Heatmap Analytics: What Are They and How Can They Help You?

Heatmap Analytics: What Are They and How Can They Help You?

What is a Heatmap?

A heatmap shows where visitors have clicked on your page. How far they scroll down. And at their most advanced even track where your user’s eyes are going. This is displayed using a color-coded system to represent different values.

Often, this data is represented, through bright red and yellow visuals highlighting key areas of visitor interest. This data is powerful, as it gives greater insight into what your visitors like or dislike about your site.

Heatmaps Show Where People Are Clicking

Heatmaps provide a depth of insight that is often lacking in standard Google Analytics data. Bounce rate or average time spent on a page are useful tools, but these metrics don’t offer much insight into the reason why visitors behave the way they do.

Heatmap analytics offer specific insights on where visitors place their attention.

A big problem with many websites is the lack of clarity around what they want to achieve. I often see websites cluttered without any clear sign of what visitors should be focusing on. This reflects a level of unstructured thinking.

Heatmap analytics structure your thinking about your website’s goals in a very clear way. They illustrate that how you layout and layout your website plays a key role in converting consumers.

The places of greatest attention should have the most important content. For example, if consumers pay a lot of attention to the area just under the end of an article. It’s useful to place a call to action that focuses visitors on beginning the sales / conversion process.

If you know what part of a page received the most attention you can start your sales process there. Which is why having the right analytics is so key. Heatmaps highlight where consumers’ attention is most drawn to.

How To Use Heatmap Analytics

Using heatmap analytics successfully requires planning and asking important questions.

Determine Your Goals

Before running your heatmap analysis, it’s important to understand what the most important goal is for you to achieve.

Setting a clear goal for each page is key to figuring out what you want your website’s visitors to focus on. Some goals that are often chosen include:

  • Email sign ups
  • Add to cart buttons
  • Product buy buttons
  • Any other clear call-to-action (donate now buttons, registrations, share buttons etc.)

Install and Run Heatmaps

Setting up and running heatmap analytics is made easy with the many tools available to website managers. We’ve put together a list of our 3 favorite tools below.

While implementing heatmap analytics is slightly different depending on service provider, I recommend checking the tutorials and resources provided online through a simple Google search. Here is one from CrazyEgg:

 

Review the Data

Reviewing the data collected during the analytics is crucial for success. As with all kinds of analytics, the higher number of visitors you have, the richer the data will be.

If you receive only a small amount of traffic, I’d recommend running the analytics over the period of a few weeks, to ensure an accurate picture of results.

In my opinion, the major question of the analytics review boils down to:

Did the thing you wanted visitors paying attention to receive attention?

If you wanted visitors to click a buy now button, did the analytics show that this was the main point of your customer’s focus? or did it receive only a bit of attention?
 
If your website’s visitors focused on other areas consider the following question:
 
What did my visitors actually focus on?
 
If your website’s visitors focused on something else other than your goal, then there are advantages to be gained with this insight.
 
If the analytics showed that visitors paid a lot of attention to a video on a webpage. This might be a sign that visitors are distracted from the main call-to-action.

Adjust Your Approach

There can be many surprises when visitors focus on areas that are unexpected. Once you see the results of your analytics, you can then ask:

  • What is the area of the webpage that receives the most attention? Could the key call-to-action be placed at the most popular location in the page?
  • What is the most popular image or visual of the page? Could the key call-to-action use the most popular image on the page?
  • Are there any distractions that pull visitors away from the core objective? Could you minimize distraction?

It’s necessary to act on the results of the data. Action involves updating your website in order to find the optimal combination of location on the page and visual impact of your goal(s).

The analysis of the data should be seen as an iterative process, where lessons about visitor behavior are constantly implemented into the site to help you achieve outcomes, which can be anything from sales to collecting email addresses.

The more often you run a heatmap analysis and implement the results, the closer you will likely move towards your goals.

Top 3 Recommended Heatmap Tools

CrazyEgg

  • 30 Day Free Trial (credit card required)
  • Plans: $29/month-$189/month
  • Plans Include: A/B Testing, Heatmaps, Scroll maps, unlimited users, and unlimited domains.

HotJar

  • 30 Day Free Trial (no credit card required)
  • Plans: Free-$589/month
  • All business plans allow Unlimited users, unlimited reports, 365-day data storage and the ability to remove Hotjar branding.

Freshmarketer

  • 30 Day Free Trial (no credit card required)
  • Plans: $99/month – $479/month
  • Offers: A/B Testing, Heatmaps, Scroll maps and session recordings

Wrap Up

Heatmap analytics capture rich data about visitors to your website in a visual and meaningful way. While analytics apps such as Google Analytics can provide clear information on a website’s performance. Heatmap analytics dive deep into specific areas of your website to which your visitors pay attention.
 
Do not be discouraged if your initial analytics show that visitors aren’t paying attention to the areas of your site that you find most important. The process of optimizing your website around your goals should be viewed as an on-going process.
 
The analytics process can be indispensable for identifying which content users like and dislike the most. A website is not a static piece of owned media. It’s an ever-evolving piece of digital real estate. It adds value and helps you achieve your goals. What experience do you have with heatmap analytics? Let me know in the comments below!

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PPC (Pay-Per-Click): The Beginner’s Guide

PPC (Pay-Per-Click): The Beginner’s Guide

PPC (Pay-Per-Click): The Beginner’s Guide

PPC adwords

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click and it means exactly what it says. You are paying for an advertisement every time someone clicks on it.

Now this may seem a little scary if you’re paying for the ad. Don’t worry you have control over how relevant you make your ad and who you put it in front of. This allows you to not overspend but instead, optimize your ad for the best ROI.

Have you ever seen those top search results with the little “Ad” icon to the left of it? That’s PPC.

google ad example

Some of the largest brands spend 10’s of millions every year on this type of advertising. But you can also spend $10/day and see results. That’s why PPC is so great.

Google AdWords

The world’s most popular PPC platform is Google AdWords. On this platform you create the budget, creative and ad types that you want to appear on Google’s various channels. Need to advertise your special brand of dog food? You can target people specifically searching for dog size, dog eating habits and diet requirements on Google’s Search Network. Whenever you search for anything using Google, you’ll notice the different advertisements along the top and side of the search results page. They are all using Google AdWords.

How does Google determine which PPC ads get the most exposure and which get the least? Well we’ll go over later that but first lets get familiar with some other terms and metrics first. 

Impressions

In many ‘traditional’ earned media channels, such as radio and television, the key metric used is impressions. Impressions means how many times an ad has appeared in front of someone (or in the case of radio, how many times an ad was played). It doesn’t mean they clicked on it or noticed it.

Often, simple impressions can’t show exactly who is interacting or engaging with your ad. It only gives you an idea of how many times someone potentially saw or clicked your ad.

So it’s important to note that impression based marketing won’t give you the rich data that PPC offers. With PPC, you have access to a full suite of analytics tools on some of the world’s most popular search engines.

You can use the impression metrics to optimize your targeted audience and budget. Depending on your set parameters, you will see different impression values which may help you fine tune your ad.

Conversions

Ultimately, the goal with pay-per-click is to convert people from passive viewers of your ad, to loyal paying customers. Converting or conversions usually means sales although there could be other examples. Converting a user to a member. Converting a user to a fan, etc.

It’s important to understand that while more web traffic is a good thing, it only means more people are visiting. The end goal beyond web traffic, it’s converting your web traffic to customers.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost Per Click (CPC) is how much you pay when someone clicks on one of your advertisements.

Someone clicking on your ad brings them one step closer to converting. Of course you always want to drive as many clicks as possible.

Sometimes CPC can become extremely costly if a keyword phrase you are targeting is highly competitive. In some cases it’s still worth paying for the click because the phrase may be extremely relevant to what you have to offer. The chances of conversion may be higher for more expensive clicks.

WordStream has a great article about cost per click where they dive much deeper into how it works and strategies that can bring you better ROI.

Cost Per Action (CPA)

Cost per action (CPA), also known as cost per acquisition, pay per acquisition (PPA) and cost per conversion, is a payment method where you pay for each conversion (you define that conversion) instead of each time someone clicks on your ad.

Here’s the simplest way to look at this. It’s how much you’re spending to gain a customer.

This conversion can be created by you whether it’s a sale, a click, a form submission, a newsletter signup, registration form, etc. By testing CPA vs. CPC for your ad campaign, you may find that one works better than the other. You can run low cost tests for a few weeks to get better insight. 

Ultimately the cost you spend to acquire one customer should be as low as possible relative to the value of your conversion.

As marketingterms.com explains, cost-per-action (CPA) is at the opposite side of the spectrum of cost-per-impressions (CPM). This means that with CPA you are paying when someone reaches the end of the sales journey while CPM means that you are paying for someone to begin the sales journey.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) also known as cost per impressions (CPI), or cost per mile (CPM) where the word “mile” is actually Latin for a thousand (impressions).

CPM is a metric used in both traditional advertising media, as well as online advertising. With CPM you pay each time an ad (impression) is displayed. To get even more technical, CPI refers to the cost for each user who views your ad(s). CPM refers to the cost or every thousand users who view your ad(s).

Quality Score (Google Adwords)

This is what we started to discuss earlier in regards to how Google determines which PPC ads get the most & least exposure.

A big determiner is the Quality Score. The Quality Score is a combination of many different factors Google takes into account when serving ads to its users.

Google wants to ensure a great user experience and to ensure this they want to present ads that are extremely relevant and high quality to the user’s search inquiry. Let’s look at some of the elements that affect quality score.

Search Engine Land has a great blog on how to reverse engineer your Quality Score and what your first steps should be to improve it.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

CTR (click through rate) is the percentage of times users click on your ad vs. how many impressions you have. Let’s say 100 people see your ad and only 10 click through? In this case, your CTR is 10%.

CTR gives a big insight into the effectiveness of your ad copy and relevance of your targeting. The lower your CTR is, the less relevant Google sees you as being to potential customers, meaning your positioning in Google’s rankings are likely to decrease. Sometimes if your business is highly seasonal, your CTR will vary widely over the year.

This blog from Hubspot looks at what a good CTR looks like by different industries.

Ad Groups

Ad groups are like folders with advertising settings that hold multiple ads. Sometimes you’ll have multiple landing pages or multiple keyword groups you’ll want to include in your PPC strategy and this is where ad groups really come in.

It’s always a good idea to create multiple Ad Groups for your PPC.

Ad Groups enable you to segment your PPC campaign based on different criteria or theme. In addition, you may start off with many ad groups for one campaign just to test market what works and what doesn’t.

For example, let’s say you were selling t-shirts. You may want a single ad group just for selling blue t-shirts but each ad in the “blue t-shirt” ad group may have a different headline, or description. It may also have different keywords or keyword phrases.

So you may start out testing 20 different ads under just the “blue t-shirt” ad group. Now what if you sold 10 different colored t-shirts. Each one would get its own ad group. In addition what if you sold other types of clothing.

You can easily see how involved your PPC advertising can become in order to dial in the best ROI. You can also turn off or on any ad groups at any time. Maybe you decide after 2 months to turn off all under performing groups and keep the best performing ad groups on.

Keywords

Keywords are one of the most important elements of PPC. In PPC advertising, you want to target people searching for relevant keywords to what you’re advertising.

Keywords on your landing page (the URL that the ad links to) should match the keywords on your ad. Higher relevance leads to higher clicks, and clicks lead to conversions.

Keyword Planner is a powerful research tool in Adwords that helps you find the most relevant keywords to use in both your PPC ads as well as your websites SEO (search Engine Optimization).

Two types of keyword phrases to consider are short tail and long tail keywords. 

Short Tail Keywords

Short Tail Keywords are short popular search terms that have high amounts of traffic. They are terms that describe something very broadly and therefore attract lots of attention from advertisers.

For example, “Insurance” is an example of a Short Tail Keyword as it is a broad, generic phrase that can apply to thousands of different sub-sets of the insurance industry, such as home insurance, travel insurance and car insurance.

The downside to short tail keywords is that relevancy to your site is usually low which means very low CTR.

Long Tail Keywords.

Long Tail Keywords are more descriptive keywords that users search into Google. They are richer in detail, meaning people are more likely to click on search results relevant to them.

PPC advertisements that are targeted to different long tail keywords are more relevant and have less competition than Short Tail Keywords. While the traffic may be lower, the cost will also be lower and the chance of getting a click is higher.

An example of a Long Tail Keyword is “car insurance for young drivers” as opposed to the Short Tail Keyword for simply “insurance”.

Match Type

Match type is something that many beginners completely miss but it’s very important. Match type determines how a keyword is allowed to be found. It can allow broad, less specific searches to match your keyword, or exact matches to be very specific.

adwords match type example

For example let’s say you wanted to use the term video production. There are 4 match types to consider:

  • Broad – This attracts a broad audience allowing your keyword to be matched to any user using any of the words in your keyword in any order. So the search hip hop video or hip hop production can bring your ad up and allow the user to click it. Many experts stay away from broad term match types.

 

  • Modified Broad – This gives you more control. If you add a plus “+” in front of your keyword(s) it tells Google adwords that word MUST appear in the search term. For example if you used +video production, then the word video must appear but  production doesn’t have to. Therefor hip hop production would not generate your ad in the search. If you add a plus “+”  in front of all words, it’s equivalent to phrase match type. +video +production would require both words to be in the search. Other words can appear as well and video and production can be in any order, they just are required in the search term.

 

  • Phrase – This says the keyword phrase must appear exactly in the order you created it and all words must be there. Other words can be before or after it but it needs to exist. To do this it must have quotes like this “video production”. This means you can still attract search inquires like how to make the best video production, or hip hop video production classes. As you can see, the term “video production” exists perfectly within the search term.

 

  • Exact – This says the search inquiry must be an exact match to your keyword phrase. No more, no less. So for example the keyword video production from your ad would only bring your ad up if someone put that exact term in that order with no other words. This would most likely attract the least amount of impressions but it may be the most focused and relevant match type which may get you the highest CTR.

Writing Effective Ads: Copywriting

copywriting

Ad copy or copywriting is extremely important in PPC. Without a successful ad, you’ll be unable to hook customers. As with everything in PPC, relevance is key.

Ads could ultimately convey a benefit or urgency to your target audience. While there is no clear-cut formula to writing great copy, having a consumer savvy mindset and solving the problem your target is searching for is key to effective ad copy.

The general rule to copywriting is getting the reader to want to read the next line. In the case of PPC, the idea is the same except you want the final action to be to click on the link. From here, the sales journey begins.

Now the copy on your website should follow the same idea… get the reader to want to read the next link, eventually leading to a sale, signup, etc (whatever your goal of the ad is).

According to CopyBlogger if you aren’t paying attention to your copywriting your campaign is doomed.

Budget Management

adwords budget

Strong budget management is essential for every advertiser. 

As with anything, your budget is scarce and can disappear sooner rather than later with poor keyword management. Bidding on expensive, irrelevant or untargeted keywords can see your cash evaporate.

However, being smart with your money and bidding on keywords that are relevant to your audience will make you, Google and your target audience happier.

Experts say you should test market your ads for at least 1-2 months to get realistic data. Once you do this, you should review expensive, ineffective keywords and consider making those inactive.

Negative keywords are something you should consider to fine tune your spending dollars. A negative keyword or keyword phrase is something you tell google adwords NOT to target.

For example let’s say you’re advertising “professional video production” and your ad is shown to someone who searched “how to edit DIY youtube videos”. You feel this inquiry is not relevant yet they clicked on your link which means you paid for someone that probably wasn’t the right fit.

You can add that term to the “negative keyword” list and google adwords will not show your ad to anyone searching that term again. 

Conclusion:

In PPC, constant improvement is essential. Without constantly reviewing your CTR, CPC and conversions, you run the risk of seeing your quality score slide. Testing, testing and testing again is very important to stay relevant with your target audience. Fortunately, Google Analytics works beautifully in tandem with Google AdWords, meaning you can constantly review what’s working and what needs improvement.

PPC is a massive marketplace where the supply of users’ attention matches the demand for clicks and conversions from businesses. PPC is a competitive, fluid and ever-changing world that requires study and practice. Your level of success is based on how well you can improvise, adapt and thrive in what Google and other PPC platforms require from you. While there may be a learning curve to master PPC, the rewards are great for companies and individuals who learn to master it.

Hopefully you found this beginner’s guide to PPC useful. While there are many aspects of PPC to learn, hopefull you can see how useful it is to actively engage in PPC as a form of earned media on the Google platform. Fortunately, there are vast quantities of resources available from PPC providers, including Google’s guide to Google AdWords

I hope you enjoyed this PPC beginner’s guide & I wish you the best of luck on your PPC journey.

Some images provided by Pixelbay

Email Marketing Strategies That Work!

Email Marketing Strategies That Work!

What Is Email Marketing?

Email Marketing is when you send a commercial message, usually to a group of contacts, using email. The message can contain valuable articles and knowledge, advertisements, call to actions, or other messages meant to build customers.

Using email marketing strategies an be a powerful form of communication to get more sales. You can deliver content directly to your recipient’s inbox on a regular basis in long form or short form.

Whether you’re sending newsletters, announcements, how-to guides, product pages, or something else of value, be sure your recipient is potentially interested. While other methods of communication (such as social media) may ebb and flow, email is always a reliable tool people use on a regular basis.

In this article, I will share ideas that will help you with converting your email recipients into buyers, sharers, raving fans and followers.

email conversion image

Creating engaging emails is both an art and a science.

On one hand, you need to be creative, intuitive and imaginative in the value you add, while also continuously testing and studying your metrics to respond to what is and isn’t working.

There is huge competition for our attention. All of our inboxes are battlegrounds overflowing with senders who compete with each other for a slice of our time.

Engaging, keeping, and converting that attention into an action is highly challenging but hugely rewarding.

Email Audience

converting audience to customers with email

Understanding who you’re emailing is key to shaping what you’ll include in your email and determine how successfully you convert.

Are you emailing potential customers who want the best deals for your products? Are you emailing members of your local community promoting an event?

Although it is tempting to send an e-mail to everyone, it is likely your email could only be relevant to some of your mailing list and not others.

According to Marketing Sherpa, taking the time to create, manage and deliver customized content can make a significant difference with the engagement of your recipients and build on the valued and trusted relationship you’ve created with them.

Segmenting your email targets into different categories is best practice when you’re looking to convert a recipient.

Imagine you’re female and you receive an email from a fashion brand advertising great value deals on men’s clothing. While the deal might be great, the email is going straight to deletion by delivering content that’s totally irrelevant to converting a female reader into a buyer.

Marketing Sherpa study found that doctors who segmented, created and delivered targeted content and used personalized subject lines had an average open rate of 41% versus an average of 22% for those who didn’t. This highlights the power of personalized emails tailored to the recipients’ needs and wants.

Your Sender Name

email sender

The sender name is likely the very first thing your email recipient will see when they open their email client. While it may seem like a small aspect, every little detail helps to get your reader to engage & convert.

The sender name will help decide whether they should open the email or not.

A good rule of thumb, if you’re not sure, is to use your brand name as the sender name.

There is much debate over whether you should use a personal name vs. a company name. There is no right answer. If you’re brand is recognized or identified by an actual person’s name, then you may be better off using that person’s name. 

Some say it comes across more “personal” with a real name but if your audience only knows about you through your brand name, you may lose them.

The easiest way to decide is to ask yourself what would you rather recive if you were in your audience. Most of the time, you know what’s best over anyone esle.

Go with your gut, and adjust if needed in the future. You can also A/B test the sender name (which is discussed later in this article). 

Your Subject Line

email on computer

The subject line is the headline that determines if a person will engage in or ignore your email.

The best subject lines are the ones that grab your recipient’s attention. It has to generate interest by offering a benefit and also stimulating curiosity.

The subject line is your first connection through copywriting. A good copywriter knows how to get a reader to want to read the next line.

A subject line should communicate a taste of the benefits you’ll expect from the email and leave them curious to read more.

Hubspot has a great article on subject line ideas that have worked for others.

This benefit can be a bargain price, humor, a life hack, a how-to list, a great product benefit or anything you feel will add value to your readers.

Think of your subject line as the window of opportunity you get to convince your email recipients that it’s worth their precious time to open your email.

Two of the most effective tactics for subject lines

1. Scarcity

Scarcity is one of the most effective and common sales tools around. “Only 24 hours left”, “Sale ends this Friday!”, “Only 6 left!”.

Scarcity is telling people that they are at risk of losing out on a great deal. This is a great tactic if your goal is to convert a click into a sale.

The key to using urgency or scarcity is utilizing time or quantity. A sale ending at midnight. Limited tickets left on an airplane to your dream holiday destination.

Both of these make you want to engage with the email because they’re scarce and valuable. The elegance of this type of subject line lies in its simplicity.

The benefit and curiosity are stimulated simultaneously. The offer is simply there and readers are encouraged to engage with it, ultimately leading to conversions.

2. Personalization

More and more marketers are now using their contact’s names in the subject line.

2015 study by Experian Marketing Services found that when recipients saw their own name in the email subject line, email open rates were boosted by 29.3% across all industries. 

There’s nothing more personalized than your reader’s name, so using this technique to your advantage can be great to get your email opened and ultimately lead to engagement

Some of the top marketers in the world are known to use friendly, personal sounding emails that appeal directly to the person they’re sent to.

Templates for Email Subject lines

Generating a subject line can be difficult, and listing all possible types would require a blog post by itself. Fortunately, there are some great resources for fantastic subject line templates you can use.

A great subject line can range from funny, random, unexpected to using someone’s “fear of missing out” to your advantage.

Three of the resources I like the most for creative subject lines are

I’d highly recommend using these resources to your advantage!

The Email Body

email subjects that engage

The best way to get someone to convert is to send something that will instantly benefit them.

Have you discovered a life hack that will boost your readers free time, sales or quality of life? Are you sending an email that will put a smile on their face? Do you have an awesome sale on a fantastic product?

No matter who your recipient is, an email that delivers something useful and valuable should be your goal.

The most successful marketers actually suggest to give away your most guarded secrets & knowledge for free.

Have you ever met someone in your day to day life that would not stop talking about themselves? Every sentence was about something they had done or seen and felt like a barrage of “Me, me, me”.

If you’ve ever been around someone like that, you’ll know how annoying it is when a person only focuses on themselves without considering the person they’re speaking to. This same principle applies to emails.

My inbox is constantly flooded with content that is completely irrelevant to me and seems more self-serving to the sender than value adding. 

The first question any email recipient asks themselves is “What’s in it for me?” If you use this guideline for every email, your engagement will grow.

Sending value based emails often requires a shift in mindset. The focus is no longer on selling why what you’re doing is great, but rather how you can add significant value to your readers’ lives.

Remember that this is not a cutting edge technique. The most successful marketers already know this and are doing it every day. If you’re not, you may be losing out on business.

Your Call to Action (CTA)

call to action button

Imagine your call to action is a single link buried in an avalanche of text. Even if you create amazing content that engages your reader, you’ll likely fail at converting them as you haven’t made it as easy as possible for them to convert.

Contrast this single link to a big, clear, colorful call to action button that really pops and catches the eye. The difference in calls to action can mean the difference in conversions.

To get great engagement, having a compelling call to action is essential. According to email experts Mailchimp, buttons should be used for primary actions in an email. There’s something about big buttons that we humans just love to press.

They make things extremely easy for your reader by offering a clear call to action. While using links are fine, it’s recommended to only use these for secondary, less urgent calls to action.

If you’ve really engaged your reader in the subject line and body of the email, offering a big clear button makes it very easy for them to convert.

For easily generated call to action buttons, buttons.cm is a good resource.

The Signature

email signature example

Converting a reader into a converter involves great attention to detail. One of the most overlooked aspects of any email is the signature.

If you’re sending text emails with a standard email signature, take time to compare your signature to other emails you recieve.

The signature has huge potential to converting an email reader, as it can display your website, profile photo, job title and social buttons.

Other great add-ons to signature are links to your services or products and even links to watch videos.

My personal favorite signature generator is WiseStamp.

The WiseStamp email platform offers a unique, smart way of interacting with customers and audience in daily emails, letting you easily promote and market yourself using your own customized professional email signature.

According to WiseStamp, there are:

  • 32% more email replies when adding a photo to the email signature.
  • 10% increased social reach in social networks when adding social apps to an email signature.

If your goal is to convert users, WiseStamp is a great platform for adding your own custom signature. This adds a personal touch that has been proven to generate better results. 

Subscribers Who Do Not Engage

unsubscribe email

Your email list is like a garden: tend to it and watch it grow, leave it alone and watch it run wild. Even when you think you have everything in order, you need to be wary of the effect low engagement rates can have on your reputation with email servers.

“Graymail” is what your email becomes when not enough people are engaging with it. Having a high number of unengaged subscribers poses a threat to how successful you’ll convert interested subscribers.

If you’re getting low engagement rates, email clients may move your emails to the spam folder, damaging the possibility of converting potential recipients completely.

Even Hubspot famously unsubscribed 250,000 people from their mailing list. This was as a direct result of their emails being classified as Graymail.

Managing your email list, pruning it when needed and segmenting it to deliver relevant, engaging emails to the right people is extremely important for conversions.

To Send or Not to Send

When it comes to convincing email recipients to convert, it’s important to ask yourself if you should send your email in the first place. Are you genuinely trying to add value to someone’s life by saving them time, money, making them happy or otherwise? Or, are you sending an email to prove to your boss you’re keeping busy?

As mentioned earlier, the mindset shift towards doing your best to empower the people who read your emails is very important. Sending emails that are poor quality and unlikely to convert can cause your recipients to hit the unsubscribe button.

Your email marketing service (mailchimp, contact contact, madmimi, etc) can lock your account if you get too many “mark as spam” or “unsubscribe” actions in one mailing. 

To be safe, especially when you have added many new contacts, be sure to send your emails out in small increments. 

Make sure you always have an opt-out option for those who no longer want to recieve your emails.

A badly written, poorly thought out email can do much more harm than good. Your email recipients only have limited time, treat it with the respect it deserves and send them something that will add value.

Email Analytics

click on email

In order to create an engaging email that converts readers into successful customers, you need to decide what success looks like to you.

Is it to fill out a form? Is it to sign up to one of your social platforms?

Starting with the end in mind will give structure and purpose to your email. For example, if a conversion to you is selling a product to your email list, then you’ll create engaging content that explains how that product will improve your readers’ lives.

The better this can be communicated in interesting, creative or disruptive ways, the better your chances are of converting.

Creating engaging emails that convert relies on a mindset shift. The shift is from “What do I want my email list to do for me?” to, “What can I do for my readers?”. Adding value is key to a successful, engaging email that converts.

Converting someone into a user requires creatively engaging the recipients of your emails.

When someone gives you their e-mail address or signs up to a mailing list, they are trusting you to bring them more benefits on the mailing list than off the mailing list.

The average number of emails an office worker receives in a day is 121. According to Smart Insights, the average open rate across all industries for emails was 24.79%.

This means that the majority of the time people are ignoring your emails without even knowing what’s inside them! Without even opening your email, how can you expect your recipient to convert?

You only have a few words to grab your recipient’s attention so use them wisely. In order to cut through the clutter of emails, you need to make yours stand out.

Metrics To Pay Attention To

What is an email conversion?

Email Conversions are the percentage of your email recipients that took a desired action. For example, a conversion could be converting an email recipient into someone who buys one of your products.

Conversion rate

This is the key metric of your email. It is the number of people who completed a desired action. As the goal of your email should be to convert readers into taking action, it is crucial you measure this to determine success.

In many business cases, the main goal of the conversion metric will be to drive sales and revenue.

Click through rate

The click through rate measures what percentage of your email recipients clicked on one or more links in your email. Thought the 24.79% email open rate was bad?

The average click-through rate was even worse, being reported at 4.19%. This metric is useful for understanding how well your links and content within your email are engaging readers. 

Hubspot’s email tracking tool allows you see when a lead opens an email, clicks on a link or opens an attachment. This is key to knowing when a prospect converts. Furthermore, you can receive notifications and see historical interactions with your various email lists through this tool.

A/B Testing Your Mailing List

ab testing

If you’re lucky enough to have a large(ish) email mailing list, A/B testing can be extremely helpful in sending more engaging emails that convert.

A/B testing allows you to discover what aspects of your email content is working and what isn’t.

Want to test variations of a subject line? No problem, simply deliver different subject lines to different size segments of your mailing list. You can test which aspects of your emails are resonating with readers and resulting in more conversions.

One of the best tools for A/B testing is Mailchimp. They offer the ability to choose your test audience, pick your metric and select the variables. There’s huge potential in knowing what is engaging readers and what is causing them to tune out.

Conclusion

While there is no “perfect” formula to a writing an engaging email that converts, I encourage you to leverage the advice above to improve all aspects of your emails.

In the words of copywriter Joseph Sugarman,

“Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.”

Converting a passive reader into an active requires a string of engaging, interesting things to happen. I believe that an engaging email sender name and subject line will open the door to your engaging e-mail copy, which in turn should lead your reader to a big bold call to action which in turn ultimately results in conversion.

One follows the other in a natural progression. Giving care and attention to each aspect of your email is time consuming, but well worth the effort. Emails are like chain links, if one is weak the chain risks breaking entirely.

There are some fantastic tools that allow you to measure how successfully you’re converting readers, so please use all that data to your advantage to make constant improvements to your email content. To achieve this, having a value adding mindset is key.

Ask yourself if what you have to say is truly useful, deliver value to your readers and reap the rewards as a result.

Images provided by Pixelbay

10 Digital Marketing Strategies Every Business Should Be Doing

10 Digital Marketing Strategies Every Business Should Be Doing

In our digital era, there are 10 digital marketing strategies every business should be working on. This post will outline these 10 essential marketing strategies so you can decided what you’re already doing and what you may need to do more of. While each element of these strategies is important, combining them can help take your business to the next level.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Imagine your business website is a store front on a busy street. Just like a real store, you’re competing for people’s limited attention against other websites. In an online setting, your business competes with rivals in the results page of a search engine. To ensure the best possible chance of your website being top in the results page of a search engine, you need to ensure it is optimized. If you’re new to SEO I recommend starting with a free SEO website analysis tool to get actionable results so you can see what SEO you’re doing well and what you can improve on. This will provide tailored feedback on what you need to build on and the importance of each aspect.

seo search engine optimzation

One of my recommendations is to use Woorank, a ‘freemium’ SEO analysis tool that provides you with a scorecard of how well your website is optimized to a search engine under different criteria as well as a checklist of what you can work on. This is a fantastic basis on which to build your SEO strategy.

Top SEO Tools

Here is a list of powerful tools that SEO professionals use to rank their clients websites as high as possible. Some free, some not!

  1. SEMrush
  2. Screaming Frog
  3. Ahrefs
  4. Moz Pro
  5. SEO Profiler
  6. Google Analytics
  7. Google Search Console (AKA Google Webmaster Tools)
  8. Hot Jar
  9. Majestic SEO
  10. Buzzsumo
  11. Google Keyword Planner (requires Adwords account)
  12. LongTail PRO
  13. OnPage
  14. PitchBox
  15. KWfinder
  16. Pro Rank Tracker
  17. Email Hunter
  18. Media File Renamer
  19. Keyword Tool
  20. Zadroweb
  21. Raven Tools
  22. SEO Centro

If this seems overwhelming to you, it’s because SEO is an art form like any other profession. This is not something that can be learned over night. SEO tools usually tell you what you should do but they do not do the work for you. Sometimes recommendations can be very simple and get you results. Other times it may require advanced coding that only an expert would have knowledge with. This is why many brands hire digital marketing agencies or SEO experts to do the work. In addition, most SEO experts will tell you that you should not rely on any one tool but more importantly rely on your brain.

2. Video Marketing

Video marketing is one of the most effective ways for any company to marketing their message online. Statistics show that video content helps websites skyrocket traffic. Two important factors to ensure you get results through video is how the message is told and how you market the video itself.

If you want some great marketing ideas to use in marketing videos, check out this informative article featuring 12 powerful video marketing strategies that you can use.

In addition to using your website to embed your videos, Facebook and YouTube are two of the world’s largest platforms for video marketing. In 2014, four of the top ten trending videos on YouTube came from brands. This statistic shows the potential of great video marketing that people choose to watch. YouTube, which has over 1 billion users, has a wealth of resources that makes video marketing a breeze for companies with the passion to bring their brands to the platform. Not only is video marketing extremely compelling, it is also cost effective to advertise a video on YouTube with Google TrueView, Google TrueView ensures a business will only pay for an ad when a user chooses to watch the ad.

Facebook Video Marketing is also extremely exciting. Rich video content can play automatically in Facebook’s News Feed and also engage viewers by adding a video call-to-action. A call-to-action can invite people to visit a website, Facebook page or product page. This makes engagement much better at connecting people to your business’s online presence.

3. Content Marketing

content marketing blog

In today’s digital world, content is king. Great content should be able to provide your target audience with interesting, value adding content. Why? The goal of content marketing is to drive traffic, clicks and conversions to your business’s website, which ultimately leads to new leads and sales.

Content marketing is the new norm in marketing. Basically this means sharing valuable content fro free with their audiences before they can earn the trust of their business. So many companies are doing this that you’ll be at a disadvantage if you don’t. In addition this type of marketing is what google wants to see. Google has one objective and that is to match the most relevant and high quality content to what the user is searching for. 

One of my favorite things that comes out of content marketing is education. This is our chance to educate the customer about your industry so they can understand why they should use you. Focus on your differentiators (the things that make you better than your competition) and use them as topics to discuss with your audience. For example if you provide higher quality services than your competitors, then explain why quality can help your customer more. Maybe quality helps your customer’s brand perception which helps their customers perceive them as more professional.

Content marketing is really anything that can be consumed by your target market. Branded content across e-books, podcasts, reports, blog posts and infographics are all forms of content marketing. While each of these avenues present their own challenges and opportunities, the essence of content marketing is clear: create compelling content that your target audience love. For an actionable list, here are 7 steps for creating a content marketing strategy by Hubspot.

4. Social Media

social media digital marketing

A great social media strategy is key for business success as it provides a 2-way form of communication with potentially huge numbers of your target audience. Not only is interaction between your business and potential customers strengthened, distributing your great content across social platforms has the potential to be shared by users across social media channels. A great social media strategy involves:

  • Choosing which social media platforms are the best fit for you. For example, your business B2C and requires interaction with customers? Facebook or Twitter might be best for you. If your business is B2B perhaps a LinkedIn social presence is better.
  • Deciding which content to distribute on each platform. For example, long form text posts would be more suited to Facebook than Twitter due to character restrictions.

Best Social Media channels to use for marketing

  1. Facebook (1.59 Billion as of Dec. 2015)
  2. You Tube (1.3 Billion as of Mar 2017)
  3. Instagram (400 Million as of Sept. 2015)
  4. Twitter (320 Million as of Mar. 2016)
  5. Google+ (300 million as of October, 2013)
  6. Pinterest (100 Million as of Sept. 2015)
  7. LinkedIn (100 Million as of Oct. 2015)
  8. SnapChat (Statistics unknown)

5. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM gets your business seen by the people who matter most: your potential customers. The biggest players on the search engine market, including Google and Bing, allow you to advertise on their search engines through pay-per-click advertising (PPC). PPC advertising allows you to set a budget and pay Google or Bing for every time a user clicks on your ad in the search or display networks.

For those who have never used this before, it can seem scary to know you’re paying every time someone clicks on your ad. It’s actually pretty cool. You can set your daily budget so you stay on budget. You can set this limit low in the beginning to test marketing different ad ideas until you drill down what’s working and what’s not. SEM is similar to SEO in that it’s about showing up in the search results, except these are paid ads (with an “ad” icon_ displayed above and below the organic SEO results. If you want to get your webpage in front of people fast, then SEM is the way to go. If you want a more robust, solid, slower changing result, then SEO is your friend. In my opinion, you should be considering both SEM and SEO in concert together to get the best of both worlds.

There are many metrics like CTR (click-through-rate), impressions (how many times the ad shows up), clicks, etc. In the end, the most important metric to pay attention to is cost per conversion and cost per sale. ROI is what it’s all about.

One of the keys to a great SEM strategy are understanding keywords. Keywords ensure that you’re tailoring the key pieces of content in your ads and website to the search terms your potential customers are searching. To develop an understanding of which keywords you need to feature for Google SEM, I recommend using the Keyword Planner. This tool sets the groundwork for a successful SEM strategy by searching for keyword and ad group ideas, seeing how keywords will perform and getting keyword statistics. 

6. Implement and Review Analytics

analytics digital marketing

As a follow-up to my previous strategy, a strong analytics strategy is essential for online success. Having a website without analytics is like having a car without mirrors – your view is extremely limited without it. Google Analytics is a tool that is easy to implement, and can create a wealth of data to help improve your presence online.

A great analytics strategy involves:

  • Reviewing your analytics on a regular basis.
  • Understanding what metrics are the most important to your particular business.
  • Benchmarking your performance continuously against your previous analytics.
  • Set Google Analytics goals to measure metrics

Here are 5 of the biggest metrics to pay attention to with Google Analytics

  1. Sessions – the number of interactions a user has on your site.
  2. Users – the total number of visitors.
  3. Pageviews – number of views of a page on your site by a visitor.
  4. Average Session Duration – the average length of a session.
  5. Bounce Rate – the percentage of single-page visits. Low bounce rates are good.

7. Website Copywriting

copywriting

It’s human nature to read things that appeal to our emotions. A great copywriting strategy that appeals to a person’s interests, delights and senses can do wonders for your business. In essence, don’t create boring copy. No one knows your business better than you, therefore create copy that communicates how interesting, exciting and passionate your business is.

The best copywriting strategy involves setting a definitive goal. In many cases, it’s to convert website visitors into paying customers. A/B split testing is the best strategy to check if your copy is generating a ROI. A/B testing displays two versions of a website page to visitors to see which is the best performing.  You can test which variants of your headings, copy, call to action and hyperlinks work best. Well written, interesting content combined with intelligent testing is key to a great copywriting strategy.

 

8. E-mail Marketing

E-mail is a fantastic channel of communication with your new or existing customers. Think about it, you can deliver fresh, interesting content directly to a person’s inbox without any marketing spend. Unlike crowded social channels that people can close or ignore, e-mail is a constant feature of people’s lives.

Your e-mail marketing strategy’s aim should be to build an e-mail mailing list. Set a goal of 100 new e-mails within 30 days for example. You should encourage sign ups to your e-mail through 2 methods:

Leveraging existing channels:
Do you have a strong social media presence? You could ask for signups to your mailing list from existing fans who know and trust your business. Beginning with people who already enjoy your content is a great first step.

Offering Valuable Content:
When someone hands over their e-mail, they’re assuming it will benefit them more than annoy them. No one wants to be spammed and be forced to unsubscribe. Try to always email something of value every time so the recepients look forward to future emails. 

9. Mobile Optimization

mobile optimization

A website optimised for mobile ensures accessibility to all of your visitors who use mobile devices. If you owned a brick and mortar business, you’d make that business as easy to access as possible, right? The same applies to mobile. Marketing is the profession of getting and keeping people’s limited attention so ensuring your website is optimised for ease of use and responsive mobile design will keep your visitors happy. Furthermore, a mobile friendly website will help with SEO for mobile based users in what is known as mobile-first indexing. Ensuring your business website is responsive to mobile users, serves dynamic content and uses separate URLs is key to any good mobile strategy. 

Mobile Friendly Tool Checkers

  1. Google Mobile Friendly Test
  2. SEO Centro Mobile Checker
  3. Think With Google Mobile Tester
  4. RankWatch Mobile Checker

10. Native Advertising

Native advertising means paying to have your ads where they feel comfortably similar to the other content on the platform they’re advertised on.  Rather than feeling intrusive and out of place, native advertising should fit seamlessly into the content of the website. This makes users more likely to engage with your ad than traditional banner ads or pop-ups. A great native advertising strategy should involve:

Understanding what type of content works best. Which of your blog posts were most successful? What are people interested in reading about? Taking a good look at which of your content works best is key to native advertising.

Decide which sites to advertise on. Native advertising should be useful to people, understanding which sites to advertise on are key to enhancing these experiences.

Here are some great examples of native advertising from Copyblogger’s site that you can check out. Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger explains “Native advertising basically means it looks more like pure content than it looks like an ad.”

Conclusion

I am truly passionate about these 10 digital marketing strategies and I hope you implement them. In today’s online world, your business is the flame and your marketing strategy is the oxygen that gives it light. Please feel free to comment or message me about how successful you were with implementing the above strategies, I’d love to hear from you.

Images provided by Pixelbay

Video Testimonial Tips For Any Business

Video Testimonial Tips For Any Business

Video Testimonial Tips For Any Business

Corporate video testimonials are one of the best ways to tell believable and genuine stories about your brand. We share 10 powerful corporate video testimonial tips to make your next online marketing video stand out. There are many elements that help make a great video testimonial. Each element by itself is important, but when you combine them the story explodes.

1. Choose the right character

To achieve great storytelling the interviewee must be the right person. Just because he or she is the CEO or manager doesn’t mean that is the best person to be telling the story. If there’s a Babe Ruth on your team why wouldn’t you use him or her to hit the ball out of the park?

Sometimes clients pick a testimonial giver based on not hurting someone’s feelings or kissing up to someone. We feel this only hurts the company. We encourage our clients to pick (or let us pick) the best storyteller(s) for the job regardless of position or ego.

 

2. Don’t interview anyone that doesn’t want to be interviewed

One of the biggest corporate video testimonial tips I can share is this… Do not force people to be interviewed (if they don’t want to). There have been many times where the interviewee mentions to us “I don’t even want to do this.” Sure enough the energy and performance of the testimonial is almost always a failure.

The key here is to make sure the person has a passion behind telling his or her story. When someone wants to share their ideas, knowledge, and opinions it becomes a much more genuine conversation. The audience wants genuine. Make sure there is a vetting process so that you only have candidates who want to be part of the testimonial. You’ll see a big difference.

3. Don’t give out the questions before your coporate testimonial shoot

If you want the interviewee to stress out and lose sleep the night before being on camera just give them the questions ahead of time. They will over analyze and paralyze themselves with anxiety.  We always tell our clients to never give questions before hand. It’s OK to give the interviewee an idea of what you will cover, but most people will overthink answers if you give them actual questions.

 

Sharing interview questions ahead of time can affect characters performance.

Sharing interview questions ahead of time can affect characters performance.

 

The truth is that only people who know the topics should be be interviewed. They should be able to answer questions without much thought because they know the subject well. By asking questions on the spot for the first time it forces the interviewee to answer in a conversational tone.  You want it to be as if he or she is just having a chat with someone about that subject. We believe natural conversation is the most compelling type of storytelling you can capture on camera.

4. Help the corporate robot to be human

When you interview countless people as I have over the years, you’ll notice that some interviewees answer questions with no heart. They are repeating corporate lingo by the book and they start to come across like a robot with no emotion. You can weed out these type of interviewees during a pre-interview vetting process. If a company does not choose to have a pre-interview process you’ll have to get the best out of that performer during the testimonial. You can also choose to not use that testimonial or that answer. Remember, just because you filmed it, does not mean you use it.

How to get the best performance out of a corporate robot

The first thing we do is stop the interview and let that person know that its happening. I like this approach

“Hey Gary, can be I honest with you? This isn’t the real Gary. I mean, if you were telling one of your friends about this you wouldn’t sound like this am I right?”

You get the point. I’m bringing attention to the fact that Gary is speaking with a corporate tone. 99% of the time, Gary will smile and admit that he’s not being himself.  Sometimes Gary will get it and change into human conversation, but many times it doesn’t change anything. This is when I use the “Happy Hour” line trick.

What is the happy hour line?

The happy hour line is a concept that I came up with to help interviewees loosen up and be more like themselves on camera. It goes like this:

“Hey Gary, picture this…you and me are old friends and we haven’t seen each other in 10 years. We just met up at a bar to grab a few drinks and catch up on old times. We start talking about work and you start telling me about what you’re doing. Now let me ask you the question and I want you to answer it as if you’re speaking to your old friend.”

It’s amazing what happens next. 9 times out of 10, Gary will become more conversational, more human, more believable, and more passionate about the subject. In essence he will bring life to the message. Now remember who your audience is and ask yourself this. Would your audience rather hear the message before the happy hour line, or after the happy hour line?

5. Consider Pre-Interviews

Pre-interviews are short conversations to “try-out” different characters to find the all-star(s) character. This is when we spend 10-15 minutes talking to candidates until we find the best character(s) for the job. This can be done in-person or over the phone. The benefit of doing this in-person is that you can also watch for body language and charisma. What you’re looking for is a good storyteller.

Someone who holds your attention and makes you want to hear what happens next. Companies should always use their strongest characters for corporate video testimonial because they are the voice of their message. Like anything the more you do it the better you get, and we’ve gotten pretty good at picking out all-star storytellers for our clients.

 

Vet your video interviewees before you choose them

Pennylane creative director conducting a pre-interview with a potential interviewee

Want to see Some Video Testimonial Examples?

Watch

6. Don’t Script The Corporate Video Testimonial

The most believable testimonial are not scripted. If there’s one thing to learn about corporate video interview tips, it’s letting the characters be real. Viewers can tell when answers are candid vs. scripted and they prefer honesty and genuine storytelling. It’s important to allow the interviewee to be themselves. Make sure the interview is a conversation…flaws and all. When it’s a real conversation, the message will be the best it can. A good editor can shape a great conversation into any length message desired.

7. Pick a Quiet Room

Audio quality from the microphone is important. Even the slightest noise can be distracting during the testimonial. When interviewing at our client’s location we always request a room that is quiet. The average person will poke their head in the room and think its fine. Here are a few culprits that can hurt interview audio.

  • Locations near airports
  • Air duct vents
  • Heating units
  • A/C units
  • Traffic noise
  • Refrigerator motor

Be sure to look out for all these noise factors because there could be better a location with less or none of these.

 

Choosing the right room for quiet audio is important to successful interviews

Air conditioning units outside room are very common obstacles for interview audio.

8. Allow For Proper Setup

Some clients may take for granted the amount of time it takes to setup a professional interview. How the character looks and sounds on film will play a large role in how the audience perceives them. Any factor that distracts from the message will only dilute the power of the marketing video. Professional video production companies will factor setup time in the schedule. Clients should understand this is an important part of the interview process. For our company, we usually request 1.5 to 2 hours for proper setup.  We have had to rush setups as quickly as 30-45 minutes (not recommended).

9. Consider Scene Changes

If filming multiple testimonial in one day a change of scenery is always a good idea. Sometimes tight schedules limits these changes. You may need to keep the same background for every testimonial. The hope is to time the schedule to allow for scene or framing changes. This gives each character a unique look to differentiate the storytellers. An extra 15-30 minutes between each testimonial could help raise the level of your marketing films. We think it’s worth considering.

 

If the budget allows, allowing production time for scene changes will add more to your final films

We filmed character inside office and auto garages to change up this dealer video.

10. Consider The Eye Line

When setting up where the interviewee will be looking during the testimonial make sure to go for a candid feel. This means the interviewee is looking off-camera (not at the camera). This approach gives the viewer a feeling of eavesdropping and inspires curiosity. It’s as if they are listening in on an intriguing conversation. This is also the most common style of framing for documentary and corporate video testimonial films. There could be exceptions to the rule for looking at the camera, but make sure there is a specific reason for this. One other thing is to consider the “good side.” There are some people who have a good side so be sure to show off that attribute if applicable.

11. Don’t forget to ask this question at the end

One of the best questions to ask in a promotional video is…”Is there anything I forgot to ask you?” This is the last question I ask in a corporate video testimonial. I will admit that stories have changed  because of this question. I’ve gotten some of my most emotional answers ending with this question as well. Give it a try and let me know how it worked for you in the comments.

Conclusion

If your company does in-house video production and you don’t already follow these tips now, try it and see the difference. It will be amazing how much your storytelling improves. The key to powerful marketing (or anything) is to make sure all elements of your campaign are the best they can be. I always tell people “little things add up”. This means that no matter how small the change always look at how you can improve from every angle. When you improve with many small steps the results are always big.

If you hire an outside video production company to film testimonials for your marketing campaigns, make sure to keep an eye on what they are doing and how they find the best stories. You want to suggest creative ideas like these if you’re not getting the best testimonials. If you’re still not getting what you want than maybe its time to move on to a better video production company. One that holds higher standards. In the end, if your testimonials suck, so will your marketing videos.

Watch examples of corporate video testimonials.

We love interviewing people on film.

The best stories come from these.

Watch Here