If you’re a regular internet browser, which is most of us these days, you’ll no doubt have noticed certain types of ads popping up with some regularity that are directly related to the websites you have visited prior. It’s all part of a service called remarketing and when used wisely, it’s a really handy way to reinforce your brand and encourage your potential customers to take action.
Remarketing – see you again soon
If you’re in a service business, your sales cycle is likely to take longer on average than a straightforward product purchase. See our most recent blog for more on this.
Once a potential customer has visited your site, but not converted, you can then use remarketing to make sure they don’t forget you while they’re making their purchase decision.
In order to reach them with the most appropriate message, it’s important to analyse their previous activity. Using Google Analytics, you can establish which pages they visited on your site, how long they were there and so forth. This way, you know what they’re in the market for, and also where they came from – whether that’s an ad, a Google search or directly to your website.
The what, where and how
The key with retargeting messages is to empower your customer. They’ve already had the idea to purchase for themselves… you’re just giving them to boost they need to take action! For this reason, imperative call-to-action statements are popular, e.g. “Put your plans into action”. You can also create a sense of urgency, by displaying a limited-time discount offer on the service they viewed.
As for where to reach them, Google Ads will do the leg work on that. Once your visitor has picked up a cookie from your site, Google will be able to reach them with your ads across their Google Display and YouTube networks. Likewise social media sites like LinkedIn and Pinterest allow you to do the same. And once you’ve got some user data built up, you can then further analyse each channel to see where your best “bang for buck” remarketing ads are.
The secret to good advertising is that it feels like customer service. By responding to your visitors’ activity and validating their interest, you are continuing to nurture the relationship and remind them that you’re ready and able to assist.
To set up, deploy and optimise remarketing for your business, talk to Ark Advance today.
Canvas Factory’s mission is to make photo printing easy and affordable for everyone. The business believes shoppers should be able to buy cheap canvas prints without sacrificing quality and craftsmanship.
But in such a competitive industry, it is imperative for a company like Canvas Factory to be able to hold trust at all levels and all stages of the buying journey. That’s why Canvas Factory started collecting reviews with Trustpilot.
Their focus on customer satisfaction has helped their Australian team achieve an amazing 9.4/10 rating on Trustpilot, from over 2,600 reviews.
To better understand how the business uses reviews to increase customer confidence and boost marketing efforts, we spoke with Tim Daley, Founder and Managing Director at Canvas Factory.
When Canvas Factory started exploring review solutions, they were looking for two things: a licensed Google Review partner to gain more visibility via Seller Ratings and Rich Snippets, and a platform that would be recognised globally.
Working with Trustpilot has allowed Canvas Factory to get more visibility earlier in the journey. Having reviews displayed right on SERPs (search engine results pages) means customers who plan to purchase a product will be provided with as much information and user-generated content as possible, before they’ve even landed on the website.
In addition to displaying reviews on search, Canvas Factory also showcases its Trustpilot rating and customer reviews at every stage of the journey. The website’s homepage and product pages all include reviews in order to boost customer confidence and reduce scepticism throughout the journey.
Canvas Factory’s homepage
One of Canvas Factory’s product pages
The company also chose to add the Trustpilot trust mark in their customers’ shopping carts. This helps reduce cart abandonment and generally increases conversions.
Customer reviews front and center on Canvas Factory’s checkout page
Canvas Factory understands how important it is to showcase their reputation on social channels too. Today, 59% of consumers visit the brand’s social media account(s) once a week or more before making a purchase, and 87% of consumers trust an ad more if it has a Trustpilot logo or rating.
“Sharing and posting reviews is key to amplifying trust signals to Canvas Factory’s current and future customers. The Trustpilot platform has been used to visually share reviews across the site, post reviews on social media, for broad based advertising and also to integrate reviews into email campaigns. This increases the brand’s visibility and offers consumers a chance to create dialogue, while placing the brand and products into their purchase behaviours.”
Canvas Factory chose Trustpilot as a review platform because of its openness. The business really believes it is essential for all customers to be able to give and share feedback, both positive or negative. Collecting honest feedback allows Canvas Factory to gather consumer insights, identify areas of developments, and engage with existing customers.
The team communicates with customers through Trustpilot reviews: Canvas Factory tries to keep all customers happy and satisfied by addressing issues quickly, as today, 95% of unhappy customers return if the business resolves the issue efficiently.
Example of negative review
“Both the marketing and customer service teams use Trustpilot as a director indicator of how the brand is doing in being consistent with its values, character, and culture,” says Tim.
“Trust is such an important brand asset for us. It supports product and service improvements along with growth and revenue, and allows us to deliver a seamless customer experience.”
“The Trustpilot team have worked closely with us throughout the process, from strategy through to implementation, to ensure that we achieve success with our review strategy. This has been done through regular business reviews, strategy meetings, and A/B testing guidance to ensure that the platform delivers solutions driving results.”
As Canvas Factory continues to grow and improve, they’ll use Trustpilot reviews to continually improve their service, demonstrate their value to new, potential, and existing customers as well as boost sales and revenue.
If you’d like to learn more about what Trustpilot can do for your business, you can get in touch with us here.
A couple of years ago I wrote about a Google tool called Life Events, which interprets people’s search activity to anticipate what they’re likely to do in the near future.
When you think about it, that’s a bit of a superhero power to own. Marketers love to know what people are doing right now. Knowing what they’ll do soon is like taking that ability and dialling it up by a factor of 10. It means you can get the jump on your competition by connecting with those customers before anyone else does, but without investing months or years of relationship building to make the sale.
In 2017, when Life Events was still in nappies, the range of life events (eg, moving home, buying a car) that it could predict from people’s online behaviour was limited. Since then, like any healthy child does, it’s grown bigger and more able.
In the process, it’s become especially useful to any marketer who sells into the home.
Life stages that Live Events can now alert you to include:
If you’re wondering how big a deal this is, the short answer is it’s a really big deal. Traditional marketing targets demographics – millennials, baby boomers, and so on. But that model’s becoming more outdated thanks to tools like Life Events, which use machine learning to predict what people will do in the near future based on what they’re doing now (or just did).
In the words of one blog writer, if you’re still targeting millennials, you might as well be targeting buyers by their star sign. “Consumers going through life events are much more likely to have similar purchase needs than consumers that are merely in the same age, gender or income demographic,” said research company Networked Insights.
Sonos, a company known for pretty cool home sound systems, saw these results from life events targeting:
If you market products for the home – anything from cat food to high-end electronics – and are considering spending money on search advertising, stop now. Your competitors are doing that already, and all you’ll achieve is being listed alongside them in search results. That’s not bad – but you may be able to do much better.
Talk to us about Life Events. It may be a great way to get a serious edge on your competition and boost sales by identifying people just before they’re ready to open their wallets – at a time when your competitors are still ignoring them, the poor fools.
Online marketing has changed the world, especially for the small to medium business.
Being able to target your goods or services specifically and directly to your customers has revolutionised advertising and they way people do business.
Are you a lawyer specialising in immigration? Boom, a simple Google search of “immigration lawyer” will allow local people to find you. People know what they want and you have done the work to ensure you’re easy to find.
But what if immigration is just part of what you do? What if you also help immigrants find their first job in the country too? An immigration lawyer isn’t the first place someone would look when searching for a job.
What do you do if people aren’t looking for your services, even though they might be interested in them? How do you reach people online when they’re not specifically looking for something?
By conducting extensive market research into your customer’s and client’s personas, you can build up a profile of what they need or what they might be interested in. These people are your ‘unreachables’ – the group that are part of your market, but have remained out of your grasp so far.
If you already offer these services or products, then ask yourself why your unreachables don’t know/want your product. Are you on the right platform for them? Are you appealing to the right demographic? Who do they go to instead of you?
Once you figure out who your unreachables are, you’ll be able to target them online.
Targeted Google Ads can use factors such as age, geographical location, gender, relationship status, interests, education and prior search activity to zero in on the people you are trying to attract.
So to go back to our immigration lawyer example, if you want to appeal to those who have just arrived in the country and are looking for a job, then single, 18 -35 year olds with a post-graduate education who are searching terms that fit their specific needs.
In a perfect world, we would have all the money we need to market to each and every potential client or customer. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t like that – we need to pick and choose where we spend our marketing budget.
The best way to get value for money and to attract new customers is to know your audience. As you develop a closer relationship with them, you may begin to recognise similar customers who could also benefit from your service or product. That’s when your business starts to grow.
Attracting new customers is the lifeblood of any company, and finding ways to sell yourself to people who otherwise wouldn’t consider you is an essential part of marketing.
Ark Advance can help you reach new clients who you would have been otherwise hidden from via this type of targeted marketing. Contact us today for more information on how this could work for you and your business.
So after a lot of hard work, your website is on the first page of Google’s search results.
Congratulations, it’s not a simple task. The problem now is that it is surrounded by your competitors. Will it stand out?
Online marketing is a unique beast. The internet can sometimes be the only time you’ll find your name sitting right alongside that of your competitors.
In the pre-search engine days, we wouldn’t have to explicitly state why we’re different, just what we do and how we do it. Now anyone searching our product or service is faced with a list of companies which present themselves as doing all the same thing.
We live in an age of product and pricing parity, especially for small / medium businesses. There’s no longer a unique selling point for many companies – there are simply too many competitors doing the same thing.
You sell scented candles online? Well there’s a 99% chance your competitors sell the exact same candles. You offer a carpet cleaning service? Well there’s no reason why your vacuum does a better job than anyone else’s.
With a level playing field for everyone, it’s up to you to find the difference when it comes to your business, even if it’s a tiny one.
Ok, you and your competitors sell the same scented candles, but when it comes to packaging aesthetics, you can’t be beat. And sure, any cleaning company will do a good job, but do the others offer carpet shampoo that’s guaranteed safe for pets?
The little things will make a difference to your business, but it’s up to you to find them, focus on them, and then leverage them in your marketing.
So how do you stand out from the crowd? What makes your website the one a customer should click on? Depending on what your business does, there are three points of differentiation to consider.
This is the general area that most B2B marketers and consumer marketers spend the majority of their time and dollars. Simply having a better product than your competitors means you will stand out. This may take the form of the latest features, technology, performance, or efficacy.
It sounds easy, but everyone’s trying to make their product the best on the market, and even if you do manage it, your competitors will probably just copy you, so you need to let everyone know you’re the original and best.
Outstanding service isn’t just doing what you promised, it’s going above and beyond what you promised. This includes all the aspects behind the scenes too, from training to ease of ordering. Showing potential customers why your service is better than your competitors can take the form of outstanding testimonials or 5-star Google reviews. People need to see the results of your service, not just your promise that you’re better than everyone else.
There’s no point talking about how you pride yourself on your customer service – every business claims this. No one says, “Our customer service isn’t great, but our product is pretty good!”
Customers will return to you again and again if they feel valued. Taking responsibility for you clients’ overall experience will bring its own rewards, and the little things that you do which others don’t will go along way to your success.
Whatever you choose for your point (s) of differentiation they must be both clear and easy to understand. If you can’t explain why your different from your competitors in a simple sentence, then you need to rethink your sales pitch.
Remember, there are ten results on Google’s front page, not even including the ads. The reason you’re different from the rest must be there for everyone to see, relate to and then hopefully, act upon. Good luck.
This recent article on the Google Analytics blog reminded me of a great strategy that allows you to market your message to a very precise group. Yep, people who have opened their wallets before and – all going well – are most likely to do it again, if you can locate them as they browse the Internet.
Google’s Customer Match product allows you to do exactly this. Just four steps to follow and you should be up and running in moments.
First up, locate a list of their email addresses. Hopefully, that’s close to hand as you have been using it frequently but respectfully with your pre-Christmas email marketing messages.
Now take this list – having encoded it in a Google-approved format – and upload it into your AdWords account. Sit back and let Google see if it can match these addresses with those of existing Google account holders.
All going well you will get a response that confirms that a good number have been matched – and that this number is over the Google threshold. This is the target audience for your advertising.
Finally, you are left with the task of creating some swanky images and / or advertising text to put in front of this audience while they are either, a) using Google Search, b) watching videos on YouTube, or c) reading email messages within their Gmail account. (The only proviso being that they need to be logged into their Google account to make the match work and the advertising be seen.)
So how could you use this over the next few weeks?
Let’s say you are running a Boxing Day Sale with deals so good that spending large on marketing will burn through your margin. Let’s also say you want to reward your customers by letting them know the good news before you tell everyone else.
Yes, you will send out an email letting customers know, hoping they will clear them before Christmas Day. However, you could supplement this with Customer Match to find those customers on Search – YouTube and Gmail as well.
Customer Match is just one of a dozen or so ways you can target your advertising across the Google environment. This short overview of Display Advertising Options provides more detail for anyone interested in finding more nooks and crannies on the Internet to find high quality leads.
It’s with great pleasure that I can confirm the ongoing sponsorship by Ark Advance of the Auckland Arts Festival — 8-26 March 2017. Working with Thierry Pannetier — the festival’s Marketing and Communications Director — we have a list of marketing smarts to implement for 2017.
Google Analytics was our focus in 2016. First up, we helped them gain ownership over their Google Analytics and Google AdWords account and then managed the upgrade to Google Tag Manager.
This upgrade enabled us to track a range of intricate website behaviours — such as:
– PDF documents being downloaded from the site
– Email addresses clicked for both desktop and mobile audiences
– Users clicking outbound links to their social media properties
– Measuring how far down users scroll on particularly deep pages
– Detailed use of the shopping cart
To explain all this new data, we took the festival team through our Google Analytics Group Training so they could interpret all this new data as valuable marketing information. Custom dashboards were then installed so summaries of the key points could be presented to their management team.
As you can imagine, the arts is not a category awash with advertising spend, so there’s no room for wastage. This improved level of measurement enabled the team to see exactly where their dollars were producing the greatest return.
Part of our sponsorship has us “matched” with one of the festival performances. Last year it was Emily Kingin the Spiegeltent — she was nothing short of amazing. This year we are with Mexrrissey, where Morrissey gets a mex-over — tequila anyone?
Somehow you have heard of others growing their business by buying clicks on Google. Deep down you wonder if this could be the trick to give you the growth you want. However, you are stretched for time and drowning under a deluge of tasks. All of which means you are suffering from some serious Google advertising FOMO (fear of missing out).
Thankfully you have three minutes to read this short note and get a quick business-owner-focused primer on the key parts of Google Advertising and whether it could work for you.
First, some background on my experience with Google clicks. My company started buying Google advertising on behalf of its customers way back in September 2003. Thirteen years managing hundreds of different campaigns has helped us see what does and doesn’t work for this channel. So here are my top four reasons to either slay or nurture any FOMO feeling you may have.
1. You have a product or service that people search Google for.
If you sell a product or service in a category that no one knows about, it follows that few people will search for it on Google. Basic, I know, but easy to trip up on. Let’s say, for instance, that you develop new software that analyses a Xero account and reveals what’s required to double the profit of the business.
You start a Google campaign, bidding on the search terms “profit”, “improve profit” and the nebulous term “business software”. One search term you don’t bid on is “Xero Accounting Software Profit Improvement Add On” – because nobody is looking for that. So you’re stuck with your three choices. And you struggle to produce results because behind the search terms “profit”, “improve profit” and “business software” are dozens of different types of searchers all looking for very different things.
Compare this to someone who sells sisal carpet. People will go to Google looking for sisal carpet with the phrase – you guess it – “sisal carpet”. Their chances of success are better – but profits are still not guaranteed.
2. They followed the dollars they spent
Profitable clicks are those that convert. For your business, converting could look like someone arriving at your website and deciding to call your office, fill in your quote request, purchase an item from your shop or even book a meeting at your clinic. By doing any or all of these great things your click visitors become click prospects or, even better, click customers.
Unfortunately, buying clicks doesn’t automatically mean you will be able to track their ability to convert. Tracking may well require some setup in your website analytics account. Not a lot, but still some. And it’s important you do that so you know if spending your hard earned advertising budget with Google is working or not.
3. Money was invested in the juiciest of baits
I can assure you that Google will help you spend any budget you have in lots of different ways. So the smart advertisers go where the returns are the greatest.
There are two main places your Google dollars can go: the first is above and below the Google search results, and the second is on websites that support Google Advertising. Thinking about the different customer dynamics at play in each case will help you choose where to spend your money.
Consider that people generally go to Google to solve a problem. This week, for example, I’ve been looking for some new trail running lights to help me deal with the dark evenings. Last week it was to find a piece of equipment to help us improve our printing at the office. In both cases I went to Google and hunted down the solution.
During my quest I was taken to a range of websites that included Google Advertising in the form of banners around the text. I was hungry to get information, so I just screened the banners out – they had little effect.
It’s easier to sell to people who are searching to solve a problem. The bigger the better. Therefore, we always suggest you buy search clicks before buying clicks from banners. Think of Google search being the land of problem solving, whereas banners is the land of interruption.
Of course you can test this yourself by setting up a test to try both types of advertising and seeing which delivers the best results for you.
4. Control freaks have more fun
The thought of running a test like the one I just suggested could feel utterly repulsive for some. Dealing in that level of detail for such a small part of your business may not make sense. Unfortunately, detail is where success lives for Google advertisers. Like it or not, you, or someone in your business, or someone you pay needs to focused on it.
Avoiding detail can cost you when buying Google clicks. For instance, when you set up a new advertising account with Google, by default they’ll display your ads around the search results and also on websites. What’s more, the default search term settings when you build your campaign allows Google maximum interpretation in how they are displayed.
For instance, you may want to bid on “computer servicing”, intending to reach businesses who need a mobile service like yours that can come in, solve a problem, and leave. Google doesn’t have to worry about that. It’s free to show your ads when someone types in “service my computer at home” or “computer service training” – neither of which are relevant to your business.
As to whether you should experience FOMO at all, here are three questions to ask:
Answer “yes” to any one of these and you can rid yourself of FOMO for Google Advertising. Feel better?
For everyone else, contact us today and we will help you turn your Fear into Action – perhaps some AdWords group training could be a good start?
Youŕe a busy business owner and the idea of starting anything new makes you shudder. However, you’ve heard that others have transformed their website from a brochure into something special. So you’re committed – but where do you start?
This three-minute primer is for you – any anyone else struggling with online marketing FOMO plus a task list longer than their arm? It distills my 16 years of online marketing experience into techo free jargon to get you started.
First I need you to look at your website in a different way. Chuck out any thoughts of it being technical or colourful – from now on think of it as a sales person. Yep, shiny shoes, white socks and a charming smile. It’s tasked with selling your business and the solutions you provide – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The outcome of any online marketing tactic is to improve your sales person’s ability to sell.
This can be a challenge – impossible even – if you can’t measure who visits your website and what they do while there. That’s where Website Analytics – yours free from Google Analytics – fits in. Register for an account, install a piece of code onto every page of your website, and you’ll start to see how busy the site is and where your visitors arrive from.
A word of advice: go no further until you’ve properly set it up and configured it. Without a reliable way to measure your progress, you’ll get hopelessly lost trying to figure out where your time and money are best spent.
Now that you have measurement sorted, the next step is to find where your visitors come from. A few will arrive by typing your web address into their browser. Some may come via a link in your email newsletter. A few more could arrive from a recent Linkedin or Facebook post.
And then there’s Google. Your measurement tools will tell you the role it plays in sending you traffic. Don’t be surprised if it accounts for up to 50%.
Now most online marketing is about increasing website visitors, especially when it involves Google. And armies of jargon wielding people will tell you they can improve your visibility on Google.
However, improving visibility is NOT the whole story.
For instance, imagine you’ve employed a website salesperson who’s converted 1% of the visitors they saw. So last month your site made 50 sales after being visited by 5000 people. Your target, however, is 150 sales. At the current conversion rate, you therefore need to see 15,000 people, not 5000. That’s a LOT of extra traffic and, if you use Google AdWords, it’s going to cost you a LOT to buy it. That’s assuming the extra traffic is even there in the first place.
So improving visibility is likely to be a poor move. Here’s the smart one – improve your conversion rate from 1% to 3%.
And that brings us to a lesser known element of online marketing – conversion optimisation.
Conversion optimisation is like tuning your sales person’s script. It could involve writing additional web pages to suit different kinds of prospects. Or producing a range of videos to make it easier for prospects to see your service in action. Be aware this is not easy work – but it’s a lot more effective, and cheaper, than bumping up your ad spend with Google to get more traffic.
Conversion optimisation requires methodical testing to see if the changes you make actually make a difference. Once you are successful at increasing conversion rates to two or three times that of your competitors, you’ll have gained a massive commercial advantage – especially when you and they are competing equally for the same type of Google clicks.
Good online marketing has you sharing your time between these three spaces: traffic generation, conversion optimisation and website analytics. Get it right and your website should be the best salesperson you ever employed.
So how about getting rid of that FOMO feeling for ever? Try one of our affordable group training products for either Google Analytics or Google AdWords – or even both :).
* FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. LOL!
Hands up if you have enough hours in the day to deliver all the online marketing campaigns you want when you want?
For most there is a conflict, with too much required to be done with too little resource. Which leaves the challenging task of deciding which tasks will produce the greatest return when none have been deployed yet.
But what if there was a way to deploy a selection of campaigns without any manual intervention? You know – marketing campaigns running on autopilot, each focused on achieving its own little “win” for your business with little, if any, time “loss”?
Welcome to the land of online marketing orchestration. Think of this as a “techo buzz phrase” for configuring your online and offline marketing tools to achieve business benefits without the need of any human interaction.
Sound too good to be true? Over the years we have helped set up and configure a range of orchestrations for clients wanting to achieve just this. Here are three examples:
Orchestration #1: Welcoming the new email list subscriber.
I’ll start with the most basic of options which avoids the “black hole” experienced by so many website visitors completing subscription forms – receiving a “Thank You” web page and then … nothing. They then have no idea if their address made it through to the right place and if they are actually on the list.
The simple orchestration automatically sends the subscriber just what they were expecting – a “Welcome” email letting them know all went well. Because of their inherent level of expectation, you should expect an open rate that’s well above your standard baseline. What happens after that first message then depends on the frequency of your messaging and the complexity of your content.
For instance, for a large New Zealand FMCG company we configured orchestration to deliver five messages over two weeks. This dovetailed nicely with their newsletter delivery schedule and allowed them to point new subscribers to specific areas of their vast content library that the subscribers could find interesting.
Orchestration #2: Welcoming the new customer
Now let’s ramp up the complexity a bit. Let’s assume that sales and marketing have done their job and a freshly minted new customer has joined. The task now is to use a selection of online marketing tools to properly “Welcome” them into the fold. There are lots of ways to go about it – I’ll highlight a couple of projects we have worked on.
The first was for a medium-sized service business which chose email and phone as their primary channels of communication. To begin, a series of emails explained the ins and outs of how the company would manage their new piece of work.
The emails were orchestrated to drip feed out over the first few weeks. They were supplemented with a sequence of phone calls from the account management staff. The type and timing of the call was driven by how the clients had engaged with the emails. For instance, someone who wasn’t opening or interacting with anything was called earlier and by a more senior person than those who were.
My second example relates to a card-based loyalty scheme. Here, how the card was used determined the sequence and content of messaging for new customers. This requires a close technical link between the messaging technology and the client’s transactional system. Once the link was formed, the possibilities opened up and orchestration could be designed to respond to card holders’ behaviour.
Orchestration #3: Using email to complete stalled web behaviours
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who put something in your shopping cart actually purchased it? Or how about those who came to your service-based website, browsed your pages multiple times across many days, BUT STILL failed to pick up the phone or complete your online quote request?
Unfortunately, neither scenario can be completely solved by deploying orchestrations – but they can be improved upon. For instance, an abandoned shopping cart could prompt a follow up email or a tailored piece of creative in your remarketing advertising.
If the person has previously subscribed to your email newsletter (and is now a prospect), and they then return to your website many times over the next few days – all without converting – then it may be an idea to automatically schedule a phone call from your account management team to check in on their requirements.
There are many more possible orchestrations. All require effort to set up and configure; however, the effort invested has the potential to keep on giving, as orchestrations run on autopilot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Sound interesting? Contact us today for a discussion on how orchestrations could help your business.
Can one thing really transform your website marketing? Yes it can.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as writing better ads, buying more clicks or changing the colour of your website.
But it helps if you redefine your opinion of the “job” that Google does for your prospect.
To do that, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes for a moment. Now think of the last time you made a decision without having any alternatives to choose from. It was probably a long time ago, if at all. It is a challenge to know you are making the right choice when there are no wrong choices available.
That’s how it is for your prospects who arrive via Google. When they have only one option, Google doesn’t feature. They go to Google looking for options, plural, not an option.
But they don’t want dozens of options – research has shown that too many options can make forming a decision nearly impossible. I’m going to guess (ie, I have no scientific proof – the number just “feels” right) that they look for around five.
Their task, then, is to whittle this list down to a small group they think are worth their most precious of resources – time. And the focus is on whittling down, rather than keeping on.
And this, my friend, is where the “one thing” lives that ensures your business remains on your prospect’s list.
Is it your many years of experience fixing their kind of problems? Or the speed at which your vans arrive. Or the cost of your solution? Or the technology you provide that your competitors can’t?
Remember Marketing 101 and your Unique Selling Proposition? I know it’s basic stuff, and we are all a lot smarter than that now, but in the rush to establish a successful business did you perhaps overlook this when creating your website’s content?
I believe all successful business are that way because they have a USP – whether the business owners understand what it is or not. So the conversation may go like this.
“Ok Jane, I can see that your business has grown like topsy over the last 10 years and has an impressive list of clients. So tell me, what makes your Accountancy Practice so different from others in the Auckland region?”
Jane then goes on to list five significant areas that make her stand out from her competitors in a way that is relevant to her prospects.
I then get out my laptop and load up her website’s home page in my browser. This is the page over 80% of her visitors see first. And we start looking for each of the five points she mentioned being highlighted on the home page. And they’re not. (Or not much.)
That’s why Jane’s home page bounce rate is so high and her conversion rates so low. It’s also why her existing online marketing support hasn’t been able to solve the problem over the last six months.
Owning a strong USP can be a magical thing in transforming your online marketing.
I have found myself willing to struggle through more than one poorly designed website with atrocious graphics that load at a snail’s pace all because the website told me this business delivered EXACTLY what I was looking for.
But present a website that tells me you offer the same as everyone else on my list and I don’t care how appealing your site looks – I’ll find a reason to bumped you off. And it won’t have to be a big reason. It might be how fast your website loads, or images I don’t love, or difficulty in reading your content on a mobile device. Dumb things that cause you to lose business because there is nothing else to engage prospects’ attention.
Now I realise that competitive markets are competitive because the USP’s that survive in them are subtle and transient. So creating this “one thing” will be more challenging for some than others. Nevertheless, time spent here will be well rewarded in your online marketing efforts.
For instance, your USP-driven ad copy will push your PPC click through rates up – improving your quality score, which will lower your per-click cost. Landing pages written with your USP in mind can raise your conversion rates, lower your cost per lead. Benefits can also flow into your email marketing and social media.
So why not take some time this week to get back to Marketing 101 and list the points that define your USP, then see how good a job your landing pages are doing at explaining them?
Let’s think of your website as a sales person. Let’s also assume they are not a high performing soul delivering you a mass of leads and sales every month, but the opposite – someone struggling to make a dent in their monthly quota.
But there is hope. Just like salespeople, websites can be turned around. The first step is to pinpoint the exact areas of struggle then quickly coach the person or fix the website – to direct things back on track.
I have first hand experience in this turnaround process for both people and websites: fourteen years running Ark Advance and, before that, five years managing a sales team for an outsource mail processing company. I can assure you, the attributes of troubled salespeople and troubled websites are very similar. Here are the top six that come to mind.
1. Not seeing enough people
These were the sales people everyone in the office liked, mainly because they spent so much time in our office instead of in the offices of our prospects presenting great solutions. Just like your salespeople, your website needs visits to make it work. Now we may not require thousands per week, but there needs to enough to make it work. And if you are struggling to rank naturally within Google then it could be time to whip out your wallet and invest in some paid advertising to get the wheels turning.
2. Seeing the wrong people
Some salespeople making enough visits, but with the wrong people. For instance, they chew up hours presenting to people without the authority to make the purchase. In website marketing, this is similar to buying Google Advertising clicks on keywords that your target audience will probably never use. For instance clicks on the search phrase “business profit” for a business coaching service when most prospects arrive behind the keywords “business coach” or “business mentor”.
3. Failing to get the message across
These salespeople make it into the right office to pitch the right product to the right person – and still it turns to custard. There are a few things that can go off the rails here.
In direct sales, the first place I’d look would be the questions the salesperson is asking. But websites struggle to ask questions, so all you have is your content. Perhaps it’s the format that is failing. Perhaps it’s all a mass of text when your prospects will respond better with a mix of text, video and audio. Maybe you’ve got content written for all your prospects instead of content in different sections, each talking to the needs of specific audiences?
4. Failing to ask for the sale
And then you have the person who is great until the end when – BAM! – they don’t ask for the sale. This is similar to a website which hides its Contact Us page or fails to offer any juicy conversion choices that allows prospects to ‘raise their hand”.
5. Not following up on those who are “thinking about it”
Nearly there – we now have those who present well, ask for the sale and get the common response “let me think about it – come back to me later”. And guess what – they don’t. Nobody is followed up and prospects go cold and sales go begging. In website marketing this is about failing to deploy all the clever electronic reminder tactics available to you. Email marketing and Google’s remarketing product are great examples of tactics that neatly fit this need. Which leads me to the final hurdle.
6. Not selling to those who have bought before
Our salespeople began with a territory with customers to manage. The smart ones – wanting the easy way in life – began by selling more services to existing clients. The strugglers avoided those customers like the plague and went out to make a name for themselves quickly with new work from new clients. Very rarely did it turn out well. Think of this like avoiding your sizable email marketing list of current and ex-customers to instead embark on some Google Advertising.
There you go – six attributes that will ensure marketing failure. Do the opposite, and you will be well on the way to turning your struggling website into something that sells for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All without the hassles that come with managing their human equivalent. Contact us today if you would like to introduce us to your online marketing experience.
I have no idea how my Ford Kuga manages to direct me on how to successfully parallel park. I just press the correct button and then follow the prompts on the dashboard screen. Likewise, it’s beyond me how Google Maps can predict to the closest minute the time I will arrive back home. I just look at the right point on the screen and there the data is.
They both hide the all the complexity they have mastered and provide me with the right prompts in the right way so I park safely and follow the correct path on my journey home.
Online marketing carries its own level of complexity too. And for the business owner, controlling outsourced activity can be a challenge when the necessary success prompts are missing. How do you manage a supplier who has a lot more expertise in their specialty than you will ever want to achieve?
Nevertheless, you want to guard against paying for the worst type of online marketing service – repetition without change. Especially when every dollar invested needs to be questioned to ensure that a) each dollar is being well spent; and b) the money spent last month is being built upon this month.
So here are my eight tasks to help you direct your online marketing outsource supplier. After 14 years in the same industry think of them as questions that help classify you as a client who is a few steps ahead of the rest.
Firstly, let’s talk about what overall success looks like when you outsource some of your online marketing. Some see it as a top Google ranking for a search phrase that’s important to them. The more business savvy see it as a consistent but growing stream of sales or sales leads – each at an affordable cost.
Or as golfers say, “you drive for show, but putt for dough”. Achieving good Google rankings is driving, and improving your site’s conversion rate is putting. You need both, but with a duff putter even the best driver will struggle.
With that cleared up, let’s kick off with the boring part. Google Analytics.
I can imagine few business owners bouncing out of bed on Monday morning hyped up about briefing their outsource provider to correctly configure their website analytics account. However, it’s in here that our first two tasks live. And without them completed all the other “sexy stuff”- social media spend, Google AdWords budgets and so on – are challenging, if not impossible, to successfully direct.
Task #1 – Track as much as you can about who does what on your website. Playing videos, downloading PDFs, scrolling down the page, exiting to visit your Facebook page and completing your Quote Request forms – it all needs to be tracked so you can see what is and isn’t working.
Task #2 – Allocate leads or sales to each stream of traffic your website receives. Think of each stream being silver, gold or mud. Once your analytics is correctly configured all should be revealed so you can keep the gold coming and divert the mud to someone else.
Next, Google Advertising, where. I boil all the complexity down to just three results-oriented tasks.
Task #3 – Calculate your advertising cost per lead. I realise you have the cost of your outsourcer to add in but this should still be a useful guide.
Task #4 – Calculate the trend line of leads per month. Seasonality issues aside, you should expect an upward slope. Ads should be being tweaked, landing pages tested and new keywords trialed – all to generate the one outcome: more leads this month than last.
Task #5 – Select search terms now proven to move to SEO. Do you always want to pay Google for clicks? Now that you have proven the conversion viability of selected search terms through advertising and superior analytics, you can move them into your search engine optimisation plan.
Which leads us nicely into search engine optimisation. Here I have just two items to focus on.
Task #6 – Add content to your website. Why? To improve the ranking of the keywords that have delivered conversions in your paid advertising efforts. Think blog posts, FAQ articles, service outlines, product overviews – any of these can be added to help Google crawlers find and index new content and refresh its current ranking result.
Task #7 – Enjoy the new links your site now has from other high quality websites like yours. I’m not talking about 10,000 links all of a sudden from sites you never hope to visit yourself. I’m talking about sites linking to yours because some human has convinced another that the content on your website would help people visiting theirs.
Finally, I distill the complex area of conversion optimisation down into one task for you to monitor.
Task #8 – Review and, where appropriate, change the content on your website to convince more visitors to convert this month than they did last month.
Which brings us neatly back to my opening comment about success looking more like sales conversions than high search rankings. Traffic problems can be solved with your wallet and Google advertising. Then all that’s left is for your content to fix any remaining conversion problems.
There you go; eight tasks that will increase your chances of success and make managing your outsource relationship a bit easier. Admittedly, I’ve simplified things a little to keep the tasks down to eight, but if you follow these guidelines you will avoid paying for the same results repeatedly, and start seeing real progress with your online marketing efforts.
As buyers we all know when it is time to “tell” rather than “sell”.
This weekend I met a salesperson who knew the difference between the two. My eldest daughter, Maddy, is in the early stages of looking for a new Apple iMac computer. So we ended up at one of the hundreds of Apple retailers in Auckland. It was picked because it was near a cafe we planned to go to for lunch afterwards.
We started in front of some shiny Apple screens not knowing exactly what we were looking at. Now fortunately for us, we managed to flag down the right salesperson. She sauntered over and started to gently ask Maddy a few questions. Questions about what she wanted the machine for, the applications she would be running and how long she expected to spend using it.
The salesperson brought with her a small piece of paper showing the product specs of the range. After a short chat, she pointed out the ones would be ideal and why. I then asked the “Dad Question”: why wouldn’t she buy the cheapest of the two? The assistant did a great job of explaining the technical differences in a way that we both could understand.
And then she said nothing. No fancy close. No whipping out a handheld computer to tap in stuff to give us a special deal. Just handed us her card and told us which of the two we were in front of. Advising us to have a play and get a feel of what we were considering.
And considering it, we were. Spending over $3,500 takes a bit of time to digest. So we left knowing more than when we arrived and with a feeling that this business: (a) could help us, and (b) knew a lot about how to match the right iMac to the right Apple purchaser.
As I said before, there are probably hundreds of Auckland retailers who sell Apple products but after that simple exchange these guys would now be at the top of our list.
Effective lead nurturing helps you get to the top of the list your prospects have for what you sell.
Here’s how to get involved.
#1 Produce great content to capture your prospect’s attention – and their email address.
We all head to the Internet when researching that next chunky purchase. We will trade our email address along the way for content that will make our search so much easier. Think value, not necessarily volume.
Automatically most people think “eBooks” here, but that doesn’t have to be the case. We have a customer who created a very simple MS Excel calculator plugin that was extremely valuable for his prospects. When they registered to get it for free, which many hundreds did, it solved a very complex calculation in a jiffy. This same theme permeated their very comprehensive and expensive software product which these prospects were ideal customers for.
#2 Talk to them as long as it makes sense.
Maddy will need her new computer before March. I would guess that a three month consideration period is usual for a computer like this. Deciding on what car to buy could take a lot longer, and likewise deciding which graphic designer should design your next logo may be faster than picking a car but longer than buying an iMac.
Let’s also assume that all decisions that should be made by prospects: will be. So there’s an ideal time period to say what you need to say while people are considering. Leave it too late and the purchase would have been made and the relevance lost.
#3 Givers gain.
Capturing your prospect’s attention is the top task after they have traded their email address for your content..
Just a quick refresher: now is not the time to sell, but to tell. And the “telling” part focuses on helping the prospect through the decision-making process. Those that sell complex services have a distinct advantage here, especially when there’s a lot that can go wrong with a poor decision. Think “complex software purchases that never go live”, i.e. business rebranding exercises that actually reduce sales rather than increase them. Situations like these where the risk of a negative outcome can be quite high.
Any content you can offer here to help people avoid these steps will be well received. Drip-feeding it to people in manageable chunks of email ensures you remain at the top of people’s minds as the time of consideration continues.
This leaves you with the task of managing who gets what and when. Thankfully there’s a range of technology to make this a breeze.
#4 Dissolve the complexity with the right technology.
So you are drip-feeding snippets of highly valuable content to possibly hundreds of prospects who are “considering” what you offer. Some are more active than others at this and could be clicking the links in your messages with a frenzy; others could be a bit more passive. The rest flit between the two states while receiving the series of messages you provide.
Somehow you need to isolate those who are keen to buy, possibly for some telemarketing activities, and respectfully and gently nurture those who are still pondering their choices. Thankfully there’s a range of lead-nurturing technology that can make this mind meld act a relatively simple task.
We support a range of tools that do just this. You can start from just $10 per month and head northwards. The more you pay, the more complexity you can manage. However most starting out have quite simple needs so the low-cost technology is usually a starter.
Our experience doesn’t start and end with the tools. We have expertise in creating the content to get the system started AND the messages required to keep the momentum going to the successful end.
Follow these steps and you should end up with a pipeline packed with prospects slowly moving further along their decision-making process.
Contact us today to learn how to design a pipeline like this for your business.
How much time does your website need to convert its next visitor into a sale? A minute? Two – perhaps three or even six? What are we dealing with here? Now how much time does your visitor have? And what happens if they have less time than you need to convert them?
I know – lots of questions for this early in the year. Nevertheless, I believe that most websites need to offer their visitors more time in order to make the essential visitor conversion. This is in part due to some fundamental errors made in online marketing that end up chewing through valuable visitor time.
This short article will guide you through making the best use of all the time you have. I’ll also share some ways to actually create more time – so giving your next visitor a greater chance of converting than ever before.
Sound good? OK – let’s get started.
So how much time do you actually have to make that conversion? Dig into your Google Analytics account and:
For instance if the average session is 1.5 minutes and those converting take 6.5 minutes then we have a sizable 5 minute gap to work with. Figuring out what they are doing or thinking for those extra five minutes it takes them to convert is the first job.
Are you asking them to take too big a step to become a conversion?
For instance, the website may require them to fill in a detailed quotation request form which asks for a myriad of details, some of which they may have no idea of. Perhaps a simple contact form that just asks for their phone and email may be super easy for them and just enough info for you to start the process off.
Or perhaps your e-commerce website is gobbling up too much time for first time shoppers. It may not allow for guest-only purchasing. So they HAVE to go through the new user registration phase – including perhaps coming up with a dastardly complex password that only your system requires.
Aarrgghh – all too much and too hard and taking way too long to make purchasing that nice little Art Deco lamp from your site just a distant memory.
Your website copy could be a problem too. Maybe you take an age to get to the point, describing exactly what you do and why you are so much better than the rest in your market. Technology service companies can struggle here. Distilling all that clever stuff into a headline and top of page body copy is never going to be easy. But it could pay big dividends.
Video can be a lifesaver here. A well-written and well-produced 60 second video can get very complex theories across with total clarity. We added another 30 seconds to ours to get our Pay Per Click advertising and Search Engine Optimisation services across in a “hefty” 90 seconds. It works – results show that those who play the videos are far more likely to buy.
Misconfigured advertising can chew through valuable visitor time too. For instance let’s say you are using Pay Per Click advertising and your ad places the person looking for a new set
of dress shoes on the homepage of your shoe website. Time would have been saved if they’d gone straight to the dress shoe section of the site. Hopefully, they will navigate from the home page to the right page – but as they do they will chew their through valuable session time which could be spent picking the colour and style they want, falling in love with the
shoes, and ensuring they complete the purchase.
Which leads me nicely onto the concept that the visitor time you have to work with is relatively fixed.
We only expect to spend so much time to buy or make contact with your sales team. And the more we all get used to searching and shopping online, the more I believe this time will dwindle. Super-fast and slick websites like Amazon make owning an electronic book something you can do in seconds, not minutes. And closer to home, websites like MightyApe make the whole e-commerce experience super quick and easy.
So what can you do this year to keep up with players like these and slash the time it takes for a visitor to convert?
Firstly, see how large your gap is between the average session times and those that convert. Track this gap each month as you roll out some of the strategies below.
There you go. Your time may be fixed and possibly falling during the year – nevertheless apply some of the ideas I list here and you will make the most of the time you have.
Give us a call today or complete our speedy contact form if you would like to chat through how these strategies could be tailored to work with your business.
There you go. Your time may be fixed and possibly falling during the year – nevertheless apply some of the ideas I list here and you will make the most of the time you have.
Give us a call today or complete our speedy contact form if you would like to chat through how these strategies could be tailored to work with your business.
The holiday season is just around the corner but does your marketing need to hit pause too?
Here are a few tips to keep your online marketing working while you don’t. Yep you read correctly. It toils away doing all that you want, while you enjoy sun, sand, sea and, of course, the mandatory socialising.
Keeping in touch with those that matter is first up. By using email as the medium and any effective software solution as your tool (options for automation are aplenty). Let’s start with keeping your prospects updated.
Few sales people convert everyone they present to. To keep prospects thinking, how about a regular series of polite messages with a friendly gap between each and a sizable dollop of valuable content in them all? Nothing too wordy – just enough to keep them really thinking about your proposal as opposed to everything else that has since arrived on their desk.
Just staying in touch keeps you ahead of the pack. For “bonus points” and the bits to put you into the top 10%, why not also monitor who opens your messages and then further customise your content to suit those who are engaging a lot or very little. (For super bonus points, why not fire off a task to the sales person of the prospect when they click on a link and visit your website for a sizeable amount of time.)
Staying in touch with your customers over the break could be worthwhile too. Perhaps those who have purchased for the first time and need to be schooled in the hows and whys of what they have purchased. Again, small snippets of content with a way to track engagement is a smart way to proceed here.
Now let’s move up the sales funnel. What automation can your lead generation take? Google AdWords can help here. For instance, advertising campaigns can be built and scheduled to start or finish at predetermined dates to coincide with when someone is around to answer the phone.
You can also configure AdWords so that two search ads run against each other, with the winner picked based on its engagement performance. So while you sit back and enjoy the break, your advertising is getting smarter and smarter. Sound nice?
Another option is to let Google AdWords count people down to an offer that ends on a fixed date – for instance, shipping deadlines or Boxing Day sales. In each case, some recent ad copy automation enhancements could be handy. See the example below, which show some smart ways to incorporate this into ads. Set the date and let Google alter the ad copy until it ends, after which it will switch out the ad with another that’s best run when the date either ends or starts.
Remarketing is another “set and forget” piece of Google AdWords marketing that’s ideal for your holiday plans. A quick recap for those new to remarketing: This is where people arrive on your website and then either do or don’t do something that interests you. (Say they don’t purchase but do look at your latest online catalogue.)
By meeting certain criteria they are placed within advertising “audiences” which you then set up to be advertised to through banner ads placed around selected internet sites (like the NZ Herald or Youtube, for example). Once the rules are set up, those who qualify as your audience begin to see your banner based advertising without any involvement from you.
Finally, let’s talk about improving your natural rankings within the Google search engine while you enjoy the sun. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, unfortunately this one is impossible. Improving your SEO requires deliberate work.
All I ask is if you want to change things here is that you spend a few moments of your well earned break brainstorming what new pieces of content you or your team can produce in the New Year. Sometimes hard work is the only way forward – and this is one of those situations.
BUT don’t forget the points I’ve raised here. There’s a good few in here that will keep things moving while you are are doing the opposite over the holiday period.
From all us here at Ark Advance, have a good break.