It’s essential that every company has a gas station or a roadside stand on the mobile superhighway. Consumers are leaning hard on smartphones for critical information about brands during the buying process. You might be skeptical, or dragging your heels about making an investment in mobile. But, it just can’t wait.
91% use mobile for inspiration during the middle of a task
82% consult their phones while shopping
66% use mobile to learn more about something they saw in a TV commercial
55% have switched from a brand they intended to buy, because of information on search.
Mobile Marketing Basics
Smartphone trickery knows no bounds. Geo-fencing, for example, allows restaurants to alert hungry customers within a certain radius of the eatery about the soup of the day. Fortunately, you can be effective without getting fancy. Scoot the Geo-fence, and get started with these basic steps:
Your site must work on mobile devices. Many sites today are built on mobile responsive or compatible platforms. If you have an older site that doesn’t render well on mobile, build a new one. Gulp. We understand. But take a moment to calculate the value of the business you could be losing because you’re AWOL on their phones.
Make sure that your site looks sharp on mobile and that it’s easy to operate. Start with an analytical tool like Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test,” and test the mobile site’s usability by watching actual humans perform tasks on it.
Create mobile-only search engine marketing (SEM) that’s sensitive to where and what your customers are using their phones. Buying needs change as the buying experience unfolds. For example, imagine this typical string of information needs about dog house. what do dogs desire in a dog house? What brands incorporate the features I just learned about? Which dog houses get the best reviews from pooches? What stores sell those brands? Help me compare prices. What is the closest store to my home? How do I get there?
Have your site optimized for mobile. Speed up pokey page download times. Test design for use by chubby fingers. And tailor search copy to localize your business.
Add a little TLC to your mobile site, and you’ll open up a new world of marketing.
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It depends. Yes, we hear you groan. The time span for most online video is 15 seconds to three minutes. Length should be determined more by the video’s function. Is it a one-minute explainer, or a 15-second branding pop? The only thing we know for sure is that the attention span is dropping.
You have 10 seconds to lasso in viewers, or they will click or scroll away. After 30 seconds you’ve lost 33% of viewers, and after one minute you’ll be shunned by another 45% of viewers no matter what the length of the video.
Important factors to consider are:
Context – where it is placed and what’s the quality of your visual competition?
Is your video appearing on your own site, or is it pre-roll on a video platform?
Production values – placement is a clue to the quality you should aspire to.
As always, get clear with your marketing objective. Some videos are designed to be intrusive and make brand impressions. Others are for the education of users who are already customers, and others are in the direct response mold.
How does online video affect your audience?
Google, now YouTube’s boss, released data last month that provides more insight about how video impacts the sales process.
Three big takeaways
Six in 10 millennials will follow the advice of a favorite creator over a favorite TV/movie personality on what to buy.
Six in 10 millennials watch videos by their favorite creators within 24 hours.
Video on small screens, i.e. smartphones and tablets, lifts consideration of a product by 74% and its favorability perception by 61%.
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The reward system for CEOs and CMOs is heavily structured toward short-term (quarterly) revenue and ROI. And the degree of success is often determined by comparison to the recent past. One of the most valuable future-looking metrics we have is Customer Lifetime Value.
Developing products that meet the needs of your best customers.
Assessing marketing spend to acquire a customer.
Helping sales hone in on the most profitable customers.
Improving efficiency by not wasting resources on non-productive customers.
One common example is the price shopper (P), who is loyal only to the lowest price, not the brand. He/she isn’t a good candidate for a repeat sale unless you can cough up another deep discount. At the same time, another customer (V) understands the true value of your product and will buy it at any reasonable price. Consider the dollars at stake if this were an automobile purchase.
Research your existing high value customers, and have the tools and knowledge to identify them during the selling process.
Customer (P) will buy a blowout special car, which he has negotiated to the lowest possible price. You’ll never see him again. Your CLV is simply the price he paid. Meanwhile, customer (V) will pay a fair price for his original car, and purchase three more during his driving career. In addition, he’ll recommend your brand to friends, family and colleagues. He’ll also generate additional revenue streams for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. By this measure, customer (V) is worth 5 times more to the company than customer P, but both showed up as individual and equal sales in your first quarter.
So, how do you sell to high customer lifetime customers?
Train salespeople to sell benefits – not price.
Don’t nickel and dime your best customers. Give them something for free every now and then.
Research your existing high-value customers, and have the tools and knowledge to identify them during the selling process.
Guide these customers down the full path of products and services you offer.
Know when the acquisition and maintenance cost of a customer is unprofitable and drop him or her.
To quickly understand your product’s CLV, use this simple calculator. Or put your data analyst (if you have one) to work on algorithms that might identify profitable and unprofitable customers earlier in the sales cycle.
By focusing on the lifetime value of customers, you can focus on marketing strategies that result in long-term profits, not just a sale.
Whether you’re hawking a new menu for your restaurant, or building an email list for prospective car buyers, landing pages are your friend. They’re designed to turn web visitors into prospects by capturing email addresses and other handy information.
You can push traffic to a landing page with brute force marketing dollars. But converting that traffic to usable email addresses and leads is part science and part voodoo. There are a ton of variables in play, like font, size, form field sizes, label placement, colors, copy, layout. And that’s just for starters, so our first piece of advice is to refine landing pages through A/B testing.
Fortunately, a lot of geeky research has given us best practices to get started. Here’s our top 11 list.
1. Write concise headlines that clearly state the offer and tell the visitor what to do. “Download a Free Guide to Purchasing Your First Home Without Regret.” Is this headline longer than usual? Yes. But it gives the visitor all the needed information to make a decision to download the white paper quickly.
2. Resist the urge to be “clever.” It’s a difficult and humbling lesson for us writers, who, on most days, are paid for our wit and silly puns, i.e. “Home is Where the Hearth Is.”
3. Make sure that design, language and visuals are consistent across all the promotional platforms. Otherwise, your visitor will experience a disconnect (read: loss of trust) and drop your page like a hot tater.
4. In general, don’t use offers that aren’t directly related to the information you’re trying to sell. Aside from possible legal and ethical issues, you’ll also receive a bunch of junk signups from people more interested in winning an Apple® watch than seeing the resolution of your new ultrasound.
5. As comedian Sam Kinison said, “Tell me what to do, and I will do it.” The same holds true for call-to-action (CTA) buttons. “Submit” is meaningless. Be clear and direct, “Download our free white paper.” Or restate the benefit, “Save on Maintenance. Send my eBook.”
6. Form design is a graduate degree unto itself. Key tips: label the form fields precisely. “Full Name” not “Name,” and for an address, specify which one: practice, or home. Again, this isn’t the place to be clever.
7. Design tip: Line up form labels on top of the form fields, not to the left. There art plenty of articles about the technical design aspects of form design. For inspiration, though, I love Smashing Magazine’s overview of some of the best and most creative.
8. With at least 40% of your traffic visiting by phone, mobile compatibility for landing pages is an absolute must. Otherwise, you’re missing an important chunk of your audience, and quite possibly taking a SEO hit from Google.
9. The objective of a landing page is to encourage visitors to follow a path to the call-to-action. Anything that gets in the way of that visually should be hacked out.
10. Use an A/B test on all the elements of the landing page. Start small, e.g. testing two versions of the landing page, or the color of your CTA buttons. For further information about anything related to user interface, read articles by Jakob Nielsen at the Nielsen/Norman Group.
11. Agencies and in-house groups alike tend to obsess about conversion rates. That’s okay, but the ultimate metric is the number of qualified prospects converted. The secret is to repel people who you know aren’t qualified.
For example, your event to educate health club owners about your product could be perceived as an invitation to fitness buffs. Try crafting a message like, “Knowledge is more important in health club success than muscles.”
That’ll send them running for the door.
Learn more about email marketing, marketing automation and web development services at Ideopia.com/Services.
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Podcasting, generally short audio only, or video programs, are enjoying resurgence. According to Edison Research, 39 million people listen to podcasts at least once a month. Increased smartphone usage figures into the equation.
Podcasts, web, video and internet radio now join the automatic coffee maker as technologies that accommodate their schedules, and maximize free time. For marketers, podcasting opens up a plethora of new content sources: Audio versions of blog posts, excerpts from speeches, and even comments or questions from customers. While some podcasts achieve chart-topping status, like these top programs from 2015, the relatively low cost of podcasts makes them a viable option to communicate specialized content to niche markets. While one of your engineers may not be ready for prime time, she could be very effective talking to peers at other companies.
Chance are you already have all the technology you need to start podcasting: a good microphone, a computer, and if you’re a one-take wonder, you can skip downloading free sound editing equipment.
Many years ago, a client called me at 7:30 a.m. “Your f…..g ads don’t work, you f……g a……..e.” In retrospect this is hilarious because his store wasn’t even open yet. Some people make the same snap judgments about websites based on top line data only. This information (see below) may flag a problem on the site, but it’s not the diagnosis. Now what? Say your car doesn’t start. The problem could be everything from a faulty ignition switch to a potato lodged in your tail pipe. We need to get under the hood and get dirty.
Top line numbers fluctuate due to many factors beyond your control, seasonality, popular soccer match, day of the week, or job postings on your website. The numbers go up, and they come down. And they will not tell you important dimensions about the size of your core audience, or the surge in traffic driven by social media.
So slap on a pair of coveralls, grab a wrench, and let’s do a deep dive on your website until we reach the core. As for the hard charging, results driven, monkey on your back, you’ll have a few more bananas to pitch at him.
Last October, Ideopia redesigned a website. Traffic growth was almost immediate. Eventually the growth slowed, but growth in visits continued to increase. Then boom! Traffic spiked over 300%. Champagne corks popped like gunfire at Ideopia. And yes, we were quick to point out this accomplishment to our client.
We poked underneath the traffic to find the mystery traffic. And the bump wasn’t do to earned traffic at all. By checking traffic sources, we found the culprit, an Adwords account that was running amok. While it’s nice to take the credit, our job here was to shut down the rogue Adwords account. And we did.
One reason website analytics get wonky is because they’re based on averages. For example: web traffic might go up, but pages per visit go down. Has your content broken down? That’s possible, but it also might be a slow download speed for your site.
Other and possibly deceitful metrics – time per visit, and pages per visit – are based on averages of all your site’s data, too. Now hear this: There is no average visitor. One visitor might hit one page on your site. Another may visit a hundred making the average number of pages per visit 500. Again, we love to report the good news. But it’s not helpful for decision making. So lets take an example using Pareto’s 80/20 distribution. For the sake of this example, our website pulls in a whopping 100 visitors per month.
Traffic Segment A
Web Traffic = 20
Average page views per visitor = 10
Total Pageviews = 200
Time per visit = 5 minutes
Example Segment B
Total traffic = 80
Average page views per visitor = 1
Total Pageviews = 80
Average time per visit = 1 minute
Averaging A & B segments together yields the top line data you would see on your dashboard.
Total traffic = 100
Total page views= 280
Average page views = 190
Average time per visit = 3 minutes
The point here is to show how averages misrepresent the values in both A & B segments. Knowing that we have 2.8 page views is useless. What’s interesting is that 20% of our traffic views 10 pages, and 80% account for 80 page views. See how unhelpful averages are? Depending on your objectives, you might be more concerned with core visitors, or overall traffic. If only you could determine what’s sticky for the core group, and what’s turning off the fringe visitors.
Well, you can with custom segments from Google Analytics. It’s a power tool for defining your key audience segments, and a component of decision making about content, user experience, and SEO. The answers aren’t on top. Drill down, and start finding customers.
Find Customers in the Core
Use Google’s custom segments to define your target audience. Describe it by demographics (18-24), keywords from search, affinity categories like sports and gardening, and traffic sources, like social media or Adwords. The core is the group of visitors you want to tantalize with your content, capture their email addresses, and eventually contact them personally. This report shows engagement by comparing numbers of users in different time segments.
Rules of Engagement
A metric like engagement should make you swoon. On Google Analytics, it’s called “Engagement,” located under Behavior on the left-hand navigation. Let’s take the table below as an example, and say that we consider anyone who has made a visit of 180 seconds, or 3 minutes, to define a core visitor.
380 or 21% of visitors accounted for 6,116 or 56%, of page views lasting more than 3 minutes. According to our definition, this is the core audience. To refine further, choose from a slew of pre-configured reports to import into your accounts. Custom segment in hand, you’ll want to apply it to other reports in GA. Find out how much of your core audience visits from social media, and what platform. What pages are most appealing to this group? Who is performing what actions on your site.
Increasing Website ROI
While it’s fun to gloat over top line numbers, it can lead to rash decisions based on them, like trashing your existing site, revamping the home page, or stuffing copy for SEO. Keep in mind that your site still needs to cater to the other 80%. They will become the new core, and fodder for content marketing programs. What are your top analytic tricks? Please add them to the comments.
Like an iron fist smothered in maple syrup, Canada is sticking it to brands with the toughest email marketing law in the land. And if your company deals in the Great White North, it may apply to you.
Effective July 1, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) requires businesses to obtain permission to send emails, text messages and possibly social media postings to customers or prospects.
Two Varieties of Consent: Implied or Express
Implied consent requires documented proof of a relationship with a consumer. For example, Jasper in Nova Scotia ordered a batch of squeegees last May and gave you his email address.
Express applies mainly to prospects, or any customer you can’t prove you’ve done business with in the last two years.
To gain the golden stamp of approval, you must dish out opt-in messages and compete with a flurry of others doing the same thing.
While mega brands like Ford entice customers with freebies – a chance to win a free Mustang – small businesses and non-profits don’t have the same resources.
Some experts believe companies will see opt-in rates of less than 20 percent without the help of an agency or digital marketing plan.
Whether you’re a global brand with customers up north, or considering business ventures there, it’s best to have an agency (and lawyer) on your side. Or risk stiff fines – up to $1 million per person, and up 10 times that for companies found in violation – and an email list worth less than a can of spam.
But for now, let’s just hope this crackdown doesn’t spread south of the border.
Would you like to reduce the cost of sales, attract more leads and boost revenues? Dumb question. Of course you would. That’s why it’s time to get over the “robots controlling the world” fears, and dive into marketing automation. Now for some motivation:
Cold, hard cash
Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Gartner Research)
78% of high-performing marketers say that marketing automation software is responsible for improving revenue contribution. (Source: Position2)
More sales. Lower cost.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research via Pardot)
Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (via Captera)
Lead nurturing reduces the percentage of marketing-generated leads ignored by sales (from as high as 80% to as low as 25%).
The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision makers being involved in the buying process. (via Captera)
Blindside the competition
Marketing automation software only has 3% adoption in non-tech companies. (via Captera)
63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation software. (via Captera)
Ideopia can help
64% of CMOs have no process, or an informal process, to manage their marketing automation. (The Annuitas Group)
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With more active users than the U.S. population, Baidu racks up a staggering 5 billion search queries a day. Yet, outside of China, the fifth most popular website in the world is largely unknown.
But for global brands, that’s starting to change. Here’s what you need to know about advertising on the Google of China:
Breaking down the language barrier
Baidu only crawls websites written in Simplified Chinese, so every search ad, website and landing page must be translated. The company offers support in English, and can put you in touch with a translator. Sure beats “Chinese for Dummies.”
Resellers set up shop in the U.S.
For the right price, companies like China Search International (CSI) make it easy to advertise on Baidu. They translate ad copy and keywords, handle all required documentation (China is strict with regulations), and report analytics.
It’s not just a Google clone
On top of paid search, Baidu offers animated and interactive banner ads, and its own version of homepage takeovers. These campaigns reportedly boast incredible click-thru rates of 50 percent or more.
Should your brand Baidu?
For companies with Chinese interests, Baidu can’t be ignored. With more than 531 million users and 90 percent of the search market, it’s clear that Baidu is the frontrunner in China. As for the rest of us in our American cubbyhole? Google will do just fine.
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Audience segmentation has blasted way beyond simple demographic and psychographic descriptions of markets. Sophisticated email marketing schemes can suck data about your customers from Facebook and other sources to target obscure markets, like guys who enjoy Pilates, frozen dinners, and Finnish beer.
In this post, we’re discussing techniques you can use with most online email applications. Someday soon, though, you may send the majority of your email through marketing automation. Until then, email is a great way to model the benefits of segmentation.
Not many small businesses have the resources to use or buy big data to target messages to individual consumers. Don’t wait, you can put segmentation to use in your email right away. Most email platforms, even the bargain basement brands, offer some capability.
Why should I care?
You can send tailored information to small but important parts of your audience and make them like you. Why pitch a $500 golf club to a novice golfer, or beer to a self-professed wine nut. It makes your company seem out of touch.
Because your content is more relevant, your conversion rates and sales will jump up, and you can celebrate with a can of your favorite Finnish beer.
Better numbers. The positive or negative performance won’t sway the analytics for your entire list. At Ideopia, we can always count on our friends and family segment for a 70% click-thru rate with our enewsletters. Mom’s will open anything! Great numbers, but they’re outliers when it comes to the performance of our overall list.
You’re only as good as your list. What type of data does it contain for segmentation? do you have to create segments? Options often include high-value customers, industry sectors, title, or recency of purchase. Identifying the segments isn’t enough, though. You need tailored offers or information to send through your targeted pipeline. Prioritize your segments by opportunity.
If you don’t have the resources to write six different newsletters, swap out the lead stories for each segment. Still pressed for time? Reduce the length of your stories, or mix it up with Vine videos or infographics. You’ll learn to eye everything produced for your brand as possible content.
Set target metrics or KPIs for each segment. Determine the most meaningful segmentation of your list. With any luck, your Customer Resource Management (CRM) system has already figured this out. Examples could include distributor / direct, gender, brand preference, geography, mobile vs. desktop, business category, etc. Start slowly; this is a journey, not a destination.
Modify your email address capture system, like web forms, to gather segmentation information. If you’re offering value, like a white paper download, you can ask for more than an email address. Progressive forms will help you out, too, by asking for different pieces of information on successive visits.
Get help! Recruit the product manager to write stories about their category. Put the people in your company who love your products and want to express themselves writing first-person pieces, or creating Vine videos. Assuming you want to see your family again, you need a content team.
Stagger your mailings, so the editorial crunch doesn’t hit on one day.
You can do it! This first step isn’t technologically difficult, it just takes the grit to plan and organize. You’ll see unsubscribes go down, and conversions and brand loyalty go up.
Is Segmentation Creepy?
Learn more about content and email segmentation with these posts: