About Analytics, Conversions and On-Site Surveys

Recently, I have given a lot of thought to conversions. A static website may attract a lot of traffic, but unless there is an initial CTA (otherwise known as “call-to-action”), that traffic may be of no use at all.

According to a recent study by Bain & Company, around 80% of companies say they are customer centric, yet only 8% of their customers seem to agree with this.

When it comes to online shopping, this gap is evident.

You already have my contact info, and you know exactly what I bought – why not use that information and ask me for my opinions on-site, as well as at least some feedback about the online store and my purchase experience, or at the very least the product you just sold me?

As we all know, around 90% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. Proper SEO and SEM are, naturally, of a very high importance when it comes to attempts to increase the conversion rate.

Also, to be more precise, conversions only take place when targeted traffic meets the relevant offer. It all starts with knowing who is your target audience – and with knowing what they need or want.

It is highly recommended to begin by asking the right questions.

  • Who are the target customers? And what is their ongoing life situation?
  • What do they want? And what is the biggest pain point related to that?
  • What are the exact needs of the customers that aren’t being met right now?

Surveys can be used to significantly increase conversions by directing visitors to the correct pages on site. It all starts simply by asking questions related to customers and their specific needs, or feedback on whatever is displayed on the current page being browsed.

Qualitative research can offer more insight than anything else for coming up with conversions. Whereas quantitative figures tell you “what, where” and “how much”, the qualitative information tells you “why”.

The primary goal of qualitative research on-site is to gather an in-depth understanding of a website user’s behaviour, and the main reasons for that behaviour.

It makes sense to first inquire the user’s intent – to dig into what exactly is the specific problem they were solving by visiting the site in question. Moving forward, the next relevant questions might be, for example, what mattered to them when choosing the product or service, what kind of comparisons did they do prior to purchase, or how many and which other sites they looked at, and so on. It might also make sense to ask about friction – fears, doubts and hesitations the users experienced before making the purchase.

Your basic Google Analytics tools help you in defining your questions and in placing the surveys on site.

With Google Analytics tools, it is easy to spot the exact:

  • Best performing content (Which pieces of content work best? Try and get a clear view on this one!)
  • Best converting keywords (Which keywords rank? Aim to rank better for these and similar words.)
  • Best converting landing pages (Where is the incoming traffic landing on – and does it convert?)
  • Best converting traffic sources (Where exactly is your traffic that converts visitors coming from?)

To best avoid bounce and churn rate increase, I suggest giving the conversion surveys as well as their placement on your site a lot of thought. Less is more.

Exit surveys, annoying pop-ups and prompts to subscribe to another newsletter are proliferate. With Google Analytics tools, you can easily target the relevant customers with your on-site surveys – it does not matter if they converted, or did not yet.

On Personalization and Generating ROI Online

According to the recent Salesforce “State of Marketing” report that surveyed 4 000 marketing leaders worldwide, by 2021, around 75% of marketing budgets will be spent on digital marketing efforts.

So what kind of marketing efforts are the most effective when it comes to online marketing?

This, of course, depends on the customer segments you reach out to, and the desired return of investment of each channel. Mobile is becoming increasingly important, of course. But I will give a few pointers more.

It is a well-known fact that standard display ads are not actually viewed by anyone online in around 50% of the cases. According to many sources, the average click-through rate of a standard banner ad is around 0.12-0.14 %. As the use of ad blockers is on the rise, it is gradually becoming even more difficult to deliver relevant ads to potential and returning customers online. This is one reason why the app industry is so big now.

Around 30% of all Finnish people currently use this kind of software, with the same figure now being over 50% among Finnish youth. I use this kind of software myself, only occasionally turning it off for any site.

According to Contently, however, data-driven marketing efforts lead to revenue increases for over 50% of the marketers, and over 75% of marketers generated positive returns from content marketing.

As often cited, content is still king, and in the online kingdom, it seems that context is queen.

Creating original content that will be displayed in the relevant context matters, and so it will in the future too. This is where search engine marketing and optimization via keywords and metadata come in.

In case your team still has no segmented content strategy, I think you should definitely create one soon.

Personalizing online content drives revenue, and this is evident based on this year’s Salesforce report.

The Salesforce “State of Marketing” report breaks the marketing teams surveyed to three categories: underperformers, that are “slightly” or “not at all” satisfied with their current marketing outcomes, moderate performers, that are “very” or “moderately” satisfied, and high-performers, that are “extremely” satisfied with their marketing outcomes. Of the 4000 teams surveyed, only 18% fall into the last category.

According to this year’s report, 83% of the high-performing marketing teams worldwide use customer data to segment or target ads. 79% of these teams currently employ some form of predictive intelligence in their marketing, with 49% of these marketing teams reporting extensive usage of online personalization.

This is what high-performance inbound online marketing now and in the very near future is all about.

Asking to subscribe an email newsletter or registering in order to download original content makes all the difference. An easy-to-find, easy-to-fill, concise contact form with questions on some basic demographic information is needed, of course, in order to get a segmented, up-to-date customer register together.

I find the increasingly common pop-ups asking to supply any information really annoying, and would thereby recommend that the contact information or registration form is included at the very front page of your company, or alternatively, appearing right next to your most popular pieces of content.

A/B testing different landing pages with a contact form is a very useful technique to ensure, that the bounce rate and churn rates are kept to a minimum, and you are getting people to sign up and stay.

It is paramount to collect behaviour-based data as well.

Google Analytics will deliver detailed reports on website visitors, as long as the Tag Manager is utilized to its full potential, and aligned with the selected attribution models of monitoring the customer journey.

When optimizing and personalizing, it is good to keep in mind that the majority of any first-time website visitors, especially those that are browsing the site mobile, are unlikely ready to be your customers – and it is likewise unlikely that they will ever convert, if the initial call-to-action is missing. So there must be something easy-going for these visitors to do besides making a purchase. Liking or sharing website content in social media are examples of such actions.

And naturally, returning visitors are likely be more satisfied, if you can target them with some form of optimized content. If and when the conversion happens, this should, of course, also be acknowledged – for example by a simple “Thank you” note and by simultaneously giving the customers a chance to give immediate feedback on their experience. In the ideal situation, after the initial conversion happens, the customers are also offered some relevant, personalized content in the newsletter and at the website.

I found this infographic on the online marketing environment below in a SlideShare presentation – the size of each circle is representative of the approximate ROI of each channel. This image was created in 2014. I firmly believe we will observe a significant increase in the SEM and SEO & Content ROI over a few years.

digitalmarketingbw

Read the article “Your Content Is Outstanding But Is It Standing Out?” by Sanjeev Nambudiri:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/your-content-outstanding-standing-out-sanjeev-nambudiri

With BuzzSumo, you can find out about today’s content trends and see how your content is performing: http://buzzsumo.com/

Website Grader, powered by HubSpot, is a nice, free tool for rating your website’s overall performance: https://website.grader.com/

On the Properties of the Content that Rocks

By now, everyone is doing it. I think it is safe to say that content marketing does not make any difference. What matters is compelling content.

According to Google, 90% of any customer journeys now span at least five different channels. A very fundamental goal in content marketing should be to reach the customer on each relevant touchpoint over the journey. But in addition to reaching out to the right people at the right time, what does it take for content to create an impact?

I recently wrote in this blog about the need for proper content management. Content remains king, and for content to rule, content management is very important.

But I said very little about what best content is made of.

As a rule of thumb, of course, all of the content online must be very brief, focused, distinctive and memorable. And in order to create leads, there should be a clear call to action involved.

Making it a point to set these parameters as your internal content goals makes a lot of sense.

Identifying your own goals is of course important, but what really makes all the difference when it comes to your content, is identifying the goals of the target audiences. People are rarely online just browsing and prowling around, in fact, in the most common case they are online in order to get something done, and using a search engine or one of their favourite sites to do that.

And this is when your content must come through as compelling.

Successful content meets the target audiences needs and attempts to fulfill them. Based on the identified goals of each customer segment, it should be easy to plan the general themes that will be discussed with the target audience, and to start creating the editorial calendar. The customer’s goals may be quite abstract in some cases, and, of course, in some cases they are not.

It seems to me, however, that the abstract goals related to purchasing a product or using a service dominate our decision-making over the customer journey. According to Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, the authors of the “Experience Economy”, the most desirable customer experiences, and the ones that we are also willing to pay more for, are ”transformative” in nature, employing our emotions.

Emotions dominate most aspects of our lives. Having multiple devices with internet access does little in the way of solving our emotional issues. But the content we connect with online can certainly be of assistance here. Tapping to the power of the positive emotions and focusing on the potential for a transformative customer experience is what should drive content creation.

Read more about the overarching trends that will shape next year in content marketing: http://hub.uberflip.com/h/i/160667652-7-ways-content-marketing-will-evolve-in-2016

 

About the Game of Content Creation

The average attention span of a person online is around 8 seconds. This calls for bite-sized, innovative, relevant and valuable content in any online service. Content is still king, since it is what inbound marketing is all about. So what does it take to succeed, when ”the king” is involved?

With content marketing having become an onbnoxious buzzword and with the amount of content online being massive and ever-growing, there is a sense of fatigue involved. However, compelling content remains exactly what is driving more and more people from the audience online into the sales funnel and some of these customers eventually towards being brand advocates.

Having a proper content strategy is paramount, but I think it matters even more who and how many the people in your organization involved in content marketing are.

In an ideal situation, there would be various different personas around.

First of all, you need several crafters of content – these are the people who will draft the relevant content. These people would have to be capable of authoring and co-creating interesting content, and preferably creative. The content crafting team may also consist of people working with many other tasks in the organization. If this is the status quo, the team needs to devote weekly meetings and daily working time for content creation.

So you got your team of innovative content creators together? That’s great.

Content drafted by the team may still need some tweaking, so having a content editor or two helps in keeping the message consistent.

Before publishing, you would also have to hire a designer to make sure that all the content being created and taken online is visually consistent as well as possibly a developer to oversee technical functions. These tasks can of course be outsourced, but should never be overlooked.

Moreover, you would also have to employ a person to put together a promotion plan for the great content that the content creation team has produced. And on top of that, you would also need an analyst to follow the key metrics of success and to drive search engine optimization.

The conclusion is that successful content marketing always calls for the input of a team of several people from various backgrounds, even if these employees were to be multitasking talents.

Once the content management team has been established, and the target audience defined, it should be no problem to create and publish enticing content as well as follow up on the results and return of investment.

Without a court ”the king” may not rule.

Further reading on content marketing:

http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/content-marketing-trends-2015-weve-seen-01369898

http://www.content-loop.com/the-top-10-marketing-trends-that-will-define-2016/