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How to Use MailChimp’s Instagram Ad Integration

mailchimp instagram

Marketing automation platform MailChimp recently announced that Instagram ads can now be purchased, created, and managed right from your MailChimp dashboard. With email being 40% more effective than Facebook and Twitter marketing combined, MailChimp wondered – what if we combined the best of both worlds? MailChimp already unveiled their Facebook Ads integration earlier this year and made the bold statement to MailChimp users that combine email marketing and Facebook ads see an average ROI of 51% as opposed to interest-based marketing alone. Now, Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram, is also getting in on the action. This means that, by using MailChimp, you…

The post How to Use MailChimp’s Instagram Ad Integration appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Use MailChimp’s Instagram Ad Integration

Mitch Joel on Why Agencies Should Care About Conversion Rate Optimization [INTERVIEW]

Move over Don Draper, the modern day agency marketer needs to be more of a Renaissance (wo)man.

Sure, they need to be creative enough to craft a compelling pitch.

But they also need to be data-driven. They need to be well versed in analytics and the latest MarTech trends. And when budgets get tight, agency marketers need to be able to convince their clients to not cut out conversion rate optimization.

Few people know this better than Mitch Joel, president of Mirum, a global digital marketing agency operating in 20 different countries. Mitch is a best-selling business author, international speaker and agency thought leader. But he’s also a full-stack marketer who has been doing display advertising for longer than Google itself.

Mitch Joel, president of global digital agency Mirum and author of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete.Image source.

Since Mitch entered the digital marketing world, a helluvalot has changed — and not just in agencyland. As technology evolves, so too are consumers and the way they interact with our brands. At the Call to Action Conference in June, Mitch’s keynote, Algorhythm: How Technology Connects Consumers To Brands Like Never Before, will dive into how to future-proof your brand and embrace disruption to become a digital leader.

PSST. Hey blog reader, we like the cut of your jib. Get 15% off Call to Action Conference tickets by using discount code “blogsentme” at checkout. Offer expires May 12th.

Ugh, why can’t it be June already?

To tide you over, here’s a fascinating interview with Mitch from the Call to Action Podcast. Unbounce Director of Content Dan Levy sat down with Mitch to discuss:

  • How the agency world has evolved over the past 15 years.
  • Mitch’s experience selling his independent agency to the largest holding company in the world.
  • How everything from search results to PPC and even the talent you hire for your agency are all extensions of your brand.

Check out some highlights from the interview below. (This transcript has been edited for length. Listen to the full episode on iTunes.)

Dan Levy: You’re known as a bestselling business author, speaker and agency thought leader, but you got your start in the online marketing trenches doing ad sales and even PPC marketing for a site called Mamma.com. Can you take us back to that time? What did the online marketing landscape look like and what did you learn from that experience?

Mitch Joel: Actually, yes, I did do that. But my start in digital came much earlier when I was publishing music magazines in the late 80s and early 90s. I actually was tangentially at the same time very engaged in digital media: first web browser, BBSs, stuff like that. And I actually put those magazines on the “internet” — like air quote internet — because back then, there wasn’t even really an internet.

I remember one of the cover stories for my alternative, cool, fun publication was called, “The Net.” The innovation at that time was hyperlinks. I literally was posting things on the internet from the magazine that couldn’t have hyperlinks. You couldn’t link from one page to the other. That really kept me on the trajectory where eventually I helped launch the sales channel of what at the time was one of the largest meta search engines on the internet. And again, it’s hard to imagine a world before Google. But this was pre-Google. And so the meta search engine would basically grab search results from engines like Yahoo, AOL, Lycos, and create a meta — or a better — search result that we could actually aggregate faster.

My role back then was selling sponsorships on the homepage, it was selling banner advertising. And it was also very early days of selling — literally the first time of being able to take a search result and having a banner that’s related to the search show up in the search result. And to tell you how early and nascent it was, I had to physically go into the code of the search engine to code the banner in. I don’t recommend that in this day in age. Like I don’t think anyone at Google is going into the master code to embed a search result. But that’s how early the times were back then.

DL: Wow. What did you learn from that experience that you brought forth?

MJ: Well I learned to take chances. I can tell you that when they approached me about the opportunity, my first question was, “What’s online advertising?” I mean, we are talking about a time when that first banner ad on HotWired — which became Wired — had just run.

The first banner ad, ever. Image source: Wired.

I didn’t even know what it looked like, what it felt like, what it could be. I think my pedigree in selling traditional print ads and having a construct of what it means to run a media company is what pushed me there. So it was — to this day, it was a great move. And I’m so grateful, I still have a lot of friends in my life now who came from there. A lot of people who’ve become — who’ve ascended in this industry to run major, major web initiatives are people that I hired. People that I brought into the industry. So I have a lot of pride in that.

And I also learned that — again, when I think about it, I don’t know why I took the job. All logic would dictate that at the time, I should not have taken that job. But I took the job and it wound up being great for me because it brought together what I was doing professionally on one side. And on the other side, it brought together my passion for digital. I often say that I was very early into many things. And when we started Mirum, which back then was Twist Image in 2000 (I joined in 2002). At that point in my career I said, even though I might be a little early in this space, I’m going to ride it out.

DL: Performance marketing and brand marketing are often seen as being on different sides of the digital marketing spectrum. Do you think that’s true? Do you see those two disciplines as coming closer together in an age where Facebook has gone from a social media network to just another performance marketing channel?

MJ: I think you’re right. The evolution — and by the way, Google structured themselves — for a long while, and they may still — around brand and performance. And that’s common. Where I think the confusion comes from is that within real behavioral performance-based marketing, there are heavy and hefty living around brand and experience that we often dismiss because we think that performance is still about getting the right search word, getting them to the right page.

But actually if you step back from that, the meta message is that it has to be a very relevant and cohesive brand experience. And I was somebody who wasn’t just buying generic brand keywords back in the day, to just keep that going. I actually believe that — a saying I’ve used since the early 2000s is that the first page of search results is a brand experience.


You can’t separate PPC & brand marketing. The 1st page of search is part of your brand experience.
Click To Tweet


So there’s that. That sort of dismisses the idea that performance is not about branding. And you’re right — fast forwarding to today, a lot of my clients and a lot of people I meet when I do speaking events will say that social media is primarily a paid channel, because of what Facebook has done to throttle the content and have you pay against reach. Which I think by the way is a great model and clearly the market would agree with that idea.

But you can’t have any results — whether you’re paying for it or it’s organic — unless it’s a really good experience.

Whether or not that’s through a search result, an email marketing initiative, a great landing page *hint hint wink wink* to you guys, or a good old piece of content. I really don’t care. I’m actually agnostic to that.

DL: Where do performance channels like PPC and landing page optimization and conversion rate optimization come into the picture with the kinds of big brands that you work with? Are those things part of your offer? Do you factor them into how you pitch and bill clients?

MJ: Well it depends on whether someone’s going full bore with us or not. Like any other agency, we work on specific campaigns, specific projects, longer initiatives and then full-on mandates. And even the full-on mandates have sort of splits and fits and starts.

The way we started our company, we only wanted to work with large national and multinational brands and we’ve stuck to that model for what’s coming up onto 17 years. Because of that, being of startup size back in the early 2000s, most brands already had large media companies at play. And those media companies even back then were feeling very threatened by digital and would make those offerings.

So we would come in and grab pieces and parts of it and really focus on the behavioral side. Let us handle the drive to optimization, landing page, unique spaces, unique experience while the media companies were really checking boxes around “online video,” “search,” affiliate marketing” and stuff like that. So from my pedigree, I stand very firmly and aligned with what performance can do in terms of optimizations and moving things forward. I feel like I’m banging against the wall when everyone says, “Well we do that.” I think people do do that, but they don’t really do it.

I still really believe that a lot of the work we see is what I call “rearview mirror.” You know, we did it, we’re running these keywords to a landing page, and let’s see how it did. Post. I believe, and I know that Mirum as an agency believes it, all of that optimization, all of that data, all of that opportunity is now in the passenger seat. When you do it well and you actually are optimizing and driving and creating unique experiences on landing pages and stuff like that, you’ve moved it from the rearview mirror to the passenger’s seat and you can fix it and go so that there always is a positive result, not a result that says, “Oh, that campaign just didn’t work.” I can’t believe we still use that language in business today!

DL: Right, as if a campaign or an experience is a success or a failure — only if it meets your hypothesis. And the learnings aren’t a factor or don’t have anything to do with it at all.

MJ: Right and it’s frustrating for me because I feel like we often lose business or can’t grab the business because there’s a sentiment that we already have someone doing that work. But when you dig into what that work is, you see that there actually isn’t a lot of that stuff that we’re really talking about. They say they do that, it’s on their decks, and it’s on their site. But — and I don’t know if it’s a failure of the brand or a failure of the agency. I’m not sure where it happens. But there is a vast majority of very powerful brands really not doing enough.

DL: Do you think the problem is that optimization is seen as a discipline or a branch of marketing instead of just a mindset?

MJ: Yeah. One of my close friends is Bryan Eisenberg, who I really believe is one of the forefathers of this optimization space. He’s written books about it, “Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?” and intent and scent and all that.

My relationship with Bryan is going on for close to 20 years at this point. And he would often say things like, “You know, here we are talking about all this stuff. And the first thing a brand will cut on a budget is the optimization. Hands down.

And it’s mind-numbing and it’s mind-blowing to both of us — and years later it still remains the same — because that’s actually where you make money. And I don’t know why brands, agencies don’t get it. I don’t get how they don’t get it.

DL: Can you talk about the role content played in getting Twist on the map? I imagine that your book and your blog and your podcast were all part of ultimately attracting the attention of WPP and making that acquisition happen.

MJ: It’s a yes and no story.

It’s a yes story in the sense that it’s very interesting when they’re doing financial and product assessments to see an agency that has been so consistent for a decade. Creating the blog, the podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, that lead to 50-60 paid speaking events a year. That lead to two best selling books — and I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but represented by a major New York literary agent, onto a major — largest book publisher in the world, onto the global deal. And other things that come from media appearances and stuff like that.

DL: Yeah, I think that from my perspective, Twist Image and Mitch Joel were kind of one and the same.

MJ: Totally. And we built it that way. We always saw from day one, back in 2003ish, when we started the blog, that Twist Image (at the time — now Mirum) would be managing three brands:

  1. that Mirum brand,
  2. Six Pixels of Separation (which we sort of considered the sort of “content engine” — so blog, podcast, articles, speaking, books)
  3. and then Mitch Joel, this media face. This warm, hopefully friendly and personable face to an agency, which again, now seems very obvious.

But if you go back 10+ years, nobody was really doing that. They didn’t really have that. So the fact that we were sharing content, having conversations with people who just didn’t have a voice before — you know, we were having hour-long conversations with business or marketing thought leaders. That you didn’t get an hour with. You’d be lucky if you had one famous enough to get 10 minutes on Charlie Rose. Suddenly, someone is spending an hour with them, having a conversation like they would over a coffee, and publishing it to the world.

There were these assets there that were built over time, and again, I do know that when it came to the opportunity for us to be acquired, one of the metrics was the fact that there is revenue generation that comes out of the content engine. That doesn’t just create media attention and a level of fame, whatever that might be. But that there actually was revenue behind this thing. And that was very surprising and shocking to them.

DL: Meaning what? It gets clients in the door?

MJ: I mean, yeah, think about it. You pitch for business development, you spend weeks, months pitching. And business development is a cost center. It costs every agency a lot of money to business develop. You don’t win every pitch. It’s a very small percentage. And you hope that the ones you win make up for all the money you spent. When you’re offsetting that cost with speaking gigs, book deals, article writing and stuff like that, it’s really interesting that you’re creating this voice and building a platform and it actually is driving business, it’s driving revenue — both in terms of client and raw revenue. We get dollars to speak and write books. It’s not vanity.

It was always about creating equity in the brand, that would have one of two roles. That one day, we would be acquired. Or if we’re never acquired, we’re running this business in a way where all of the top players would want to acquire it. And there would be extreme value in the brand.

I like building businesses that build equity as they grow. And this channel of speaking, writing, etc — it wasn’t a core component of what we were acquired for, but it was definitely on the list.

DL: It reminds me of the Rolling Stones model, where you’re the front man, but ultimately, you share those profits evenly. I know they’ve credited that as their longevity for them as a band. It sounds like the same thing for the longevity of Twist, and now Mirum.

MJ: Yeah, and I try to not have it be ego-driven. I look at it like — my job, as a media entity, is to be extremely personable. And to know that I’m managing Mirum, Six Pixels and Mitch Joel. And I conduct myself accordingly. If you look me up on Facebook, there isn’t a ton of personal stuff. There’s a ton of personable stuff.

DL: If you had to give agencies who are looking to set themselves apart from the crowd and spur growth for both their clients and their own business one piece of advice, what would it be?

MJ: I really think it is much like a great book. A great book works not because the topic is unique. I feel like more often than not you’re reading a topic that somebody else covered in one shape or form.

It’s the voice. I don’t see that much in terms of agencies having that unique voice. Do I think we achieved it? Partially. And I think it’s because it’s a journey — you’re constantly changing it, moving it along. But if I were to go across — and we did this exercise when we were trying to figure out the branding for Mirum, Twist Image — I would jokingly tell people, “You could take the website of all our biggest competitors, take off the logos, throw them in the air, and whatever website they fall on, you’d still be pretty much right.” The services, types of case studies, type of work we do. And still to this day, I think that story rings true.

The ones that stand out, though, are the ones that have a unique voice. It could be a unique individual — I’m thinking of people like Bob Greenberg at R/GA. It could just be a unique story to tell. So if you look at an agency like WK, the fact that they’ve been large and independent, the type of work that they’ve done it’s like the voice of the agency is the work that they do. That type of thing is the only component of your business that you can have that is the defendable against a competitor. It’s how you express yourself, tell your stories, the type of team members you bring in, the type of work that you do, the stories you tell in the marketplace, where you network, what you attend. That’s the big one.

The secondary one is get involved in your industry. What  drove this business at Mirum was the fact that we got involved in places like Shop.org, the National Retail Federation, Canadian Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising — I could go on and on. And we didn’t just join and become members. We got involved. In fact, we just had a conversation at lunch about an association that I’m super interested in. And the answer we all came to was: “Not unless we can get deeply involved.” So, what you find out is that by giving (because you love this industry and you want it to be better), you do wind up in some way receiving. We don’t get involved to get results. By getting involved and being active, it just happens.

DL: Well Mitch, it’s always a real treat to talk shop with you. Thank you so much for taking the time.

MJ: My pleasure! Thanks for having me.

This transcript has been edited for length. Listen to the full episode on iTunes.

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Mitch Joel on Why Agencies Should Care About Conversion Rate Optimization [INTERVIEW]

Mitch Joel on Why Agencies Should Care About Finding Their Unique Voice [INTERVIEW]

Move over Don Draper, the modern day agency marketer needs to be more of a Renaissance (wo)man.

Sure, they need to be creative enough to craft a compelling pitch.

But they also need to be data-driven. They need to be well versed in analytics and the latest MarTech trends. And when budgets get tight, agency marketers need to be able to convince their clients to not cut out conversion rate optimization.

Few people know this better than Mitch Joel, president of Mirum, a global digital marketing agency operating in 20 different countries. Mitch is a best-selling business author, international speaker and agency thought leader. But he’s also a full-stack marketer who has been doing display advertising for longer than Google itself.

Mitch Joel, president of global digital agency Mirum and author of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete.Image source.

Since Mitch entered the digital marketing world, a helluvalot has changed — and not just in agencyland. As technology evolves, so too are consumers and the way they interact with our brands. At the Call to Action Conference in June, Mitch’s keynote, Algorhythm: How Technology Connects Consumers To Brands Like Never Before, will dive into how to future-proof your brand and embrace disruption to become a digital leader.

Ugh, why can’t it be June already?

To tide you over, here’s a fascinating interview with Mitch from the Call to Action Podcast. Unbounce Director of Content Dan Levy sat down with Mitch to discuss:

  • How the agency world has evolved over the past 15 years.
  • Mitch’s experience selling his independent agency to WPP, the largest advertising company in the world.
  • How everything from search results to PPC and even the talent you hire for your agency are all extensions of your brand.

Check out some highlights from the interview below. (This transcript has been edited for length. Listen to the full episode on iTunes.)

Dan Levy: You’re known as a bestselling business author, speaker and agency thought leader, but you got your start in the online marketing trenches doing ad sales and even PPC marketing for a site called Mamma.com. Can you take us back to that time? What did the online marketing landscape look like and what did you learn from that experience?

Mitch Joel: Actually, yes, I did do that. But my start in digital came much earlier when I was publishing music magazines in the late 80s and early 90s. I actually was tangentially at the same time very engaged in digital media: first web browser, BBSs, stuff like that. And I actually put those magazines on the “internet” — like air quote internet — because back then, there wasn’t even really an internet.

I remember one of the cover stories for my alternative, cool, fun publication was called, “The Net.” The innovation at that time was hyperlinks. I literally was posting things on the internet from the magazine that couldn’t have hyperlinks. You couldn’t link from one page to the other. That really kept me on the trajectory where eventually I helped launch the sales channel of what at the time was one of the largest meta search engines on the internet. And again, it’s hard to imagine a world before Google. But this was pre-Google. And so the meta search engine would basically grab search results from engines like Yahoo, AOL, Lycos, and create a meta — or a better — search result that we could actually aggregate faster.

My role back then was selling sponsorships on the homepage, it was selling banner advertising. And it was also very early days of selling — literally the first time of being able to take a search result and having a banner that’s related to the search show up in the search result. And to tell you how early and nascent it was, I had to physically go into the code of the search engine to code the banner in. I don’t recommend that in this day in age. Like I don’t think anyone at Google is going into the master code to embed a search result. But that’s how early the times were back then.

DL: Wow. What did you learn from that experience that you brought forth?

MJ: Well I learned to take chances. I can tell you that when they approached me about the opportunity, my first question was, “What’s online advertising?” I mean, we are talking about a time when that first banner ad on HotWired — which became Wired — had just run.

The first banner ad, ever. Image source: Wired.

I didn’t even know what it looked like, what it felt like, what it could be. I think my pedigree in selling traditional print ads and having a construct of what it means to run a media company is what pushed me there. So it was — to this day, it was a great move. And I’m so grateful, I still have a lot of friends in my life now who came from there. A lot of people who’ve become — who’ve ascended in this industry to run major, major web initiatives are people that I hired. People that I brought into the industry. So I have a lot of pride in that.

And I also learned that — again, when I think about it, I don’t know why I took the job. All logic would dictate that at the time, I should not have taken that job. But I took the job and it wound up being great for me because it brought together what I was doing professionally on one side. And on the other side, it brought together my passion for digital. I often say that I was very early into many things. And when we started Mirum, which back then was Twist Image in 2000 (I joined in 2002). At that point in my career I said, even though I might be a little early in this space, I’m going to ride it out.

DL: Performance marketing and brand marketing are often seen as being on different sides of the digital marketing spectrum. Do you think that’s true? Do you see those two disciplines as coming closer together in an age where Facebook has gone from a social media network to just another performance marketing channel?

MJ: I think you’re right. The evolution — and by the way, Google structured themselves — for a long while, and they may still — around brand and performance. And that’s common. Where I think the confusion comes from is that within real behavioral performance-based marketing, there are heavy and hefty lifting around brand and experience that we often dismiss because we think that performance is still about getting the right search word, getting them to the right page.

But actually if you step back from that, the meta message is that it has to be a very relevant and cohesive brand experience. And I was somebody who wasn’t just buying generic brand keywords back in the day, to just keep that going. I actually believe that — a saying I’ve used since the early 2000s is that the first page of search results is a brand experience.


You can’t separate PPC & brand marketing. The 1st page of search is part of your brand…
Click To Tweet


So there’s that. That sort of dismisses the idea that performance is not about branding. And you’re right — fast forwarding to today, a lot of my clients and a lot of people I meet when I do speaking events will say that social media is primarily a paid channel, because of what Facebook has done to throttle the content and have you pay against reach. Which I think by the way is a great model and clearly the market would agree with that idea.

But you can’t have any results — whether you’re paying for it or it’s organic — unless it’s a really good experience.

Whether or not that’s through a search result, an email marketing initiative, a great landing page *hint hint wink wink* to you guys, or a good old piece of content. I really don’t care. I’m actually agnostic to that.

DL: Where do performance channels like PPC and landing page optimization and conversion rate optimization come into the picture with the kinds of big brands that you work with? Are those things part of your offer? Do you factor them into how you pitch and bill clients?

MJ: Well it depends on whether someone’s going full bore with us or not. Like any other agency, we work on specific campaigns, specific projects, longer initiatives and then full-on mandates. And even the full-on mandates have sort of splits and fits and starts.

The way we started our company, we only wanted to work with large national and multinational brands and we’ve stuck to that model for what’s coming up onto 17 years. Because of that, being of startup size back in the early 2000s, most brands already had large media companies at play. And those media companies even back then were feeling very threatened by digital and would make those offerings.

So we would come in and grab pieces and parts of it and really focus on the behavioral side. Let us handle the drive to optimization, landing page, unique spaces, unique experience while the media companies were really checking boxes around “online video,” “search,” affiliate marketing” and stuff like that. So from my pedigree, I stand very firmly and aligned with what performance can do in terms of optimizations and moving things forward. I feel like I’m banging against the wall when everyone says, “Well we do that.” I think people do do that, but they don’t really do it.

I still really believe that a lot of the work we see is what I call “rearview mirror.” You know, we did it, we’re running these keywords to a landing page, and let’s see how it did. Post. I believe, and I know that Mirum as an agency believes it, all of that optimization, all of that data, all of that opportunity is now in the passenger seat. When you do it well and you actually are optimizing and driving and creating unique experiences on landing pages and stuff like that, you’ve moved it from the rearview mirror to the passenger’s seat and you can fix it and go so that there always is a positive result, not a result that says, “Oh, that campaign just didn’t work.” I can’t believe we still use that language in business today!

DL: Right, as if a campaign or an experience is a success or a failure — only if it meets your hypothesis. And the learnings aren’t a factor or don’t have anything to do with it at all.

MJ: Right and it’s frustrating for me because I feel like we often lose business or can’t grab the business because there’s a sentiment that we already have someone doing that work. But when you dig into what that work is, you see that there actually isn’t a lot of that stuff that we’re really talking about. They say they do that, it’s on their decks, and it’s on their site. But — and I don’t know if it’s a failure of the brand or a failure of the agency. I’m not sure where it happens. But there is a vast majority of very powerful brands really not doing enough.

DL: Do you think the problem is that optimization is seen as a discipline or a branch of marketing instead of just a mindset?

MJ: Yeah. One of my close friends is Bryan Eisenberg, who I really believe is one of the forefathers of this optimization space. He’s written books about it, “Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?” and intent and scent and all that.

My relationship with Bryan is going on for close to 20 years at this point. And he would often say things like, “You know, here we are talking about all this stuff. And the first thing a brand will cut on a budget is the optimization. Hands down.

And it’s mind-numbing and it’s mind-blowing to both of us — and years later it still remains the same — because that’s actually where you make money. And I don’t know why brands, agencies don’t get it. I don’t get how they don’t get it.

DL: Can you talk about the role content played in getting Twist on the map? I imagine that your book and your blog and your podcast were all part of ultimately attracting the attention of WPP and making that acquisition happen.

MJ: It’s a yes and no story.

It’s a yes story in the sense that it’s very interesting when they’re doing financial and product assessments to see an agency that has been so consistent for a decade. Creating the blog, the podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, that lead to 50-60 paid speaking events a year. That lead to two best selling books — and I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but represented by a major New York literary agent, onto a major — largest book publisher in the world, onto the global deal. And other things that come from media appearances and stuff like that.

DL: Yeah, I think that from my perspective, Twist Image and Mitch Joel were kind of one and the same.

MJ: Totally. And we built it that way. We always saw from day one, back in 2003ish, when we started the blog, that Twist Image (at the time — now Mirum) would be managing three brands:

  1. that Mirum brand,
  2. Six Pixels of Separation (which we sort of considered the sort of “content engine” — so blog, podcast, articles, speaking, books)
  3. and then Mitch Joel, this media face. This warm, hopefully friendly and personable face to an agency, which again, now seems very obvious.

But if you go back 10+ years, nobody was really doing that. They didn’t really have that. So the fact that we were sharing content, having conversations with people who just didn’t have a voice before — you know, we were having hour-long conversations with business or marketing thought leaders. That you didn’t get an hour with. You’d be lucky if you had one famous enough to get 10 minutes on Charlie Rose. Suddenly, someone is spending an hour with them, having a conversation like they would over a coffee, and publishing it to the world.

There were these assets there that were built over time, and again, I do know that when it came to the opportunity for us to be acquired, one of the metrics was the fact that there is revenue generation that comes out of the content engine. That doesn’t just create media attention and a level of fame, whatever that might be. But that there actually was revenue behind this thing. And that was very surprising and shocking to them.

DL: Meaning what? It gets clients in the door?

MJ: I mean, yeah, think about it. You pitch for business development, you spend weeks, months pitching. And business development is a cost center. It costs every agency a lot of money to business develop. You don’t win every pitch. It’s a very small percentage. And you hope that the ones you win make up for all the money you spent. When you’re offsetting that cost with speaking gigs, book deals, article writing and stuff like that, it’s really interesting that you’re creating this voice and building a platform and it actually is driving business, it’s driving revenue — both in terms of client and raw revenue. We get dollars to speak and write books. It’s not vanity.

It was always about creating equity in the brand, that would have one of two roles. That one day, we would be acquired. Or if we’re never acquired, we’re running this business in a way where all of the top players would want to acquire it. And there would be extreme value in the brand.

I like building businesses that build equity as they grow. And this channel of speaking, writing, etc — it wasn’t a core component of what we were acquired for, but it was definitely on the list.

DL: It reminds me of the Rolling Stones model, where you’re the front man, but ultimately, you share those profits evenly. I know they’ve credited that for their longevity as a band. It sounds like the same thing for the longevity of Twist, and now Mirum.

MJ: Yeah, and I try to not have it be ego-driven. I look at it like — my job, as a media entity, is to be extremely personable. And to know that I’m managing Mirum, Six Pixels and Mitch Joel. And I conduct myself accordingly. If you look me up on Facebook, there isn’t a ton of personal stuff. There’s a ton of personable stuff.

DL: If you had to give agencies who are looking to set themselves apart from the crowd and spur growth for both their clients and their own business one piece of advice, what would it be?

MJ: I really think it is much like a great book. A great book works not because the topic is unique. I feel like more often than not you’re reading a topic that somebody else covered in one shape or form.

It’s the voice. I don’t see that much in terms of agencies having that unique voice. Do I think we achieved it? Partially. And I think it’s because it’s a journey — you’re constantly changing it, moving it along. But if I were to go across — and we did this exercise when we were trying to figure out the branding for Mirum, Twist Image — I would jokingly tell people, “You could take the website of all our biggest competitors, take off the logos, throw them in the air, and whatever website they fall on, you’d still be pretty much right.” The services, types of case studies, type of work we do. And still to this day, I think that story rings true.

The ones that stand out, though, are the ones that have a unique voice. It could be a unique individual — I’m thinking of people like Bob Greenberg at R/GA. It could just be a unique story to tell. So if you look at an agency like WK, the fact that they’ve been large and independent, the type of work that they’ve done it’s like the voice of the agency is the work that they do. That type of thing is the only component of your business that you can have that is the defendable against a competitor. It’s how you express yourself, tell your stories, the type of team members you bring in, the type of work that you do, the stories you tell in the marketplace, where you network, what you attend. That’s the big one.

The secondary one is get involved in your industry. What  drove this business at Mirum was the fact that we got involved in places like Shop.org, the National Retail Federation, Canadian Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising — I could go on and on. And we didn’t just join and become members. We got involved. In fact, we just had a conversation at lunch about an association that I’m super interested in. And the answer we all came to was: “Not unless we can get deeply involved.” So, what you find out is that by giving (because you love this industry and you want it to be better), you do wind up in some way receiving. We don’t get involved to get results. By getting involved and being active, it just happens.

DL: Well Mitch, it’s always a real treat to talk shop with you. Thank you so much for taking the time.

MJ: My pleasure! Thanks for having me.

This transcript has been edited for length. Listen to more interviews with digital marketing experts on iTunes.

Read More:  

Mitch Joel on Why Agencies Should Care About Finding Their Unique Voice [INTERVIEW]

How to Start an Affiliate Program That’s Actually Successful

successful affiliate marketing program

“Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires.” So wrote Bo Bennett, the founder and CEO of eBookIt.com and president of Archieboy Holdings. He created one of the first web-based affiliate programs. The way affiliate marketing works is simple: it’s a performance-based advertising channel in which a business pays a commission for a conversion to one or more affiliates. The industry involves four players: brand, network, affiliate, and the customer. Not all of these players are always involved at the same time; some brands have an affiliate program and they manage the relationship with affiliates directly. In other…

The post How to Start an Affiliate Program That’s Actually Successful appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Start an Affiliate Program That’s Actually Successful

Win More Conversions from Impulse Buyers | 4 Ways for eCommerce Enterprises

In-store is a clear winner compared to online when it comes to impulse buying, as established by a 2016 Creditcard.com survey. Does that mean that there is a dead end to encashing impulse buys online?  No.

Recent tests conducted at User Interface Engineering show that impulse purchases represent almost 40% of all the money spent on e-commerce sites. For eCommerce enterprises, it is rather the right time to innovate and evolve to ramp up sales from impulse buying. The first step, however, is to understand the user who is to be targeted for impulse buying.

Whether you are an established eCommerce enterprise or an aspiring one, the following practices can help you convert more impulse buyers:

Leverage Social Commerce

Social media promises a positive outlook for e-commerce enterprises when it comes to impulse buying. Major social media platforms such as Instagram have rolled out nifty new buttons that let users buy what they like, as soon as they see it online.

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James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development, analogizes an eCommerce website to something of a digital store window, a place to potentially win a sale when customers are in “discovery phase of finding something and not probably even deliberately looking for it.” Therefore, social commerce is, in a way, the answer to instantly gratify the consumer as soon as he realizes the want to buy something, regardless of the buying phase.

Pinterest launched buyable pins for the iOS and Android devices. Major retailers such as Macy’s and Nordstorm are early adopters of this move.

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eMarketer, in its talks with Michael Yamartino (head of eCommerce, Pinterest) found out that since buyable pins are a mobile product, people might just make impulse purchases while browsing social sites on mobile.

Another interesting aspect of social media driving sales has been highlighted by Yotpo. According to its study, reviews as a social proof lead to higher conversion rates on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Such reviews and recommendations are likely to push suggestive impulse.

Social reviews and Suggestive Impulse

In context to the impact of user-generated content on impulse purchases, Instagram has played a major role. Nordstorm is again one brand that has taken to Instagram for leveraging its impact on sales.

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Cognize Human Psychology

The Wall Street Journal lists reasons shared by professor Kit Yarrow at Golden Gate University, about who makes impulse buys:

  • People who are emotionally tapped-out because of family or work demands.
  • Inexperienced shoppers who tend to be swayed more by the stimulation overload they experience when they’re shopping. This makes them vulnerable to sales messaging and special offers.
  • People who are unable to express their anger. They typically have high standards of niceness or they’re simply overlooked by others. Impulse purchasing is often fueled by the anger that needs an outlet and the craving for relief.

All three reasons listed above reflect human psychology, and this is where the opportunity for eCommerce enterprises lies. The rule of persuasion is one such psychological trait that can be leveraged. 

To validate the rule of persuasion and increasing ‘clicks’, Dr. B J Fogg, psychologist at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab says that three things must be present: motivation, ability and an effective trigger.

Fear of missing out or the scarcity principle establishes the motivation for purchase. Creating scarcity is one tactic that eCommerce enterprises have been using to their advantage to get improve as well as quicken purchases. A post on Marketing Profs lists four ways that the scarcity principle can be used to push impulse purchases. Take a look at the following points talked about in their post:

  1. Create “open” and “closed” periods for ongoing offers.
  2. Create limited production runs.
  3. Provide benefits to early adopters.
  4. Don’t record webinars (this point is for SaaS).

Thom O’Leary, President, Fixer Group Consulting says, “Use countdown timers (on site or in emails) for increasing impulse buys.  Timing is everything, and no one wants to miss an opportunity. Customers have an easier time making a quick decision when they see time ticking away.  As email services and technology improves, it’s simple to add dynamic countdown timers to emails and on-site content, increasing urgency and making the decision to buy on impulse rather than making a well-considered decision.”

Seasonal sales, a technique that Ann Taylor and a number of other eCommerce players use, also create a sense of urgency in customers.  Promotional schemes such as ‘Thanksgiving Sale’ fetch more sales from impulse seasonal shopping.

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You can also apply the persuasion principle by providing users with free shipping when they have made just enough purchases online to win it. Coupling this with product recommendations can help them buy a little over and above the free shipping threshold.

Explore Newer, Smarter Technology

If you are thinking about going mobile, and there is every reason that you must, it would be reassuring to know that mobile commerce is a major contributor to impulse shopping. Consumers are spending more of their time browsing apps on phones. The on-the-go use that mobile phones offer make it one of the most obvious technologies to engage users:

Push Notifications

Not all your consumers would be aware about the discount running on your website. And, even if they do, they might not remember. Sending them a can provide the nudge that they need. The eBay app sends out push notifications to its users, informing  them about the start or end of any auction. That is how ebay combines technology with the persuasion principle to get more people to buy without much preparation.

 ebay push notification
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Internet of Things

Adding to the scope of conversions from impulse buys is the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT). The Amazon dash button has taken IoT to a higher level. This button allows its users to order from Amazon whenever their inventory/items need to be restocked, without signing in.

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Focus on Ease of Use and  Online Experiences

Earlier, we have already discussed how mobile commerce is tapping into the impulse of consumers. If you combine the ease of use of mobile technology with trustworthy payment solutions, you can delight your customers with frictionless online shopping experiences. Mobile technology optimization can further increase conversions for your business, as it did for Your Tea. They used VWO’s IDEACT services for a full redesign of the product pages. Structured Conversion Optimization got YourTea a 28% boost in revenue.

For the sake of simplicity though, let’s split ease of navigation and online experiences into two points.

Website navigation, should also be designed with ‘ease of use’ in mind. For a quick read, check these 22 Principles Of Good Website Navigation and Usability.

Although designing is the first step, how do you know that this design in fact is effective? This is when A/B testing comes into play. Set up two different variations of a navigation menu to find out which one scores better. You can also read this VWO post about 8 Ways to Refine eCommerce Site Search and Navigation for quick product finds. For making it easy for users to find products on discounts, eCommerce enterprises can also use approaches such as allocating sections such as ‘Deals on Discount’ or ‘New in Store’ to their home page.

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Conclusion

With an increase in touchpoints, the opportunities for converting impulse buys from online shoppers are growing each day. What eCommerce enterprises can do best is to leverage on each opportunity area that we have listed in this post, and innovate.

Have anything else to add? Drop in a line in the comments section.

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The post Win More Conversions from Impulse Buyers | 4 Ways for eCommerce Enterprises appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Win More Conversions from Impulse Buyers | 4 Ways for eCommerce Enterprises

What You Need to Know About Google Maps’ Promoted Pins

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

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

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

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

So what are promoted pins and why should you care?

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

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

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

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

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

promoted-pins-phone

Sounds exciting, yes?

What do you need to get started?

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

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

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

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

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Planning your promoted pins strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracking your promoted pins campaign

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

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

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

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

mobile-clicks-to-call-promotedpins

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

Sales funnelling from Google Maps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick bonus tip: Be transparent about inventory

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

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

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

How promoted pins can help you

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

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

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

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

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

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What You Need to Know About Google Maps’ Promoted Pins

Clinton vs. Trump: 18 CROs Tear Down the Highest Stakes Marketing Campaigns in US History

Clinton vs. Trump
Who has the best digital marketing campaign? We’ll let you be the judge.

Let’s start by getting one thing straight: this is not a political article.

As tempting as it might be to enter the fray… by “tear down” I don’t mean a smear campaign, ill-tempered mudslinging or anything quite that provocative.

What I mean is a detailed examination of the two US presidential nominee’s online “sales” funnels and their overall presidential marketing tactics.

Why?

Because no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, these could very well be the highest stakes online funnels in the history of the world.

In the wake of Barack Obama’s second presidential win, Kyle Rush — former Head of Optimization at Optimizely and now Hillary Clinton’s Deputy CTO — pulled back the curtain to reveal how their approach to conversion rate optimization raised a historic and record-breaking $1.1 billion in total funds, $690 million of which “came through our various web properties.”

For anybody doing the math, $690 million is 62.7% of the campaign’s total fundraising efforts.

As Kyle himself told me when I asked him about the role CRO plays in Clinton’s campaign today:

It’s something we are very focused on.

Our teams are data-driven and we act on data. We have run over 100 A/B tests in the past year. Some of the tests resulted in over 200% increases in mission critical metrics.

quick-card-upsell-presidential-marketing-tactics
Image credit: Kyle Rush

The monumental role CRO plays in presidential success is why digging into each step of each current candidate’s funnels — screen by screen — offers a wealth of insights on how to optimize your online funnels and marketing campaigns.

But first — lest things get bloody — let’s set some ground rules.

Ground rules for the teardowns

Here’s how this is gonna work.

First, I’ll show you a step-by-step, visual walkthrough of the candidates’ online funnels: from their homepage, to their pop-up or splash page, to their email signup page, to their donation process.

Each visual will be color coded: green boxes for “The Good”… red boxes for “The Bad”:

good-and-bad-example-presidential-marketing-strategy

After each visual, we’ll examine why the color-coded elements work from a CRO perspective (or why they don’t).

Third — and this is where things get really amazing — I’ll hand the teardown off to 18 of the world’s top CRO experts and let them weigh in.

Ready?

Don’t have time to read this post?

Get inspired for your next optimization experiment as 18 CRO experts tear down the most polarizing marketing campaigns in US history.
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Donald Trump

Step 1: Homepage

Donald Trump campaign homepage

The Good:

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a brand. And a massively recognizable one at that.

In contrast to Clinton — who shares her header spotlight with President Obama (see below) — Trump is front and center, taking full advantage of his brand recognition.

Likewise, he’s the only candidate with a recognizable and emotionally charged tagline, which he wisely displays prominently: “Make America Great Again.”

The CTA below the hero section — while not as emotive as the language above it — is nothing if not clear. It presents the visitor with two simple choices: “Join Us” or “Donate.”

Also positive are the social media widgets towards the end of the page. While Clinton buries her social links in the header and footer, Trump’s site features live social media updates, which makes sense given his dominance on all things social. Rather than just soliciting visitors to follow him, he gives them a preview of what they can expect.

The Bad:

From a design perspective, Trump’s site is crowded and noisy. The dark colors pile on top of one another around the hero section, and the smorgasbord of clickable options in the body of the page is paralyzing. Instead of leading visitors along a path of action by creating a clear visual or written hierarchy, everything comes barreling toward them at once.

The navigation bar is likewise crowded. There are 10 visible options and if you count up the drop-down menu options, that number jumps to 22.

Finally, the “Text TRUMP” box is a questionable choice, because rather than prompting visitors to simply enter their number on the page itself, it asks them to cross one of the most difficult conversion bridges: changing devices.

The Experts:

Neil Patel

Neil Patel:
Marketer & Founder of CrazyEgg

“From a copy standpoint, I would adjust the text in the call to action buttons. He uses the heading ‘Make America Great Again,’ but when it comes time for someone to click on the call to action (‘Join Us’ or ‘Donate’) the copy doesn’t connect well with his main message.

Typically, when you use call to action text that is related to the problem you are solving, your clicks and conversions are higher than if you used generic verbiage like ‘join now.’

show-your-support-for-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-tactics

Also the website copy isn’t telling a story.

If his big pitch is to make America great, then all of the surrounding elements — such as news clips and videos — should reinforce that message. This will help create an emotional connection between the website visitor and Trump, which should help him gain more votes and donations.

Lastly, some of the headlines for his press releases don’t encourage you to click. If you’re lucky, eight out of 10 people will read a headline, and two will click through. With a headline like, ‘Donald Trump’s Campaign Draws Dedicated Followers,’ you’re not likely to get many click-throughs because it doesn’t highlight the benefits of clicking through.”

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Oli Gardner:
Co-Founder of Unbounce

“In terms of initial experience when the page loads, I see (1) the giant Trump logo, then (2) the peace sign – which is quite ridiculous considering how much hate-mongering he’s peddling – and lastly (3) I get to The Donald’s hair:

make-america-great-again-presidential-marketing-camapign

If the goal of the page is to get people to donate, it could use a little more focus to make it happen. And if they’d done a better job with their responsive design, the primary donate button would be above the fold.

The navigation could be simplified if they did a better job with targeting. To participate based on your state, you need to go to the States page, find your state, click on your state and then fill in a form. With proper targeting the secondary CTA, “Join Us,” (which leads to the same type of form) could be renamed to something like “Get involved in Kansas” or “Join the movement in Kansas.” A Kansas resident would be far likelier to be inspired to click if that was the case.

At the bottom of the page, the tweets weren’t handled in the best way. The first was an incongruent mention of a book by someone other than Trump and the second a link to a Washington Post article about Hillary Clinton that takes you off-site. If you want people to part with their money, don’t send them away.”

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Valentin Radu:
CEO at Marketizator

“Trump’s hero section does its job in terms of space usage. My eyes really only see two things: (1) his slogan, and (2) Trump himself. This means the ‘don’t make me think’ principle is being respected.

Fun fact: If we analyze the hand signal Trump is using, Wikipedia states that in American sign language this actually means ‘number two.’ I trust Wikipedia.

As for the menu, I would A/B test it by simply inverting the colors to make the Donate button red.

make-donate-button-red-presidential-marketing-campaigns

Going further, the buttons ‘Join us’ and ‘Donate’ are actually competing — they’re the same size and color and they’re positioned together. One should be more important than the other and therefore given more credit via more space and prominence.

The paragraph font size may also be too small for some visitors, and there are no links connected to the various media and press releases to ‘Read More.’ I can’t argue too much with the multi-column format, although a single-column layout would be worth testing.

Another thing that I would test is Donald Trump’s facial expression. On both video thumbnails his face is showing that he is ready to fight.

donald-trump-ready-to-fight-presidential-marketing-tactics

But… maybe that’s what Americans want: a wealthy fighter that will share his prosperity with them.”

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Michael Aagaard:
Senior Conversion Optimizer at Unbounce

“For a guy who is strictly self-funded, Trump does have an awful lot of ‘Donate’ buttons. All kidding aside, this is a pretty decent website. I’m impressed.

All the main functionalities are easy to use. The logo and tagline confirm you’re on Trump’s presidential website and both the ‘Sign Up’ and ‘Donate’ forms work well.

While the donations themselves are handled by a third-party tool, there’s a good match both visually and message-wise, so you get the feeling of an uninterrupted experience.

The header doesn’t quite line up on a 15-inch screen, and you can’t see the bottom of the hero shot that contains the two main CTAs. But other than that, most of the UX is on point. Likewise, the mobile version works well. In fact, I’d say it works better than the desktop version.

Only negative thing is that there are quite a few navigation points in the burger menu, which makes it a bit overwhelming:

trump-burger-menu-presidential-marketing-campaign

In my experience, people who come to a website like this have already made up their minds, so the website doesn’t need to do much persuading. But it has to be real easy to use, so you can do what you set out to do with little or no friction.”

Step 2: Join Us

donald-trump-step-2-join-us-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Good:

The subhead on Trump’s email opt-in leverages a personal connection to the candidate. Instead of inviting supporters to join the campaign or “Get updates,” this opt-in invites them to “Receive updates from Donald J. Trump” directly.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, that’s the main positive. To sign up, a supporter would have to enter information into five required fields. Compare that to Clinton’s dramatically simplified sign-up process, requiring only two fields.

All told, there are 13 form fields and checkboxes. Too many options is the hallmark of low-converting forms.

In addition, the text on the CTA buttons — from (1) the homepage’s button “Join Us,” to (2) the form’s headline “Sign Up,” to (3) the form’s button “Submit” — creates a disjointed user experience (not to mention that “Submit” is a notoriously lame and low-converting CTA).

disjointed-ctas-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Experts:

kristi-hines-200

Kristi Hines:
Freelance Writer and Content Marketer

“From a conversion standpoint, my first thought is that the ‘Join Us’ button should lead to a form titled ‘Join Us.’

While I think the form does have a lot of fields, I believe those fields are necessary, especially the state and zip code.

Why? Because it allows each candidate to email and text supporters about upcoming local events and voting rules. Plus, if supporters enter their full address, that also opens the door to some direct mailing opportunities.

The use of a CAPTCHA field doesn’t bother me. Considering the amount of spam most online forms receive, this is probably the easiest way to at least bypass the automated spam. I’m sure their marketing team is already fighting a lot of fake submissions from Trump haters.

The only disconnect for me on this form is not requiring the mobile number — which is smart — but then having the ‘Yes, please send me periodic text messages…’ box automatically checked.

text-messages-automatically-checked-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-campaign

Finally, I think they should try testing some different messaging on the ‘Submit’ button. I’d bet a button that said ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’ would get some smiles from Trump supporters.

Overall, the form may seem lengthy, but it gets the information the candidate needs and works well on desktop and mobile. In any case, no one is going to switch their vote just because the other candidate has an easier form to fill out.”

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Chris Goward:
Founder and CEO, WiderFunnel

“The first task in any optimization exercise is to understand your conversion optimization goals. Organizations that don’t know their real goals often optimize for the wrong things and hurt their ultimate results.

Since Donald Trump is already a master at gaining free press mentions, and he apparently has plenty of funding, one would assume his goal is to gain direct access to voters to mobilize them on voting days. That means his ‘Join Us’ call to action is very important.

If his transactional goal — the bottom end of the funnel — is to maximize subscribers, he could test some improvements:

  • The Join Us pop-up form seems complicated at first, with 13 fields preceding a big red ‘Submit’ button. Hmm… does Trump want us all to ‘submit’ to him? Especially for mobile, this is a very long form for a seemingly simple CTA.
  • Form fields broken into two columns make scanning difficult. This isn’t an issue on mobile, but I certainly wouldn’t stick around to fill out a mobile form with that much scrolling required.
  • Why am I being asked for a mailing address when that’s not needed for the messages I’m subscribing for? What else is my information being used for?
  • Right before completing the form, there are two big barriers: (1) an ‘I am not a robot’ field, which seems unnecessary, and (2) an opt-in warning.

If Trump isn’t testing, he should get started. Based on Clinton’s website, she’s got a more effective conversion optimization team — her simple signup form reigns supreme in comparison.”

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Sean Work:
VP of Inbound Marketing, Crazy Egg

“I have no idea if this is a good sign up flow or not. Why? Because I’m not the one testing it. I haven’t seen any data. So everything I’m going to say right now is from the gut. Basically it’s what I would do if I were putting a variant together.

Moving on to the signup page, sometimes collecting a lot of information is a smart thing to do. It might not convert as well, but the benefit of collecting more info sometimes outweighs total conversions. I’ve heard of cases where more form fields actually converts better!

We could ax the mobile number field. It’s not a required field so why let it get in the way? However, having supporter phone numbers might be incredibly valuable when election day is near. You might want to call your base supporters to make sure they know where they are going to vote and inform them of any last-minute details.

If we are going for just pure sign ups and nothing else, I would simply have first name, last name and email. I would remove all the checkboxes and the comment field. I might consider keeping the CAPTCHA because I can see the opposition trying to flood the form with bogus entries.

My final words on this: It really has to do with Trump’s strategy and goals.

They need to be nailed down first. What do you want to achieve? Then you work backwards.

You create your hypothesis, build the page, test it, measure it then repeat the cycle.”

Step 3: Trump’s Donation Process

The Good:

Unlike Trump’s previous pages, the donation process is clean and visually minimalistic. It includes an image of the candidate that — thanks to the blue hue — drives home the personal and patriotic connection mentioned earlier. At the same time, the imagery doesn’t distract from the action.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, the white text on light-grey background makes the buttons hard to read. Adding some visual clarity in the form of affordance could be valuable. Also hard to see is the fine print. And, as opposed to Clinton’s donation pages, there isn’t even a note to expatriates who might want to contribute.

Lastly, the trust factor on the page is low. Trump doesn’t include anything about where the money goes and — outside of the generic word “SECURE” and the image of a lock — the page doesn’t provide security measures to assure donors their payment information is actually secure.

The Experts:

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Ben Twichell:
Head of Marketing at Mention

“Copy is one of the most vital elements of a landing page.

My recommendations would be to include and test three sections: (1) a prose style emotion-evoking paragraph, (2) a bullet-point list of his platform stances and (3) social proof.”

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Shanelle Mullin:
Content & Growth at ConversionXL

“Going back a step, Trump’s site misses a huge opportunity.

If someone selects the ‘Join Us’ call to action instead of the ‘Donate’ call to action on the homepage, the site asks for a lot of the same information.

Why not ask for a password during that process to make the donation process easier for those who are, presumably, the most likely to donate? It would also make mobile donations easier.

In the same vein, there’s a login option on the Trump donation page, but it’s well below the fold. If someone who has donated before returns to this page, intent is high. Make it easier for them.

Overall, the UX is fairly standard for a presidential campaign site. However, there are a few little things that could be improved:

  • On mobile, when you advance to Step 2 of 3, you’re automatically scrolled down to the ‘Continue’ button. All that’s visible is the button and the start of the fine print, so you have to scroll back up.
  • Also on mobile, if you don’t immediately choose the “Scan Credit Card” option, it disappears.
  • In the fine print, it says the maximum individual contribution is $2,700 per election. So why am I able to select ‘$1,000’ or ‘$2,700’ and then ‘Make this a monthly recurring donation’? Furthermore, how many months am I signing up for here?
  • There are in-line error messages, which is great, but the form still accepts obviously false information. For example, a zip code that is not in the state selected and an invalid email address.
  • There’s no confirmation of how much you’re donating (and how frequently) before clicking the final ‘Donate’ button.
  • Another big issue is donation amount. Why the big jump? Why so many small amounts? Maybe the Trump optimization team did their conversion research and found that most people donate smaller, recurring amounts. But why not have ‘Make this a monthly recurring donation’ selected by default then?”

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Hillary Clinton

Step 1: Pop-Ups

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The Good:

From the jump, Clinton’s site kicks things off with a bang. The first pop-up takes aim directly at her opponent:

Making Donald Trump our Commander-in-Chief would be a historic mistake.

And the second leans on social proof, with a quote from President Obama:

I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.

Clicking “I agree” on either immediately presents the visitor with the option to join Clinton’s email list:

hilary-clinton-join-mailing-list-presidential-marketing-campaign

On top of being laser-focused, the CTAs are written from the perspective of the visitor.

The Bad:

It’s difficult to say whether or not the themes of Clinton’s pop-ups “work.” Instead of defining herself proactively, the visitor’s first impression is directed toward either who she’s against (Trump) or who supports her (Obama).

For a candidate who regularly gets lambasted on Saturday Night Live for being unrelatable and aloof, this worries me from a conversion perspective.

Moreover, both pop-ups make the assumption that her visitor will be a “party” voter. The first message — being anti-Trump — is probably a safe bet. However the second is riskier given that the most recent polls put President Obama’s approval rating at 50%.

The Experts:

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Henneke Duistermaat:
Irreverent Business Writing Coach

“You can see two interesting persuasion principles at work here. The first is what psychologists call the consistency principle, also known as the foot-in-the-door technique: once you’ve agreed with one small request, you’re more likely to agree with a bigger request.

This is exactly what’s happening with the two-step sign up: first agree with a simple statement (small commitment) before submitting your email address (slightly larger commitment). Of course, this flies in the face of conventional advice on making the sign-up process as easy as possible. I assume they’ve tested both options and the two-step process worked better.

The other point to note are the two different phrases: one portraying Trump as commander-in-chief as a mistake (avoiding a risk) and the other agreeing with Obama that nobody is better qualified than Clinton (gaining a positive benefit).

The question here is: do people want to avoid Trump as president or do they want to support Hillary Clinton as president?

Many of us are risk-averse. We prefer avoiding problems rather than gaining something. It’s a great test to run for any business.

For instance, do your customers want to avoid internet downtime or are they looking for consistent internet access? Or, imagine you’re selling bikes: do your customers want to avoid a sore butt or are they looking for a comfy saddle?”

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Bryan Eisenberg:
Partner, BuyerLegends

“There are all kinds of challenges with these pop-ups. However, when we are dealing with political websites versus business websites the intrinsic motivations are completely different. Why people do and don’t do things radically changes. Political websites can add additional friction points — like extra clicks — and people’s motivations will still provide the momentum to convert.

Why?

Because we are not dealing with an exchange of money (at least not primarily) but rather a reinforcement of an individual’s values. The key thing about these pop-ups is how they fit the candidate’s brand narrative.

Both tell the same story and appeal to the same values. In that sense, they’re ‘selling’ a consistent vision… one that visitors to this site would no doubt connect with.”

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Danielle Devereux:
Growth Marketing Consultant

“Great design is one of the most crucial aspects of user experience on your landing pages. Design relates to many critical components such as navigation, layout, colors, font choices, text and videos. You want users to have an easy and pleasurable experience navigating these elements of your site.

To accomplish this you must reduce friction. Friction is anything visual, technical or logical that gets in the way of a user completing your landing page’s desired goal.

Clinton’s pop-ups create a point of friction, because the first non-essential pop-up — ‘I Agree’ — gets in the way of the essential CTA pop-up — the email signup form.

The goal of the quote design is to present an attractive invitation to subscribe to the Clinton campaign newsletter. So why ask your users to click on an extra pop-up? This creates friction by adding an unnecessary click and weighing down the interaction.

To solve this problem, limit your signup process to as few steps as possible. One or two steps works really well. Show them one pop-up with a compelling CTA and as few form fields as possible.”

Step 2: Homepage

hilary-clinton-homepage-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Good:

Setting aside Obama’s struggling approval rating, using the header image to make a powerful and joyous announcement is a smart move. As opposed to the negativity of the first pop-up, Clinton’s homepage copy and imagery is decidedly positive.

The area below the header then offers two clear options for people who want to participate in Clinton’s campaign. Both options include the first steps to completing the desired action right there on the page. They’re also presented in a logical order: join first… then donate.

The menu options are elegantly lined up and not as crowded as Trump’s. The red “Donate” button on the top-right leaps off the page. And Clinton cleverly sows elements of her progressive logo throughout.

The Bad:

While not as overwhelming as the body of Trump’s homepage, Clinton’s homepage lacks focus, direction and a clear visual hierarchy. After the initial CTAs to either join or donate, there are no follow-up boxes to engage visitors once they leave the header section.

Instead, the majority of the screen is dominated by text-heavy article excerpts.

My first thought was that the articles would link to outside resources, something that Trump does well. Instead, they’re internal links to pieces on Clinton’s own site. While internal linking keeps her visitors on-site, the downside of this is it doesn’t offer objective or outside validation (i.e., social proof) to back up the claims being made.

Even the so-called “Get the Facts” box links to another of Clinton’s own pages:

hilary-clinton-get-the-facts-presidential-marketing-campaign

Lastly, because her social icons are presented in the footer only and obscured by light-blue text on dark-blue background, they might as well not even be there:

hilary-clinton-social-icons-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Experts:

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Andy Crestodina:
Strategic Director, Orbit Media

“Clinton’s homepage is relatively lightweight and fast loading: 1.3MB at ~2 sec.

It’s also light in terms of copy… just 350 words including the navigation. It’s action oriented and carefully edited. There are 50+ verbs and zero adverbs.

You can’t miss the calls to action. They’re prioritized  — subscribe, donate, shop, then follow — and the arrow, borrowed from the logo, helps to move the eye along. More than half the page is dedicated to these actions. That’s an extreme ratio of CTA to content.

hilary-clinton-calls-to-action-presidential-marketing-campaign

The content area is also super concise, with tiny headers (speeches, the feed, issues, etc.), big headlines and small excerpts and consistent links. This area has no images, which makes it easy to scan.

Some of the headlines are missed opportunities for editing. They could have left out the first few words on this headline: ‘Hillary on why we can’t let Donald Trump bankrupt America like one of his casinos.’

We all know who’s website we’re on. No need to use the name again. Also, it’s strange to see this link off to Medium.com. Unless the candidate has a strategy for building an audience there, she would probably be better off keeping the visitor here.

They’re using Optimizely, so presumably, we’re looking at a test. This is definitely a carefully optimized tested page. Some might say that’s an accurate reflection of the candidate.”

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Everette Taylor:
VP of Marketing, Skurt

“After clicking through the pop-up, the page does a solid job of reinforcing the desired outcome and drawing people further in. The use of Obama throughout — and now Bernie Sanders — is great use of social proof and a ‘third party endorsement’ of sorts to validate her brand.

One thing I notice that’s interesting is that she’s requesting zip code along with email. If she’s doing super targeted localized emails then awesome. If not, just unnecessary friction. Also the CTA of ‘Next’ on the red buttons are super weak… c’mon, Team Clinton.

It’s very surprising, too, that there is no use of video on the homepage, which can elicit an emotional response that connects with voters and drives conversions for emails and donations. There’s also no search bar on the homepage, which in my opinion hurts usability of the site.

Lastly, the fact that the tags like ‘Speeches’ and ‘The Feed’ are unclickable — as well as ‘Shop Now’ and ‘Commit Now’ — are a user experience no-no. If you want people to enjoy the website experience, give them multiple ways to accomplish their desired action. Also, a huge missed opportunity is not having an email capture at the bottom of the page.”

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Johnathan Dane:
Founder of KlientBoost

“One of the first things you need to focus on when it comes to conversion rates is making it insanely simple for the visitor to understand what to do.

If you have two calls to action, like Clinton does — one for email and another for donation — then start off by potentially only using the call to action that has the lowest threat in the mind of the visitor. In this case, it would be email over donation.

Once you’ve gotten the ‘easier’ foot in the door and the visitor trusts you, then you can ask for the next thing (what you originally wanted): the donation.

When it comes to what’s below the fold, it may be a better design choice to use this space to add benefits surrounding the two calls to action — preferably one call to action — instead of having additional calls to action and blog-style posts to divert attention. ‘Feed’ and ‘Shop’ can already be navigated to from the header, so leave it at that.”

Step 3: Clinton Donation Process

The Good:

Visually, Clinton’s donation page is masterful. Not only is the image aspirational, her hand cleverly provides a directional cue, driving the visitor’s attention exactly where she wants it to go: the form.

Better yet, the form is easy to read, easy to fill out on both desktop and mobile and the buttons (unlike Trump’s) are obviously buttons.

The note in the footer provides a clever two-part persuasive push: (1) social proof by way of the 1.2 million “grassroots” donors and (2) a common enemy with the parenthetical note: “Keep Donald Trump out of the White House.”

The Bad:

The copy, on the other hand, definitely leaves something to be desired. Rather than continue the positive momentum from her homepage’s hero section and the aspirational image to the right, it reads like a perfunctory declaration of fact: “Hillary just secured the nomination.”

Worse, the only action words on the form are equally uninspiring: “Chip in to stand with her.”

The fine print below the form does a better job of highlighting the option for “Americans Abroad,” but it’s still something you have to hunt for.

The Experts:

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Jen Havice:
Conversion Copywriter and Optimizer

“Clinton’s image does a good job directing your eye towards the call to action. Clinton’s gaze and arm position act as a giant arrow making it clear what she wants you to do.

In addition, the red, white and blue color scheme hits all the right patriotic buttons.

It would be interesting to test having an image of her with other people — other real people — instead of other political figures.

The copy is asking the visitor to stand with her, yet no one else is. That may create undue friction in visitors’ minds. I would tap into the herd mentality both through the copy and the visuals, hitting home the fact that the visitors themselves are far from the only people backing Clinton.”

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Talia Wolf:
Conversion Optimization Expert

“In many cases, when it comes to donations and raising money, most NGOs focus on the situation right now: the poor child or the terminally ill mother. However, the most successful donation campaigns in the world are those that show donors the outcome of their donation: a happy kid or a smiling mother.

Why does this work? Though we donate because it’s the right thing to do, we also donate because we want to feel good about our actions and ourselves. I would like to see Hillary Clinton’s page make donors feel good about their choice to chip in and promise a brighter future for them.

Currently the landing page’s main focus is Hillary Clinton and her success. People may like to see her win, but there’s a lot more behind their votes than simply the idea of Hillary Clinton being president. Choosing a president is about believing that this person can change our lives for the better.

I would test a different strategy that focuses on the visitor rather than Clinton personally. While the hero shot of Clinton is clearly directing visitors’ attention towards the call to action, I would test adding many other people around her to show that her success is everyone’s success and that she has many supporters.

I’d also add a lot more social proof — perhaps testimonials, showing how many people have already donated and highlighting the change Clinton will deliver by being elected. I’d focus on making the page in terms of content and visuals all about the people ‘chipping in’ and the emotional outcome — the pride, excitement and promise of a brighter future.”

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Alex Harris:
Conversion Optimization for eCommerce and Lead Gen

“I think Team Clinton has done a great job of combining the image of Clinton pointing with the clean, interactive donation box.

It may be worth testing ‘Select an Amount’ versus ‘Choose Amount Below’ and making it left aligned. Sometimes you can increase conversions by breaking up the grid layout so the users can scan each section in a zigzag motion.

The same thing goes for the ‘Next’ button. I would test it in a variety of ways, including making the button not expand the width of the section and making is skinnier. Also I would not make it flat. After years of testing buttons on banners and landing pages, I’ve found a beveled button with rounded corners tends to work better than a flat button. There’s also no hover on the button, which is just lazy development.

As far as the ‘Secure’ text and icon, I think it is good enough, but it can be better. I would test making the lock gold and playing with text — something like ‘100% Secure.’

The rest of the interaction and forms are pretty standard. I think they work well and seem to flow from page to page pretty easily. That said, the form doesn’t include accepted credit card logos, which can be confusing to visitors. They may accept all cards, but they rely upon users to deduce that for themselves. Also, why is ‘Employer’ a required field? That field could stop a user from donating, or they will enter a fake company.”

And the winner is…

Sorry, but if you’ve been holding your breath waiting to have Trump or Clinton declared the conversion rate optimization victor, only time will tell.

Besides, I told you from the jump this is not a political article, and I’m not going to go breaking that promise here at the end. More to the point, I don’t want to get bombarded in the comments or on social media by adherents to either party.

Truth be told, the real winner in all this is conversion rate optimization itself.

Why?

Because thanks to the staggering success of presidential optimization in the past, these might very well be the highest stake funnels in the history of the world.

And that means one thing: No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, they hold a treasure trove of insights for copywriters, designers, UX engineers and anybody looking to improve the results of their own websites.

Huge thanks to all the CRO gurus who contributed.

Now… it’s your turn.

Did we miss something good, bad or ugly?

If so, be sure to let us know to it in the comments.

View this article – 

Clinton vs. Trump: 18 CROs Tear Down the Highest Stakes Marketing Campaigns in US History

Hiring For Conversion Rate Optimization: Qualities To Look For

By now, most companies know enough about data-driven marketing to ask for it. They want real numbers backing every decision, and marketers have narrowed down the “intangibles” by finding new ways to measure nearly everything. Have we entered a Golden Age of personalized marketing? Perhaps. One thing we know for sure: Conversion Rate Optimization is poised to become a highly valued, integral part of the digital marketing landscape.

If you want to be part of this up-and-coming specialization, or are planning to hire for Conversion Rate Optimization, here’s how a Conversion Rate Optimization specialist should be like.

This Is What A Good CRO Hire Looks Like

CRO is a Jack of All Trades Position

Courtesy: lifehacker.com

Conversion Rate Optimization is a Jack-of-all-Trades position, and there are a number of skills, abilities and personality traits that make a successful CRO. Smart companies understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all resume for this kind of work, and instead, look for certain characteristics when hiring for CRO positions. Does this sound like you?

The Polymath

The best optimizers are not only multi-disciplinary, but also non-stop learners. Effective CRO can only happen when copywriting, data, analytics and testing come together, and it helps to be comfortable with all three and do them well. Basic coding skills in Javascript, JQuery, HTML and CSS also come in handy.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Digital marketing changes so fast, as do the needs and wants of consumers, that to be successful in it, you have to have a strong sense of curiosity that pushes you to read, ask questions, research, and dig deep into what makes people tick.

Critical Thinker

Anyone can look at a website design and say “this is terrible.” But a CRO should be able to articulate exactly what isn’t working and what could be better and why. The key is using data to examine how visitors and prospects are using the site, what problems or bottlenecks they face, and how to overcome these issues to enable successful conversions.

Discerning Mind

A good CRO knows that you don’t have to track and analyze every change. If you’re debating the use of a single word, it may not be worth a full test – or, it may be that this word is the lynch pin to conversion you’ve been waiting for. A good CRO can spot the difference and be judicious with their time.

Student of Mankind

Conversion rate optimization is, at its core, the study of what people want. An interest in psychology, therefore, is helpful since many of the things we know about motivations and desires come from that discipline.  But even more critical is having people skills and empathy. Talking to customers and understanding what they’re saying, not saying and hoping for are all part of finding out how to deliver the right message in the right way.

Flexible Wordsmith

Good copywriting is critical for high conversions, but “good” changes for every target audience. CROs should have a feel for customizing tone, diction, style, and format to each buyer persona, which requires writing that isn’t just good, but flexible.

The Trifecta: Research, Analysis, People Skills

Setting up successful tests require getting into the minds of your target audience, which takes research, analysis and people skills. As president and founder of Creative Thirst Bobby Hewitt says, “It’s more than just curiosity, it’s empathy + curiosity + psychology + data + … so the single most important tool is ‘you.’”

The Turtle (not the Hare)

It can take many tests to find what works. In fact, some of the best CROs have experienced months of failures. But, with each test, they learned something valuable, and by continuing to test, they eventually achieved the wins they were looking for.

The Unicorn

Mastering CRO, and getting hired for it, requires skillsets above and beyond most other disciplines. Finding all of these skills and traits in one person is a rare combination. In fact, Unbounce co-founder and blogger at GrowthAddict.com Oli Gardner put it this way: “A talented CRO is a bit of a unicorn. Primarily because most of the people who would be good at it don’t self-identify with it yet, don’t put it as a skill or title on LinkedIn, making it impossible to find them. I believe we need more exploration of the skill set needed to be good at it, so we can start inserting CRO as a disciplinary choice in a career path.” A Great CRO is A Unicorn

If you’re a bit of a unicorn, a great place to begin your CRO job hunt is on www.Inbound.org/jobs. But what really happens when you’re sitting in the interview chair across from the person hiring you for CRO? What are they looking for?

How to Hire A CRO Who Can Blow the Roof Off Your Business

If you’re sitting on the other side of that interview table, you might be wondering how to find these unicorns – or at least, how you can tell a unicorn from a regular old draft horse. Where can you find these talented individuals, and how can you identify them if they walk through your door?

CROs tend to gain prominence on social media and blogs. You can find them on Twitter, Inbound.org, and the comments sections on the better inbound marketing websites. However, they may not call themselves CROs; they may work in analytics or UX. Read what they write to learn whether they have the interest and skills that might make them a great CRO. Some companies try to grow their own CROs – to which I say: CROs are unicorns, not sea monkeys. You can’t just add water (or send them to a few conferences) and get the results you want.

First of all, the prospective CRO must be driven to learn non-stop, following their curiosity and desire to find new and more profitable paths.

Second, even if they have that drive, it takes time to learn everything a great CRO should know.

If you want immediate results, hire a pro. A compromise between finding or growing a CRO is to hire one experienced CRO to train talented members of your staff. Many CROs offer consulting services and can teach the basics in as little as a day. There are fairly standard guidelines to creating good hypothesis to test, interpreting data, and knowing when to start and stop tests.

Your Guide to Conducting the Perfect CRO Interview

I asked three conversion rate optimization experts how they would conduct an interview to hire a new CRO. These questions seek to look past the resume and uncover thought processes and driving passions, proclivities and peculiarities – in other words, what makes a great CRO tick?

Talia Wolf, Founder and CEO of Conversioner

Hiring a CRO manager within the company can be a little tricky as there aren’t many experienced people in this industry. When one of our applicants or our clients’ applicants does have a CRO background, we put a lot of emphasis on their analytical skills but even more so on their marketing skills and strategic background. The hardest part of CRO is coming up with strategies, creating a good plan that can be learned from and scaled – which is why it’s important to understand their thinking process. One other important aspect we focus on while interviewing someone for a CRO position is their “true inner optimizer.” A true optimizer is someone who constantly seeks to optimize everything in their life – their hobbies and even home. You can learn a lot about a person’s fit for a CRO position by their hobbies and previous jobs. Look out for those times where they optimized something within their workspace, team, relationship or home.

Tiffany DaSilvaDirector of Strategy for Powered by Search

I would want to get inside their head a little about how they look at a page and what types of things they look for. So, I would show them a landing page and ask their opinion. I like to know if they are more UX based, psychology based, or if they need data to make decisions. Either way is fine; I just like to see how they work. I would also like to see the types of things that interest them and what they would change. I think that since CRO is still so new, I’m not looking for years of experience; more like if they ‘get it,’ have a process that they follow, and that they have some of the fundamentals or ‘best practices’ down.

Oli GardnerCo-founder at Unbounce

I would ask a list of questions, something like this:

  1. How would you go about creating a prioritized list of tests to run on our website?
  2. Can you share the criteria you use to determine whether a test has run for long enough or not?
  3. What would you do when a stakeholder or boss asks you to run a test simply because they think it’s a good/interesting idea?
  4. How would you approach optimizing a low traffic site?
  5. What is your optimization toolset and in what ways do you use them for different types of optimization?
  6. What’s your biggest test win and failure?
  7. How do you measure conversion success when it lies further down the funnel than the A/B test level?

The best CROs are those who can combine processes with flexibility, data with wise iteration, and curiosity with perseverance. What other competencies do you feel are indispensable for a CRO? Are there any challenges in hiring a CRO that hasn’t been addressed in this post? Let us know right below in the comments.

The post Hiring For Conversion Rate Optimization: Qualities To Look For appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Hiring For Conversion Rate Optimization: Qualities To Look For

Qualities Of Good Facebook’s React and Flux Implementations

It has been an exciting year for my team. Last year we kicked off a project using React31, and over the course of the project we’ve learned a lot about React and Flux2 — Facebook’s recommended architectural principles for React apps. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key lessons we’ve learned.

Whether you’re new to React and Flux, or going as far as building your own Flux implementation, I think you’ll not only enjoy this journey with us, but find some thought-provoking questions and wisdom you can apply in your own endeavors.

Helpful Background

This post assumes you have some level of familiarity with React and Flux. Already familiar with them? Feel free to skip to “Introducing Lux.js” section. Otherwise, I recommend reading through the links below.

React

React31 is an open-source JavaScript library, maintained mainly by Facebook, and intended to be used in large applications that use data that changes over time. Obviously this is especially helpful when developing single-page applications. If you’re familiar with the model-view-controller pattern, React is considered to be only the view, handling the user interface in an app, and can be used in conjunction with other JavaScript libraries or larger MVC frameworks. Here’s a high level summary of React:

  • React focuses on view concerns, and does not attempt to be an “everything framework”
  • React UIs are built out of components.
  • React components can be written using JSX4 — an XML-based extension to JavaScript — or with plain JavaScript.
  • React components render to a virtual DOM. Subsequent renders are “diffed” with the previous render, and the minimum number of DOM mutations are executed to effectively patch the DOM to bring it up to date.

Check out Facebook’s Getting Started5 guide.

Flux

Flux6 is an architectural pattern recommended by Facebook for building apps with React. Whereas React’s opinions nudge you towards unidirectional data flow, Flux provides a fuller picture as to what that actually looks like. Several Flux implementations have arisen (LeanKit’s lux.js7, included), providing a fascinating insight into how different teams are tackling the challenges they face. A high-level summary of Flux would include:

  • Flux apps have three main abstractions: views (React components), stores, and the dispatcher.
  • Views “propagate” actions (e.g. user interaction) through the dispatcher.
  • The dispatcher handles notifying the various stores of the action.
  • If a store’s state changes, it emits a change event, and views depending on that store for state will rerender.

Check out Facebook’s overview of Flux8.

Introducing Lux.js

JavaScript developers crank out new frameworks as fast as a politician making promises at a campaign rally. Why, then, write another framework? I love this subject, though it falls outside the scope of this article. Lux.js9 is an implementation of the Flux architecture using React; we’ve tailored it to fit our team’s specific set of needs, skills and goals. In fact, our work with lux attempts to strike a delicate balance between consistent opinions and flexibility to include other libraries that best solve the problem at hand.

Over time, failing and succeeding in quite a few projects, we’ve found the following qualities to be the drivers of success in our own flux implementation:

  1. Don’t get in React’s way.
  2. Continuously eliminate boilerplate.
  3. Treat every input as an action.
  4. Store operations must be synchronous.
  5. Make it easy to play well with non-lux/non-React instances.

Examples

Dmitri Voronianski created flux-comparison10, which lets you see a side-by-side comparison of several flux variants (using a basic shopping cart example). I’ve implemented the same example using lux to help illustrate the explanations along the way. I highly recommend checking this project out — it’s a great way to quickly familiarize yourself with several leading Flux implementations.

OK, with all that out of the way, let’s look closer at the qualities I mentioned above.

Staying Out Of The Way

React does a great job at focusing only on what it aims to solve. By not being prescriptive on broader things like remote data communications (HTTP, WebSockets), and by providing hooks that enable you to incorporate non-React UI libraries, React gives you the opportunity to assemble the tools that best address the needs of your app. Just as React stays out of the way of concerns it doesn’t solve for, we’ve found it’s equally important to stay out of React’s way. It’s easy to get in the way as you begin abstracting common patterns in how you use another library/framework behind your own API. (Note: this isn’t always a bad thing!) For example, let’s look at the common component behaviors we’ve built into lux, and how our usage of them has evolved.

Controller Views

You will often hear React developers refer to controller views — a React component that typically sits at or near the top of a section of the page, which listens to one or more stores for changes in their state. As stores emit change events, the controller view updates with the new state and passes changes down to its children via props.

lux provides a controllerView method that gives you back a React component capable of listening to lux stores. Under the hood, lux uses mixins to give the React components different behaviors, and the controllerView method gives a component both a store mixin (making it capable of listening to stores), and an ActionCreator mixin (making it capable of publishing actions). For example:

var CartContainer = lux.controllerView(

  getActions: [ "cartCheckout" ],

  stores: 
    listenTo: [ "cart" ],
    onChange: function() 
      this.setState(getStateFromStores());
    
  },

  getInitialState: function () 
    return getStateFromStores();
  ,

  onCheckoutClicked: function () 
    var products = this.state.products;
    if (!products.length) 
      return;
    
    this.cartCheckout(products);
  },

  render: function () 
    return (
      <Cart products=this.state.products total=this.state.total onCheckoutClicked=this.onCheckoutClicked />
    );
  }
});

While we still like this convenient approach, we’ve found ourselves moving to the alternative approach of setting up a plain React component, and passing the lux mixins necessary to achieve the same result. Note that here we’re calling React.createClass and using the mixins option:

var CartContainer = React.createClass(

  mixins: [ lux.reactMixin.store, lux.reactMixin.actionCreator ],

  getActions: [ "cartCheckout" ],

  stores: 
    listenTo: [ "cart" ],
    onChange: function() 
      this.setState(getStateFromStores());
    
  },

  // other methods, etc.
});

Either approach is valid, though we feel the second approach is more out of React’s way. Why?

  • We get a component’s displayName for free (as the JSX transformer will use our var name when it sees React.createClass).
  • Some controller views don’t need to be ActionCreators. The second approach means we could only pass the store mixin in those cases, keeping concerns focused. The first approach always gives the component both mixins, even if not used.
  • There’s no need to explicitly pass the React instance to lux (done via lux.initReact( React )) so that it knows how to create components.

Note: Why spend time explaining these two different approaches? It’s about saying out of React’s way. We can easily fall prey to either over- or underabstracting, thus we need to give ourselves room to adapt as our understanding improves. The evolution of our approach over time has been informed as we’ve asked ourselves what makes a good flux implementation. This process of continually questioning and evaluating is a vital part of the life of any library or framework.

Boilerplate Elimination

In our experience, adopting React and Flux has moved infrastructure and framework concerns into the background so we can focus on actually creating features for our app. Still, there are annoying bits of code that tend to crop up a lot. For example, consider this common approach to wiring/unwiring components to listen to store change events:

// Taken from the facebook-flux example:
// https://github.com/voronianski/flux-comparison/blob/master/facebook-flux/js/components/CartContainer.jsx
var CartContainer = React.createClass(
  // only showing the methods we're interested in

  componentDidMount: function () 
    CartStore.addChangeListener(this._onChange);
  ,

  componentWillUnmount: function () 
    CartStore.removeChangeListener(this._onChange);
  ,

  // more methods, etc.
});

Honestly, the boilerplate tax isn’t high here, but it’s still present. Since mixins can provide component life cycle methods, we made this automatic when you include lux mixins:

var ProductsListContainer = React.createClass(

  mixins: [ lux.reactMixin.store ],

  stores: 
    listenTo: [ "products" ],
    onChange: function() 
      this.setState(getAllProducts());
    
  },

  // more methods, etc.
});

When our ProductsListContainer stands up, it will be ready to listen to any of the store namespaces provided in the stores.listenTo array, and those subscriptions will be removed if the component unmounts. Goodbye boilerplate!

ActionCreator Boilerplate

In Flux apps, you’ll usually see dedicated ActionCreator modules like this:

// snippet from: https://github.com/voronianski/flux-comparison/blob/master/facebook-flux/js/actions/ActionCreators.js
var ActionsCreators = exports;

ActionsCreators.receiveProducts = function (products) 
  AppDispatcher.handleServerAction(
    type: ActionTypes.RECEIVE_PRODUCTS,
    products: products
  );
};

ActionsCreators.addToCart = function (product) 
  AppDispatcher.handleViewAction(
    type: ActionTypes.ADD_TO_CART,
    product: product
  );
};

As we regularly asked what repeated code we could eliminate and replace with convention, ActionCreator APIs kept coming up. In our case, we use postal.js11 for communication between ActionCreators and the dispatcher (postal is an in-memory message bus library, providing advanced publish/subscribe functionality). 99.9% of the time, an ActionCreator method published an action message with no additional behavior. Things evolved over time like this:

// The very early days
// `actionChannel` is a ref to a postal channel dedicated to lux Actions
var ActionCreators = 
  addToCart: function() 
    actionChannel.publish( 
      topic: "execute.addToCart",
      data: 
        actionType: ActionTypes.ADD_TO_CART,
        actionArgs: arguments
      
    } );
  }
};

That was very quickly abstracted into an ActionCreator mixin to enable this:

// The early-ish days
var ActionCreators = lux.actionCreator(
  addToCart: function( product ) 
    this.publishAction( ActionTypes.ADD_TO_CART, product );
  
});

You’ll notice two things in the code above: first, the use of lux.actionCreator, which mixes lux.mixin.actionCreator into the target; and second, the publishAction method (provided by the mixin).

At the same time we were using the above mixin approach, we’d fallen into the practice of having matching handler names on our stores (the handler method name matched the action type). For example, here’s a lux store that handles the addToCart action:

var ProductStore = new lux.Store( 

  state:  products: [] ,

  namespace: "products",

  handlers: 
    addToCart: function( product ) 
      var prod = this.getState().products.find( function( p ) 
          return p.id === product.id;
       );
      prod.inventory = prod.inventory > 0 ? prod.inventory - 1 : 0;
    }
  },

  // other methods, etc.
} );

Matching action type names and store handler names made conventional wire-up very simple, but we saw another area where we could eliminate boilerplate: if 99% of our ActionCreator API implementations just published a message, why not infer creation of ActionCreator APIs based on what gets handled by stores? So we did, while still allowing custom implementations of ActionCreator methods where needed. For example, when the store instance in the snippet above is created, lux will see that it handles an addToCart action. If an ActionCreator API hasn’t already been defined for this action under lux.actions, lux will create one, with the default behavior of publishing the action message.

Taking this approach means our components can specify what ActionCreator methods they want in an à-la-carte style. In this next snippet, our ProductItemContainer is using the lux.reactMixin.actionCreator mixin, which looks for a getActions array, and provides the specified actions as top level methods on the component. You can see we’re using the addToCart ActionCreator method in the onAddToCartClicked handler method.

var ProductItemContainer = React.createClass(

  mixins: [ lux.reactMixin.actionCreator ],

  getActions: [ "addToCart" ],

  onAddToCartClicked: function () 
    this.addToCart(this.props.product);
  ,

  render: function () 
    return (
      <ProductItem product=this.props.product onAddToCartClicked=this.onAddToCartClicked />
    );
  }
});

As with any convention, there are trade-offs. Composition is an important aspect of ActionCreator APIs. They should be modeled separate from the component(s) that use them. So far, we believe this approach upholds that, while trading some of the explicit nature (e.g. keeping ActionCreators in their own module) for flexibility and terseness.

Everything Is An Action

Since this behavior of providing ActionCreator APIs was abstracted into a mixin, it made it possible for both React components as well as non-lux/React instances to use the mixin. My team has been taking advantage of this when it comes to things like remote data APIs. We’re using a hypermedia client called halon12, which understands how to consume our hypermedia resources using an extended version of HAL13 (Hypermedia Application Language, an open specification for defining the structure of HTTP resources). Covering hypermedia is beyond the scope of this article, but a number of good14 resources15 exist16 if you’re interested in learning more. Our client-side wrapper for halon uses lux’s actionCreator and actionListener mixins so that it can not only publish actions, but also handle them.

We approach it this way because we believe every input — whether it be user input or queued asynchronous execution (via Ajax, postMessage, WebSockets, etc.) — should be fed into the client as an action. If you’ve kept up with any of the React discussions over time, you might be thinking, “Jim, Facebook is OK with calling dispatch directly on an XHR response, rather than use another ActionCreator”. Absolutely — and that makes perfect sense when your implementation gives your util modules (like remote data APIs) a handle to the dispatcher. With lux, we opted for the gateway to the dispatcher to be via message contract, and removed the need for the dispatcher to be a dependency of any module.

So if every input is an action, this means we might have actions in our system that none of our stores care about. Other actions might be of interest to both a store and our remote data API. The value of how this complements and forces you into the pit of unidirectional data flow success can be illustrated in this image:

Unidirectional data flow in lux.js17
Unidirectional data flow in lux.js. (View large version18)

In the above scenario, a user clicked a button on the page that resulted in a server request. When the server responds, the response is published as a new action. While we know that the two actions are related, modeling things this way reinforces the avoidance of cascading updates, and it means your app’s behavior will be capable of handling data being pushed to it, not just pulled through HTTP requests.

What if we wanted to update the UI to reflect that data is loading? It’s as easy as having the appropriate store handle the same action:

Unidirectional data flow in lux.js.19
Unidirectional data flow in lux.js: Update the UI. (View large version20)

Another benefit of treating every input as an action: it makes it easy to see what behaviors are possible in your app. For example, here’s the output of calling lux.utils.printActions():

Unidirectional data flow in lux.js21
Unidirectional data flow in lux.js: Output of calling lux.utils.printActions(). (View large version22)

Lux also provides a utility method to view what stores would participate in handling an action, and in what order: lux.utils.printStoreDepTree(actionName):

Unidirectional data flow in lux.js23
Unidirectional data flow in lux.js: lux.utils.printStoreDepTree(actionName). (View large version24)

Lux + Ajax Examples

We’ve resisted any temptation to be too prescriptive when it comes to how you should interact with remote endpoints in lux. The main guideline we follow is to wrap your remote access in a developer-friendly API in the client (rather than scatter Ajax requests throughout the codebase!), and make that API wrapper an ActionListener and ActionCreator. For example, let’s look at a couple of conceptual approaches you can take:

Plain Ajax

The example below only shows the relevant portions of each piece. Our component publishes an action message for the cartCheckout action, and our WebApi wrapper listens for it. Notice that our response handler for the Ajax call actually publishes a new action message:

// in a CartContainer.jsx module
var CartContainer = React.createClass({
  // other methods, properties, etc.

  onCheckoutClicked: function() 
    var products = this.state.products;
    if (!products.length) 
      return;
    
    this.cartCheckout(products);
  }
});

// In a WebApi.js module
var webApi = lux.actionCreatorListener(
  handlers: 
    cartCheckout: function(products) 
      $.ajax(
        url: "cart/checkout",
        method: "POST",
        data: products
      ).then(
        function(data) 
          this.publishAction("successCheckout", data);
        .bind(this),
        cartErrorHandler
      );
    }
  }
});
How We Use halon

One of the many things we’ve grown to love about hypermedia resources is the built-in discoverability. Instead of having to hard-code specific links (as in the example above), halon allows us to follow links returned with resources, so the only URL we have to know is where we go to get the OPTIONS. In this approach, our WebApi module initializes halon (which results in an OPTIONS request to the server), and the resulting instance will contain the top-level resources we can act on, with their “actions” exposed as methods. In this case we have a cart resource that exposes a checkout action:

// in a CartContainer.jsx module
var CartContainer = React.createClass({
  // other methods, properties, etc.

  onCheckoutClicked: function() 
    var products = this.state.products;
    if (!products.length) 
      return;
    
    this.cartCheckout(products);
  }
});

// In a WebApi.js module
var hal = halon( 
  root: "https://some-server.com/api",
  adapter: halon.jQueryAdapter( $ ),
  version: 1
 );
var webApi = lux.actionCreatorListener(
  handlers: 
    cartCheckout: function(products) 
      hal.cart.checkout(products)
        .then(
          function(data) 
            this.publishAction("successCheckout", data);
          .bind(this),
          cartErrorHandler
        );
    }
  }
});

Stores And Synchronicity

Actions, Stores And Remote Data I/O

I believe a classic pitfall to those rolling their own Flux implementations is putting remote data I/O in stores. In the first version of lux, I not only fell into this pit, I pulled out a golden shovel and dug even deeper. Our stores had the ability to make HTTP calls — and as a result, the need for action dispatch cycles to be asynchronous was unavoidable. This introduced a ripple of bad side effects:

  • Retrieving data from a store was an asynchronous operation, so it wasn’t possible to synchronously use a store’s state in a controller ciew’s getInitialState method.
  • We found that requiring asynchronous reads of store state discouraged the use of read-only helper methods on stores.
  • Putting I/O in stores led to actions being initiated by stores (e.g. on XHR responses or WebSocket events). This quickly undermined the gains from unidirectional data flow. Flux stores publishing their own actions could lead to cascading updates — the very thing we wanted to avoid!

I think the temptation to fall into this pit has to do with the trend of client-side frameworks to date. Client-side models are often treated as write-through caches for server-side data. Complex server/client synchronization tools have sprung up, effectively encouraging a sort of two-way binding across the server/client divide. Yoda said it best: you must unlearn what you have learned.

About the time I realized I’d be better off making lux stores synchronous, I read Reto Schläpfer’s post “Async requests with React.js and Flux, revisited25”. He had experienced the same pain, and the same realization. Making lux stores synchronous, from the moment the dispatcher begins handling an action to the moment stores emit change events, made our app more deterministic and enabled our controller views to synchronously read store state as they initialized. We finally felt like we’d found the droids we were looking for.

Let’s take a look at one of the lux stores in the flux-comparison example:

var CartStore = new lux.Store( 
  namespace: "cart",

  state:  products:   },

  handlers: 
    addToCart: 
      waitFor: [ 'products' ],
      handler: function( product ) 
        var newState = this.getState();
        newState.products[ product.id ] = (
          newState.products[ product.id ]  )
        );
        newState.products[ product.id ].quantity += 1;
        this.setState( newState );
      }
    },
    cartCheckout: function() 
      this.replaceState(  products:  } );
    },
    successCheckout: function( products ) 
      // this can be used to redirect to success page, etc.
      console.log( 'YOU BOUGHT:' );
      if ( typeof console.table === "function" ) 
        console.table( products );
       else 
        console.log( JSON.stringify( products, null, 2 ) );
      
    }
  },

  getProduct: function( id ) 
    return this.getState().products[ id ];
  ,

  getAddedProducts: function() 
    var state = this.getState();
    return Object.keys( state.products ).map( function( id ) 
      return state.products[ id ];
     );
  },

  getTotal: function() 
    var total = 0;
    var products = this.getState().products;
    for (var id in products) 
      var product = products[ id ];
      total += product.price * product.quantity;
    
    return total.toFixed( 2 );
  }
} );

A lux store contains (at least) a handlers property and a namespace. The names of the keys on the handlers property match the action type that they handle. In keeping with Flux principles, it’s possible for lux stores to wait on other stores before executing their handler. The stores you need to wait on can be specified on a per-action basis. The addToCart handler above is a good example. In the waitFor array, you specify the namespaces of any other store you need to wait on — this handler waits on the “products” store. The dispatcher determines the order in which stores need to execute their handlers at runtime, so there’s no need to worry about managing the order yourself in your store logic. (Note that if you don’t need to wait on any other stores, the handler value can be just the handler function itself rather than the object literal representation on addToCart above.)

You can also set initial state on the store, as we’re doing above, and provide top-level methods that are used for reading data (the lux store prototype provides the getState() method). Since store handlers execute synchronously, you can safely read a store’s state from any component’s getInitialState method, and you can be assured that no other action will interrupt or mutate store state while another action is being handled.

lux stores also provide setState and replaceState methods, but if you attempt to invoke them directly, an exception will be thrown. Those methods can only be invoked during a dispatch cycle; we put this rather heavy-handed opinion in place to reinforce the guideline that only stores mutate their own state, and that’s done in a handler.

Plays Well With Others

Another key lesson for our team: it needs to be simple for lux and non-React/non-lux (external) instances to play well together. To that end, lux provides mixins that can be used by external instances.

Store Mixin

The store mixin enables you to listen for store change events. For example, this snippet shows an instance that’s wired to listen to our ProductStore and CartStore:

var storeLogger = lux.mixin(
  stores: 
    listenTo: [ "products", "cart" ],
    onChange: function() 
      console.log( "STORE LOGGER: Received state change event" );
    ,
  }
}, lux.mixin.store);

ActionCreator Mixin

The actionCreator mixin gives the instance a publishAction( actionName, arg1, arg2…) method. This method handles packaging the metadata about the action into a message payload and then publishes it (if you’ve created a custom ActionCreator that does more than just publish the action message, it will invoke that behavior):

// calling lux.actionCreator is a convenience wrapper around
// lux.mixin( target, lux.mixin.actionCreator );
var creator = lux.actionCreator( 
  doAThing: function() 
    this.publishAction( "doJazzHands", "hey, I can lux, too!", true, "story" );
  
} );

ActionListener Mixin

The actionListener mixin wires the instance into postal, so that it listens for any lux action messages. When a message arrives, it checks the handlers property for a matching handler and invokes it:

var listener = lux.actionListener(
  handlers: 
    doJazzHands: function(msg, someBool, lastArg) 
      console.log(msg, someBool, lastArg); // -> hey, I can lux, too! true story
    
  }
});

Why Not Both?

It’s not uncommon — especially if remote data API wrappers are involved — to need both actionCreator and actionListener mixins. lux provides a convenience method for this, unsurprisingly named actionCreatorListener. In the flux-comparison example, the wrapper around the mock remote data API uses this:

// WebAPIUtils.js
var shop = require( '../../../common/api/shop' );
var lux = require( 'lux.js' );

module.exports = lux.actionCreatorListener( 
  handlers: 
    cartCheckout: function( products ) 
      shop.buyProducts( products, function() 
        this.publishAction( "successCheckout", products );
      .bind( this ) );
    },
    getAllProducts: function() 
      shop.getProducts( function( products ) 
        this.publishAction( "receiveProducts", products );
      .bind( this ) );
    },
  }
} );

The above module listens for the cartCheckout and getAllProducts actions. As it handles them, it uses the publishAction method (simulating how a server response would initiate a new Action).

So far, the mixins have covered every need we’ve had to make non-lux/non-React instances play well with lux. If those weren’t enough, though, the underlying message contracts for actions and store update notifications are very simple, and could serve as an alternative. In fact, we plan to use those in some future Chrome dev tools extensions for lux.

Wrapping Up

As I’ve looked through other Flux implementations, I’ve been encouraged to see that these principles are frequently present in them as well. The number of options available can feel overwhelming, but overall I find it an encouraging development. Solid and successful patterns like Flux will, by their very nature, encourage multiple implementations. If our experience is any indication, keeping these principles in mind can help guide you as you select, or write, the Flux implementation you need.

(rb, ml, og)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://facebook.github.io/react/
  2. 2 http://facebook.github.io/react/blog/2014/05/06/flux.html
  3. 3 http://facebook.github.io/react/
  4. 4 http://facebook.github.io/react/docs/jsx-in-depth.html
  5. 5 http://facebook.github.io/react/docs/getting-started.html
  6. 6 https://facebook.github.io/flux/
  7. 7 https://github.com/LeanKit-Labs/lux.js
  8. 8 http://facebook.github.io/flux/docs/overview.html#content
  9. 9 https://github.com/LeanKit-Labs/lux.js
  10. 10 https://github.com/voronianski/flux-comparison
  11. 11 https://github.com/postaljs/postal.js
  12. 12 https://github.com/LeanKit-Labs/halon
  13. 13 https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-kelly-json-hal-06
  14. 14 http://timelessrepo.com/haters-gonna-hateoas
  15. 15 http://martinfowler.com/articles/richardsonMaturityModel.html
  16. 16 http://phlyrestfully.readthedocs.org/en/latest/halprimer.html
  17. 17 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/01-luxdataflow1-opt.png
  18. 18 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/01-luxdataflow1-opt.png
  19. 19 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/02-luxdataflow2-opt.png
  20. 20 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/02-luxdataflow2-opt.png
  21. 21 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/03-luxPrintActions-opt.png
  22. 22 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/03-luxPrintActions-opt.png
  23. 23 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/04-luxPrintStoreDepTree-opt.png
  24. 24 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/04-luxPrintStoreDepTree-opt.png
  25. 25 http://www.code-experience.com/async-requests-with-react-js-and-flux-revisited/

The post Qualities Of Good Facebook’s React and Flux Implementations appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Qualities Of Good Facebook’s React and Flux Implementations

Thumbnail

A Marketer’s Great Dilemma — Should Thou Direct to What’s Free or to What’s Paid — A/B Tested

P.S.(the pre-script one): Few days back I did a case study where adding the word “free” increased the button CTR for a company by 99.42%. And when I was looking at this test where a company eliminated the step involving “free”, they actually got a spike in their conversions. No, I am not surprised. A/B testing does question our instincts or what seems right. And a word of caution before I proceed — something that worked for one company, might or might not work for you.

The Company

EzLandlordForms is a typical example of business formed out of, “Solve a pain point. Even better, solve your own pain point!”.

Kevin, the founder, was a landlord back in 2005 when he thought of eliminating the trouble he was facing in creating the perfect lease. He launched the website EzLandlordForms, and since 2006, he along with his team has helped more than half a million landlords manage their properties with great ease. They sell all types of leases – residential, vacation, company, subleases, etc. and have hundreds of free lease forms in printable format.

The Test

To get more revenue from their online business, Brian, the Vice President of EzLandlordForms, signed up for VWO subscription. He tested a number of elements on the website to optimize it. In this case study, I’m going to talk about a test that EzLandlordForms did on their homepage, which increased their revenue per visitor by 20.4% and sales by 32.2%.

The test hypothesis was simple, yet interesting. They wanted to test whether taking the visitors directly to a paid goal from the CTA button was more valuable than a step-by-step approach of taking visitors to free forms first, and then to the purchase goal.

To test this hypothesis, they created 2 more variations of their homepage which was pitted against their original homepage. On their original homepage, the CTA button read “View Free Forms”. Since they offer a lot of printable free forms on their website, the CTA was pretty clear with its verbiage. But the problem was that it wasn’t helping them get paid conversions and account sign-up was a micro-conversion for them. In the words of Brian, “We were concerned the CTA was too indirect, and failed to push users to where they were most likely to convert.

This is how it looked:

Control

Their hypothesis was that by sending people directly to the paid state-specific lease agreements, they could increase their sales. To test this, they created 2 variations. The first variation took them to the intermediate page, same as the control, where they could sign-up for a free account and browse the free forms. The only change in this variation was CTA button text which was changed to “Create Lease”. This, they believed was a direct way to sell visitor paid state-specific leases than asking them to browse through the free ones first.

This is how it looked:

Winning Variation

The second variation went a step further, and even though it had the same text on the CTA button “Create Lease”, it dropped the intermediate page in-between and took users directly to the lease wizard.

The Result

In this test, they tracked 3 goals:

  • Revenue per visitor
  • Purchase conversion rate
  • Free account signup conversion rate

The primary objective of the test was to push people directly to the paid product. The test was run for a duration of 2 weeks and for about 6000 visitors. Second variation, in which they dropped the intermediate step of taking visitors to browse free forms, won and increased the conversion rate of purchase goal by 32.2% and revenue per visitor by 20.4%.

Why did the Second Variation Won?

  • The value proposition offered was different in the variation than in the control. Whereas, the CTA text on control said to view forms, the CTA text on variation was more specific towards the purchase goal and asked the people to create lease.
  • The variation dropped an intermediate step of taking visitors through the free forms. This solved two problems. One, it did not distract(and confuse) people who wanted to buy a state-specific lease by showing the free forms, and two, it eliminated one step towards the purchase goal. And we all know, lesser the friction towards the conversion, higher is the conversion rate.

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The post A Marketer’s Great Dilemma — Should Thou Direct to What’s Free or to What’s Paid — A/B Tested appeared first on VWO Blog.

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A Marketer’s Great Dilemma — Should Thou Direct to What’s Free or to What’s Paid — A/B Tested