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Best of 2013: Responsive design, content marketing, conversion paths & more

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2013. Google called it “a year of transformation.” Mashable declared it “the year of responsive web design.” And then there was Google Enhanced Campaigns, which was mandated across all AdWords campaigns back in July. If you weren’t ready for mobile, well, it didn’t matter, because it happened.

With smartphone sales expected to reach 1.81 billion…and double by 2015…compelling, intelligent, and integrated digital campaigns, and thus experiences, will be mandatory.

Not optional.

We’ve been preaching brilliant post-click marketing since 2007. But this year, highly relevant, smart, user-centered creative really took a front seat that will carry through 2014 and beyond.

So, to wrap up the year with a nice bow, we wanted to share our “Best of 2013″ — a collection of blog posts designed to inspire better digital experiences and help you provide more value (and conversions) in the new year.

Cheers!

Jessica

9 Best Practices for Designing Responsive Landing Pages

Nine of our favorite best practices for designing stellar responsive landing pages. You can use these with or without a platform to ensure you are building landing pages that not only respond, but convert! Learn how to put the right content in the right place on the page for every user.

How to use conversion paths for a better digital experience

Humans click your ads and land on your pages. Seems obvious, but in our haste to put up an experience with the perfect layout, content & offer, we often forget to think about the human behind the click. Learn how to use user segmentation (aka conversion paths) for a better digital experience.

9 Ways to Drive More Leads From Your Content Marketing

Sure, you’ve used landing pages to ‘gate’ high value content such as white papers or ebooks, but there more creative ways to up-sell and cross-sell content to convert your audience’s attention into business results. Discover nine ideas for innovative ways to drive more leads from your content marketing.

Three awesome [infographics]

Content marketing, landing pages and testing…these are three of our favorite things! Download these infographics.

Happy Holidays from ion!

Read our 2013 holiday blog post series — ionians cover best practices for testing, responsive design, user segmentation, marketing apps & more! Read the series.

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Best of 2013: Responsive design, content marketing, conversion paths & more

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14 Ways to Have Digital Marketing Success in 2014

2013 was a great year for conversion optimization. We saw digital marketers making it their #1 priority, tied with Content Marketing. Conversion Optimization moved up from 34 to 39% of marketers making it their top priority.
Top Priorities for Digital Marketers

Demand for knowledge about “conversion optimization” continues to grow since it emerged in 2007, as shown in Google Trends:

At the same time as “search engine optimization” is declining in popularity:

We’ve seen the industry evolve considerably. In the “early days” of WiderFunnel we spent much of our time educating companies about why conversion optimization was important. A lot of people understand that now.

Today, we get a lot of marketers calling WiderFunnel who are advocating for conversion testing within their companies and need help to get better results.

So, where will we see companies getting the best results in 2014?

Here’s what the most successful digital marketers will have in common in 2014

  1. They understandContent without conversion is just free publishing.”

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #1: Content without conversion is just free publishing

  2. Mobile is a big player in their plans, and mobile is different in 2014. Screens are bigger and more varied even than today. Successful marketers realize that mobile visitors are the same people as desktop visitors. They’re just standing in a different spot with different needs at the moment. Here’s a primer on mobile conversion optimization. Multi-device CRO is happening now, (yes WiderFunnel does that!) yet true multi-device marketing won’t be widespread until 2015.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #2: Optimize for mobile, but mobile is different in 2014

  3. They skip “big data” in favour of “smart data.” There’s always been lots of data, but size is less important than how you use it. In fact, there’s good evidence that “big data” is one of the lamest buzzwords of 2013. Don’t misunderstand me—the potential is real and we’re all about using data, but the hype will fizzle.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #3: Skip the big data buzz in favour of smart data

  4. Yes, testing is a tactic and it’s really just a mechanism that supports better decision-making for marketers. Testing alone is just a feature. To that end, they value all well-planned tests as winners (even the losing ones because they learn from them).

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #4: Testing is just a tactic that supports better decision-making for marketers.

  5. They abandon their website redesign plans. Instead, they use Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR).

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #5: Abandon your website redesign plans. Instead, use ESR.

  6. They look at optimizing every layer of their websites: usability, branding and content. Looking at the experience holistically allows for more potential impact.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #6: Optimize every layer of your website: usability, branding and content

  7. They move beyond technophilia. Conversion optimization is not a technological challenge – it’s a set of people questions. Tools don’t solve problems. Smart people do.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #7: Move beyond technophilia. Tools don’t solve problems. Smart people do.

  8. They align their website goals up to their marketing and business goals using the goals waterfall.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #8: Move beyond technophilia. Tools don’t solve problems. Smart people do.

  9. They don’t chase after tips and tricks. Instead, they formulate powerful questions to ask their prospects, which are unique to their business.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #9: Don’t chase after tips & tricks. Instead, formulate powerful questions.

  10. Landing page optimization is just one subset of their marketing optimization strategy. They optimize all customer touchpoints throughout their marketing funnel with deep insights into customer segment idiosyncrasies.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #10: Optimize all customer touchpoints throughout your marketing funnel

  11. They are a strong marketing optimization champion.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #11: Be a strong marketing optimization champion this year
    Your organization needs a marketing optimization champion. Your company needs you to step up and be an influence for marketing testing. Fortunately, being your organization’s champion is very rewarding. Marketing testing is one of the most easily provable strategies, and the rationale for it is unassailable. When you stand as an advocate of the data-driven approach, you’ll reap the rewards in your career. Data advocates inevitably rise to positions of influence.

  12. They tie results to revenue.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #12: Tie your marketing optimization results to revenue lift
    When you present results, don’t just show the improvement in conversion rate or KPIs. Tie the result to revenue to give real cash impact. Percentages are intangible, but everyone relates to cash. What would you rather get: a X% conversion rate lift, or $Y,000,000 greater profit?

  13. They foster momentum and knowledge sharing throughout the organization.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #13: Foster momentum and knowledge sharing throughout your organization
    Many of WiderFunnel’s clients have used our results analysis presentations to create an internal event in the organization. The champion invites members from throughout the company to see the results of tests, guess the winners, and discuss what was learned. Their entire marketing team is on a continuous learning curriculum (starting by reading You Should Test That!)

  14. They hire the best marketing optimization experts available (like WiderFunnel!)

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #14: You should hire the best marketing optimization experts available — WiderFunnel

What would you add?

What are your tips for digital marketers in 2014?

Add your thoughts below.

The post 14 Ways to Have Digital Marketing Success in 2014 appeared first on WiderFunnel Marketing Conversion Optimization.

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14 Ways to Have Digital Marketing Success in 2014

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12 Holiday Landing Page Tips

No drummers drumming, or even a partridge in a pear tree here, just 12 of the very best tips and tricks for creating and testing digital experiences that generate leads, enhance brands and drives sales this holiday season.

From the basics of message match to progressive conversion strategy, we’re sharing 12 of our favorite posts from holidays past.

1. Santa Approved Landing Pages – Have You Been Naughty or Nice?

This year, make sure you’re on Santa’s (and your visitors) nice list to ensure your stockings are full of qualified leads with these quick, best-behavior tips.

2. A Very Merry Message Match

Message match is an important best practice to implement on your landing page campaigns. Promise something in your headline or ad? Make sure that’s what your viewer sees when they click on your link! This is one place that people do NOT want surprises, even during the holidays.

3. Ring in the New Year with Social Sign On

Eight in 10 consumers would prefer to login to sites using a social identity, versus traditional account creation. Given these numbers, will you be ringing in the new year with social sign on?

4. Get in the Spirit of A/B Testing

The results received from drastic A/B testing (followed by iteration) can be extremely powerful, just like the holiday spirit that comes over us this time of year. A great New Year’s resolution? Commit to testing radical new ideas, destroy all assumptions, and never stop learning!

5. Directional Cues to Sway and Seduce this Holiday Season

As we close out 2013 and move into a brand new year, what fun and creative ways can you seduce your audience to convert on your landing pages? Will you be testing implicit and explicit directional cues?

6. A Very Mobile New Year

Users are savvy and expect single touch interaction, easy calls to action and checkout experiences. App-like experiences, that are tightly message matched to your ad, and load as fast as Santa’s sleigh, are the way to go to ensure engagement from your users, and of course, conversions.

7. Resolve to be R.E.A.D.Y

Use the guidelines of the R.E.A.D.Y framework when creating your digital experiences and you will be able to produce highly relevant pages that are engaging, authoritative, directional and that yield optimal.

8. All I Want for Christmas is a Clear CTA

Wait, what? Your goal for the page is to get viewers to click your call to action? Sorry, I got distracted by all the other toys…

9. Santa Claus is Coming to Town With Dynamic Keyword Targeting

Yes, you can create unique landing pages for each keyword with very little effort on your part. Dynamic keyword targeting is as close to “magic” as you’re going to get!

10. Interactive Content: Best Gift Under the Tree This Year

Four things to consider as you get ready to give and receive the “gift” of interactive content.

11. Joy to the Progressive Conversion!

As we move into the new year, think progressive. Remember how important it is to give all visitors a good experience, because today’s non-converter may be tomorrow’s conversion win.

12. Thank Your Visitors Ever Day of the Year

Three quick tips for creating a valuable and thankful post-conversion experience on your landing pages.

More inspiration: Marketing Apps Idea Book

Register to receive our newest idea book.

It provides nine ideas for app-like digital experiences — calculators, configurators, wizards, games and more — that not only engage and convert, but also provide marketing with highly valuable segmentation and sales enablement data.

Get inspired. Provide more value. And reap more in the new year conversions as a result.

Download the idea book.

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12 Holiday Landing Page Tips

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Deck the Halls with App-Like Games

‘Tis the season to be online shopping. Gadgets, winter boots or ugly Christmas sweaters, whatever it is you fancy, it’s sure to be found somewhere on the web. For some, the task of online shopping can be an irritating and tiresome feat. But if you’re anything like me, you get a thrill out of finding the best deals and getting the biggest bang for your buck! However, the process of online deal hunting is not always an enjoyable one. That is why whenever I come across a page that finds a way to make my online shopping fun and entertaining, I take notice!

While waiting for valet to bring my car around after work (this process has been known to take up to 20 minutes sometimes!), my mind wanders to my holiday to-do list. My younger cousin, Samantha, is next on my gift list. Unsure what to get her; I start checking out different mobile shopping apps such as Victoria Secret’s junior apparel line, PINK Nation. Next thing I know, I had spent several minutes playing games, such as PINK-O, all while racking up points to put towards different items and prizes!

PINK takes their visitors on a short, but effective, conversion-focused journey. They engage their mobile visitors at a higher level, which as a result, gains them more online leads.

Games are an entertaining way to engage and convert prospects. From the look and feel to the overall messaging, PINK’s mobile app and landing experiences are perfectly tailored to appeal to their target audience.

Thanks to my stellar gaming skills and my exquisite fashion sense, my cousin’s gift was all squared away with time to spare — all before my car arrived. Now, that’s what I like to call savvy shopping!

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Deck the Halls with App-Like Games

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User segmentation: the gift that keeps on giving

All I want for Christmas is a gift just for me. Not one that I have to share, or one that was made for someone else. I want it to be in exactly my size, flattering to my shape, and in a shade that makes my eyes sparkle. I believe that this is a perfectly reasonable Christmas wish. I also happen to believe that this desire for something made “just for me” in all aspects of life is not entirely unreasonable.

But alas, I too believe that giving is indeed better than receiving and because of this I also want to make sure that what I give to others is wholly just for them. So this brings me to my point, re-gifting is not acceptable. Not for holiday’s and not for landing pages. You have to make it just for them, in just their size, and if it makes their eyes sparkle, that’s even better.

The easiest, and also the most effective way in many cases to do this is through segmentation experiences. This is especially true if you don’t know the visitor very well. It’s kind of like picking the name of the guy at the office that you only see when getting coffee for your secret Santa exchange. You want to get him something great, but who the heck is he?

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The joy of a segmentation experience is that you don’t really have to know the person at all; you just have to know a few basic ways that he may identify himself. You might, for instance, drop by the water cooler and talk about your golf game one day, the latest box office hit the next, or a concert you’re going to on Friday. Eventually, he’s going to show some interest and presto! You’ve got the perfect gift idea.

The same is true of landing pages, if you show a visitor options that they can relate to, one of these choices is going to resonate with them enough to make them want more of what you’re offering. These options can be a million different things, depending on what you’re pitching, but they should always be supported by specific content.

The worst thing you can do at this point is segment your audience and then send them to the same interior page as any other segment. That’s not giving them what they want at all, but rather using that information just to meet your own marketing needs. That’s like getting your best friend tickets to your favorite band’s concert because you know she’ll take you. Not ok.

So this year, be a good gift giver. Give them what they want, and make it just for them; even if you have to ask them what their perfect gift is.

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User segmentation: the gift that keeps on giving

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Why responsive landing pages are a lot like Santa

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When I was a little kid I always wondered how Santa managed to make his way down all those chimneys. Everyone knows that on that one special night of the year this jolly and rather round man manages to fit down every chimney so that he can leave gifts for all of those who are on his “nice” list. Even at such a young age I was able to recognize that this didn’t seem feasible. Looking at him in all pictures and movies, and even having sat on his lap myself at the mall, I was able to recognize that Santa was not a little man and chimneys are not very spacious…so how does he do it?

Well, now that I’m much older and much wiser the answer is rather clear. Santa is very good at reproportioning himself. In an instant he’s able to thin out and elongate himself so that he can easily fit into all of those narrow chimneys. It’s really quite impressive.

This scenario reminds me a lot of responsive landing pages. Rather than delivering inflexible landing page to all visitors, regardless of which kind of device they’re using, and relying on them to resize, pan, and scroll so that they can easily see and engage with the page, a responsive landing page provides an optimal viewing experience for everyone. You see, a responsive landing page resizes and reconfigures itself to fit easily onto every screen screen – whether that is a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. It’s one page that satisfies everyone!

With the massive growth of mobile and tablet usage it is becoming increasingly important to reach these users in the most efficient and usable way possible. And that, my friend, is through responsive landing pages.

The Takeaway?

Santa is not the only one who can impress us with his magical re-proportioning skills; you too can impress all your visitors with your magical, but completely achievable, responsive landing pages!

Want to learn more about responsive design? Check out our Responsive Design for Landing Pages white paper.

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Why responsive landing pages are a lot like Santa

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Test Away, Test Away, Test Away All!

On the first day of Christmas the Art Director said to me, lets test the inclusion of a white paper for free!

I thought to myself, what a jolly good idea, for content marketing is something I could run tests for all year. So on to the page a white paper went, to encourage respondents to enter their email and then hit ‘submit’.

A white paper has great value and can spread some holiday cheer! Yes, send them to all who are on the ‘nice list’ this year. White papers allow respondents to learn something new, so that they can show their CEO that their ROI grew.

We created our landing page spotlighting this gift and with this one little change we saw great conversion lift!

But we could not stop there, we must keep on testing, so we gathered the team for a brainstorming session. What else could we do to continue this success? We thought long and hard for we would accept nothing but the best.

Then just like a lightning bolt, an idea did hit me, if people like one white paper, lets give them a resource library! Multiple assets available for free, what a great way to fill respondents with glee.

And just like that, we were busy optimizing! Like elves in Santa’s workshop, this was very exciting. We created and published our brand new testing element. We checked our list twice to make sure the content was relevant.

We took the page live and hoped for a new winner. In the meantime, we sat down for a delicious Christmas dinner. And right when it was time to pass the dessert, the Data Analyst shouted out, our idea, it worked!

Hip, hip, hooray, we shouted together! A resource library offer is now our new winner. Conversions were higher than ever before. Not to mention we have test learnings galore.

We could see which resources respondents liked best, which would prove to be extremely valuable when building our next test.

Our customer was very thankful for such a wonderful outcome. But the best part of all was that we were far from done. At ion interactive we will always be testing. That is our motto. There is no room for resting.

We hope you agree with this mindset as well. Put on your thinking cap and your results will be swell. So, if you are looking to test this holiday season, test content marketing to encourage form completion.

While visions of testing ideas dance in my head, I realize there is one last thing to be said.

Wishing you a wonderful year that is jolly and bright. Merry testing to all and to all a good site!

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Test Away, Test Away, Test Away All!

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All mom wants for Christmas is a better digital experience

And so it starts…”are you ready for holiday shopping this year?” And all I can think is — What? Shopping! Already?!

As the mom of a 2 year old, with another baby on the way, you might understand why holiday shopping is the last thing on my mind. In fact, my master plan this year is to completely avoid the in-store madness! This will be the year I avoid the stores all together and shop online! You might say… “who doesn’t do this already?” And you’re right!

According to Adroit Digital’s October 2013 survey, almost one-third of mothers said they planned on doing at least 60% of their holiday shopping online. And more than seven in 10 expected to make at least 40% of purchases through digital channels.

Well, for this mommy, tackling my entire holiday shopping online will be a first. In a perfect world, I will be able to type in my search and magically go to a landing page that delivers me exactly what I am looking for.

This is a realistic expectation, right?

Sure!

An awesome post-click experience

So I hit the search engine to find the perfect gift for my son, Oli.

First on Santa’s list: Big Hugs Elmo

I clicked on a Playskool and wow was I impressed! Playskool presents me with a beautiful (and interactive) little microsite dedicated to my son’s favorite furry red friend. Not only am I provided just the right amount of valuable content (several “features” videos, product description, etc.), the pricing is stated clearly and I’m given the opportunity to choose my store preference. From here, I can find the best deal on shipping and consider store-specific discounts.

This mommy is happy and ready to buy! Awesome work Playskool.

A less-than-stellar post-click experience

Now, let’s take a look at a less than stellar example.

Item #2 on Santa’s list: Toddler Slippers for Boys

Being a frequent shopper at zulily.com I was surprised and disappointed when I landed on what is really the daily discount site’s home page. There are lots of items to choose from, none of which are kids slippers. Dropping me onto the home page for a very specific search query is lazy. It puts the burden on me, the busy mother of (nearly) two, to discover another way to find slipper options. Sure, I can ‘shop by category’ or submit another search query. But why should I? I already told you exactly what I am looking for.

Ain’t no mommy got time for that!

I still love Zulily and will continue to browse and shop their daily deals. But they missed an opportunity to provide me with a stellar post-click experience.

The takeaway?

With seven in 10 moms saying they would be responsible for at least three-quarters of gift purchases in their household this year, they are missing a huge opportunity to convert those clicks to sales.

Home pages are not landing pages. Providing relevancy and a great post-click experience shouldn’t be hard and it definitely shouldn’t be optional.

With highly targeted ad to landing page messages (message match) retailers should be able to provide a stellar “post-click” experience. Providing a relevant landing page is critical to providing a great digital shopping experience — especially for busy and time-strapped mothers — a key demographic this holiday season.

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All mom wants for Christmas is a better digital experience

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Brains have Limited Bandwidth like Computer CPUs

Your prospects’ brains have limited processing power.

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Your prospects’ brains have limited processing power.
As brilliant as we all believe ourselves to be, when confronted with overwhelming graphics, complex verbiage and disjointed eyeflow, we quickly become overwhelmed.

Our brains have limited processing power

It’s not that your prospects can’t understand what we’re seeing. It’s more that they’ve only devoted a small portion of their brains to their search to solve their need and your overly complex website has over-taxed the allocated mental resources.

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Your overly complex website taxes your visitors’ allocated mental resources

Steven Yantis, a professor in the department of psychological and Brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University, has this to say about talking on cell phones while driving:

Directing attention to listening effectively “turns down the volume” on input to the visual parts of the brain. The evidence we have right now strongly suggests that attention is strictly limited—a zero-sum game. When attention is deployed to one modality—say, in this case, talking on a cell phone—it necessarily extracts a cost on another modality—in this case, the visual task of driving.

When we focus our attention on a thing, we reduce our ability to think about or even notice other things, even when those other things would otherwise have been obvious.

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When we focus our attention, we reduce our ability to notice other things

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Brains have Limited Bandwidth like Computer CPUs