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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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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

 

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This post originally appeared on TweakYourBiz.Com

If you go to the Artic Ready website, you will see a site very similar to Shell’s main corporate website. The Artic Ready site recently ran a competition asking the public to suggest captions for their next advertising campagin. When scrolling through the ads you see that the public have clearly hijacked the campaign, turning against Shell and coming up with ads such as the below …

shell ad 1

shell ad 2

shell ad 3

A company’s worst nightmare right? An attempt to engage your audience by encouraging user generated content has gone horribly wrong!

So what happens next? … Go see what the company is saying on Twitter of course!

Shell On Twitter

On Twitter we find the @ShellisPrepared account which states that it is Shell’s social media team. On it are a string of tweets saying that Shell doesn’t endorse these ads and are working to take them down.

There are also numerous tweets insisting on the authenticity of the account. It appears, upon reviewing the tweets, that the social media team is in fact maintained by temps and interns who are clueless as to how to stop the tide of negative user generated content…

shell tweet 1

shell tweet 2

shell tweet 3

shell tweet 4

shell tweet 5

Marketing Fail

A return to the Artic Ready site and we see some more ads with captions pointing out how the Shell marketing team is failing at their jobs to keep on top of the situation …

shell ad 4

shell ad 5

So all in all it looks to be an absolutely epic failure of a social media campaign, one which colleges will use as a case studies to prompt students to figure out what Shell should have done when things started to go south.

However all is not what it seems …

The above co-ordinated campaign is not a failure at all, it is in fact a brilliantly executed and highly successful campaign run, not by Shell, but by Greenpeace, who have turned away from their hippy roots and taken a step into the online world in their fight against the major oil company.

Greenpeace have put together a well thought out online campaign which has resulted in a massive increase in online conversation and which has even been covered by major news corporations including Forbes, the Huffington Post and the Guardian.

Shell has announced that it does not plan to sue Greenpeace, most likely realising that legal action on their part would draw even more attention to the campagin.

So what can we learn from Greenpeace?

… Some advanced planning goes a long way towards the success of your campaign. If you are going to run an online campaign, ensure that you display consistency across your platforms, as Greenpeace have done with both their parody website and parody Twitter account.

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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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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!

 

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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.

 

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facebook iconIf you’ve logged into Facebook recently you’ll have been greeted with a lot of change. In the last week they have rolled out the following:

  • Subscriptions;
  • Smart lists;
  • Top news; and
  • Ticker.

I previously wrote a post on Google+ and the great features it contained that I felt had been lacking in Facebook. Then last month I wrote a post on how Facebook had rolled out some changes in response to the competition from Google+ and Twitter.

But now, only a few weeks later, here are yet more changes. It would seem that the arrival of Google+ has kicked innovation into high-gear in Facebook with developers pushing out Facebook’s answer to some of the popular Google+ features, as well as some brand new features as well.

Nothing like a bit of competition to make people up their game!

Subscriptions

Facebook says the new subscribe button can be used to:

1.    Choose what you see from people in News Feed.
2.    Hear from people, even if you’re not friends.
3.    Let people hear from you, even if you’re not friends.

The first use can be particularly handy if some of your friends play Farmville a lot, as you can choose to just not see these updates any more.

The subscribe button also allows you to follow someone you are not friends with – similar to following someone on Twitter. The user e.g. President Obama, has to enable subscriptions on his account, but once this has been done anyone can subscribe to follow Obama’s news feed and anything that he posts publicly will show in subscribers’ news feeds.

This is somewhat similar to liking a Facebook Page, however Pages are supposed to be for businesses, brands or products only (although there’s a lot of misuse), so the subscribe button now allows you to follow people as well.

Friend Lists and Smart Lists

Facebook has also rolled out improved lists.

There are smart lists which you probably saw immediately when you logged in. These are created automatically based on something you have in common with a group of friends e.g. the city you live in or the university you went to.

You will also have close friends and acquaintances lists which separates your best friends from those you’re not as close to, allowing you to catch up with your closest friends quickly through one list. The lists are empty so you need to populate them yourself and from now on if you friend someone you will have to decide whether they are a close friend or an acquaintance straight away – however people will not know which list you have placed them in.

Any lists you have created yourself will now also be easier to access, as you can just add them to your favourites and they will show up in the left sidebar.

The lists are all completely optional, but as someone who was using the previous, clunkier version of lists, I find the new set up much nicer and easier to use.

Top News

Just announced today the news feed will now show you top news based on what has happened since you last logged into Facebook. So if it’s been a week you will see a summary of the top stories first…

but if its only been a few hours you’ll see the most recent news…

All top stories now feature a blue corner on them.

Real-Time Friend Activity

Also announced today is the ticker which shows up in the top right corner of the screen and shows your friends’ activity in real time, including their comments on other people’s status messages. To see more details simply hover over the update.

Change Is Good

There has been a lot of grumbling about all these recent changes, but I think people forget that Facebook is a free service, and no one is forcing them to use it.  Facebook is changing in response to its competition, and also in response to requests from users, all in an effort to give us a better experience…sure sometimes they get it wrong, but at least they’re trying to evolve and improve, and not just standing still!

Watch Facebook’s Video On The Changes

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