Our traffic bounces all over the place. We have social. We have email. We have paid ads. There’s more sites, platforms, and networks than we could possibly hope to run our campaigns on. How do we keep track of it all? How do we know what’s working and what’s not? We use UTM codes. What’s a UTM? UTM stands for Urchin tracking parameters. They’re little pieces of data that we add to our URLs in order to see where different traffic comes from. They were introduced way back with an analytics tool called Urchin, the tool that was bought by…
Savvy entrepreneurs know to base their decisions on data rather than assumptions. Try as you might, the products and features that you think will resonate strongly with your audience often don’t. In order to refine your offering and produce something that creates real value for your audience (and in return, money for you), research is required. Here are 15 of my favorite tools that I use to determine what products, services and features my customers really want. 1. Answer The Public Google’s autosuggest is a great tool for learning about what people are searching for in a particular niche. Answer…
Watch this video: Moz’s Whiteboard Friday – The Perfect Blog Post Length and Publishing Frequency is B?!!$#÷x Information has been floating around for a while that suggests you will rank better in search engines and / or get more traffic by: Blogging more frequently Writing longer blog posts (higher word counts) While we’ve noticed that both of these have seemed to be true in the past, at least anecdotally, this appears to no longer be the case. Myth busted? There’s Nothing Wrong With Posting Frequently You’re allowed to post as often as you’d like. There is certainly no rule against…
In a saturated online world with an abundance of information, marketers are constantly battling for attention. You’ve likely read that online users have an attention span less than that of a goldfish. Therefore, the more organized and straightforward your strategy is for converting a lead, the better. Over the last couple decades, eye-tracking studies have been performed to ascertain where consumer’s eyes move when they land on a web page. Jakob Nielsen even authored a book Eyetracking Web Usability which analyzes “1.5 million instances where users look at Web sites to understand how the human eyes interact with design.” Landing…
Note: This is a guest article written by Devesh Khanal, Founder of Growthrock.co. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Devesh’s.
It’s well established now that elite conversion optimization firms and experts do extensive user research to generate high-quality test ideas. Without this research, companies will resort to just “gut instinct” and guesses, instead of having a list of evidence-backed hypotheses.
But the typical suite of conversion optimization “user research” tactics falls into a small set of familiar categories:
Survey users on site.
Watch session recordings.
Do live user testing.
These are perfectly fine methods of learning about your user. This article, however, will focus on a treasure trove of user feedback that most ecommerce sites are underutilizing despite having abundant amounts of it: product reviews.
Product reviews give you a window into the psychology of the most qualified customers ever, those who purchased.
You can learn:
What features or benefits do they value?
What features or benefits do they not value?
Why did they purchase?
What words and phrases do they use to describe the products and benefits?
It’s also free and fast; the reviews already exist on your site; and there is no need to pay for participants or wait to collect data.
But the key to successfully using product reviews is in having a method to analyze them quantitatively. So you can extract actionable, numerical takeaways, not just vague high-level ideas.
Here, we’re going to tell a story about a quantitative method of analyzing open-ended feedback like product reviews. We call this method the Sort and Measure method. The information you can extract from it helps uncover which benefits are most valued by customers which can help shape copy and site design choices. The ideas you extract from applying this method can lead to better, more data-backed AB test hypotheses.
Analyzing Product Reviews to Improve Product Page Copy
In this case study, we analyzed hundreds of product reviews for the site Amerisleep.com, a multimillion dollar online mattress company in the United States.
Using our observation, we were able to quantitatively rank how important different benefits were to the users—comfort, pain, relative temperature regulation, environmental manufacturing, cost, returns, shipping, and more.
Knowing how important these benefits were allowed us to craft detailed, long form product detail pages with confidence. Instead of guessing, we had real data that told us which benefits mattered and which did not.
If you have a 7- or 8-figure ecommerce brand, it’s possible that you can get the same results with this technique. Let’s meet the company.
Meet Amerisleep: An Online Mattress Leader with Multiple Product Benefits
Online mattresses is an ultra-competitive space right now. Amerisleep is a leading player in this space. It has a high-end mattress that it feels has several advantages:
(Comfort) Specially designed memory foam
(Options) Available in 5 different firmness levels
(Environmental) Manufactured in an environmentally friendly process
(Temperature) Designed to avoid overheating
(Cost) More affordable than retail memory foam mattresses
(Returns) They have a great “sleep trial” policy
Having lots of benefits sounds great, but it leads to unanticipated site design challenges.
The Problem: Which Benefit to Emphasize?
Imagine you are the VP of Ecommerce for Amerisleep and also in charge of AB testing new product detail page copy to improve sales.
It’s nice to have a lot of product benefits, but it means that you have some predicaments when improving your product detail pages:
Which of these benefits should you emphasize?
If you list all of them, will it overwhelm the shopper?
Do shoppers even care about [insert benefit]?
Which benefits should you put at the top of the page, and which down below?
How People Solve This: On-Site Surveys
How would you solve this problem and understand which benefits are more important than others?
The most typical ecommerce user research method for extracting this information is ask users in an on-site survey. This is a useful method and can work. You use a Hotjar, Qualaroo or VWO style poll and ask shoppers which benefits they care about.
You could ask an open-ended question: What are you looking for in a mattress?
You could ask a multiple-choice question: Which of these benefits of a mattress is most important to you?
This is a solid method of starting to understand your users. If you do this consistently, in our experience, you’d be ahead of a lot of competitors.
But this method has a key drawback—you don’t know how qualified the respondents are.
This is especially an issue for high-end brands. What if you get lot of responses about the price being too high, but the respondents weren’t your target customers and weren’t ever going to buy from you anyways?
This is where product reviews become extremely useful.
Product Reviews: You Already Have the Answers on Your Site
A great way to solve this problem is to survey only users who have bought the mattress. You can do this on the success page by asking: What were the key reasons you bought your mattress from us today? But the vast majority of successful ecommerce brands already have these survey results on their sites: these are in the form of product reviews.
Product reviews are exactly what benefits users consider important: it’s a survey of only customers who bought, and it’s open-ended and in their own words.
Note: The case study in this article used a buyer verification process for leaving reviews. If such a process doesn’t exist, it is possible that non-buyers could leave reviews. But in our experience, most stores have too few reviews, not too many.
Reviews also have a tendency of being brutally honest (something many store owners know too well), as many will include criticism of what they didn’t like and what could be improved, even though they bought anyways.
Sort and Measure Method: Extract Quantitative Answers to Make Decisions
But how are you going to turn product reviews into actionable information to inform your product page redesign or any other AB test on your site?
Enter the Sort and Measure Method. Here’s what it is, in a nutshell.
Casual Browsing: A Recipe for Personal Biases
Typically, what happens with survey data at an ecommerce company is that it’s emailed around and discussed a bit, and people then interpret it how they want.
One person says: “I told you, most of the reviewers were talking about back pain relief!”
Another employee says: “Well, what really struck me were the ones saying our environmental manufacturing was important.”
The debate can be never-ending. Most companies end up going with decisions based on either who is the loudest or who is the most senior.
For example, even before we used this technique, we did a large redesign and rewrite of their product detail pages. Using VWO to A/B test the redesign, we got a great, 14% lift in checkouts – a lift that’s worth 7 figures annually.
Although this was a great result, we had email exchanges like this between me and the copywriting consultant we partnered with, debating where to put emphasis. Here is an email I wrote to him about a certain benefit I felt wasn’t that important:
Here is his email to me:
Like I said, these debates are never-ending and get you nowhere. That’s why, while this test was running, we started using the Sort and Measure Method. Before the test was even over, we had a quantitative understanding of which benefits did and did not matter to Amerisleep customers (not prospects, but customers who actually bought).
Now, we don’t have to spend additional time and resources AB testing features and benefits that we know very few customers care about, and we don’t need to have endless email debates about what matters—we have data.
The Sort and Measure Method requires some manual effort, but it can be outsourced and the results are worth it. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Sort
You list the product reviews in a spreadsheet:
Then you go through them one by one, create categories for common themes, and mark which categories they fall into.
It’s totally fine for a product review to be “sorted” into multiple categories.
As you work your way through the list, you’ll notice new categories and refine the list a bit, that’s okay. You’ll need to take a second pass to get it right.
Step 2: Measure
Now you just total up how many times certain categories are mentioned and you have your results, which any spreadsheet can do for you easily.
Here are the results for our analysis of Amerisleep’s product reviews, except that we’ve removed the benefit, to maintain data confidentiality.
(Yes, reviews are public information; and you can do this analysis for Amerisleep yourself, so it’s not really confidential…but will you? Probably not.)
Think about how useful this is. For the two smallest bars, we were able to clearly agree that this was not something happy customers talked about often.
We don’t need to have mentions of those benefits take up a lot of space, or be above the fold.
We should not prioritize AB testing to optimize sections that talk about these benefits.
We should not prioritize testing these benefits in the ad copy.
Benefits of the Sort and Measure Method
We were able to use this method to understand which benefits were valuable to customers and which were not. This understanding has allowed us to focus our testing efforts on the copy that emphasizes the benefits that matter to our customers. Thus, the Sort and Measure Method has become a useful tool in our user research arsenal.
Try this method yourself on your own store. Doing so will give you information on improving site functionality, help you identify friction points that could be hurting sales, and help you create better data-backed AB test hypotheses.
HTTPS is a must for every website nowadays: Users are looking for the padlock when providing their details; Chrome and Firefox explicitly mark websites that provide forms on pages without HTTPS as being non-secure; it is an SEO ranking factor; and it has a serious impact on privacy in general.
Additionally, there is now more than one option to get an HTTPS certificate for free, so switching to HTTPS is only a matter of will.
Paid Ads > Webinar > Email Nurture > Push for the Sale Traffic Generation > Lead Magnet > Nurture > Grab the Sale Exit Intent > Lead Capture > Reengagement Series > SELL Funnels. Everywhere I turn in the world of internet marketing all I see is advice on how to create the most basic yet aggressive sales funnel. We’re told to push users toward the end goal. An end goal which is collecting their email address or increasing sales. And often, there’s little or no talk about how to progress from the funnel’s end goal. And that presents a…
CORGI HomePlan provides boiler and home cover insurance in Great Britain. It offers various insurance policies and an annual boiler service. Its main value proposition is that it promises “peace of mind” to customers. It guarantees that if anything goes wrong, it’ll be fixed quickly and won’t cost anything extra over the monthly payments.
CORGI’s core selling points were not being communicated clearly throughout the website. Insurance is a hyper-competitive industry and most customers compare other providers before taking a decision. After analyzing its data, CORGI saw that there was an opportunity to improve conversions and reduce drop-offs at major points throughout the user journey. To help solve that problem, CORGI hired Worship Digital, a conversion optimization agency.
Lee Preston, a conversion optimization consultant at Worship Digital, analyzed CORGI’s existing Google Analytics data, conducted user testing and heuristic analysis, and used VWO to run surveys and scrollmaps. After conducting qualitative and quantitative analysis, Lee found that:
Users were skeptical of CORGI’s competition, believing they were not transparent enough. Part of CORGI’s value proposition is that it doesn’t have any hidden fees so conveying this to users could help convince them to buy.
On analyzing the scrollmap results, it was found that only around a third of mobile users scrolled down enough to see the value proposition at the bottom of the product pages.
They ran surveys for users and asked, “Did you look elsewhere before visiting this site? (If so, where?)” More than 70% of respondents had looked elsewhere.
They ran another survey and asked users what they care about most; 18% of users said “fast service” while another 12% said “reliability”.
This is how CORGI’s home page originally looked:
After compiling all these observations, Lee and his team distilled it down to one hypothesis:
CORGI’s core features were not being communicated properly. Displaying these more clearly on the home page, throughout the comparison journey, and the checkout could encourage more users to sign up rather than opting for a competitor.
Lee adds, “Throughout our user research with CORGI, we found that visitors weren’t fully exposed to the key selling points of the service. This information was available on different pages on the site, but was not present on the pages comprising the main conversion journey.”
Worship Digital first decided to put this hypothesis to test on the home page.
“We hypothesized that adding a USP bar below the header would mean 100% of visitors would be exposed to these anxiety-reducing features, therefore, improving motivation and increasing the user conversion rate,” Lee said.
This is how the variation looked.
The variation performed better than the control across all devices and majority of user types. The variation increased the conversions by 30.9%.
“We were very happy that this A/B test validated our research-driven hypothesis. We loved how we didn’t have to buy some other tool for running heatmaps and scrollmaps for our visitor behavior experiment,” Lee added.
Conversion optimization is a continuous process at CORGI. Lee has been constantly running new experiments and gathering deep understanding about the insurance provider’s visitors. For the next phase of testing, he plans to:
Improve the usability of the product comparing feature.
Identify and fix leaks during the checkout process.
State Of Buyer Personas 2016 established that approximately 60% of the survey respondents took their first-ever buyer persona development initiative within the last 2 years—a result similar to the previous year survey on personas.
It has been almost two decades since the term “persona” was first coined and used by Alan Cooper in his book “The Inmates Run the Asylum.” However, organizations still struggle to develop personas effectively. As a result, the gap between what the consumer wants and what companies provide has widened.
Look at this survey graph for a quick look into the mistakes that can taint customer-business relations, when the latter does not know its ideal customer well:
In this blog post, we walk you through the process of creating effective personas, how your business can benefit from these, and why these should be a part of your conversion optimization strategy. Let’s begin:
How to Create Effective User Personas
To create personas that are effective, it is important to first understand what personas should not be:
A demographic profile
A market segment
A documentation of behavior based on a research that lacks data
Having listed the “nots” of personas, let’s deep-dive into what effective personas comprise and how to develop these. Research, qualitative and quantitative, is the foundation of personas. When based on research, personas unveil:
What your users want to accomplish?
What drives your users’ behaviors?
What do your users think?
What are their expectations?
What will make them buy?
What could be their reasons for hesitation?
What could be their hindrances?
To develop personas that can give you insights as deep as finding answers to the above questions, and a few more tough ones, we advise you to:
Use Qualitative Research.
Use A/B Testing.
Perform Competitor Analysis.
Using Qualitative Research
Qualitative research tools such as on-page surveys, in-person interviews, and so on can help you uncover the expectations and motivation of a user.
We list some use cases for on-page surveys to help you understand how these can be wisely used for gathering information that is required for developing effective personas:
Use Case 1. Understanding Purchase Decision
Understanding customer motivation for buying a product plays a significant role in replicating the buying behavior. If you knew precisely what motivated a visitor to buy from you, it is the next step to motivate other visitors in the same direction.
What you could ask?
Did you find what you were looking for?
What motivated you to complete your purchase?
What triggers to use?
Goal Completion: As soon as a user completes a signup form or makes payment for items in the cart, this survey should pop up to understand the true motivation behind the purchase.
Use Case 2. Determining Purchase Satisfaction
It is important to know the purchase satisfaction level to determine if there are reasons that can stop them from buying or make them buy from elsewhere. It can also help you categorize people who have high or low purchase satisfaction levels, if you are able to observe a pattern.
What you could ask?
On a scale of 0–10, 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how satisfied are you with your last purchase?
The reason behind your rating. What do you think is good/bad about buying from us?
Analyzing the information that you have from your survey:
With regard to the question on purchase satisfaction levels, the information that your users reveal can be smartly analyzed to create user personas. Let’s say that you have an online apparel business. Running such surveys can help you:
Identify users who are not at all interested in your product (those who rate you between 0–3), users who do not have a firm opinion on your product (4-7), and users who have purchase satisfaction levels (8–10).
Understand the reasons behind high and low purchase satisfaction levels for all categories of users mentioned in the previous point.
Identify patterns, if any, in those rating your product high/low. For example, do those who rate the product on a scale of 8–10 buy the product because of “fresh styles and patterns,” do most of these people fall in the age group (20–25), and so on.
Build user personas based on this information.
What triggers to use?
Time spent on a page: Show the survey after visitors spend “X” seconds on the first webpage they visit. Target the survey using custom targeting to those who have made an online purchase earlier from you.
Asking these questions at the right time can help you fetch actionable information, uncover user motivations, as well as apprehensions.
Similarly, exit intent pop-ups and in-phone surveys also help you find out if your product/service is providing the value that your users and/or customers expect out of it.
Your qualitative research findings can then be dissected to create personas. Consider an example:
You are an eCommerce business selling antiallergic bedding. Your in-phone customer interview and on-page surveys help you determine one of your persona “Jane” with the following attributes:
Aged 32, she has very sensitive skin, which is prone to allergies.
She is willing to pay a little more if the product quality is good.
She also cares about the product being eco-friendly.
Your qualitative research would further help establish:
Jane’s motivation to buy your product: The bedding suits her needs, is priced just what she thinks is right, and can be found easily online.
Jane’s mindset while making a buying decision: She cares about her health and skin. She will not risk investing in any product that can cause allergies. She is also quality-conscious.
Jane’s bottlenecks to buying: She might return the product if she does not find it comfortable and per the quality that she expects. Style and comfort go hand in hand for her.
When you have conducted qualitative research and listed down motivations, bottlenecks, and mindset, you need to gather insights on what your user/customer is doing online. So the next logical step is to unveil Jane’s onsite behavior.
For example, using form analysis can help you identify the form fields that lead to customer hesitation or customers abandoning the form.
Using A/B Testing
Let’s say that you have listed a few findings about your personas, after conducting an in-depth research. However, you want to be as sure as possible. The following attributes can be put to test:
Comfort vs. Style
Discount vs. Buy One, Get One Free
Value of free shipping and free returns
A/B testing can help you narrow down to attributes as close as true to your real users. Whatever assumptions, observations, and opinions you have about your users, you can A/B test them to find out what your ideal users associate more with.
Performing Competitor Research
Digital intelligence tools can help you dig deeper into competitor data to analyze their traffic. Using such tools, you can find out where your competitors are putting their effort into—social media, mobile, content, email marketing, and so on.
After you have an idea of where your competitors’ major efforts go into, you can work backward to identify the audience they are targeting for creating user personas. This elaborate and well-researched post on medium will tell you how you can crack competitor research to create user personas for your business.
Benefits of Personas for Your Business
Mathilde Boyer, Customer Experience Director at the House of Kaizen, lists 5 ways in which every business can benefit by using personas.
“Personas shouldn’t only be created to trigger user empathy within an organization. They should be built with a practical application in mind so that they can be instrumental in a Conversion Optimization Strategy. Validating personas through actual user data and connecting them to target audiences increases their ability to drive business strategies.
Creating and leveraging user personas brings 5 key benefits to Marketers and Product Owners.
Connect research insights
Develop a unified view of your customers and prospects by identifying commonalities and unique attributes to provide a deep understanding of motivations, anxieties, decision making styles and moments when users find inspiration.
Strategically manage marketing budget
User personas allow you to prioritize target audiences and shift spend based on channel performance for individual audiences. Maximize your marketing investment by focusing your efforts and budget on the profitable leads.
Develop powerful brand and product storytelling
User personas can be leveraged to tailor storylines and bring your value proposition to life. They are key to understand aspirations, desires and perceptions of your customers. They are also crucial to strike the right note with unique content created to move buyers from interests to purchase.
Go beyond marketing silos
User personas allow you to ensure continuity and complementarity of messaging and creative across all user touchpoints (ads, website, emails, offline campaigns, customer service script, sales pitch, etc.).
Prioritize product roadmap
User personas should be a valuable levier to inform your product development cycles and ensure that new features are developed to solve evolving prospects’ problems and needs.”
Other than the benefits that Mathilde talks about, personas are also helpful in bringing uniformity to every department of the business regarding who their customer is. From customer service representatives to sales to marketing to the administrators, everyone is aligned to consumer goals. This helps everyone across the business keep their ideal customers happy, and thus increase overall satisfaction as well as retention.
Why Should Personas Be a Part of Your CRO Program
Protocol80 compiles some interesting facts on why personas are awesome. We list 2 of these here as evidence on why personas should be a part of your conversion optimization program.
“In the case of Intel, buyer personas surpassed campaign benchmarks by 75%. They were more cost efficient than the average campaign by 48% DemandGen Report.
In the case of Thomson Reuter, buyer personas contributed to a 175% increase in revenue attributed to marketing, 10% increase in leads sent to sales, and a 72% reduction in lead conversion time.”
Personas can help you improve conversions by:
Improving your personalization efforts.
Helping enhance product user experience.
Improving Personalization – Content
Personas help bring in more clarity on crafting tailored content that appeals to the target audience of the business. Consider an example:
You are an eCommerce business. One of your user persona is say, Mary – The Loyal, with some of the following characteristics:
Visits your website frequently
Makes a purchase every month or two
Does not purchase expensive products
Does not buy more than 2 or 3 products in a single visit
Is fashion-conscious, but does not compromise with quality
As you understand the buying behavior of this user persona, you can run campaigns with content specifically focussed at converting these users. For example, when Mary-the loyal visits your website again, you can personalize recommendations based on her last purchase, which might interest her into making a purchase.
Enhancing User Experience – Design and Development
At the design and development level, personas work as a research tool for businesses intending to enhance browsing/buying experience for their online users. These personas that are based on usage goals, browsing and exploring behavior, as well as pain points, tell the why behind the actions that users take on a website.
Such information is critical for designing any product or service. Understand, relate to, and remember the ideal user Mary-The Loyal throughout the entire product development process. The following design and development problems can be sorted by making user personas a part of the process.
When design teams do not have an understanding of which design elements on the website to prioritize. In this case, design and development teams end up wasting time on either developing or optimizing features that their ideal customer, Mary-The Loyal, does not use.
When design teams are finding it difficult to pitch their proposal to the management. This is where they can use actual data to enhance their idea and show the actual problem they are trying to solve by making the proposed changes.
Mathilde adds to how personas help enhance user experience.
“From a UX perspective, user personas are crucial to prevent self-referential design as they allow to focus the efforts on the needs of the customers and help be mindful of designing experiences as if we, marketers, were the end users.
Data-driven personas are also the foundation to map out customer journeys and ensure full alignment between user needs or perceived needs and the relevancy and length of the experience they have to go through to achieve them.
Personas become extremely powerful when they are taken beyond their naturally descriptive focus and provide a predictive view on how your product or service improves your ideal customers’ lives once they’ve used it for a certain time. The predictive side of personas is a key asset to design future-proof products and experiences.”
To Wrap It Up
When you make personas a part of your strategy, you are trying to maximize value for your ideal users. Here’s how Alan Cooper explains this concept in The Inmates Are Running The Asylum:
“The broader a target you aim for, the more certainty you have of missing the bull’s-eye. If you want to achieve a product-satisfaction level of 50%, you cannot do it by making a large population 50% happy with your products. You can only accomplish it by singling out 50% of the people and striving to make them 100% happy. It goes further than that. You can create an even bigger success by targeting 10% of your market and working to make them 100% ecstatic. It might seem counterintuitive, but designing for a single user is the most effective way to satisfy a broad population.”
Ultimately, filling the gap between the product value as perceived by your ideal user and the actual value that your product provides, will help you convince and convert your users into buyers.
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:
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.)
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.
“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.
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.
“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.