a new website.

Website redesign is sometimes necessary, but it is important to have good reasons for making that decision.

Know Your Objectives

Have a clear plan for what you hope to achieve from a website redesign.

Research has shown that 37% of marketers did not measure any metrics for their last website redesign and 1/3 of marketers were unhappy with their last website redesign. Seems to me that those statistics are related.

If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how will you know if you have achieved it? Those with a clear plan and actionable list will know whether they have achieved their goal, and are therefore more likely to be happy with the finished result.

Avoid Pitfalls

Make sure that the company you employ to execute your redesign knows what your objectives are, and that they are capable of meeting them. A good website designer will know that what your customer wants is a clean, simple, easy to navigate website (with no flash!).

Ensure as well that they know how to retain the vale of your existing website during the change over e.g. 301 redirects to avoid losing SEO rankings and inbound links.

Take Control

It’s your business and you make decisions every day, based on the circumstances, to make it the best business possible. Your website should be run the same way.

You should be able to make decisions every day, adding and editing your website content to suit the circumstances. You should be able to add a new blog post, or a new landing page for a special offer you’re running, or even add a page about a brand new product or service. You should not have to run back to your website designers every time you want to add in a comma, never mind new content.

Make sure that your new website puts the reins in your hands. Ensure that you have a good content management system that is easy to use; this will allow you to make changes so that your website is a living, breathing part of your business which will grow organically over time.

So, rethink . . . why do you ‘need’ that redesign?

Read Full Post »

I recently published a guest post with the Ireland-based, blogging community, Bloggertone, on the important steps to take after you have published a new post on your blog. Below is a slightly updated version of the article, to include recent developments and new information.

4 Important Steps To Take After You’ve Published A Blog PostYou’ve just written a blog post and it’s absolutely perfect; beautifully written content that has the ideal balance of valuable information with easy-to-read conversational language, not to mention those catchy headlines and witty imagery. People should be lining up to read this post, and share it with their friends and colleagues … but how to make that happen? How do you ensure that once you press publish your content will get found and spread by others?

1. Before You Hit Publish

Remember that perfectly written post? Did you include keywords? Do a quick keyword search on Google to see what words people are using to find content like yours. Then go back and make sure that those keywords are included in the main content, the headings, the page title and the image titles. All this will help your post get found organically through the search engines.

2. Syndication

Ensure you have an RSS feed set up for your blog. This will allow people who use RSS feed readers, such as Google Reader, get your content automatically the minute you hit publish.

3. Email List

Allow people to sign up for your blog via email (not everyone uses RSS readers so this is still an important option). Once you have a mailing list many blogs will allow you set up an automated email to go out to your list, advising them that a new post has been published. If you can’t do this automatically just send a quick email to your list manually, the blog title and a link to the page is plenty, although you can include the opening paragraph with the tantilising ‘read more…’ as well.

So you’ve got the keywords, the RSS feed and the email list. That means the post will get indexed by Google and your existing readers will be notified immediately once you publish.

But what about sharing on social media?

This is a huge part of the process, and I have, both personally and professional, seen massive changes to visit counts as a result of social media activity.

4. Social Media Sharing

As with sending an email, it is possible to set up a post to automatically publish out to your various Social Media accounts, however I caution against this. While it takes some of the effort out, people do interact with social media differently and at different times. Research has shown that blogs published in the morning get the highest traffic, however blogs posted on social media in the afternoon get shared the most, with the peak being around 4pm.

So ideally, you would publish your post in the morning, all your current readers will get it via email / rss, and then you would head over to your social media sites later on in the day and share it with your followers / fans there.

On Twitter you should aim to share a link to your blog post several times, as this medium moves fast, followers who log on an hour after you’ve tweeted may not see it. Make sure to use different taglines each time you tweet, this allows you see what works best at grabbing people’s attention (and also avoids the wrath of Twitter who frown on the same tweet being repeated ad nauseam). Be sure also to use a url shortener such as bit.ly or ow.ly, as this gives you more of those precious 140 characters to play with, and also provides you with great analytics such as how many clicks, and from what countries – valuable information for future targeting.

On LinkedIn you can share your post via your status message, but you should also seek to become involved in different groups. Check out what groups there are that might be relevant to you. 81% of LinkedIn’s 100 million members are part of at least one of the over 800,000 groups available (the maximum number of groups a member can join is 50). Join groups and then be sure to share your blog post with each group. This can result, not only in massively increased traffic, but also in some very interesting dialogue with like-minded members. LinkedIn have a great learning centre where you can learn more about groups.

On Facebook you can again share your post, however Facebook has a less frantic pace than Twitter, so sharing the post once is sufficient. Depending on your audience this could result in great engagement with your fans, as well as driving traffic to your site.

On Goolge+ you have the option to share your post with specific circles (learn more about circles). Make sure to share your post only with those who will find the content to be of interest and / or of value – this is much better than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Again this is a slower paced platform, so sharing once is enough.

Make sure as well to have social sharing buttons on your blog so that anyone who comes across your post can share it with their own networks, thereby driving even more visitors to you!

It’s Worth It

While all of this might seem like a lot of effort, once you’ve done it a few times it will become second nature, and it will become quicker. It will also result in your post getting a LOT more traffic.

Isn’t it worth the bit of extra effort to ensure that your perfectly polished post doesn’t languish forgotten and alone in the internet ether?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: