If you have ever wanted to send a form without reloading the page, provide a look-ahead search function that prompts the user with suggestions as they type, or auto-save documents, then what you need is AJAX (also known as XHR). A behind-the-scenes request is sent to the server, and returning data to your form. Whenever you see a loader animation after you have made some action on the page, it’s probably an AJAX request being submitted to the server.
I wrote that statement on a whiteboard at the start of a website brainstorm session.
What does 1.06 products mean?
1.06 sums up my frustration at the adoption rate of our new products. Yup, Unbounce is now more than just a landing page builder. We released two new products, namely “overlays” and “sticky bars”, and we grouped them together under an umbrella term “Convertables”.
The number 1 represents our flagship industry-leading landing page product (100% of our customers have adopted it), and the .06 represents the tragic adoption rate of our new products (6%).
And yes, you’d be correct if you noted that “Convertables” isn’t a real word, but then neither is Unbounce, so we went with it after a notable amount of company-wide polling, and general corporate groupthink. More on that later.
So, how does this scenario result in me writing 30 blog posts about our products?
Rewind to October 5th: I was in a meeting with fellow co-founders Rick, Carl, and Carter, openly expressing my frustration with the adoption numbers, and Carter interrupted me to ask, “Okay, fine, but what are you going to do about it?”.
Then this video happened…
Awesome, right?! Yeah, it is, until the moment I realized it’s been exactly 301 days since I last wrote a blog post (I’ve been focusing on public speaking), making this level of bravado a tad audacious at best. Aaand, yes I realize I was a little intoxicated in the video.
But, I’ve learned over the years, that being a bit ridiculous in my promises is the only way I really know how to get shit done. When I tell everyone that I’m doing something big, the self-imposed peer pressure is what motivates me to make sure I complete my mission.
Enter Product Awareness Month (PAM)
This brings me to our blog. We’ve never written much about our products on the blog, in fact, we’ve actively avoided it to let the content speak for itself as an educational pillar of the community, and to remain non-salesy.
I’ve realized though, that it doesn’t make much business sense to be that overtly humble in all marketing communications. There has to be a way to balance exposing people to your product without it detracting from the experience.
It’s my fault in many ways. When I started our blog back in 2009, I had a mission to be different from our competitors, to not come across as a salesperson, and just to provide value and entertaining content that stood out.
We dominated the realm of conversion content for many years, but in an increasingly competitive SaaS martech space, our content is no longer number one, and it’s time that we change our approach.
Which is why we’re doing a blog takeover for the whole of January.
Our goal is to explore a blog topic we’ve not covered before, but also to expose a transparent window – transparency is one of our six core values at Unbounce – into our journey as a company, as a marketing team, and myself personally, to become better at marketing our new products.
For me, it’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in product marketing, which will make it a fascinating personal journey reinventing myself as a different kind of marketer.
I’m also cutting the number of speaking gigs I do in 2018 in half, because let’s be honest, in this moment, the success of Unbounce can be more rapidly impacted by me staying home than being on the road.
Along the way, I’ll be opening up the Unbounce vault to share our core metrics with you. This will include our churn and product adoption metrics, which we hope to be able to lift in a big way throughout this 30-day experiment. There will be data check-ins throughout, with a halfway report, and then a full “Results Show” at the end.
I’ll also be digging into our analytics to see what the engagement and attribution looks like for every one of the 30 blog posts.
Some of the content will revolve around the learnings and experiences of becoming a better product marketer, and the rest will be an exploration of the ways we’re trying to rethink what our products are, what they mean to our customers, and how we can do a better job communicating their benefits (with some case studies and new ways of thinking – I hope).
I say “I hope” because I’m writing this as you read it. That’s what tends to happen when you commit to something as absurd as 30-in-30.
Follow Along << Mid-Post CTA
I encourage you to follow along by subscribing to our weekly update emails at the bottom of the page. I’m really keen to have our community (that’s you) help us explore how to do this properly, and hopefully, we’ll all learn how to do a better job of marketing our products.
This is a screenshot of the subscribe form at the bottom of the post. Thought you should know.
Aaand I’ve configured it so you’ll see an exit popup when you leave this page. Note, that I’m doing this to show the product in a relevant and hopefully useful manner.
Unbounce Product Adoption Metrics
How do we measure adoption at Unbounce? To understand, it helps to explain a little about how we define a customer. In the old days, a customer was any signup, someone who started a 30-day trial. Over time we learned we should be measuring a little deeper into the customer lifecycle, and decided a customer was someone who paid us twice; once after the 30-day trial, and again after sixty days.
In 2017 we modified this further to someone who pays us three times, giving us a much better sense of true churn numbers.
To be considered a customer who has adopted our products, we have an additional set of app usage criteria:
For landing pages adoption means: a customer who has built and published one or more pages, has set up a custom domain, configured an integration with another tool, and has paid us three times.
Full transparency: 6% adoption for a new product sucks.
So what went wrong? Why was adoption so low?
Well, first, and most importantly, product marketing is really hard.
We also made a few (well intended) mistakes, namely…
Mistake #1: We called a popup an overlay. Mistake #2: We created a fictitious umbrella term “Convertables” for only two child products, and for a few months, only one child product. Mistake #3: We assumed that people would find and use these two products, hidden behind said umbrella term in the app. Mistake #4: We assumed that the functional user of our landing page product would be the same person who needs to use popups and sticky bars.
How do we un-f*** this problem?
The first thing we’re doing is removing public-facing mentions of the term “Convertables”. This has excited the marketing team because it’s much easier to market something when you know how to describe it, and a multi-product value prop is much harder than a single-product value prop.
Beyond that, the approach I’m taking is a combination of four primary tenets:
First, is a concept I call “Productizing Our Technology” or POT for short. This is about discovering new and novel ways that our platform can be used, that people either haven’t imagined or simply didn’t know was possible.
Second, is exploring the entire Unbounce ecosystem, from the app, to the website, our content channels, and our community, to see how we could do a better job of exposing the benefits of our products to those who can benefit from them.
Third, is using the Product Awareness Month blog takeover to create interactive demonstrations right here on the blog – the goal of which is to reduce the Time to Value (TTV) by creating more obvious ah-ha moments.
Fourth, understanding who the various target personas and functional users of the different products are, and adjusting our targeting and marketing communications to find and speak to those potentially different users.
In regards to #3 the blog takeover, if you take a look at the top of the screen, you’ll see a header bar like this:
Or this one, if you have scrolled down the page:
If you look at the hierarchy of information from left to right, you see: 1) Who we are: logo, 2) What we do: value prop, 3) How to take action: the three big orange buttons.
This is hugely different to the rest of the blog, which retains the navigation of the whole site (I’ve thought that was incongruent for a long time).
My hope is that the new header bar helps more people know what we do, and how our products can help. I’ll be tracking engagement with the 3 CTAs and comparing these 30 posts against our other blog content in terms of its ability to get people to sign up.
I had my own ah-ha moment when I started imagining all the ways that I could hack/modify/extend the ways the Unbounce conversion platform can be used. We have 3 core pieces of product technology (not including our AI/Machine Learning efforts that will power our technology in the future): landing pages, popups, and sticky bars.
By taking our core tech, combining the available features, with new jQuery scripts, CSS, and some 3rd-party integrations, it’s possible to create a plethora of new “mini-products” that if embraced by the community, might inform future product direction.
Take a look at the spreadsheet below. This is my POT matrix. The complete sheet currently houses over 120 new product ideas.
(Click image for full-size view)
Across the top (in yellow) are the core products, their features (such as targeting, triggers, display frequency), and the different hacks, data sources, and integrations, that can be combined to produce the new products listed in green in the first column.
Each product is flagged as being in one of three states:
NOW: These products are possible now with our existing feature set. MVP: These products are possible by adding some simple scripts/CSS to extend the core. NEW: These products would require a much deeper level of product or website development to make them possible. These are the examples that came from “blue sky” ideation, and are a useful upper anchor for what could be done.
I’ll be explaining these use cases in greater detail as the month progresses, and I’ll be building some of them directly into these blog posts as I write them. << FTR this will involve me reverting to my long-extinct coding background to hack the shit out of the blog to show you what I’m talking about.
A few years ago, there was a joke that was going around on the internet. It goes something like this: “What is the best place to hide evidence of your wrongdoings? Page 2 of Google Search results!” While the joke itself may have been created in good humor, it does imply something extremely important. It’s crucial for businesses to compete for higher visibility in search results. Consumers are more dependent on the internet than any other medium, making search ranking crucial for businesses to attract potential customers. More often than not, people only look at the first page of search…
Do you think your popups are converting at their highest potential? I’m guessing that unless you’ve been testing them to figure out what makes your audience tick, then probably not. Luckily, you can figure that out by, well,..testing of course :). And if you’re wondering what to assess first, I have some suggestions. As Head of Customer Success at WisePops, an intelligent popup builder, I’ve reviewed hundreds of A/B tests. Based on this experience, I’ll share 5 popup A/B tests which can make a difference for your future and existing campaigns (spoiler: one of our customers almost tripled the number…
In its move to patch a security hole as part of the iOS 10.3 release, Apple has introduced (yet) another redirection mechanism that developers must handle when attempting to implement mobile deep-link routing (i.e. the mechanism to route users to a specific page inside a mobile app, rather than the App Store or app home page).
This redirection instance has introduced additional friction to the app download and reopening process, and data shows that it has decreased conversion rates on iOS 10.
Being data-driven is good. Unless of course, all that data driving your decisions is wrong. Google Analytics does a lot of good. It might look fine and seem correct when Goals are firing properly. But just because it’s working, doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Most analytics programs have to make a few implicit assumptions. They’re taking leaps of faith in some cases. And unless you know where to look, you could fall victim to these little white lies. Here are seven of the most common (along with how to fix them). Lie #1. Growing ‘Dark Traffic’ ‘Dark Traffic’ sounds ominous. And…
It’s about time that we take a step back and have a little chuckle at ourselves. Image via Shutterstock.
Plenty of products and services help people, making them healthier and happier. For those things, marketing is great — but sometimes, the way we talk about ourselves is absurd. Yeah, I said it, it’s absurd, but it’s all right because this post has a happy ending (stay tuned).
If you work in any sort of marketing role, you might have noticed that as a collective, we’ve done something incredible:
We’ve turned buzzwords into real, salaried jobs.
You can be a Growth Hacker these days, or a Content Marketer. If you work somewhere really cool, you might even be a Conversion Ninja. Plenty of people do these jobs (myself included) and one day we’ll have the awkward pleasure of explaining to our grandchildren what it was like being paid to be a Solutions Architect, or a Dev Mogul.
“Neat, grandpa! Did you invent a new form of calculus?”
“No, son. But I had over 25,000 Twitter followers. I was an influencer.”
This is the part-time nihilist’s guide to all those marketing terms you hate (but need). It might also clarify why your parents will never understand what the heck your job is.
Homer gets back to basics with marketing. Video: Fox.
Disclaimer: This post tears down marketing terms and the idea of becoming an influencer. We hope that it is popular and that you share it. We see the irony, and we’re disgusted by it, so just move on, okay?
Being considered an “expert” or a “genius”
To be considered an expert in most other professions, you need to have studied and practiced for years and years and years. You study, you’re tested, you pass, you advance. After what feels like a lifetime of this, people trust you as a voice of authority, as an expert.
Pro tip: Inclusion in a listicle or roundup guarantees automatic employment — should you want it — with some of the most prestigious companies in Silicon Valley.
There are expert marketers, of course: people who have been to school, who dedicate their lives to the craft of combining insight and communication into the most irresistible calls to action. But if you’ve got a profile photo, maybe a Linkedin Premium account, and a byline on somewhere like Unbounce (Hey, that’s me!), you might be considered an expert.
This will do one of two things to you:
It’ll make you lazy, because you’ll think that you’ve reached the top of the mountain. (By the way, there’s no top. There’s no mountain either.)
It’ll scare the crap out of you, and you’ll work your ass off to become a genuine expert, or at least, someone with useful insights.
I hope for everyone’s sake that it’s the second one.
Bonus option: You’ll develop a nasty case of Imposter Syndrome, where you’ll live in constant fear of being called out. It’ll make you triple your efforts, but it’ll never be enough.
Pursuing “thought leadership”
As a marketer, when you have a good idea, you call it a thought leadership piece and you milk it until it’s red and sore. Never mind the idea that “thought leadership” sounds like some sort of mind control, it’s just damned impressive that we managed to turn the act of having ideas into a tool for marketing.
In a way, being considered a thought leader is a lot like being considered an expert. Not so long ago there were real thought leaders, people like Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr.. Now, all you need to do is tip that scale from 9,999 followers to 10,000 and praise, be! You’re a thought leader.
“One of us, one of us, one of us.” Video: Fox
Free infographics and ebooks
The only real way to tell whether a post is legitimate — whether the author’s really serious about the information they’re giving you — is to check for an associated infographic or ebook. At Unbounce, they call these in-post giveaways Conversion Carrots. Some other places call them Lead Magnets. I call them necessary evil.
“Can we make it go viral?”
I once worked at a place where a department, armed with five grand, asked us if we could make them a viral video. In their defense, they didn’t understand the process of how something becomes viral (another gross marketing term), so points at least for the thought. But directly asking for a viral video, or setting out with the intention of making a viral video, is like marrying a stranger for the tax benefits, and not because you love them.
Hey bud, if you RT me, I’ll RT you.
As a marketer, you want eyeballs. You’re hungry for eyeballs, you want to pour them all over your website. Some people have lots of eyeballs looking at them; those people are called influencers, and if you’re kind to them, sometimes they’ll let you borrow their eyeball collections.
People with a lot of eyeballs in their collection tend to be good at making things go viral. They often make infographics and eBooks, as well. They are the Aaron Orendorffs of the world (Hey, man!), and they are all-powerful.
“We simply could not function without his tireless efforts.” Video: Fox
“Epic,” “unicorn,” “guru,” etc.
No, it’s not. No, they’re not. No, you’re not.
“We need more user-generated content.”
The idea behind user-generated content is sound; it’s word-of-mouth for a digital age. Having a strategy to develop user-generated content, though?
Do you ever watch those videos publications like Gothamist do on some donut shop in Brooklyn that’s been around for 140 years? You think, “Wow, they must have a lot of user-generated content!” No, they just make great donuts. If you want your users to generate more content, just make stuff they like.
“Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp!” Video: Fox
Time to follow in mommy and daddy’s footsteps?
For over 20 years my dad spent most of his days with his hands plunged into ice water, gutting and slicing one fish at a time. I spend my days trying to get prospects to type their names into a CTA form field. In those final years before the sun explodes and we’re all plunged into an every-man-for-himself scenario, who’s going to be more useful? My money’s on the old man.
I told you that there was a happy ending, and in a way, the sun exploding and annihilating everything from Mercury out past Pluto is a happy ending. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, from your parents and their grinding manual labor jobs, to us word-pickers and graph-checkers who moan when we can’t find the right long-tail keywords to optimize conversion rates. One day everyone that’s left will go together, burning up with all the finest email lists, and all the leads. It’s all going to be fine.
People make some great stuff, and for the short time we’re here, it’s up to us to help get it in front of as many of the right people as possible. That’s your job, and it’s a fun one.
What are some of the marketing terms you hate to need? Drop them in the comments below, then download this free infographic. Jokes, there’s no infographic.
If you could get in a room with digital marketing experts from Google, AdRoll and LinkedIn, what would you ask them? Better yet, what if you could rub shoulders with them without having to leave your desk?
We’re not trying to torture you with hypotheticals. For the second year in a row, Unbounce and HubSpot have teamed up to cregisurate Digital Agency Day: a full day of virtual and in-person events dedicated to the digital agency professional.
And it’s happening very soon: on March 16th, 2017. Completely free.
Join expert speakers from the world’s top agencies and agency partners as they share actionable, agency-tailored advice on analytics, reporting, growing retainers, new business strategy, content marketing, conversion rate optimization and much more.
Here’s just a taste of some of the presentations you can expect:
Rethinking Retainers & Other Pricing Issues
What Your Agency Needs to Execute Content Marketing the Right Way
Grow Your Agency With LinkedIn Sponsored Content
Extreme Growth with Google AdWords: For Agencies
Unifying your Customer Journey: Unlocking the Power of Cross-Device Marketing
Here’s what some of our attendees from last year had to say:
One person’s killer UX is another’s UX killer. Why not copy the killer user experience of a famous site in your industry? The short answer? You’re not them. The longer answer is that unless you’re copying a fully optimized site with all the same variables, targets, and exact same audience, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure. Take Target for example. Following the success of Amazon’s review software, Target purchased it and sought to implement it on their own site. Even after copying the software and interface, the engagement with their reviews suffered. In fact, in the first month after…
When the Russian ruble’s exchange rate slumped two years ago, it drove us to think of cutting hardware and hosting costs for the Mail.Ru email service. First, we had to take a look at what email consists of. Indexes and bodies account for only 15% of the storage size, whereas 85% is taken up by files. So, optimization of files (that is, attachments) is worth exploring in more detail.
At the time, we didn’t have file deduplication in place, but we estimated that it could shrink the total storage size by 36%, because many users receive the same messages, such as price lists from online stores and newsletters from social networks that contain images and so on. In this article, I’ll describe how we implemented a deduplication system under the guidance of PSIAlt.