5 Ways to Maximize Audience Engagement with a Single Word: Easy

Let’s start with what might sound like an obvious fact: the more engaged your audience, the more likely they are to eventually give you money.

 

Engagement is, of course, a fluid concept that refers to a host of metrics, including bounce rates, pages per visit, session durations, attention minutes, scroll depth, media clicks, social shares, comments and micro conversions. For content-oriented sites – where “sticky” viewership is what drives sales – optimizing for engagement-oriented metrics is often the best way to maximize revenue.

 

Why? Because until you have a loyal, engaged audience that’s hungry for your content – not to mention, an audience that actually trusts you – you’ll never have a chance at monetization.

 

Unfortunately, the internet is a noisy place. The insane proliferation of all things content – not just blogging but social, mobile, audio, video, and app (thank you Pokémon Go) – have made engagement more difficult than ever. Today, the world’s biggest bloggers and content producers are focusing their engagement goals on attention, customizing metrics tools to measure attention, and creating strategies that aim to attract attention.

 

So, what does it all comes down to?

 

One word: easy.

 

Unless your content is easy – easy to (1) scan, (2) interact with, (3) load, (4) share, and even (5) monetize – it doesn’t stand a chance.

 

1. Easy to Scan

 

Just like the opening line above, this first tip might seem obvious. Sadly many brands still create pages without taking important aspects of their layout into account, such as the font sizes and typefaces of the text, or the use of bullet lists and subheadlines to break up the experience into digestible chunks.

 

When your visitors open your web pages and see long blog posts with ornate, small text that has no breathing room, this can immediately drive them to leave the site and find something else that’s easier to follow.

 

Eye scan data shows that on the web, people don’t exactly read very much. Instead, we “scan” pages, running our eyes from top to bottom along the left side of text blocks, in a pattern that resembles the letter F. When something catches our eye as potentially interesting, we’ll read a few words across to the right, but then we move on. The more inviting your design and typography styles are, the more likely people will be to actually read complete sections of your pages.

 

 

f-pattern

 

 

Tools like FontPair will help you find the perfect Google Font pairings to compliment your site and brand messaging, which can, in turn, help increase your site’s visit times and engagement performance. To create your stylesheets with selections based on FontPair’s recommended combinations, you can easily identify the fonts most suitable for your brand, download them for free and start publishing pages that are optimized for engagement.

 

 

fontpairImage Source

 

 

Alongside of a scannable layout and font, do not overlook the crucial role that visuals play in your pages ability to command attention. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images, and infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than other any other type of content.

 

As Neil Patel points out in his Guide to Creating a Killer blog:

 

Be sure to include as much visual content into your articles as possible.

 

The brain processes images far faster than text. Creating an attention-grabbing image at the top of your article is simply a great way to engage users and encourage them to read the article.

 

Adding images throughout the article also helps people keep reading, and encourages sharing.

 

Generally speaking, the more images, the better. Or at least to a point – you don’t want to overwhelm people with visual noise.

 

2. Easy to Interact With

 

Engagement, attention, and interaction all go hand in hand.

 

In fact, interactive content is one of the most exciting solutions for keeping users engaged and interested in your site.

 

With interactive content, site visitors feel a heightened sense of attachment to your pages, as they’ve essentially played a role in how your content takes shape. By spending time interacting with your site, they’re all the more likely to share their content experiences with their peers.

 

It’s easy to create and embed interactive elements for your pages using tools like Playbuzz. A free platform for editorial use, Playbuzz allows you to create customizable content for your website in the form of quizzes, polls, flip cards and more. This platform is an excellent opportunity to increase attention minutes and social sharing, and it also helps inject a sense of meaningful connection to the user experience.

 

 

playbuzz-interactive-contentImage Source

 

 

What’s more, interactive content is a powerful monetization strategy. Pura Vida Bracelets, for example, hit the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in large part due to their seven-question quiz:

 

The quiz has been taken by more than 37,000 site visitors, 18,000 of whom have opted to provide their email addresses, which is a mind blowing conversion rate of 48.6%. Not only does the quiz suggest the perfect bracelet, but also uses the data collected to highlight specific aspects of a visitor’s personality. The interactive nature of the quiz can help create strong bonds between the company and customers who ultimately become brand evangelists.

 

In addition to quizzes, polls, and flip cards, another hallmark of making your content easy to interact with is online chat. Unfortunately, the mistake many companies make on the online-chat front is forcing visitors and customers to come to them through a confusing maze of email strings and on-site logins. Instead, make chat insanely easy by going to your audience through a native tool like Facebook Messenger. Messenger is an easy way to not only provide instant feedback and brand announcements, but to also manage ecommerce engagement.

 

There are even tools like Bontact that allow marketers to offer multi-platform live chat to site visitors. So a conversation that starts in the widget on your web pages can easily move to Messenger, text, Skype, phone, email, screenshare or any number of other platforms.

 

 

bontact-on-websiteImage Source

 

 

In the age of branded experiences spanning multiple devices, platforms, apps and customer journey phases, giving your site visitors the ability to interact with you on the channel of their choice can make a lasting impression.

 

3. Easy to Load

 

One of the biggest attention-killers for websites is the amount of time that it takes for the site to load. Over half of all web sessions are on mobile devices, which don’t support the same connectivity speeds as computers. What’s more, we’re spending more and more time with our screens, so that time is becoming increasingly scarce and user patience is dwindling.

 

Data shows that just one second in load delays can drop conversions by 7%, three seconds of waiting for pages to load decreases satisfaction rates by 16%, and load time lags of four seconds make for 25% higher bounce rates. That’s an engagement killer if ever there was one.

 

There are, however, solutions for improving your site delivery times, such as minimizing image file sizes with a tool like ImageOptim (Mac) or TinyPNG (web app) and using platforms like Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Content Marketing Institute’s recent “Tips and Tools to Ensure Speed Doesn’t Kill Your Site” offers a handful of low-hanging, speed-optimizing fruits designed specifically for content marketers to implement.

 

For truly rapid page loads, however – especially in the world of ecommerce – you may need to look into non-DIY solutions. CMI’s last tip is all about investing in a content delivery network (CDN), which is essentially a network of servers that host your site’s media assets in different locations around the world, for faster access.

 

 

cdn-cachingImage Source

 

 

For best-in-class page load speeds, it’s imperative to use intelligent and customizable caching algorithms. On average, websites that use CDNs are much faster and consume significantly less bandwidth than those that don’t.

 

4. Easy to Share

 

Social sharing is, to a great extent, the highest level of engagement that there is.

 

When your site visitors share your pages, it means one of two things. Either they’ve enjoyed the experience so much that they want their like-minded peers to benefit from it as well, or they find your content so valuable that they believe sharing it will make them look good.

 

One of the best ways to maximize content sharing is to make it easy to do. When all it takes is a click of a button, people will be all the more likely to engage in this manner, putting you in great position to reach new audience members and expand your customer base.

 

 

warfare-wordpress-pluginImage Source

 

 

Social Warfare is one of many WordPress plugins that can add attractive share buttons to content pages. This tool is optimized for speed and aesthetics, but it has other features that differentiate it as well. Social Warfare supports thousands of preset design variations, allows site managers to customize default share text, and even appends UTM codes to share URLs for superior attribution in Google Analytics.

 

5. Easy to Monetize

 

The content publishing industry today is faced with some serious financial challenges, as it’s getting harder and harder to turn a profit. The online advertising ecosystem is in a state of disarray, with a lack of viable solutions for making money from mobile users, trade groups operating with inconsistent viewability standards, and rampant fraudulent billing practices.

 

What’s more, in their efforts to grab people’s attention, publishers have been allowing advertisers to book placements in formats that are too interruptive. This is why we’re seeing the rise of ad blockers today, and to win our audiences back, publishers need to change the way they operate. There are even ways to drive revenues from content pages without turning your audience off by being too pushy, intrusive or forceful – ways that increase onsite engagement rather than killing it.

 

An effective way to achieve this is by integrating contextual ads into your content. Imonomy’s technology scans your web pages and automatically pairs your site’s images with relevant, engaging banner ads.

 

 

imonomyImage Source

 

 

Because the in-image ads are displayed together with, and selected to match, your site’s images, this platform delivers high viewability rates and improved engagement with your site’s visitors. This, of course, translates to higher revenues in ways that don’t compromise on content engagement.

 

Engagement Should Be Easy

 

It’s essential to have a dynamic, thorough engagement strategy that maximizes interactions and time on site. In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, “Attention is the single most important asset.”

 

If your company is unable to grab the attention of its target audience and keep them meaningfully engaged on your website, sustainable revenues will be hard to come by.

 

And the one word to remember – when it comes to engagement and attention – is easy. This means your content should be easy to …

 
 
    1. Scan
 
    1. Interact With
 
    1. Load
 
    1. Share
 
    1. Monetize
 
 

About the Author: Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the Founder & CEO of InboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. Nadav helps well-known brands in boosting their online visibility through PR, SEO and Social Media.

 
 

 

How to Reinvent the Customer Experience to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Customer retention matters.

 

Research continues to reveal that it’s better to retain a customer rather than acquire a new one.

 

Nonetheless, the 2015 Retention Marketing Survey reported that “60% of retailers report a retention rate of less than 20%.” There’s an opportunity to improve your retention strategy.

 

Start by reinventing the customer experience. How can you keep buyers engaged? How can you anticipate their needs?

 

Focus on offering unmatched value.

 

“When establishing a link to value is done well, it provides a clear view of what matters to customers, where to focus, and how to keep the customer experience high on the list of strategic priorities,” write Joel Maynes and Alex Rawson at McKinsey.

 

Increase your customer lifetime value (LTV). Develop a worthwhile customer experience.

 

Prioritizing Customer Lifetime Value

 

An Econsultancy report uncovered that “64% of companies rate customer experience as the best tactic for improving customer lifetime value.” Consumers will stick with your brand when you offer them value.

 

“LTV is an important metric for brands…It directly measures the value these businesses create or their customers and the value those customers share in return,” says Rishi Shah, product manager at Umbel.

 

And customer lifetime value isn’t a static approach. It hinges on multiple variables across every unit of your business-from sales to customer success to marketing.

 

[LTV] is actionable-it should guide lead nurturing, right-selling, cross-selling…monitoring of customer behaviors, input to strategic decisions, and adjustments to policies.”

 

As you grow your operations, identify ways to make every customer a profitable customer.

 

 

customer-lifetime-value-curve

 

 

“Use customer service to drive customer experience. Every customer interaction with your company is a chance to add value. Research shows how important customer service is for retaining customers and gaining advocates,” states Kit Smith, content writer at Brandwatch.

 

A high LTV means each customer generates more revenue for your company. Prioritize customer lifetime value to boost your profits.

 

Improving Customer Service

 

Enhancing the customer experience involves making sure your customers receive the best possible service. And customer service includes all the interactions before, during, and after the purchase.

 

It’s unacceptable to give poor-quality service to your buyers. That’s replying to emails two weeks late or being rude to a customer who has a question.

 

Buyers don’t have tolerance for lackluster service.

 

Studies discovered that “47% of customers would take their business to a competitor within a day of experiencing poor customer service.”

 

Allocate the necessary resources to offer your customers top-notch service. It’s one of the best ways to build relationships with your audience.

 

Edward Gotham, former head of demand generation at Ometria, says:

 

“Using [LTV] to identify your most valuable customers will help you decide where to direct your customer service resources. Paying attention to your most valuable (and profitable) customers will help you push up margins, at the same time as fostering strong relationships through better service with your most important segment.”

 

So, get to know your customers. Start sparking conversations that matter to them.

 

Research confirms that “the phone is still the preferred method of customer service contact.”

 

However, social media also is an effective way to reach your consumers. Customers are already chatting on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.

 

Your team should be available online to respond to complaints and broadcast announcements.

 

 

social-media-customer-service

 

 

“Forget phone, email and live chat: Facebook, Twitter and other [social] networks are the new front lines for customer service questions,” states Andrew Caravella, vice president of marketing at Sprout Social.

 

Customer service is an integral part of the customer experience. Use it as a tool to move your eCommerce business forward.

 

Building Relationships With Personalization

 

Research shows that customized experiences can increase sales up to 20 percent. Personalizing interactions offers an opportunity to build your customer’s trust.

 

Automation is a staple in products and service delivery. However, personalized customer service is a way to differentiate your business from competitors.

 

Founder of SPLICE Software Tara Kelly, writes, “Relationships – built via good old-fashioned conversations and in-person collaboration – allow customer service and product development professionals to spot new opportunities for innovation and partner with clients and customers to help them become more successful.”

 

Honestly, customers want to feel special. They want to know that your brand cares.

 

The same generic email won’t work. It’s all about giving your customers something extra.

 

Serve visitors with personalized content to encourage them to take action. Whether it’s email, social media, or a scroll popup, nudge buyers towards the desired outcome.

 

Define your target profile using behavioral data, purchase history, and browsing interests to reach the right people at the right time.

 

 

quibit-personalizationImage Source

 

 

“For online retailers…the first month is the most important period of the customer-company relationship,” says David Williams, content lead at RJMetrics.

 

So, don’t wait to build relationships with your customers. And strive to customize the bond.

 

Rewarding Loyalty

 

To increase LTV, infuse brand loyalty into the customer experience. Loyal customers have a stronger interest in your business. They become advocates of your mission and values.

 

Reports found that “73% of loyalty programs members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs.” These experiences translate into revenue for your company.

 

But don’t limit your reward programs to just discounts. Give your die-hard customers something of value.

 

“Offering loyal customers some kind of reward or exclusive content is an extremely powerful way of strengthening brand affinity,” says Graham Charlton, former editor-in-chief at Econsultancy.

 

That may include VIP tickets to an event, cashback on specific purchases, or a free gift basket of their favorite candies. The rewards must be desirable to their needs, not a flimsy promotional item.

 

“With greater demands for relevance from members, loyalty programs often need a loyalty partner with access to a rewards network that has the scale and depth to satisfy all member requirements,” states Dan Martin, commercial product manager at Collinson Latitude.

 

Sporting goods retailer REI does rewards differently. Its loyalty program actually costs $20 to join. But REI considers its benefits outweigh the admission fee.

 

For example, members receive discounts, invitations to exclusive activities, and special pricing on classes and trips.

 

 

rei-members-reward-page

 

 

Develop a loyalty program to upgrade the customer experience. You can retain more consumers.

 

Creating a LTV-Driven Team

 

Work with your team to create a customer experience strategy. It ensures that everyone understands the company’s objectives and their role.

 

“The best development managers consider ROI and LTV when collaborating and planning product development and software updates,” writes Joshua Robitaille, project lead at StygianLabs.

 

The key is to equip your team members with the skills to make the right decisions. Your staff must be ready to develop new channels, create a dedicated customer experience group, and gain consumer insight.

 

“Digital customer experiences are an increasingly important part of the marketing playbook, but many marketers lack the tools and know-how to take advantage of the tech that can improve them,” writes Maureen Morrison, reporter at Advertising Age.

 

 

actions-taken-to-improve-customer-experienceImage Source

 

 

Sometimes, internal issues will exist when it comes to collaboration. Prepare a plan to encourage open communication amongst teams.

 

eMarketer reports that “50% or less of respondents in [its] survey said they had workspaces that encouraged collaboration, while only 41% said they had dedicated business, design and development teams permanently ‘co-located’ near one another to help facilitate information sharing.”

 

If you want your business focused on LTV, support collaborative work environments. And train staff about the customer experience.

 

Customers for Life

 

Strengthen your bottom line by retaining more customers. Start by improving the customer experience.

 

Make LTV a company-wide priority with an all-hands-on-deck mentality. Discover creative ways to enhance customer service. Personalize the experiences whenever possible. And reward your most loyal fans.

 

Reinvent your business approach. Gain customers for life.

 

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

 
 

 

What’s Old Is New Again: Outbound Marketing 2.0

It’s hard for digital marketers to ignore headlines claiming, for example, “How Kraft Gets Four Times Better ROI From Content Than Ads.” That’s certainly an impressive figure – four times better ROI! – but those who take it at face value risk missing the bigger picture.

 

More critical readers of that headline might ask: What mix of inbound and outbound marketing helped the Kraft brand, over its 100-year history, arrive where it is today? Would Kraft’s ROI on content be as strong as it is, if not for their decades of advertising? Or, does this comparison even make sense in the first place?

 

The comparison does “make sense”, unfortunately. It’s unfortunate that inbound and outbound marketing are so often framed as competitors racing for the higher ROI, but that comparison persists. And in one sense, given how their tactics differ, it’s logical and convenient to view inbound and outbound tactics as two separate ballgames.

 

 

marketing-tacticsExamples of different outbound and inbound tactics. Here they’re listed separately, but they’re most effective when used together.

 

 

Marketing Isn’t a Zero-Sum Game

 

Inbound and outbound have been discussed as inbound versus outbound ever since digital inbound marketing surged in popularity in the early 2000s. While it’s true that many traditional outbound marketing tactics (e.g., cold calls, email blasts) have fallen from favor, these techniques can still be effective.

 

Today’s savvy consumers still respond to outbound marketing efforts when they’re used intelligently, aligned with inbound content and supported by quality data analysis.

 

The ideal marketing strategy recognizes the strengths and weaknesses inherent in both marketing “directions” and thoughtfully combines both into a cohesive message with a comprehensive reach. Inbound and outbound should be considered teammates-not competitors.

 

 

Marketing-Funnels-inbound-vs-outboundThe difference between Outbound and Inbound marketing funnels (Image Source)

 

 

Highly segmented markets and fringe cases aside, most businesses get the best return when they present a singular, coherent marketing message. Mixed messages -even just messages that aren’t obviously connected- can confuse consumers, leading them to seek competitors with more clearly positioned alternatives. Plus, for maximum efficacy, marketing initiatives should gain momentum over time, e’g’, new marketing campaigns should build upon old marketing campaigns. The alternative is to continually start over from square one.

 

Outbound Marketing 2.0

 

Some marketers make the mistake of associating the outbound marketing tactics used today with those of a few years ago. This is unfair. Email marketing, as just one example, has advanced a great deal in recent years. We spoke with Steven Coufal, Senior Media Relations Specialist at Gartner, to learn more about the advancements in email marketing:

 

“It used to consist primarily of large scale, one-off email blasts, but now the technology has moved to the point where marketers can hyper-target small subsets and even individuals with very focused content tailored to their specific interests,” Coufal says.

 

Another professional marketer, Tim M. describes his old method in a review of his new marketing platform, “The other missing link was the ability to do email campaigns specifically designed for segmented target audiences.” With the newer email marketing platform, he continues, “we no longer have a one size fits all message that doesn’t really work.”

 

Coufal gave us a rundown of how intelligent email marketing can be woven into the bigger marketing picture. “Say a prospect signs up for your email list and you begin to track them,” he explains. “Your marketing software scans their social media accounts to learn they are a female, in the 24-39 age range, a working-professional, living in London. It recognizes that she’s in the target demographic for your company’s new line of trench coats. She then gets opted into a specific email stream that promotes the styles and options known to be popular with her demographic.”

 

Not only can the message be tailored to the individual, it can be adapted to the individual’s actions. Continuing with the above example, “Through your website tracking, you see your prospect visits a page, but winds up not buying a trench coat. Instead of simply reminding her about the coat in another email, a modern email marketing platform would let the follow-up email offer a 20% coupon, increasing the chances of a sale,” Coufal says. “It’s this kind of microtargeting that can make outbound marketing so effective.”

 

Choose Your Platform Carefully

 

And these tools have never been more available, affordable or plentiful. Even single-purpose platforms such as RedCappi, Emma and other email marketing software tools are helping users implement precise segmentation and tracking of individual outbound efforts. Many reviewers praise more advanced platforms, such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, because they centralize these (and many other advanced features) into a single, integrated inbound and outbound marketing platform.

 

While availability and affordability are both great, the very plentiful selection of options creates challenges. Ken M offers this wise advice, “Take the time to look at all the options. I almost made a decision early in the process because I just wanted to get the task done and move onto my normal duties. I am glad I took the time to be thorough.”

 

With the time you take, make sure to spend some looking at the range of options. Don’t overlook analytics tools such as Kissmetrics. These can be integrated into a company’s existing marketing platform, modernizing the strategy and execution of outbound efforts while providing the data needed to continually refine them.

 

The Sum is Greater Than Any Individual Approach

 

Calculating the ROI of inbound and outbound separately makes for compelling headlines, but it also suggests the two methods are in competition. But marketing isn’t a zero-sum game where the winner takes all. Instead, marketing efforts should be made to cooperate. And with today’s wide selection of advanced and affordable inbound/outbound marketing platforms, there’s no reason both can’t cross the finish line together.

 

About the Author: Craig Borowski is a Market Researcher at Software Advice, a Gartner company, providing analysis and recommendations for software buyers. A former Sr. Editor of TIME magazine, he now covers technology and changing trends in the CRM market, with a focus on customer service, marketing automation and the impact of technology on CRM strategy.

 
 

 

3 Interactive Content Hacks to Increase Webinar Attendance Every Time

When you think about webinars as a demand generation channel, you might focus your energy on getting as many people to register for your event as possible.

 
 

But what about the people who actually attend?

 
 

At SnapApp, our sales team is over the moon after we host a webinar. The leads they talk to after the event-the ones who attended and participated in the webinar-are always much more excited and willing to talk than the average prospect.

 
 

That’s why for most marketers, the goal when running a webinar isn’t just how many people register-it’s how many you can convince to actually take the time out of their day to attend.

 
 

That typically takes a pretty powerful value proposition for attendance in the first place. That means offering something the prospect can only get from attending the webinar in person (not just viewing the recording afterward).

 
 

Interactive content gives you the incentives you need to convince your buyers to dial in at the appointed time and soak up all your brilliant content.

 
 

Read on to find out how with these three hacks:

 
 

1. Challenge Them to Test Their Knowledge

 
 

People love trivia. More importantly, we love to find out the answers and know how we scored (and how we stacked up against our peers). Were we right about the only silent film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards (Wings, 1928)?

 
 

Channel this innate desire to boost attendance at your next webinar. In your promotion or reminder emails, serve up a quiz tailored to your industry-then promise the answers during the webinar itself. Your registrants will have to log in live to find out if they know their stuff.

 
 

Take it one step further and include a prize drawing for those with the correct answer, only available for attendees.

 
 

(Psst… keep reading for an example of a company that tried this-and it worked!)

 
 

2. Survey Their Needs

 
 

Have you ever attended a webinar thinking it would answer all the questions you had, only to be sorely disappointed at the event itself?

 
 

You definitely don’t want this to happen to your attendees. You worked hard to get them there-you want to make sure they’ll be motivated to attend again.

 
 

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to know for sure that the webinar content you’re crafting is what your attendees want to hear?

 
 

No surprise there-try a survey.

 
 

Running a pre-webinar survey is one of the best ways to ensure your content hits the mark. Find out which topics your audience is craving before the webinar begins, then tailor the content accordingly.

 
 

If it turns out your audience is completely uninterested in a topic you were planning to cover, you can spend less time there and more on the section that piqued their interest. Your attendees will stick around longer and be more likely to come back again for your next event.

 
 

By being responsive to your audience’s needs, you’ll ensure you’re delivering a product they will enjoy and value-building your credibility as their go-to for the information they need.

 
 

3.  Promise Dynamic Interaction

 
 

There’s nothing worse than a webinar where nothing seems to happen. You have a couple of speakers going through a pile of slides, maybe a Q&A session at the end… but your audience is just sitting there soaking it all in (or tuning it out).

 
 

In education, research suggests active or experiential learning may help students grasp challenging concepts better than passive or lecture-based methods. The same is true of your webinar audience: engage them actively in the subject matter and they’ll be better-equipped to apply what they’ve learned.

 
 

Take a break or two (or three!) during your webinar to bring the audience into the learning process. Host a poll, ask for questions, or elicit suggestions and recommendations from the audience. Breaking up the “lecture” in this way will re-engage passive listeners and turn them into active participants.

 
 

Even better, promise your registrants this kind of interaction in advance. In the promotion email, reminder notes, and your social messages express what a special opportunity this webinar will be for your audience to personalize their learning experience. Make the benefits of showing up for the live event obvious so your registrants can’t wait to log in.

 
 

Interactivity in Practice: Castlight Health

 
 

Castlight Health, a healthcare company based in San Francisco, serves as a compelling use case for this approach.

 
 

After visitors registered for the webinar; “Drive Employee Engagement With Predictive Analytics,” Castlight sent an email containing a link to a pre-webinar survey that challenged registrants to test their knowledge. “How do you stack up?”

 
 

How do you stack up?Thank you.

 
 

At just two questions long, the survey didn’t require a big time commitment from registrants-and offered the tantalizing promise that they would share the results during the live webinar.

 
 

The outreach worked-Castlight exceeded its attendee goal with 52% attendance. They also incorporated the results of the survey into the webinar, tailoring the content of the event based on the preferences of their registrants.

 
 

Activate Webinar Engagement

 
 

If you’re struggling with low turnout for your online events, you’re not alone. All our buyers are busy people with packed schedules, and setting aside thirty minutes or an hour for a webinar can be a challenge. By promising greater value-and then delivering on that promise-you’ll entice more of your registrants to tune in and turn up (rather than waiting for the recording).

 
 

Go on-test one of the interactive strategies above and see the effect it has on your audience. Soon, you’ll be turning attendees away as you engage participants in a packed digital session.

 
 

Does your marketing automation performance need a boost? Download the 10 Ways Interactive Content Boosts Marketing Automation eBook. You’ll be creating more interesting content to feed your email programs, collecting data beyond the lead form, and attracting more visitors at a higher conversion point in no time!

 
 

10 Ways Interactive Content Boosts Marketing Automation

 

 

 

Content Marketing World Keynote Interview: Kathy Sterio, GE

Kathy Sterio GE

 
 

Content Marketing within large, complex organizations is not for the faint of heart. Many big companies are legacy brands with years of history behind marketing status quo. Today’s business environment calls for constant innovation and for marketers that can champion the necessary change, there can be significant impact.

 

 

In that context, I introduce you to Kathy Sterio from General Electric. Her time with GE has spanned several decades and undoubtedly, she has observed and championed her share share of marketing innovation.

 

With our agency’s client mix, this is something we are often involved with navigating and that’s why I’m really looking forward to Kathy’s keynote panel at Content Marketing World: “Content Marketing and Change Management – Making It Real“. Despite being on vacation, Kathy was kind enough to make time to answer questions about her role as a marketing innovator at GE, overcoming strategic obstacles, facilitating organizational change, predictions and the role of gamification in marketing. Yes, I asked about Pokemon Go!

 

Your career at GE has spanned 23 years in a mix of roles. What are some of the lessons that have best prepared you for your current role as General Manager for Product Management & Marketing for GE Lighting? What do you like best about your role?

 

I learned the most by taking a variety of roles in order to deeply learn about our customers and our business. I have had roles in operations as well as commercial functions and appreciate that I was able to gain new skills or deepen my understanding of our customers’ problems to solve in each one. I’ve learned that in a dynamic industry that you need to understand the market environment in order to lead through change.

 
 

I’ve learned that in a dynamic industry that you need to understand the market environment in order to lead through change.

 
 

I am thrilled about my new role leading Product Management & Marketing for GE Lighting as the industry is in the midst of a technology change to LED lighting as well as a move to “smart” products that will ultimately change buying behavior for our product. Navigating that change successfully for our customers and our business is an exciting challenge.

 

Congrats! You have been instrumental in repositioning GE Lighting as a software infrastructure business which is impressive given the 140 year-old, traditional light bulb history of the company. What role did content marketing play in that transformation?

 

Content marketing played a large role in helping us to tell the story of the transformation of our business. Lighting is often taken for granted and we needed to have our customers understand the value of their lighting fixtures as an existing infrastructure poised to be the data collection point to help them learn more about their operations.

 
 

Content marketing played a large role in helping us to tell the story of the transformation of our business

 
 

Lighting is in the perfect position for sensors, is everywhere, and is powered – a great story to tell, but one that changes the value proposition of LED lighting from just energy savings to productivity outcomes for our customers. Content marketing helped us to get that message across to our customers.

 

What do you think are some of the fundamental obstacles companies face when trying to execute a global content strategy? What are some possible solutions to those challenges?

 

Global content strategy can be tricky as many of the topics need to be executed locally. The content needs to be relevant to the specific market and meaningful to those customers. However, the tools and processes we use are the same around the globe. The way we work through this is to have a consistent set of messages that are relevant for our business and then tailor the story as needed to meet the local requirements.

 

A recent study by Forrester Research cites culture as the biggest barrier to CMOs’ success which dovetails nicely with the topic of your keynote panel at Content Marketing World, “Content Marketing and Change Management – Making it Real”. What broad advice can you share when it comes to inspiring organizational change needed for a strategic approach to content marketing strategy?

 

This is a big topic and I am looking forward to the discussion at Content Marketing World. For me it boils down to talent, proof points and making it easy for everyone to participate.

 
 

Having the right talent on the team helps to inspire change quickly.

 
 

Having the right talent on the team helps to inspire change quickly. We have opted to hire from outside of the company to ensure that we get experts to helps us on this journey rather than to develop talent from within the company. This has accelerated our learning and success.

 

Additionally, in order to get other functional teams bought in to our strategy, we are tracking the impact of our work and publishing success stories of how marketing influenced an order.

 

Finally, we are utilizing LinkedIn Elevate to make sharing our stories easy for employees and to engage their networks in our storytelling.

 

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Content Marketing World conference?

 

I’m excited to learn about what’s next. This space is evolving so quickly that there is plenty to learn daily and I know that I will gain insights from the event that I can apply right away.

 

What advice would you have for a brand that is on the cusp of committing to a more content and customer centric approach to communications and marketing? Any suggestions on what role their first hire should be?

 
 

For a content strategy to be successful, it has to be relevant and meaningful to your audience.

 
 

I would advise everyone to start with the customer. Identifying the problem the customer is trying to solve is job one. For a content strategy to be successful, it has to be relevant and meaningful to your audience. Additionally, I would advise to hire the right talent that will help you come up to speed as quickly as possible and to invest into tools / infrastructure to execute.

 

There’s no shortage of content marketing advice in the industry right now from the importance of mobile experiences and predictive analytics to working with influencers on co-creation and truly measuring content marketing ROI. What sources (types) of information do you rely on to help with prioritization of approach and tactics within your marketing organization?

 

The key for us is to look at typical “vanity” metrics (views, downloads, forms filled…) PLUS tie them to revenue. We measure marketing effectiveness in terms of ‘marketing influenced’ revenue and deals in the pipeline. Content Marketing is one part of the story of the sale and we have worked to tie that to our lead management process.

 

We leverage tools like Google Analytics to help us understand which topics and keywords are resonating and to try to identify why certain pieces are more effective than others.

 

Any predictions about what the state of content marketing will be in 5 years? Does text still have a future?

 

Wow – 5 years is a long time in an area like this that is transforming rapidly. I think that the future is a blank slate and that storytelling will still be critically important as the amount of available content will be dramatically increased. It will be interesting to see how companies navigate the ability to deliver messages directly to their customers and balance their sales channels.

 
 

Eventually, I see everything being personalized and customized.

 
 

Eventually, I see everything being personalized and customized due to increased machine learning capabilities. I believe that text will still be relevant – there will be a customer who prefers text over video / graphics and those preferences will be enhanced, not lost.

 

What do you think about Pokemon Go? Do you see any applications for GE when it comes gamification and virtual reality for consumer marketing?

 

I’m completely intrigued by Pokemon Go – my son and his friends have logged a lot of miles on their bikes this summer to play at various locations around town. I think gamification has an application in our space to help customer find the proper product at the shelf. Also, virtual reality could be helpful for customers to see the impact of lighting on their environment – something a package alone cannot convey.

 

Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first word or short reaction that comes to mind.

 
 
    • Facebook – Friends
 
    • Vine – short
 
    • LinkedIn – network
 
    • Periscope – broadcast
 
    • Twitter – soundbite
 
    • Google+ – not on my radar
 
    • Snapchat – ?
 
    • YouTube – carpool karaoke
 
    • Instagram – engagement
 
    • Pinterest – homey
 
    • My Space – done
 
 

Kathy Sterio is General Manager for Product Management & Marketing for GE Lighting where she is responsible for setting and executing a growth strategy in a transforming industry within the retail channel of distribution. Prior to this role, Kathy was the Chief Marketing Officer for GE Lighting & Marketing Leader for current, powered by GE where she led global B2B global marketing efforts. Kathy’s experience includes roles in: Sourcing, Supply Chain, Pricing, Customer Service, Sales and Marketing.

 

Kathy is also an active member GE’s Women’s Network serving as a sponsor, mentor and advocate. She is a recipient of the Diversity MBA Award and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lake County YMCA.

 

Content Marketing World

 

Whether your business is Fortune 500 or Inc 5000, be sure you check out Content Marketing World in Cleveland, which is happening September 6-9. Over 4,000 attendees from 60 plus countries will be there right along with you – a great networking and learning opportunity!

 

Content Marketing World provides a cornucopia of opportunities to find answers to all the questions you might have about content marketing and is probably the highest concentration of content marketing experts, vendors and practitioners than you’ll find anywhere else in the world. It’s a must-attend event!

 

Be sure to watch for the next in our series of CMWorld keynote speaker interviews coming next week!

 

 

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Learn How to Take Your Digital Advertising Strategy Mobile

Digital-Advertising-Strategy-Mobile

 

How many times a day do you pick up your smartphone? If you’re the average iPhone user, Apple says you slide to unlock around 80 times in a 24-hour period. Android users unlock their phones around 85 times a day-no word on what those extra five unlocks are.

 

80 times a day. If the average person sleeps around 7 hours a night, they get 17 hours of waking time per day. That means we’re picking up our phones over 4 times an hour. That’s more than every fifteen minutes. Should I even bother putting it back in my pocket? Or just graft it onto my hand?

 

So marketers, riddle me this: Odds are the people you want to reach have a screen on their person that they look at 80 times a day. They fill every idle moment of their day consuming content on that screen.

 

Why are we still calling it the “second screen?”

 

Why are we still thinking of mobile as a nice-to-have add-on for our digital advertising strategy?

 

As Brian Solis (Principal at Altimeter Group, Can Probably Literally See into the Future) said in a recent AdAge article: “Someone has to take the lead in bringing mobile to the forefront of digital design. Investing in a mobile program just to check the box is no longer good enough. The reality is that mobile is now the first screen.”(Emphasis mine)

 

So what does a first-screen mobile advertising strategy look like? Read on to learn the minimum requirements for mobile, and the specific attributes your strategy should have to succeed.

 

The Minimum Requirement: A Seamless Mobile Experience

 

The end goal of your mobile advertising strategy is to pull people to your assets: a piece of content, a landing page, a shopping page. So before you start advertising on mobile, your site has to be mobile-friendly.

 

But that doesn’t mean doing just enough responsive design to have Google bless your site as mobile-friendly. What I mean is that it’s possible for your customer to do everything you want them to do, take every step of their journey with your brand, on a mobile device. As our Account Manager and PPC Lead Michael Bak puts it:

 

We all know that we need to be mobile friendly. But many times I’ve seen advertisers forget that the customer’s journey doesn’t simply end at the landing page. You need to make sure every aspect of the customer journey is mobile friendly: the shopping cart experience, the asset, the area of the site you’re funneling that consumer to. Make sure you’re asking your customers to take the next step. And make sure that next step is part of a seamless mobile experience.

 

So before you start implementing a mobile advertising strategy, make sure those who demonstrate their trust by clicking on your ad are rewarded with a positive experience.

 

What Does a Mobile Advertising Strategy Look Like?

 

Mobile screens are unique in that they’re more personal, more intimate, and more user-customizable than marketers are used to (or comfortable with). You know what I’m talking about; you’re a consumer as well as a marketer. We’re used to ignoring advertising on mobile. We’re good at mentally erasing the banner ads at the top of apps. We click X on interstitials before they even load. And the ads we can’t mentally block, we can now use software to actually scrub away.

 

That’s the downside of mobile. It’s a screen people spend a whole lot of their lives looking at-but they’re emphatically not looking at what you want to show them. That truth informs all the following aspects of a successful mobile digital advertising strategy:

 

It’s Social. What are people doing most of the 80-85 times they unlock their phones? Why, checking their social media for updates, of course. That’s where they want to be-so that’s where you should be, too. Promoted, targeted posts on your audience’s preferred social media channels are an easy way to get guaranteed mobile-friendly, less-likely-to-be-ignored advertising.

 

It’s Visual. With their big screens and powerful processors, modern mobile devices are made for visual content. You don’t have to set up your own VR studio just yet, but images and at least some video are a must. Facebook and YouTube are both developing tools to make video creation easier; you can bet the output from those tools will be optimized for mobile. Take it from Lowe’s’ millions of plays on Vine, or FedEx’s 46,000 followers on Instagram: mobile platforms + social + visual content = awesome.

 

It’s Native. Like I said earlier, we’re getting very good at unseeing the kind of banner ads and interstitials that might have attracted eyeballs a few years ago. These days, native ads have a much better shot at being seen. Mobile native content (on apps like Facebook, Buzzfeed, and Reddit) has multiple advantages: It’s immune to ad blockers, it’s already optimized for mobile, and it finds your audience on the apps they already use (more on that later). 

 

It’s Useful. Remember when all an advertiser had to do to rake in the dollars was put a mini-game in their banner ad? You know-help the monkey collect bananas, punch the boxer, shoot the baskets? Yeah, that’s done with. Now there’s plenty of opportunities for people to mindlessly tap and swipe. To get their attention, you actually have to offer something of value. Make it entertaining, make it emotional, make it hilarious-make it worth their while.

 

It Not All on Your Site (And Especially Not Your App). We’ve talked about having a solid mobile-friendly site. The logical next step seems like developing your own app, to really provide the best user experience. But the average smartphone user spends most of their time in just three apps. Do you really want to gamble on your app breaking the top three? It makes more sense to find which three they use, and publish there.

 

It’s…email? You heard it here first (unless you heard it first somewhere else): Email is a mobile advertising strategy. Way back in 2014, 65% of email was opened first on mobile, and you can bet that number has gone up. Email is the perfect diversionary activity after all the Faces have been Booked, the Tweets have been Twitted, and the Snaps have been Chatted. If you can consistently deliver valuable content via email, you can grow your audience regardless of their demographic. From Millennials to Baby Boomers, mobile has breathed new life into email as a marketing tactic.

 

Quick, to the Mobile-mobile!

 

Last year, Google announced that more searches are now being made on mobile than on desktop. Internet traffic from smartphones and tablets is slowly eclipsing all other forms of traffic. That’s not to say we should cut non-mobile users loose and leave their money on the table, of course. But it does indicate that mobile is far more than the secondary consideration many marketers have made it.

 

How is your organization developing a mobile advertising strategy? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

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6 Things Brands & Publishers Need to Know About Native Advertising

Native-Advertising

 

As brands look to create deeper connections with their audience and publishers search for new ways to generate revenue, native advertising as re-emerged as a tactic that both can take advantage of.

 

For those who aren’t familiar, native advertising, also referred to as sponsored content or advertorials, has taken on many forms over the years-from advertorials in newspapers in the 1940s to infomercials and paid programming spots on television. Today, native advertising is a content marketing tactic that typically involves publishing informational and educational articles and videos (with an underlying advertising message) in print or digital publications and blogs.

 

For publishers, native advertising allows them to generate revenue by not only lending advertisers their platform, but also offering their editorial expertise, brand reputation and audience. For brands, native advertising allows them to create valuable content and another touchpoint within in the buyer’s journey as they work toward being the best answer for their audience.

 

But despite native advertising’s long history and its growth as a content marketing tactic in today’s digital world, many brands and publishers are still weary to jump on board. Publishers worry about blurring the lines between commercial and editorial, as well as their making their audience feel deceived by poorly labeled ad content, while brands can struggle with understanding how to execute native ad content and wonder if it’s actually effective.

 

In its inaugural report, Native Advertising Trends 2016 – The Magazine Industry, the Native Advertising Institute and FIPP – the network for global media found that while native advertising can be challenging, it still holds some great opportunities. The organizations surveyed 140 magazine executives from 39 countries to understand what they think of native advertising, how they’re using it or plan to use it, and where the greatest threats and opportunities lie.

 

Below are some key findings from the report-as well as some tips from me-that could help brands and publishers overcome some of their skepticisms or concerns about native advertising, or help make your current native advertising services/efforts more effective:

 

#1 – Native advertising will grow.

 

According to the report, 52% of publishers already offer native advertising as a service and another 37% are likely or most likely to add the option in the future. In addition, those who currently offer the service expect that 30% of their overall advertising revenues will come from native advertising in 2018, which is up from 19% in 2015.

 

If higher revenues are anticipated and more service offerings are being considered, that leads me to believe that publishers and their customers must be seeing value and results with native advertising.

 

But native advertising may not be right for every brand or publication. Both should do some research and a little testing. Determining whether its a good fit will ultimately depend on who your customer/audience is and your business goals.

 

#2 – Native advertising adds value.

 

The goal for any piece of content should be to inform, engage and entertain your reader–and native advertising content is no different. The survey found that 74% of publishers believe that native advertising actually adds value for their readers and viewers.

 

The best way you can provide a valuable native content is to understand your audience. Publishers can provide excellent insight on who their readers are and brands can use that information to see if it fits with what they know about their target audience. If it’s a match, native content will be more compelling and valuable.

 

#3 – Native advertising does spark some complaints.

 

Native advertising is not every reader or viewers cup of tea, with 16% of publishers saying that they’ve received customer complaints because of native advertising.

 

The best way to avoid ruffling feathers is to clearly label native advertising as promoted or sponsored content, as well as ensuring that the content itself is of the highest editorial standards. Readers and viewers expect and deserve transparency, and giving it to them provides value and an honest connection with your brand.

 

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden once wrote: “Paid content only ‘works’ if the content meets similar standards to what’s normally published through editorial filters. ‘Salesly’ content published alongside high quality editorial will be ignored or worse, cause dissension against the publication and the brand that is doing the editorial advertising.”

 

#4 – Some publishers don’t label native advertising content.

 

More than half of publishers say they label native advertising pieces as “Sponsored Content” to differentiate it from editorial content, while others use other terms or change the actual look and feel of the content to set it apart.

 

However, 11% of publishers say they don’t label native advertising content at all.

 

As mentioned above, transparency is absolutely crucial to maintain the integrity of both the publication and the brand that’s advertising. Attempting to trick readers into believing that the content they’re reading is unbiased, journalistic content will almost certainly backfire on both parties.

 

#5 – Digital and printed articles, and video content perform the best.

 

Native advertising content can take on a variety of forms, but there are some that tend to be the most effective. According to the report, publishers see online articles (66%), video content (61%) and printed articles (50%) as the most effective types of native advertising content.

 

Again, use your audience knowledge to choose the type of native content that will be the most effective.

 

#6 – Telling real stories is key.

 

Native advertising is meant to seamlessly integrate with other editorial content, which means storytelling is an absolute must. Unfortunately, many publishers find that convincing their advertisers to tell real stories in their native content is difficult, with 37% saying it’s one of their biggest native advertising challenges.

 

Using overtly promotional language is not how you tell a story-or get your audience to connect with your brand. Telling real stories is a great way to engage with your brand in an authentic way, while also providing them with information and that entertainment factor.

 
 

 
 

Native-Advertising-Icon

 
 

Download the entire Native Advertising Trends 2016 – The Magazine Industry report through the Native Advertising Institute’s website.

 

 

What’s your take on native advertising? Love it? Hate it? Unsure? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

 

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5 Actionable Content Marketing Insights from Latest Report

In the latest report from Econsultancy they looked at the future of content marketing by talking to content experts, agency leaders and content practitioners. One of the biggest imperatives they noted is the importance of data as it relates to content. Whether you are using it to create content, distribute content, or analyze the success of your content, data plays a larger and larger role.

 
 

Our friend Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners notes: “More and more people are thinking of content as data. This is a great way to get granular data about firms from content and it generates real insight for companies. But if there’s no added value then people feel duped and it inhibits the technique’s growth. It needs proper analysis.”

 
 

There are certainly many ways to start breaking down this long report, but let’s start at the end with some actionable insights. Here are five takeaways from the report, and there are many more.

 
 

1. Understand data and your appetite for data

 
 

Customer insight is vital for successful content marketing but not all communications merit one-to-one personalization. Alternatively, diving so deep into data for content creation may be an unnecessary distraction for the company. Determine how targeted and contextual content has to be for it to be effective. Use small test cases to see where it’s possible to push those boundaries as needs don’t stay static over time.

 
 

2. Don’t just personalize, contextualize

 
 

Understand consumers’ reaction to communications. Brands may be able to identify likes and dislikes, preferred channels and real-time location. It still doesn’t necessarily mean they want to have a conversation with a cookie. Identify where your relevance is to their lives and where you’ll add value.

 
 

3. Automate but retain the human touch

 
 

Marketing technologies will allow a great deal of highly personal interaction at scale and in real time, even to the extent of being able to conduct human-like conversations. However, human interactions will continue to be vital, whether it’s monitoring important shifts in social listening, engaging in customer care or beyond.

 
 

4. Follow through

 
 

Customers are more than aware of the volumes of data collected on them. The content delivered has to match the data provided. Demanding detailed information and providing a generic response is an unsatisfactory experience.

 
 

5. Use existing resources

 
 

Just as the future of content will put it alongside advertising, PR and digital, use the resources that have been fueling these platforms to enhance your content output. Data management platforms (DMPs) have the potential to underpin so much more than programmatic display ads.

 
 

This is only a sample of the content goodness in this report about the Future of Content Marketing. Econsultancy shares many content examples, talks to lots of smart people, and wraps it up with good analysis. Download it today for a better tomorrow.

 
 

 

 

Which Matters More: Traffic or Testing?

In recent years, there has been a shift in attention from traffic to testing.

 

It makes sense, it’s becoming increasingly hard to win at online marketing. In many ways, it seems like the easiest way to get more out of your traffic is by improving site performance.

 

As exciting as the idea of conversion rate optimization is, though, the question remains:

 

Which affects your marketing campaign success more-traffic quality or site quality?

 

It’s an important question to consider. For most marketers, time and resources are limited, which means you need to spend the majority of your time in the areas that produce the best results.

 

So, if you have to choose between refining your traffic and perfecting your site, which optimization will give you the best bang for your buck?

 

Running the Numbers

 

To evaluate how testing and traffic affect your marketing success, let’s run a quick hypothetical.

 

Traffic

 

In this scenario, let’s suppose that you are running paid search ads for your business. You’ve got a decent site/landing pages and-on average-you pay $4 per click.

 

Recently, you spent $20,000 on a new campaign that produced 5,000 clicks.

 

5k-visitors

 

That’s a lot of traffic, right?

 

Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Most of that traffic isn’t actually interested in what you’re selling.

 

As it turns out, the average paid search account wastes 76% of it’s budget on search terms that never convert. In other words, 76% of paid search ad spend goes towards the wrong traffic.

 

For you, that means you spent about $15,000 on clicks that have no chance of converting.

 

Ouch.

 

They may have accidentally clicked on your ad…or they thought you were selling something different than you actually sell. Maybe you were simply bidding on the wrong keywords.

 

Thanks to all those irrelevant clicks, only 1,250 of your 5,000 site visitors are actually potential customers.

 

So, in terms of your relevant traffic, here’s what your ad spend really paid for:

 

actual-visitors

 

Hm, that’s not nearly as exciting. You might be paying $4 per click, but you’re actually paying $16 per relevant click.

 

But still, that’s nothing a little testing can’t take care of, right?

 

Testing

 

Now, as a best practice sort of marketer, you ran an A/B test on all of that traffic.

 

Unfortunately, what you didn’t realize was that you weren’t testing 5,000 visitors. Remember, only 25% of your traffic is actually interested enough to potentially convert.

 

As a result, you thought you were testing this:

 

5k-test

 

When in reality, you were testing this:

 

relevant-test

 

That’s unfortunate, but you’ve still got enough traffic to run an effective test.

 

During your test, you get 100 conversions in your control (variant A in your A/B test) and 120 conversions from your variant (variant B).

 

relevant-test-results

 

Sweet! Clearly, your interested traffic responded much better (20% better, to be precise) to your variant.

 

At $5 per click, you just dropped your cost-per-conversion from $25 to $20.83. The results are statistically significant, so that’s a win, right?

 

But wait, before you start throwing confetti, remember, you didn’t pay for 1,250 relevant clicks.

 

You paid for 5,000 clicks.

 

Here’s what your test population actually looks like:

 

actual-traffic

 

All of a sudden, your results don’t seem nearly as exciting:

 

actual-test-results-1

 

Your test is still a success. Your conversion rate went up by 20%. However, all the “wrong” traffic you paid for has diluted your conversion rates to 4% and 4.8%.

 

And here’s the real problem-your shiny, new, optimized cost-per-conversion is $83.33.

 

$83.33?

 

But wait a minute, when we were only looking at relevant traffic, the cost-per-conversion for your control was only $25!

 

That means your “optimized” cost-per-conversion is over 3x what you would have paid if you were only paying for the right traffic-even without testing.

 

Sure, your test helped reduce your cost-per-conversion, but you can’t fix your traffic by testing your website.

 

What Happens When You Stop Paying for the Wrong Traffic?

 

So, if you can’t test your way out of the wrong traffic, what if you stopped paying for those irrelevant clicks?

 

Well, over the years, we’ve used this tactic countless times for clients.

 

Here’s what happens:

 

cost-per-conversion-vs-wasted-ad-spend-570-px

 

 

 

As you can see, as you waste less money on the wrong traffic, your cost-per-conversion drops…exponentially.

 

For this particular client, reducing their wasted ad spend from 91% to 68% cut their cost-per-conversion from $160 to $39.

 

And it happened in a matter of weeks.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in the power of testing. However, every successful test starts with the right traffic.

 

And the Winner Is?

 

So, traffic or testing…where should you be focusing your efforts?

 

To be honest, it really depends on where your campaigns are at. If your online marketing is putting the right traffic on your site, a great testing strategy can help you squeeze every last conversion out of your clicks.

 
 

 

 

However, if you’re like most business, you’re probably wasting most of your budget on the wrong traffic. In this case, dialing in your marketing campaigns will deliver the biggest and fastest results.

 

Here are 3 things to start with:

 
 
    1. Define your audience. Who is the “right” audience? What are their pain points? Do your ads speak to the right pain points?
 
    1. Review your targeting. Does your targeting match your audience profile? Are you targeting the right demographics?
 
    1. Use your analytics. Are your clicks producing conversions and sales? Which marketing channels are producing the best results? Do your results justify your spend?
 
 

Once your marketing is primarily driving the right traffic to your site, you can then use testing to really optimize your campaign performance.

 

And, since you’ll be testing the right traffic, your results will be truly meaningful to your business.

 

Conclusion

 

Obviously, in a perfect world, you would have the time and resources to work on both traffic and testing. In the real world, though, sometimes you have to prioritize.

 

Having used both testing and traffic optimization for years to improve marketing performance, I’m definitely a big fan of both. However, testing works best when you are optimizing for the right traffic.

 

So, if you can only pick one, it makes the most sense to tighten up your traffic…and then start testing.

 

Traffic or testing-which would you pick? Where do you spend your time and why?

 

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

 
 

 

Hey CMOs: Technology Now as Important as Creativity

Before I get to the crux of my post, let me state for the record that I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would one day write such a post espousing that technology is now on par with creativity when it comes to importance for a given brand.

 
 

I say that because being a writer as long as I have – geez that makes me sound old, I always looked at creativity as being the cornerstone of any successful company or brand.

 
 

But as they say… that was then. And this is most assuredly now. And now we live in a world where technology has, well… pretty much changed everything, in particular in the fields of marketing and advertising.

 
 

Technologically Creative

 
 

I can see some of you with raised eyebrows thinking to yourself ‘But Steve, technology and creativity don’t go together. It’s what whole right side/left side brain thing.’

 
 

Well to that Sparky, I turn to Forbes, where contributor Greg Satell wrote a great post – in 2014 mind you, that speaks directly to this kind of concern.

 
 

“Technology does not quell creativity, in fact, there’s a great deal of evidence that suggests that technology enhances creativity,” said Satell. “Certainly, we are expected to be more creative in our working lives than a generation ago. The truth is that by expanding possibilities and automating part of the creative process, we can all be more creative and productive.”

 
 

Did you catch all that? Did you catch the one word that jumped off the screen at me when I read it?

 
 

Automating.

 
 

You can’t go 30 seconds today without reading something about marketing automation and the benefits it provides. And notice too that Satell wrote “automating part of the creative process.”

 
 

In other words we’re not talking about robots and technologies taking over the entire creative process. There will always be a need for the human element – at least this creative writer hopes so.

 
 

The point is technology can help support the creative process. Satell believes that as we become a more technological society, we also become a more creative society, because many of the [routine] tasks that used to take up a lot of our time and effort have become automated.What’s more, he adds “technology increases our potential to engage in the types of experiences that lead to greater creativity.”

 
 

Cannes We Talk?

 
 

Not sure what your plans are for later this month – but if they involve going to France, specifically Cannes for the Cannes Lions Festival where you can learn about technology, talk to peers and industry leaders – we’ve got news for you.

 
 
 
    • Join us for the Sunset Soirée at the Le Panorama Rooftop Terrace at JW Marriott Cannes on Tuesday, June 21 from 6:30pm – 10pm. This exclusive VIP cocktail reception with Kevin Akeroyd, SVP and GM of Oracle Marketing Cloud, and then meet the executive leadership team driving Oracle’s Marketing Cloud strategy. 
 
    • Oracle Data Cloud is partnering with Cannes Lions to deliver the first ever customized Festival Programme based on your interests. If you are a delegate at this year’s event, getting your very own version couldn’t be easier. Simply fill out this 4-question survey and we’ll deliver your custom agenda straight to your inbox.
 
    • Stop by the Oracle Data Cloud Live Tent located at the foot of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès to relax and beat the heat. Join our team for refreshments in the Data Lounge and connect with the Data Concierge. The lounge will be open every day from June 18 to June 25 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
 
 
 
 

And one last thing if I may… By now you as a CMO are fully aware of the need – the vital need to have right technology and marketing platform working for you. You also know how important is hear what your fellow CMOs think about a given topic. 

 
 

Download The CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms and hear exactly that – what your fellow CMOs think when it comes to having the right technology and platform.