For many marketers, LinkedIn is unchartered territory for collecting leads. Image by Henry & Jane Rios via Flickr.
LinkedIn has come a long way since its beginnings in 2002.
Though traditionally used to house professional resumes, connect with influencers and find new hires, it’s also become a valuable resource for your marketing campaigns – with an audience of over 300 million business professionals, LinkedIn is a hotbed for lead generation.
And I’ve got the stats to prove it:
Research from Oktopost shows that 80% of leads generated via social media for B2B marketers originate on LinkedIn.
Reachforce data supports the effectiveness of the platform, showing that 44% of B2B marketers have generated leads via LinkedIn.
But how exactly are these marketers using LinkedIn to grow their business and achieve their KPIs?
I had a closer look at their most successful strategies – here are five LinkedIn lead gen tips from the pros.
1. Combine buyer personas with LinkedIn targeting for hyper-relevant ads
ScienceLogic had been running PPC ad campaigns for upwards of a year in a notoriously competitive niche. With a cost per lead of almost $625 apiece, they knew something had to change.
They enlisted the help of Marketing Mojo, who suggested pivoting their advertising strategy to invest more money in LinkedIn ad targeting. Here’s what they did:
Marketing Mojo identifying ScienceLogic’s key buyer personas and did research to determine what sort of content they’d be interested in.
For each buyer persona, they created a series of white papers, surveys and webinars to be placed on dedicated landing pages.
LinkedIn’s demographic targeting feature allows you to put your ads in front of your key buyer personas. Image source
Compared to the keyword-focused Google Adwords campaign they had just run, ScienceLogic got 217% more leads – all while reducing the cost of the campaign by 82%.
How to apply this to your own marketing campaigns
Identify your most important buyer personas. For each persona, choose a lead gen incentive that will be attractive to them and place it on a dedicated landing page.
Use LinkedIn’s ad targeting feature to drive traffic to those landing pages. Get as granular as you can about your buyer personas; the feature allows you to filter by location, title and job function.
2. Use ad rotation to prevent banner blindness and find your best performers
When SEER Interactive started used LinkedIn ads, they found that a simple change in strategy made a big difference in the campaign’s success.
Instead of sticking to one ad per campaign, SEER found it more effective to create a bank of at least different eight ads for rotation.
Not only did this help them prevent banner blindness, it helped them determine which of their ads performed best.
When they selected a winning ad, a single week of traffic resulted in a 152% spike in clicks and a 900% boost in conversions.
SEER Interactive rotated their LinkedIn ads to determine a winner. When they selected a best-performing ad, they saw a dramatic jump in clicks and conversions.
How to apply this to your own marketing campaigns
LinkedIn gives you the option to allow ads to rotate evenly or to allow their algorithms to pick a champion. I would recommend allowing them to rotate evenly – LinkedIn’s algorithm is known to quickly pick a winner and choose to show that ad more frequently, which can skew results.
Make sure you allow your test to run for several weeks to ensure a large sample size. Once you’ve picked the best performing ads, you can manually swap out the losers and start testing new ones.
If you’re looking for new channels to generate leads, your LinkedIn profile probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind – but it has a lot of potential.
Randy Kobat of software company MPi EDGE found that your LinkedIn profile can also be used to send people to lead gen landing pages.
In preparation for an upcoming webinar, Kobat updated the “Projects” section of his profile with the details of the event. He included a synopsis of the webinar and explained what prospects would learn. Finally, he included a link that directed interested users to a registration page.
Screenshot taken from the full LinkedIn profile makeover video here.
When Kobat participated in LinkedIn groups, people who clicked through to his profile were presented with information about the upcoming webinar.
The result: a 20% increase in webinar registrations.
How to apply this to your own marketing campaigns
Use various sections of your profile to house social proof for your target audience. Showcase real results, impressive data points and your most effective strategies.
Add registration details for upcoming webinars to the “Projects” section of your profile. Make sure to include a clickable call to action that links to a dedicated landing page, so you can track conversions that come from your LinkedIn profile.
If you’re worried that this might seem a little spammy and not in line with your brand values, then ease into it to test the waters. For a more subtle approach, consider adding a discrete call to action to only one profile section.
4. Combine sponsored updates with valuable content
While regular updates can be hit or miss in terms who sees them, using sponsored updates allows more precise audience targeting – and allows you to share updates that don’t appear as ads at first glance.
That’s exactly why NewsCred decided to run a LinkedIn sponsored updates campaign to generate leads for their business.
They started by generating a whole lot of original content; nine blog posts and five white papers to be precise. Then, they created 20 sponsored updates over the space of two months to promote their awesome content to their target audience.
NewsCred combined valuable content with sponsored updates to generate qualified leads. Image source.
It was a lot of work, but the work paid off.
The campaign netted them 288 new followers and 71 leads. What’s more, they found the campaign to be 75% less expensive than the Google AdWords lead gen campaign they were running concurrently.
They also found that:
Leads collected via LinkedIn were three times as likely to convert into customers than leads collected via their Google AdWords campaigns.
Every dollar spent on the sponsored updates resulted in more than $17 in revenue. Not a bad return on their investment.
How to apply this to your own marketing campaigns
Create whitepapers or attractive content bundles to give away to your audience. Be sure to over-deliver in value as much as you can.
Determine a budget and length for your campaign and advertize your content through sponsored updates – Hubspot has a detailed getting started guide here.
Monitor the success of your campaign, determine which incentives are most attractive and make changes to future sponsored updates based on the insights you learn.
5. Run an email marketing campaign with sponsored InMail
InMail is LinkedIn’s messaging system for connecting with people you don’t know.
You may have used it to network or connect with a potential business partner, but have you ever used it to generate leads?
DocuSign did, running a sponsored InMail campaign to reach an audience of VPs and sales directors at companies with more than 500 employees. They sent out one email every two months for six months, inviting prospects to a “Leadership Series Roundtable” webinar.
But they didn’t stop there. DocuSign also asked guest panelists in the roundtables to invite their contacts to the webinar.
It was a win-win. These experts were given credibility as thought leaders because of their participation in the roundtables and DocuSign benefited by having their InMails come from recognizable and respected names in each industry.
DocuSign used InMail to rack up more than 350 webinar registrations. Check out the webinar for more detail on the strategy.
With a more personal touch than receiving InMail from a company, DocuSign’s campaign resulted in more than 350 webinar registrations.
How to apply this to your own marketing campaigns
Ask your webinar and roundtable guests to promote the event to their LinkedIn network.
Make use of InMail’s filtering tools to send super-targeted messages to recipients. Filtering recipients by role, company size and industry will help you find the perfect targets for your campaign.
Putting it all together
By now, you should have a handy to-do list for generating leads on LinkedIn. In case you blinked, here’s a summary of those key points:
Target ads to your buyer personas with LinkedIn ad targeting
Use ad rotation to prevent “banner blindness”
Find unique ways to use your personal profile
Combine sponsored updates with valuable content
Run an email marketing campaign with InMail
Bonus: Don’t forget to link each of your ads to a dedicated landing page
And most importantly, test each of the options that LinkedIn offers until you find the one that resonates most closely with your audience – and brings you the most conversions.
Have you been using LinkedIn to generate leads? Have any tips that I didn’t mention here?
Sending your company’s content out into the world without knowing whom it’s going to reach — or why it should interest them — is as efficient as a paperboy flinging rolled-up newspapers into the street at random.
Sure, some will be caught or plucked up from the sidewalk, but the majority of the newspapers will tumble into puddles, onto empty stoops, or under car wheels, never to be read.
Online content is like those rolled-up newspapers, except on a much larger scale. Millions of pieces of content whizz around the Web with the potential to be shared or ignored. The challenge is knowing which pieces of content your potential buyers are actually engaging with — and which ones they’re ignoring.
Measuring the ROI of content is an ongoing challenge for content creators. In fact, 90 percent of marketers aren’t confident in how they’re measuring their content’s success. This is troublesome when you consider the fact that their content can directly impact their conversions.
When you know which pieces of content are prompting readers to connect with your brand, your conversion optimization efforts can take force, aiming your content a little closer to the target each time you share until you’re virtually placing it in front of your ideal customer.
Scoring your content based on how many leads or opportunities a piece of content has created allows you to objectively gauge the true success of your content and tailor future content to your specific buyers’ behavior.
The fundamentals of content scoring boil down to these three aspects:
Knowing your buyers: Buyer personas are the key to creating content that converts. The better you know your potential buyers, the better you can use content to influence their experiences and persuade them to buy into your brand.
Mapping buyer actions: Once you know your buyer personas, it’s good to map the actions of each buyer down to the Web page you want her to land on. This will help you think through how you want buyers to react to certain kinds of content and predict the clicks and turns of their online journeys.
Creating a journey: Different kinds of content have different levels of success, and of the successful pieces, some will only work at certain stages of the customer’s experience. If a piece of content converts at a high rate, it should be repositioned as acquisition content. Content that still has good conversion rates should be positioned as mid-funnel pieces or nurturing content.
Finally, look for content that leads to action on the pricing page or other high-value pages. This should be late-stage content. Good content management is all about leading customers through the journey, from view to click to purchase.
Once you’re tracking your buyers, their actions along the content journey should become clear enough for you to score your content according to its efficacy and its place in the content funnel. Now, you can start targeting content more effectively to reach potential buyers.
The Nuts and Bolts: How to Score Content
Scoring your content is easier said than done, of course. Here are the steps to most effectively score the content you’re producing:
Develop a lead-scoring model: Begin with a fairly standard lead-scoring model wrapped around your content types, as well as buying stages. You will score “light” content — content that Jason Miller at LinkedIn calls “chocolate cake content” — with fewer points than your heavy gated content pieces.
These are your “definitive guides,” and they focus on enabling the buyer to understand not only your solution, but how she will use it. Once you have the content scoring in place, complement it with additional points for content that’s consumed further in the buying journey. Think of this as an interest multiplier: If I consume content on day 1, it says something, but if I consume content on day 190, that shows a different level of investment.
Integrate your scoring into your platforms: This is just a fancy way of saying that you need to build your scoring models into your marketing automation and content management platforms. This is how you’re going to manage it.
Evaluate the data regularly: This is the step that’s often missed. We have to evaluate the data on at least a quarterly basis. Ideally, we want to follow it daily and determine the types and topics of future content production. When you’re creating your next content piece based on what your buyers are asking for, you’ve reached nirvana.
The Benefits of Content Scoring
While you may be reluctant to add another step to your content workflow, scoring your content can make your team more efficient by evaluating what content is working and clarifying how to better shape the customer’s journey to reflect your end goal.
Scoring encourages quality over quantity. The minute your company abandons the “quantity over quality” approach to content, you’ll see better results. Spending more time honing your content to reflect your strategy — rather than having a bunch of talented people churn out as much content as possible — will lead to more productive workdays and more effective content.
Scoring supports a cumulative approach to content. Content scoring won’t bring in more leads overnight. However, scoring each new piece of content brings your strategy closer to hitting the mark. Maybe the user will click away this time, but because you’ve added another step to her journey, she’ll be more likely to click next time. Nothing is lost with content scoring, and the content you produce becomes a cumulative game.
Scoring tells you more than vanity metrics do. Vanity metrics — such as your number of retweets or Facebook friends — are not predictors of success. The only way to judge and predict how your users are behaving is by constantly evaluating how your content is actually performing and repositioning it according to your results.
Scoring helps you make a good first impression. Poor content can drive away a potential customer for good, but great content does its work slowly, boosting your brand over time. A reputation for good content is a valuable thing; it will lead buyers to associate your brand with intelligence and relevance, which will keep them coming back for more. Eventually, all your hard work will result in that final click to buy.
When implementing content scoring, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Let your buyer dictate the content journey. Even though you may feel the content should lead the buyer through the funnel a certain way or that one piece of content is more valuable than others, your buyer should drive the process. Objective measurements will help you realistically evaluate what content is working — and what isn’t.
Reevaluate your content often. Analyzing your content at least once per month is best. If potential buyers aren’t continuing along the content journey or interacting with your content, retool it, reposition it, or get rid of it altogether.
Set realistic expectations. Understand that you won’t necessarily see results overnight. Creating compelling content is a long-term game.
By getting to know your buyers, understanding their journey, and scoring your content accordingly, you’ll be able to convert readers into customers. Scoring helps your brand set a standard for its content, limiting the buyer’s journey to content that actually starts and continues conversations. When you know what content performs, you won’t just be slinging pieces of content at random passersby; you’ll be placing it in the hands of buyers who really want it.
Camping out to guarantee you are among the first in line.
Energy-charged crowd chomping at the bit—some laughing, some yelling, some crying, some shoving.
Nope folks, not a bunch of tweens waiting for a One Direction concert (thank god my daughter is not old enough for those shenanigans yet).
I’m talking about Black Friday. The revered day right after Thanksgiving where you can score the best deals on pretty much everything. Before the calendar even hits November, the buzz starts. Television and radio ads, newspaper circulars, social chatter, ecommerce site promo. All of them engaging in some form of promotion to get the word out. And there’s no denying it works because each year the crowds show up in massive numbers, right?
So, why can’t you set a similar tone (maybe with less pushing and yelling) for your website? What if you could form (virtual) lines of people just waiting to see your content marketing efforts, and better yet, stay on their radar as you churn out really good stuff?
And here’s how. Ready? Because it’s two important words that will rock your content marketing world and have people showing up to check it out, just like they are waiting in line for that ridiculously bargain-priced front loading washer and dryer combo.
Ok, so there may not be tents pitched and people willing to go without bathroom breaks to be first in the door. But, you can certainly create the same mad rush to your site if your content is that good. Because people talk about awesome things they see. They share it socially. It can go viral.
So think about it next time you are having a content brainstorm or developing your content strategy or sitting in front of your screen with a blinking cursor taunting you. People love to interact. Not just with other people, but also with stuff they are reading online. The influx of interactive content like eBooks, infographics. white papers, press releases, quizzes and other examples is no accident. It provides a rich and engaging experience that opens the door for meaningful digital dialog.
So do it. Create that Black Friday-esque buzz that drives people in droves to see what you’ve cooked up in terms of interactive content. Amaze them, show them a good time. And they’ll be back, probably with some friends.
Engagement is all the rage in sales and marketing alike. As it should be! Without engagement, you can’t have a truly invested audience. Want more engagement? Want to up the ante with the engagement you already have? Then you should check out our interactive guide to improving Brand Engagement! It’s packed with so much insight and tactics on how to get the engagement you want and your audience craves.
Ever found yourself puzzled with a sudden spike or drop in test results? Did it finally take you hours of brainstorming and discussions to figure out what caused the change? Now you can avoid all that hassle by simply adding notes to your graphs.
VWO allows you to annotate your graph reports with relevant notes to make your analysis more meaningful. Think of these as sticky notes on your graph reports. You can use these annotations to add comments, mark important events and even add relevant links to your graphs.
Let’s say you are the optimization expert with a large software product company. To get more users for your product, you are running a campaign on your ‘sign-up’ page with a goal to improve conversions. Meanwhile, your marketing team decides to launch a well-targeted newsletter campaign that directs visitors to the sign-up page. The awesome campaign results in a sudden spike in conversions on your sign-up page, right on the date when the newsletter was sent.
A few months down the line, when you analyze the results of your campaign, it would be hard for you to identify what caused the sudden spike in conversions. This is where annotations come to your rescue. Annotations allow you to add context to your results by including notes for other activities/events happening during the test duration. The moment you see the comment with newsletter campaign in your graph, you know what to attribute the spike to.
The annotations are visible to all users in your account so that everyone can have similar context for interpreting results. It also comes with the added advantage of viewing who added the annotation so that any further discussions can flow seamlessly.
Check out this article in our knowledge base to get a step by step view of how to use annotations for your account.
And There’s More…
1. Now you can make changes to the iframe tag on your website. The iframe editor allows you to edit iframe URL, change style and placement, and so on. Simply load the webpage containing the iframe content into the campaign builder and you are ready to go!
2. The select parent option expands to allow you to select the largest parent from any element on the page. If you are making changes to an element on your page, use this option to go up to the largest parent of the element.
Let us know about your experience with this month’s updates in the comments section. And we would love to hear if you have anything to share with us about VWO!
Should designers be able to code? This topic never seems to die, with its endless blog posts, Twitter discussions and conference talks. But the developer’s involvement in the design process seems to be addressed very little. This is a shame, because developers have a huge amount to add to discussions about design.
The unfortunate truth is that many designers have a somewhat elitist attitude towards design. They believe that only they can come up with good design ideas. That is simply not true.
Everybody has the ability to make good design suggestions, including developers. Admittedly, a trained designer will probably be more effective at finding design solutions. But that does not mean others should not contribute. As designers, we need to swallow our pride and accept contributions from everybody. For that reason alone, we should include developers in the conversation.
The Dangers Of Not Including The Developer
Back in the heyday of Digg, I remember a conversation between Daniel Burka (Digg’s lead designer) and Joe Stump (its lead developer). They told a story of a design change to the Digg button that Daniel wanted to introduce. From Daniel’s perspective, the change was minor. But upon speaking with Joe, he discovered that this minor design change would have a huge impact on website performance, forcing Digg to upgrade its processing power and server architecture.
This is the problem when developers are not involved in design. It can be disastrous. It can lead to designs that are impossible to build, designs that introduce unnecessary technical complications, endless back and forth between the designer and developer as they struggle to fix problems created by the designer, wasted days of revision and iteration — all because the developer wasn’t consulted.
Consider also the client’s perception of this mess. The client has signed off on the design, only to be told later that it cannot be built. That reflects poorly on everyone. This is why we need the developer’s involvement in design decisions. The decisions we make as designers have far greater ramifications than we are aware of.
The Developer Can Improve Our Understanding Of What Is Possible
But we need developers not only to block infeasible ideas. They might also suggest ideas that we’ve dismissed as impossible. We sometimes filter our own ideas because of the limitations of our technical knowledge, especially if we do some coding ourselves. We figure that if we cannot think of how to build an idea, then it cannot be possible.
Sure, developers will sometimes resist our ideas. But other times they will build on them and take them further than we ever thought they could go. I have been in discussions with developers who proposed things I didn’t even know were possible. Without having them in the room, I would have missed out on those insights.
What’s more, I learned through the process. By working closely with developers, my understanding of development has increased. I remain a specialist in design, but my knowledge of development has increased, making me more of a generalist. And, as I have written before, being a generalist is no bad thing3.
Developers Make Design Decisions All The Time
The biggest reason, though, for involving developers is that they will end up making design decisions anyway. The truth is that, as a developer delves into building a project, they will have to make decisions that affect and refine the design. Designers rarely have the time to consider all nuances of a website. The rest fall to the developer.
By involving the developer in the initial design discussions, they will be in a better position to fill in the blanks. And when compromises in the design must be made, they will be in a better position to make those calls.
The Developer Will Have A Greater Sense Of Ownership
There is one final reason for including the developer in the process: They will feel more engaged with the project. Too often, developers are at the end of a long chain of decision-making. Their voice isn’t heard because they’re brought into the process far too late. This leaves them feeling no ownership over the project. By bringing them in earlier, they will feel more connected to the work and more appreciated, too.
The question, then, is how do you include the developer in the process?
So, What Are You Waiting For?
Involving a developer in the design process is not rocket science. It comes down to inviting them to any design sessions that take place.
Get them involved in the design exercises you do with clients. Encourage them to sit in on at least some of your usability testing sessions, and involve them right from the beginning of the project. The earlier you do it, the more you will benefit. In particular, show them your design work early on, before the client sees it. Too often, a client will sign off on a design and then the developer will discover that it cannot be built! That puts you in the embarrassing position of having to backtrack with the client.
Of course, the more meetings the developer attends, the less coding they will get done. We must find a balance. A few meetings are worth it if delays are avoided down the line.
There is another thing you can do that won’t eat into the developer’s time. Put the designer’s and developer’s desks side by side. My agency’s designers and developers sit beside each other and are always commenting on each other’s work. When a developer is able to look over at the designer’s screen, you can be sure they will speak up if they don’t like what they see!
In the end, this is all about breaking down the barriers between roles and encouraging more collaborative work, not just between designer and developer but between workers in all disciplines. The more we understand what our colleagues do and the less precious we are about our own discipline, the better the result will be.
Excluding the developer from the design process will do nothing but prevent the project from living up to its potential. In fact, excluding anyone — whether copywriter or SEO specialist — will ultimately compromise our work.
Chris Goward was the keynote speaker at the Conversions@Google Summit on October 20th 2014. His presentation on Mobile Marketing Optimization spurred a great Question and Answer period.
Here is how Chris defined mobile optimization during his presentation:
A lot of people think mobile is the difference between a desktop and a phone. Some people – if you are really advanced – are looking at tablets. This is not the reality. This is not mobile. The reality is there is an infinite number of devices now, and infinite number of screen sizes and iterations. And, they are changing all the time.
Stop thinking of mobile as a phone versus a desktop. Mobile is a state of being – it is a context.
Mobile is a verb – it is not a device.
The transcript of the Q&A session is below:
Q: You have talked about having a team to do mobile optimization. But we have limited resources and in our case we just can’t have that many people working on it. Do you have any suggestions on what to focus on, and what to leave apart for a while?
A: You are right. Conversion rate optimization is a multi-disciplinary system, and it is very rare to find one or two people that have the skill to do all of it. You need to understand marketing, the customer, design, user experience, wireframing, and a lot of technical tasks as well. A lot of times the technical stuff – such as how to speed up a page, or how to implement a test are hugely important. Look at what you have internally, do you have designers, coders? Maybe pull a portion of their time away to focus on that.
You really need a conversion champion, who understands the process for continuous testing and building that knowledge base. That’s the most important part. And that’s what we have done. We have created conversion teams that have all the components – designers, coders, strategists and account managers. They are like outsource teams for companies.
Q: Should you re-test variations you used 6 or 12 months ago?
Yes, we do this on an annual basis. We will do testing for 12 months, than we will go back to last year and re-test our original winner. This validates that all the improvements throughout the year have been cumulative. And when we look at this, and do the calculation – for the past 24 months – they have been.
This is a really good idea to do. At least, if nothing more than to silence the critics who say, “ Oh come on, 24% lift, is that actually happening.” And it is – it works. But also there are seasonality nuances that you want to take into account. Especially when you have a seasonal business. We are finding during peak urgency periods the winners can change dramatically versus during lower periods; because peoples internal urgency is different, and their response to different messages changes.
So going back to test is worth doing. But give yourself some time and run through a bunch of tests, and then go back and validate. And if nothing else, this can be used as a tech check to make sure your statistical significance is working out.
Q: Do you have any kind of tips for dealing with HIPPO’s (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) who don’t want a test to run to completion, or don’t want to wait for accurate results?
A: So you are digging into one of the biggest problems. Organizational change is one of the biggest barriers to conversion rate optimization – especially with senior marketers, who have never taken this approach, because it is a completely different way of thinking. Most marketers grew up in the gut feeling, intuition, school of marketing where you find an insight and run with it. This is a different way of doing it – it is actually a merge of data and intuition. And so ya, you will have people watching the tests who are impatient. They want to just finish it – saying, “Why are you wasting your time with all this statistical mumbo jumbo?” The first thing you want to do is identify who are going to be barriers. Identify who are the champions and the supporters. Run some under the radar tests with the supporters, without the detractors knowing. Secret tests. And get some momentum that way. So you’ve got some wins, you have some valid lifts – now you have proof that this is a way that can genuinely lead to improvement. So you might not start on the homepage, for example. And then, shop that around and share the results.
Q: The problem for us is collecting enough sample size. You showed us all these tests and iterating and iterating again. If we were to do the entire cycle and actually measure actual revenue improvement, rather than the micro conversion improvement, it would take us about 10 months. So any tips for people that struggle to get enough sample size to get a statistically significant results?
A: Traffic is the biggest barrier to conversion optimization – it is true. And there are few work arounds. But – there are principles for lower traffic tests:
1. Run more dramatic changes. This doesn’t necessarily mean dramatic design changes, instead run dramatic cognitive changes – for example it might be value proposition that is quite a bit different.
2. Run fewer variation. Run away from multivariate and only run two or three variations.
3. Test on your high traffic pages with only a few variations. Then take those insights and apply them to your lower traffic pages.
4. Become comfortable running longer tests. There is nothing wrong with having tests in market that go longer.
Q: Could you talk a little on the things that you would not test. At our office, everyone has ideas on what to test and we keep adding to the list. We have a testing road map for the next ten years!
A: You have an underlying questions there. You want to test everything, and you have total support for testing, but you’ve got road map for ten years – that means you don’t have the traffic to support your desire to test. And really, that’s unskilled testing. Skilled testing is looking at the traffic you’ve got, prioritizing what are the insights you want to gain from it, and testing what’s important.
Use the PIE Framework. This is a framework we use for prioritizing our tests to prioritize by potential importance and ease. By doing this you will always be testing the most important questions for your company. If you generate insights and conversion LIFT, then it doesn’t matter how much you have because you will only be testing what is important.
Q: Do you have a key take away for B2B online testing?
A: The goal is really important in B2B. You may be converting leads, and you need to look at quality of leads. We do a lot of work for Magento Enterprise. Not on the e-commerce platform, but trying to get people to sign up. And so, whenever we are testing we want to track those leads through quality at the call center to find out if the test generates more revenue or is it just creating more volume of leads. If you can, looking at tracking phone numbers that go into the call center to go straight through to opportunity and revenue value.
Also, B2B usually has lower traffic, so all the same principles of lower traffic testing as well.
Another tip is staying away from interesting, but not revenue generating, micro conversions.
Q: Do you have any recommendations for testing tools for native apps?
A: There are a whole bunch of testing tools now, and there are several that are pretty good. We have been using Optimizely a lot. It is pretty decent in features, and does a good job. Visual Website Optimizers is good as well. A/B Tasty, in France, is a really good tool too. Worth checking out. Google has content experiments – it’s okay. There are some other higher priced ones – Monetate, Maximizer, Adobe, Site Specs. There is a whole bunch, but those are the ones that are easier to get into. We always combine testing tools with the analytics – whether it is google analytics or adobe. You want to make sure you are doing the back end analysis too.
Q: You were talking about how important segmentation is. If you for example get an A/B test result that your returning customers convert better than your new customer. Then what’s your next step?
A: Returning customers convert better than new customers – there is really nothing there you can work with. But if you run a test and then you see that returning customers convert better on variation B, and new customers convert better on variation C. Now you have a potential insight about your customers. The segments. And now you can start to drill into why: why do they convert better – even slightly – on the other one. You have a potential insight you can build on, create a hypothesis, and create a test that is targeted at that potential insight.
After this you can build that hypothesis into a finding, which becomes a theory, which becomes something you can use predictively. And that’s when it gets really powerful.
Q: You have talked about iteration a lot. How many tests would you run in parallel? For example on an ecommerce site at different levels of the cart.
A: How many tests can you run in parallel? It is depends on the traffic. You can run a lot of tests as long as you have the technical chops to keep the segments separate. Visitors will be pre-segmented before they get into the test, and then within the segments we will run parallel paths. But that’s for an ecommerce site with a lot of traffic. So we are talking about half million monthly is when you can start to get into that. With less than that then you usually want to stay at one or two parallel segments. You have got to be very careful if you are doing that to make sure there is not cross pollution of tests, that all of the cells are completely separate, and that you don’t have any tests intermingling – because if they aren’t separate you will get really screwed up results.
Email and personalization seem to go together in marketers’ minds like peanut butter and jelly. With near-magnetic proficiency, the right personalization approach can reel customers in and gradually turn them from casual buyers into full-fledged brand advocates.
Or can it?
You see, customers aren’t brainless zombies. They know when they’re appreciated and when they’re sent just another canned response that happens to have their name on it. So, can you win them over with personalized messages, or should you direct your time and energy elsewhere? Let’s take a closer look.
Email as an Integrated Tool
The most important thing to remember is that email personalization is not a once-and-done job. It’s an ongoing process that should draw from multiple channels to create a customer awareness “sphere”. For example, according to an Experian email marketing study in 2013, more brands (50%) were promoting through Pinterest in their emails, while 39% were promoting through Instagram.
Why these avenues and why not strictly email? It’s simple – people are more open and personal on Pinterest and Instagram. The things they pin and share and post show what’s important to them and what motivates them – all key pieces of potential information that can be used to market to them as well.
Smart Customization Beyond the Message
The point is that email personalization is about more than just putting a name in the subject line. The Honest Company, founded by actress Jessica Alba in 2012, sells organic bath, body and baby products. Their personalization efforts center around the user from the moment she hits the site.
The Honest Co.’s email marketing efforts work retroactively based on what the customer viewed and where she came from
For example if someone searched Bing for organic baby wipes, The Honest Co. would send them a series of six sequential emails centered around their offerings in that particular category and inviting them to subscribe to a bundle. What’s more, they send emails based on the time when the customer is most likely to open them, rather than on a pre-set schedule.
Their intense focus on email personalization has paid off, generating conversion rates of 170% higher than their non-personalized counterparts.
The key takeaway here is that email marketing doesn’t just end at the inbox. It’s an ongoing exercise in balancing customer privacy and trust with the need to build a relationship and create brand loyalty.
So Why Isn’t Everyone Doing This?
It might be easy to see all the benefits that email personalization brings, and step back and wonder why everyone isn’t doing it. Quite simply, there are three key reasons:
Lack of Resources – According to a study by Conversant Media and Forrester Research, 66% of companies find it a major or extreme challenge to secure the internal resources needed to make personalized emails a reality.
Lack of Integrated Technology – Even for those companies that have the resources, 65% of marketers find it difficult to find a complete cross-channel solution that allows them to see all aspects of a customer’s buying and browsing behavior, and not just particular segments.
There are still challenges to be overcome to find the perfect balance between personalization and privacy, but even more telling are the gaps between personalization efforts that still exist and are ripe to be explored.
First, the social landscape for personalization is wide open but currently underutilized. This may come as a surprise considering the sheer amount of personalization potential that social media offers. According to a study by Experian Marketing, only 17% of the businesses surveyed did not use social media personalization in their emails:
Most email marketing campaigns are focused more on the sale than the social aspect
The silver lining on this cloud is that they are taking steps to send out promotional emails. But today’s customers don’t always want to be sold to. They want companies they can trust and companies that understand them beyond their wallets and pocketbooks.
But social media is just one area that could be improved. Another is mobile, which may come out as quite a shock considering the push to reach more customers via mobile-responsive design and mobile SMS/MMS messaging. The fact is, companies want to embrace the mobile movement , they’re just not sure how.
Many companies still aren’t sure how to efficiently use mobile techniques in email
Experian’s own research showed that although 39% of customers opened emails on a mobile device, 24% of marketers still did not optimize for mobile. That’s a considerable chunk of lost revenue and conversions.
One of the biggest missed opportunities comes with the confirmation emails customers get: most notably, their electronic receipts and the confirmed opt-in email. Experian’s study showed that e-receipts had double the open rate compared to typical bulk emails:
People Want Choices
Finally, successful email marketing personalization campaigns truly shine when the user is in control, but most companies don’t give them that kind of freedom for fear that they’ll unsubscribe altogether. For example, 60% of companies surveyed did not let customers change the frequency or type of email they want to receive – but why not?
Most companies don’t give their customers choices when it comes to the type, category or frequency of emails they want to receive
If they’ve done as they intended and worked toward building a relationship instead of maintaining that email is a one-way communicative street, they shouldn’t be worried about giving their subscribers more options. By letting people choose when and what they want to receive, you’re letting them effortlessly segment themselves and tell you the kinds of offers that would make them buy – and when.
What are Your Thoughts on Email Personalization?
Marketing gimmick? Relationship builder, or somewhere in between? How does your company view email personalization and how have you used it to successfully grow your business? Share your thoughts and perspectives with us in the comments below!
In the wonderful world of millions of mobile apps, many users suffer from ADD (app deluge disorder), and no aphorism looms larger for developers than “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Once a large group of people are downloading your app, you’ve already won half the battle and have accomplished your primary goal. Now, keeping them engaged post-download is your next one. This is where onboarding takes center stage.
Being involved in a mobile analytics firm, I see firsthand what challenges app publishers experience. In this article, I will go over the importance of using visual mobile analytics to measure the user experience from day one, as well as provide examples and other insights, so that you can optimize your onboarding experience and increase your app’s retention rate.
I must stress that, while there is no magic bullet for creating a perfect onboarding experience, remaining focused and committed to monitoring your onboarding experience will get you further than any other strategy. This article will provide you with knowledge that you can apply to your own mobile app exploits, whether you are a developer or a mobile app publisher.
Inviting Users To Stay
Onboarding post-download could include a variety of techniques to keep users engaged during their first time using your app. Think of onboarding as building an entry ramp for people to use the app. Turning first-time users into active and engaged ones is at the core of creating the ultimate onboarding experience.
Things that usually work for a web-based application tend not to work for a hybrid or native app and vice versa. Thinking that it will is a big waste of time. For example, native apps that invite users to create an account through Facebook (one-click registration) by using their details stored on the device provide a smooth onboarding experience. Web-based apps, however, will redirect users to a Facebook page, with a different UI, and if the user is not logged in, they will be required to enter their email address and password and then return to the app’s page. Obviously, registering accounts using Facebook log-in details is less effective when onboarding in a web-based app.
You have so many elements to consider when designing an onboarding experience. Design mixed with psychology should be at the core, and you’ll need to identify your target audience, along with the devices they use, as well as detailed demographics such as age and language, and so much more.
Balance and harmony are not just for practicing the art of Zen, but also for designing your app’s onboarding experience. You need to wow them from the start. Otherwise, they might just say bye-bye to your app or, worse, delete it.
Onboarding The Right Way
Let’s look at a few examples of app onboarding experiences and the techniques used to grab users and keep them coming back.
YouTube Capture’s onboarding experience begins with a quick tutorial. It then uses inline hints to teach users the UI of the app. The app is simple, so indicating what to do next is very effective at bringing users on board.
Think of a first-time user as someone who has landed on another planet. They’d like to explore. Inline hinting is a technique that gives them the freedom to do so, while progressively disclosing various features. It educates them during the exploration phase, thereby connecting them more closely to your app in an unobtrusive fashion. These users are essentially like newborns, needing guidance at every turn.
Mailbox uses a slick interactive tutorial to quickly tell users about the unique features of the app and how to use them.
A tutorial, like the one above, guides the user in an orderly fashion and promotes interaction. It includes short and to-the-point messages that are easily comprehended by the user. This keeps them engaged in the onboarding process, while educating them on the key features, yet moving forward. This makes the experience frictionless and greatly reduces the bounce rate.
Onboarding The Wrong Way
Now that we’ve seen some good examples, let’s look at less effective ones.
Poor App Flow
Look at the Sochi Winter Olympics’ official app below. This is an example of an inadequate onboarding experience. When you launch the app, a screen opens telling you that it’s loading. The seven-step process to set up the app is a lesson in ineffective design. It doesn’t stop there. Once you get through setting it up, the app takes you to a page with really small text and images. The app is a maze, with no hints at all of where you should be going or what you should be doing.
It no doubt got a lot of use and frustrated many users, but if it was just a random app in the app store and not the official app for the Winter Olympics, then the deletions would mount. Take this unappealing design as an example of an ineffective onboarding experience. “Offboarding” would be a better term.
When a user launches your app, the last thing you want to do is tell them to wait. And if they must wait, figure out ways to engage them. Perhaps offer some content they can read while the process completes. Or perhaps the set-up process is way too long. Design it to be as short and to the point as possible. Give the user what they came for as quickly as possible.
Give them the option to sign in with one click through their Facebook account and to set their preferences. These screens should take no more than five seconds to complete. When they get to the app’s main content, ensure that the font sizes are proportional to each other and that people can read the text.
Using visual analytics, you will see whether there is any friction when users navigate the app… unless you’ve developed the official app for the Sochi Winter Olympics, in which case users won’t have much of a choice.
Overwhelming the User
The onboarding experience for Project, a magazine app, starts out simple enough with a few pages that introduce the experience, before getting into the nitty gritty. Then, it brings users to this page:
The massive amount of information shown to the user will just overwhelm them (especially on the first visit). Users will see that the content to consume is way too much and will bounce. Think of it like going to a diner with nothing in mind and being given a menu with hundreds of options. You will be sitting there for a long time trying to decide. This is no diner. You have a few seconds. Your users are hungry. Feed them. Fast!
This is a perfect example to learn from. It is precisely the opposite of progressive disclosure.
Overwhelming users is a big mistake. A mobile screen has tight limitations on the UX and UI. Don’t provide too many options. Keep it light, and you’ll see an increase in usage. The trick with onboarding is to show just what users need to know to get started — nothing more, nothing less.
Onboarding Best Practices
1. Give an Overview
Look at the magazine app Zinio, shown below. It showcases the most important areas of the app and uses arrows to keep the app’s context visible. This enables the user to see the areas they are looking for.
Make sure that the connection between the information you provide during onboarding and how the user applies that information in their day-to-day experience is as clear as possible.
2. Show the Value
Here is your chance to shine. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so show them what your app’s got. Pinpoint the value of your app and explain it in a few screens. Show that your app will give users what they want. Nothing else matters. Once you’ve brought them onboard, you can optimize the experience and engage them in future.
By the end of Uber’s onboarding, which takes up four screens, users know exactly what they’ll be getting and feel encouraged to start using the app.
3. Show What They Need to Get to the Next Step
Present users with just the information they need to get to the next step in the application. This will be their guide and will make for a smooth onboarding experience. Look at the following two screenshots of the Birdhouse app for iOS. It tells users right up front what the app is for and what they need to know in order to use it.
The first screen (on the left) explains what information is needed for the user to start using the app. The second screen explains, like clockwork, how the “History” function works, at precisely the moment users would need it (after posting their first tweet).
Tutorial Strategies For Different Types of Apps
Below are a few types of tutorials that are commonly used for different types of apps.
Step-by-Step Tutorial: Gaming
In the gaming space, this type of tutorial guides the user through the game, letting them know how to play and what the rules are.
A step-by-step tutorial is perfect for gaming because it teaches users the ins and the outs of the game. It replaces a manual, which would bore most users, and a video, which most users would not want to sit through in order to start playing. After all, gamers love interaction more than anything else.
An interactive step-by-step tutorial positively reinforces the user every step of the way. When the user is guided at each step of the game in an interactive way and is encouraged by messages such as “Awesome job!” and “Way to go!,” they will be inspired to play.
Habit-Forming Tutorial: Social Sharing
Among photo-sharing apps, Pinterest takes the lead by walking users through a tutorial on finding images to create their first pin. The goal of this type of tutorial is to give the user their first taste of success and to get them addicted to the habit of pinning.
If users don’t understand the concept of an app, they won’t return. This is why Pinterest introduces the concept of pinning in its onboarding tutorial, not letting the user go off on their own until completing the tutorial. This is the best type of tutorial for a photo-sharing app.
The Value Tour Tutorial: M-Commerce
For m-commerce apps, you want to not only teach users how to use the app, but also demonstrate the value they will derive from it. As users explore what your app has to offer via the tutorial, you can demonstrate its value by presenting them with features that say, “Hey, customer! We care about you. After you’ve visited a few times, we’ll know what you like.” Going further, you could explain in the tutorial how enabling push notifications will enhance the mobile shopping experience. Show users how push notifications for products they like will come in the form of in-app messages such as, “Your favorite shoe brand is now on sale!” Implementing this strategy will make your onboarding more effective.
This value-oriented tutorial not only shows users how to use the app, but also engages them and communicates the app’s value.
Is Your Onboarding Experience Working?
Once you design what you feel is the ultimate onboarding experience, how do you gauge success? How do you know whether your techniques are working?
Are users signing up after enjoying one month of free content? How engaged are they with your interactive tutorial? Are they abandoning your app? At what rate? What is the user’s first experience with navigating the screen like? Are they spending too much time on a certain screen? Are users dropping off after reaching a certain screen? Where is the friction? OK. No more questions, but you get the idea.
The answers to some of these questions and many more can be found with a visual mobile analytics tool. Really delve into the “why,” not just the “what,” when studying your users’ actions, and gain insight into their mobile experience. You want to find out more than just the percentages and numbers that traditional tools such as Google Analytics provide.
Let’s look at how the features of such a tool empower you to optimize, to monitor how users use your app in the real world, and to see through their eyes.
This feature gives you an inside view of where users are engaging with your app. Visual touch heatmaps will help you to understand your users’ behavior, the reasons for their actions and which parts of the screen they are focusing on.
Take the log-in screen shown below. It includes three calls to action (CTAs). The second one is hardly being tapped on. So, you might consider removing it in order not to confuse users with too many CTAs and to make the experience more fluid.
You’ll notice that a lot of users are dropping off at this screen. Now, empowered with this knowledge, you can go back to the drawing board and eliminate the friction, and then monitor again. You will probably see that your drop-off rate in the onboarding process decreases as a result. Watch the video in the “User Recordings” section just below to learn what happens when users try to register via Facebook.
By reviewing user recordings, you can tell why users are taking a certain route to a particular screen. Perhaps you’ll notice that users are spending quite a bit of time on an intervening screen, with some dropping off shortly after. Investigating this, you see that that screen delivers no value to users and should be removed from the onboarding process entirely.
See the recording below, taken with Appsee’s App Analytics, showing a user who cannot create an account with Facebook due to a technical problem, as indicated by the popup message. This will give you insight into why users are dropping off the registration screen and don’t convert into active users. You can see the heatmap recordings in the “Touch Heatmaps” section above.
Real-Time Visual Analytics Reporting
The real-time feature is important to understanding why users do what they do at a particular time. With visual reporting, you will be presented with an aggregate of all user actions, which will provide insight into your mobile users’ behavior. You might see that, upon first launching the app, users are confused by the UI of a particular screen, such as an element that looks like a CTA but is really just an image. This will help you to refine the onboarding process and, in so doing, maximize the interface’s usability and make the UI conform to users’ expectations.
Freemium third-party tools exist, such as Optimizely17 and Apptimize18, and are well worth checking out. One of their advantages is that they enable you to make visual changes to an app without having to wait for approval from the app store. You can compare two versions of your onboarding process, distributing the traffic between the two versions evenly, and then select the best performing version.
Extract Data From Visual Mobile Analytics To Optimize The Onboarding Experience
When you analyze the onboarding experience, you’ll focus on new users’ first sessions and see how they interact with the app’s introductory screens.
The best way to optimize the onboarding experience is to combine the top-down and the bottom-up approaches explained below.
Touch heatmaps and real-time in-app analytics provide aggregated data on all of your users. They enable you to optimize the onboarding process by analyzing the following factors:
See which screens in the onboarding process have high drop-off rates. Analyze user behavior on these screens, and dig deeper into why users are quitting your app here.
Study the amount of time new users spend on each screen. For example, more than a few seconds spent on a tutorial screen could indicate that users aren’t clear on what they need to do next.
Identify which screens do not respond to gestures (pinches, swipes, taps). Faced with an unresponsive app, users won’t proceed in the onboarding process and will get frustrated with the app. The problem could be the UI (users aren’t gesturing in the right area of the screen) or a technical issue (the app is unresponsive to gestures). Also, slow response times could hamper onboarding.
Obviously, screens that crash the app will prevent users from completing the onboarding process, and those users probably won’t return.
Analyze what happens when error popup messages appear (for example, “Error creating account”). This will help you to detect technical problems in the onboarding process that make users quit the app.
Video recordings provide user-level data. By observing new users starting to use the app, you’ll see the onboarding experience through their eyes. You’ll witness the usability and technical problems they encounter, and you’ll understand how they interact with the onboarding screens and why they drop off. You will see the sequence of actions that result in a crash and be able to identify the specific UI element that is causing the crash. Then, you’ll refine and relaunch.
Visual Mobile Analytics In Action
We ran mobile analytics on a journal and diary app upon launch in order to identify hiccups in the onboarding experience. Let’s review the takeaways for this publisher.
The onboarding experience for this app includes a registration screen containing two fields, with no automatic registration through a social network. A mandatory three-screen tutorial explaining how to use the app follows registration.
Traditional mobile analytics merely showed that in 56% of the app’s sessions, users did not complete the onboarding process. Users were dropping off after hitting the third screen of the tutorial. This screen’s quit rate was high, 47%. However, this didn’t paint a full picture of why the quit rate was so high and why the onboarding experience was failing.
Upon analyzing the video recordings, the publisher noticed that the “Next” button on the third screen wasn’t showing up. Users were tapping all over the screen trying to complete the tutorial, but their taps were not registering. These users dropped off, most of them never to return. Diving into the touch heatmap recordings and UI reports showed that 77% of the taps on this screen were unresponsive.
Going back to the drawing board, the publisher fixed the technical problem, resulting in a 39% increase in users who complete the onboarding experience and a 27% increase in active users.
Getting Started With Mobile Analytics
Most traditional and visual mobile analytics tools require you to integrate an SDK with your app. The integration process is usually simple, taking only a few minutes. Visual mobile analytics will auto-detect screens, buttons and user actions, so predefining them is not necessary. Recording user sessions and aggregating all gestures (taps, swipes, pinches) into visual touch heatmaps are done automatically, so you simply need to integrate the SDK.
Most mobile analytics tools come with a free trial; only a few have a free package (for example, the traditional Google Analytics). Paid plans are usually priced by the number of user sessions or number of data points.
Integrating visual mobile analytics can be done in two easy steps. For an iOS app, first unzip the file and drag the Appsee.framework directory to the “Frameworks” folder in your Xcode project tree.
Secondly, add the following line to your application:
didFinishLaunchingWithOptions: method with your API key:
[Appsee start:@"YOUR API KEY"];
A couple of noteworthy tools have similar functionality (i.e. for monitoring the user experience) but are used on a desktop browser. Crazy Egg19 uses heatmap recordings to show where users are clicking most. Inspectlet20 goes further by recording user actions in detail, as if you are looking over their shoulder.
Such tools are a necessity in mobile due to the constraint of the screen’s size, the operating system and the potential to connect with users instantly.
The onboarding experience is absolutely critical to the success of your app. Without an effective one, all of your hard work will go to waste in a few seconds.
Through techniques such as inline hinting, we’ve seen how to impart value to the onboarding experience, thereby engaging users and teaching them how to navigate your app. We’ve also seen how you can overwhelm users with too much information and drive them away. And we’ve reviewed some best practices and considered how to choose a type of tutorial that best matches your app.
Given the importance of onboarding, monitoring the user experience as closely as possible through visual mobile analytics is a necessity. The tools are simple to integrate from day one, and they will give you the insight you need to optimize your app and maximize its potential.
Visual mobile analytics arm you with a high-pressure suit for diving deep into users’ experience in the onboarding phase. You probably won’t get wet, but you will discover treasures that equip you to maximize the onboarding experience and more besides.
If you have anything to share or you’d like to connect with me, feel free to use the comments section below.
In other words, it ain’t crazy. And you can do it too.
To help you capture results like those, I’ve put together four steps to writing engaging emails that will drastically increase your open and click-through rates.
1. Write like a human… to other humans
The number one mistake most email marketers make is writing like a business.
Unless you’re about to announce that you just released the iPhone 7, not writing like a real human to other real humans is killing your open and click-through rates.
In her book Content Rules, MarketingProfs’ Chief Content Officer Ann Handley call this all-important human element “voice,” which she defines as: “the way your writing sounds when it’s read.”
As Handley puts it, voice is “what the writer brings to words on the page, making it clear that they are written by a human with a certain personality and viewpoint.”
Erika Napoletano embodies this principle perfectly. A contributor to American Express OPEN Forum and Entrepreneur Magazine, Erika’s email newsletter – “Useful Sh!t for Working and Living” – covers topics as diverse as authenticity, failure and one particularly interesting mix up with an online dating site.
One of her recent emails opened with this (cheeky) gem:
For three hours every Tuesday, and for the past eight weeks, I’ve stepped willingly into a room to get my ass handed to me. No silver platter, no bow or nice wrapping job. Just straight up, raw ass. Handed to me.
Human to the core!
So, how can you write like a human?
The easiest way is to actually picture yourself in a real conversation and simply write the way you’d talk.
Then read it out loud. If anything smacks of non-conversationality (like the word “non-conversationality”) get rid of it. Keep it simple and keep it natural.
That means, when it comes to open rates, you’ve got just three lines to convince the average subscriber to come inside:
The first line of your email
Why only these three?
Because those are the only three lines that mobile devices display.
Here are some screenshots of exactly what I’m talking about:
On mobile devices, only three lines are visible to prospects. Click to enlarge.
As you can see, for each device the only three lines displayed are the subject line, the first line from the body and the “from” line.
For the first two – the subject line and the first line – here’s all you have to remember:
Keep it short. As you can see in the screenshots above, you’ll get just around 35 characters before most displays cut you off.
Make it personal. Yes, use your subscribers name whenever possible, but also use pop culture references relevant to your demographics, emoticons and slang (when appropriate). Throw in numbers and data if possible, and above all, ask questions (see #4 on this list).
Lead with the benefits. Always start off with your product or service’s single most drool-inducing, pain-relieving, pleasure-producing benefit.
Frank Kern – the self-proclaimed “President of the Internet” – exemplifies all three. Here are the last three email subject lines from his most recent product launch:
Aaron! (OPEN UP)
Process map (pdf), cheat sheet + live stuff
BIG NEWS. (Very cool free stuff for you)
When it comes to the “from” line, make sure your email is actually coming from you, as in, the real you.
If you want to create engaging and click-compelling emails, then you need to engage your subscribers in an actual conversation. In my experience, the best way to achieve this is to ask questions.
Because questions move your readers from passive recipients to active participants. In other words, questions spark engagement.
Even more powerfully, questions create what Bob Sterling, founder of Profit Alchemy, calls an open loop:
The mind cannot stand an open loop. It has to close that loop. So the person is almost forced to make a choice and respond.
By ending an email with an inquisitive cliff hanger, you leave the loop open, which is uncomfortable.
For example, here’s what not to do:
Are you still interested in one-on-one coaching for your [niche business]?
If you are, that’s great, because over the next week I’ll be offering my comprehensive [niche business] ebook absolutely for free as well as giving you a sneak peak into my coaching methodology itself.
What’s more, I’ll be offering a complimentary one-on-one session with the first 50 people who sign up through the link below.
So click here to get ahold of all those awesome freebies (and more).
I know this feels counterintuitive, but just ask the question… and then stop.
Are you still interested in one-on-one coaching for your [niche business]?
Ironically, the very same reason that you want to “close the loop” with an offer is exactly the same reason your audience will be compelled to respond.
The key is to simply let them. Ask a question and then… leave it open.
I recently sent out an open-loop email for a client who produces high-end, elementary curriculum. All the email said was:
Are you still interested in elementary [niche] curriculum?
The open rates were in the mid-60% range.
And the subject line was about as simple as you could get: “Hi (Name)” That’s right, exactly the same as the first line.
Even more wonderful than those open rates, people actually wrote back. A lot of people in fact. About an hour after the emails went out, the client sent me a short note of her own that simply said, “There’s too many responses. Can you help?”
Need to get away? Don’t we all sometimes. And with summer gone and holidays fast approaching, a vacation or retreat sounds just like something you need before the stress of the holiday rush. But the last thing you want to do is struggle to try to figure out where to take your entire family or company at a time like this!
Traveling is a huge passion of mine. And planning the trip, that’s the best part for me. But I’m a rare breed in that aspect. Not many people like planning a vacation. Actually… I don’t know anyone that genuinely loves to plan a vacation for more than just one or two people, except maybe travel agents. So my friends have learned to ask me for a solution: where should they go? For how long? What to bring? What time of the year is best? They recruit me to find them a solution.
And don’t you wish everything was that easy? Answer a few simple questions and get an answer that fits your needs and wants. If only…
…Oh wait. That’s right. We strive to always find an answer for you here at ion…
Now, a solution finder could be used by just about any brand that offers multiple selections of products or services. You can offer a solution finder to build the type of service a prospect would benefit from. You can even offer a solution finder for the type of product that would work best for a specific need.
This Quick Start enables the user to find something very useful to them — their specific, personal solution. They just answer some basic questions to participate in the creation of their personal solution
The solution finder Quick Start is great to help visitors determine the right product, solution or service in a simple, fun, and interactive user experience. It also provides highly valuable, explicit segmentation data based on the choices they make.
Once the visitor completes the solution finder, they are given a result that best matches their needs, along with tips and a call-to-action to learn more or to contact.
Your online visitors are looking for answers before they are looking for a sales call. They want information. They want results. And they want to know that you’ll have the right solution for them. So give them the chance to see it for themselves!
Now see the solution finder in action for yourself. With ion’s growing number of Quick Starts, there’s a solution to a problem being built every day! So as Jack White once sang, “now, salute your solution!”