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How To Improve Your Design Process With Data-Based Personas




How To Improve Your Design Process With Data-Based Personas

Tim Noetzel



Most design and product teams have some type of persona document. Theoretically, personas help us better understand our users and meet their needs. The idea is that codifying what we’ve learned about distinct groups of users helps us make better design decisions. Referring to these documents ourselves and sharing them with non-design team members and external stakeholders should ultimately lead to a user experience more closely aligned with what real users actually need.

In reality, personas rarely prove equal to these expectations. On many teams, persona documents sit abandoned on hard drives, collecting digital dust while designers continue to create products based primarily on whim and intuition.

In contrast, well-researched personas serve as a proxy for the user. They help us check our work and ensure that we’re building things users really need.

In fact, the best personas don’t just describe users; they actually help designers predict their behavior. In her article on persona creation, Laura Klein describes it perfectly:

“If you can create a predictive persona, it means you truly know not just what your users are like, but the exact factors that make it likely that a person will become and remain a happy customer.”

In other words, useful personas actually help design teams make better decisions because they can predict with some accuracy how users will respond to potential product changes.

Obviously, for personas to facilitate these types of predictions, they need to be based on more than intuition and anecdotes. They need to be data-driven.

So, what do data-driven personas look like, and how do you make one?

Start With What You Think You Know

The first step in creating data-driven personas is similar to the typical persona creation process. Write down your team’s hypotheses about what the key user groups are and what’s important to each group.

If your team is like most, some members will disagree with others about which groups are important, the particular makeup and qualities of each persona, and so on. This type of disagreement is healthy, but unlike the usual persona creation process you may be used to, you’re not going to get bogged down here.

Instead of debating the merits of each persona (and the various facets and permutations thereof), the important thing is to be specific about the different hypotheses you and your team have and write them down. You’re going to validate these hypotheses later, so it’s okay if your team disagrees at this stage. You may choose to focus on a few particular personas, but make sure to keep a backlog of other ideas as well.

Hypothetical Personas


First, start by recording all the hypotheses you have about key personas. You’ll refine these through user research in the next step. (Large preview)

I recommend aiming for a short, 1–2 sentence description of each hypothetical persona that details who they are, what root problem they hope to solve by using your product, and any other pertinent details.

You can use the traditional user stories framework for this. If you were creating hypothetical personas for Craigslist, one of these statements might read:

“As a recent college grad, I want to find cheap furniture so I can furnish my new apartment.”

Another might say:

“As a homeowner with an extra bedroom, I want to find a responsible tenant to rent this space to so I can earn some extra income.”

If you have existing data — things like user feedback emails, NPS scores, user interview notes, or analytics data — be sure to go over them and include relevant data points in your notes along with your user stories.

Validate And Refine

The next step is to validate and refine these hypotheses with user interviews. For each of your hypothetical personas, you’ll want to start by interviewing 5 to 10 people who fit that group.

You have three key goals for these interviews. For each group, you need to:

  1. Understand the context in which they need to solve the problem.
  2. Confirm that members of the persona group agree that the problem you recorded is an urgent and painful one that they struggle to solve now.
  3. Identify key predictors of whether a member of this persona is likely to become and remain an active user.

The approach you take to these interviews may vary, but I recommend a hybrid approach between a traditional user interview, which is very non-leading, and a Lean Problem interview, which is deliberately leading.

Start with the traditional user interview approach and ask behavior-based, non-leading questions. In the Craigslist example, we might ask the recent college grad something like:

“Tell me about the last time you purchased furniture. What did you buy? Where did you buy it?”

These types of questions are great for establishing whether the interviewee recently experienced the problem in question, how they solved it, and whether they’re dissatisfied with their current solution.

Once you’ve finished asking these types of questions, move on to the Lean Problem portion of the interview. In this section, you want to tell a story about a time when you experienced the problem — establishing the various issues you struggled with and why it was frustrating — and see how they respond.

You might say something like this:

“When I graduated college, I had to get new furniture because I wasn’t living in the dorm anymore. I spent forever looking at furniture stores, but they were all either ridiculously expensive or big-box stores with super-cheap furniture I knew would break in a few weeks. I really wanted to find good furniture at a reasonable price, but I couldn’t find anything and I eventually just bought the cheap stuff. It inevitably broke, and I had to spend even more money, which I couldn’t really afford. Does any of that resonate with you?”

What you’re looking for here is emphatic agreement. If your interviewee says “yes, that resonates” but doesn’t get much more excited than they were during the rest of the interview, the problem probably wasn’t that painful for them.

Data-Driven Personas Interview Format


You can validate or invalidate your persona hypotheses with a series of quick, 30-minute interviews. (Large preview)

On the other hand, if they get excited, empathize with your story, or give their own anecdote about the problem, you know you’ve found a problem they really care about and need to be solved.

Finally, make sure to ask any demographic questions you didn’t cover earlier, especially those around key attributes you think might be significant predictors of whether somebody will become and remain a user. For example, you might think that recent college grads who get high-paying jobs aren’t likely to become users because they can afford to buy furniture at retail; if so, be sure to ask about income.

You’re looking for predictable patterns. If you bring in 5 members of your persona and 4 of them have the problem you’re trying to solve and desperately want a solution, you’ve probably identified a key persona.

On the other hand, if you’re getting inconsistent results, you likely need to refine your hypothetical persona and repeat this process, using what you learn in your interviews to form new hypotheses to test. If you can’t consistently find users who have the problem you want to solve, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get millions of them to use your product. So don’t skimp on this step.

Create Your Personas

The penultimate step in this process is creating the actual personas themselves. This is where things get interesting. Unlike traditional personas, which are typically static, your data-driven personas will be living, breathing documents.

The goal here is to combine the lessons you learned in the previous step — about who the user is and what they need — with data that shows how well the latest iteration of your product is serving their needs.

At my company Swish, each one of our personas includes two sections with the following data:

Predictive User Data Product Performance Data
Description of the user including predictive demographics. The percentage of our current user base the persona represents.
Quotes from at least 3 actual users that describe the jobs-to-be-done. Latest activation, retention, and referral rates for the persona.
The percentage of the potential user base the persona represents. Current NPS Score for the persona.

If you’re looking for more ideas for data to include, check out Coryndon Luxmoore’s presentation on how his team created data-driven personas at Buildium.

It may take some time for your team to produce all this information, but it’s okay to start with what you have and improve the personas over time. Your personas won’t be sitting on a shelf. Every time you release a new feature or change an existing one, you should measure the results and update your personas accordingly.

Integrate Your Personas Into Your Workflow

Now that you’ve created your personas, it’s time to actually use them in your day-to-day design process. Here are 4 opportunities to use your new data-driven personas:

  1. At Standups
    At Swish, our standups are a bit different. We start these meetings by reviewing the activation, retention, and referral metrics for each persona. This ensures that — as we discuss yesterday’s progress and today’s obstacles — we remain focused on what really matters: how well we’re serving our users.
  2. During Prioritization
    Your data-driven personas are a great way to keep team members honest as you discuss new features and changes. When you know how much of your user base the persona represents and how well you’re serving them, it quickly becomes obvious whether a potential feature could actually make a difference. Suddenly deciding what to work on won’t require hours of debate or horse-trading.
  3. At Design Reviews
    Your data-driven personas are a great way to keep team members honest as you discuss new designs. When team members can creditably represent users with actual quotes from user interviews, their feedback quickly becomes less subjective and more useful.
  4. When Onboarding New Team Members
    New hires inevitably bring a host of implicit biases and assumptions about the user with them when they start. By including your data-driven personas in their onboarding documents, you can get new team members up to speed much more quickly and ensure they understand the hard-earned lessons your team learned along the way.

Keeping Your Personas Up To Date

It’s vitally important to keep your personas up-to-date so your team members can continue to rely on them to guide their design thinking.

As your product improves, it’s simple to update NPS scores and performance data. I recommend doing this monthly at a minimum; if you’re working on an early-stage, rapidly-changing product, you’ll get better mileage by updating these stats weekly instead.

It’s also important to check in with members of your personas periodically to make sure your predictive data stays relevant. As your product evolves and the competitive landscape changes, your users’ views about their problems will change as well. If your growth starts to plateau, another round of interviews may help to unlock insights you didn’t find the first time. Even if everything is going well, try to check in with members of your personas — both current users of your product and some non-users — every 6 to 12 months.

Wrapping Up

Building data-driven personas is a challenging project that takes time and dedication. You won’t uncover the insights you need or build the conviction necessary to unify your team with a week-long throwaway project.

But if you put in the time and effort necessary, the results will speak for themselves. Having the type of clarity that data-driven personas provide makes it far easier to iterate quickly, improve your user experience, and build a product your users love.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend checking out the linked articles above, as well as the following resources:

Smashing Editorial
(rb, ra, yk, il)


Original source: 

How To Improve Your Design Process With Data-Based Personas

Be Watchful: PHP And WordPress Functions That Can Make Your Site Insecure

Security of a WordPress (or any) website is a multi-faceted problem. The most important step anyone can take to make sure that a site is secure is to keep in mind that no single process or method is sufficient to ensure nothing bad happens. But there are things you can do to help. One of them is to be on the watch, in the code you write and the code from others you deploy, for functions that can have negative consequences.

Taken from: 

Be Watchful: PHP And WordPress Functions That Can Make Your Site Insecure

5 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

If you want to craft a delightful marketing experience and you’re using popups, you need to make sure you hold them to the same high standards as the content they are covering up. You can learn a lot by looking at bad website popup examples.

Once you understand what not to do, you’ll default to starting your own popup designs from a better baseline.

What does a bad popup design actually look like?

Well, it depends on your judging criteria, and for the examples below, I was considering these seven things, among others:

  1. Clarity: Is it easy to figure out the offer really quickly?
  2. Relevance: Is it related to the content of the current page?
  3. Manipulation: Does it use psychological trickery in the copy?
  4. Design: Is it butt ugly?
  5. Control: Is it clear what all options will do?
  6. Escape: Can you get rid of it easily?
  7. Value: Is the reward worth more than the perceived (or actual) effort?

The following popup examples, each make a number of critical errors in their design decisions. Take a look, and share your own worst popup design examples in the comments!


#1 – Mashable Shmashable

What’s so bad about it?

If you peer into the background behind the popup, you’ll see a news story headline that begins with “Nightmare Alert”. I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what’s happening here.

  • Design: Bad. The first thing I saw looks like a big mistake. The Green line with the button hanging off the bottom looks like the designer fell asleep with their head on the mouse.
  • Clarity: Bad. And what on earth does the headline mean? click.click.click. Upon deeper exploration, it’s the name of the newsletter, but that’s not apparent at all on first load.
  • Clarity: worse. Then we get the classic “Clear vs. Clever” headline treatment. Why are you talking about the pronunciation of the word “Gif”? Tell me what this is, and why I should care to give you my email.
  • Design: Bad. Also, that background is gnarly.

#2 – KAM Motorsports Revolution!

What’s so bad about it?

It’s motorsports. It’s not a revolution. Unless they’re talking about wheels going round in circles.

  • Clarity: Bad. The headline doesn’t say what it is, or what I’ll get by subscribing. I have to read the fine print to figure that out.
  • Copy: Bad. Just reading the phrase “abuse your email” is a big turn off. Just like the word spam, I wasn’t thinking that you were going to abuse me, but now it’s on my mind.
  • Relevance: Bad. Newsletter subscription popups are great, they have a strong sense of utility and can give people exactly what they want. But I don’t like them as entry popups. They’re much better when they use an exit trigger, or a scroll trigger. Using a “Scroll Up” trigger is smart because it means they’ve read some of your content, and they are scrolling back up vs. leaving directly, which is another micro-signal that they are interested.

#3 – Utterly Confused


(Source unknown – I found it on confirmshaming.tumblr.com)

What’s so bad about it?

I have no earthly clue what’s going on here.

  • Clarity: Bad. I had to re-read it five times before I figured out what was going on.
  • Control: Bad. After reading it, I didn’t know whether I would be agreeing with what they’re going to give me, or with the statement. It’s like an affirmation or something. But I have no way of knowing what will happen if I click either button. My best guess after spending this much time writing about it is that it’s a poll. But a really meaningless one if it is. Click here to find out how many people agreed with “doing better”…
  • It ends with “Do Better”. I agree. They need to do a lot better.

#4 – Purple Nurple

What’s so bad about it?

  • Manipulation: Bad. Our first “Confirm Shaming” example. Otherwise known as “Good Cop / Bad Cop”. Forcing people to click a button that says “Detest” on it is so incongruent with the concept of a mattress company that I think they’re just being cheap. There’s no need to speak to people that way.
  • I found a second popup example by Purple (below), and have to give them credit. The copy on this one is significantly more persuasive. Get this. If you look at the section I circled (in purple), it says that if you subscribe, they’ll keep you up to date with SHIPPING TIMES!!! Seriously? If you’re going to email me and say “Hey Oli, great news! We can ship you a mattress in 2 weeks!”, I’ll go to Leesa, or Endy, or one of a million other Casper copycats.


#5 – Hello BC

What’s so bad about it?

Context: This is an entry popup, and I have never been to this site before.

  • Relevance: Bad. The site is Hellobc.com, the title says “Supernatural British Columbia”, and the content on the page is about skydiving. So what list is this for? And nobody wants to be on a “list”, stop saying “list”. It’s like saying email blast. Blast your list. If you read the first sentence it gets even more confusing, as you’ll be receiving updates from Destination BC. That’s 4 different concepts at play here.
  • Design: Bad. It’s legitimately butt ugly. I mean, come on. This is for Beautiful Supernatural British Columbia ffs. It’s stunning here. Show some scenery to entice me in.
  • Value: Bad. Seeing that form when I arrive on the page is like a giant eff you. Why do they think it’s okay to ask for that much info, with that much text, before I’ve even seen any content?
  • Control: Bad. And there’s not any error handling. However, the submit button remains inactive until you magically click the right amount of options to trigger it’s hungry hungry hippo mouth to open.

Train. Wreck.


Well, that’s all for today, folks. You might be wondering why there were so few popup examples in this post. Honestly, when the team was rallying to find me a bunch of examples, we all struggled to find many truly awful ones. We also struggled to find many really awesome ones.

This is where YOU come in!

Send me your terrible and awesome popup examples!

If you have any wonderfully brutal, or brutally wonderful examples of website popup design, I’d really appreciate a URL in the comments. If you could share the trigger details too that would be rad (e.g. exit, entrance, scroll, delay etc.).

Tomorrow’s Post is about Awesome Popup Examples! YAY.

So get your butt back here same time tomorrow, where I’ll be sharing my brand new Popup Delight Equation that you can use to grade your own popup designs.

Cheers,
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

Source article – 

5 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

Launching Your Design Career: Which Type Of Education Is Best For You?

If you’re stuck in a job you hate and have dreams of becoming a designer and working in a creative role that fills you with excitement daily, the road to entering this completely new industry can feel daunting. Making a major career shift late in life to follow your passion is scary. Not only is it sometimes difficult to know where to start to learn about an expansive field like design, but it can also feel risky, especially if you’re working a secure job.

Link: 

Launching Your Design Career: Which Type Of Education Is Best For You?

15 Ways Marketers Use Overlays to Get More Conversions

Let me paint an ugly picture for you.

The end of the month is approaching. In one week, you have to report to your boss about marketing metrics… and you’re not even halfway to your targets.

Maybe you call an emergency brainstorm meeting with your team:

giphy
Are there any last-minute email or social campaigns we can run? Image source.

Maybe you pump more money into your PPC campaigns. Or maybe you do nothing at all and start a mental list of excuses reasons you couldn’t meet your targets.

At the end of the day, you didn’t meet your goals because you’re lacking something — resources, know-how, money or bandwidth.

You need more conversions without the overhead of running a major campaign or redesigning your entire website, regardless of how you define a “conversion”:

  1. Driving immediate sales
  2. Building email subscriber lists
  3. Reducing shopping cart abandonment
  4. Generating sales leads
  5. Moving traffic to high-converting pages (to get more conversions)

Let’s see how marketers are using overlays — modal lightboxes that launch within a web page and focus attention on a single offer — to get more conversions without more overhead.

Part I: Drive immediate sales

Research indicates that an average of 68.8% of shoppers will abandon their carts — that’s well over the majority. What then can you do to secure a sale before users ever leave your site to begin with?

You offer something irresistible at the moment prospects are ready to give up.

Note that the key word here is irresistible. You’re asking for a lot (for prospects to whip out their wallets), so you need to over-deliver in value. Your offer must be generous.

Here are five high-value approaches to securing a last-second purchase from abandoning users.

1. Offer a coupon or immediate discount

A coupon or discount is the most popular way to secure last-second purchases with overlays.

Below is an example from Neil Patel of Quick Sprout, who uses an overlay to offer a massive discount on his consulting services.

overlay-ideas-quicksprout-discount

Test different discounts values, but be careful not to downplay the value of your offering with a super-steep discount, which could hurt your credibility.

Target this offer at: First-time visitors, paid traffic

Place this offer on: Pricing or sign-up pages, product pages, landing pages

2. Offer a shipping discount

Shipping is a pain point for many online shoppers. No matter how well the costs are disclosed throughout the shopping process, many will leave once they see the final price with shipping included.

For that reason, a discount on shipping can often make the difference between a new customer and a lost sale.

overlay-ideas-canvas-prints-free-shipping

In the example above, Easy Canvas Prints uses an overlay to not only offer a last-second discount on shipping, but also capture an email address in the process. More on that later!

Target this offer at: First-time or repeat visitors, paid traffic

Place this offer on: Product pages, pricing or sign-up pages, shopping cart pages

3. Offer a free gift

Free giveaways have been a standard marketing tactic for decades.

They work well on the web because a free giveaway often comes at no cost to the vendor (you), especially if you offer subscription tools or services.

overlay-ideas-crazyegg-heatmap-offer

In the above example, Crazy Egg attempts to capture abandoning users by offering a free heatmap — one of its most popular tools.

Other ideas for free giveaways include ebooks, whitepapers, estimates/quotes or consultations.

Target this offer at: First-time or repeat visitors, paid traffic, organic traffic

Place this offer on: Pricing or sign-up pages, product pages, landing pages

Never launch an overlay without this 24-point checklist

Do you have all your bases covered? Double-check your overlay design, copy and triggering with our 24-point checklist.


By entering your email you'll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

4. Offer a time-based discount

Here’s where things get a bit risky. Time-based overlays can be effective because they add an element of urgency, but only if they are sincere.

overlay-ideas-time-based-discount-babyage

In the above example, BabyAge uses a countdown clock to promote a coupon, which (ideally) invokes a feeling of urgency in its users, pushing them toward the conversion.

This may be effective for some audiences, but I encourage you to test. And whatever you do, make sure your users only ever see it once. If you serve this offer on too many pages or put it in front of too broad a user segment, you risk losing credibility.

Target this offer at: First-time visitors only

Place this offer on: Pricing or sign-up pages, landing pages

5. Offer customer support

Some prospects might appreciate being able to talk to a human before they make up their minds about converting.

In the example below, Timesulin uses an overlay as a standin for a virtual salesperson, tapping you on the shoulder and asking if you have any questions:

overlay-ideas-timesulin-customer-support

Especially for more complicated or high-commitment offers, an overlay like this can help squash doubts and counter objections that your visitors have.

Target this offer at: First-time visitors, repeat visitors, paid traffic

Place this offer on: Pricing or sign-up pages, product pages, landing pages

Part II: Building email subscriber lists

If you need convincing that email marketing is an effective marketing channel, consider this eye-popping stat from the Direct Marketing Association:

Email marketing has an ROI of 3800%.

What have you done lately to ensure that your email list is continuously growing? And not a bunch of unqualified subs  — I’m talking about warm email leads that are familiar with your products and have recently interacted with your brand.

Overlays work well for building a subscriber base because it’s easy to offer value that outweighs the small ask of an email address.

Here are the four best approaches for building email subscriber lists with overlays:

6. Offer a discount in exchange for an email address

Offering deals in exchange for an email address has two benefits:

  1. It greatly increases your chances of securing an immediate sale
  2. You can establish a customer relationship through email

Have a look at this example by PetCare:

overlay-examples-petcare-discount

PetCare offers a substantial discount in exchange for an email address. It’s a win for your prospect, because they’ll save on their next order. And it’s a win-win for you, should you make a sale and snag and email.

Target this offer at: First time or repeat visitors, social media traffic, paid traffic

Place this offer on: Homepage, product pages, blog pages, company pages (ex: ‘About,’ ‘Contact’)

7. Collect newsletter subscribers

Though not as lucrative as they once were, newsletters can still drive revenue. The Chive uses an overlay to grab signups in the example below:

overlay-ideas-chive-newsletter

This type of overlay is especially effective when you’re reaching out to a user base that has already interacted with your content and likes what you have to say. It should be targeted only at repeat visitors and lower-converting segments like social media traffic.

Target this offer at: Repeat visitors, social media traffic

Place this offer on: Homepage, product pages, blog pages, company pages (e.g., ‘About,’ ‘Contact’)

8. Offer an ebook, case study or course

Ebook, case study or course offers generally convert at a higher rate than newsletters, because it’s easier to communicate the value to the reader.

Done right, this type of overlay will clearly communicate the benefit of reading, as in this stellar example from ContentVerve:

overlay-ideas-offer-ebook-content-verve

Offering a course has the advantage of securing multiple user interactions, as you can serve this offer piece-by-piece to keep users engaged.

Target this offer at: Repeat visitors, social media traffic

Place this offer on: Homepage, product pages, blog pages, company pages (e.g., ‘About,’ ‘Contact’)

Part III: Reduce cart abandonment

68.81% of online shopping carts are abandoned, according to the Baymard Institute.

People abandon shopping carts for a variety of reasons, and understanding these various behaviors can help you better optimize your sales funnel. Check out the top six reasons for cart abandonment according to Savvy Panda:

why-web-abandonners-abandon-shopping-carts

Two of the top six reasons have nothing to do with the cart itself, but rather the mindset of the shopper, who is expressing only interest in the product, not commitment.

So how do we engage cart abandoners who are only loosely committed to our products?

To extend the engagement — and build a mutually beneficial relationship — you must either:

  1. Get an email address and remarket through triggered emails
  2. Offer a discount or incentive that convinces the shopper to buy before abandoning the cart

With this in mind, here are four approaches to reduce shopping cart abandonment using overlays.

9. Collect an email (to follow up later)

Post-abandonment emails are a great way to continue telling the story you began telling cart abandoners. You can use them to build upon momentum established on your cart page, and nurture a customer relationship.

PetFlow uses this tactic well in the above example, though the “deal” is actually entry into a contest. But hey, it’s a win anytime you can have a kitten and a puppy sitting in your email form field:

overlay-ideas-petflow-reduce-cart-abandonment

Sending a cart-triggered email puts you a step ahead of most competition, as roughly 80% of retailers fail to send triggered emails after cart abandonment. Why not test following up with a free shipping discount?

Target this offer at: Cart abandoners from both paid and organic traffic sources

Place this offer on: Cart pages, checkout pages

10. Notify visitors that they’ve left something in their cart

This is a simple tactic for notifying cart abandoners they’ve left items behind at the checkout.

overlay-ideas-cart-notification-babyage

In this example, BabyAge links its overlay directly to the next step in the checkout process. This may not generate earth-shattering results, but it’s definitely something to test.

Target this offer at: Cart abandoners from both paid and organic traffic sources

Place this offer on: Cart pages, checkout pages

11. Offer telephone support

Many shoppers routinely struggle to complete online checkout processes without assistance.

For companies with complicated products or checkouts, using an overlay to offer help at checkout can significantly reduce cart abandonment.

overlay-ideas-telephone-support-massage-magazine

Massage Magazine’s example above shows how an overlay can used to help clarify the terms of complicated products or subscriptions. It also has the added benefit of grabbing a valuable email address.

Target this offer at: Cart abandoners from both paid and organic traffic sources

Place this offer on: Cart pages, checkout pages

Part IV: Generate sales leads

Generating sales leads with an overlay is closely related to our previous section on building email lists — but with a few subtle differences.

Sales leads don’t necessarily require collecting contact information in exchange for a free resource; reaching out to a visitor on your site can also produce a lead, and is often incentive enough.

Further, you can generate a sales lead by merely offering help — free advice, free quotes — on your product.

Finally, whereas marketing to email list prospects often requires multiple engagements, sales leads usually just a one-time engagement.

12. Offer a free quote or advice

Free quotes have long been used as a lead generation tactic in brick-and-mortar organizations. On the web, free quotes are a great way to offer value without actually giving anything away.

overlay-ideas-free-quote

The example above from YourMechanic uses a free quote offer to drive home the ease and convenience of using mobile mechanics.

I would generally advise against using this type of offer on paid traffic, as “paid” implies these users should already be strong leads. An offer that drives an immediate sale is better suited to this type of user.

Target this offer at: First-time or repeat visitors, organic traffic, social media traffic

Place this offer on: Homepage or any high-traffic/low-converting page, product pages, blog pages

13. Offer a resource that qualifies prospects

Offering a resource to prospects is a great way to demonstrate that you understand their pains — all while confirming that they’re a good fit for your solution.

Gr8fires created an overlay with an “installation calculator” that detailed the costs associated with installing a Gr8fires product:

overlay-ideas-estimate-calculator-gr8-fires

The results of Gr8fires’ overlay campaign were incredible: 300% increase in monthly sales leads and a 48.54% lift in sales.

As with any information resource offer, this works best if you have already established an audience. If you don’t already have a rapport with your visitors, this offer may go ignored.

Target this offer at: Repeat visitors, organic traffic, social media traffic

Place this offer on: Homepage or any high-traffic/low-converting page, product pages, blog pages

Part V: Traffic-shaping (driving traffic to high-converting pages)

As you look through your analytics, you may notice that there are certain pages on your site — like your blog homepage or ecommerce site — that don’t have particularly high conversion rates.

This is where traffic shaping overlays can come in handy.

Traffic shaping overlays allow you to direct users from a low-converting to a high-converting page, whether your conversion goal is lead generation or revenue generation.

For example, you could direct traffic from a well-performing blog post about watch reviews to a product page for the best-reviewed watch.

14. Cross-sell

Regular blog visitors likely already recognize your brand, but they could have blinders up when it comes to the calls to action you have embedded on your site.

A cross-sell overlay can help focus a user’s attention on a relevant offer.

For example, at Unbounce, our analytics showed that a roundup of the 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016 was bringing in a lot of organic traffic.

Assuming that people who read about marketing conferences are also interested in attending marketing conferences, we served up this overlay (with a ticket discount to sweeten the pot) that directed people to our Call to Action conference microsite:

overlay-ideas-cross-sell-unbounce-cta-conf
Target this offer at: First-time and repeat visitors, social media traffic, organic traffic

Place this offer on: Homepage, blog pages, company pages (e.g.,: ‘About,’ ‘Contact’)

15. Re-engage with more content

Keeping visitors on your blog or resource library has a lot of advantages. The more they stick around, the more opportunities you have to:

  • Show visitors that you understand their pain and are uniquely qualified to help alleviate it
  • Educate visitors about your solution (ideally the solution to their problem)

A strategically placed exit or timed overlay on your blog can help keep visitors on site by recommending content similar to what they were reading previously:

overlay-ideas-content-re-engage

This type of overlay is most effective when targeted at first-time visitors.

These are the prospects that need a lil’ warming up before you ask them for their email address.

More conversions, less overhead

Next time the end of the month is rolling around and you haven’t met your targets, don’t scramble to run one-off campaigns to make up the difference.

Instead, pick one of these overlay campaigns and create a baseline of conversions every monththe type of campaign that keeps on giving without more overhead.

And when building your overlays, don’t forget the following:

The best marketing is mutually beneficial.

Conversions happen in that magical moment where your goals as a marketer align precisely with the goals of the user. You want the sale, they want the bargain. You want the email, they want the ebook.

If you focus on delivering relevant, timely offers that minimize intrusiveness and respect the user experience, your users will thank you — with their conversion.

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15 Ways Marketers Use Overlays to Get More Conversions

What Lessons Can SaaS Companies Learn From Pokemon GO?

Let’s get one thing straight: this is NOT just another “X things marketers can learn from Pokemon Go” or “How to launch your product like Pokemon Go” article. Lord knows there are enough of those around already. And that’s not even to mention the fact that Pokemon Go had virtually zero paid marketing before launching, as well as numerous issues involving broken servers, confused players and defective features when it did launch. Is that really the type of thing you want to actively emulate? With less than a month, at the time of writing, in the books it’s simply too early to…

The post What Lessons Can SaaS Companies Learn From Pokemon GO? appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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What Lessons Can SaaS Companies Learn From Pokemon GO?

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5 Advanced AdWords Strategies You Can Implement Today

switches-and-dials
Does your competition know about these advanced switches and dials in AdWords? Image by Marcin Wichary via Flickr.

As Google AdWords gets increasingly competitive, we search marketers have to sniff around for treasure.

Sometimes that treasure comes in the form of advanced switches and dials found deep within the AdWords interface – the little PPC campaign tweaks that make your ads more relevant and keep you ahead of the competition.

I’m here to share five of those tips and tricks. Let’s get to it.

1. Test in-market audiences

Ever wonder what Google does with the enormous amounts of data they’re quietly collecting about all of us as we sail through a variety of Google products and Google-tracking-infused websites?

A recently-released AdWords feature called in-market audiences makes use of this treasured info.

The idea behind this feature is to allow advertisers to look beyond demographics and target users who have demonstrated that they’re in the market for a specific product based on their web behavior.

Because Google knows when a visitor is actively researching and comparing products, or clicking on similar ads and converting, they can leverage this data to help advertisers reach potential customers on various sites across the web.

Here are some of the available in-market audiences and where they appear in AdWords:

in-market-audiences
In-market audiences allow you to leverage Google’s data to target customers who have shown that they’re in the market for your product.

Let’s say you’re a car dealer and you want to market to people whose web behavior has indicated that they’re planning on buying a new car soon. This feature is a great way to get after this audience using a rich volume of Google’s data.

You can (and should) layer in-market audiences on top of the keywords you’re already targeting in your search campaigns.

2. Try out AdWords dynamic ads

Standard remarketing serves up ads without knowing which specific product a visitor looked at on your site.

But Google recently launched the ability to do product-specific remarketing. Especially for retailers, this is a feature worth testing.

With a little help from your friends at Google, you can determine which products people looked at and serve up remarketing ads featuring those very products.

In other words, you can give people exactly what they want.

Here’s what a dynamic ad looks like:

amazon-socks
As you can see, I recently checked out some socks on Amazon. Don’t judge.

Now as I hang out elsewhere on the web, they’re reminding me that I looked at this item but never bought it. As you can imagine, this remarketing tactic creates highly relevant ads that convert quite well.

Want to give it a go?

Here’s a detailed guide to setting these up.

3. Customize ads with real-time updates

You know that urgency is an important component of high-performing ad copy, but who has time to constantly run promotions, update coupon codes and tweak ad text accordingly? Not you.

That’s why Google has introduced a handy set of scripts that the layman ad copywriter can understand.

For example, you can now tell Google, “My sale begins today and ends in 14 days, so update my ad copy accordingly every time you show it.” You can even use this strategy down to the hour: “Webinar starts in two hours – don’t forget to claim your seat.”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many other dynamic elements in the ad you can control, too. Take the example below, where everything highlighted in yellow is dynamic:

pro-whip-mixer

You can now encode the product name (ProWhip 300), product detail (5-quart), price ($199) and promotion end date (5 days).

Before this type of customization was available, old school AdWords retailers would have to set up a massive spreadsheet where inventory was cataloged and updated. This way, Google could pull in the appropriate product model, pricing and sale parameters.

Now, you can do this with a teeny bit of code simple enough for us online marketers to wrangle directly within the AdWords interface. The times they are a changin’.

For more information on real-time updates, check out this article.

4. Schedule ads to correspond to your sales bandwidth

There’s nothing more frustrating than paying for leads that have gone cold. So why do we run ads that drive leads at 3 AM when there’s no one there to call them back?

In some businesses, your customer will wait for that call – but others are different. When a lead is hot, it’s hot, and after a few hours have passed, a burning need becomes a passive query at best.

To maximize return on ad spend, some companies use ad scheduling religiously. Check out how a PPC ad scheduling strategy drove a 69% improvement in cost per acquisition.

It’s found under advanced campaign settings and it looks like this:

ad-scheduling

This is especially useful if, say, your offices and sales team are located in the Netherlands while your prospects loom large in the US. Or if you determine that your audience is more likely to purchase at a certain time of day.

This simple tweak helps you ensure that you only pay for leads that are hot off the press.

5. Don’t let competitors drain your ad budget

Your competitors are clicking your ads – I guarantee it. There’s a golden hack you can employ to keep from paying for these clicks.

The hack? Use IP exclusions.

There’s a trick for how to discover and block your competitors’ IP addresses, precluding them from ever seeing your ads again. And I’m going to teach it to you.

First, you need to determine your competitors’ IP addresses. You may need to try a few different tactics:

  • Find an email from the company. You can locate the IP address by looking at the email header content. This article explains how.
  • Locate the IP address for the company’s domain name. Here’s an eHow article explaining how to do this. Sometimes companies use a different IP address to browse the web than the one their site is hosted on, so this can be tricky. Give it a shot.

Once you have the IP addresses, just scroll down to “IP address exclusion” in your AdWords settings and paste them in. Here’s what that screen looks like:

ip-address-exclusion

And voilà. Their IPs are now blocked.

Test your way to better ROI

As with any marketing strategy, not all of these tactics will work for everyone.

Ultimately, most search marketers will tell you to test nearly everything. Because you should.

It’s my hope that across these five ideas you’ve been able to find something inspiring.

Which one of these tactics will you try next? Did we forget any of your favorite tricks? Let us know in the comments.


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5 Advanced AdWords Strategies You Can Implement Today

The Good, The Bad And The Great Examples Of Web Typography

Choosing typefaces is an integral part of every web design project. With thousands of typefaces available from hosting services such as Typekit, as well an ever-improving collection of free fonts available, there has never been a better time to be a typography-obsessed web designer.
One could easily argue that nothing affects a design more than typography. And good typography starts with choosing an appropriate typeface. But can having too much choice be a bad thing?

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The Good, The Bad And The Great Examples Of Web Typography

Declarative Programming And The Web

Like most web developers, I spend my days giving instructions to computers. These instructions generally involve some input (a request for a web page), some logic (get the right content from a database) and some output (send the content to the requesting browser). This process of telling a computer how to perform a task, such as generating a web page, is what we commonly call “programming,” but it’s only a subset of programming: imperative programming.

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Declarative Programming And The Web

Better Dependency Management In Team-Based WordPress Projects With Composer

WordPress has come a long way since its genesis in 2003. Once reserved for humble blogs, it now powers websites for some of the world’s largest companies and is even being promoted as a platform to power the next generation of Web apps.
As a result of this increasing popularity, over the last couple of years my team and I have been regularly tasked with building ever more complex WordPress websites and apps.

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Better Dependency Management In Team-Based WordPress Projects With Composer