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Building Diverse Design Teams To Drive Innovation




Building Diverse Design Teams To Drive Innovation

Riri Nagao



There has been a surge of conversations about the tech industry lacking diversity. Companies are therefore encountering barriers in innovation. The current state of technology faces inequality and privilege, a consequence of having limited voices represented in the design and product development process. In addition, we live in a challenged political and socio-economic state where it’s easier to be divided than come together despite differences.

Design’s role in companies is becoming less about visual appeal and more about hitting business goals and creating value for users. Therefore, the need to build teams with diverse perspectives is becoming imperative. Design will not only be critical to solving problems on the product and experience level, but also relevant on a bigger scale to close social divides and to create inclusive communities.

Working Together

Creating a team who can work well together across different disciplines can be hard. Rachel Andrew solicits some suggestions from the speakers at our upcoming SmashingConf in Toronto. Read article →

What Is Diversity And Why Is It Important?

Diversity is in perspectives and values, which are influenced by both inherit traits (such as ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation) as well as acquired traits that are gained from various life experiences (cultural influences, education, social circle, etc.). A combination of traits shape people’s identity and the way they think.

In particular, conflicts and adversities experienced by people have a significant influence on how they develop their values. The more an individual has stepped outside their comfort zone, the more unique of a perspective they bring to the table and an expanded capacity to be compassionate towards others.

Diversity is important because it directly affects long-term success, innovation, and growth. Advantages of working on a diverse team include increased collaboration, effective communication, well-rounded sets of skills represented, less susception to complacency, and active efforts for inclusivity are made earlier in the process.

What Is The Competing Values Framework?

The positive correlation between diversity and innovation are undeniable. So how exactly does it work? Having differing and oftentimes clashing perspectives on a team seems to hinder progress rather than drive it. But with the right balance of values, this dynamic is extremely advantageous. Design, as a problem-solving discipline, uses insights to drive innovation, which can only manifest between differences, not commonalities. When different perspectives and values are represented, blind spots become more apparent and implicit biases are challenged.

This is illustrated in the Competing Values Framework, a robust blueprint that was devised by Quinn and Rohrbaugh, based on researching qualities of companies that have sustainably produced a steady stream of innovative solutions over the years. This model for organizational effectiveness shows how different perspectives translate into business values, as well as show where their weaknesses are.

These are categorized into “quadrants” as follows:


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The CVF can help you build teams that are optimized for any goal. (Image source)

1. Collaborate

People with characteristics from the Collaborate quadrant are committed to cooperating together based on shared values. They foster trust with each other and with their audience through compassion and empathy. Their priorities are long-term growth of communities and commit to learning and mentoring. While a sense of unity might help a team be more purpose-driven, this can discourage individuals who think differently to bring new ideas to the table because they are averse to taking risks. People here also lose sight of the realities of constraints because they look too far ahead.

2. Create

While most people are hesitant to change and innovation, those in this quadrant embrace it. They’re extremely flexible with a shifting landscape of user and business goals and aren’t afraid of taking risks. Creatives see risk as an opportunity for growth and embrace different ways of thinking to come up with solutions. Trends are set by creatives, not followed. In contrast, however, those in this quadrant aren’t as logical and practical with the execution needed to bring ideas to life. Their flexibility can become chaotic and unpredictable. Taking risks can pay off significantly but it’s more detrimental without a foundation.

3. Compete

As the name implies, people here are competitive and focus on high performance and big results. They’re excellent decision makers, which is why they get things done quickly. They know exactly how to utilize resources around them to beat competitors and get to the top of the market. Competitors stay focused on the business objectives of increasing revenue and hitting target metrics. On the other hand, they’re not as broad of a visionary in the long run. Since they prioritize immediate results. Because of this, they may not be as compassionate towards their audience and not consider the human side of company growth.

4. Control

People in this quadrant focus on creating systems that are reliable and efficient. They’re practical and can plan strategically for scaling, and they constantly revisit their design processes to optimize for productivity. They are extremely detail oriented and can identify areas of opportunities in the unexpected. They’re also experts at dealing with multiple moving parts and turn chaos into harmony. But if there are too many Control qualities on a team, they become vulnerable to falling into complacency since they depend on reliable systems. They are averse to taking risks and fear the nature of unpredictability.

People and their values don’t always neatly fit into categories but this framework is flexible in helping teams identify their strengths and weaknesses. Many individuals have traits that cover more than one quadrant but there are definitely dominant qualities. Being able to identify what they are on an individual level, as well as within a team and at the company level is important.

How Do We Use The CVF To Build Diverse Teams?

There are already many great design processes and frameworks that takes aspects of the CVF to help teams take advantage of diverse perspectives. The sprint model, developed by the design partners at Google Ventures, is an excellent workflow that brings together differing values and skill sets to solve problems, with an emphasis on completing it in a short amount of time. IDEO’s design thinking process, also referred to human-centered design, puts users at the forefront and drive decisions with empathy with collaboration being at the core.

Note: Learn more about GV’s Design Sprint model and IDEO’s Design Thinking approach.

The CVF complements many existing design processes to help teams bring their differing perspectives together and design more holistically. In order to do this, teams need to evaluate where they are, how to fit in the company and how well that aligns with their priorities. They should also identify the missing voices and assess areas for improvement. They need to be asking themselves,

What has the team dynamic been like for the past year? What progress has been made? What goals (business/user/team) are the most important?

The Competing Values Framework assessment is a practical way to (1) establish the desired organizational outcomes and goals, (2) evaluate the current practices of teams within the organization/company and how they manage workflows, and (3) the individual’s role and how they fit into the context of the team and company.

For example, a team that may not have had many roadblocks and disagreements may represent too much of the Collaborate quadrant and need people who represent more of the Compete quadrant to drive results. A team that has taken risks has had failures, and has dealt with many moving parts (Create) may need people who have characteristics of the Control quadrant for stability and scaling on a practical level to drive results and growth.

If teams can expand by hiring more, they should absolutely onboard more innovators who bring different perspectives and strengths. But teams should also keep in mind that it’s absolutely possible to work with what they already have and can utilize resources at their disposal. Here are some practical ways that teams can increase diversity:

Hire For Diversity

When hiring, it’s important to find people with unique perspectives to complement existing designers and stakeholders. Writing inclusive job descriptions to attract a wider range of candidates makes a big difference. Involving people from all levels and backgrounds within the company who are willing to embrace new perspectives is essential. Hiring managers should ask thoughtful questions to gage how well candidates exercise their problem-solving skills and empathy in real-life business cases. Not making assumptions about others, even with something simple like their pronouns, can establish safe work environments and encourage people to be open about their views and values.

Step Outside The Bubble

Whether this would be directly for client work or for building team rapport, it’s valuable to get people out of the office to experience things outside of their familiar scope. It’s worthwhile for design teams to interact with users and spend time in their shoes, not only for their own work as UX practitioners but also to help expand their worldview. They should be encouraged to constantly learn something new. They should be given opportunities to travel to places that are completely different from their comfort zone. Teams should also be encouraged go to design events and learn from industry experts who do similar work but in different contexts. Great ideas emerge when people experience things outside their routine and therefore, should always get out and learn!

Drive Diversity Initiatives Internally

Hosting in-house hackathons to get teams to interact differently allows designers to expand their skills while learning new approaches to problem solving. It is also an opportunity to work with people from other teams and acquire the skills to adapt quickly. Bringing in outside experts to share their wisdom is a great way for teams to learn new ways of thinking. Some companies, especially larger organizations, have communities based on interests outside of work such as the love for food or interest in outdoors activities. Teaching each other skills through internal workshops is also great.

Foster A Culture Of Appreciation

Some companies have weekly roundtable session where each person on the team shares one thing he or she is appreciative about another person. Not only does this encourage high morale but also empowers teams to produce better work. At the same time, teams are given a safe space to be vulnerable with each other and take risks. This is an excellent way to bond over goals and get teams with differing perspectives together to collaborate.

What Should Diverse Teams Keep In Mind?

Acknowledging that while different ideas and values are important, they can clash if conversations are not managed effectively. Discrimination and segregation can happen. But creating a workspace and team dynamic that is open to discussion and a safe space to challenge existing ideas is crucial. People should be open to being challenged and ask questions, rather than get defensive about their ideas. Compromise will be necessary in this process.

When diversity isn’t managed actively, or there is an imbalance of values on a team, several challenges arise:

  • Communication barriers — How people say things can be different from how others hear and understand them. Misunderstandings could lead to crucial voices not always being heard. If a particular style of communication is accepted over others, people fear speaking up. They might hold the wisdom to make design decisions that could impact the business. If a culture of openness doesn’t exist, a lot of those gold mines never get their opportunities to see the light of day.
  • Discrimination and segregation — As teams become more diverse, people can stray away from or avoid others who think differently. This can lead to increased feelings of resentment, leading to segregation and even discrimination. People might be quick to judge one another based on stereotypical references, rather than mustering the courage to understand where they come from.
  • Competition over collaboration — People on design teams need to work collaboratively but when different perspectives clash and aren’t encouraged to use their perspectives to create value for the company, they become competitive against each other rather than have the willingness to work together. It’s important to bring the team back to the main goal.

Embracing different perspectives takes courage but it’s everyone’s responsibility to be mindful of one another. Being surrounded by people with different perspectives is certainly uncomfortable and can be a stretch outside their comfort zones. Design teams are positioned advantageously to do so and be role models to others on its impact. Conversations about leveraging differing perspectives should happen as early in the process as possible to limit friction and encourage effective collaboration.

Conclusion And Next Steps

Rather than approach it as an obligation and something with a lot of risk, leaders should see it as a benefit to their company and team’s growth. It is often said that roadblocks are a sign of innovation. Therefore, when designers in a team are faced with challenges, they are able to innovate. And only through the existence different perspectives can such challenges emerge. Assessing where the company, teams, and individuals are within the CVF quadrants is a great start and taking steps to building a team with complementing perspectives will be key to driving long-term innovation.


I’d like to personally thank the following contributors for taking their time to providing me with insights on hiring for and building diverse design teams: Samantha Berg, Khanh Lam, Arin Bhowmick, Rob Strati, Shannon O’Brien, Diego Pulido, Nathan Gao, Christopher Taylor Edwards, among many others who engaged in discussions with me on this topic. Thank you for allowing me to take your experiences and being part of facilitating this dialogue on the value of diversity in design.

Smashing Editorial
(cc, ra, yk, il)


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Building Diverse Design Teams To Drive Innovation

How to Create Ads For More Clicks in 2018

With Facebook making some serious changes in 2018, marketers are beginning to look toward other channels for generating attention. I truly believe we’ll see a shift from Facebook to SEM in the coming months. People will begin investing in SEO, link-building and – of course – AdWords. But PPC has always been a challenge. Competition continues to increase as new startups enter existing spaces. Not to mention the industry Goliath’s expanding their reach into new markets. We recently analyzed 30,000 PPC accounts to see what the highest performers all had in common. While the use of machine learning helped control parameters…

The post How to Create Ads For More Clicks in 2018 appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Create Ads For More Clicks in 2018

8 Ways to Make Brilliant, Captivating Product Photos

Having product photos that stand out is more important than any other piece of content on your product page. One study found that 67% of people rate the quality of product images to be “very important,” more than product information, detailed descriptions or even reviews! Source Knowing this, what can you do to make sure your product photos stand out and are the best they can be? The tips in this post will help you ensure the quality of your images and make sure your product photos stand out amongst your competition. 1. Start by using a Tripod and Lightbox…

The post 8 Ways to Make Brilliant, Captivating Product Photos appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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8 Ways to Make Brilliant, Captivating Product Photos

4 Ways to SEO Proof Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

influencer marketing and SEO

A few years ago, there was a joke that was going around on the internet. It goes something like this: “What is the best place to hide evidence of your wrongdoings? Page 2 of Google Search results!” While the joke itself may have been created in good humor, it does imply something extremely important. It’s crucial for businesses to compete for higher visibility in search results. Consumers are more dependent on the internet than any other medium, making search ranking crucial for businesses to attract potential customers. More often than not, people only look at the first page of search…

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4 Ways to SEO Proof Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

What is Web Spam?

Web Spam: Intentional attempts to manipulate search engine rankings for specific keywords or keyword phrase queries. But isn’t that what SEO is? Trying to get your website content to rank better in search engine results? Well… There’s a fine line between doing everything you can to give your website content the best shot at ranking well in the search engines, vs. trying every sneaky trick possible. The Old Days of Web Spam – Keywords, Keywords, Keywords Everywhere! The first search engines (Lycos, HotBot, AltaVista to name a few) used a fairly basic approach to ranking webpages. For the most part,…

The post What is Web Spam? appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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What is Web Spam?

Master Your Next Feature Launch: How Vimeo Uses Unbounce Landing Pages to Go to Market Faster

You’re a product marketer and it’s five weeks away from a major launch.

The office is buzzing with excitement and tensions are rising by the day. Your marketing team is busy prepping all the essential pieces in your marketing launch toolkit, from email communications to paid advertising to PR initiatives and beyond.

But something’s missing.

Your website needs updating to reflect the launch of your new feature or product… and then you need somewhere to send your paid campaign traffic.

If you’re relying on your developers to build a new page for you, it could take weeks (or longer). Besides, shifting your devs’ focus away from the product launch probably isn’t the best use of their time. Adding work to their plates could mean having to delay going to market (and miss your launch deadlines) — and that could be deadly for business.

The marketing team at Vimeo has experienced this stress first-hand. Garrett Bugbee, Manager of Search and International Marketing, recently described to me how product launches have put a strain on his team in the past:

We had a huge creative backlog, especially during product launches. We relied on our devs to build our pages for us. It was a slow and painful process, from design to the kick-off meetings and then actually waiting for it to be built and QA’d… It was a massive issue.

Fast forward to today, Garrett and his team have removed many of these pre-launch bottlenecks. When it came time to launch their new product, Vimeo 360, they’d mastered the art of going to market with new products on time and on budget.

So what’s Vimeo’s secret recipe to making every product launch a smash hit?

Garrett teases at it in the video below. Have a look, or read on for the blueprint to their success.

Make every product a smash hit: Watch this video to learn how Vimeo removed bottlenecks from their launches so they could go to market faster.

Meet Vimeo and their latest product, Vimeo 360

As one of the internet’s most popular video sharing websites, Vimeo attracts more than 100 million unique visitors per month and is home to over 50 million creators worldwide (and counting).

As their popularity increases so too does the competition.

In order to stay on top, Vimeo has to evolve and innovate. With at least four new video products or features being introduced to the platform each year, a failed launch for Vimeo could mean a loss of thousands (dare we say millions) in company dollars, so there’s infinite pressure to get it right — every time.

You can imagine then, the pressure that Garrett (the hero from our intro) must have felt when he and his team set out to launch Vimeo 360, a new product that allows users to upload 360-degree videos in stunning high quality:

Because some of Vimeo’s competitors were already dabbling in 360-degree video, Garrett knew they had to launch quickly — and with a splash:

It’s a tool that other platforms have already, and it’s something that we wanted to give our creators so they have a new venue for expression and a new way to produce, make and showcase content.

Removing bottlenecks from the campaign launch

Vimeo’s main goal for the 360 launch was to drive engagement, measured by new subscribers and 360 video uploads.

While part of their homepage was to briefly feature Vimeo 360, Garrett and his team wanted to build out a page to better explain the product and all the amazing things it could do, including:

  • An example of a 360 video for prospects who were not yet familiar with the technology (shown above)
  • A showcase of 360 video content created by some of Vimeo’s power users
  • A detailed breakdown of features that make Vimeo 360 stand a cut above the rest (high-quality resolution, intuitive controls, powerful integrations)
  • A promo for their 360 video school, which teaches creators of all stripes to make better videos

That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a website that is also serving a general audience, so Garrett and his team turned to Unbounce to create a click-through landing page for their campaign:

Garrett’s team used Unbounce design features like parallax scroll to appeal to his visually-inclined user base. Click to view full-length landing page.

Beautiful isn’t it?

Garrett explained why empowering his marketing team to build this page themselves was key:

The big benefit here is the flexibility we have to produce a marketing-specific landing page without the help of our engineering team.

Our devs get to focus on building a great product, and we can focus on designing a page built specifically for marketing purposes without pulling our front-end devs away from their work. We can go to market a lot faster by parallel-pathing both the product build and the page build.


Don’t pull devs away from work – your marketing team can build launch landing pages themselves.
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The best part? The campaign landing page that the Vimeo marketing team created drove engagement, which was the campaign goal.

Garrett explains:

[Using scroll mapping,] we saw people scrolling all the way down the page, interacting with the content throughout. It really achieved the goal which was to drive engagement, not just with our paid subscribers but with everybody on the platform.

Better performing paid and social advertising campaigns

A beautiful, engaging landing page is well and good, but at the end of the day, your boss wants hard numbers that show that your campaigns performed.

Since adding dedicated campaign landing pages to their marketing launch toolkit, Vimeo has also seen better results for their paid and social advertising campaigns.

Some paid ads created by Vimeo for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

Before Unbounce, Garrett humbly admits that they were letting their website get in the way of their campaign success:

Before Unbounce, we simply directed prospects to a page [on our website] with a pricing grid, and that’s pretty extreme to just throw that in someone’s face right away.

But now that Vimeo is sending paid traffic to product launch-specific landing pages like the one above (as opposed to generic pages like their /upload/ page and homepage), their campaigns are kicking serious butt. Check out these impressive results:

  • 730% increase in subscribers from 360-related paid keywords
  • 4529% increase in total video uploads from 360-related paid keywords

Bonus: Dedicated landing pages aren’t only bringing Vimeo better campaign results — Garrett explained that they’re also improving user experience and Google’s relevance score:

Unbounce has allowed us to target specific landing pages for top keywords, which is a huge win. I think that this one of the best use cases for Unbounce.

You can use Dynamic Text Replacement or make specific pages, and you just target your top terms, it’s highly relevant… I have complete control of that experience and that’s the marketer’s dream.

Unbounce’s Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) feature gives Garrett and his team the capability to swap out text on their landing page — so that their ads and landing pages present exactly what visitors searched for.

Unbounce’s Ryan Engley explains how Dynamic Text Replacement works. See DTR in action here.

That level of message match across the entire buyer journey is key to strong PPC performance.

When prospects click on an ad and see a landing page with a headline that matches exactly what they searched for, they’re reassured that they’ve made a “good click” and are more likely to stick around (and even convert) — and that in turn positively impacts Quality Score in AdWords.

What you can learn from Vimeo’s success

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Vimeo’s 360 campaign, it’s this:

Yes, product launches are a lot a pressure, but they don’t have to be painfulnot when marketing teams are empowered to move nimbly without bottlenecks.

According to Garrett, it’s all about focusing on your core competencies:

With Unbounce, we can now generate marketing-specific landing pages quickly and easily and translate those across different languages.

It takes the pressure off our devs and engineers, and lets them focus on what’s core — what’s vital to the business — which is building video tools for creators. We handle the marketing side.

By making Unbounce landing pages an essential part of your marketing launch toolkit, not only can you gain the competitive edge by going to market faster, you’ll also:

  • Free up dev resources so they can focus on building and innovating your product
  • Convert more prospects by sending paid traffic to relevant, high-converting pages
  • Create beautifully designed pages that showcase your product in the best light possible
  • Make your boss really happy by saving the company precious time and money

And that folks, is why you should NSAPLCWADLP… Never Start A Product Launch Campaign Without A Dedicated Landing Page. ;)

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Master Your Next Feature Launch: How Vimeo Uses Unbounce Landing Pages to Go to Market Faster

Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

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I know you’re busy, so let’s cut to the chase.

Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference is back on June 25th – June 27th in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.

What’s in it for you?

First off, we’ve carefully curated a star-studded speaker lineup that includes the likes of Mari Smith, Scott StrattenKindra Hall and Rand Fishkin. See the full agenda here. (Fun fact: We made a pledge to have 50% female speakers this year, and we stuck to it.)

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Additionally, unlike other conferences where you’re torn between tracks, this conference is single-track. No need to miss a thing or weigh up your love for PPC or CRO. You can have it all and bring back stellar takeaways to your team on each of their respective specialities. #Teamplayer

We’re also working closely with our speakers to ensure talks are as actionable as possible. (This is our conference’s promise).

Explore the topics below to see featured talks and get a sense for the ones most exciting to you:

PPC
SEO
Copywriting
Social
CRO

Jonathan Dane — The PPC Performance Pizza

Jonathan DaneIn this session, Johnathan will cover 8 ways to make any PPC channel work with positive ROI. He’ll guide you through a simple framework, The PPC Performance Pizza, that will double performance on any PPC channel, from Google Adwords to Facebook.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use search, social, display, and video PPC to your advantage
  • Which channels and offers work best in tandem for more conversions
  • The frameworks KlientBoost uses to double your performance within 90 days

Rand Fishkin — The Search Landscape In 2017

Rand FishkinMuch has changed (and is changing) in SEO, leaving us with an uncertain future. In this talk, the one and only Rand Fishkin will share his view on the search landscape 2017, dive into data on how users behave in search engines, explain what the election of Donald Trump means to site owners and, most importantly provide you with the essential tactics every marketer should embrace to be prepared for the changes.

You’ll learn:

  • How has search behavior changed and what does it mean for marketers seeking organic search traffic
  • What new tactics and strategies are required to stay ahead of the competition in SEO
  • How might new US government policies affect the web itself and future platform and web marketing opportunities

Amy Harrison — The Customer Disconnect: How Inside-Out Copy Makes You Invisible

Amy HarrisonWhen you write copy, there are 3 critical elements: What you KNOW about your product, what you WRITE about your product, and what your customer THINKS you mean. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to have a disconnect between all three, and when that happens, customer’s don’t realize the true value of what you have to offer. In this talk, you’ll identify any disconnect in your own marketing, and learn how to write copy that breaks through the noise, differentiates your brand, and speaks to your customers’ desires.

You’ll learn:

  • How to recognize if you even HAVE a disconnect
  • How to beat the blank page – know what to include for every piece of copy you create
  • How to make even commoditized products sound different and fresh to your customer

Mari Smith — Winning Facebook Advertising Strategies: 5 Powerful Ways To Leverage Your Results & ROI

Mari SmithFacebook is constantly adding new features, new products and new ad units. What works today and what’s a waste of time and money? How should marketing teams, agencies and brands focus their ad spend for maximum results? In this dynamic session, world-renowned Facebook marketing expert, Mari Smith, will answer these questions and more.

You’ll learn:

  • Simple processes for maximizing paid reach to build a steady flow of top qualified leads
  • How to make your Facebook advertising dollars go much further, and generate an even higher ROI
  • The top ten biggest mistakes marketers make with their Facebook ads and how to fix them

Michael Aagaard – Your Brain Is Lying To You: Become A Better Marketer By Overcoming Confirmation Bias

Michael AagaardHave you ever resisted or ignored a piece of info because it posed a threat to your worldview? If you answered “yes,” you’re like most other human beings on the planet. In fact, according to the last 40 years of cognitive research, favouring information confirming your worldview is extremely common human behaviour. Unfortunately, being biased towards information confirming what we already believe often leads to errors in judgment and costly mistakes in marketing. But how can we overcome this?

You’ll learn:

  • The facts about confirmation bias and why it is such a dangerous pitfall for marketers
  • A framework for becoming aware of and overcoming your own confirmation bias
  • Hands-on techniques for cutting through the clutter and getting information rather than confirmation

Did we mention the workshops?

We’re bringing back workshops (see Sunday’s tab on the agenda) and we’ve tailored the topics based on your feedback. We’ll be talking hyper-targeted overlays, how agencies can leverage landing pages and getting people to swipe right on your landing page. The best part? They’re all included in your ticket price. Most importantly, marketers who purchase CTAConf tickets, get notified first once registration for workshops opens. Workshops were standing room only last year and we’re bringing them back bigger than ever, so first dibs on registration’s a real bonus.

Finally, we want you to have a ton of fun while you learn. We’re talkin’ 8 food trucks, incredible after parties, all the dog hoodies you can handle, wacky activities and full access to the recordings of every session. SPOILER: we’re looking into renting a Ferris wheel (seriously, this is a thing).

Convinced? Grab your tickets here.

(Hey, blog reader. Yeah, you. We like you. Get 15% off ticket price when you use discount code blogsentme.” That’s cheaper than our early bird price.)

Want to see the excitement in action?

Here’s a peek at what we got up to last year:

The countdown is on

Regardless or whether you’re a PPC specialist, conversion copywriter, full-stack marketer or living that agency life, we’ve got something in store for you. Our workshops and talks touch on everything marketing: pay-per-click, agencies, copywriting, conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization, branding and storytelling, email marketing, customer success, search engine optimization and product marketing.

Check out the full agenda here.

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See you at the conference (and on that Ferris wheel)!

Grab your tickets here and remember to use discount code “blogsentme” at checkout for 15% off that ticket price!

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Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

How to Supercharge Growth and Overcome Competition with Added Value

Working in a competitive, oversaturated industry is not easy. There are dozens of similar companies, each and every one fighting for the same customers. If you are working in an industry like that, how do you survive? Undercutting the competition on prices is not sustainable. Sooner or later the margins will become so small that you will start losing money. You can start developing a new feature or improve what you already offer, but that takes a lot of time and resources. However, there are some other ways you can grab the attention of potential customers. You can add value…

The post How to Supercharge Growth and Overcome Competition with Added Value appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Supercharge Growth and Overcome Competition with Added Value

Experience Design Essentials: Animated Microinteractions In Mobile Apps

Dariel Fitzkee, the famous magician, once said, “Magic is both in the details and in the performance.” Interaction design is just like that. Designers love to get the big picture right, but if the details aren’t handled properly, the solution will fail. The magic is all in the details. That’s why well-designed microinteractions make experiences feel crafted.
To get a better understanding of how your design benefits from microinteractions, it will help to sketch out your app ideas.

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Experience Design Essentials: Animated Microinteractions In Mobile Apps

Resolving User Pain Points Across eCommerce Conversion Funnel

As reported by Internet Retailer, the projected online global consumer spending by 2019 will more than double to $3.551 trillion of the global spending in 2015, accounting for 12.4% of the total retail sales.  These numbers show that consumer inclination toward online shopping is increasing. However, the gap between what consumers want and what they get is also widening. This is where the importance of providing visitors a friction-free experience across an eCommerce conversion funnel stems from.

Competition also has been becoming increasingly fierce. Global marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba are eating into a large share of the retail market. Numbers from Ecommerce News suggest that by 2020, Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba will own at least 40% of the global retail market. eCommerce enterprises and retailers, however, are confident that they can one-up players like eBay by providing enhanced customer experience and services.

eCommerce enterprises also realize that the modern consumer/customer journey is complex. Empowered and informed consumers neither have the patience nor any reason to buy from eCommerce establishments that fail to provide instant gratification.

In this blog post, we talk about how eCommerce enterprises can smooth out friction at each stage of the eCommerce conversion funnel—awareness, consideration, and purchase. We discuss how enterprises, regardless of where the customer enters the funnel, can provide an enhanced and optimized customer experience.

Addressing Pain Points at the Awareness Stage

A consumer at the awareness stage already has a preconceived notion, which is molded by social and digital content. The ability of consumers to create, absorb, and distribute information has increased manifold. The following Deloitte Consumer Review 2014, which represents consumer attitude toward digital content, validates the same.

user engagement through digital content
Source

To stand a chance of gaining user attention/awareness in the digital eCommerce arena, online enterprises need to ensure that they have a strong digital content strategy in place, which consists of formulating a clear objective, understanding the target audience, determining the brand’s voice, and more.

Let’s also not forget the impact of search engine optimization on accessibility and online presence. Forbes talks about SEO key trends 2016 for eCommerce, highlighting the measures that enterprises can ensure  to grow their online presence . A MOZ post discusses the changing face of search in the age of video transcription.

With mobile usage on the rise, consumers expect high quality and variety of content to be available on their smartphones. However, according to BrightEdge Content Engagement Report 2015, more than 1 in 4 mobile sites is misconfigured, which results in an average 68% loss of smartphone traffic to that content. These statistics don’t frame a great picture, given that the Google searches via mobile have already surpassed desktop searches.

While eCommerce enterprises need to optimize quality content for awareness through search, they need to do so with the goal of acquiring quality traffic. Analyze where most of your traffic is coming from. Go a step further to find out the traffic sources that are driving most engagements.

After you have figured out the traffic sources that are driving most conversions, you can create a winning user engagement strategy for those channels. Here’s an interesting case study on how Michael Kors integrates Instagram and other social media to boost eCommerce and store revenue.

awareness stage strategy example for eCommerce
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Addressing Pain Points at the Consideration Stage

A consumer at the consideration stage is well aware of your existence. The problem for eCommerce enterprises to address at this stage is understanding their visitors’ intent and motivations—what do the visitors want and what would make them convert. Addressing the following questions can help eCommerce enterprises ease the users’ pain points.:

  • Why certain visitors don’t buy right away while others do?
  • What can alter a visitor’s buying behavior?
  • What distractions can put off a potential customer?

Taking a predictive action approach at this stage of the funnel is one way of dealing with the friction before it happens. This approach requires creating customer personas, mapping user journeys to understand how users interact and engage with your website, and then using this information to work out tactics that ease user interactions and experiences.

Visitor recordings and heatmaps, as well as user feedback gathering tools such as on-page surveys, can be deployed by eCommerce enterprises to gain clear insights into the what and why of on-site behaviors of visitors.

Losing potential customers to competition at the consideration stage is another big challenge for eCommerce enterprises. Although an understanding of customer intent and motivation can make visitors’ experiences delightful—even to the extent that they  come back or spread a positive word around—there are high chances that even a positive on-site experience doesn’t make them buy from you.

Reason? Visitors at any stage of conversion are continuously relying on their own research and user-generated and influencer-generated content to reconsider their purchase decision.

Influencing Purchase at the Consideration Stage

There are a number of things influencing buyer behavior at the consideration stage. A ready-to-convert visitor might interact with your website and go back to the consideration stage if he/she is able to find a better deal elsewhere.

One of Harvard Business Review posts talk about why users need not choose a fixed path to conversion. An extract from the same HBR article is quoted below:
“Julie Bornstein, CMO at Sephora, has seen social media change how people buy beauty products. Recommendations from friends have always been important, but now these recommendations spread ‘quicker, faster, and further’ at every stage in the funnel. The decision on what to buy increasingly comes from advocates who share their experience in a way that pulls in new customers and informs their purchase decision. Sephora’s response has been to bring all the stages of the funnel together at a single place, creating its own online community where people can ask experts and each other about brands, products, and techniques.” 

From a user’s perspective, User-Generated Content (UGC) helps build trust  and mitigates the fear of buying, which could otherwise have been a huge point of friction. It has also changed the way eCommerce businesses build engagement. For a complete picture on how UGC can be leveraged, check out this article by MAVSOCIAL. Using trust seals and testimonials is equally important for easing out the fear of being cheated or misled. For more insights on the importance of trust, read how this eCommerce business established credibility by adding a trust badge and increased its conversion rate by 72.05%.

The takeaway here is to keep the visitor engaged through your eCommerce website and build trust. This can be achieved using a good mix of predictive analysis, user-generated content, and leveraging principles of persuasion that can turn user buying behavior in your favor (consider FOMO). User interface is another parameter that eCommerce enterprises must test and improve for driving more visitor engagement at the consideration stage of the funnel.

Addressing Pain Points at the Conversion Stage

The decision is made in your favor, and the visitor is going through the checkout on your site to buy the product. What could stop a visitor from converting at this stage? Is it that the visitor’s preferred mode of payment was not available? Is it that your shipping costs are exorbitantly high? VWO’s Shopping Cart Abandonment Report 2016 states, “One-fourth of the respondents will not check out if they encounter unexpected shipping cost.”

Regardless of the length of the checkout, the goal for eCommerce enterprises should always be to make the checkout distraction-free.

Consider Amazon’s example: At checkout, they have only two options listed—place order or close the window. Not providing unnecessary navigation options on the checkout eliminates distraction at this final step.

Amazon's example of distraction free navigation
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A thorough usability study for their checkout can help eCommerce enterprises find out what needs to be fixed and what can be made better. Here’s a usability benchmark of 100 eCommerce sites that have been ranked by Baymard, according to their checkout usability performance.

eCommerce checkout usability performance benchmark
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Another article by Baymard talks about mobile checkout usability, which is no less important than website optimization, considering that people are browsing their phones more than ever. However, there is still a huge potential for retailers to drive conversions directly from mobile.

Optimizing for mobiles and tablets becomes all the more important because consumers often browse one device and buy from another. The meandering that happens between different devices before a visitor converts, requires eCommerce enterprises to track and analyze cross-device behaviors.

Conclusion

An ideal funnel in the current dynamically changing times is not only the one that drives more conversions, but also the one that is able to provide exactly what customers want. Whether consumers are in the awareness, consideration, or conversion stage of the buying journey, eCommerce enterprises can help improve the online buying experience by understanding and addressing frictions at each stage.

What do you suggest can ease user pain-points at each stage of the eCommerce conversion funnel? Comment and let us know.

CTA Solving user pain-points in eCommerce conversion funnel

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Resolving User Pain Points Across eCommerce Conversion Funnel