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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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Call Centre Burn Out: Cold Calling Is A Waste Of TimeYesterday I received an (unsolicited) email from a marketing firm telling me how great cold calling is. They assured me that “cold calling is very effective for sales lead generation when executed properly” and “it is a known fact that the phone is still a powerful and effective lead generation tool.”

 

This is a firm who say they have been in marketing for 15 years and yet they:

(1) emailed me without permission (don’t get me started – permission marketing is a post for another day)

(2) had a link to ‘top tips’ and ‘white papers’ in the email which was broken (and further search on their website revealed neither to exist); and

(3) they not only seem to believe that cold calling is still the way to go, but apparently, it’s a “known fact” that it’s the best way to generate leads.

 

There were so many things wrong with the email from top to toe – and from a marketing company to whom others outsource their campaigns no less! – but today I’m going to deal with the supposed effectiveness of cold calling.

 

The Joys of Cold Calling


I think even those who champion cold calls will agree that:

 

1)     Putting together call lists are either very time consuming or expensive (or both);

2)     Most of the time the caller doesn’t want to talk to you – and often you can’t even get past the gatekeeper;

3)     Making so many calls is extremely time consuming (and disheartening); and

4)     Cold calls have a very low success rate.

 

You even run the risk of annoying those who could have been potential customers had you approached them in another way.

 

A little internet surfing revealed that the stats for cold calls were not encouraging:

 

I’m not saying that with perseverance, and a lot of time, you can’t secure some meetings through cold calling, but at what expense? Staff have spent time and energy convincing a handful of people to agree to a meeting and that’s it, there’s no guarantee sales will come of it and there’s little to show for all that effort.

 

The Alternatives


It’s time to leave behind outbound marketing and embrace inbound marketing.

 

Stop annoying and interrupting people with unsolicited phone calls, advertisements and emails. Start attracting them to you instead.

 

3 key methods for attracting inbound leads are:

 

1)     Search Engine Optimize (SEO)

Optimize your website for your company’s keywords so that you turn up in the search engine results when people are searching for exactly what your company offers.

 

2)     Blogging

Write a blog about your industry and become a recognized source of valuable information. This will attract visitors, inbound links from other websites – which will help improve your search engine rankings too – and inbound queries.

 

3)     Listening

Get involved in the online conversation, in forums, social media platforms, wherever your target potential customers hang out. Listen to what they’re saying and learn from it. Get involved and offer something of value.

 

A blog post in particular can last forever, once it’s been indexed by the search engines it’s there, waiting for someone to call it up by searching for your keywords.

 

Just imagine if your salespeople spent the same amount of time creating content for a blog as they did talking to people with no interest?

 

Think of how many great articles you could have on your website, articles that can be read by any number of visitors – unlike that sales call pitch which is only reaching one person at a time.

 

In short:

 

Create valuable content and you will attract visitors and people who will link to your content from their own site.

 

More visitors and links will in turn boost your search engine rankings, thereby drawing in more potential customers all of which will translate into inbound queries.

 

The phone will ring and emails will arrive, all from people who actually want to hear from you … now wouldn’t that make a nice change?

 

Bonus Feature:

 

HubSpot, the champions of inbound marketing, have a great skit to highlight the point, check out the video below.

 

 


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