Launching a new business idea or deciding to develop a new product for your company is not without risk. Many of the best business ideas have come from inspiration, intuition or in-depth insight into an industry. While some of these ideas have risen to dominate the modern world, such as search engines, barcodes and credit card readers, many fine ideas still result in bankruptcy for their company, due to insufficient demand or failure to properly research customer desire. If you build it will they come? Often smart business entrepreneurs can still make big mistakes. With new product, service or business…
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.
What separates a Hermès Birkin bag from a high-quality leather handbag you could buy anywhere? A label, a fancy charm, and about $22,000. But unlike the tangible qualities of a purchase, like the grade of leather used or the fact that the utterly useless bag charm is 14 karat gold, the perception of value is what really separates one bag from the other. One bag contains social cachet and the ability to draw envy from other women – intangible benefits so valuable; it justifies the raised price. The nameless bag, however, has its own set of benefits for a different…
This infographic is a keeper, so you might want to bookmark it now :). It’s a very concise, but an all-you-need-to-know reference that can be pinned up on your office wall. Any time you’re about to send out an email blast, you can look at this infographic to make sure your headlines are top-notch and that you’re not sending out an email that looks awful on a certain device. Which brings me to this one little tip I like to tell my fellow marketers: I suggest checking your email on multiple devices before you send it out to your entire…
The one piece of information about your website that matters most is: how do your users interact with it? It’s easy to find out what they think about it: you can just ask them. But it’s very hard to find out how real users go about navigating your website. The thing is, that piece of knowledge is absolutely crucial. It’s the acid test for every design decision, because it’s what determines whether a visitor converts or bounces. So, we made Crazy Egg Recordings. Soon, Recordings will let you see multiple sessions of different visitors clicking, scrolling, and navigating throughout your…
Influencer marketing is the activity of engaging with influential people in order to obtain press and/or get content disseminated to large audiences. Influencer marketing leverages the influence or reach of leaders in a particular industry, field, or even sub-culture. For example, a renowned surgeon is an influencer in the field of medical science and an athlete is an influencer in the sports/fitness industry. Companies encourage relevant influencers to recommend their products or services to their followers. Examples of Influencers Marketing An example of influencer marketing is the promotion of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Millions of people have read them…
If you’re only going to use one social media site for marketing, the chances are it’s going to be Facebook. The now-ubiquitous social networking site has come a long way since its Harvard University origins and has been open to the public since September 2006. Over the years, it has added features that have become synonymous with social media as a whole, including photo sharing, video sharing, messaging and live video. It has also become a platform for other apps and games, has acquired other popular social and messaging networks (most notably Instagram and WhatsApp) and includes advertising. Facebook by…
Storytelling is primal. As humans evolved, night time storytelling around the fire pit became ingrained in human communication as did scratching out drawings of animals on cave walls. As marketers and conversion optimizers, storytelling is a key weapon in your communication arsenal. Take a look at the infographic below and glean some tips on how to improve the way you communicate with your prospects and customers. This infographic was originally published on Quicksprout.com
We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in yet another kickoff meeting, tasked with the impossible: find a way to get more conversions from your homepage with less manpower, fewer resources and a shoestring budget. P.S., can you get it done before the end of Q1?
You leave wondering if it’s too late to take the afternoon off and just let the vodkas martinis slowly wash the pain of your work life away:
Don’t give up just yet.
One marketing team used their homepage, existing resources and some savvy know-how to increase conversions on their homepage from 0% to 6%… and you can, too. Read on to find out how (and save those martinis for a victory party)!
The Kiva Microfunds case study
Meet Adam Kirk, Head of Marketing for the US borrower program at Kiva Microfunds, a non-profit organization that connects low-income entrepreneurs all over the world with interest-free loans. Adam explains:
We’ve done just under 3000 loans to date in the US and over half have been to women-owned businesses, over half to people of color and over half to low income households.
Compared to other lenders in the biz, Kiva is impressively over-indexed in these categories — they’re clearly impacting the people who need it the most.
One of Adam’s main key performance indicators (KPIs) for the US borrower program is loan application completions.
His goal: first generate enough leads from the homepage… then drip content that encourages prospects to sign up for a loan.
His struggle with meeting this goal?
We know that when borrowers hit our homepage, they’re clearly interested in Kiva. But a lot of those visitors don’t do anything once they get there: they bounce.
Adam’s team is tiny (as in…it’s just Adam and an intern running all their marketing programs) and support is scarce. Without a ton of engineering resources, tools and A/B testing options, Adam needs to be scrappy about the projects he tackles.
The overlay conversion play
After doing some research, Adam decided his homepage needed a little something extra to give his abandoning visitors a softer step towards conversion.
Use an overlay to focus attention on a single offer and grab email sign-ups for the monthly Kiva newsletter.
What is an overlay?
Overlays appear on top of a page’s content (in a lightbox), focusing the user’s attention on a single offer. They can be triggered on entrance, on exit, on scroll, after delay and on click.
That way, Adam would give visitors a quick next step before leaving and capture their contact information for future follow up (when they’ve warmed up to taking a loan).
Since he was already using MailChimp, he was able to quickly throw together some copy and design to test their free overlay tool on his homepage.
Adam talks about the goal and design of the pop up, laughing:
Well it was pretty ugly. It was just one form field and we couldn’t do any kind of targeting so it literally popped up all the time, after five seconds on the homepage.
To test it, Adam got scrappy and split his homepage traffic 50/50 from a total of 10,000 visitors a month. He then set the overlay live and waited to see if it would make a difference.
Despite the drawbacks, Adam’s experiment worked. From that overlay alone, 3-4% of visitors who would have exited instead entered their email address.
Boom! 150 net new leads from one “ugly” pop-up!
Testing Unbounce Convertables
Adam had reaped the benefits of an overlay, but was ready to start more segmented targeting, so he decided to give Unbounce Convertables a shot. He explains:
I had already shown how the first overlay worked despite its simplicity, so I figured, why not do something now with actual logic behind it.
With the same goal in mind and an arsenal of design and copy in his back pocket, Adam got his Unbounce overlay live in only five minutes.
Since his goal was to provide value by giving abandoners an easy next step before they leave, he set the overlay targeting to appear on exit to new visitors only. This ensured that users would only ever see the overlay once, and that it’d only be presented to people who were getting ready to exit (some visitors to their homepage were likely ready to take action).
Here’s what his overlay looks like:
Screenshot of the Kiva Micrfunds Homepage Convertable
Of people trying to leave the Kiva borrower hub, Adam’s team is now capturing 6-7% of them. That’s 3x the conversions from what the original overlay provided.
It doesn’t end there. Adam now uses the thank you page (also an overlay) to shape his traffic to the Kiva community.
Showcasing a smiling business owner, the goal of the thank you is to put a face to the loan and entice potential borrowers to click through and read more:
Screenshot of the Kiva Microfunds Post-Confirmation Thank-You
From farmers and foodies to artisans and app developers, the Kiva community is filled with real-life success stories of Kiva-funded entrepreneurs.
Screenshot of the Kiva Microfunds Community Page
The results from traffic shaping?
We’re still testing! But I’m pumped to see what we can do next.
Adam and his team at Kiva were able to stretch their existing resources, time and manpower to generate some pretty impressive conversion results — all with overlays.
So next time you’re in a kick-off meeting, tasked with the impossible, think of Adam’s success and remember:
What do conversions, your homepage and vodka martinis have in common?
The answer is VICTORY.
Psst. Already a customer? Log into Unbounce now and start using Convertables at no extra cost. You can use the same drag-and-drop Unbounce builder to drive conversions on both your campaign landing pages and your website!)
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