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Get More from Social by Doing Less [PODCAST]

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So many social networks, so little time. Image via Flickr.

Facebook users react to and interact with content differently than Twitter users, and you won’t see results from your social media campaigns if you’re blanket publishing across all networks. But with all the social media platforms out there, it can be a real pain in the booty to tailor every piece of content to each specific network.

But as we learned in the latest episode of the Call to Action podcast, there’s plenty that can be done to streamline the process; Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS, shared some analytics hacks to help you see better results without having to work harder.

You will learn:

  • Why you should use UTM codes to keep track of the performance of your content on social media.
  • How data can help you determine which social media network is right for each piece of content.
  • How Ryan got a marketing post to go viral on Reddit (hint: he started by collecting tons of data).

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Listen on iTunes.
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Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS.

Stephanie Saretsky: With all of the different social media platforms out there, it can seem like a pain in the booty to tailor every piece of content to each specific network. But if you’re mass posting links and not seeing great results, then you probably subconsciously know the answer to your problem.

So, how do you figure out where’s the best place to share that awesome post on 9 Marketing Tips From Your Office Dog?

It’s all in your data, my friend. Unbounce’s Content Strategist Dan Levy spoke with Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS, about the analytic hacks you can use to beef up your social presence and maximize your time.

Dan: You opened your post by saying that social media is quickly becoming one of the most time-consuming marketing channels, what do you mean by that?

Ryan: You know, I’m very big on native content and native publishing. So what I mean by that is when I publish something to my Instagram, I don’t push it to Facebook because it’s not technically native, right? I mean, the content that shows up on Instagram is significantly different than the content that shows up on Facebook. So the strategy that I’ve developed and what I’ve really seen working really well is creating content specifically for each network, specifically on Facebook. I mean, Facebook right now is on a crusade to keep traffic within Facebook. I mean, you look at what’s happening with pages over the last couple of years. You know, the “organic reach” has gone down. Some people view that as a bad thing and kind of jump ship from Facebook. But if you just play by their rules and just try and keep traffic within Facebook — though you have to ask yourself the question, “What matters, is it traffic to your site or is it people consuming your content?” So taking a different approach and actually creating content that lives within Facebook, especially like native video, native long form posts, images — I mean, this type of content just crushes it on Facebook. But it’s a different type of metric, it’s not traffic to your site. It’s content consumed, it’s views, it’s likes, it’s shares… so in that sense, as a business owner, I don’t have time to do that and it’s become a very, very time consuming process, but a very important process nonetheless.

Dan: That’s really interesting. I guess that speaks to the whole conversation about owned media versus earned media.

Ryan: Yeah. You know, it’s crazy because us as marketers, you know, one little thing changes, we get used to doing something. We finally figure out how to rig the site — that we finally figured out how to get that click the rate up — and next thing you know everything has changed, right? And it’s frustrating as a marketer, but as opposed to taking the time to take to a blog and write about it and complain about it, if you just understand that Facebook doesn’t want you to leave. You know, they don’t want you to man your page, but there’s things that they want you do, and just understanding that… I mean, like I said, video right now — Facebook is making a tremendous push to get YouTube off the planet. Facebook wants to be the video hosting platform because video is the fastest growing content on the planet. So instead of posting a YouTube link and obsessing over YouTube views and obsessing over ranking those YouTube videos, just post it to Facebook. If you upload it natively to Facebook you can get like 10, 20, 30 times the reach of a YouTube link. So again — and this is kind of stealing stuff from what I’ve heard BuzzFeed talk about over the couple of years — when they look at their metrics, they look at combined page views. They look at combined views, so they’re looking at Snapchat’s use. They’re looking at Facebook embed views. They’re looking at YouTube views. They’re not looking at traffic pages per se as part of the metric, but they understand that, you know, our attention spans are fleeting and they’re fleeting quickly. And our attention is where we want it to be: it’s on Twitter, it’s on Instagram, it’s on a blog post. So understand that you’re not gonna reach everybody with blog post and one piece of content. You have to repurpose it across channels and take advantage of what those platforms offer. And it’s a lot of work, but you look at somebody like BuzzFeed who has taken over the world with what they’re doing — it’s really the way of the future, especially for content marketing and social, really.

Dan: Yeah. So your blog post is all about how you can streamline that process. But before you can streamline, you need to make sure that you’re tracking things correctly, right? And you talk about using UTM codes.

Ryan: Yeah.

Dan: I don’t want to get too technical here, but can you explain why these codes are so important? And I’m curious to know how many marketers you think are actually using them correctly?

Ryan: That’s a great question. So a UTM code is just – you know, if you’re not familiar with analytics this is gonna kind of sound like Greek – it’s a URL parameter. And what it does is it literally just injects text into the end of a URL stream, so it tells Google Analytics where that traffic is coming from. Because if you post 100 links to Facebook, they’re all gonna show up in your analytics as Facebook unless you look at a pages report of where you sent that content. But still, it’s not effective. Because if you’re posting three links to the same page from Facebook, you’re not going to be able to tell which one of them at what time is driving traffic. What a UTM code does is it breaks down each link that you post into a separate line in your Google Analytics. So you can actually see every single link that you post across Twitter. Wherever you’re posting a link, it tracks it, including internal links on blog posts and stuff like that. So when you’re looking at stuff like, “When should I be posting? What should I be posting? Where should I be posting?” That’s how you really start digging into those answers because you can really nail down exactly which post is driving what. And in terms of how many marketers are using them, I don’t know. If you have any sort of paid search background or paid advertising background, you use them because they kind of auto append from Google Analytics. But I think if you’re in the social space, very few people use them unless you’re working for a big agency. I run a small agency, but I’ve worked with big agencies before, so I understand the difference, and big agencies understand analytics, and their team understands analytics. I would probably say more than 75 percent don’t use them for sure.

Dan: Yeah, so that’s a huge opportunity.

Ryan: A huge opportunity, yeah.

Dan: We’ve talked about on the podcast before how in many ways the world of social media marketing and content marketing are converging with the world of paid marketing and marketers who are able to bring that paid marketing experience and that data-driven outlook to the table are at a huge advantage.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. I’m an organic SEO, “expert by trade.” That’s how I got into this digital industry, that’s where my interests mostly lie. But just because of how dynamic organic search is in the touch points with content, the touch points with social — even understanding how offline advertising plays into organic search — branded search, and increasing the rankings through that, driving demand and stuff like that. I mean, I’ve really learned kind of the full gambit of marketing as a whole, offline and online. But what’s happening right now is really interesting because ads just don’t work anymore. Like, banner ads just don’t work like they used to for a number of reasons. I mean — banner blindness — they’re annoying, they’re obtrusive. You know, we’re at a point where value matters. That’s really why content matters, because it’s about adding value. And when you throw a paid spend in, so like what we’re doing is we’re creating really, really advanced targeting using Facebook. Facebook has just an insane amount of data. I mean, you know where people have shopped. If you think about all the websites that you log into with your Facebook account, Facebook has that data. It’s really valuable data, but like a paid search doesn’t have that type of data. So if you can take a way to combine those two, you know, taking that information from Facebook and retargeting across search — and even across banner if that’s what you want to do — it’s powerful. So what we do is we create like very specific types of content. Very good blog posts. It may be like a gated piece of content, and we take advantage of the paid promotions. I mean, it’s really cheap to promote a post on Facebook, drive a ton of traffic to a landing page and really target a specific audience of people using that Facebook data, get them to a landing page, cookie them, and then retarget across search and social. So we’re building custom audiences using content, if that makes sense, and it’s like ridiculously powerful right now.

Dan: Yeah, we actually just had one guy from an agency in Chicago who is running Facebook ads for New Balance. And they found that once they were able to optimize their ads for Facebook website conversions or landing page conversions, that they were able to get way better ROI out of that than, you know, I guess what you were talking about earlier, which is just keep people in the Facebook ecosystem. So I guess there’s a time where you want to keep people in Facebook and focus on clicks and views. And then when you’re looking at conversions in particular, you want to start looking at pinning them to a landing page, which is actually what I wanted to ask you about next. You know, social media is typically seen, I think, as more of a top-of-the-funnel channel, so are conversions really the right metric to track on social?

Ryan: I think it depends. I mean, in short, yes. I mean, number one, it depends how you’re tracking conversions, right? I mean, if you’re doing last touch attribution, first touch attribution… basically what that means is if, you know, somebody discovered your website through Facebook first and then ended up converting through organic search, or if they came through paid search first and ended up seeing a Facebook post that you didn’t convert to Facebook. So that’s the difference between first touch and last touch, so it depends how you’re tracking it. But just understanding that you can no longer ignore anything if you really want to. You know, you can have success online, or you can have success as a business by just being really good at paid or really good at organic. But if you really want to crush it — like really dominate on the web these days — you can’t ignore anything. Because it’s understanding the customer journey, it’s not just like, “Oh, let me type in, ‘Buy a pair of shoes’ right now and then buy them,” right? That’s just not the way it works anymore, right? I mean, we have so much information available to us. there’s so many different touch points and discovery points of really getting to know a brand and getting to know a product that you can’t just be like – you know, I hear it all the time from clients: “My customer isn’t on Snapchat.” Or like, “I’m not gonna waste my time on Instagram because it doesn’t drive sales.” But you can’t look at it like that. You have to take them all seriously. And I understand if you don’t have the resources to pay somebody full time to post to Snapchat. I get that and I’m not going to force that on you, but I am gonna tell you ahead of time that you can’t ignore it, especially because it’s by far the fastest growing medium on the planet, and whether or not your audience is there right now, you better believe in a couple years that they will be. That’s just the flow of social, right? You know, it’s tough to say. Does social drive an ROI? I’m gonna say yes because for me I source a lot of clients off of Twitter, off of Facebook, Google+, so I’ll say it drives an ROI for me. But again, I also know that they’re not just seeing a Facebook post and calling me up and paying me money to do stuff. That’s just not the way it works.

Dan: And I guess the bottom line is that maybe Snapchat is a top-of-the-funnel channel for people right now. Maybe at some point it will be more at the bottom-of-the-funnel channel. But when it comes down to it, social has a place at all parts of the marketing funnel. You just have to figure out which network makes sense at which stage, I suppose.

Ryan: Yeah.

Dan: So where’s the best place to start when you’re trying to identify whether your social efforts are driving conversions? Should you look at your posts overall and how they’re converting, or really figure out which network is most lucrative for your business?

Ryan: Again, what we’re talking about all lies in your data, right? I mean, I would get active on everything. Tag everything with UTM codes. Even if you don’t have a presence, do what you can and just look at your data. Understand where the value is coming from by looking at black and white data. Is it driving conversions? Is it driving traffic? And again, going back to understanding that while conversions do pay your bills and keep the lights on, they shouldn’t be the only goal. There should be sub-goals, or even separate goals. I mean, branding is kind of a buzzword. It’s’ thrown around, but I think it’s really making a resurgence because of social. I mean, you can create like a mini-BuzzFeed. That just like kind of sprung up over the last couple of years. That’s just a powerhouse right now, and it’s because of social. I mean, they do 80 percent of their traffic from social media. So again, it does lie in your data and understanding just how to dig that out — which obviously I talked about in the post — is incredibly valuable. And it really saves you a lot of time too, so you don’t have to ask these questions. You can just look at a report and you know if it does or not.

Dan: Yeah, and your post goes through lots of really useful reports, which are more interesting to look at and talk about. But I wonder if you could give us an example of how you’ve maybe taken the data that you’ve collected from one of these reports and then used it to optimize your social strategy accordingly?

Ryan: Yeah. I mean, one of the biggest things that I do is optimizing time of day that I post. As an agency owner, that started for me as a consultant and it’s growing really fast. I’m unfortunately still at the point where everything runs through me. I’m building my team, but I’m doing it at a pace that I can keep up with. So my time is absolutely by far, by none, the most valuable asset to my agency right now, because if everything has to run through me, then it’s all dependent on my time. So understanding how to get the most out of social media with the least amount of my time, and even being able to pass that on to a junior person is incredibly valuable. So I really, really, really dig into, you know, not so much conversions, but I look at more front-end data, like engagement on Twitter specifically. You know, what time is my following most active? When are my posts getting the most reach? So that way what I can do is I can just automate it with like a Buffer, or a Hootsuite — whatever suite you wanted to use — and really get the most out of my following. But also understanding that you have to consistently test because if you’re growing your social media following like you should be — you’re getting new followers and they have a different schedule than your existing following when you’ve done analysis. So it’s important to really be mindful of your data and keep a constant eye on it, but it’s really not that difficult. You know, once you understand exactly what to look for, you can get in and out of there in less than three minutes for them, and you’re just setting up one report and looking at it.

Dan: I mean, I guess platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easier to figure that stuff out, but not all channels have that sort of built in analytics function. I read about an interesting case in your post, where you were able to drive — I think it was like more than 1,600 views or something — from Reddit by just optimizing the timing of when you posted on that channel. Can you tell that story?

Ryan: Yeah, Reddit’s tough. You know, it’s funny, if you look at the amount of times that I’ve failed miserably on Reddit versus that, you probably wouldn’t even look twice at it. But yeah, I mean, I understood the power of Reddit as a platform, in terms of how many people were in it and the traffic that it can drive. It’s all desktop too, which is rare these days. So you’re getting desktop traffic, but also just because I had never had success on it before because it’s a very, very difficult platform in its terms of the users, they’re overly honest at times.

Dan: It’s not a place where people appreciate being marketed to all the time.

Ryan: Exactly. That’s well said. But I understood the value of what it could have in terms of link generation, traffic, exposure, all that stuff. And if you get something to go viral on Reddit, I mean, you’re talking traffic in the millions. But, you know, I looked for a lot of resources on how to growth hack it, but what I found was that there really is no growth hacking Reddit. It’s just one of those things where, number one, you have to abide by the rules of Reddit, like post in the right subreddit, post with the right titles, post the right content. As boring and lame as that advice sounds, if you don’t do that you’re never going to have success. But the other big thing was looking at when people were most active. So really, all I did was I just start to research the subreddits that I wanted to post in. and then, in the subreddit, it tells you how many people are online at that time. And all I did — really lame, but I took data for like a week or two. I checked three times a day every day for like seven or ten days: how many people were online in those subreddits that I was targeting? And then I just charted it out and it was easy to see when the most people were online. And I just kind of got lucky by hitting the right subreddit at the right time with the right content. And 1,600 — actually in the grand scheme of things, it’s the best data that I have on it, but in the grand scheme of Reddit, it’s not that much, but it was very targeted traffic. It was coming from marketing business type subreddit, so the traffic actually had some value to me.

Dan: It’s funny, I guess sometimes the most effective tactics aren’t like the sexy growth hacks, but just the, like you said, the lame boring keep a spreadsheet for a week manually and then you might actually have some pretty good results out of that kind of like old fashion police work.

Ryan: Yeah. And I think people really underestimate the value of – you know, I think growth hacker is kind of buzzword for just a really good marketer, really. But the best growth hackers are the ones that really pay attention to data. I mean, they might not talk about it as much because it’s not really that sexy, but you cannot have success, you cannot have explosive success because if you’re just kind of just pulling things out left and right, you’re never going to be able to growth hack that process, because it is a process. If you want to have success in this world, you’ve got to do things the right way. There are no shortcuts. But understanding how to get there quicker is because you know how to get there, and that comes from understanding what works. And that comes from your data.

Dan: Yeah, so the results might be awesome and explosive, but the process itself is actually usually pretty geeky.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely, not sexy.

Dan: There are sexy geeks, but I guess it’s a different story. So the last tactic for streamlining your social marketing that you share in your posts is to zero in on who else is sharing your content on social? Can you break that one down for us? What’s the opportunity here and where’s the best place to start?

Ryan: Yeah, it’s a big opportunity. And this kind of ties into the non-conversion type stuff. But, you know, I’m very very big on building communities. I don’t think it’s something that as marketers we talk about enough, or even deliver to clients. I mean, everybody does it, you know, like building a Twitter following, building a Facebook following, you know, and email this. We all do it, but it’s not talked about enough. And communities are really built from adding value. And a big way to add value is through communication. You know, especially as you grow and people recognize you for being genuine and people care if you talk back to them if they tweet you. They appreciate if you respond to their tweet. If you reply to a comment on Facebook, comments on your blogs, it makes a big difference. And there are tools out there that can help you do it. You know, Mention – I think Moz might do it now. There’s a lot of tools out there that can do it. And within analytics too, even though it’s not the best admittedly, there are ways to track mentions and it’s incredibly valuable, incredibly valuable. Again, it’s not something that you’re gonna necessarily see a dollar sign ROI from, but to me that’s how brands are built, on a micro level anyways.

Dan: Yep. And I think as we talked about, you need to make time for conversion centered tactics, but also not forget about things like community building and brand building because that stuff in the long term is just as important.

Ryan: It makes a difference.

Dan: All these reports you talk about in your posts and all these tactics sound really great, but they still kind of seem like a lot of work. So I’m wondering where the streamlining, time-saving part comes into all of this?

Ryan: Yeah, it’s a lot of work. I mean, like I said unfortunately I work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, but I’m working on that. You know, there aren’t really many shortcuts. I think if you really want to do things — this I just my opinion obviously — but there are very few shortcuts in this world to getting to where you want to be. But, you know, with that being said, like when you look at that post that I wrote, if you don’t actively access analytics or your data, then it’s daunting. You know, before I really started paying attention to data I had no interest in it. I would look at a post like that and fall asleep. And that’s why it would take so long for me to do anything because I was doing it the wrong way. A lot of people look at analytics like it’s Greek, it’s just they’re not comfortable. That’s the biggest thing I hear is, “I don’t know how to use it,” but if it you just put in some time and understand that the answers to so many of your problems are just a few clicks away. You know, answers to major business questions, you know, like, “Where should I be investing my money? Where should I be investing my time? Do I need to hire more people?” All this stuff, I mean, it really truly lays in your data. It might not be your analytics data, but it’s some form of data that you just – you need to consult. So it’s tough to growth hack that process, but you can shorten the process by just learning the tools and understanding the tools a little bit better, I guess. I mean, it’s creating dashboard. You can just click a dashboard and look at all the reports that you need to within 25 seconds and you’re good, and then just dive in deeper if there’s some issues.

Dan: Yeah, I guess when it comes down to it, if you’re doing things that are informed by data and informed by what’s worked in the past, then that’s going to help you focus on only the things that you know work, and that in itself is more efficient and is going to save you time and energy in the long run from doing the wrong things.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely.

Dan: So what’s one step social media marketers can take right now to make their campaigns more streamlined and data-driven?

Ryan: Use the network for what they’re intended to be used for. I mean, I’ve started seeing tremendous growth – I mean, I don’t want to say tremendous growth. I don’t have like a million followers or anything, but I have seen a lot of growth. I built a Facebook community; it’s got about 3,000 people in it now. My Facebook fan page, my Twitter page, my Google+, all of this stuff really started growing when I started creating stuff of value. So creating content I think is a humongous part. And again, content doesn’t have to be a blog post. Content could be, if you’re a designer, like create cool stuff in Photoshop, I don’t know, I mean, that’s a form of content. So understanding valuable content and creating large amounts and consistently, that’s number one. And number two is using the networks for what they’re intended for. Like it drives me nuts when — I unfollow people on Twitter all the time because it’s like, “Dude, I don’t want to just get blasted with links to everywhere you’re posting. That’s not why I’m on Twitter. I don’t go through Twitter to go to your blog. That’s not why I’m there. I’m there to get short stackable whatever, and it’s really a communication tool for me.” So understanding what these platforms are used for and what they should be used for and just playing kind of by their rules, instead of being like, “God, I don’t want to use my Facebook page anymore because every time I post a link to it it goes nowhere.” Well, then maybe you should stop posting links to it. Using them what they’re really meant for, and this is like the buzzword of the year, it’s like native content. You know, create stuff for those platforms. It’s a lot of work, but if you really want to have success? I mean, you look at anyone who has success on any sort of platform, like the people who get huge on Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter, I mean, they’re not just on Twitter posting links to their blog. Like, no, they’re out there communicating with people. They’re talking to people. They’re posting interesting stuff. So again, it’s not a shortcut by any means, but if you really want to have success on social, I think, you need to be social and create that native type content for that platform.

Dan: Got to respect the platform.

Ryan: Got to.

Dan: Thanks so much Ryan for taking the time to chat, this is great stuff.

Ryan: Yeah, any time.

Stephanie That was Ryan Stewart, founder of WEBRIS.

Transcript by GMR Transcription.


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Get More from Social by Doing Less [PODCAST]

The Dreaded AdWords Plateau and What You Can Do About It [PODCAST]

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Are your AdWords campaigns plateauing? Image via Flickr.

Have you ever run a PPC campaign that was working pretty well, but never seemed to get to the next level?

You may have experienced what PPC insiders call the “AdWords Plateau,” the point where your campaigns are maintaining their value, but are no longer driving the kind of growth you need.

So, do you just sit back and rest on your laurels? Heck no! We want your campaigns to always be converting better. That’s why in this episode of the Call to Action podcast, we talk to Igor Belogolovsky, co-founder of Clever Zebo, about advanced AdWords tactics that can push your campaigns up and off the plateau.

You will learn:

  • Why categorizing your campaigns based on product can be holding you back.
  • The importance of geography in AdWords.
  • How one company added a call extension and increased mobile leads by 110%.

Listen to the podcast

Listen on iTunes.
Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews Igor Belogolovsky, co-founder of Clever Zebo.

Stephanie Saretsky: Hey podcast listeners, I’m Stephanie Saretsky and you’re listing to Call to Action, a podcast about creating better marketing experiences — powered by Unbounce.

Are you running PPC campaigns? Are your results pretty good but you never seemed to be able to get them to be even better? You may have experienced what PPC insiders call the “AdWords Plateau,” the point when your campaigns are maintaining their value, but aren’t doing any better and aren’t doing any worse. So, do you just sit back on your laurels? Heck no! We want your campaigns to always be converting better. That’s why our Content Strategist Dan Levy got in touch with Igor Belogolovsky, co-founder of Clever Zebo, about advanced AdWords hacks that can push your campaigns up and off the plateau. Take a listen to this.

Dan: Before we get into brass tacks, let’s talk about the infamous AdWords performance plateau. What is it, and how do I know if I’ve reached it?

Igor: You know, if you’ve been advertising on AdWords for a long time and have been trying different tweaks in your campaign, and you come across that moment where you’re sort of like, “Hmm, no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get the number of conversions up from week to week, can’t seem to get this CPA down any further.” That’s kind of what I think of as the plateau. And if you’ve optimized AdWords campaigns for a while, it happens and it comes pretty quickly if you’re good at this.

Dan: So what are some signs that you’ve reached a plateau and it’s time to try something new?

Igor: Honestly, I think the biggest thing is that those metrics are staying steady. Can’t seem to get over a certain number of weekly conversions, can’t seem to get under a certain CPA. If other metrics are staying unchanged or you can’t get them higher or better than they were last week, that’s definitely a sign. Especially if you’re doing rigorous testing in the account. If you’ve got an A/B test on your ads live at all times and still, no matter what, you’ve got incumbent ads always beating the new variants, that’s an indicator that the account’s in pretty good shape. It means that things might have plateaued.

Dan: And of course, things are in good shape, then – it’s a good problem to have, but you always want to be optimizing and doing better, of course. So, one of the more common challenges that I think performance marketers find themselves butting up against has to do with the volume. Can you explain why I might want to get more campaign traffic and what I can do to get that?

Igor: So everybody’s looking for more traffic if it’s qualified. It’s easy to spend money on AdWords on traffic that isn’t qualified, so put that asterisk next to the idea of more traffic and why you would want it. But let’s say that you’re getting good traffic through AdWords and you want to get more of it. Basically, there’s two ways that you can get more traffic through AdWords. #1 is expanding your keyword approach and different topics that you want to capture searchers on. #2 is actually creating better performing campaigns. So you might only be able to get a certain percentage of the impression share available on your terms if your ads are not kind of very historically vetted and have been shown to Google to perform really well. Once you pass that test — once you kind of show Google that you can drive consistent performance and you’re going to keep spending in that area and you’re going to outperform in a consistent way the other competitors in that space — you’re going to be able to get more volume. Because Google will trust your ad. Google will know if they serve it a certain number of times a day, they’ll make a certain amount of money from people clicking that ad and you’ll be happy from the results from a conversion standpoint and ROI standpoint. So it’s not a risk for Google. So those are the two main ways to increase traffic.

Dan: And of course, getting more traffic, though, usually means spending more money. How do you know if it’s worth cranking up the budget for that?

Igor: Well, like any performance marketer, I would tell you that if you’re making more money than you’re spending, you’re in good shape. But that’s where people start talking about the concept of lifetime value. You know, sometimes the conversion that you’re tracking in AdWords doesn’t trace all the way back to the credit card or the revenue that comes back to your business. So when you’ve got a sophisticated enough model, when you can take into account lifetime value, if you can feed that back into AdWords through their offline conversions import feature, you can really be in good shape to understand your overall ROI.

Dan: Well, the next tactic, now that we’ve got the basics down, the next one that you look at in your post has to do with lowering cost per acquisition. Most marketers manage CPA by campaign or keyword and ad group. But you’re right that this means that you’re prioritizing search topics over the searcher herself or himself. What do you mean by that?

Igor: So if you’re just adjusting bids based on a specific keyword, basically what you’re telling Google is red shoes are converting better than blue shoes. What you’re ignoring, potentially, is the person that’s typing that in and what experience they’re going to have when they click through to your site. So in the case of an ecommerce site, where maybe you’ve got a high-ticket item and a very considered purchase, maybe the desktop version of the site converts better than mobile, because sometimes it’s tougher to make an ecommerce buy on your mobile device. It’s small and there’s a lot of different options. And so if you’re not optimizing bids at the device level, for example – and there are other dimensions too like geography and we’ll talk about that later – then you’re really doing yourself a disservice to just focus on the thing being searched and not also the searcher and what experience they’re having coming to your site.

Dan: Ultimately, you’re trying to reach a person, so user intent is something that I think maybe some marketers forget about but really should be driving your campaign for the most part, right?

Igor: Absolutely.

Dan: I’d like to dive into device type. Can you take us through what making bid adjustments looks like in the context of a mobile campaign?

Igor: So we just talked about the example of an ecommerce site where you might have a better desktop experience than mobile, and thus your mobile CPA might be higher so you might want to adjust your bids down on mobile to account for that. There’s also the possibility that your mobile experience is the primary experience and you want to bid up on the mobile ads. So an example of that might be that you’re advertising for your restaurant and you want somebody to set up a reservation on OpenTable. That’s something that people often do on their mobile device and they want to have a map handy of the restaurant. They’re not going to be doing that as often from their desktop. So in that scenario, you might bid up by 50 percent on mobile devices and not so much on desktop.

Dan: Another way to adjust bids is by geography, since some products and services convert differently in different places. I get how someone selling raincoats would want to focus on Seattle rather than Phoenix, for example. But could you explain why a marketer in a less tangible place-based industry like SaaS or healthcare or education would want to adjust their bids geographically?

Igor: Yeah, it’s a really good question. But you’d be surprised when you go into the dimensions tab in AdWords. Sometimes it’ll go into a campaign and California has a $40.00 CPA and in Illinois, we’re looking at a $150.00 CPA. Like why would that be? But it happens. The raincoat example is the one that Google kind of gives and that makes sense to everybody. In software as a service, it might be something more subtle. For example, we have a client that’s in usability testing software. And they get a lot of university students going and searching for their software to go and play around with the idea of usability testing and what it means. And those university students aren’t going to be great converters. But you know, in the name of education, they’ll go and click through and look around. And so you might have, in a university town like Berkeley, California, a lot of people kind of going that route and so not converting as often. Whereas across the bay in San Francisco where you have lots of tech startups, there might actually be buyers of the usability testing software. For them, you might have a lower CPA and better converting numbers. So that’s just a scenario where in micro geography, you might have higher bids for San Francisco where you have the tech startups and lower bids for Berkeley, which is a college town.

Dan: That makes sense. Google suggests that you make bid adjustments in the 15 percent range. Why – what’s so magical about that particular number? Do you know?

Igor: That’s a good question. Google usually suggests this; the reps often talk about the 10 to 15 percent range. And I think the reason really is that Google AdWords is a sensitive machine. And if you go in and start tweaking levers at 30 or 50 percent bid increases, there’s not as much stability to that and it can take longer to learn. Whereas if you go gradually, you can learn more and I think you can learn more quickly. I think gradual is the key to a lot of things in AdWords, not just the adjustments.

Dan: So it’s sort of Google giving a hint a little bit about how their algorithm works there?

Igor: I think so.

Dan: Yeah, a lot of AdWords is reading the Google tea leaves, isn’t it?

Igor: I think so.

Dan: The last conversion that you suggest optimizing your AdWords campaign for is click-through rates. Before we get into some of the techs about how to do that, when might you find yourself in a situation where it makes sense to optimize for clicks?

Igor: Yeah. So I think the main caveat here is of course, clicks are good but conversions are better, right? So it’s not that I’m saying you want to go out and get as many clicks as possible, because that can be expensive. But click-through rate has long been known to be the main determinant of Quality Score, which is Google’s 1 to 10 scale of how good of a search result your ad is, in the end, as an experience for the visitor. And the better experience that your ad provides, the more often Google is going to serve that ad, and also the less Google is going to charge you to put that ad in the top three spots because they know that it’s going to get clicked because it’s just such a good quality ad. And so by getting your click-through up and optimizing for clicks, you’re actually going to improve that Quality Score and hopefully take it to the 7, 8, 9, 10 out of 10 range. And that’s really going to help you from a cost perspective and from an impression share perspective. I would say the other reason to optimize for clicks is just if you’re in a very competitive SEM landscape. So if you’re in real estate, if you’re in legal, every qualified click counts. And so getting that impression share optimizing for clicks can be the life blood of your account.

Dan: Yeah, Quality Score I guess is another one of those things that’s a little bit mysterious and Google doesn’t give a whole lot of advice about how to get that up. So I suppose anything counts.

Igor: Exactly.

Dan: So let’s talk about ad extensions, which are one of the key ways that you can set up your PPC campaigns and set them apart from noobs and competitors. So what are ad extensions? What do they look like and why should marketers get really excited about them?

Igor: There’s a couple of different types of ad extensions. I’ll just call out a few. There’s site links, which are up to four different links that will show up underneath your ad headline and will point to specific content on your site; so not just to the landing page that your main ad headline links to, but to an “about us” page, or a partnership integrations page or testimonials page or something like that. The other exciting thing about the site links extension, though, is that it really gives you more real estate on the page. So if you are fortunate enough to have your ads show up in those top three spots in Google, you’re going to take up more room when they show those four site link extensions and so you kind of get more billboard real estate out of that.

Dan: Is there a tradeoff there, though? Because you’re also distracting people from getting to that landing page where the conversion actually takes place, no?

Igor: That’s a really good point and something I’ve had to attack with a client this week — you might have people going to another place on the site that’s less of a direct path to conversion. And so what that tells me is: man, every page on this site has got to have a strong call to action. Even if you’re telling people about your great quality of work and where your product is made and all that type of more informational stuff, you’ve got to have a call to action on the page and be able to point people toward the conversion that way. Otherwise, the site links could well distract more than they add.

Dan: Wouldn’t it depend, then, on where the user that you’re targeting is in your customer lifecycle? Like if it’s a little bit more of a lead gen or brand awareness play, then those site links getting that attention might be worth it. But if you’re looking for that conversion, then maybe not?

Igor: Yeah, that can absolutely make a difference. Another way the companies will use it is that a player like Zappos might have a site link that’s all about their free returns and how you can return something for 365 days out of the year. They might think that if they work that into their 35 character description one line, that’s okay. But having a whole site link and page and description of that policy can be really beneficial for them because that’s one of the big reasons that people buy from Zappos.

Dan: Interesting. So in a way, it’s just a way – well, I guess that’s why it’s called an extension, right? It’s a way to extend your ad and your messaging without –

Igor: Absolutely.

Dan: – messing up your peppy headline, I guess.

Igor: That’s right. And there’s a couple other versions of the extension, also. There’s location extensions for brick and mortar business to show the location of it, there’s call extensions which will bring in a phone number right there into your ad. And there’s a callout extension, which is not a clickable piece of text but it allows you to put a couple of dinger benefits right below your ad about your service.

Dan: I wanted to ask you about the call extension. Can you talk about how an organization called A Place for Mom added a call extension and increased their mobile leads by 110 percent in the process?

Igor: Yeah, absolutely. So A Place for Mom is one of Google’s case studies and they’re in elder care. And you know, at the end of the day, it’s pretty obvious. You add a call extension, you allow people who are searching for information about your service on mobile to call in rather than using the form on your site. And of course they’re going to call so it makes sense that they were able to increase calls. But I think that the real takeaway from this one is that calls can be a much more qualified lead than somebody who just fills out a form on your website. Because what ends up happening is sales teams that call on leads that submit through a landing page form, they’ll usually find that at least half of the submissions are not good leads for whatever reason; either they can’t reach them on the phone number, or by the time they get a call from the sales rep, they’ve filled out three other forms of competitors and so they’re going with a different option. Somebody who’s calling you right there on the spot, they’ve made a lot more effort to pick up the phone and get in touch with you. And something like eldercare in this example — there are lots of other businesses like this. It can be something that people want to talk through on the phone and not just read a couple of bullet points on a landing page and submit a form. And so these people that are calling are treasured leads. They should be viewed as a lead that maybe would be willing to pay three or four times as much to Google to get that lead.

Dan: Yeah. Again, it goes back to that user’s intent and where they are in your funnel, and whether it makes more sense to get them on the phone right away, or what you really want to be doing is getting their email address so you could continue to nurture them through the funnel until it’s time to maybe ask for that big conversion. So yeah, in most cases, the conversion doesn’t happen over the phone but it does happen on that landing page. Can you leave us with one tip for optimizing your PPC landing pages for more conversions?

Igor: Yeah. You know, I think that the last couple years, the trend has really been minimalist text: the idea that people don’t read so much on a landing page and really having a bare bones form where we don’t ask for a lot of fields. So the trend has been don’t ask too much of the consumer. But there’s a flip side to that. I think trustworthiness is one of the main reasons that people do choose to give their information on a landing page. And so sometimes it can take a little bit of content to build that trust. So I guess maybe the tip is this: if I see a great testimonial with a picture of the person that it’s coming from, and it’s from somebody who is just right in my demographic. So I’m a cofounder of a marketing firm. If I see this tool that – I’m looking at their landing page – is used by an executive at a marketing agency and he’s saying, “Man, this tool saved us a bunch of money and you’ve got to try it,” coupled with a lot of other landing page elements that kind of build out the case for that tool, I’m much more likely to convert than if somebody is just using a snappy headline, a really short form, and really bare bones content.

Dan: Yeah, it’s amazing how many marketers still don’t include that sort of social proof on their landing page. That said, our cofounder Oli used to say that 99 percent of marketers still aren’t even sending their AdWords traffic to a dedicated landing page. I think recently he said it’s gotten a little bit better so it’s more like 98 percent. I don’t know what you’re seeing, but where do you think we are, actually, with the state of AdWords and using dedicated landing pages for PPC campaigns, and why do you think most – or why do you think more marketers still aren’t doing it?

Igor: It’s something that’s been changing a lot and certainly there’s really sophisticated companies out there that are building out highly specific landing pages for every search term. I think that, at the end of the day, it takes resources to build these dedicated pages. And so in the spirit of minimum viable product and kind of straw manning something together to get proof out of AdWords before you go and put a lot of technical resources behind it, a lot of companies and a lot of our clients will build kind of the minimum viable landing page approach, which will not necessarily be super specific, keyword by keyword and ad group by ad group. And once they see that work well, one of the optimization steps that we recommend, months down the road after that, is to build out a very specific approach. But it can be really tough to get technical resources devoted to that type of thing and you have to believe in Google AdWords, you have to believe in landing pages that are highly tailored and really put the money there and make it happen and make it beautiful.

Dan: If only there were a tool to help you easily build landing pages.

Igor: Wild idea.

Dan: Shameless plug. Cool. Well, thanks for sharing all these really insightful tips and for the great post, Igor. It was great to chat.

Igor: Dan, thank you.

Stephanie: That was Igor Belogolovsky, co-founder of Clever Zebo.

Transcript by GMR Transcription.


Credit:

The Dreaded AdWords Plateau and What You Can Do About It [PODCAST]

Are You Making Any of These Landing Page Mistakes? [PODCAST]

landing-page-mistakes-podcast-650
Everybody makes mistakes, but only a select few try to fix them. Image via Flickr.

Ever stumble around searching for your glasses, only to discover two minutes later that they’re right there on your nose?

Sometimes we get so close to something that we lose sight of the obvious. And that’s exactly what this episode of the Call to Action podcast is about.

As Casey Ark, owner of Plato Web Design explains, there’s a reason that landing page optimization articles can sound repetitive — it’s ‘cause people make so many of the same mistakes, again and again. And again.

This episode aims to call out those common mistakes to banish them once and for all.

You’ll learn:

  • Why even some of the most successful companies aren’t immune to common landing page slipups.
  • How Casey ensures that his copy is concise and visitor-centric.
  • Why segmenting prospects on your landing page isn’t always worth the trouble.

Listen to the podcast

Listen on iTunes.
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Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews Casey Ark, owner of Plato Web Design.

Stephanie Saretsky: If you have a low conversion rate, looking for advice on landing page optimization can seem a little overwhelming. There is a lot of conflicting advice surrounding your design, your CTA button, your copy. So it may just be easier to throw a page up, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

But hold up.

There are still some basics mistakes that every marketer should know not to make. Unbounce’s Content Strategist Dan Levy speaks to Casey Ark, owner of digital agency Plato, about the most common landing page mistakes that his agency finds, and how to go about fixing them.

Dan Levy: You start off your posts with kind of a scary statement, which is that many of the world’s most aesthetically beautiful landing pages fail miserably when it comes to conversion. Now, I know that beautiful and high-converting don’t necessarily go hand in hand. But why do you think this is so out of whack?

Casey Ark: That’s a really good question. I think it’s actually kind of an artifact of the way that we design websites now. Not in a general sense, but just kinda what we think is a good website right now is a really specific thing. It’s a big background image in the background. You’ve got big heading text kind of in the middle. The images on everything are massive. It’s all responsive and mobile-friendly and all that stuff. And that’s great. I’m a designer too, so I love that stuff. It’s wonderful. But that’s really restricting when it comes to actually making a solid converting landing page.

In fact, it’s actually kinda hard sometimes to fit your product into that mold. Because when you think about it, if you’ve got a whole lot of center-aligned text that goes almost all the way across the screen, you’ve got a big background image, there’s no room to actually show your product or say a whole lot about your product. What we think is beautiful is mostly just kind of this abstract design thing, so that’s really, really restrictive.

But there is absolutely a way to have that intersection between really attractive and really effective. But if you’re focusing so much on the aesthetic of the thing, especially if you’re having huge background images and don’t really have the copy to back it up, I think that’s really what ends up hurting you so much. Because you see so many of these. At least I see tons and tons of them daily, where you look at it and you go, “That’s a beautiful page. That’s great. But I don’t see any benefits to me as the consumer. I don’t see any real reasons why I should be buying this product, other than you have a nice picture of a mountain in the background.”

Dan Levy: Right. Yeah. Well, I mean, I guess design and high conversion aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. But often it seems like when people focus so much on the design, they almost get, like, carried away or distracted. It’s like a red flag that they’re forgetting the other thing.

Casey Ark: Exactly. Yeah. And especially for business owners that are paying for these landing pages. If you’re paying a couple grand to get a landing page done, if you’re not using Unbounce or something like that, lots of these people are really proud of it. They’re proud that it should look really, really good. You don’t wanna spend a couple grand on something that is conversion centric and doesn’t necessarily look great. So yeah, I think sometimes there’s a little bit of pride behind it. But yeah, I think you’re exactly right.

Dan Levy: Cool. Well, I’m sure we’ll get back to that. But first, I wanna talk about the first mistake that you tackle in your post, which is not actually showing your product on the landing page itself. You call this the cardinal sin of landing page design. Why is that such a huge mistake?

Casey Ark: Yeah, and you wouldn’t believe how often it happens. If you start looking at landing pages, anybody out there, you should start paying attention to whether or not they have the actual product shown. It’s an incredible amount – I bet it’s six or seven out of ten.

Dan Levy: It sounds so obvious.

Casey Ark: It sounds extremely obviously, right? You’d think you have to absolutely have it on there. You’d never have a car commercial without the car. You’d never have a burger commercial without the burger. It doesn’t make any sense. And the big reason why it matters and why it’s kind of that big mistake, which is what you asked, I can’t want what I can’t see. And that’s what I’m really focusing on when I’m making a solid landing page. And that’s really the difference between poor-converting landing pages and awesome-converting landing pages — when the customer hits that page, you’re not just describing the product in a way that would be favorable. You’re not writing a book here. You’re not trying to just be really descriptive with language. It’s extremely difficult to want something you can’t see.

And what we’re looking for is that little wow moment that happens when somebody hits the page. A couple seconds into the page they realize what the product is. And they go, “Wow! I kinda want that.” And it’s so hard to do that without seeing it. And even in your day-to-day life, it’s usually pretty applicable for most people. If you really think about it, what are things that you want in the world? Do you want an iPhone? Do you want a really expensive car? You can visualize all of those things. You’ve probably seen all of those things.

So if you’re trying to create that kind of want in somebody, you’re dead in the water if you can’t actually show them your real product. And really, it should be front and center.

Dan Levy: Totally. Well, I mean, the second mistake you talk about is something related and that actually having your product on the page can maybe even help out with, which is not explaining what you do on the landing page. Can you explain how a company called Marketing Genesis made this mistake on their page and how to fix it?

Casey Ark: Yeah. Basically, they look like they’re probably some sort of marketing company, and they’re running this kind of paid seminar. And they have the landing page for what looks like it’s probably a paid seminar, but they don’t actually say expressly what it is.

Dan Levy: Right. You’re like, it looks like it’s probably a company that has something to do with something?

Casey Ark: Yeah, exactly – there were a lot of “somethings” in there. Yeah, you’re not quite sure. And there are a couple of times where they ask you to register, and you don’t know what you’re registering for. And they say that it’s in San Diego, but you don’t even know what’s in San Diego, and they don’t say where in San Diego. So you’re just kinda in the blind. And that sort of page happens more than I can tell ya. And just in general, fixing that is kind of – it’s relatively simple in that you just wanna describe what it is that you’re actually doing. But you wouldn’t believe how often it happens.

So typically, what I tell people to do is think a little bit outside of your company. Because it’s easy to kind of get trapped in the mindset of wherever you’re working, if you’re working day in and day out. But typically, I like to say, “Find somebody outside your company. How would you explain to them fully what it is that you do and what it is that you’re selling and how your product works?”

Dan Levy: We talked about this in other podcast episodes — how copywriters, when they’re writing their “about” page copy for example, sometimes they just get too far into the weeds because the obvious stuff to them is just like, yeah, like, of course people need to be using landing pages for their campaigns. And you start talking about advanced optimization tactics when for most people, actually don’t really know what a landing page is and why they need it there.

Casey Ark: Yeah, exactly. Probably eight out of ten people I talk to every day, I still have to describe what a landing page is. So yeah, I completely understand that.

Dan Levy: You and me both, brother.

Casey Ark: Yep.

Dan Levy: So yeah, I mean, this stuff, again, it seems kind of obvious when you point it out. And maybe it seems obvious to listeners. But I think we’ve all seen really successful companies make this mistake. So I mean, why do you think that is?

Casey Ark: That’s a really good question. I think part of it is just getting kinda trapped in the corporate culture and what we just talked about. If you’re the copywriter, you come in with a certain assumption that people might know what landing pages are or people might know what hardscaping is if you’re a landscaping company. But typically, people don’t know. And it’s amazing how little people know about brands, even brands that they are interacting with a daily or bi-daily basis.

And really, when you come in with that assumption, it kills ya immediately because when people (even your trusted brand advocates) are seeing copy like that from you — where it’s sort of vague and you’re kind of mentioning what you do — a lot of time they don’t know what you’re talking about and they’re too embarrassed to ask. So you end up getting stuck.

The fix for that again is thinking outside the company a little bit. But yet it’s hard to kind of understand what you should be showing online when you’re stuck inside that loop of working in a big company for that long.

Dan Levy: Do you have, like, a go-to tactic for developing copy that keeps customers’ mindset in mind, even when you’re really close to the product yourself?

Casey Ark: It’s kinda funny. But yeah, typically, I tell people that you wanna lock yourself in a room for maybe two or three minutes with a piece of paper and a pen. And just write down bullet points that you’d wanna tell a startup investor if you only had that maybe 30-second or 45-second elevator pitch. And that’s the start. So you wanna have points that are probably benefit-driven for him. You wanna say, “If I was a customer, why would I wanna buy this product?”

And then take all those bullet points, and take another two or three minutes and tailor them so that you can tell them exactly to your mother pretty much verbatim. Remove every possible technical word that you can find inside that kinda first set of bullet points, and move them to the second set. And that second set is really probably the base of your landing page.

Dan Levy: So we’ve talked about how you need to explain what you do. But the kind of extreme of this is to want to include, like, every single detail of your offer on your landing page. And that’s what you say is the third mistake people are making on their pages. So you can you talk about that one?

Casey Ark: Yeah. It’s so easy to make that mistake too because when you sit down and you start trying to make a landing page, if you’re a small business owner, you probably think, “I either wanna list some things about my business, or maybe I wanna list absolutely everything just in case somebody’s gonna ask.” And that’s what happens so often. When you get a couple people in kind of a small business team together, and you write down a list of what should be on the landing page, you end up with this massive list sometimes with really tiny nuanced things about the business. Again, if you’re a landscaping company, you might, like, decide to mention your payment plans or something. You get pretty deep into things.

But really you don’t have to get that deep into the product in most instances, certainly not deep enough that you ever need to include real paragraph texts to any serious degree. There are so many landing pages that use long paragraphs of text. And basically, if you’re making a landing page, you can pretty much operate under the assumption that people aren’t gonna read a word of your paragraph text because they don’t have the time. They wanna interact with you for maybe 20 to 30 seconds, maybe a minute. But absolutely nobody goes into their job, Googles something, and says, “Aw, I can’t wait to read five paragraphs of text about whatever it is I’m looking for.”

So basically, you wanna bullet point out everything as much as you can. If you’re scrolling through the site and you wouldn’t naturally read it in the flow of scrolling, it probably won’t get read at all.

Dan Levy: Yeah, you share an interesting tip for keeping your landing page copy down to a minimum which involves writing the copy before even looking at the landing page template. How does that work?

Casey Ark: It ends up working kinda because of what we talked about earlier. When you get stuck too deep into designing the page or worrying about the template or seeing how it looks, you kinda forget to look at the actual USP, the actual unique selling proposition. And so many people actually never really get around to even understanding why their business is that significantly different from other people. So again, that’s a situation where you really wanna sit down, write down a bullet point list of why you’re significantly better than your competitors or why your product really should be bought by customers, and focus on that first.

And typically, it’s a pretty short list. It might only be ten or fifteen things, maybe even less. But as long as you kinda have that general starting point and then craft the design around that, that helps a lot. Because what usually happens with people is they’ll start with a design, they won’t put the product in there always; they’ll just kinda have some general abstract tagline. Again, I keep going back to landscaping. But they might say something like, “Really great landscaping,” which always starts okay. You have an okay headline. But you can really improve it if you start to understand why people would go with you rather than other people. And then you can tailor that text to kind of fit into the design. So the headline ends up always looking significantly better. Your CTAs are almost always better because you’ve focused on just the text without any accoutrements.

Dan Levy: Yeah, I guess it goes back to what we were saying at the beginning, where so often – you know, this happens a lot when you’re in an agency or working with a creative team. And your designer starts with a design and then asks you to make the copy fit. Your content should always inform your design and not vice versa. Start with a template, right? But don’t let that template dictate the copy.

Casey Ark: Exactly. Yeah, that’s exactly right.

Dan Levy: Cool. Well, we’ve all heard the adage that if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one. But you wrote about a company called Perfumes for a Buck – love that name –

Casey Ark: Yep. It’s great.

Dan Levy: – that ran into a problem with friction when they tried to segment users on their landing page. What happened there?

Casey Ark: Basically, they’ve got this initial landing page that shows – they don’t actually have anything on the landing page except these two buttons that say, “Are you shopping for men’s perfume?” or “Are you shopping for women’s perfume?” You click one of the buttons, and then you get the selection there. That page is killing me because it just kills your conversion immediately. You’re asking people to make a decision when they don’t necessarily need to be making a decision about something.

Because ultimately, we can segment that out immediately. We don’t need to be asking people that question. We should really already know who we’re selling to by then. But that’s a killer thing. You really never, ever, ever wanna make people make a decision, especially when you’re paying for clicks like they were.

Dan Levy: Don’t make them do that work. You should be doing that work yourself.

Casey Ark: Exactly, yeah. Who knows how many people you’re gonna lose on that probably. You might lose 25 or 30 percent of people who just say, “Hey, I don’t feel like making this click.” And that’s just money lost.

Dan Levy: So I mean, if you are marketing to multiple segments like they were, how do you speak to them individually without weighing them down with having to make that choice themselves?

Casey Ark: Basically, it’s relatively easy to take care of something like that, especially if you’re using AdWords or Facebook or something like that where you can kind of manipulate the keywords that you’re using. So basically, what we wanna do is we wanna take care of the segmentation for the customer. We wanna take all the work out of the customer’s hand so the customer’s never having to say, “I am a man. I’m shopping for men’s perfume.”

So what we wanna do is basically, you’d wanna buy keywords. Instead of just buying for perfume, you’d wanna buy keywords for women’s perfume and probably men’s cologne separately. And then if somebody clicks on the men’s cologne ad, they should be going to a dedicated landing page that already has men’s cologne; it already has men’s perfume shown. And then the vice versa for women’s perfume. If they click on that, they should already be hitting a woman’s page.

And that immediately saves you a whole lot of money. And automatically – especially if you’re doing something that’s a paid click there – you really wanna know that anyway, whether you’re dealing with men or women, instantaneously. Because we’ve gotta reroute that traffic, and that’ll automatically improve your rates.

Dan Levy: It sounds so simple, but again, something that so many marketers just aren’t doing.

Casey Ark: Yeah. Exactly.

Dan Levy: We talk a lot on this podcast about the importance of testing stuff like headlines and call to action button copy. But you suggest that focusing too much on this stuff can actually lead to all these mistakes that we were just talking about. How so?

Casey Ark: I don’t wanna tell people not to test anything. You absolutely still should be testing things. Don’t listen to anybody that tells you otherwise. But if you’re focusing too much on that, it can hurt you, especially if you’re not absorbing the full understanding of what it is that you’re selling.

So ultimately, when you’re looking at a landing page, you should be basically looking at it as if you were designing a TV commercial for your product. And if you spend too much time testing it, if you spend too much time worrying about the color of the button and the shape of the button and the font you’re using and all that stuff, and less about the whole picture about why your product’s significantly better, that’s where you can really start getting into some trouble.

And what I mean by that practically is if you’re selling a car, I don’t care so much about the photo that you’re using of the car. I care a lot more about the entire holistic experience of the landing page. Are you telling me why the car is significantly better? Do I have a bunch of benefits listed to me? Do I have a relatively solid call to action? As long as you’ve got the general basics down, that’s probably more important long term than spending a whole lot of time worrying about individual color details or fonts or all that stuff.

Dan Levy: Yeah, it’s almost, like, awesome when people are testing and doing those more advanced stuff. But if that’s taking your eye off really simple things, like having your product on the page and telling people what you do, then maybe there’s a problem there and you need to kind of take a step back and see the forest for the trees or however that expression goes.

Casey Ark: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. And just to put it in a little bit more quantitative terms, the difference between a really great landing page and a bad landing page, typically, is not one headline away from having a huge difference. It’s typically more than that. It’s typically a little bit more of an understanding of what your customers want. It’s going from a place where you don’t understand what they want to a place where you do understand what they want. That’s kinda the big difference.

Dan Levy: Well, I think that’s a really good note to end on. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Casey.

Casey Ark: Of course! Happy to.

Stephanie Saretsky: That was Casey Ark, owner of Plato.

Source article: 

Are You Making Any of These Landing Page Mistakes? [PODCAST]

A Legendary Copywriting Formula 4 U [PODCAST]

blog-cover
This simple formula will help you delight readers and attract qualified customers… every time. Image by J. Pellgen via Flickr.

In this episode of the Call to Action podcast, we explore how to write amazing landing page copy.

First, we tell a story of what happened when we made our “About Us” page copy a little bit too much… about us.

Then, Unbounce’s Dan Levy talks to direct response copywriter Marc Aarons about embarrassing writing habits and an easy-to-remember landing page copywriting formula for making sure you’re simultaneously delighting readers and attracting qualified customers.

Listen to the podcast


Listen on iTunes.
Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast

Read the transcript

In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews direct response copywriter, Marc Aarons.

Dan Levy: Copywriting is kind of a tough thing to talk about because it, on the surface, seems kind of personal and specific to each company and their audience. Can it really be boiled down to a formula?

Marc Aarons: Yes and no. So it’s such a great question because formulas – I like to think of formulas almost like frameworks. They get us started, and they get us very close to the target. But at the end of the day, you’re always going to want to customize your entire sales message, your landing page, your sales page, video sales letters – whichever advertisement you’re actually creating for your audience. You always want to customize it specifically for them. We always start with the audience.

Dan Levy: So tell us about the 4 U Formula. How did that come about, and what are those 4 U’s anyway?

Marc Aarons: The 4 U Formula was actually developed by Michael Masterson, and he is best known as a serial entrepreneur. He is also a direct response copywriter, and he helped grow Agora Inc. – I think their financial division – from somewhere in the single digit millions to a nine-figure company. And he developed a number of techniques and innovative strategies that are now taught through the American Writers and Artists Incorporated, one of them being the 4 U Formula. And the 4 U Formula really breaks down into four questions. Is this useful? Is this unique? Is this urgent? And is it ultra-specific to our audience?

Dan Levy: Right. I want to get a little more specific there. But first, this post is about using the 4 U Formula on your landing pages in particular. And you say to either pick your headline or your subheadline or your benefits, which are usually in the bullet points of your landing page, when going about using this formula on your pages. Is there a particular one that you should start with?

Marc Aarons: So the beautiful thing about writing copy for landing pages is every single direct response copywriter that I’ve spoken to, they start in one of two places. Either they start in the body copy, which here, would be the benefits. Or they start with the headline/subheadline. So it’s either an inside/out or outside/in approach, if you will.

Dan Levy: Okay, so either start with the first thing you see on the page, or start with – well, actually, how about the call to action button? Where does that come in? Because I was going to say that’s sort of what the page is culminating toward, right?

Marc Aarons: Right. You know, the call to action, I would personally leave that to be the very last thing that I actually write because in the writing process, it’s like Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, “You have characters in your story. And as you write your story, they’re going to involve because you’re still getting to know your characters.” And writing a landing page or a sales page or even a video sales letter, it’s very much the same. You’re going to be learning a bit more about your audience and the message that you want to convey as you write the first draft, then re-edit the first draft to get to your second and third. And once you’ve got to your third, once you’ve got the final core message to offer the benefits, then the call to action button – and for some copywriters, the headline – is almost like the icing on the cake.

Dan Levy: That’s really interesting. The copywriter Joanna Wiebe talks about starting with your page goal, the call to action button, and working backwards. But here what you’re saying is as the page evolves, sometimes that call to action button might change.

Marc Aarons: Yes, absolutely. It can change. However, we always start with the plan, and the purpose of the plan is not just to stick to the plan, but to allow you to deviate from the plan if a better plan starts to make itself available to you.

Dan Levy: That’s what you were saying before. A formula is a great place to start, but you have to remain flexible.

Marc Aarons: Yes.

Dan Levy: So the goal here is to nail at least three out of those four U’s. But if you don’t, how would you go about revising that copy?

Marc Aarons: This is also a great question because it brings us right back to the heart of every single landing page and sales message: who is our audience? What is it that they want to accomplish? So if we’re going to ask ourselves – say, for example, we want to make a headline more useful. The question that we’re asking is: does this provide value to the visitor? Or, does it imply that there’s going to be value found if they actually click through and opt in or purchase something? So we start with that question, and then we contextualize it for the audience.

Dan Levy: Okay. Before we go into some examples of this, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your writing process. Do you have any specific techniques for getting started writing a landing page, like templates or a spreadsheet filled with notes and ideas?

Marc Aarons: I love this one because my writing process is something that I’ve refined for maybe five plus years now, and it always starts with research, and there are actually three kinds of research. And this is getting, probably, a little bit deeper than we need or –

Dan Levy: No, I love it. Let’s get into the weeds here.

Marc Aarons: Oh, cool, perfect.

Dan Levy: Let’s get nerdy.

Marc Aarons: I totally love this part. So we have three kinds of research. You have customer research, you have product research and you have competitor research. And the purpose of customer research is to understand what it is that your audience finds most valuable. What are their burning pains? What are their hopes, fears and dreams? What are their wants and aspirations?

And from there, we get into product research. We are going to look at our product, or even maybe our service, to then find out, “Okay, what’s the unique selling proposition, what differentiates us from everybody else that’s out there? And how does our product specifically address the wants and the fears and the frustrations that our customers are going through that we uncovered in our customer research?”

The third kind of research is competitive analysis, or competitor research. Then we look at everyone else, maybe even just the top three competitors that are out there, to see what it is that they’re offering, what their unique selling propositions are. Because once we know what else our customers are looking at, then we know how to differentiate ourselves from the competition and everything else that’s out there.

Dan Levy: Right. So once you’ve done all this research, how do you collect that into one place and then go about turning that into great copy?

Marc Aarons: Oh, so that’s also a great question. I like to use just one document to brain dump everything in, and it’s almost like writing the first draft. The research – you want to separate your research process into collecting and then organizing your data. And if you’re doing it for a client, then there’s also the reporting process as well where you’re going to make it legible or understandable for your client. So the first step, you go through the research process, you collect everything, and you put it into those three different sections – the customer, the product research and the competitor research.

Dan Levy: Is that like an Excel spreadsheet or Google doc or something like that?

Marc Aarons: Great question – Google doc. You can use an Excel spreadsheet. However, I actually use a combination of both. I use Google spreadsheets as well as Google Docs. Google spreadsheets, especially, if I’m going to be going through a lot of blogs and blog comments and reviewing a lot of books on Amazon and things like that because that just keeps it neatly in one place. Then I’ll actually go into a Google document to create the narrative because I need to summarize it to about just one to two pages, which allows me to glance at it as I’m actually writing so I don’t get stuck in the writing process.

Dan Levy: Yeah, I feel like we all have these secretly shameful, messy documents where we dump all our ideas, and then we have to go about cleaning that up and putting it into some sort of narrative for our client or just to make some sense out of it.

Marc Aarons: Always. I definitely get messy in my process as well. And then afterwards, to make myself feel like a good human being, I’ll go clean it up.

Dan Levy: Totally. In your post, you take a close look at a landing page by Noah Kagan for an email marketing course that he was involved with. So the page passes the 4 U test, but you suggest that he could actually improve on one of his 4 U’s by adding more urgency. Can you break this one down for us?

Marc Aarons: Yeah, sure thing. He did many things there as well, but for us to up the urgency factor, we could show through social proof how many other people are actually taking this course as well. So if we say something like, “Join 5,000 other sharp marketers,” or whatever the specific number is right now, then that may trigger someone who’s reading it to say, “Oh, wow. Everyone else is doing this, and they’re getting ahead of me, and I don’t want to get left behind. So let me go ahead and opt in right now before all of my other competitors and everybody else gets the jump on this.”

Dan Levy: You also say later in the post, though, that urgency can actually backfire sometimes. How so?

Marc Aarons: Totally. So if you push too hard – and this comes right back to knowing specifically who it is that you’re talking to – because if you push the envelope too hard, it’s almost like the used car salesman who’s trying to get you to buy, buy, buy, buy now. It is like, “Whoa, why are you trying to push this so hard?” Maybe it actually isn’t that good, which totally goes into this whole deeper thing of demand and supply and all that kind of stuff. But if you push the urgency factor too high, it will actually repel the person that you’re trying to target, and it may actually attract the wrong kind of person because if you use too much urgency, then you’re going to be attracting people who act on impulse and who respond to that. And you’ll have to continue to sell to them because that’s the customer that you now have in your sales funnel.

Dan Levy: There’s a carpet store that’s on my corner that’s been going out of business, I think for six or seven years now. So it’s like, “Act fast,” and I think a lot of customers can see through that. But that’s an interesting point, too, about attracting the wrong kind of customer on unqualified leads or customers that are ultimately going to be a drain on your resources – maybe on the customer success side.

Marc Aarons: Absolutely.

Dan Levy: You mentioned a statistic that Brian Clark of Copyblogger and others have written about, which is that 95 percent of the most effective headlines from the early years of magazine advertising were actually eight words or fewer. Eight words aren’t that much, really, but are eight words really enough to be ultra-specific about a complex offer?

Marc Aarons: The answer is, again, yes and no. It depends on the offer so I actually want to give both examples. So in the example where it’s “yes,” then sometimes it’s actually possible to really boil it down and really just get the core benefit or the core driving question down. And speaking of core driving question, that gets a little bit into the “no” part because the real purpose of any headline and subheadline is to just get them to continue reading the copy. That’s it. You just want them to read on. That is the whole purpose. And once they read the first line, the purpose of the first line is to get them to read the second line, and so on and so forth until they get to the call to action. And then finally, the whole purpose of all of that buildup is to then get them to click that button, opt in, or make a purchase.

Dan Levy: Right. To go back to the yes and no thing and your post – with the caveat that of course all of this needs to actually be tested on your landing page. But you say if all else fails, you could seduce them with empathy. Recently, I actually spoke to Andy Crestodina about approaching your content marketing with empathy, but what does empathy mean in regards to copywriting?

Marc Aarons: So this is a great question, and I actually think of Brené Brown and her Ted talk on empathy, which if everyone hasn’t gotten a chance to look at it, I would highly recommend it. But what she says is empathy is feeling the emotions that someone else is feeling, and it can actually be taught and practiced. And the way that comes into copywriting is the best sales pages of – I was actually recently at a nine figure direct response company just earlier on this weekend, and everybody agreed that as you’re writing the copy, the more you can visualize one single person that you’re writing this letter to is the better the copy comes out. Because that’s exactly what it is – it’s writing a letter. So if you can have empathy for the single person who is the customer avatar of your audience, then you’re headlines get stronger, your subheadlines get stronger, your calls to actions get stronger, and your bullets and benefits also get stronger.

Dan Levy: I have to admit that as a writer myself, sometimes the idea of applying formulas to the writing process feels – I don’t know. I’m not going to say soulless, but in some ways, the opposite of a more human-centered approach. You seem to be suggesting that this kind of framework can actually help you be more empathetic, which is interesting.

Marc Aarons: Yes. It’s so funny because formulas I kind of see as boundaries. They’re almost like the walls of a house. We know that when we walk into a house that we’re safe. We’re home. Those boundaries allow us the freedom to express ourselves within this safe space. So in some ways its structure can provide freedom.

Dan Levy: Yeah, that’s the way it is with any parts of the creative process. When you’re given just a blank page and told, “Free write,” it’s super, super daunting. But when you’re given some sort of boundary, some sort of guideline, then all of a sudden, it kind of opens that creative part of your mind.

Marc Aarons: Absolutely.

Dan Levy: Great. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Marc Aarons: Likewise.

Transcript by GMR Transcription


Link:

A Legendary Copywriting Formula 4 U [PODCAST]

Be a Better Blogger Using Google Analytics [PODCAST]

data
Here’s a blogging strategy that would make Data proud. Image by JD Hancock via Flickr.

As content marketers, we pour our heart and soul into every piece of content we create – which is why it’s super frustrating to spend an insane amount of time on a blog post only to have it flop.

But what if there was a way to easily tell whether a blog post idea will resonate with your audience, all while making your brainstorming process a breeze?

Say hello to your new best friend, Google Analytics.

In this episode of the Call to Action podcast, we spoke with Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media about Google Analytics reports that’ll help make your blog content more successful by leaps and bounds.

In this episode you’ll learn…

  • The Google Analytics reports that’ll help you find the juiciest keywords for your posts.
  • The one character trait that sets marketers apart from advertisers.
  • How to put together a blog ideas cheat sheet that you can refer to next time you have writer’s block (or simply want to write a killer post).

Listen to the episode

Listen on iTunes.
Prefer Stitcher? We got your back.

Mentioned in the podcast


See original:

Be a Better Blogger Using Google Analytics [PODCAST]

Thumbnail

I’m Pretty Sure Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Isn’t Good Enough

optimized-mobile-campaign-650
It’s a mobile mobile. Get it? Image by James Theophane via Flickr.

We’ve all read a metric ton of marketing articles telling us that “A mobile marketing strategy is a must.

If it feels like you’ve been hearing that forever, it’s because people have actually been spewing that advice for nearly a decade. That type of article started cropping up way back in 2008, according to Google Trends:

google-trends-mobile-marketing-strategy

Several years later, you’ve likely (hopefully) got a mobile strategy in place; your landing pages are mobile responsive and your emails scale for many different screen sizes.

You’ve adapted to the new reality because you’ve accepted that this is just the way things are now:

email-stats-phone-bathroom

But with sobering stats like that and #mobilegeddon behind us, simply having a mobile marketing strategy isn’t enough anymore.

As Chris Goward, CEO of conversion optimization agency WiderFunnel, explained in our recent Unwebinar, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to have an optimized mobile marketing strategy – one that you’re constantly refining and improving.

To help with that, Chris shared a three-pronged approach to mobile optimization that will help you stay ahead of the curve (and score more conversions). Read on for a summary of his process – or check out the webinar recording here.

The trinity of mobile optimization

On the webinar, Chris shared a diagram which broke down his approach to mobile CRO:

mobile-optimization-trinity

Every solid mobile optimization strategy, Chris explained, has three essential elements:

  1. Persuasion marketing: tactics that motivate visitors to take action
  2. Experience design: tearing down conversion barriers to create friction-free and delightful experiences
  3. A scientific method: for testing your hypotheses and refining the tactics from elements #1 and #2

Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these elements to get a better idea of how it all fits together into a killer, constantly-improving mobile CRO strategy.

Persuasion marketing

The first ingredient of your optimized mobile marketing strategy should be a healthy dose of persuasion marketing.

If you’re a CRO buff, you’re likely already intimately familiar with a lot of this groundwork. It’s the intuitive (but super essential) stuff that will never change, regardless of which device prospects are using:

  • Making use of clear and concise language
  • Communicating a unique value proposition that resonates with prospects
  • Using social proof, compelling CTAs, and other triggers that motivate prospects to take action

All pretty straightforward so far, but this is when things get a bit deeper.

Experience design

Experience design is all about minding the experience you’re creating for your mobile users. It’s about understanding their state of mind and facilitating interactions that are unique to the mobile experience.

The first step in doing that, Chris explained, is understanding that mobile optimization isn’t just about the device:

After all, as Chris puts it, there is no such thing as a “mobile user.” At the end of the day, your mobile users are the same people as your desktop users.

In a mobile context, it’s the circumstances that differ: users behave differently and react to different stimuli. As a result, a new set of challenges arise in the mobile environment:

mobile-new-challenges

New challenges require new solutions – which, Chris explained, represent hidden opportunities for you.

With so few people actively optimizing their mobile campaigns, there are so many possibilities for testing and improvement (and for staying ahead of the competition):

So how can you determine the best possible experience for mobile?

Scientific method

Here’s where a scientific method comes in – it’s your responsibility to test to find out what the best mobile experience is for users.

Without a doubt, this is easier said than done. So how do you get started?

Do your homework

Like any good CRO strategy, your mobile optimization strategy needs to start with a healthy dose of research:

  • Make sure you understand your customer’s mindset and language
  • Take the time to collect data through heuristic analysis, web analytics, surveys and all that nerdy goodness

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you need a framework for asking the right questions and identifying ripe optimization opportunities.

Identify a list of opportunities

Chris shared WiderFunnel’s LIFT model, which provides a structured approach to analyzing your mobile landing pages (and the other pieces of your mobile campaigns):

lift-model-chris-goward

In a nutshell, it helps you take a structured approach to evaluating your landing pages for:

  • A strong UVP: Are you clearly describing how you can solve your prospect’s problem and what distinguishes you from the competition?
  • Relevance: Does the landing page deliver what prospects were promised before arriving there? Are you speaking in a language they find relatable?
  • Clarity: Does your copy spell out exactly what prospects will get? Does the page have a logical flow that guides prospects toward the goal?
  • Urgency: Is there any indication that prospects need to act now?
  • Anxiety: Does your prospect have any objections that aren’t being addressed? Are you unintentionally raising red flags?
  • Distraction: Are there elements competing with your conversion goal?

As an example, Chris showed an analysis of a mobile landing page for an iPhone 5 screen protector:

mobile-landing-page-lift-analysis
For this mobile landing page, Chris found that there were many elements inhibiting prospects from converting. Image source.

After you’ve critiqued your page for each of the components of the LIFT model and made a list of the weaknesses, it’s time to start optimizin’.

Turn weaknesses into opportunities for improvement

Now you take the problems you’ve identified and flip them on their head – crafting hypotheses that will allow you to turn all your problem areas into strengths.

lift-turn-weaknesses-into-strengths

You’ll be left with a list of optimization opportunities – and all you have to do is pick one and run your first A/B test.

Psst: if you’re wondering how you can start prioritizing these tests, check out this article by Chris about the PIE method – a straightforward formula for prioritizing your tests based on three criteria: potential, importance and ease.

Always keep learning and optimizing

With every test you run, be sure to debrief and reflect on what you’ve learned about your users.

As much as your end goal is to lift conversions, it’s also to gain insight that you can learn from and apply to all your marketing efforts.

And as Chris suggested, look for opportunities for borrowing insight across tests – and even across channels:

desktop-tests-insight-to-mobile-tests

Because your mobile users and desktop users are the same people, your testing efforts across channels don’t exist in a silo. You can learn insights from your mobile tests that you can then apply to your landing page and campaign optimization on any channel.

No optimization effort is ever complete, but testing consistently and borrowing insights across channels will bring you closer to the unattainable goal of a perfect conversion rate.


Visit site – 

I’m Pretty Sure Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Isn’t Good Enough

Thumbnail

I’m Pretty Sure Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Isn’t Good Enough

optimized-mobile-campaign-650
It’s a mobile mobile. Get it? Image by James Theophane via Flickr.

We’ve all read a metric ton of marketing articles telling us that “A mobile marketing strategy is a must.

If it feels like you’ve been hearing that forever, it’s because people have actually been spewing that advice for nearly a decade. That type of article started cropping up way back in 2008, according to Google Trends:

google-trends-mobile-marketing-strategy

Several years later, you’ve likely (hopefully) got a mobile strategy in place; your landing pages are mobile responsive and your emails scale for many different screen sizes.

You’ve adapted to the new reality because you’ve accepted that this is just the way things are now:

email-stats-phone-bathroom

But with sobering stats like that and #mobilegeddon behind us, simply having a mobile marketing strategy isn’t enough anymore.

As Chris Goward, CEO of conversion optimization agency WiderFunnel, explained in our recent Unwebinar, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to have an optimized mobile marketing strategy – one that you’re constantly refining and improving.

To help with that, Chris shared a three-pronged approach to mobile optimization that will help you stay ahead of the curve (and score more conversions). Read on for a summary of his process – or check out the webinar recording here.

The trinity of mobile optimization

On the webinar, Chris shared a diagram which broke down his approach to mobile CRO:

mobile-optimization-trinity

Every solid mobile optimization strategy, Chris explained, has three essential elements:

  1. Persuasion marketing: tactics that motivate visitors to take action
  2. Experience design: tearing down conversion barriers to create friction-free and delightful experiences
  3. A scientific method: for testing your hypotheses and refining the tactics from elements #1 and #2

Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these elements to get a better idea of how it all fits together into a killer, constantly-improving mobile CRO strategy.

Persuasion marketing

The first ingredient of your optimized mobile marketing strategy should be a healthy dose of persuasion marketing.

If you’re a CRO buff, you’re likely already intimately familiar with a lot of this groundwork. It’s the intuitive (but super essential) stuff that will never change, regardless of which device prospects are using:

  • Making use of clear and concise language
  • Communicating a unique value proposition that resonates with prospects
  • Using social proof, compelling CTAs, and other triggers that motivate prospects to take action

All pretty straightforward so far, but this is when things get a bit deeper.

Experience design

Experience design is all about minding the experience you’re creating for your mobile users. It’s about understanding their state of mind and facilitating interactions that are unique to the mobile experience.

The first step in doing that, Chris explained, is understanding that mobile optimization isn’t just about the device:

After all, as Chris puts it, there is no such thing as a “mobile user.” At the end of the day, your mobile users are the same people as your desktop users.

In a mobile context, it’s the circumstances that differ: users behave differently and react to different stimuli. As a result, a new set of challenges arise in the mobile environment:

mobile-new-challenges

New challenges require new solutions – which, Chris explained, represent hidden opportunities for you.

With so few people actively optimizing their mobile campaigns, there are so many possibilities for testing and improvement (and for staying ahead of the competition):

So how can you determine the best possible experience for mobile?

Scientific method

Here’s where a scientific method comes in – it’s your responsibility to test to find out what the best mobile experience is for users.

Without a doubt, this is easier said than done. So how do you get started?

Do your homework

Like any good CRO strategy, your mobile optimization strategy needs to start with a healthy dose of research:

  • Make sure you understand your customer’s mindset and language
  • Take the time to collect data through heuristic analysis, web analytics, surveys and all that nerdy goodness

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you need a framework for asking the right questions and identifying ripe optimization opportunities.

Identify a list of opportunities

Chris shared WiderFunnel’s LIFT model, which provides a structured approach to analyzing your mobile landing pages (and the other pieces of your mobile campaigns):

lift-model-chris-goward

In a nutshell, it helps you take a structured approach to evaluating your landing pages for:

  • A strong UVP: Are you clearly describing how you can solve your prospect’s problem and what distinguishes you from the competition?
  • Relevance: Does the landing page deliver what prospects were promised before arriving there? Are you speaking in a language they find relatable?
  • Clarity: Does your copy spell out exactly what prospects will get? Does the page have a logical flow that guides prospects toward the goal?
  • Urgency: Is there any indication that prospects need to act now?
  • Anxiety: Does your prospect have any objections that aren’t being addressed? Are you unintentionally raising red flags?
  • Distraction: Are there elements competing with your conversion goal?

As an example, Chris showed an analysis of a mobile landing page for an iPhone 5 screen protector:

mobile-landing-page-lift-analysis
For this mobile landing page, Chris found that there were many elements inhibiting prospects from converting. Image source.

After you’ve critiqued your page for each of the components of the LIFT model and made a list of the weaknesses, it’s time to start optimizin’.

Turn weaknesses into opportunities for improvement

Now you take the problems you’ve identified and flip them on their head – crafting hypotheses that will allow you to turn all your problem areas into strengths.

lift-turn-weaknesses-into-strengths

You’ll be left with a list of optimization opportunities – and all you have to do is pick one and run your first A/B test.

Psst: if you’re wondering how you can start prioritizing these tests, check out this article by Chris about the PIE method – a straightforward formula for prioritizing your tests based on three criteria: potential, importance and ease.

Always keep learning and optimizing

With every test you run, be sure to debrief and reflect on what you’ve learned about your users.

As much as your end goal is to lift conversions, it’s also to gain insight that you can learn from and apply to all your marketing efforts.

And as Chris suggested, look for opportunities for borrowing insight across tests – and even across channels:

desktop-tests-insight-to-mobile-tests

Because your mobile users and desktop users are the same people, your testing efforts across channels don’t exist in a silo. You can learn insights from your mobile tests that you can then apply to your landing page and campaign optimization on any channel.

No optimization effort is ever complete, but testing consistently and borrowing insights across channels will bring you closer to the unattainable goal of a perfect conversion rate.


Visit site – 

I’m Pretty Sure Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Isn’t Good Enough

Thumbnail

No Email Marketing Strategy is Complete Without These Two Tactics

email-marketing-landing-pages-blog-image
Here’s why segmented emails and landing pages are conversion soul mates. Image by Kelly Keeton via Flickr.

Conversion rate optimizers make landing pages. Email marketers send emails.

The problem, however, is that the two departments aren’t always in sync. And if your marketing strategy isn’t unified across all channels, chances are you’re leaving conversions on the table.

Email marketers must work hand-in-hand with conversion rate optimizers to create dedicated landing pages for specific email marketing campaigns.

So what are the elements of a successful, unified email marketing strategy?

  1. Each email marketing campaign should have a corresponding and dedicated landing page.
  2. To serve this targeted approach, marketers should segment their email lists to drive the right customers to the right landing pages at the right time.

Sound simple enough? Let me explain each point in detail.

Create specific landing pages for specific email marketing campaigns

The internet is full of articles about how you should send your ads to a dedicated landing page – and while not everyone is following this advice, it’s still widely accepted as a best practice.

1. search for SEO software
2.-Conductor-Landing-Page-2

So far, so good. That’s nothing new.

Let’s contrast this with email marketing. Here’s an example that I randomly snatched from my email inbox. The email is a typical once-every-week-or-so promotion from an ecommerce retailer:

3. ecommerce email marketing
4. Kohls email landing page

This page is nothing special. And it’s not targeted.

The email is essentially a template for their website. If I click on the “men” panel, I get a page that shows me a bunch of pants.

Where is the focus? (There isn’t one.) Where is the specificity? (There’s none.) Where is the goal? (Lacking.) In other words, this is the mud-on-the-wall strategy of marketing. Throw an email to a few thousand customers, get a few click-throughs and hopefully score a few conversions.

Let’s take a look at a better example:

5. Email designed as a landing page

This email is targeted, specific and focused. Its goal? To get click-throughs for their promotion. And this is where the click-through takes me:

6. Optmize the landing page form an email

I can’t help my conversion rate optimizing self from quibbling just a tad at the lack of visual continuity and absence of a single coherent offer.

Nonetheless, the example still suffices. This type of email marketing experience will drive far more conversions than the “Ooh, let’s send an email!” approach to email marketing.

Why?

Humans respond positively to clarity. If you address the right people at the right time, and send them to targeted pages with one clear and continuous goal, you create delightful marketing experiences that people will naturally want to follow.

To improve the efficiency of your email marketing, you should:

  • Create a single goal for each and every campaign email. (Focus!)
  • Develop a landing page for the email that continues the conversation about the same, singular goal.
  • Drive customers to the dedicated landing page and then optimize the heck out of it.

That’s the first part of combining email marketing with landing page optimization. But there’s more…

Develop segmented email lists and send focused emails

This strategy — create dedicated landing pages for emails — is just the beginning. There’s much more you can do to refine your approach.

In order for your marketing efforts to be laser-focused and successful, you should also create segmented email lists.

Your email list is made up of contacts who are at varied stages of interaction with your business. And at each stage of the buyer’s journey, your prospects will respond to different types of content and language.

Email segmentation has a proven track record of value and profitability. An eMarketer study cited by Hubspot showed that “39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced greater revenue.”

When you create a segmented email list, you are able to:

  • Develop highly relevant and specific offers.
  • Optimize the landing pages from the email marketing efforts to exactly match the motivations of the segmentation group.
  • Align your marketing strategy with each contact’s needs, thereby creating awesome experiences and increasing conversions!

We’re applying one layer of strategy (email segmentation) upon another layer of strategy (a dedicated landing page for every campaign).

Now, how do all these pieces fit together? Let’s walk through the process of segmenting our emails and targeting customers.

An example of the process, beginning to end

From this list, let’s take just one segment: repeat customers. These people have had multiple touch points with your business and are educated about your solution. You already know that these people are likely to buy. Now, you simply need to create a targeted email and landing page that will increase that likelihood and get them purchasing.

Based on this data and the selected segment, here’s what you’d do:

1. Create a targeted email that speaks to your prospect’s emotions

Since you already know that you’re sending this email to repeat customers, you want to praise them for their loyalty and wise decision making. Basically, you want to flatter them. You can say something like, “You know how to buy great products” Or, “You do a great job choosing products.”

When you make statements like this, the customer is likely to undergo an experience of “self-verification.” When a customer hears themselves described in a positive manner, they begin to believe this about themselves and then become more likely to act on that belief.

If you were addressing new customers, then you may want to approach it differently. You may want to use a technique that advances the psychology of curiosity, rather than self-verification.

The point here is that you’re trying to elicit feeling and emotion, not just a raw display of stuff for the customer to buy.

Let me show you an example of this.

7. using emotion in email marketing

The marketing email above is inviting women to attend a conference. The message reminds prospects that they are loved and creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. The call to action resonates with this emotion and is focused and clear.

2. Create a focused call to action

Next, you’ll bring the email to a powerful conclusion. In other words, you want to focus persuasive power, data, argumentation, or any other elements of the email to a final call to action.

To bring the email to a climax, create a final paragraph that sums up the email and inspires the user with a sense of urgency and emotional interest. Don’t lose your readers in this paragraph. It’s the most critical paragraph for them to stay engaged.

After this paragraph, insert your CTA button. It’s important to create a compelling and inspiring button text that continues the conversation from the final paragraph and explains what the prospect will get after the click.

As a good example of this, check out the marketing email below.

8. Example of having a storng CTA in email marketing

Notice how the email builds up, bullet-by-bullet to focus on that one central CTA: “GET CASH.” There is a direct connection in the reader’s mind between what she reads (build your business, make it work, etc.) and what the outcome of clicking (“Get cash!”). Since the target audience consists of small business owners, this is a highly-focused and effective email.

3. Develop a landing page that corresponds to the email

If you want to avoid cognitive dissonance (the ultimate conversion killer), the “one goal” from your email marketing should extend to your landing page.

Beyond that, the aesthetic of your email should carry across to your landing page.

Additionally, you need to ensure message match from one channel to the next. This is all about creating a unified experience that will indicate to prospects that they’re in the right place after the click.

Let’s look at a couple examples.

The first one comes from Airbnb. Even though their marketing email is simple, it is effective. Here’s why. The intriguing and wanderlust-provoking question is all that they need to inspire their target audience — inveterate globetrotters — to click, click, click:

9. an example of developing a landing page that corresponds to the email

And here’s the corresponding landing page for the first CTA:

10. corresponding landing page for the first CTA

I love the way that the CTA is tied to the landing page. Not only is it targeted, but it even answers a question. “Where is this? It’s on the Canary Islands.”

Plus, the landing page makes it easy for the visitor to book his request. All it takes is a three-form entry and a big pink button. Airbnb wins.

Connecting the dots

When you separate email marketing from landing pages, you lose out on precious conversion potential. A disconnected marketing approach produces fractured results.

Next time you set out to improve your email marketing campaigns, look beyond personalizing your greeting or subject lines.

Ask yourself what kind of experience you’re creating both before and after the click.

Connect the dots. Create focused and segmented emails. Tie those targeted emails to a specific landing page.

I think you’ll find that a unified email marketing strategy leads to long-lasting relationships – between departments and with your prospects.


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