Tag Archives: brand

Glossary: Earned Media

what is earned media

Earned media (often regarded as free media) attributes the publicity of your brand to the recognition of its efforts and results. It includes publicity gained through word-of-mouth, buzz, reviews, news coverage, comments, feedbacks, likes, mentions, shares, and varied promotional efforts other than paid media advertising or owned media branding. Reputation is the biggest asset for any brand. A brand (both personal and corporate) can be either established through or demolished through the reputation it holds. This reputation comes from nowhere else other than earned media! In concise, earned media is any publicity created by a third party for your brand….

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Glossary: Earned Media

The Traditional Sales Funnel is Broken (And How Smart Businesses Nurture their Leads)

broken sales funnel

Paid Ads > Webinar > Email Nurture > Push for the Sale Traffic Generation > Lead Magnet > Nurture > Grab the Sale Exit Intent > Lead Capture > Reengagement Series > SELL Funnels. Everywhere I turn in the world of internet marketing all I see is advice on how to create the most basic yet aggressive sales funnel. We’re told to push users toward the end goal. An end goal which is collecting their email address or increasing sales. And often, there’s little or no talk about how to progress from the funnel’s end goal. And that presents a…

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The Traditional Sales Funnel is Broken (And How Smart Businesses Nurture their Leads)

Capturing supermarket magic and providing the ideal customer experience

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The customer-centric focus

Over the past few years, one message has been gaining momentum within the marketing world: customer experience is king.

Customer experience” (CX) refers to your customer’s perception of her relationship with your brand—both conscious and subconscious—based on every interaction she has with your brand during her customer life cycle.

Customer experience is king
How do your customers feel about your brand?

Companies are obsessing over CX, and for good reason(s):

  • It is 6-7x more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer
  • 67% of consumers cite ‘bad experiences’ as reason for churn
  • 66% of consumers who switch brands do so because of poor service

Across sectors, satisfied customers spend more, exhibit deeper loyalty to companies, and create conditions that allow companies to have lower costs and higher levels of employee engagement.

As conversion optimization specialists, we test in pursuit of the perfect customer experience, from that first email subject line, to the post-purchase conversation with a customer service agent.

We test because it is the best way to listen, and create ideal experiences that will motivate consumers to choose us over our competitors in the saturated internet marketplace.

Create the perfect personalized customer experience!

Your customers are unique, and their ideal experiences are unique. Create the perfect customer experience with this 4-step guide to building the most effective personalization strategy.



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Which leads me to the main question of this post: Which companies are currently providing the best customer experiences, and how can you apply their strategies in your business context?

Each year, the Tempkin Group releases a list of the best and worst US companies, by customer experience rating. The list is based on survey responses from 10,000 U.S. consumers, regarding their recent experiences with companies.

And over the past few years, supermarkets have topped that list: old school, brick-and-mortar, this-model-has-been-around-forever establishments.

Customer experience - brick-mortar vs. ecommerce
What are supermarkets doing so right, and how can online retailers replicate it?

In the digital world, we often focus on convenience, usability, efficiency, and accessibility…but are there elements at the core of a great customer experience that we may be missing?

A quick look at the research

First things first: Let’s look at how the Tempkin Group determines their experience ratings.

Tempkin surveys 10,000 U.S. consumers, asking them to rate their recent (past 60 days) interactions with 331 companies across 20 industries. The survey questions cover Tempkin’s three components of experience:

  1. Success: Were you, the consumer, able to accomplish what you wanted to do?
  2. Effort: How easy was it for you to interact with the company?
  3. Emotion: How did you feel about those interactions?

Respondents answer questions on a scale of 1 (worst) to 7 (best), and researchers score each company accordingly. For more details on how the research was conducted, you can download the full report, here.

In this post, I am going to focus on one supermarket that has topped the list for the past three years: Publix. Not only does Publix top the Tempkin ratings, it also often tops the supermarket rankings compiled by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Long story short: Publix is winning the customer experience battle.

WiderFunnel Customer Experience Ratings Tempkin 2017
2017 Customer Experience ratings from Tempkin.
WiderFunnel Customer Experience Ratings Tempkin 2016
2016 Customer Experience ratings from Tempkin.

So, what does Publix do right?

Publix growth - WiderFunnel customer experience
Publix growth trends (Source).

If you don’t know it, Publix Super Markets, Inc. is an American supermarket chain headquartered in Florida. Founded in 1930, Publix is a private corporation that is wholly owned by present and past employees; it is considered the largest employee-owned company in the world.

In an industry that has seen recent struggles, Publix has seen steady growth over the past 10 years. So, what is this particular company doing so very right?

1. World-class customer service

Publix takes great care to provide the best possible customer service.

From employee presentation (no piercings, no unnatural hair color, no facial hair), to the emphasis on “engaging the customer”, to the bread baked fresh on-site every day, the company’s goal is to create the most pleasurable shopping experience for each and every customer.

When you ask “Where is the peanut butter?” at another supermarket, an employee might say, “Aisle 4.” But at Publix, you will be led to the peanut butter by a friendly helper.

The store’s slogan: “Make every customer’s day a little bit better because they met you.”

2. The most motivated employees

Publix associates are famously “pleased-as-punch, over-the-moon, [and] ridiculously contented”.

Note the term “associates”: Because Publix is employee-owned, employees are not referred to as employees, but associates. As owners, associates share in the store’s success: If the company does well, so do they.

Our culture is such that we believe if we take care of our associates, they in turn will take care of our customers. Associate ownership is our secret sauce,” said Publix spokeswoman, Maria Brous. “Our associates understand that their success is tied to the success of our company and therefore, we must excel at providing legendary service to our customers.

3. Quality over quantity

While Publix is one of the largest food retailers in the country by revenue, they operate a relatively small number of stores: 1,110 stores across six states in the southeastern U.S. (For context, Wal-Mart operates more than 4,000 stores).

Each of Publix’s store locations must meet a set of standards. From the quality of the icing on a cake in the bakery, to the “Thanks for shopping at Publix. Come back and see us again soon!” customer farewell, customers should have a delightful experience at every Publix store.

4. An emotional shopping experience

In the Tempkin Experience Ratings, emotion was the weakest component for the 331 companies evaluated. But, Publix was among the few organizations to receive an “excellent” emotion rating. (In fact, they are ranked top 3 in this category.)

widerfunnel customer delight
Are you creating delight for the individuals who are your customers?

They are able to literally delight their customers. And, as a smart marketer, I don’t have to tell you how powerful emotion is in the buying process.

Great for Publix. What does this mean for me?

As marketers, we should be changing the mantra from ‘always be closing’ to ‘always be helping’.

– Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn

In the digital marketing world, it is easy to get lost in acronyms: UX, UI, SEO, CRO, PPC…and forget about the actual customer experience. The experience that each individual shopper has with your brand.

Beyond usability, beyond motivation tactics, beyond button colors and push notifications, are you creating delight?

To create delight, you need to understand your customer’s reality. It may be time to think about how much you spend on website traffic, maintenance, analytics, and tools vs. how much you spend to understand your customers…and flip the ratio.

It’s important to understand the complexity of how your users interact with your website. We say, ‘I want to find problems with my website by looking at the site itself, or at my web traffic’. But that doesn’t lead to results. You have to understand your user’s reality.

– André Morys, Founder & CEO, WebArts

Publix is winning with their customer-centric approach because they are fully committed to it. While the tactics may be different with a brick-and-mortar store and an e-commerce website, the goals overlap:

1. Keep your customer at the core of every touch point

From your Facebook ad, to your product landing page, to your product category page, checkout page, confirmation email, and product tracking emails, you have an opportunity to create the best experience for your customers at each step.

customer service and customer experience
Great customer service is one component of a great customer experience.

2. Make your customers feel something.

Humans don’t buy things. We buy feelings. What are you doing to make your shoppers feel? How are you highlighting the intangible benefits of your value proposition?

3. Keep your employees motivated.

Happy, satisfied employees, deliver happy, satisfying customer experiences, whether they’re creating customer-facing content for your website, or speaking to customers on the phone. For more on building a motivated, high performance marketing team, read this post!

Testing to improve your customer experience

Of course, this wouldn’t be a WiderFunnel blog post if I didn’t recommend testing your customer experience improvements.

If you have an idea for how to inject emotion into the shopping experience, test it. If you believe a particular tweak will make the shopping experience easier and your shoppers more successful, test it.

Your customers will show you what an ideal customer experience looks like with their actions, if you give them the opportunity.

Here’s an example.

During our partnership with e-commerce platform provider, Magento, we ran a test on the product page for the company’s Enterprise Edition software, meant to improve the customer experience.

The main call-to-action on this page was “Get a free demo”—a universal SaaS offering. The assumption was that potential customers would want to experience and explore the platform on their own (convenient, right?), before purchasing the platform.

Magento_CTA_Get
The original Magento Enterprise Edition homepage featuring the “Get a free demo”.

Looking at click map data, however, our Strategists noticed that visitors to this page were engaging with informational tabs lower on the page. It seemed that potential customers needed more information to successfully accomplish their goals on the page.

Unfortunately, once visitors had finished browsing tabs, they had no option other than trying the demo, whether they were ready or not.

So, our Strategists tested adding a secondary “Talk to a specialist” call-to-action. Potential customers could connect directly with a Magento sales representative, and get answers to all of their questions.

Magento_CTA
Today’s Magento Enterprise Edition homepage features a “Talk to a specialist” CTA.

This call-to-action hadn’t existed prior to this test, so the literal infinite conversion rate lift Magento saw in qualified sales calls was not surprising.

What was surprising was the phone call we received six months later: Turns out the “Talk to a specialist” leads were 8x more valuable than the “Get a free demo” leads.

After several subsequent test rounds, “Talk to a specialist” became the main call-to-action on that product page. Magento’s most valuable prospects had demonstrated that the ideal customer experience included the opportunity to get more information from a specialist.

While Publix’s success reminds us of the core components of a great customer experience, actually creating a great customer experience can be tricky.

You might be wondering:

  • What is most important to my customers: Success, Effort, or Emotion?
  • What improvements should I make first?
  • How will I know these improvements are actually working?

A test-and-learn strategy will help you answer these questions, and begin working toward a truly great customer experience.

Don’t get lost in the guesswork of tweaks, fixes, and best practices. Get obsessed with understanding your customer, instead.

How do you create the ideal customer experience?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Capturing supermarket magic and providing the ideal customer experience

Moving From Photoshop And Illustrator To Sketch: A Few Tips For UI Designers

I’ve been a long time Photoshop and Illustrator user. Both programs are really useful and powerful, and they’ll remain a key part of any digital artist’s or designer’s toolset, including mine. However, for all user interface, web and icon design workflows, I recently converted to Sketch. Here is why.

Moving From Photoshop And Illustrator To Sketch: A Few Tips For UI Designers

While Photoshop is awesome at what it does, defining what it is might not be so easy anymore. I remember watching a storyboarding tutorial by Massive Black’s El Coro (unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available for sale anymore). In it, he says that 17 or so years ago, Adobe had no idea that digital artists were using Photoshop to digitally paint pictures! So, it had to catch up with its own user base by adding more — you guessed it — painting features.

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Moving From Photoshop And Illustrator To Sketch: A Few Tips For UI Designers

7 Ways To Accelerate Product Adoption (Without Spamming Your User Base)

speed up product adoption

We tend to make a big deal about leads in the marketing space, and not without good reason. Everything starts with leads. However, for software companies, the real goal is product adoption. We need people actively and consistently using our product. Regardless of our business model, success occurs when users experience that “aha” moment that takes our product from an experiment to a core part of their day-to-day work. So how do we move people from lead to product adopter? How to we give them that “aha” moment? Two words: Strategic Repetition Repetition is a POWERFUL psychological force. Studies have…

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7 Ways To Accelerate Product Adoption (Without Spamming Your User Base)

Glossary: Link Juice

what is link juice

Link juice is a non-technical SEO term used to reference the SEO value of a hyperlink to a particular website or webpage. According to Google, a multitude of quality hyperlinks (or just “links”) are one of the most important factors for gaining top rankings in the Google search engine. The term “link juice” is SEO industry jargon. It’s often talked about in relation to link building efforts such as guest posting, blogger outreach, linkbait and broken link building. How Does Link Juice Work? Link juice, link authority, and backlink authority are all different words that mean essentially the same thing….

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Glossary: Link Juice

How to Convert More Customers by Adding Perceived Value

What separates a Hermès Birkin bag from a high-quality leather handbag you could buy anywhere? A label, a fancy charm, and about $22,000. But unlike the tangible qualities of a purchase, like the grade of leather used or the fact that the utterly useless bag charm is 14 karat gold, the perception of value is what really separates one bag from the other. One bag contains social cachet and the ability to draw envy from other women – intangible benefits so valuable; it justifies the raised price. The nameless bag, however, has its own set of benefits for a different…

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Top 7 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty

Brand Consistent

Modern customers scour websites and research products they’re thinking of buying before making their actual purchase. When customers are 60% to 80% of the way down the funnel before they talk to anyone at your business, you can’t rely on traditional methods to generate loyalty. At the same time, fewer and fewer clients remain loyal to one specific brand. Loyal customers are profitable customers: repeat customers are cheaper to market to, spend more, and make more frequent purchases. Yet, only 27% of initial sales go on to become repeat customers. Companies need to invest in building loyalty among their customers….

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Top 7 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty

The Beginner’s Guide To Making Facebook Advertising Convert

beginners guide to facebook ads

Most people use Facebook ads to pump up their visitor numbers. Wait, what? Let me be clear. They don’t wake up with that goal in mind, but it’s usually what ends up happening. I see this all the time with clients I work with. The problem isn’t that they can’t set up the Facebook ad campaigns or get visitors to their websites. It’s the next step where things go haywire. The visitors they’re paying for don’t download ebooks, sign up for accounts or buy products. The reason for this simply is that the thing they offer doesn’t appeal to those…

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The Beginner’s Guide To Making Facebook Advertising Convert

How Hotjar Gained 60+ New Trial Signups a Month with a Single Overlay

Hotjar’s content experiment with overlays is turning website visitors into new customers. Here’s how.

If you Google “Content is king,” here’s what you’ll find: More than 37 million Google results that justify how important content is online.

It’s a tired phrase, but it’s true. At Unbounce, for instance, our blog has been invaluable in growing our digital footprint and our business.

Every once in a while, you hear a story about someone who uses content to earn new customers and new revenue. And, they make it seem pretty easy (like “Why didn’t I think of that?”).

Well, Nick Heim, the Director of Inbound Marketing at Hotjar, has done just that. He offered website visitors an ebook at just the right time and in just the right way by using an overlay.

Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

Overlays, a type of Unbounce Convertables, allow you to show relevant offers to specific users at the perfect time, making them less likely to leave your website without converting.

By implementing a Convertable into his campaign, Nick isn’t just bringing in new leads, he’s actually turning website visitors into paying Hotjar users. So how’s he doing it?

Let’s start from the beginning

The TL;DR? Hotjar implemented a new Convertable on their pricing page, which resulted in new signups. The overlay offered visitors an ebook, The Hotjar Action Plan, in exchange for their first name and email address.

Hotjar Pricing Page Overlay

The overlay converted 408 visitors in the first three weeks, 75% of which were not existing Hotjar customers.

Once a visitor converted on the overlay they received an email from Hotjar right away. Non-customers received an email with the ebook as a PDF, along with an offer to try out Hotjar for an extended period of time.

Nick explains:

For non-users, we sent them a quick instant thank you email followup that contained the asset and offered a 30 day trial of the Hotjar Business Plan. This is double the trial length a new user would usually receive by signing up through our site.

Here’s what the actual email looks like:

Hotjar follow up email

Hotjar makes good use of the email they sent to preexisting customers, too. That variation contains the ebook as well as a simple question about what type of content they’d like to see — allowing Hotjar to continue delivering value to their customers. #winwin

The overlay strategy

The overlay Nick built was set to appear only to first-time visitors who are exiting the Hotjar pricing page.

According to Nick,

This was more of a visitor experience decision than anything. We didn’t want to come off as badgering visitors in the research phase [of the buying process].

Hotjar Convertable Setup
Setting trigger rules in the Unbounce builder.

So, did it work?

“Absolutely, we’re getting 60-70 new users per month as a result of the Convertable,” said Nick.

From the overlay, about 3% of page visitors convert on the page.

Hotjar Convertable Results

Of those that converted on the overlay, 75% were not current Hotjar customers and about 19% of the non-users who received their follow-up email with the PDF have become new Hotjar customers.

Already an Unbounce customer? Log into Unbounce and start using Convertables today at no extra cost.

Experimenting the Hotjar Way

Nick explained that his team at Hotjar hadn’t implemented overlays into their lead gen strategy before using the Unbounce Convertable; “this was a total experiment. We wanted to be able to nurture the new leads coming from different channels and bring them back.”

Nick pointed out that, “these things [overlays] can be used really wrong. You need to be careful and consider the human on the other end. Think about the entire process.”

For their experiment, Nick said, “[we didn’t have] hard goals, but we wanted to prove whether there was a case for using overlays.” Nick pointed out that it can be difficult to measure the negative effects of user experience — especially without a baseline to measure your results against.

“We wanted to see if the risk was worth the reward. We did get the quantitative results — which for us, measure better than industry standards.”

Hotjar’s Golden Rules for Using Overlays

Through this trial experience, Nick and his team at Hotjar established some general guidelines for using overlays. Nick shared his golden rule for delighting visitors with overlays (opposed to pestering them).

Start by asking yourself these questions:

First, is it appropriate to use an overlay in this part of the user journey?

If the answer is yes, ask yourself “What’s the least annoying way to accomplish that?” If the answer is no, don’t use it.

Second, “Does it solve the problem [website visitors] are looking to solve?” Nick emphasized that the offer on the overlay needs to align to the problem that people are trying to solve.

Finally, how do you know if you’re offering the right thing? Nick says, “Ask people! This is an awesome way to improve your content.”

Hotjar's golden rules for using overlays

Should you use Convertables?

Overlays give us marketers an opportunity to present the right people with the right offer at the right time. Of course, they can also be used to do the opposite, and, as Nick says, “you don’t want to leave someone with a bad taste in their mouth,”

Like any good data-driven marketer, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive. Like Hotjar, try experimenting with overlays to decide they’re a good fit. At the end of the day, it’s your customers and your brand that will decide if overlays work in your marketing strategy.

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How Hotjar Gained 60+ New Trial Signups a Month with a Single Overlay