Tag Archives: people

Learn from the Best: an Interview with Content Marketing Rock Star Andy Crestodina

I first had the pleasure of working with Andy on a Kissmetrics blog post five years ago. A few months after his post was published, I looked at our traffic in Google Analytics and said: Whatever Andy touches becomes magic. The electric sparks that shoot off his finger tips as he types turn into thousands of social shares, ten of thousands of pageviews, and more importantly – unbelievable wisdom that his readers consume. Let’s get inside his head for a moment and learn a few new things! 1. In the current state of inbound marketing, are people getting suffocated by…

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Learn from the Best: an Interview with Content Marketing Rock Star Andy Crestodina

Seeing Diminishing Returns in AdWords? Here Are 5 Advanced Optimization Tactics

Being a modern-day Paid Media Manager can make you feel a bit like Sisyphus.

Your VP of Marketing has charged you with rolling a boulder uphill (continuously optimizing your AdWords campaigns even when you’ve reached your quarterly objectives).

Image via Shutterstock.

This becomes especially painful when you’re getting diminishing returns out of your optimization efforts. There are many tactics to choose from, but many of them may be a waste of time and may leave you with minimal impact.

When the going gets tough, you need to get creative and find cost/time-effective ways to keep optimizing your campaigns as granularly as possible.

Here are five advanced strategies for getting big optimization wins in AdWords.

1. Reach people who ignored you due to your budget

Before investing time into extensive research, ask yourself:

Am I getting the full value out of my existing target market?

Chances are, you’re losing market share for your target keywords (and locations) due to budget caps.

To grow your campaigns, reduce the market share loss due to budget caps.

Reality check: Are you losing market share due to budget?

Check the “Search Lost IS (Budget)” metric in Google AdWords. You’ll find it in the Competitive Metrics category.

So what’s your number? 2%, 12% or 32%?

Here’s an example: our client’s account was losing up to 32% of market share due to budget by week four. That means they were pacing stronger at the beginning of the month, but needed to slow down towards the end of the month to meet the monthly budget goal.

Search lost due to budget chart (via SCUBE Marketing)

Once you know how much market share you lost at account level, you can dig deeper into the campaign level data. You’ll know exactly which campaigns contribute to the loss. Those gems are your growth opportunities.

Search lost due to budget by campaign (via SCUBE Marketing)

Action plan: Increase daily budgets… with performance in mind

One path you can take here is to increase the daily budgets based on performance. Use three performance buckets to make decisions:

  • Great. Your CPL is healthy. Get more of it. Increase budgets.
  • Poor. Your CPL is high. You’ll spread the poor performance wider by increasing the budget. You won’t make it up by volume. Reduce budgets so you can allocate more spend to the performing campaigns.
  • Borderline. Your CPL needs work. Work on reducing the wasted ad spend and start raising your daily budgets — slowly.

Shared Budgets will help you manage your campaign budgets easier. Here’s how to prioritize your campaigns and group them into Shared Budgets:

  1. Sort campaigns by Conversions and CPL.
  2. Group campaigns into Shared Budgets based on performance. We like to have four groups — B1 through B4 — based on importance, where B1 has no budget constraints, and B4 has the most budget constraints.
  3. Calculate required monthly spend. Sum each campaign category by cost for the month. Make sure all campaigns fit in your monthly budget.
  4. Allocate respectively. Use maximum required budget for B1 first, then B2, B3, B4.

Here’s something else you can do to grow your AdWords campaign.

2. Improve market share lost due to low Ad Rank

Another great way to grow your AdWords campaigns is to reduce lost market share due to low Ad Rank. If you’re not familiar, I’ll give you a quick, practical overview.

Ad Rank is like MTV Top 40 (and if you remember Scatman, I will give you a high five). Instead of rank being based on sales of audiocassettes, vinyl and other formats across a seven day period, Ad Rank is based on three variables for each search query:

  • Your bid
  • Your Quality Score
  • Your ad extensions
Scatman (via Giphy)

I will skip ad extensions, as most serious advertisers use them already (and I hope you’re one of them).

The two variables that matter are your bids and your Quality Score. If they stay constant in your account, but your competitors keep increasing theirs, your Ad Rank relative to competitors decreases and your market share (impression share) is lost due to Ad Rank increases.

Reality check: Are you losing market share due to Ad Rank?

Just as you did with your budget, check the “Search Lost IS (Rank)” metric in Google AdWords. It’s in the Competitive Metrics category.

Search lost due to Ad Rank metric (via SCUBE Marketing)

Once again, find your number for both the account and campaign levels. Once you know, you’ll know what direction to take things in.

Your growth menu is limited to two options:

  • Bid increase
  • Quality Score improvement

Action plan: Increase your bids

If your Quality Score is high already (attempts at improving it may result in diminishing returns or a negative impact on your conversion rate), and your CPLs are healthy, you have no other choice but to increase the bids. Your CPL will go up, but you can gain a lot more conversions.

Action plan: Improve your Quality Score

If your Quality Score is low, work on improving it. You can affect your Quality Score with three factors (directly from Google):

  • Your ad’s expected click-through rate: This is based, in part, on your ad’s historical clicks and impressions. You can think of this as an estimate as to how well your ads might perform, after factoring in things like extensions, and other various bells and whistles that impact performance.
  • Your ad’s relevance to the search: How relevant your ad text is to what a person searches for.
  • The quality of your landing page: How relevant and user-friendly is your landing page?

Recently, Google has improved its Quality Score reporting. You can see the makeup of your score using historical data. This helps you to evaluate how the previous account changes affected your score.

New Quality Score reporting (via SCUBE Marketing)

The problem: you can’t take your Quality Score to the bank. It’s not a KPI.

Given that, if your conversion rates are healthy, don’t sacrifice your results for the sake of Quality Score. Yes, you may improve your Quality Score a bit, but if your conversion rate tanks, cheap clicks won’t matter.

If your conversion rates are not healthy, you can either:

  • Write more relevant ads (with focus on improving CTR and CVR)
  • Improve your landing page (with focus on improving CVR). I recommend using Unbounce to create highly relevant landing pages focused on conversions. You can improve their relevancy with Dynamic Text Replacement, responsive design and fast loading times.

Once you’re satisfied with the conversion rate, go back to increasing the bids. On to the next move you can make to strengthen your campaigns.

3. Expand into a new buyer stage

Buyers have different stages in their journey. You need to understand the buying stages for your customers, understand their differences and finally adapt your marketing to them.

To illustrate the difference between them, I’ll use an example that revolves around unicorns. Let’s say you kept your unicorn enclosed in a submarine for a few years. Your unicorn was exposed to asbestos and got a sick with mesothelioma. You decided to sue the owner of the submarine and you started looking for a lawyer. A good one. Someone like Saul Goodman.

Saul Goodman can sue anyone (via YouTube)

You may be going through any one of three different stages:

  • Awareness – early in the process. Looking for ideas or trying to identify the problem. Far from making a decision. Example: looking for symptoms or treatment options.
  • Consideration – considering potential options. Not ready to make a decision. Example: looking to find out how the settlement amount for getting your poor unicorn sick.
  • Decision – ready to make a decision. Looking for a solution. Example: looking for a lawyer.

In fact, we used this approach for real law firms. One law firm had their eyes set on the strategy behind the decision stage. We identified opportunities to expand into the consideration and awareness stages. New stages helped to double the leads. Let me visualize it:

Double your leads by expanding into new buyer’s journey stages (via SCUBE Marketing)

Reality check: Are your campaigns assigned to specific buyer stages?

Go through your campaigns and map them to the appropriate buyer stages. If you’re not deliberate on your buyer stages, your conversion rate may be affected due to poor matching between the offer and the intent of the buyer stage.

Think of the traffic temperature concept covered by Molly Pittman and Johnathan Dane. Then, review your offer and make sure it matches the intent of the buyer stage.

Offers matched to traffic temperature, with cold leads (awareness) on the left and warm leads (decision stage) on the right. (via KlientBoost)

Action plan: Identify gaps and expand into new buyer stages

Once you map your campaigns to specific buyer stages, identify the opportunities to expand.

Expand into the stages that you haven’t covered. For example, if you’re focusing on the decision and consideration stages, expand into the awareness stage.

Once you identify the missing stage(s), do the following:

  1. Perform keyword research for the new campaigns within the missing stage.
  2. Develop offers that represent the intent of the buyer stage.
  3. Create the ads and landing pages that reflect the offer.

Let’s take a look at the next step you can take toward growing your AdWords campaigns.

4. Expand into new locations

Locations may be an overlooked avenue in which to expand.

Let’s say you own a unicorn breeding business and are targeting locations within a certain radius of your office. You assume you should be targeting people living near your business.

Unicorn breeding farm (via Giphy)

Think about it again. You may be missing your opportunity. Take these two facts into consideration:

If you don’t have these in your targeted locations, you’re missing out. For example, one client, selling custom kitchen cabinets, provided us with a recommended list of locations with a wealthy population. We ran ads at those locations and the traction was small. We didn’t use the whole budget.

Then, we identified a new set of geographies — where the target audience may be working — and tested again. The leads went up by 155% in month 1 (after the change) and 30% more in month 2.

Location targeting (via SCUBE Marketing)

Reality check: Are you targeting all possible locations?

Check your target locations. Are you targeting based on where people live, commute and work?

If you’re missing any location categories, identify them.

Action plan: Expand into new location categories

Once you identified the gaps, do your research and expand. You can expand based on the following scenarios:

  1. Commuter locations. People within the existing market commuting.
  2. Work locations for existing market. People within the existing market at work.
  3. New locations for new market. New locations to reach a new audience, provided your business can operate in them.

5. Expand your offer

New customer acquisition matters — a lot. It doesn’t matter if you acquire them selling the core product or a loss leader. (If you’re not familiar with the loss leader concept, here is the rundown. A loss leader is a product that opens doors for new client acquisition.)

Once you get a customer, your goal is to increase their lifetime value. I’ve covered customer lifetime value extensively in another article.

Let’s take Starbucks, for example. There’s a reason why they’re one of the unicorns of the industry. Their marketing isn’t focused on selling a five-dollar Unicorn Frappuccino (they actually exist), it’s about acquiring a loyal customer who will generate $14,099 over the lifetime.

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino (via Starbucks)

Reality check: Do you have a unique offer you could sell to acquire new customers?

Consider cell phone companies. Their core product is not the cell phone. It’s the subscription service. See what happens when I search for “cell phones” — I get ads from the cell phone companies.

Cell Phone Offers (via Google)

What does that mean?

These companies expanded their offers to include additional products that serve as new entry points for new customers and growth.

My question to you is this — do you have a new offer you can use to acquire new customers?

Action plan: Expand your offers

Executing this is easier than it seems. Follow these four steps to expand your offer:

  1. Research your customers to understand their expectations. I’ve covered four research methods in a separate article.
  2. Create your offer tied to the core product first.
  3. Perform keyword research representing new offer.
  4. Create the ads and landing pages that reflect the offer.

Final thoughts

You made it! Now, you have five different ways to grow your AdWords campaigns. Remember, start with the analysis first, and take action second.

Once launched, don’t forget to evaluate often, and revise. Your analysis isn’t always right. You need to try, try, and try again — until you find success.

What effective ways have you found to grow your AdWords campaigns? Share in the comments below.

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Seeing Diminishing Returns in AdWords? Here Are 5 Advanced Optimization Tactics

Sort and Measure Method: Doing User Research from Product Reviews for eCommerce A/B Tests

 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:

  • Use heatmaps/scrollmaps.
  • 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.

amerisleep__shop_eco-friendly__memory_foam_mattresses

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?

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:

img_6600_png

Here is his email to me:

brian_response-min

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:

testimonials

Then you go through them one by one, create categories for common themes, and mark which categories they fall into.

sort_and_measure_2-min

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.

amerisleep_user_research_results

(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.

amerisleep_user_research_results-1

That means:

  • 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.

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Sort and Measure Method: Doing User Research from Product Reviews for eCommerce A/B Tests

How to Increase Conversions, Sign Ups, and Subscriptions with Web Push Notifications

web push notifications

It’s Friday afternoon, and Bill is frantically writing a rebuttal to a fiery political thread on Facebook. Smashing his keyboard violently with fingers of fury. Around 3 pm, a message flies in on the upper right-hand corner of his computer screen updating him of the final score of the Giants vs. Phillies game. “Giants lost?!? What?” At 4:30, another notification flies in telling him the pet food he was browsing online earlier in the week is available at his local pet store and he can grab it on the drive home. “Gizmo’s gun’ be happy tonight heh heh. JUMBONE for…

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How to Increase Conversions, Sign Ups, and Subscriptions with Web Push Notifications

Glossary: Anchor Text

glossary what is anchor text

The text (or characters) inside a website hyperlink. Anchor text can help inform search engines of a webpage’s subject matter. It’s a fairly simple thing to explain, however, anchor text is a controversial topic in SEO (search engine optimization). Let’s touch on that bit. The Old “Click Here” Lesson Up until very recently, if you typed the words “click here” into Google, one of the top results would be a result for Adobe Acrobat. Why? Because for the past 15-20 years, people have been publishing the anchor text: “Click Here To Download Adobe Acrobat” and making that anchor text a…

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Glossary: Anchor Text

Infographic: The Data Behind What Makes An Effective Sales Process

This is one of my all-time favorite infographics. I reference it in other articles quite regularly. It really gets to the point of how important it is to respond to your inbound leads ASAP. And I’m not talking about newsletter signups or people who have downloaded a white paper. I’m talking about hot leads: People who are calling in, asking for demos, and asking specific questions. I’ve worked for many B2B companies in the past where this was always something that could have been improved. The first problem is: 9-5. You’re losing a ton of money by not responding to…

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Infographic: The Data Behind What Makes An Effective Sales Process

How to Create, Track and Rank CRO Hypotheses So You Know What to Test

CRO hypothesis ranking

CRO makes big promises. But the way people get to those 300% lifts in conversions is by being organized. Otherwise, you find yourself in the position that a lot of marketers do: you do a test, build on the result, wait a while, do another test, wait a while… meanwhile, the big jumps in conversions, leads and revenue never really seem to manifest. That’s because only a structured approach can get you in position to make the best use of your testing time and budget. This isn’t something you want to be doing by the seat of your pants. In…

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How to Create, Track and Rank CRO Hypotheses So You Know What to Test

How to Use Smarter Content to Build Laser-Focused Lists of Qualified Prospects

Laser Focus Content Marketing

Many companies invest a lot of time and money in content marketing. But very few are ever really successful with it. That’s because a lot of companies approach to content marketing as some sort of hands-off sorcery. They write blog post after blog post and then sit around and wait for something to happen (hint: nothing will happen). Instead, you should think of content as a type of currency – a strategic asset that you can use within a framework to drive business results. This requires a plan and a strategy for how you will use content and then which…

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How to Use Smarter Content to Build Laser-Focused Lists of Qualified Prospects

"There Aren’t Enough Qualified Women Speakers" and Other Garbage Excuses for Why Your Marketing Event Isn’t Gender Diverse

Blog images by Alejandra Porta.

I’ve attended enough tech and marketing events to make a few generalizations:

  1. Women are hugely underrepresented; whether it’s a panel or a conference speaker lineup, chances are it’s overrun with white men.
  2. Sexism is prevalent, and it spans from subtle (think underrepresentation, pinkwashed girls’ lounges) to overt (think harassment, non-consensual advances).

There are exceptions (there always are), but this is the general rule, and it’s a huge stain on the industry you and I are both a part of.

Now I want to make it clear, I’m not here to chastise anyone. As a used-to-be conference organizer, I’m guilty of it too.

When I ran Unbounce’s first-ever Call to Action Conference (CTAConf) four years ago, I invited four women to speak, two of which spoke on a panel. The other seven were — you guessed it — white males.

My reason was an all-too familiar one: “There aren’t enough qualified female speakers.”

This is garbage. It’s unacceptable. And it’s not a reason at all — it’s an excuse. What it really came down to was, I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I wasn’t asking my network for recommendations. I wasn’t doing enough research. I wasn’t making the extra effort required to widen the pool of speakers. I wasn’t committed to gender diversity.

Fast forward to today and my perspective has completely changed. Not only because it’s important to me on a personal level, but also because it makes business sense.

See, when you pull from the same pool of speakers as other folks in your industry, everything starts to look like white bread — bland and borderline junkfood. Your conference looks like that other conference that happened a few months ago. And the content? Yep, it’s the same, too.


When you use the same speakers, your lineup looks like white bread—bland and borderline junkfood.
Click To Tweet


By digging a little deeper and expanding your search a little wider, you can discover fresh up-and-coming talent with new perspectives, new things to teach. And you show female attendees that their voice and their professional development matter.

And did I mention you sell tickets and attract more female attendees?

Moz, which hosts its own conference (MozCon), reported that as the percent of female speakers increased so did the percent of female attendees. What else can I say but duh?

I see a lot of progress being made around improving gender diversity in marketing and tech. People are asking questions, they’re holding companies accountable, they’re having those tough conversations, which is a great start.

But what are people actually doing about it?

This post will dig into specific steps you can take to improve gender diversity at your next event. They’re the result of an honest-to-goodness desire to do the right thing and our own cringe-worthy fumbles (more on that later).

It’s my hope that these tips and tactics will help to alleviate any hesitation you or your organization might have about taking the leap.

Commit to gender parity

At Unbounce, we’ve been having conversations around gender diversity for months, so when Unbounce CEO Rick Perrault challenged us to commit to gender parity at CTAConf 2017, the response was a resounding YES, YES, YES.

Making progress one Slack convo at a time.

It’s as simple as this. And yet it’s a bit more nuanced as well.

The truth is, achieving gender parity did take a bit more time and a bit more effort. But the result is a more dynamic lineup of speakers and an opportunity to tap into an audience that otherwise might’ve passed on your event.

Forget ROI — talk about RO why not?!


Commit to gender parity at your #marketing event—the result is a more dynamic lineup of speakers.
Click To Tweet


So how did we do it? How did we stack our lineup with talented male and female speakers? (And more importantly, how can you?)

  1. Leverage your social network and ask for recommendations via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (like Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner did for the Unbounce Road Trip in 2015).
  1. Pull from existing comprehensive lists such as this list of 1,000+ tech speakers who aren’t men and this one featuring 100 influential women marketers.
  2. Trade past speaker lists and ratings with your network of event organizers. I sent personal emails to every event organizer I knew asking them for their past speaker lineups and ratings, and in exchange I shared our list and ratings. This tactic is one is my faves, and it’s how we scored a ton of speaker leads for CTAConf.
  3. Email past presenters and speakers and ask them for recommendations. It’s how we found Claire Suellentrop, who’s speaking about creating high-converting campaigns using Jobs To Be Done at this year’s conference.

Sponsor the women at your own company

I honestly believe that everyone has something to teach. EVERYONE. Regardless of gender, regardless of age, regardless of job title, everyone is an expert in something.

It’s this belief that gave me the courage to raise my own hand and ask to speak at last year’s CTAConf.

But I wasn’t a quote unquote speaker. I guess you could have called me a speaker in residence. I spoke at a few small-time events here and there, but I am not famous like Seth Godin. I don’t travel the world speaking at industry events or conferences.

I was caught in a classic Catch-22: I couldn’t become a speaker without experience, but I couldn’t get experience because I wasn’t a speaker.

But rather than focusing on what I didn’t have, our speaker selection committee focused on what I did have: enthusiasm and a whole lotta event marketing experience to boot.

Once the committee deliberated, I spent two hours whiteboarding my talk with Oli. He and Unbounce Senior Conversion Optimizer Michael Aagaard also reviewed my slide deck multiple times, providing constructive feedback.

Their expertise helped fill the gaps in my resume, so that when I stood up on that stage I felt prepared and supported.

And guess what? It went really well.

So this year we reserved one CTAConf speaker slot for employees, and we sent a callout asking for applicants. The response blew my mind: Four applicants, all women. And though the choice was a tough one, I’m pleased to say Alexa Hubley — Customer Communications Specialist and first-time conference speaker — will be on stage at CTAConf 2017 with her talk “Master Customer Marketing By Watching Romantic Comedies.”

So what can you do to improve gender diversity at your upcoming event? You can start in your very own backyard. Encourage high-performing women at your company to speak at events, and offer them mentorship and support to get them up on stage.

And if you’re a man who’s been asked to speak at an event, consider if there’s a woman you know who is equally qualified to speak on the subject. If there is, offer up your slot. In fact, Oli already did this, when he recommended me to speak at CIMC 2017.


For every man asked to speak at an event, there’s a qualified woman who hasn’t been. Find her.
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Create a code of conduct

A clear code of conduct helps create a safe environment for your staff and your event attendees by setting expectations for what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

From a diversity perspective, a code of conduct is an especially helpful tool for making women feel at ease, because there are strict policies in place to deter discrimination and harassment.

Creating a code of conduct out of thin air might seem intimidating, so I suggest pulling inspiration from existing codes and adding your own personal flavor.

When we created our code of conduct, we looked to other companies we admired, specifically Moz and Atlassian.

Wistia has written an exceptional post about how and why they created their code of conduct for WistiaFest, including how they made it visible. Humble folks that they are, they highlighted where they could have improved (so you can learn from their mistakes!).

You’ll notice three core principles outlined in all these codes:

  1. Be nice/respectful/kind/inclusive
  2. Be professional
  3. Look out for others
Wistia’s “Golden Rules.” Image via Wistia.

Including these three core principles and your company’s core values is a great place to start.

And remember, there are no rules when it comes to creating a code of conduct, except one… you have to be prepared to enforce it.

Enforce your code of conduct

A code of conduct is like insurance; you hope you never have to use it, but in those unfortunate circumstances, you’ll be glad you have something to back you up.

At this year’s conference, we’re making our code of conduct front and center with printed posters hung around the venue.

You’ll also find the code on the CTAConf website as well as in our conference app. And we’ve made it simple to report a violation by including a direct phone number to our event marketing coordinator in our code of conduct.

While I can’t go into the specifics of every reported incident, I can tell you we’ve enforced our code multiple times, with attendees and speakers.

Yes, speakers.

Remember when I mentioned cringe-worthy fumbles? Well read on, readers.

See, live events are a tricky beast. You have this very passionate person up on stage who’s pumped up and maybe a little nervous. You have no idea what’s going to come out of their mouth. You hope it won’t be anything offensive, but you really have no idea.

You do, however, have control over their content, specifically their slide deck. This is something we learned the hard way:

Props to Annette for calling us out. It wasn’t our slide, but as event hosts, the content that gets projected for all our guests to see is our responsibility. Period.

So what did we start doing to make sure this never happened again? We leaned on our code of conduct:

  1. We send all our presenters the code of conduct beforehand via email
  2. We include the code of conduct in our Speaker Field Guide, which contains everything a speaker needs to know, such as contact information, travel and accommodation info and slide deck specs
  3. (This one’s a biggie.) We review and sign off on everyone’s slide decks, slide by slide, to ensure there’s no offensive or discriminating content
  4. We don’t invite back speakers who’ve broken our code of conduct

And next year, we’ll take a page out of Moz’s book by including our code of conduct right in our speaker and sponsor contract.

So does all of this “extra stuff” add to our workload? You bet it does. But it’s something we account for now. And the payoff is invaluable.

We’ve still got growing to do

You may have noticed this post is focused on how to create a gender diverse event and not a diverse event. The truth is, we know we can #dobetter at elevating folks who aren’t typically asked to speak at events — not just white women, but people of color, non-binary folks and members of the LGBTQ community.

We know we have more growing to do and we’re committed to it, just as we were committed to achieving gender parity at this year’s conference.

I think we’ve come a long way as a company, and I think I’ve come a long way as a champion for women. The excuse I gave as a conference host nearly four years ago — that there weren’t enough qualified women speakers — is no longer an excuse.

We’re welcoming 10 exceptional men and 10 extraordinary women to the CTAConf stage in June, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Hope to see you there :)

Taken from:

"There Aren’t Enough Qualified Women Speakers" and Other Garbage Excuses for Why Your Marketing Event Isn’t Gender Diverse

json-api-normalizer: An Easy Way To Integrate The JSON API And Redux

As a front-end developer, for each and every application I work on, I need to decide how to manage the data. The problem can be broken down into the following three subproblems: Fetch data from the back end, store it somewhere locally in the front-end application, retrieve the data from the local store and format it as required by the particular view or screen.

json-api-normalizer: An Easy Way To Integrate The JSON API And Redux

This article sums up my experience with consuming data from JSON, the JSON API and GraphQL back ends, and it gives practical recommendations on how to manage a front-end application data.

The post json-api-normalizer: An Easy Way To Integrate The JSON API And Redux appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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json-api-normalizer: An Easy Way To Integrate The JSON API And Redux