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The Part-Time Nihilist’s Guide to Marketing Terms You Hate, But Need

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It’s about time that we take a step back and have a little chuckle at ourselves. Image via Shutterstock.

Plenty of products and services help people, making them healthier and happier. For those things, marketing is great — but sometimes, the way we talk about ourselves is absurd. Yeah, I said it, it’s absurd, but it’s all right because this post has a happy ending (stay tuned).

If you work in any sort of marketing role, you might have noticed that as a collective, we’ve done something incredible:

We’ve turned buzzwords into real, salaried jobs.  

You can be a Growth Hacker these days, or a Content Marketer. If you work somewhere really cool, you might even be a Conversion Ninja. Plenty of people do these jobs (myself included) and one day we’ll have the awkward pleasure of explaining to our grandchildren what it was like being paid to be a Solutions Architect, or a Dev Mogul.

“Neat, grandpa! Did you invent a new form of calculus?”

“No, son. But I had over 25,000 Twitter followers. I was an influencer.”

This is the part-time nihilist’s guide to all those marketing terms you hate (but need). It might also clarify why your parents will never understand what the heck your job is.

Homer gets back to basics with marketing. Video: Fox.
Disclaimer: This post tears down marketing terms and the idea of becoming an influencer. We hope that it is popular and that you share it. We see the irony, and we’re disgusted by it, so just move on, okay?

Being considered an “expert” or a “genius”

To be considered an expert in most other professions, you need to have studied and practiced for years and years and years. You study, you’re tested, you pass, you advance. After what feels like a lifetime of this, people trust you as a voice of authority, as an expert.

Pro tip: Inclusion in a listicle or roundup guarantees automatic employment — should you want it — with some of the most prestigious companies in Silicon Valley.

There are expert marketers, of course: people who have been to school, who dedicate their lives to the craft of combining insight and communication into the most irresistible calls to action. But if you’ve got a profile photo, maybe a Linkedin Premium account, and a byline on somewhere like Unbounce (Hey, that’s me!), you might be considered an expert.

This will do one of two things to you:

  1. It’ll make you lazy, because you’ll think that you’ve reached the top of the mountain. (By the way, there’s no top. There’s no mountain either.)
  2. It’ll scare the crap out of you, and you’ll work your ass off to become a genuine expert, or at least, someone with useful insights.

I hope for everyone’s sake that it’s the second one.

Bonus option: You’ll develop a nasty case of Imposter Syndrome, where you’ll live in constant fear of being called out. It’ll make you triple your efforts, but it’ll never be enough.

Pursuing “thought leadership”

As a marketer, when you have a good idea, you call it a thought leadership piece and you milk it until it’s red and sore. Never mind the idea that “thought leadership” sounds like some sort of mind control, it’s just damned impressive that we managed to turn the act of having ideas into a tool for marketing.

In a way, being considered a thought leader is a lot like being considered an expert. Not so long ago there were real thought leaders, people like Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr.. Now, all you need to do is tip that scale from 9,999 followers to 10,000 and praise, be! You’re a thought leader.

“One of us, one of us, one of us.” Video: Fox

Free infographics and ebooks

The only real way to tell whether a post is legitimate — whether the author’s really serious about the information they’re giving you — is to check for an associated infographic or ebook. At Unbounce, they call these in-post giveaways Conversion Carrots. Some other places call them Lead Magnets. I call them necessary evil.

nihilist-marketer-graph

“Can we make it go viral?”

I once worked at a place where a department, armed with five grand, asked us if we could make them a viral video. In their defense, they didn’t understand the process of how something becomes viral (another gross marketing term), so points at least for the thought. But directly asking for a viral video, or setting out with the intention of making a viral video, is like marrying a stranger for the tax benefits, and not because you love them.

Influencer marketing

Hey bud, if you RT me, I’ll RT you.

As a marketer, you want eyeballs. You’re hungry for eyeballs, you want to pour them all over your website. Some people have lots of eyeballs looking at them; those people are called influencers, and if you’re kind to them, sometimes they’ll let you borrow their eyeball collections.

People with a lot of eyeballs in their collection tend to be good at making things go viral. They often make infographics and eBooks, as well. They are the Aaron Orendorffs of the world (Hey, man!), and they are all-powerful.

“We simply could not function without his tireless efforts.” Video: Fox

“Epic,” “unicorn,” “guru,” etc.

No, it’s not. No, they’re not. No, you’re not.

“That’s hilaaaaaarious.”

“We need more user-generated content.”

The idea behind user-generated content is sound; it’s word-of-mouth for a digital age. Having a strategy to develop user-generated content, though?

Do you ever watch those videos publications like Gothamist do on some donut shop in Brooklyn that’s been around for 140 years? You think, “Wow, they must have a lot of user-generated content!” No, they just make great donuts. If you want your users to generate more content, just make stuff they like.

“Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp!” Video: Fox

Time to follow in mommy and daddy’s footsteps?

For over 20 years my dad spent most of his days with his hands plunged into ice water, gutting and slicing one fish at a time. I spend my days trying to get prospects to type their names into a CTA form field. In those final years before the sun explodes and we’re all plunged into an every-man-for-himself scenario, who’s going to be more useful? My money’s on the old man.

I told you that there was a happy ending, and in a way, the sun exploding and annihilating everything from Mercury out past Pluto is a happy ending. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, from your parents and their grinding manual labor jobs, to us word-pickers and graph-checkers who moan when we can’t find the right long-tail keywords to optimize conversion rates. One day everyone that’s left will go together, burning up with all the finest email lists, and all the leads. It’s all going to be fine.

People make some great stuff, and for the short time we’re here, it’s up to us to help get it in front of as many of the right people as possible. That’s your job, and it’s a fun one.

What are some of the marketing terms you hate to need? Drop them in the comments below, then download this free infographic. Jokes, there’s no infographic.

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The Part-Time Nihilist’s Guide to Marketing Terms You Hate, But Need

How To Leverage Facebook’s Live 360 Videos

facebook 360

In case you hadn’t noticed – though I’m guessing you have – consumption of online video has been steadily rising in recent years. According to a forecast by Cisco, video will represent 80% percent of all consumer-based internet traffic by 2019. In the information age, the average person has a shorter attention span than a goldfish, and unless your content is extra special, people are unlikely to pay attention. A compelling video stands out from generic mass marketing and communicates your message more impactfully than text-based content. In terms of generating engagement, text-based content simply can’t compete with sensory-rich, emotive…

The post How To Leverage Facebook’s Live 360 Videos appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How To Leverage Facebook’s Live 360 Videos

Are You Forgetting To Optimize For Awareness & Intent When Designing Landing Pages?

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The best color for your CTAs. What hero images work best. How to tweak your headlines. Writing conversion focused copy. All of these are the bread and butter of writers like me. We know these articles are going to grab attention because, well, people are always looking for an easy fix. Marketers the world over dream of changing their button color and seeing a 200% increase in conversions. They fantasies about using a headline template that’ll skyrocket their income, and honestly believe that a better hero image could save a failing business. And so we create content that plays to…

The post Are You Forgetting To Optimize For Awareness & Intent When Designing Landing Pages? appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Are You Forgetting To Optimize For Awareness & Intent When Designing Landing Pages?

How Tough Mudder Gained a 9% Session Uplift by Optimizing for Mobile Users

The following is a case study about how Tough Mudder achieved a 9% session uplift by optimizing for mobile. With the help of altima° and VWO, they identified and rectified pain points for their mobile users, to provide seamless event identification and sign-ups. 


About the Company

Tough Mudder offers a series of mud and obstacle courses designed to test physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. Events aren’t timed races, but team activities that promote camaraderie and accomplishment as a community.

Objective

Tough Mudder wanted to ensure that enrolment on their mobile website was smooth and easy for their users. They partnered with altima°, a digital agency specializing in eCommerce, and VWO to ensure seamless event identification and sign-ups.

Research on Mobile Users

The agency first analyzed Tough Mudder’s Google Analytics data to identify any pain points across participants’ paths to enrollment. They analyzed existing rates from the Event List, which demonstrated that interested shoppers were not able to identify the events appropriate for them. The agency began to suspect that customers on mobile might not be discovering events easily enough.

Test

On the mobile version of the original page, most relevant pieces of information like the event location and date, were being pushed too far down below the fold. In addition, lesser relevant page elements were possibly distracting users from the mission at hand. This is how it looked like:

tough mudder
Event location and date way below the fold on ‘original’

The agency altima° decided to make the following changes in the variation:

  1. Simplified header: Limiting the header copy to focus on the listed events. The following image shows how this looked.

    img2
    Simplified header copy
  2. List redesign: Redesigning the filter and event list to prominently feature the events themselves. The following image shows the same:
    List redesign to optimize event location and date
  3. Additionally, an Urgency Message was added to encourage interested users to enroll in events nearing their deadline. See the following image to know how it was done:
    Urgency message to push quicker enrollments

For these three variations, seven different combinations were created and a multivariate test was run using VWO. The test experienced over 2k event sign-ups across 4 weeks. The combinations of variations are shown below:

Test Results

After 4 weeks, Variation 2, which included the redesigned event list, proved to be the winning variation. This is not to say that other test variations were not successful. Variation 2 was just the MOST successful:

The winning variation produced a session value uplift of 9%! Combined with the next 2 rounds of optimization testing, altima° helped Tough Mudder earn a session value uplift of over 33%!

Why Did Variation 2 Win?

altima° prefers to let the numbers speak for themselves and not dwell on subjective observations. After all, who needs opinions when you’ve got data-backed results? altima°, however, draws the following conclusions on why Variation 2 won:

Simplified header:

Social proof has demonstrated itself to be a worthy component of conversion optimization initiatives. These often include customer reviews and/or indications of popularity across social networks.

In fact, Tough Mudder experienced a significant lift in the session value due to the following test involving the addition of Facebook icons. It’s likely that the phrase Our Events Have Had Over 2 Million Participants Across 3 Continents warranted its own kind of social proof. 

List redesign:

The most ambitious testing element to design and develop was also the most successful.

It appeared that an unnecessary amount of real estate was being afforded to the location filter. This was resolved by decreasing margins above and below the filter, along with removing the stylized blue graphic.

The events themselves now carried a more prominent position relative to the fold on mobile devices. Additionally, the list itself was made to be more easily read, with a light background and nondistracting text.

Urgency message:

The underperformance of the urgency message came as a surprise. It was believed that this element would prove to be valuable, further demonstrating the importance of testing with VWO.

Something to consider is that not every event included an urgency message. After all, not every enrolment period was soon to close. Therefore, it could be the case that some customers were less encouraged to click through and enroll in an individually relevant event if they felt that they had more time to do so later.

They might have understood that their event of interest wasn’t promoting urgency and was, therefore, not a priority. It also might have been the case that an urgency message was introduced too early in the steps to event enrolment.

Let’s Talk

How did you find this case study? There are more testing theories to discuss! Please reach out to altima° and VWO to discuss. You could also drop in a line in the Comments section below.

Multivariate Testing CTA

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The post How Tough Mudder Gained a 9% Session Uplift by Optimizing for Mobile Users appeared first on VWO Blog.

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How Tough Mudder Gained a 9% Session Uplift by Optimizing for Mobile Users

How Unbounce Used Overlays to Get 3,000+ Leads [Case Studies]

You’re a marketer, and a dang good one at that. You follow best practices. You always send campaign traffic to a dedicated landing page. You make data-driven decisions. You do post-mortems on all your campaigns and record your learnings.

But still, your visitors are dropping off your website without converting, leaving you with no way to nurture or convert them at a later date. And it sucks.

abandoning-visitors
No, wait, don’t go! Image via Giphy.

Things are no different for us at Unbounce. Despite our best efforts, we still miss out on a ton of conversions. Whether folks aren’t ready to hand over their information, or they simply aren’t finding what they’re looking for, they just. Don’t. Convert.

We knew there had to be a solution…

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

It’s a win-win really. You want the sale, they want the bargain. You want the email, they want the ebook.

But just like with any marketing tool (landing pages, emails, etc.), overlays need to be relevant, timely and valuable in order for them to be effective.

As you may have heard, Unbounce recently launched Convertables, a suite of easy-to-install overlays which can be triggered on-arrival, after delay, on scroll and on-exit. But before releasing Convertables to the masses, we were diligently testing overlays on our own web pages.

Two experiments in particular stand out, in which we used overlays to collect leads for online partnership events. In total, we were able to collect 3,200 leads and signups. We also learned a thing or two about how to maximize conversions, while at the same time respecting the goals of the user. We’d like to share our results and learnings with you.

Digital Agency Day: Sign up to get the recordings

On January 28, 2016, Unbounce and HubSpot co-hosted a brand new online event just for digital agencies. We called it Digital Agency Day (and sometimes, internally, “DAD,” because we’re goofs).

Digital Agency Day consisted of a combination of in-person and virtual events, bringing together expert speakers from the world’s top agencies and agency partners to share actionable advice on analytics, reporting, growing retainers, new business strategy, conversion rate optimization and much more.

In total there were 18 online events, with 6,500+ participants across 101 countries. Yep, you read that right — 6,500 participants. Many of which were captured via a hyper-relevant lead gen overlay.

The problem

The main goal of the Digital Agency Day microsite was to get people to register for the live event. But anyone who’s hosted a webinar or similar online event knows that getting attendees can be tricky. People just don’t want to commit, for fear they’ll be too busy to attend or have scheduling conflicts. Digital Agency Day was more than a single webinar, but the same perceived friction existed.

cro-day-microsite-cropped
The Digital Agency Day microsite. (Click for full image.)

We had to find a way to capture those visitors who just couldn’t commit to the live event before they left the site.

The solution

An overlay triggered on exit was the perfect solution. But rather than asking for visitors to sign up to attend the event, as was the goal of the microsite, the overlay prompted visitors to enter their contact info in exchange for the recordings.

dad-overlay

How it performed

We weren’t all that surprised that the overlay worked, due to its high level of relevance. That said, even we were a little surprised by the whopping 19.03% conversion rate.

dad-rooster-results

In the end, we chalked up its success to relevance, value and timeliness — the trifecta of effective overlays.

  • Relevance: The offer was similar yet complementary to the on-page offer.
  • Value: Rather than blocking a day off in their calendars, visitors could simply sign up for the recordings to watch at their leisure and cherry pick the ones that were relevant to them.
  • Timely: The offer was presented on exit, as visitors were about to abandon. Had it been triggered on arrival or after a delay, visitors who wanted to participate in the live event may have been confused.
Pro tip: While best practices indicate using no more than two form fields on your overlay to maximize conversions, you may opt for more should you require additional information to qualify or disqualify leads. At Unbounce, for example, we often qualify leads based on a four-field form. The trade-off here may be fewer conversions but with the benefit of qualifying or disqualifying leads right off the bat. Of course, this is something you’d want to test for yourself.

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CRO Day: Click through to get the recordings

After the success of Digital Agency Day, we decided to adapt the format for CRO Day — a full day of webinars for conversion-driven digital marketers.

Featuring five webinars, two panel discussions, one AMA, one Slack workshop and one… Five-Second Landing Page Showdown, CRO Day was a smashing success — thanks to amazing participants, dedicated team members and one kick-ass overlay.

The problem

Like Digital Agency Day, the goal of the CRO Day microsite was to get people to register up for the live event. But not everyone can commit to a full day of events.

We included some fine print on the page indicating, “Can’t make it? No worries! Sign up anyway and we’ll send you the recordings.” but it would be easy to miss.

digitalagencyday-microsite-cropped
The CRO Day microsite. (Click for full image.)

Again, we needed a way to isolate the message that if you couldn’t make the online event, you could still get the recordings.

The solution

Overlays are so effective because they focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer… like getting free recordings.

cro-day-overlay

Unlike the overlay for Digital Agency Day, we experimented with a traffic shaping overlay, which directed visitors to a secondary signup page focused just on getting the recordings after the event.

Typically, traffic shaping overlays are used to move visitors from low-converting pages (like your blog homepage or ecommerce category pages) to high-converting pages, but in this case we used a traffic shaping overlay to entice abandoning visitors with an alternate offer.

The flow looked like this:

cro-day-traffic-shaping

How it performed

Pretty. Darn. Good.

Using the traffic shaping overlay, we directed 27.31% of abandoning visitors to a secondary sign up page.

cro-day-overlay-results

Once on the page, 67% of visitors converted, filling out a six-field form!

cro-day-overlay-lp-results

Again, this overlay was relevant (a similar yet complementary offer), valuable (forget blocking off your calendar — watch the recordings you want, when you want) and timely (visitors were shown the overlay on-exit after they had seen the initial offer).

However, there’s another key principle at play here: Specificity.

specificity-cro-day
When will I get the recordings? The very next day. Can’t get much more specific than that!

By specifying that the recordings would be emailed to visitors the day after the event, we were able to boost our credibility, presumably resulting in more signups.

Tips, tricks and takeaways

Using the Unbounce overlay guiding principles, you can build overlays that convert like crazy… but not at the expense of visitor experience.

When planning your own overlay campaigns, keep in mind the following:

  • Make it relevant. If your visitor is reading a blog post about waterproof watch reviews, your overlay better not be about bikes. Rather, it should be complementary, like an overlay that directs the visitor to a features page about one of the watch models.
  • But don’t present the same offer. Presenting the exact same offer on the overlay as on page is annoying and needy. Don’t be that dude.
  • Make it valuable. Asking visitors for their personal info is a big deal. Make sure what you’re offering in exchange is of equal or greater value.

Make it timely. Choosing when to trigger your overlay depends upon the goal. (Psst: With Unbounce, you can trigger your overlays on-entrance, after delay, on-scroll and on-exit.)

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How Unbounce Used Overlays to Get 3,000+ Leads [Case Studies]

Beyond Optimization: Email A/B Tests That Will Improve Your Entire Business

email-tests-blog-image
Those email metrics may provide you with more insight than you thought. Image via Shutterstock.

The components of an A/B test are pretty straightforward: change some stuff, compare key metrics, deploy winner, repeat.

So when you start an A/B test on your email, this is the sort of process you fall back on. You brainstorm a couple of alternate subject lines, test them on a small segment and send the winner to everyone else. This is a great way of making sure you’re sending the better of two ideas, but does it really mean you’re sending better email?

Instead, today we’re going to focus on the benefits of A/B testing for the future. That means turning your results into actionable guidance for feature planning, branding, sales and retention strategies.

ezgif-2245072739
Maximizing is not always optimizing.

Feature planning

It can be really tough figuring out which features need the most attention, not to mention prioritizing improvements your top users would be most excited for. Email can help!

A simple email teasing upcoming improvements to X or Y feature can give you valuable insights for your next product planning session on what changes actually pique a user’s interest.

Similarly, you can test something like, “What would you like to see added to feature X” vs “…feature Y.” Even if you get little to no feedback, the comparative open rates can tell you a lot about which features people want to see updated.

This can be especially insightful for startups, because setting the wrong priorities for your development team can hamstring your growth. In cases like this where the stakes are higher, it may be more powerful to subtly present options and observe responses than to straight up ask.

image01
The problem with asking users what they want directly. Image via Frankiac.

Product branding

What if you’re getting ready to launch a new feature or plan an event, but you’re torn on what to call it. Simply run a test with a sneak peak email to your most engaged users and see what gets their attention.

This one may feel a bit weird, because branding of your product and features can feel really personal, but it’s also really important, so why leave it to your gut when you can test?

You don’t even have to build out a fancy announcement email, because you’re just looking for opens, indicating that initial spark of interest. The body can be a simple, plain text save the date or a link to a survey or something.

Subject line cheat sheet

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Sales materials development

Good email testing can also translate to benefits for your sales team. Imagine their eyes lighting up when you pass them a document illustrating how your highest value customers engage with different phrasings of your core features.

There are a couple of interesting ways to execute on this, but I think the most practical is to build an onboarding email with links to your features, and then test headlines for each section (bonus points if you randomize the order to satisfy the statisticians in the house).

You could also stretch this across multiple emails in your onboarding drip campaign, or send a one-off “What’s new” update.

image02
Life is about decisions. Image source.

Retention

Now that you’ve figured out which features resonate most with your high-touch users, it’s time to figure out what gets people hooked on your product or service in the first place.

There are a ton of ways to accomplish this in the traditional on-site manner, but how does email fit into the picture?

The most obvious option here is to use the information you gleaned to craft a killer onboarding campaign that introduces new users to the most beloved features first. That strategy, however, is really focused on top-of-funnel retention. Today, I want to take a look at the other end: churn prevention.

There are, of course, some users that were never a good fit to begin with and will churn regardless. But for those that just never got the hang of things, the most common move is to hit them with a “Hail Mary email” — one last-ditch effort to win them back.

A lot of times this comes in the form of a direct note from someone asking what they could have done better, but why not use that space to run some tests? Not just to squeeze out a few more opens on a low-converting email, but to see what actually gets people’s attention. Then you can take the stuff that works, and work it into your onboarding campaign to keep people from ever getting to the Hail Mary state.

image03
Saying goodbye is hard. Image source.

Conclusion

These are, of course, not the only ways that you can incorporate your learnings from tests into other aspects of your marketing, but it’s a great start if you don’t have a process like this in place.

The structure you build out to track and share the results from tests like these can be tremendously helpful for the whole team — not just in the ways I’ve outlined above, but also in just keeping everyone on the same page and in line with what your customers want to hear.

Have anything to add? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Beyond Optimization: Email A/B Tests That Will Improve Your Entire Business

What You Need to Know About Google Maps’ Promoted Pins

promoted-pins-featured-image-650
Image via Shutterstock.

According to the most recent numbers, about one billion people around the world have downloaded Google Maps and use it to reach 1.5 billion destinations each year.

That’s a lot of searches and web traffic. But of equal interest to Google and its customers is foot traffic. Shopping online is great, but forecasts indicate 90 percent of retail sales will happen in physical stores rather than online, and half of smartphone users who search for something locally will end up visiting a retail location within 24 hours.

The latest update to Google Maps is called promoted pins. Google hopes it will help bridge the gap between online traffic and foot traffic. It will give local businesses an opportunity to have their voices heard in a new way and take advantage of our glorious, mobile-first future.

So what are promoted pins and why should you care?

If you’re a Google Maps user, and you probably are, you’re likely already intimately familiar with the ordinary red “pins.” These indicate nearby landmarks, businesses or other places of interest.

Promoted pins will provide a handy contrast, as they now come in royal purple — allowing your business to very visibly stand out from the rest of the locations in your area.

But drawing the eye with fresh new colors is just the start of it.

When you perform a search for, say, children’s bicycles, you might see promoted pins from Toys ‘R Us or other local toy stores populating the top of your search results.

These will also be accompanied by promotions and coupons tailored precisely to your search history. Maybe it’ll be a $5 off coupon for that bike, or, in a different search, $1 off your Grande Mocha Whatever from Starbucks.

promoted-pins-phone

Sounds exciting, yes?

What do you need to get started?

Naturally, you’ll need to do a little bit of work before you can get your own promoted pins off the ground.

First and foremost, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to have your business officially verified by Google. This can take a week or two, and involves receiving a postcard at your physical location to verify the address you’ve provided actually exists, and matches up with existing USPS records.

But to enable promoted pins specifically, you’ll also need to meet Google’s advertiser eligibility requirements and enable “location extensions” in AdWords. This involves linking your Google My Business account to your Adwords account. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Sign into your AdWords account and go to the “Ad Extensions” tab.
    ad-extensions
  2. Select the “View: Location Extensions” option from this dropdown menu:
    location-extensions
  3. Click “+ Extension” and you’ll be asked to link your Google My Business account.
    screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-2-43-50-pm

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Planning your promoted pins strategy

Local businesses will be charged per click for their participation in promoted pins. But just what constitutes a “click”? Here’s the rundown:

  • “Click-to-call” actions on your smartphone
  • “Get directions” interactions
  • “Get location” clicks

Knowing this, how much of your PPC spend should be directed at promoted pins?

Like many other aspects of online marketing and digital advertising, some strategies are simply going to be more effective for certain industries than others. For example, I could see promoted pins working really well for drugstores, gas stations or restaurants – places that people tend to frequent often, even when traveling.

However, I don’t see promoted pins being overly beneficial for places like colleges or event venues. People do extensive research and planning when spending money with these organizations, and buying decisions are influenced by many, many other factors outside of location or even pricing.

To put it simply, there’s not going to be a magic percentage of PPC spend you can put towards promoted pins to get your ideal results.

You’ll need to play around with this new feature and gradually adjust how much money you want to allocate to it after a few months of testing. I will say that I don’t think a promoted pins budget should be a majority part of any organization’s PPC spend, but you can pick a starting budget based on your past successes with PPC and adjust said budget up or down as you start to see results.

In other words, budgeting for your local search campaign in Google Maps shouldn’t feel at all out of step with other forms of digital advertising that charge according to the traffic you generate.

Tracking your promoted pins campaign

All of this is pretty academic if you don’t have access to real-time data about your promoted pins, along with the traffic they’re generating and some key information about who’s interacting with them.

Here’s how to access the traffic data for your promoted pins campaign:

  1. Sign into your AdWords account and go to “Campaigns”:
    adwords-promoted-pins-campaigns
  2. Click “Segment,” then “Click type”:
    adwords-promoted-pins-segments-ad-types

That should bring you to the all-important data about the types of traffic your promoted pins are bringing in. This traffic might show up in a breakdown similar to your normal “Local” PPC ad analytics, with data for click-to-call, driving directions and location detail actions taken:

mobile-clicks-to-call-promotedpins

What you find there will be the key to tailoring your hyperlocal marketing approach in the months and years ahead.

Sales funnelling from Google Maps

How can you turn your promoted pins into real sales? How do prospective customers become, you know, customers?

The key is hyperlocal marketing, which is marketing tailored to a very small geographic area, such as a single zip code, neighborhood or city.

People are already shopping locally. Your job is merely to make sure they visit your establishment and not somebody else’s. Promoted pins should make this easier than ever, by letting you cater directly to the people who are most likely to visit your business in the first place.

Promoted pins also encourage — even require — you to stay up-to-date with what people in your area are actually searching for.

You’ll be able to optimize your business’ page within Google Maps to reflect the language people are using to find you. Just like you would do keyword analysis and competitor research for your main website, you can take the information you learn about how people find you on Google Maps and apply it to your Google My Business page or promoted pins ads.

This whole process is like a snowball that just needs one gentle push to get started.

One national brand that figured this out early is PetSmart. It learned how to tie together data from its search ads with data from Google’s Store Visits. It found that between 10 and 18 percent of folks who clicked on its ads ended up inside a PetSmart store within a month. PetSmart used this information to make more informed budgeting decisions for their online marketing strategies moving forward, and was able to provide data driven proof of the value in search ads for their merchandising partners.

It’s this ability to truly understand the customer “journey” that really speaks to the usefulness of promoted pins.

Quick bonus tip: Be transparent about inventory

Here’s one more key action you’ll need to take, if you haven’t already: Become super transparent about the products you have in stock. One in four mobile users avoids visiting brick-and-mortar stores because they fret over the product, or products, they’re searching for not being in stock.

Fortunately, Google’s already developed a way for companies to do this: local product inventory feeds. This is a list of all the products you sell in each of your stores, and you can choose to update your full product inventory or only the products whose inventories have changed that day. Inventory feeds help consumers feel more confident that they can find what they’re looking for at your store, and that they won’t arrive to find said item out of stock.

When done in conjunction with promoted pins, inventory feeds assure potential customers that a product is actually in stock and that it can be found at a location in their immediate area.

How promoted pins can help you

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably one of two types of people:

  1. You’re excited to dig into the nitty gritty of a new type of ad platform, and you’re ready to see what kind of return on investment this can bring to your local business
  2. You’re fretting over yet another skill set you need to learn to keep your business viable in an increasingly digital-minded world.

Though, the perfectly sane businessperson probably falls somewhere in between.

It’s true. There are a couple little tricks you’ll have to pick up before you have your promoted pins strategy up and running and actually delivering real-world results.

But for the most part, we think you’ll find the process actually dovetails pretty nicely with what you’re already familiar with. AdWords is an established platform, and promoted pins is an offshoot of that. You were always going to have to become savvy with local marketing to survive and thrive. It was inevitable. And, thankfully, Google has made it pretty easy to get started.

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What You Need to Know About Google Maps’ Promoted Pins

Micro and Macro Conversions | Choosing the Right CRO Metrics

Clearly defining the key performance indicators, or KPIs, is the first step to any Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) campaign. It is only through tracking and measuring results on these KPIs that a business can optimize for growth.

The KPIs in CRO can be broadly divided into two categories: macro and micro conversions (or goals).

  • Macro conversions are the primary goals of a website. Examples of macro conversions for SaaS, eCommerce, or any other online enterprise could be revenue, contact us, request a quote, and free-trial.
  • Micro conversions are defined as steps or milestones that help you reach the end goal. Micro conversion examples would include email clicks, downloads on white paper, blog subscriptions, and so on.

Improving macro goals is imperative to the growth of any enterprise. However, it is equally important that enterprises measure micro goals so as to enhance overall website usability. Avinash Kaushik talks on similar lines: “Focus on measuring your macro (overall) conversions, but for optimal awesomeness, identify and measure your micro conversions as well.”

In this blog post, we discuss why enterprises should:

  • Track Micro Conversions Alongside Macro Conversions
  • Optimize Micro Conversions That Impact Macro Conversions

Track Micro Conversions Alongside Macro Conversions

Each micro conversion acts as a process milestone in the conversion funnel and impacts the ultimate step, or macro conversion. The following example explains this in a simple manner. Let’s take the case of a regular conversion funnel of a SaaS website. The funnel starts at the home page and ends with a purchase.

The visits from the home page to the features page and from the features page to the pricing page are micro conversions in this example. These micro conversions have the same end goal, that is, “purchases”.

conversion funnel SaaS - Micro Goals and Macro Goals

If we were to double micro conversions from the home page to the “features” page, the result would be almost same as shown in the table below:

Increase in Micro Conversions Impacts Macro Conversions

The number of completed purchases, that is, the macro conversion, also doubled. This example illustrates how micro conversions can have an impact on the macro conversions in a funnel.

 Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO of MECLABS, shares the same thoughtThe funnel represents and should be thought of as a representation of what is the heart of marketing, and that is a series of decisions. Those decisions are key transitions; I would call them micro-yeses. There are a series of micro-yeses necessary to help someone achieve an ultimate yes. The Ultimate Yes is the sale in most cases. At each of these junctures, we have to help people climb up the funnel.”

While there are a number of reasons why micro conversions should be tracked, here are the two main arguments:

  • Micro conversions help you assess buyer readiness, or intent.
  • Micro conversions help you assess points of friction in a buyer’s journey.

Micro Conversions Help You Assess Buyer Readiness or Intent

All visitors who land on your website don’t have the intent to make a purchase. Some of them could be running a quick comparative research while others could be checking out your products or services during their first visit. Tracking micro conversions helps you understand whether a visitor could be a potential customer. For instance, tracking micro conversions, such as downloading a product brochure or adding a product to a wishlist, shows the future possibility of conversions on a macro goal.

NN Group has defined micro conversions as, “These are not the primary goals of the site, but are desirable actions that are indicators of potential future macro conversions.”

These micro conversions, or secondary goals, are worth tracking as they clearly show that a visitor might have an interest in your business or product.

Here is an example:

PriceCharting conducted a preliminary A/B test to study if their buyers intended to buy from them at higher prices. They used the learning from this preliminary test for future testing. The objective of the test was defined as: Figuring out how price sensitive were the customers. On the “control,” they used “Starts at $4” next to the “Price Guide” CTA. Two other variations were studied against control. One of them stated a starting price of $2 next to the CTA, and the other mentioned $1 as the starting price. 

micro conversions on CTA for Control
Control
Micro Conversions on CTA for Variations
Variations

The test results showed that the variation which stated the highest buys won the most clicks on the “Pricing Guide” CTA. This implied that people visiting PriceCharting valued their products and showed readiness to buy even at higher prices. The learning from this exercise for PriceCharting’s future tests was that price was not a major factor influencing their visitors. 

Micro Conversions  Help You Assess Points of Friction in Your Buyer’s Journey

Along with providing a complete view of your buyer’s journey, tracking micro conversions also helps identify drop-offs on the conversion funnel. For example, on an eCommerce website, users frequently visiting the product page but not adding products to cart implies something is putting off the visitors for moving from “product” to “add-to-cart.” Optimizing the micro goal here, which is increasing “add-to-cart” actions, will ultimately result in increased revenue.

Here’s an example of a multi-step sign-up form on a SaaS website. Suppose many users do not complete the form. By tracking micro conversions on the form, you will be able to identify the friction points. Maybe one of the steps in the form that asks for credit card information of users brings the most friction. With this knowledge, you can assess where users lie in their buyer journey and optimize the form accordingly. Optimizing each step in the form or micro conversions will help you improve your macro conversion.

When testing, the primary goal in the above examples can be to improve micro conversions. A case study by VWO talks about how displaying a banner for top deals increased engagement by 105% for eCommerce client Bakker-helligom. Ben Vooren, an online marketer at Bakker, realized that visitors go to the information pages and read the information, but leave without buying from the website, which was the macro goal. This was the friction that Ben wanted to address. He hypothesized that adding commercially-focused banners at the top of all the information pages (micro goal) will help resolve this friction. The test was run for 12 days on 8,000 visitors. The winning variation led to a 104.99% increase in visits to the “top deals page” and a statistical significance of 99.99%.

Optimize Those Micro Conversions Which Impact Macro Conversions

While running an A/B test for multiple variations, studying micro conversions on each of those variations can provide valuable insights. It can show you which changes impacted micro conversions, resulted in improved macro conversions, and which ones did not. As we mentioned, there are a number of micro conversions that you can look to optimize. But not all of these would contribute equally to macro conversions.

For instance, to optimize an eCommerce product page with macro goal of “increasing checkout”, there could be a number of test variations that you can run:

In Variation 1 the CTA ‘add to wish-list’ is made prominent
In Variation 2 the CTA ‘save for later’ is made prominent

Both of these variations will not yield the same impact on the macro goal of increasing checkouts. You may realise that making the “save for later” CTA more prominent is yielding more increase in checkouts. So you would want to prioritize that micro conversion in the subsequent tests.

That said, when running a conversion rate optimization program, the test goal should be set as close to revenue as possible. There are two scenarios explained here wherein optimization for micro conversions can prove disastrous:

When Macro Conversions are Not Considered

Solely optimizing for micro conversions without considering how it impacts a major business goal is a total waste of time and efforts.

Peep Laja from ConversionXL says, “If you don’t have enough transaction volume to measure final purchases or revenue, that sucks. But if you now optimize for micro conversions instead, you might be just wasting everyone’s time as you can’t really measure business impact.”

For example, an eCommerce website  can increase micro conversions (visits from the home page to the product page) by making the menu bar prominent on the home page. This change might result in higher visits to the product page. However, if you are not tracking the impact of this change on macro conversion (checkouts),  the whole optimization process would lack direction.

When the Focus is on Quick Results

A/B tests with macro conversions as the primary goal can take a long time to provide conclusive results. Conversely, certain tests which measure micro conversions have a lesser testing time.

This happens because macro goals are always less in number in comparison to micro. For statistically significant results, a good amount of conversions on the macro goal are required. This exercise would take comparatively much more time than collecting micro conversions.

For example, on a SaaS website, if your primary goal was to increase visits from “the home page to the products page,” the test will take lesser time (because it has higher traffic) to give conclusive results compared to if the primary goal for the test was “Request a Demo.”

However, testing micro conversions with the objective of completing an experiment faster can lead to failure. While you can track different micro conversions, each of them may not result in a winning variation. This happens because each of those micro conversions might not directly lead to a lift in conversion rates. The false Micro-Conversion Testing Assumption example explained in a post on WidderFunnel, is one example that explains this. The gist of the proposed example is that optimizing micro conversions by assuming an equal drop-off at each stage of the funnel ultimately led to the loss of revenue.

Conclusion

The success of a CRO program rests on how well you define your micro and macro goals. The closer your micro goals are to the end goal in the funnel, the higher are your chances of getting a winning variation. On the other hand, tracking micro conversions and improving them can help you enhance the overall UX of your website.

What metrics are you tracking and optimizing for your conversion rate optimization program? Drop us a comment and let us know.

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The post Micro and Macro Conversions | Choosing the Right CRO Metrics appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Micro and Macro Conversions | Choosing the Right CRO Metrics

A Complete Content Funnel for the B2B Buyer’s Journey

Your B2B content strategy has one goal, one question to answer: Why should another business use your product or service? And your approach to the answer must change depending on where your audience is in the buyer’s journey. While who controls the B2B buyer’s journey has shifted recently — the prospect largely has the steering wheel now — the process is fundamentally the same, and the sales funnel is still very much intact. Only now, prospects can pick and choose how they move through it, including where, when and in which formats they get their information. Awareness-stage initiatives are split…

The post A Complete Content Funnel for the B2B Buyer’s Journey appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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A Complete Content Funnel for the B2B Buyer’s Journey

How Agency RevUnit Used Unbounce to Turn Up Conversions for School of Rock

How Agency RevUnit Turned Up Conversions
Digital Marketing Agency RevUnit rocked the house for their client by turning a deceptively simple idea into a 400% lift in PPC conversions.

When I first met Seth Waite over a Google Hangout a few weeks ago, he mentioned that his agency, RevUnit, had done some “pretty fun things with Unbounce” for clients.

It took a little while for me to understand what Seth really meant by “fun;” he meant innovative, experimental digital marketing that actually moves the needle on results. I’ll admit, fun isn’t the first word I’d use to describe Seth’s story.

It’s genius.

It’s also deceptively simple.

Based out of Las Vegas, Seth is the CMO at RevUnit, a full-scale digital agency that takes pride in their ability to “Build Small. Learn Fast. Iterate Often.”

This is the story of how Seth’s team at RevUnit used Unbounce to iterate a PPC — and it all started with a simple audit.

A little bit of background

RevUnit’s newest client, School of Rock, had a little bit of an Adwords addiction. Their PPC spending was on overdrive. But the ROI? Well, there was room for improvement.

School of Rock is a music school with more than 160 franchise locations worldwide. They came to RevUnit after experiencing poor-performing Adwords campaigns with a specialized PPC agency. Lead acquisition via PPC for new enrolments was slow and lagging.

School of Rock’s main goal was to drive new student enrolment to individual franchises.  In other words, they needed to get more students signed up for music classes at one of the more than 160 locations worldwide.

The question was, how could they increase enrolments and lower the cost of acquisition at the same time?

It all started with a simple audit

Before digging in and building new campaigns from scratch, RevUnit performed a full audit of School of Rock’s Adwords account concentrating on keywords, ads and landing pages.

The AdWords account consisted of 160+ campaigns, 800,000+ keywords and 160+ landing pages. It’s important to note that each campaign represents a franchise location (for instance, “School of Rock Scottsdale” is a single campaign) and each of those franchises locations had their own dedicated landing page.

During the audit Seth’s team found some pretty common mistakes, particularly with the landing pages associated with each campaign. Here’s what they were working with in the beginning:

Problems with the “before” landing pages:

  • Pages were very slow to load. Search engines like Google see this as a poor experience for users, and as a result, penalize pages with a lower quality score.
  • The lead forms embedded into each landing page were pretty long. Too many form fields can cause visitors friction, meaning they’re less likely to complete the form (and more likely to bounce).
  • There were some general design and copy issues, the biggest being that content was not designed for easy reading. While there was a lot of information on the pages, it not tell a compelling story.
  • The pages did not mirror their upstream ads. Without a strong message match, visitors are more likely to bounce, again resulting in a lower quality score from Google.
  • Campaigns weren’t enabled with click-to-call tracking so it was impossible to measure how many phone calls were generated from Adwords activities.

Seth’s team hypothesized that if they tackled each of the problems above, School of Rock would yield better results from their AdWords campaigns.

But (and this was a pretty big ‘but’), they couldn’t really afford to tackle 160 different landing pages without knowing for sure.

Here’s the good part

Instead of jumping in willy nilly, Seth’s team decided to use Unbounce to create a template for just one of the franchise locations. Basically, he created a single landing page to test out his hypothesis. The idea was that if the template actually increased enrollment for one of the franchise locations it could be replicated for others.

Sidnee Schaefer, RevUnit’s Senior Marketing Strategist, then went to the whiteboard with Seth and other members of the team to design the new strategic landing pages. After creating a mockup of the new page’s layout, Sidnee jumped into the Unbounce builder to implement the design.

The newly designed landing page template aimed to follow a story that is easy-to-digest and comprehend while presenting a clean and well-structured format. The page was built to create the shortest path to conversion without sacrificing need-to-know information.

According to Seth,

Every brand has a very different story and we knew how important it was to tell the story of how School of Rock is different than the average music school. We designed the page to reflect this brand positioning.

For the new School of Rock landing pages, content was strategically placed into sections covering who, what, where and why (including reviews). “We kept the copy clear and strong to avoid burdening people with too much information,” says Seth.

RevUnit also used Zapier to bridge a connection between Unbounce and School of Rock’s CRM system, so new leads go directly to franchises once submitted.

The result of RevUnit’s pilot was pretty convincing: a 75% increase in average weekly conversions and a 50% decrease in cost per conversion. And, all these new leads were acquired using half the budget.

Whew.

But that’s not all.

Seth didn’t stop with “good enough” – that’s just not his kind of fun.

Here’s the even *better* good part

The cherry on top of this masterminded plan is how RevUnit implemented Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) to really match Google search queries with the landing page’s headline.

DTR is an Unbounce feature that lets you tailor the text on your landing page to match keyboard parameters, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and other sources, using external variables you can attach to the URL.

DTR automatically updates specified content on your page (like a word in your headline) based on a visitor’s search query. RevUnit used DTR on their client’s landing page to ensure each visitor was served up the most relevant copy possible.

Seth explains:
DTR_!

We used dynamic content on the landing page which allowed us to show personalized content to different site visitors based on keywords and locations from the ads. This helped us match the perfect ad with the perfect landing page.

In other words, when a searcher types in “drum lessons, Scottsdale, AZ” dynamic text replacement (DTR) is used to match the landing page headline with the Google search query. As a result, when the visitor clicks through to the School of Rock landing page, the headline would look something like this, “Scottsdale Drum Lessons.”

A strong message match between the traffic source (PPC ad, social media, dedicated email or otherwise) and the landing page headline helps visitors understand that they are in the right place (and prompts thoughts like “yes, this is exactly what I was looking for!”).

According to Seth, here’s why DTR was a game changer for this campaign, “because our PPC keyword strategy was very focused on instrument lessons (guitar, piano, etc), we’d need five landing pages (a different landing page for each instrument type) for each franchise location.”

This would have normally been a painful and timely undertaking but, as Seth put it, “Unbounce had a solution.”

Here’s how they used DTR:

We strategically designed the pages with DTR in mind, so that instrument keywords could be placed throughout the page. Instead of having to create 750+ landing pages, we only had to create one for each franchise location.

The results

After the pilot’s stellar performance, Seth knew with confidence that it was time to roll it out to the rest of the 160+ School of Rock franchise locations.

Again, the results were incredible:

The number of monthly conversions improved 5x, by 250%, and the cost per conversion decreased by 82%. School of Rock has seen a huge improvement to their ROI on AdWords and their lead volume is stabilized.

What did the mean for School of Rock? Well, according to Seth, the “average value of improvements made based on customer lifetime value is potentially a 400% increase in yearly revenue based on new leads.”

The numbers are impressive but the best part of this story is that it’s easy for data-driven marketers to replicate. Start with a guess – a hunch, a hypothesis, an idea – and test it out. In other words, “Build Small. Learn Fast. Iterate Often.

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How Agency RevUnit Used Unbounce to Turn Up Conversions for School of Rock