@AskJamieTurner http://60secondmarketer.com/blog Tue, 24 Mar 2015 20:08:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Seven Data-Backed Tips to Increase Email Conversion Rates http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/24/seven-data-backed-tips-to-increase-email-conversion-rates/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/24/seven-data-backed-tips-to-increase-email-conversion-rates/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 20:08:18 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12406 If you’re like most marketers, you’re constantly looking for ways to optimize your email campaign results. So, we’re sharing this super helpful inforgraphic, created by Hubspot and MDM, with seven data-backed tips that can help you create first-rate email campaigns and boost your conversion rates. In the infographic below, which has been created using data...

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If you’re like most marketers, you’re constantly looking for ways to optimize your email campaign results. So, we’re sharing this super helpful inforgraphic, created by Hubspot and MDM, with seven data-backed tips that can help you create first-rate email campaigns and boost your conversion rates.

In the infographic below, which has been created using data from the 2014 Science of Email Report, you’ll find information on the most popular email clients, and how email recipients read and filter your messages. You’ll also find out why they unsubscribe from your list.

So, check it out and be on your way to creating better email campaigns.

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4 Ways A/B Split Testing Can Improve Conversions by Up To 320% http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/16/four-ways-a-b-testing-improves-conversions/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/16/four-ways-a-b-testing-improves-conversions/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:37:32 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12389 Marketing is at its best when campaigns, tactics and strategies are built on research. Of course, in our industry, the word “research” covers a lot of ground. It could mean searching for gold standard campaigns and modeling your plan on a best-in-class brand’s success story. It could mean shaping your approach based on evidence-based reports...

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Marketing is at its best when campaigns, tactics and strategies are built on research.

Of course, in our industry, the word “research” covers a lot of ground. It could mean searching for gold standard campaigns and modeling your plan on a best-in-class brand’s success story. It could mean shaping your approach based on evidence-based reports or statistics. Or, it could be informing your campaign through your own primary research, via A/B testing.

For our purposes, A/B testing compares two versions of a Web page to see which one performs better. Basically, the process allows us to figure out which version brings in the most conversions.

Small changes can make a big difference in marketing. A few minor modifications to design, messaging or timing can lead to major gains in conversions. By using a measured and strategic approach to deploying these changes (and keeping track of what works) you won’t just make an impact on your current campaign – you’ll create a roadmap for success in future projects.

To help, here are the top four pieces of website real estate primed for A/B testing:

#1. The headline
Your headline is the first thing visitors see when they land on your page. When a visitor reads your landing page headline, it’s important they know what to do next. Don’t be afraid to spell it out for your users – they’ll appreciate your clarity and will pay you back with dividends.

Let us be more specific, readers require content that is clear and helps them acquire information quickly. If the content on the page provides the reader with the information they’re seeking, the reader is likely to follow the flow of the page – which is usually to your CTA – “download the whitepaper,” “try a free trial” or “speak to customer support.”

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#2. Your lead capture/generation form
A/B testing can help improve your form’s conversion rate. And, improving your conversion rate means more submissions from your visitors, equating to more leads and more sales.

Try testing one form layout and design against another, and then measure their effectiveness in getting submissions. Or see if a form with added value (like a contest entry form or a survey submission) outperforms your tried-and-true contact form. Our 2015 Form Conversion Report found that contest forms convert at a whopping 35%, so odds are good you’ll see an impact.

#3. The call to action button
For most marketers, getting a visitor to click the CTA button is the end goal. With that in mind, spend some time testing which button delivers the most conversions. Change the color to an attention-grabbing hue, or add some minor animation. Or, try variations with specific, motivating text that communicates your unique value proposition and drives people to take action.

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#4. Photos or videos
Human beings are hard-wired to be visual: 90% of the information that comes to the brain arrives via our optic nerve, and that visual data is processed 60,000 times faster than information our brain receives in text form. That makes Web images a powerful tool for marketers, when used correctly – and a prime target for A/B testing.

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Assess which image performs better or try assessing whether a page brings in more conversions when the image is omitted.

So, why even test an image-free page, if they resonate so strongly with site visitors? Because if images aren’t leveraged properly, they can actually hurt your conversion rate. For example, if an image pushes your form down the page, it can cause frustrations for mobile users and distract visitor attention away from the form.

Each of these elements delivers optimization through A/B testing , but it’s important to test only one variable at a time, or your conclusions could be skewed. Choose the most critical element to test, and then be patient!

As a final note: Don’t dread the process. Testing can be fun, and the experience will provide your marketing team with hard data to inform decisions – not hunches.

Chris Locus is the vice president of marketing for Formstack. He is passionate about setting the vision for Formstack’s marketing and sales departments, as well as discovering new ways to drive web traffic and leads. You can follow Chris on Twitter at @chris_c_lucas.

 

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Mobile Marketing and Millennials http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/12/mobile-marketing-and-millennials/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/12/mobile-marketing-and-millennials/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 21:49:26 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12362 If millennials are part of your target audience, you’ve probably considered using mobile marketing to reach them. But did you know that 4 out of 5 millennials own a smartphone? Or that the average number of texts a millennial receives in a month is a whopping 1752? No wonder, you’ve always had a hunch that mobile...

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If millennials are part of your target audience, you’ve probably considered using mobile marketing to reach them. But did you know that 4 out of 5 millennials own a smartphone? Or that the average number of texts a millennial receives in a month is a whopping 1752? No wonder, you’ve always had a hunch that mobile is a great way to reach millennials!

The following infographic from SlickText, explains millennials’ affinity to their mobile devices and shares lots of statistics related to how they use them, all of which will help you better understand how to reach this particular group.

 

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How to Offer Customer Service Within a Mobile App http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/09/how-to-use-mobile-app-customer-support-to-grow-business/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/09/how-to-use-mobile-app-customer-support-to-grow-business/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 00:53:53 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12352 As businesses, we should always have our ears on the ground to gather the wants, needs and complaints from our audiences. That’s why Live Chat customer support is so popular. With so many businesses adopting a mobile-first mindset, it is important to remember that Live Chat is just as important, if not more so, on...

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As businesses, we should always have our ears on the ground to gather the wants, needs and complaints from our audiences. That’s why Live Chat customer support is so popular.

With so many businesses adopting a mobile-first mindset, it is important to remember that Live Chat is just as important, if not more so, on mobile applications, as it is on Web-based platforms.

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Users should be able to receive assistance with in-application service solutions. The last thing users want to do is exit your application and perform an online search regarding a question that should be answerable through your application. If your mobile app is still without support, there are a variety of reasons why you should consider investing in built-in support.

Mobile applications and games are known for their exponential customer growth. Think about Flappy Bird going viral in what seemed like an “overnight” success.

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Simplify the Process

As an app creator, you want to make the process of using your mobile application as user-friendly as possible. There are so many other alternatives available; you don’t want to risk losing a customer just because your app is too tricky to use or your company is too hard to reach.

Making use of in-app support alongside Web-based support through Live Chat will give your users a feeling of being constantly connected to your business.  The concept itself is very simple – whenever your users need help or assistance – there should be a button offering assistance by either directing them to a Website or showing them a screen within your app that addresses the issue, or gets them connected to the appropriate person.

Damage Control for User Growth

Having an in-app customer service function will help you streamline the process to manage support requests as your user base grows.

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Through a consistent and cross-platform service function, you won’t overload your customer support team by needing to add additional responsibilities related to mobile support requests. This is a smart way to manage both your online and offline clients.

John Hibel, Director of Marketing at a leading customer care company explains that for the next generation of mobile applications in-application customer services is a must have. This is to prevent your users from leaving the application without making a purchase, but for creating brand loyalty and satisfaction as well.

“In fact, 1 in 4 shoppers who had to leave a mobile app to get help from a site were unlikely to make a transaction with that brand at all”. – Biz Report

Additional Support for Tech Beginners

Not everyone grew up in the digital age, but as consumers are changing, so will companies need to change. It’s believed that app developers should create applications in such a way that app features and general usability are self-explaining. While this might be true, less than tech-savvy individuals might just need that extra bit of support.

Offer an in-app support system for customer service while encouraging early adopter users to easily fly through your application and not just ‘exit’ when it feels too complex. An example of this in the real world is the recent release of Amazon’s Mayday built in support system with the Kindle Fire.

Offer LiveChat Assistance

In a collaboration between Rushcliff and ActiveCampaign, the two companies found a way to integrate chat into their application software. This is in the form of a pop-up style box that allows users to interact with support should they feel the need. This way, consumers receive immediate attention and the assistance they need.

Create an FAQ to Save Time

By implementing an in-app support system, you give users exposure to a whole world of information. The most frequently asked questions can be sorted in such a way that they are able to refer to those answers before they contact you directly.

By implementing this, you are diverting all the ‘obvious’ questions to one platform, opening up more time to deal with the trickier or unique queries. This is also an alternate way to engage your users and educate them without them needing to leave the application.

Use In-App Support as a Platform for Research

One of the best ways to understand what your users want, is by looking at what they complain about. An in-app customer service feature will allow you to collect this valuable data and make use of its findings for your next marketing strategy.

Alternatively, you could also offer online surveys with incentives for the user to inspire them to take part. These surveys could help you streamline the issues and create a solution that is beneficial to both your users and your product.

Zendesk offers such a service where the Mobile SDK can be be embedded in the support options of your native app, allowing you to help your customers via the application. By making use of this feature, which is only available in the current version of Zendesk your customers will be able to do the following:

  • Create tickets using a contact form in your app
  • View and comment on existing tickets in-app, without switching to email
  • Browse and search your Help Center knowledge base in-app, without being redirected to a browser
  • Rate your app in the app store or send you direct feedback

The type of mobile or Website application you’ve created will help you choose which in-app customer service options will work the best for you. Do some research to see how your competition is treating their users on a mobile platform. Apart from in-app customer service options there are also numerous customer service applications to choose from to help optimize the customer service process.

Implementing in-app customer support will allow you to connect with your followers on a different level, increase your reach, educate tech-newbies and all in all enable you to speed up the process of customer engagement.

Anneke Steenkamp is a freelance writer for Digital Brand Group and shares her expertise on anything related to mobile and web application development.

 

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91% of Consumers Check Emails Once a Day via Smartphone http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/01/91-of-consumers-check-emails-once-a-day-via-smartphone/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/03/01/91-of-consumers-check-emails-once-a-day-via-smartphone/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 02:27:59 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12311 Did you know that 91% of consumers check their email on their smartphone at least once a day, and spend, on-average, 9 minutes a day on accessing email from their mobile devices. Furthermore, 71% of users immediately delete emails that don’t display correctly on your device. What does this mean for your email marketing program?...

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Did you know that 91% of consumers check their email on their smartphone at least once a day, and spend, on-average, 9 minutes a day on accessing email from their mobile devices. Furthermore, 71% of users immediately delete emails that don’t display correctly on your device.

What does this mean for your email marketing program? Well, for starters this means that using responsive email design has now become a necessity.

The infographic below, created by Aqeuous,  offers more interesting statistics about mobile use for email, and explains why responsive email design is no longer optional:

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4 Ways to Use Emotion to Win Over Customers http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/24/4-ways-to-use-emotion-to-win-over-customers/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/24/4-ways-to-use-emotion-to-win-over-customers/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 03:07:54 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12320 Emotion is the latest currency in the war for customers and loyalty. More and more brands are pulling at heartstrings and focusing on emotion to win more customers. Of course, keeping, not just winning, a customer is actually the hard part – but even that goes back to emotions. A key part of earning loyalty...

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Emotion is the latest currency in the war for customers and loyalty. More and more brands are pulling at heartstrings and focusing on emotion to win more customers. Of course, keeping, not just winning, a customer is actually the hard part – but even that goes back to emotions. A key part of earning loyalty is fully understanding a customer’s needs, desires and feelings.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few recent examples of companies that have successfully used emotion to connect with their customers – the first step in building a strong and lasting customer relationship. These brands have touched on everything from our competitive nature to our sappy sides to win over customers’ hearts.

1. Make it Competitive 

Since our first days on the pee-wee soccer field, everyone has loved winning. That’s why Kohl’s scored big-time last Black Friday when they paired their shopping program with a Twitter contest using the #Kohls sweeps hashtag.

Kohl’s had 101,290 tweets during the Black Friday period (this includes Thanksgiving), including over 91,000 that were during the peak promotional hours from 7 pm to 1 am on Thanksgiving night. On average, Kohl’s had 17% of the share of voice on any given hour during Black Friday, but during the promotional peak they held an average of 75%.

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Kohl’s secret was to not only generate buzz with their promotion, but to dangle a carrot.  As a customer, why wouldn’t you participate? Even just a chance at winning is appealing to all of us.

2. Remind People What Love Is 

With all the NFL turmoil in the 2014 season, Dove was smart to feature the ad below highlighting fatherly love. If you had a loving dad, this was a walk down memory lane. Otherwise, this ad grabs you and reminds you what you need to do for the next generation.

In fact, our research showed that Dove achieved a 94% positive sentiment and an extremely high volume of feedback for the ad. So next time you want to strike a chord with your audience, consider reminding them that “love is all you need.”

3. Give Them Something They’re Missing 

Carnival’s ad, created by the Atlanta office of BBDO, used a narration by JFK with the message of “Come Back to the Sea” which takes people back to the 60’s.

This nostalgia was an effective tactic, as the ad generated an 85% positive sentiment (the third highest of all Super Bowl ads) despite that fact that it caused a bit of an uproar in religious communities. It seems that the beautiful scenes and JFK together struck a chord, reminding marketers and advertisers that a trip down memory lane can be the perfect way to get customers to turn your way.

Along the same lines, the esurance commercial below featuring Bryan Cranston dressed as Walter White from Breaking Bad gave people a minute of what they can no longer have now that the show is a wrap.

The show, which started with a cult following and ended up taking the nation by storm,  also boasted the power to generate a hugely positive steam of sentiment.

When you give your customers something they are missing, you demonstrate your depth of understanding – something that is critical when it comes to winning and keeping customers.

4. Let Animals Do the Talking For You

Out of all the ads from Super Bowl Sunday, Budweiser’s Puppy Ad garnered the most feedback, snagging a 35% share of voice. Put this next to Google’s Android ad featuring animals across different species playing together and watch the magic happen. My 12-year-old who watches entirely too much TV declared it “The Best Ad Ever!” He may be right – I think it’s at least it’s up there in the top ten.

The message I read into it is that you can be one species and still love another. Maybe the animals have taught me to consider products outside of Apple products or to give Budweiser a try again. Either way, it is clear that animal love evokes positive emotions that can win the hearts of young and old alike.

Of course, winning hearts takes more than an ad; a consistently positive experience from discovery to shopping to use to return is key. But appealing to the right customer emotions early on in the experience can put you on the right path to winning not just customer hearts, but also customer wallets.

As leader of the Clarabridge marketing team, Susan Ganeshan defines the brand, leads the charge for educational, useful content, and enables both Clarabridge and its partners to promote and deliver on the promise of customer centricity.

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How We Increased Leads 250% by Using One Painstakingly Simple Technique http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/19/influencer-marketing/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/19/influencer-marketing/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 22:58:49 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12314 For many of us, writing down our professional thoughts for the world to read and judge is painfully time consuming. In fact, as the Operations VP for a B2B marketing agency, I find many of our technology, manufacturing, bioscience and software clients refuse to even write at all. Think about it. Asking a busy engineer...

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For many of us, writing down our professional thoughts for the world to read and judge is painfully time consuming. In fact, as the Operations VP for a B2B marketing agency, I find many of our technology, manufacturing, bioscience and software clients refuse to even write at all.

Think about it. Asking a busy engineer to be a part-time journalist is like asking a pig to fly. It just will not happen. The problem, however, is that the most interesting and engaging content lives with these thought leaders—your executives, engineers, partners, brand advocates, and customers.

The question becomes: how do you tap into this goldmine of content? This was the problem many of our clients faced and I’m guessing many of you face as well. Here’s my solution: Leverage a thought leader’s most accessible skill—talking—to produce large amounts of cross-media marketing assets. Read on to find out how this solution increased Backbone Media’s leads by 250%.

The Plan

I set out to demonstrate that busy thought leaders would want to contribute content if the process was easy and the deliverable was high quality. So this past summer, I came up with a plan to speak with over thirty marketing experts about their hottest trends and predictions for 2015.

The process was simple. I would record the brief phone call and have my operations team format the audio into various forms of shareable media. From this minimal demand on a thought leader’s time, we would create a video, a transcript, a blog post, a SlideShare, a Pinterest page, a content app, and a promotion packet for each participant.

The Goal

The ultimate goal was to boost traffic to Backbone Media’s website and drive conversions by demonstrating our services and capabilities within this engaging content.

The Pitch

It’s one thing to pitch an idea to the top influencers in the industry—it’s quite another to have them accept the pitch. Here’s what I did to improve my chances:

  • I read Jay Baer’s blog post on “The 3 Key Ingredients in a Successful Influencer Pitch”.
  • I pitched a popular topic as the New Year approached: trends and predictions. This topic also required little prep time for these thought leaders as it was already top of mind.
  • I included an actual video demo to let the influencers get a better sense of how I would present them. Since I have worked with Paul Dunay on a number of previous projects, he was happy to help out.

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The Participants

These industry influencers accepted my invitation: Jay Baer, Jeff Bullas, Joe Pulizzi, Ardath Albee, Craig Rosenberg, Matt Heinz, David Meerman Scott, Neal Schaffer, Paul Dunay, Michael Brenner, Heidi Cohen, Katie Paine, Tony Zambito, Meagan Eisenberg, Debbie Qaqish, Brian Kardon, Erik Qualman, Justin Gray, Dan McDade, Glenn Gow, Chad Pollitt, Maureen Blandford, Tim Ash, Erik Wolf, Larry Kim, Andrew Davis, Douglas Burdett, Jeffrey L Cohen, Chris Selland, Amanda Kahlow, and Wendy Marx.

I also participated by providing my top three takeaways after speaking to these industry pundits, and we still have a few more participants in the queue to reach our goal of 100 marketing trends and predictions.

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The Promotion

Although we did launch a press release and budgeted for a small amount of paid advertising, our promotion strategy relied heavily on the influencers socializing the content to their own networks.

To increase the odds, my team developed a promotion packet for each thought leader with links to their video and transcripts, suggested tweets, a sample blog post, and links to social collateral like a SlideShare and a Pinterest pin.

As a result, the majority of thought leaders shared the content on multiple channels. A few thought leaders also blogged about the initiative and Jay Baer actually likened it to “harvesting” which I thought was a great way to describe our efforts. His post “Capture Content First Format Content Later” continues to drive qualified traffic to the site.

The Surprises

  • The power of SlideShare for driving high-quality traffic to our site was surprising. It may be due to the SlideShare audience’s longer attention span compared to that of Twitter, but I noticed a higher time on site coming from Slideshare visitors.
  • I expected traffic to gravitate towards the trends and predictions that most resonated with each visitor. I was then expecting to glean some additional insight from an industry perspective. However, the size of a thought leader’s social media network and their co-promotional efforts were the biggest drivers of traffic.
  • A New York-based marketing agency posted screenshots of many predictions on their blog without any attributions or linking back. We contacted them to fix this oversight, but I told my team this is a clear sign we are hitting the mark.
  • It’s not surprising that the most popular category in the B2B Trends and Predictions series was content, but there were too few thoughts on marketing technology. It turns out this was due primarily to the participant list we used, so our next initiative will be exclusively about this facet of marketing.
  • I expected more traffic to the site’s thought leader quiz. This was a content app meant to engage the visitor in a “Who Said It?” type game. I need to re-think this for the next initiative as I am a firm believer in interactive content marketing. So is the editor of Chiefmartec.com, Scott Brinker.

 

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The Results

  • Traffic to our website more than doubled throughout the six month period.
  • Subscribers to our email list more than doubled.
  • Quality of subscribers improved and included more corporate emails.
  • Leads generated increased 250% as a result of this initiative including a handful of referrals from the participants themselves.
  • Quality of leads improved and included more corporate emails and phone numbers.
  • A new content production service debuted on the heels of my operation team’s successful execution of this initiative – ContentGiftCards.com.

The Conclusions

  • Don’t make the content about your product or service, rather try to demonstrate your product or service within the great content you deliver. For example, Will it Blend? is a video series produced by a blender manufacturer that asks the aged old question “Will an iPad blend in this powerful blender?” If you’re looking for a few B2B examples, our initiative is of course one example but here is another: The Data Analytics of Gas vs. Charcoal Grills. This is a blog post published just prior to the Fourth of July that visualized the growth in BBQ grill trends and was created with the client’s analytics software.
  • As more and more executives in your industry are using mobile devices on their commute to work and throughout the day, be sure to leverage the power of audio and video. Audio, in particular, gives busy executives the ability to multi-task and is growing in popularity.
  • Get the information out of the heads of the people in your organization first via a recorded phone call and then reformat it into cross-media assets like blog posts, podcasts, videos, SlideShares, content apps, and so forth. If you don’t have the internal resources to execute such an operation, then outsource the necessary skills and manage a remote media production team yourself. As a result of this initiative, Backbone Media now has the internal know-how to quickly execute for overwhelmed and under resourced marketing departments.

The Next Steps

  • Even though this initiative was a six month project, we are continuing with weekly trends from marketing thought leaders. We have found that this kind of influencer marketing is an effective way to create high-quality content and rise above the noise.

About the Author: Paul Salvaggio is VP of Operations for Backbone Media, a digital marketing agency based in Boston – Paul provides the tools, processes, services, and teams to best serve their B2B clients in the areas of data, technology and content. He leverages his nearly ten years of experience in the industry to help clients get their message out so they can focus on creating and fostering relationships. Contact: paul@backbonemedia.com

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9 Essential Ways to Get Your Content Shared Over and Over http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/16/9-essential-content-marketing-tips/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/16/9-essential-content-marketing-tips/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 23:33:54 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12287 BuzzFeed is one of the fastest growing, most successful media companies in history. In September 2014, according to Quantacast, it received 154 million unique visitors worldwide. Their aim to be the go-to place when people are bored online seems to be working. Now, while they may be a successful content producer, that doesn’t mean they’re...

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BuzzFeed is one of the fastest growing, most successful media companies in history. In September 2014, according to Quantacast, it received 154 million unique visitors worldwide. Their aim to be the go-to place when people are bored online seems to be working.

Now, while they may be a successful content producer, that doesn’t mean they’re going to overtake The New York Times as a respected publication, nor will they start beating CNN for breaking news. Well, not yet.

BuzzFeed and Upworthy, which was named the fastest growing media site by Fast Company in 2013, are startups that any company that uses content can learn from.

So, here are some marketing lessons from these content powerhouses worth incorporating into your own processes:

  1. Write 25 headlines – At Least! – Per-Post

Far more people read the headline than the text. Great headline, lots of traffic. Sucky headline, very few readers. It’s that simple. Not every headline will be perfect. Most won’t be. But play around with the wording – which for 25 headlines will take about 15 minutes – and you’ll get one which clicks; that’s your headline.

  1. Listicles Are 21 Ways of Awesome 

People like lists. The longer the better, up to a point. Research has found that odd numbered listicles, in the 11 – 21 number range, get the highest number of clicks. Longer listicles work better for weekends when people have more time to read longer articles.

  1. Image Based Lists Are Even Better 

One BuzzFeed article, which got 15 million views, is a 21-image listicle featuring lots of images. They use this formula a lot with content: headline, image (or a GIF or video), text, image, text, and repeat.

  1. Make Sharing Intuitive 

Sharing should be ridiculously easy for your readers. Upworthy includes sharing buttons which scroll down with the reader, allowing them to share parts of the article, or the entire article, depending on where a reader is on the page. They found this resulted in a whopping 398% increase in traffic. Upworthy does the same with their “Like us on Facebook?” button, which resulted in a 620% increase of likes for them.

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  1. Go Niche

BuzzFeed is building a media empire on niche loves and passions, as well as popular mainstream issues. So far it’s working great for them.

But most brands can’t and shouldn’t even aim to go mainstream like BuzzFeed. Even other media companies target demographics based on data they know about their readers, which also translates into ad revenue. But most brands can aim for niche. Own your niche. Do so with content which engages readers, creating viral moments, increased brand recognition and conversions.

  1. All Content is Platform Dependent 

For BuzzFeed, given their ideal audience is “bored at work,” or “bored anywhere else” – they aren’t picky in that respect – it makes sense that the number one destination for those who are bored with unsupervised internet time is Facebook. Hence, BuzzFeed uses Facebook traffic and engagement rates to inform their content strategy.

In August 2013 BuzzFeed came out on top of all the content producers on Facebook, which was a sign their strategy was working. Your content depends entirely on your audience. That will naturally be influenced by the platforms you use or they engage you on. For each platform there’s a science to creating the right headlines, excerpts and images. Like BuzzFeed you need to use what works for your audience on the platform they prefer.

  1. Make Your Readers FEEL Something 

What do you want your readers to feel: “Well, that was interesting,” or “Meh, already new that,” or “OMG – You have to see this!”

No matter whether the “OMG” is caused by anger, shock, sadness, hilarity or just something unexpected, it is that reaction which causes people to share content. The most popular BuzzFeed posts of all time (so far) reached viral levels of sharing because the audience felt something. Aim to reach those same heights. Give your audience more.

  1. Be Human, Like Your Audience 

It can be easy to forget the “human” aspects of creating content. You have information to share, knowledge to deliver and a load of marketing metrics and strategies to squeeze in, along with SEO targets. Being human, having an authentic human voice can easily go out the window.

But that’s exactly one of the reasons the likes of BuzzFeed and Upworthy have become so popular. For example:

Human interest stories aren’t just for TV presenters or viral Upworthy stories. Depending on your audience, message and platform a human element should always be included in your content. This is a hook, a way to more deeply connect with your readers.

Try and put some of these steps into practice when crafting your next content piece. Keep testing new methods until your click through and engagement rates increase. Before you realize it this will be second nature and your blog will be a constant source of inbound traffic and leads.

About the Author: Benjamin Kerry is CEO of Precise English, an SEO copywriting agency, where he creates with fresh, well-researched, SEO-friendly content that makes you stand out and is loved by Google.

 

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Three eCommerce Growth Hacks that Will Boost Your Sales and Revenues http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/13/3-e-commerce-growth-hacks/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/13/3-e-commerce-growth-hacks/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:37:37 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12293 Growth hacking is one of the biggest marketing trends of 2015. Everybody wants to know what it is all about, and how it can help them grow their business. Most articles you’ll find across the web are focused on growing SaaS (Service as a Service) businesses. That means you won’t find many ecommerce growth hacks to grow...

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Growth hacking is one of the biggest marketing trends of 2015. Everybody wants to know what it is all about, and how it can help them grow their business.

Most articles you’ll find across the web are focused on growing SaaS (Service as a Service) businesses. That means you won’t find many ecommerce growth hacks to grow your ecommerce store. It’s not because you can’t use growth hacks in an ecommerce store. It’s just because most people work for SaaS businesses, nothing else.

In this post, I’m going to give you 3 e-commerce growth hacks that you can start using today to boost your ecommerce store sales and revenue.

1. Build a Simple Referral System

There’s a famous marketing quote that says “it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one.”

That’s a great quote, but what about your customer’s friends? They trust them, they like them, they listen to them. If you gave your current customers a way to take advantage of that, they will most certainly tell their friends about your company (considering that your company provides real value to your customer’s problems).

In fact, according to the Nielsen Global Trust In Advertising Survey, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends.

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Still, most businesses don’t build a referral system because they think it can be a quite complicated and tedious thing to do.

However, I don’t want you to have any excuses, so let me show you how you can build a referral system for your ecommerce store in a few simple steps.

How to Build a Referral System

First Step: Define the Incentive

Think of the one thing your customers love and need about your product. It can be anything: free space (think Dropbox), a longer trial or better features – whatever you think it’s important to your customer.

 Dropbox

To discover this, you have a few options:

  1. Talk to your customers, either by phone, chat, or through a survey
  2. Use the data your analytics tools give you
  3. See what your competitor’s offer

In any case, the incentive needs to be essential for the user, something they couldn’t resist.

Second Step: Sign Up to a Referral Service Company

Did you think you had to develop all the referral system by yourself? Think again.

Nowadays there are a few companies that offer simple systems to develop referral programs. No hussle needed.

Choose between any of these services, and sign up:

Any of those companies will easily let you develop, manage and track your referral programs.

Step Three: Communicate Your Offer

Finally, develop your referral system’s page, where you’ll explain what you offer to your customers. Remember to focus on the value your referral program provides. Think what your users (and their friends) will gain with it, and then explain in in the clearest, simplest way possible. Think on using an image to explain the idea of your referral program, or maybe a video, and if possible, try to add some testimonials.

Dropbox is known for its referral program, in which they offer their users an extra 500MB of free space for every new user they invite. The good news is that a user can invite up to 32 friends, which means they’ll get an extra 16GB of free space.

Even if 32 friends seems to be a lot, think the benefits that both the user and their respective friends get: one gets free space (possibly the most important feature Dropbox has), whereas their friends get the opportunity to learn about a new service that provides real value to their lives. 

There are dozens of companies that have developed a referral system. In every case, the referral system is a win-win for both the user and their friends. 

2. Upsell Your Customers

Keeping the idea of the previous growth hack, instead of trying to sell products to new customers, why don’t you try to sell more to your current customers? 

That’s where the idea of upsell comes from. Upselling is a sales technique where you offer your customers the chance to purchase upgrades (better features, better specifications, more volume) or to get the more expensive version of what they’re buying so you can maximize the value of their purchase (higher price). 

The key point here is that you offer items that can add value or improve the user experience of your client. The question now is how do you upsell your customers? Fortunately, there are a couple of useful tools that will help you do this.

How to Upsell Your Customers 

First Step: Make a List of All Your Products

Grab an Excel sheet, and write all your products. Include their names, prices, categories, and any other thing you may be useful for categorizing later. Seriously, do it now. Don’t overthink this. If you have hundreds of products, then write the ones, or the ones. If you have hundreds of products, then write the ones, or the ones. If you have hundreds of products, then write the best selling ones, or the most profitable ones.

Second Step: Define Related Products

With that list, you’ll now try to connect them with other similar and related products. Create a column next to each product from the previous step, and define related products. But make sure they’re relevant.

 Do you sell shoes? Sell jeans that go with them. Do you sell tablets? Sell cases.

Remember: the goal of each upsell should be to add value to the customer. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the upsells should be more expensive.

Third Step: Publish the Upsell

Once you know what products to upsell, it’s time to publish them to your customers.

There are two places where you should add your upsells:

  1. In your product page
  2. In your checkout page

 Amazon

The first case is what Amazon does with their famous “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section, where they should similar but relevant products. The second case is commonly used by traveling companies, especially the airline companies, which offer class upgrades to their customers.

Delta

Unfortunately, there aren’t many tools that allow you to upsell your customers. One free tool that allows you to do that is Receiptful, an API that allows you to add upsells to your email receipts. (Disclaimer: I work for Receiptful.)

Most companies simply add automatic systems based on shopping algorithms to do this, so I’d suggest you talk to your company’s dev (or your favorite dev if you don’t have an in-house dev) and ask how you can add an upselling system to your website. 

3. Talk to Your Customers

So far we’ve been talking about acquiring more users through your current ones (referrals), and selling more to them based on what you think they’ll like (upselling). 

This last point is important. As an ecommerce store owner, you may tend to sell products based on what you think your customers will like. 

You may use different Google Analytics reports to see what are the best selling products (which is great), or what your competition sell (not so good, but OK), but still, neither methods tell you which products you currently don’t sell your customers would like to buy. 

What if I told you that you could ask your customers what you should be selling? 

I’m not joking. Ask your customers what they want, and they’ll tell you what you’ll sell. 

Some people will question that, and will use the famous but wrongly attributed quote of Henry Ford “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. 

Sure, in a way, if you ask your customers what’d they like, they’d tell you all sort of things that ultimately won’t lead to you selling more. 

However, the key is not to ask directly to them, but rather let them guide you. 

How to Ask Your Customers What They Want

There are a couple of ways you can talk to your customers to discover what they want. The best one, in my opinion, is through qualitative researchQualitative what?, you may be saying. Qualitative basically refers to analyzing the behavior and data that each customer gives you.

(If you work as an web analyst, please don’t kill me, I’m just trying to make it simple.)

There are two main ways to capture individual data:

  1. Through surveys
  2. Through live chats

Both work equally well.

Surveys work better when you want to know very specific things about your customers. 

For example, if you want to know when your customers use your products, then ask them through a survey. There are two great tools for surveying your customers. One is called Survey Monkey, and the other one is called Qualaroo.

The first one is used as a form for your customers to fill, and they’re send by email to each individual customer. They’re usually 3-5 questions long, although sometimes there can be more question (I’ve have received 15-20 question-surveys).

 However, if you are going to ask your customers, be concise. You want to help them, not annoy them. The second one is a “in-app” Survey. That is, you survey your customers as they shop through your store.

They’re usually one or two question long max. This is how they look:

Qualaroo

That survey that you can see above shows at the bottom of your site, so it doesn’t disturb your customer’s shopping.

Live chats, on the other hand, are more suited for customer service. They are open ended personal conversations. The main benefit of live chats is that you’re helping your customers, and at the same time you get to know them better.One great tool for live chat is Olark. It works exactly as the in-app surveys, they show up at the bottom of the page.

In both cases, the important thing to remember is not to ask directly what they want, but rather let them guide you. And you do that by asking the right questions.

Let’s suppose you sell clothes and shoes. Some of the questions you can ask them are: 

  • What are your favourite fashion/clothing brands?
  • When do you use the clothes you buy at our store? Options: Work, Going Out with Friends, Travelling, etc. (In this case you give options to the user to choose.)
  • What’s your style? Options: Chic, Informal, Etc. (Again, in this case you give options to the user to choose. And yes, the options are completely made up.)
  • What’s one way in which we can improve your experience? (This is a broader one, not necessarily product-related.) 

Be careful when asking questions like “what else can we provide you with?” because customers will give you a wish list, yet they won’t always buy what they say they want. 

Remember: Your job is to find what your customers need and want, not the other way around.

Have you ever tried any of these 3 growth hacks before? Also, are there any growth hacks that you think I’ve missed? Please let me know in the comments below.

Ivan Kreimer is the Growth Marketer at Receiptful, an API that lets you send beautiful email receipts that help increase an ecommerce store’s revenue with the usage of targeted, marketing messages and upsells.

 

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5 Ways to Tweak Your Email Sign Up Forms to Boost Subscribers http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/05/5-ways-tweak-email-sign-forms-boost-subscribers/ http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2015/02/05/5-ways-tweak-email-sign-forms-boost-subscribers/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 22:56:36 +0000 http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/?p=12274 Most of us are perpetually looking for new contacts to add to our subscriber lists. It’s part of life as a modern marketer. The average email list churns by about 30 percent every year, so we have to constantly be on the lookout for new and innovative ways to fill that funnel. The good news...

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Most of us are perpetually looking for new contacts to add to our subscriber lists. It’s part of life as a modern marketer. The average email list churns by about 30 percent every year, so we have to constantly be on the lookout for new and innovative ways to fill that funnel.

The good news is, every page on your site is full of opportunities to engage your visitors and convince them to join your list. The bad news is, most visitors don’t spend much time on a web page – in fact, 55% spend 15 seconds or less on your site.

So, how can you make the most of those 15 seconds? Here are five simple tweaks to optimize your signup form – and convert more clicks.

Tweak #1: Shine a spotlight on your call to action.

Keep the call to action in the visitor’s line of sight as long as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a lightbox to add the form to a sticky header or footer and keep it on screen at all times.

I know – lightboxes (also known as pop-ups) aren’t universally loved. Some marketers believe they degrade the brand. Others feel they degrade the user experience. Others just think they’re ugly.

Fact is, when it comes to attracting new subscribers, lightboxes are a tried-and-true tactic. They work because they make it easy for visitors to find your form – and to join your list.

If you’re still on the fence, consider this: Amazon uses a similar method to keep the “Add to Cart” button on screen. By keeping the button on screen at all times, the visitor can add the product to their cart at any time without having to scroll all the way back to the top of the page, making it far more likely that the visitor will make a purchase.

Also: Be specific. A generic “contact us” message isn’t going to yield the same results as a more specific CTA. Think about your key messages. If you’re trying to raise funds for your food pantry, your CTA might be, “Help feed the hungry.” If you are pushing a new ebook, try “Get the inside scoop now.” A CTA directly related to the content you’re offering will always generate better results.

Tweak #2: Pique visitor interest by adding video.

Video is a must-have for marketers for many reasons. First, it boosts awareness: Videos increase people’s understanding of your product or service by 74%. It also is a powerful conversion tool. Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.

Video’s also one of the best ways to keep guests on your site for longer than the aforementioned 15 seconds. If you have a video on your page, position your opt-in right under it. Or, use a lightbox to ask people to join before they view. By tying your signup to a video that already has the visitor’s attention, you’ll increase the chances that they’ll sign up for your list.

Tweak #3: Relocate your form to prime real estate.

Many company websites corral links in footers for the sake of design. It looks clean – but it can lead to many missed opt-in opportunities. Put your signup form at the top of your home page alongside some other engaging content. You’ll get the most eyeballs possible on your form without requiring site visitors to scroll all the way down to the bottom.

Tweak #4: Encourage engagement with interactive elements.

Keep your audience captivated by adding engaging elements to your form, like an animated gif.

Another tactic? Switch up the look and feel of your opt-in to make it look more like a live chat box. Ask the user a question like, “Hi, I’m Emily – want to learn more about our product?” This also provides a great opportunity for A/B testing. Craft several copy options, and rotate various questions until you find the one that best resonates with your target audience.


Tweak #5: Modify it for mobile.

Today, it’s absolutely critical to optimize your forms for mobile – 80% of Internet searches are made on a smartphone, and 47% are logged from a tablet. With that in mind, your sign-up forms should be built with a smaller screen and ease of scrolling in mind. Instead of putting a bunch of fields on your form, limit it to one or two fields and add a big call to action button. This allows visitors to join your list with the tap of a button.


Christopher Lester is the vice president of sales at Emma where he leads the team of experts who provide strategic and tactical services to all Emma clients, as well as specialized support to large senders and significant brands.

 

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