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CRO Hero: Christopher Nolan, Conversion Optimization and Growth Manager at BigCommerce

CRO Heroes

Often, marketers simply don’t focus on conversion rate optimization. Why? Some say they don’t have time, it’s too expensive, or their priorities are just driving traffic. But if you’re focusing on driving traffic without optimizing your website to convert it, you’re going to miss the mark on your ultimate business goals. And increased revenue aside, […]

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CRO Hero: Christopher Nolan, Conversion Optimization and Growth Manager at BigCommerce

Data-Driven Optimization: How The Moneyball Method Can Deliver Increased Revenues

Whether your current ROI is something to brag about or something to worry about, the secret to making it shine lies in a 2011 award-winning movie starring Brad Pitt.

Do you remember the plot?

The manager of the downtrodden Oakland A’s meets a baseball-loving Yale economics graduate who maintains certain theories about how to assemble a winning team.

His unorthodox methods run contrary to scouting recommendations and are generated by computer analysis models.

Despite the ridicule from scoffers and naysayers, the geek proves his point. His data-driven successes may even have been the secret sauce, fueling Boston’s World Series title in 2004 (true story, and the movie is Moneyball).


What’s my point?

Being data-driven seemed a geeks’ only game, or a far reach to many, just a few years ago. Today, it’s time to get on the data-driven bandwagon…or get crushed by it.

Let’s briefly look at the situation and the cure.

Being Data-Driven: The Situation

Brand awareness, test-drive, churn, customer satisfaction, and take rate—these are essential nonfinancial metrics, says Mark Jeffery, adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management.

Throw in a few more—payback, internal rate of return, transaction conversion rate, and bounce rate—and you’re well on your way to mastering Jeffery’s 15 metric essentials.

Why should you care?

Because Mark echoes the assessment of his peers from other top schools of management:

Organizations that embrace marketing metrics and create a data-driven marketing culture have a competitive advantage that results in significantly better financial performance than that of their competitors. – Mark Jeffery.

You don’t believe in taking marketing and business growth advice from a guy who earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics? Search “data-driven stats” for a look at the research. Data-centric methods are leading the pack.

Being Data-Driven: The Problem

If learning to leverage data can help the Red Sox win the World Series, why are most companies still struggling to get on board, more than a decade later?

There’s one little glitch in the movement. We’ve quickly moved from “available data” to “abundant data” to “BIG data.”

CMO’s are swamped with information and are struggling to make sense of it all. It’s a matter of getting lost in the immensity of the forest and forgetting about the trees.

We want the fruits of a data-driven culture. We just aren’t sure where or how to pick them.

Data-Driven Marketing: The Cure

I’ve discovered that the answer to big data overload is hidden right in the problem, right there at the source.

Data is produced by scientific means. That’s why academics like Mark are the best interpreters of that data. They’re schooled in the scientific method.

That means I must either hire a data scientist or learn to approach the analytical part of business with the demeanor of a math major.

Turns out that it’s not that difficult to get started. This brings us to the most important aspect, that is, the scientific approach to growth.

Scientific Method of Growth

You’re probably already familiar with the components of the scientific method. Here’s one way of describing it:

  1. Identify and observe a problem, then state it as a question.
  2. Research the topic and then develop a hypothesis that would answer the question.
  3. Create and run an experiment to test the hypothesis.
  4. Go over the findings to establish conclusions.
  5. Continue asking and continue testing.

    Scientific Method of Growth and Optimization

By focusing on one part of the puzzle a time, neither the task nor the data will seem overwhelming. As you are designing the experiment, you can control it.

Here’s an example of how to apply the scientific method to data-driven growth/optimization, as online enterprises would know it.

  1. Question: Say you have a product on your e-commerce site that’s not selling as well as you want. The category manager advises lowering the price. Is that a good idea?
  2. Hypothesis: Research tells you that similar products are selling at an average price that is about the same as yours. You hypothesize that lowering your price will increase sales.
  3. Test: You devise an A/B test that will offer the item at a lower price to half of your e-commerce visitors and at the same price to the other half. You run the test for one week.
  4. Conclusions: Results show that lowering the price did not significantly increase sales.
  5. Action: You create another hypothesis to explain the disappointing sales and test this hypothesis for accuracy.

A/B Testing

You may think that the above example is an oversimplification, but we’ve seen our clients at The Good make impressive gains by arriving at data-driven decisions based on experiments even less complicated.

And the scientific methodology applies to companies both large and small, too. We’ve used the same approach with everyone from Xerox to Adobe.

Big data certainly is big, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Step-by-step analysis on fundamental questions followed by a data-driven optimization plan is enough to get you large gains.

The scientific approach to growth can be best implemented with a platform that is connected and comprehensive. Such a platform, which shows business performance on its goals, from one stage of the funnel to another, can help save a lot of time, effort, and money.


Businesses need to be data-driven in order to optimize for growth, and to achieve business success. The scientific method can help utilize data in the best possible ways to attain larger gains. Take A/B testing, for example. Smart A/B testing is more than just about testing random ideas. It is about following a scientific, data-driven approach. Follow the Moneyball method of data-driven testing and optimization, and you’ll be on your way to the World Series of increased revenues in no time.

Do you agree that a data-driven approach is a must for making your ROI shine? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.


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Data-Driven Optimization: How The Moneyball Method Can Deliver Increased Revenues

The 17 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2017


Does the word conference bring up memories of suited professionals droning on about… well, you can’t quite remember what? Awkward socializing, shameless sales pitching, lined paper and branded pens — some conferences can be very beige indeed.

But not all conferences are made equal. In fact, some can lead you to completely change your marketing game for the better by giving you the opportunity to learn firsthand the tricks of the trade from the smartest minds in digital marketing — from SEO royalty Rand Fishkin to Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner.

We worked our way through the colossal number of upcoming digital marketing conferences to uncover the gems and roundup what we think are the 17 best digital marketing conferences in 2017.

Warning: what you see and learn at these events may totally transform the way you do your digital marketing.

Conference Date Location
SearchLove February 23-24; June 5-6; October 16-17 San Diego; Boston; London, UK
Domopalooza March 21-24 Salt Lake City
ConversionXL Live April 5-7 San Antonio
Hero Conf April 18-20; October 23-25 Los Angeles; London, UK
Marketing United April 19-21 Nashville
Marketing Nation April 23-26 San Francisco
C2 Montreal May 24-26 Montreal, QC
WistiaFest June 11-13 Boston
Unbounce Call To Action Conference June 25-27 Vancouver, BC
MozCon July 17-19 Seattle
Content Marketing World September 5-8 Cleveland
Dmexco Conference September 13-14 Cologne, DE
INBOUND September 25-28 Boston
B2B Forum October 3-6 Boston
RD Summit November 2017 Brazil
Dreamforce November 6-9 San Francisco
Internet Summit November 15-16 Raleigh
Advocamp December 6-8 San Francisco

1. SearchLove: February 23-24 (San Diego) | June 5-6 (Boston) | October 16-17 (London)


SearchLove is the creation of online marketing agency Distilled. As the name implies, this conference is all about search marketing; topics covered span from SEO to PPC and content creation. Over two days, learn actionable tactics to get your website ranking higher. Sessions run one after the other, so you won’t have to miss out on anything.

2. Domopalooza: March 21-24 (Salt Lake City)


This one made its way onto our list, as the content is worth more than gold to any marketer who wants to step up their data game. The organizers, Domo, are business intelligence wizards and creators of a data-driven business management platform.

If you fancy going deep into business analytics and learning how to get data insights to inform your marketing activities and your business as a whole, check Domopalooza out. Plus, with performances from Flo Rida, T.I. and Nelly last year, the entertainment bar is set dang high for 2017.

3. ConversionXL Live: April 5-7 (San Antonio)


CXL Live promises to help marketers achieve their ultimate goals: drive more conversions, grow their businesses faster and make more dough. How? Attendees get the opportunity not only to watch “hardcore practitioners” wax lyrical about conversion marketing, they can also chat to the pros in person.

The event lasts three whole days — plenty of time to get as much advice as you need from your favorite conversion marketing experts and start racking up leads like a true conversion pro.

4. Hero Conf: April 18-20 (Los Angeles)  | October 23-25 (London)


Not to be confused with a gathering for superheroes of the comic book kind, Hero Conf is “the world’s largest all-PPC event”.

If you’re a pay-per-click fanatic, this one’s for you. Make connections with the best in the PPC business and learn how to optimize your PPC campaigns; for example, which strategies and trends can help you drive more conversions. Besides, when else could you chat about your favorite subject over some nosh with PPC industry experts?

5. Marketing United: April 19-21 (Nashville)


Marketing United is a digital marketing showdown hosted by email marketing connoisseurs Emma. This will be Emma’s third event and, like its previous events, it promises to be full of “ah-hah” moments spanning all areas of digital marketing such as marketing psychology, customer experience and brand building.

Attendees can expect to marvel at inspiring presentations from a killer lineup including speakers from Netflix and Pixar. They will also get the chance to discover the vibrant and unique city of Nashville, renowned for live country music and an iconic food scene (bring on the fried chicken!).

6. Marketing Nation: April 23-26 (San Francisco)


Marketo’s four-day event will equip you with the knowledge you need to improve the way you interact with customers and help you get better results from your marketing efforts. You can also improve your knowledge of Marketo and get Marketo certified by attending University Day, where you’ll learn about the market-leading marketing automation tool through a series of workshops and presentations.

Some big names will be there (previous years’ speakers included Arianna Huffington and Will Smith), as will 6k+ marketers, so you won’t want to miss out!

7. C2 Montreal: May 24-26 (Montreal, QC)


Much like its host city, C2 Montreal is a fusion of creativity and commerce. This three-day international business conference, dubbed the most innovative of its kind, focuses on exploring the impact of current digital trends on business. It will get you thinking outside of the box to reignite your creativity and change the way you do business for the better.

Expect to be challenged and connect with your peers in innovative ways. Expect to come away with a new way of thinking and plenty of inspiration. Expect to discover how marketers will adapt as digital evolves.

8. WistiaFest: June 11-13, (Boston)


This Boston-based event, run by Wistia, is a coming together of the great minds in video marketing. Why should you care? Video marketing is recognized to be one of the most effective marketing tools out there, and WistiaFest will teach you all you need to know about this medium including future trends and, most importantly, how to create ludicrously effective videos for your business. And going by what last year’s attendees tweeted, you’re in for a visual spectacle and an all-round cracking time.

9. Unbounce Call To Action Conference: June 25-27 (Vancouver, BC)


Familiar with the Unbounce blog? Then you’ll know that Unbounce is all about giving marketers actionable advice across the hottest topics in marketing and — just as importantly — providing a truly delightful experience.

CTAConf is like the Unbounce blog on steroids, featuring some of the best people in the business to give 100% fluff-free, practical tips that attendees can bring into play the next day. And you can be assured there will be a LOT of laughs throughout the day. Prepare to walk away from the day with a shedload of invaluable notes and some hilarious anecdotes.

Thinking of attending CTAConf 2017?

Subscribe to Unbounce Events and get exclusive discounts and the latest conference updates delivered to your inbox.

10. MozCon: July 17-19 (Seattle)


MozCon is hosted by search engine marketing powerhouse Moz. (If you’re a marketer who doesn’t know Moz, it’s time to crawl out from that rock you’ve been hiding under.)

Get on top of your search marketing game and learn what’s hot in the world of SEO, social media and community building, straight from the mouths of industry leaders. This is a three-day conference that promises tons of actionable takeaways and socializing opportunities including MozCon’s very own pub crawl, #Mozcrawl. Hop on for some free drinks and great banter.

11. Content Marketing World: September 5-8 (Cleveland)


Content writers far and wide, this is your cue get excited. The biggest gathering of content marketing front runners, CMWorld will give you an overview of upcoming content marketing trends and plenty of ideas for rolling out an effective content strategy. Over the two days, you’ll have a ton of opportunities to network with the industry leaders and your fellow content peers.

12. Dmexco Conference: Sept 13-14 (Cologne, DE)


Taking place in the historical German city of Cologne, Dmexco Conference is a two-day event defined as the “global meeting point for the digital economy”. A truly global conference, Dmexco is an outstanding opportunity to meet some digital economy big dogs from some leading global companies (think Bloomberg and Google). Keynotes, seminars and work labs that cover diverse themes in digital are offered in English or German.

13. INBOUND: September 25-28 (Boston)


Inbound is a mammoth-sized four-day event with over 19,000 attendees and a star-studded list of speakers (last year’s line-up included Anna Kendrick, Alec Baldwin and Serena Williams). It’s an opportunity for sales and marketing pros to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry and get tips and inspo on taking a business to the next level.

Four days jam-packed with talks, keynotes, workshops, some serious networking and partying. This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever.

14. B2B Forum: October 3-6 (Boston)


MarketingProf’s B2B Forum promises to give you the knowledge you need to build a sustainable marketing strategy. Headed up by Ann Handley, it’s also a unique opportunity to network with B2B businesses from across the globe and learn from their successes.

This event is pretty unique as it offers full-day workshops on one of four marketing topics (to be confirmed). So if you want to learn a lot and fast, come along for a marketing crash course.

15. RD Summit: November 2017 (Brazil)


RD Summit in Brazil is the biggest marketing and sales event in Latin America. With more than 5,000 attendees, 50 exhibitors and 120 presentations, this is a large-scale event, yet organized to the finest detail.

If you’re looking to get solid advice on your inbound marketing and sales strategy and network with a large community of marketers, why not head to Brazil in November? Plus, you can sample the delights of the vibrant Brazilian culture, including its iconic food and long beaches.

16. Dreamforce: November 6-9 (San Francisco)


Dreamforce is a behemoth of a conference that attracted nearly 200,000 attendees from over 83 countries last year. We simply couldn’t leave it off the list for its sheer size!

Run by Salesforce, Dreamforce promises to adorn you with the knowledge you need to significantly increase your ROI. Marketers will learn ways to create amazing brand experiences and better connect with customers. They’ll also discover how to make the most of Salesforce in their marketing strategy. With over 2,000 sessions, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re an SMB or a Fortune 500 company. Just make sure you check out the agenda beforehand to select the content that’s relevant to you.

17. Internet Summit: November 15-16 (Raleigh)


Internet Summit is a forum that brings together a whole host of thought leaders in the field of digital commerce.

If you’re looking for practical solutions to apply to your marketing, analytics and user experience strategies and to learn about the latest trends in digital technology, this event has got your covered. And get ready to network with some of the world’s leading brands including Facebook, AOL and The Onion.

BONUS! Advocamp: December 6-8 (San Francisco)


You know the old adage: it can cost 5x more acquiring a new customer than retaining an existing one. This is why we recommend Advocamp — a conference that’s all about the customer experience.

Although not strictly a marketing event, Advocamp will give you some great ideas on engaging your current following and fostering a loyal customer base. After all, your marketing efforts will become even more valuable if your leads become happy, long-term customers and advocates of your brand.

There were some top-notch speakers from leading global companies last year including world-class author Daniel Pink and “The most re-tweeted person in the world among digital marketers” Jay Baer. Expect the same in 2017.

Over to you

Whether you’re a content writer, SEO buff or PPC manager, 2017 has got a standout marketing event that can give you the knowledge and contacts you need to be an even better marketer.

So if you’re set on making 2017 your most successful year yet, we encourage you to bite the bullet and sign up for the most relevant event for you. You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole notebook’s worth of valuable insider industry information to gain.

Is a certain awesome marketing conference missing from this list? Don’t be shy. Share it with us in the comments section below.

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The 17 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2017

Why Branding and PPC Go Together Like PB&J [PODCAST]

If your brand voice and PPC ad copy don’t go together like peanut butter and jelly, your marketing dollars are going to waste. Image source.

Branding and performance are typically seen as being on opposite ends of the marketing spectrum — the PPC specialists run their campaigns while the branding experts concern themselves with more high-level strategy. But as Dana DiTomaso, Partner at digital marketing agency Kick Point explains in the latest episode of the Call to Action podcast, if you don’t see how the two relate, you’re likely cheating yourself out of a higher conversion rate.

You will learn:

  • The four elements that every brand voice needs to feel complete.
  • The most important question marketers need to ask themselves before they write a word of PPC ad copy.
  • Tricks for condensing your brand voice into the 70 characters that AdWords allows.

Listen to the podcast

Download via iTunes.
Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

Dan: Your talk at the Call to Action Conference last year was about what you call brand-infused PPC. Aren’t branding and performance typically considered to be on opposite sides of the marketing spectrum?

Dana: I think traditionally they are. I would disagree with that categorization but we’re often of the mind that the brand and the performance go together hand in hand. And I think a lot of the work that’s happening now with brands is really bringing that together, where people realize that every brand engagement — not just the sales or the marketing or whatever people might see — really does impact that customer experience. And that’s where I think brands are going.

Dan: It was a bit of a leading question, because of course your talk is all about how you could bring brand back into the performance conversation. Before we dive a little bit further into that branding stuff, can you tell us how searching for Ford dealerships on Google is the best way to learn what not to do when it comes to aligning your PPC ads with your overall brand messaging?

Dana: Yeah, you could do this for any dealership, too. It doesn’t have to be Ford’s — you know, Chevy, GM. The problem is that there’s usually a lot of dealerships in a town and what differentiates them? If you Google them and you see the ads that come up, they’re all saying the same thing. You know, “Great deals on F150” or, “Come check out the new Silverado.” We’re in Alberta so it’s truck country so they all see truck ads. But I imagine in a city, you might see things like the Ford Focus and the Chevy Aveo, that kind of thing.

Dan: Not a lot of hybrids out there, I guess.

Dana: No, not a lot of hybrids out here. But you see a lot of the same kinds of messaging. Because that’s the messaging that they get from the advertising agency that’s been hired by Ford at large. The individual dealership doesn’t necessarily have the resources to differentiate themselves. But the dealerships that are successful in the long run do take that time to make themselves successful and stand out. And they do put in that effort to have the really cheesy TV ads or the radio ads that you can’t escape from but you know their name and you know what their brand is.

Dan: But you’re not seeing that familiar messaging creep into your B2C ads, for some reason.

Dana: We don’t see it too often. Occasionally we do. Like there’s a dealership here in town that obviously has put some effort into their PPC. But we’ve seen situations where two dealerships have exactly the same ad copy because they’ve hired the same automotive marketing firm to deliver the messaging for them. And they’re literally recycling the same ad copy for two competing dealerships in the same geography.

Dan: Wow. On the other hand, you also looked at Geico ads and their PPC ads, and while of course they didn’t include a talking gecko because we’re still talking about PPC here, they were much more successful from a brand standpoint.

Dana: Could you imagine if you could put a talking gecko in a PPC ad? That would be kind of amazing.

Dan: Yeah, I think maybe that’s the next generation of PPC.

Dana: Yeah, on Google Now, PPC, that’s what it’ll be. But definitely when you – so I did this test at SearchLove Boston earlier last year, and I put up three TV ads from three different car insurance companies. And I put up three PPC ads from the same three car insurance companies. And people, by looking at a still – one still – from the insurance TV ads, they could tell what company it was. By looking at the PPC ads, they really couldn’t tell. Geico did stand out a little bit and a few people did guess the Geico one correctly. But the others were all about lowest rates. And I understand that that’s a big differentiator in the insurance space but you spend all this money on your brand. You’ve got like Flo, for example, with Progressive. She’s their brand spokesperson and she doesn’t come through in half of their messaging. Why is that? Why is that missed opportunity there?

Dan: Yeah, and on the one hand it seems like PPC marketers have it tough because they can’t put the talking gecko in the ad because you’re limited in terms of space and in terms of visuals. But at the same time, you say that brand actually makes it easier for PPC marketers to write copy. How so?

Dana: Because a lot of times people are thinking, “How do I write this ad so that it isn’t the same as everything else that’s out there in the search?” One of the first things that you do when you say, “Okay, I’m going to advertise with this keyword,” you Google that keyword and see who your competitors are. And if you’re able to have a strong brand voice to fall back on, you don’t necessarily have to say, “All right, I guess I can’t say that because that brand is saying that.” You’re already approaching it from a perspective of: “We know what makes us different. We know what makes us stand out from our competition. Now I’m going to turn that into a PPC ad.”

So instead of approaching it as a, well, “Everyone else is saying this so I guess I should too” or “Everyone else is saying this so I guess I need to find a slightly-different-yet-keyword-relevant term for it,” you can actually stand out a little bit in the PPC and make it interesting. And people are really glazing past the same old, boring ads that everyone else is writing that say nothing, essentially. And it doesn’t take much to stand out in that kind of crowded marketplace.

Dan: You suggest that before writing a PPC ad, people need to ask themselves, “Why should anybody click on this ad?” And it may seem obvious, but why is it so important for marketers to gut-check themselves with that question?

Dana: I think a lot of work kind of gets phoned in, sometimes. Because you say, “Okay, I’ve got to write 20 ads today.” I can guarantee that somebody writing a TV ad doesn’t have to write 20 TV ads in a single day. But the attention isn’t paid, even though the budgets are creeping and creeping similar to what we used to see in traditional advertising budgets. Really take the effort before you throw several thousand dollars at a piece of text. Think to yourself, “What is going to make that potential searcher click that ad?” And this is where that audience segmentation really comes in handy. “What is their pain and how are we going to solve it?” And then “How can I communicate that in 70 characters?”

Dan: You mentioned brand voice earlier. I want to delve into that a little bit. You say that brand voice is made up of four elements: persona, tone, language and purpose. Can you talk about some of the tradeoffs involved in choosing one brand voice over another?

Dana: Well, it’s like a personality. Ands so you have a person who has good traits and bad traits. And a lot of people say, “Oh, our brand is friendly.” We’ll put that aside for now because if your brand is rude — and absolutely there are some brands that are rude. For example, I have a great sample. Burger Baron — which is a chain of burger restaurants across Alberta — their Twitter persona is totally offensive but that’s their brand. And just go check out their Twitter; you’ll see what I mean. I kind of respect how gross they are because it means that they’re really standing for something.

Dan: Sounds like the Donald Trump of burger brands or something?

Dana: Yeah, I think it’s actually the oil field worker of burger brands but it’s the language that they’re choosing to use. And the language they’re choosing speaks to their audience, then, because that’s the language that their audience is using and it makes sense for them. Not everybody is going to get excited about this brand, but it means that the people who do get excited about it get really excited about it. Standing for something means something to your customers. And a lot of brands fall into this trap of “We want to make everybody happy” instead of “We’re only going to make a segment happy.” Think about another example, was that Target, the fake customer service guy who when Target went gender neutral with their toys, he was responding.

And Target was kind of like, “Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.” Well, I guess that’s okay. They didn’t explicitly say that they liked it, but they did. And again, that’s a brand that is standing for something and didn’t feel bad about it. It wasn’t like, “Oh, we’re going to change our mind because these people are upset.” So think about how that carries through to your brand voice. How do the decisions that you make about your brand reflect on the brand voice as a person? The brand voice is the extension of your brand when you’re using that voice to speak to people in PPC ads, in television, in social media.

Dan: Right, and you talk about how being super clear about your brand voice helps you obtain the right kind of customers or clients. And of course, that can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Dana: I think people are more devoted to a brand — more likely to become that customer who recommends that brand everywhere — if they’re able to make that kind of emotional connection. And a brand who stands for nothing and is just trying to make everybody happy all the time means that nobody gets that strong brand connection. They don’t get excited about it.

Dan: Maybe can you go into why it’s so important to target the right kind of customer? Because I think that some people think, “Why would we limit ourselves or limit our audience if ultimately, the more customers the better?” Because that’s not always the case, is it?

Dana: Yeah, we see that a lot in small businesses in particular, is you get worried and you think, “Oh, no, I have to say yes to everybody or else I’ll never be in business again.” But really, you’re doing yourself a disservice. And we talk about it — especially in B2B sales — as marketing debt. The marketing debt is the time that you spend dealing with bad leads that are ultimately wasted time, money that you’re losing off these people. It’s debt that you’re incurring. When really, you should be spending the time to bring in the kind of clients who are going to be the most excited to work with you or the most fun to work with. Why waste your time with these other people? And it’s trying to convince a client, “There’s plenty of fish in the sea; we’re going to find the right client for you.” And once those right clients start to come in, it really makes a difference for their business.

Dan: Yeah, and I think it’s hard to scale that way, too because eventually, those clients or leads that aren’t quite right for you or weren’t quite right from the beginning are going to be a drain on your customer support and on your sales team, and just on your resources in general.

Dana: Yeah, it makes it really difficult to grow. And by taking a stand and saying, “Look, this is the kind of customer we’re going to help. This is the kind of customer that you should probably go look at this other product.” I think it’s important to do that or else you’re always trying to chase after those people who are marginally great. And as a result, you don’t necessarily have enough time to spend with the customers who are going to be great right out of the box.

Dan: One thing we haven’t really talked about yet is conversion, and where that comes into play, here. You suggest that marketers ask themselves what elements of their brand will ultimately drive sales. Can you paint a picture of how you can take what you’ve established and articulate it about your brand voice, and carry it into you planning pages in a way that converts?

Dana: Yeah, I think it’s important to say that question that you asked: “What elements of your brand drive sales?” So really plot that out for yourself. Figure out what those elements are and then what that means to your overall customer lifecycle. So doing a customer lifecycle is something that’s really important. I don’t know if you’ve had anybody on the podcast before who’s talked about customer lifecycles. But I reckon –

Dan: We’ve been thinking a lot about it internally, lately, but I don’t think we’ve talked about it on the podcast yet, no.

Dana: Okay. So Carrie Bodine, she spoke at MOZcon I think two years ago. And she does customer journeys and she was fantastic and presented a sample. And really, it’s just figuring out all the different touch points that happen not just in the sales cycle but during the lifetime the customer engages with you, and then where they end up at the end of that customer journey, if there is an endpoint. For a product like yours, for example, a customer could be with you for years but what’s that endpoint that makes them stop working with you, right?

Dan: Right.

Dana: And figuring out how your brand really infuses each step and each touchpoint of that customer lifecycle. And then you can identify points where your brand voice or your brand attributes can make parts of it stronger or weaker, and that can also help figure out that customer journey for you. And in terms of conversion in particular, I mean isn’t it easier to convert customers who are the right kind of customers in the door? I know personally I’ve had phone calls with customers who don’t necessarily have enough budget but their thing sounds really cool, and it’s like, “Well, I’d like to work with you but you don’t have enough money.” And it’s like, “Why are you trying to make this happen?” Just refer to somebody who will be really happy to have this customer instead of fighting to change who you are in order to get a customer who’s only marginally right for you.

Dan: That’s a really good point. If you’ve done your job segmenting through your ads and your ad copy, then by the time they get to your landing page, they’re going to be way more qualified. And regardless of even the copy or the images on your page, the conversion rates are going to be higher because you’re already working with a much more qualified sample.

Dana: Think about Facebook ads, for example. So besides Kick Point, I am the co-lead of Ladies Learning Code here in Edmonton, which has chapters across Canada. And we run workshops for women to learn how to code. And we do a lot of Facebook ads to try to bring women to our workshops. And there’s a ton of segmentation that happens in those ads. And so for example, if I’m running a workshop on Ruby, I’m going to try to find people who are already interested in programming, right? It would be different than if I said, “Okay, all women in Edmonton between the ages of 18 to 65 plus, period.” Now, that’s not a great segment, right?

But then if I say, “Okay, so this age range may be a little bit narrower and the age range may be between 25 and 45, who are early technology adopters or who are already interested in WordPress,” for example. Then I’m getting a much smaller segment and yeah, maybe it doesn’t look that great for my impressions but boy, my conversion rate really goes up. So don’t necessarily – and people get tied up in impressions a lot, right? And especially senior leadership. They’re used to seeing — especially if they’ve been in marketing a long time — they’re used to seeing: “300,000 people saw your ad.” And if you say, “Hey, we targeted 2,000 people and 1,000 people bought,” that’s way better than “300,000 people saw your ad and we got ten phone calls.”

Dan: And it’s the same thing with click-through rate, isn’t it?

Dana: Yes, absolutely. I would much rather see a tiny, tiny impression share and a ridiculous click-through rate. It just makes sense mathematically.

Dan: Yeah, although at the same time, you also talk about how click-through rate is in the deal and all, and sometimes a lower CTR actually has payoff down the line. If you could maybe talk a little bit about that, as well?

Dana: Yeah, for sure I’d also like to see – and this is particular in AdWords. So when you’re doing social ads, of course you can segment really closely and so you want to get that higher click-through rate. But with AdWords, it’s hard to tell. Sometimes you can match up the different types of phrases that people use with the different types of intent and customer grouping and make a change there. But if you’re advertising on things like Current Search, for example, that’s a lot of searches which are not super segmented. But what I would like to see is you write an ad that’s interesting, maybe it gets a slightly less-than-awesome click-through rate but then your landing page conversion rate is much higher than when you write a generic ad. You get more clicks but you have a really low conversion rate. And that’s where you need to look at both sets of stats, not just the click-through rate in a vacuum.

Dan: Right. Yeah, we talk so much about how your landing page reinforces the message of your ad and could be a great support to your ad in terms of conversion and Quality Score and all of that. But it goes the other way around, as well. If your ad does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of segmenting and qualifying those leads, then your landing page doesn’t have to do quite as much work.

Dana: Yeah, and you know, you don’t necessarily want to make your landing pages work too hard, right? I mean it’s that click is really that piece of work and then you’ve got them. And then it should be an easier process instead of the hard sell.

Dan: Then it’s just a matter of not screwing it up, which is sometimes easier said than done.

Dana: Yeah, please don’t send them to your homepage. Not that anybody listening to this podcast, I hope, sends anybody to their homepage after clicking on a PPC ad but yeah, you never know.

Dan: I hope not. Right. All right, well, since we’re data-driven marketers, here, I can’t really let you go without asking: what does brand-focused reporting look like?

Dana: So a lot of what we do with brand-focused reporting is really – it isn’t necessarily that monthly report that you get that talks about the number of visits that you got. It’s more looking at it qualitatively and saying, “Is this message aligning with your overall brand message?” And also looking at the quality of the leads that you’re getting in. So if you’re in a B2B business, that means things like lead scoring. It means communicating with the sales team and saying, “How are the leads that are coming, and please use lead scoring stuff in the CRM.” But additionally, ask the team and say, “How are the leads that are coming in? Are they good?” Often we’ll recommend to clients (when we work with clients that have an in-house marketing staff) like — go and hang out in a sales meeting and see how it’s going.

And over time, “Is it improving? Are they happier with the quality of leads that they’re getting?” Because this is your job and this is also the salespeople’s job to report back to you. And if you’re a business — let’s say bricks and mortar — look at the in-store conversion rate. Are the number of people walking in the door compared to the number of people buying, is that going up? Does that mean that we’re driving the right kind of people to the store? So if before we started doing this PPC ad to get more people to come to your store, and let’s say the percentage of people who walked into the store and bought is, say, 40 percent, and then after we do these ads now it’s 50 percent, that’s really improved your in-store conversion rate.

Dan: I love how it always seems to come down to the fact that this stuff is both an art and a science. That you know, we need to look at our data and trust our data and reap insights from that, but we also need understanding and buy-in across the organization about what our brand stands for, what our brand voice is so we can check that against the numbers.

Dana: Yes, absolutely. And I would also recommend, too, if you are interested in reporting, let’s see. At MOZcon 2014, I gave a talk there that was all about reporting. If you look up the MOZcon 2014 video bundle, and I imagine you can include a link in the podcast description as well, my video was the free video that year and I talk about reporting for 45 minutes. I just watched it again last week, actually, just to refresh my memory on some of the topics that I covered in that talk. But if you are struggling with figuring out the right stuff to report on, I would really recommend that talk. It doesn’t talk about brand specifically but you’ll find that a lot of it is applicable.

Dan: All right. Well, yeah, we will definitely link to that on our show page as well as of course your talk at Call to Action last year. Thank you so much, Dana, for taking the time to chat. This was great.

Dana: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Transcript by GMR Transcription.

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Why Branding and PPC Go Together Like PB&J [PODCAST]


The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a barber say you’re only as good as your last haircut. In marketing, this couldn’t be more accurate — using last year’s tactics just won’t cut it.

Surely, you’re staying up to date on the latest marketing trends with blog posts, AMAs and webinars. But sometimes, in order to level up, you need to step away from your desk and get a front-row seat to the action.

people having fun at Unbounce’s CTA conference
Knowledge learned in the flesh will help you reach new heights in 2016. Image via Unbounce CTA Conference.

With so many digital marketing conferences to choose from, we’ve selected the top marketing events we think will inspire and educate you in 2016.

These marketing conferences cover a variety of topics: content marketing, conversion optimization, design, email marketing, entrepreneurship, innovation, mobile, performance marketing, search, social, growth marketing, video marketing and local marketing.

If you’re on a mission to get some real life knowledge and socializing under your belt, here’s an epic list of the 20 most thought-provoking, engaging digital marketing conferences 2016 has to offer.

Bonus: to help with you whittle down your conference wish list, we found out what people had to say about last year’s conferences.

1. MozCon: September 12–14, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

MozCon Logo

MozCon promises three days of actionable sessions, speakers sharing first-hand advice and fun networking events that won’t disappoint. If you’re looking to get exposed to what’s new in SEO, CRO, content marketing and community building, don’t wait too long to sign up.

Bonus: Roger, the cutest and cuddliest robot, will be there to give you a hug.

What last year’s attendees said:

2. Unbounce Call to Action Conference: June 19–21, 2016 (Vancouver, Canada)

CTA digital marketing conference

Our very own Call to Action Conference brings together experts in conversion optimization, pay-per-click, email, copywriting and UX design. If your goal is to become a faster, better and stronger marketer, we have amazing hands-on workshops that will expand your skill set and help you get there. Vancouver is at its most charming in the month the June, not to mention the parties and the swag are pretty awesome! Come pay us a visit in Vancouver.

What last year’s attendees said:

3. ConversionXL Live: March 30–April 1, 2016 (Austin Area, Texas)

CXL image 2016

ConversionXL Live brings the top conversion optimization experts in the world together to teach you all their processes and methods. Unlike other conferences, networking is underlined and emphasized so you can further your learning while building relationships with your peers. If you’ve read Peep Laja’s ConversionXL blog, you know this is one of the most informative blogs on conversion optimization out there. And if this is an area you want to dominate, ConversionXL Live is one of the best marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

4. MARTech: March 21–22, 2016 (San Francisco, CA) and October 20–21, 2016 (London, UK)

Digital Marketing Conference Martech

As the name MARTech implies, this conference is for hybrid professionals that are both marketing experts and technology savvy. This event blurs the lines between marketing and IT and introduces conference goers to new technologies that will influence the data science, growth-hacking and digital marketing landscapes.

What last year’s attendees said:

5. Hero Conf: April 25–27, 2016 (Philadelphia, PA) and October 24–26, 2016 (London, UK)

Hero Conference

Hero Conf is one of the top marketing conferences for marketers who want to focus on improving their PPC skills. This PPC theme allows for actionable takeaways focused on improving your strategy around paid ads and data on LinkedIn, Bing, Google, Facebook and more. A low speaker-to-attendee ratio means that networking and nightly events are both fun and informative.

What last year’s attendees said:

6. WistiaFest: June 5–7, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Wistia image

WistiaFest delivers you three days of video marketing insights, data, analytics content and more from some of the industry’s top professionals from around the world. This is an important event for marketers who use video in their marketing efforts and want to see where the future of video lies, and who want to catch up with their peers at one of the best video marketing conferences.

What last year’s attendees said:

7. MozCon Local: February 18–19, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

Mozcon local image

If you’re part of a local business and want to gain insights and knowledge on local SEO and other marketing tools, this is a great event that will feed your SEO and marketing hunger. MozCon Local will arm you with knowledge as well as tactical tips in the form of talks, workshops and cool networking events in lovely Seattle. What more could you want in a conference?

What last year’s attendees said:

8. ad:tech: November 2–3, 2016 (New York City, NY)

Adtech image

ad:tech is an event held in eight countries that covers the changing landscape of advertising technology. The event is for marketers, brand strategists, agencies and publishers. ad:tech helps you navigate the evolution of key technologies and keeps you ahead of the curve so that you can drive innovation within your brand or agency.

What last year’s attendees said:

9. Marketing United: April 18–20, 2016 (Nashville, TN)

United image

Marketing United is bringing some of the world’s top marketers to Nashville to share their tips, tricks and stories to help inspire you. Each session promises to be informative and exciting, not to mention the venue is steps away from great food and music à la Nashville.

What last year’s attendees said:

10. Advocamp: March 7–9, 2016 (San Francisco, CA)

Advocamp image

If you’ve got customer growth and development on the brain then Advocamp is one of the best marketing conferences for you. Advocamp is the only conference that focuses on customer delight all while providing you with the tools to build a viable business strategy. Not to mention they take the conference’s name seriously and pair attendees into smaller “camp” groups. This is Advocamp’s second year, and it’s sure not to disappoint.

What last year’s attendees said:

11. C2 Montreal: May 24–26, 2016 (Montreal, Canada)

C2 logo Marketing Conference

C2 focuses on creativity and commerce by bringing together some of the most innovative thought leaders across various disciplines. Not only does creativity take center stage, it also makes an appearance after hours. C2 has created some of the most engaging and entertaining networking events all with the help of Quebec’s own Cirque du Soleil. Get exposed to innovation and creativity from all facets of the business world.

What last year’s attendees said:

12. Searchlove: May 3–4, 2016 (Boston, MA) and October 17-18, 2016 (London, UK)

Searlove Logo

This two-day event attracts some of the world’s top online marketing talent and covers a variety of topics from search, analytics and paid to content strategy and optimization. With actionable advice, tips and processes, SearchLove is filled with the information you need to push your career forward.

What last year’s attendees said:

13. SXSW Interactive: March 11–15, 2016 (Austin, Texas)

SXSW logo

Considered one of the top marketing events out there, SXSW Interactive has historically been the place to launch your product and boost your career. With a guest list brimming with the who’s who in the industry, this event is usually packed with stars from the digital world as well as Hollywood. It’s also one of the best conferences work on your networking skills. SXSW Interactive puts an emphasis on innovation and the changing digital landscapes. If you’re a startup or looking to launch your product, SXSW Interactive may be the place for you.

What last year’s attendees said:

14. Intelligent Content Conference: March 7–9, 2016 (Las Vegas, NV)

ICC Best Marketing Conference 2016

If you’ve been looking to improve your content strategy skills, ICC is that best marketing conference to help you up your game. With topics covering how to scale content production, reusing and repurposing legacy content and diffusion of content on different platforms, ICC is one of the most on-point content marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

15. Inbound: November 8–11, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Inbound logo 2016

Inbound’s four-day event has over 170 training sessions, five keynotes and lots of entertaining and fun activities at night. Past entertainment has included the likes of Amy Schumer and Janelle Monáe. With 14,000 attendees, the event is a huge opportunity to network and see some of the best professionals in the marketing industry.

Pro tip: Inbound is a huge event with lots of great workshops and speakers happening at the same time. Make a list of the events that you’d like to attend in advance to get the most of out of your experience.

What last year’s attendees said:

16. Search Marketing Summit: May 30–June 3, 2016 (Sydney, Australia)

SMS logo 2016

If you’re living down under or you’ve always wanted to visit, Search Marketing Summit is the number one event of its kind in Australia. This five-day event is packed with advanced workshops that cover topics from mobile, search and email marketing. Search Marketing Summit is a great way to update your skills and advance your knowledge in just a few days.

What last year’s attendees said:

Time to step it up

Attending conferences is important because they push you out of your professional habits and routines and expose you to new technologies, trends and people.

We’ve armed you with the a list of the best digital marketing conferences of 2016 that will provide you with the right tools and knowledge to level up your marketing game. It’s up to you to make the next move.

Your personal growth and that of your agency or company depend on it.

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The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016


Using The Gamepad API In Web Games

The Gamepad API is a relatively new piece of technology that allows us to access the state of connected gamepads using JavaScript, which is great news for HTML5 game developers.

Using The Gamepad API In Web Games

A lot of game genres, such as racing and platform fighting games, rely on a gamepad rather than a keyboard and mouse for the best experience. This means these games can now be played on the web with the same gamepads that are used for consoles. A demo is available, and if you don’t have a gamepad, you can still enjoy the demo using a keyboard.

The post Using The Gamepad API In Web Games appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Using The Gamepad API In Web Games


Show Off Your Copywriting Skills and Win a Ticket to CTA Conference

Copywriting Contest

We’re looking for the most awesome copywriter ever. And we’re really hoping that it’s you.

If it is, you’ll soon be on your way to the Call to Action Conference, our 3-day mega-event in Vancouver featuring talks from — and parties with — the world’s top conversion experts.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it

In our Conversion Copywriting Contest, you’ll be tasked with writing about the world’s most adorable robot vacuum cleaner that also lays down the sickest beats: DJ Rumba.

Your mission is to write compelling landing page copy that will persuade visitors to sign up to a mailing list in order to to hear more about DJ Rumba in the run-up to its official release. (It doesn’t actually exist, but this is a trivial detail.)

Awesome copy calls for awesome judges

We’ve assembled an all-star team of conversion copywriters, including Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers (and the author of the Conversion Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Copywriting), Demian Farnworth from Copyblogger, and Henneke Duistermaat from Enchanted to help us select and critique the top 10 landing pages.

These top 10 pages (and their accompanying critiques) will be posted and opened to public voting on May 12. Whichever page has the most votes by May 18 will be declared the winner.

And awesome prizes, too

If your page garners the most votes, you’ll win a free ticket to the Call to Action Conference, along with $500 to get you there.

Two runner-ups will win free tickets to The Conversion Road Trip, 1-day events jam-packed with actionable advice from CRO experts. Attend an event in the city of your choice: Boston, Chicago, New York or Toronto.

Ready to get started?

There’s no design involved — you only have to write the copy and insert it in the DJ Rumba Unbounce template — but submissions are only open until May 4, 2015.

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the full contest details with instructions on how to enter.

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Show Off Your Copywriting Skills and Win a Ticket to CTA Conference


WebKit Has Implemented srcset, And It’s A Good Thing

WebKit has made some serious news by finally implementing the srcset attribute. As Chair of the W3C’s Responsive Images Community Group, I’ve been alternately hoping for and dreading this moment for some time now. It turns out to be good news for all involved parties—the users browsing the Web, most of all.
As with all matters pertaining to “responsive images”: it’s complicated, and it can be hard keeping up with the signal in all the noise.

Originally posted here:  

WebKit Has Implemented srcset, And It’s A Good Thing

Facing The Challenge: Building A Responsive Web Application

We are talking and reading a lot about responsive Web design (RWD) these days, but very little attention is given to Web applications. Admittedly, RWD still has to be ironed out. But many of us believe it to be a strong concept, and it is here to stay. So, why don’t we extend this topic to HTML5-powered applications? Because responsive Web applications (RWAs) are both a huge opportunity and a big challenge, I wanted to dive in.

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Facing The Challenge: Building A Responsive Web Application

The Road To Reusable HTML Components

A few weeks ago, I dug up an old article that I wrote for Smashing Magazine, “When One Word Is More Meaningful Than a Thousand.” While I stand firmly behind all of the HTML development principles I listed back then, the article lacked one important thing: hands-on examples.
Sure enough, the theory behind component-based HTML is interesting in its own right, but without a few illustrative examples, it’s all very dry and abstract.

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The Road To Reusable HTML Components