Even though astronomy is my first love, sometimes I wander away and explore other science. This week, I attended a mechanical engineering conference and sat in on sessions specifically devoted to the influence of origami in engineering design. Lucky for me, there have been a few talks that combine this area of engineering with space-based applications.
One of the coolest was a compressible tube whose structure is based on origami folds. This type of tube (called a bellows) has all kinds o
WWE 'Backlash' 2016 Rumors & Predictions: 3 Stars Poised To Have Great Nights At 'SmackDown Live' Event [POLL, VIDEO]
‘SummerSlam’ marked the last multi-brand pay-per-view until November, and ‘SmackDown Live’ live will get the first all-brand show when it presents ‘Backlash’ on Sept. 11. Here are three stars poised to breakout on the Blue Brand’s debut pay-per-view.
Do you like your steak black and blue or just blackened? According to this study, your preference may depend on the emotions you feel when looking at raw meat. Here, researchers first showed 1046 Norwegian subjects pictures of either a rare or a well-done hamburger and asked them to indicate whether the image elicited “fear, disgust, surprise, interest, pleasure, or none of these.” The subjects were then told to rate their likelihood of eating burgers done to different levels (see figure bel
It’s the question on every marketer’s mind – “How do we turn these impressions, clicks and conversions into something that drives results for our company?”
The fact is, you have a lot on your plate. From new product launches to generating interest to reaching new markets and paying attention to customer sentiment, there’s a lot to juggle. Being able to not just make sense of the data you’re gathering, but also turn that information into actionable insights is a must-have skill in today’s competitive markets.
The good news is, it can be learned – easily.
The Problem with Reach
When everything is measured in terms of reach and impressions, we start creating goals that don’t really measure the results we want
In many cases, campaigns are founded with the wrong goal in mind. Everything is measured in “reach”. We look at impressions as the de facto measurement standard when it barely scratches the surface of measuring a consumer’s true interest and intent.
The end result, when focusing too much on reach and impressions, is that you might make a boatload of sales, but not be able to map them definitively to any specific campaign or strategy. Even if people first hear about your product through traditional media (TV, print, newspaper), they’re very likely to go online and do some more research – and that’s where things like reviews, ratings and testimonials can make a significant impact.
Another issue is that most advertising programs assume a straight path to conversions, when the result is anything but. The customer could go from print awareness to online research at your website, but then go offsite to look up user reviews, do some comparison shopping, seek out coupons, watch a product unboxing video, look over the company’s Facebook page to see what people are saying, double-back on the comparison shopping engine to find the best deal, and so forth.
The fact is, the conversion path isn’t pretty and that’s because it’s too often tied to wisps of numbers that don’t make any meaningful and measurable impact on the bottom line.
Mapping Campaigns to Results
Changing techniques to focus on revenues and relationships requires a change in how we think about campaigns
So how do you tie your campaigns into the kind of insights that deliver the results you need? Let’s take a look at some common types of campaigns and how they can be adjusted:
E-Commerce relies heavily on the power of reviews, testimonials and coupons – so combining these in a way that makes sense (such as putting reviews of that particular product below the customer’s item when they go to view their cart) will help reduce cart abandonment rates and seal the deal.
Automatically adding in a coupon (especially for free shipping) only serves to sweeten the deal, and greatly reduces the risk that the customer will go offsite to search for coupons – and potentially to a competitor.
Don’t forget the service after the sale either. Following up to inquire about how the customer likes the product, if they’ve used it yet or have any questions are crucial for keeping your brand front-of-mind in a way that’s helpful, not intrusive.
New Product Launch
New product launches are by far the easiest processes to map. Since initiatives are just getting off the ground, you can more easily segment and monitor them across all channels. But even with that kind of segmentation in place, it’s worth noting that few customers who “Like” a particular brand (for a discount, sample or whatever) seldom return to that page.
Your main goal in measuring results with new product launches should be to get customers to visualize their lives made better as a result of having your product in it. Your best customer may not say a lot or interact a lot on social media, but they will tell friends and family about you – and that speaks volumes more than any advertising can.
Brick and Mortar Sales
If your product is featured in traditional storefronts, there’s a lot you can do to help increase conversions. Create a coupon code for a specific retail chain or even a specific locale so that you can tie results directly to that specific campaign.
Help thwart showrooming (where customers browse in store but buy online) by price matching. Don’t force customers to jump through hoops to get the advertised price, either. Move the conversion needle even more by offering users a social coupon. This is one that can be shared with friends, but must be printed and brought to the store to redeem. You can track the success of the campaign through social analytics or the number of coupons redeemed.
There Is No Best Choice
One of the most common questions from the C-Suite with regard to conversions is “which channel drives the most?” Here again, there’s too much of a focus hinging on pure numbers and not more valuable (but intangible) things like customer sentiment, recommendations, brand awareness and so on. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to discovering which channel brings the greatest ROI – because there isn’t a single channel that does this all the time, for everyone, with every product.
Oftentimes, it’s a mix of initiatives that drive the best results. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Look at the mixes of what’s driving the most engagement or converting the most first-time users into paying customers – that’s the avenue you want to improve conversions on.
How Kissmetrics Can Help
If you’re using Kissmetrics, we’ve made it incredibly easy to see which marketing channels are sending the most profitable visitors.
We do this by using different channels. These channels include visitors who are referred directly to your site, who come by way of a third party, by email, and much more. But simply knowing where they come from is only part of the equation.
What you really want to know is — which visitors are bringing in the revenue?
And because Kissmetrics tracks users, not sessions, you can easily tie revenues to people. This is done by setting up the Revenue Report. Set it up once and let it start tackling the data effortlessly. You can even import your existing sales data if you wish.
An example of a Kissmetrics revenue report segmenting revenue by product category
The most valuable aspect of the Revenue Report is seeing which channels drive your biggest profits — not necessarily the most traffic or even the highest quality traffic — but pure revenues. As stated, you can even segment by marketing channel, so you’ll learn not only which campaigns resonate with your target audience, but what that means in terms of your bottom line.
Map It Out
Always look at strategy from a point of constant improvement rather than a “once and done” campaign
Some of us marketers are just visual learners who perform best when an idea is fully mapped out – so don’t hesitate to do this if you feel it will give you a better idea of how to move forward. Draw a horizontal “timeline” showing the different touch points where your customer interacts with your product or service in any way. Then, draw a vertical line showing the stages of the sales funnel.
Now look at it carefully and see where and how the different areas intersect and mingle with each other. Are there areas where customers are dropping off considerably? Are there touch points where the customer isn’t getting the help or clarification they need? When you map out the process, it’s amazing the findings that will suddenly come to light!
No matter what, going from campaigns to conversions isn’t about looking at the raw data as win or lose. It’s about looking at the big picture of which campaigns cultivated the kind of customer sentiment and brand awareness you want while minimizing friction or cart abandonment. And more often than not, these kinds of results will come from many different campaigns and channels.
It requires a shift in how you think about conversions and how they tie into overall customer retention, to be sure, but making that shift and looking at initiatives in terms of wide-reaching strategies rather than one-off campaigns can make a significant difference in all areas of business.
Have you integrated any of these ideas into your own campaigns? What kind of results have you gotten? Share your thoughts and comments with us below!
About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!
Sasha Banks WWE Rumors: Former Women's Champion Posts Heart-felt Message Amid Reports She's Injured [PHOTO, VIDEO]
Sasha Banks dropped the Women’s Championship at ‘SummerSlam’ and could be out of the WWE for a while. ‘The Boss’ took to Instagram to share a positive message, likely in reference to her current situation.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said the polar bear. “Everything seems normal to me! Watch out for that puddle.”
Up in the Arctic, things are getting slushy. But some polar bears are refusing to change their ways. Instead of compromising on where they spend their time, they’re clinging to the icy habitats they’ve always loved. As those habitats keep shrinking, though, the bears will eventually find things too crowded and uncomfortable to ignore.
Researchers divide polar bear
It’s hard to argue that split testing (also know as A/B testing) is changing the face of marketing. According to Unbounce, 44% of online businesses are using split test software. And software products like Unbounce and Visual Website Optimizer are making it ever easier. Split testing, done right, with good context, can put a stop to all the guesswork, anecdotal conclusions, and correlation/causation errors that can abound in marketing circles.
But it’s not without risks: split tests are expensive to run, requiring investment for both software, and staff/consultants to run the tests. Not to mention the opportunity cost of lost time exploiting other profit levers in your business.
All of which underscores the importance of testing the right metrics in your business, and the potential cost in time and resources of testing the wrong ones.
While I can’t speak for all businesses, what I’ve seen again-and-again with clients and peers is businesses gravitating toward what’s easy to test – landing pages, checkout pages, email subject lines, and sales pages (all of which can be extremely important in the right context) – rather than what’s important.
That’s why one of the most meaningful changes you can make in your business is to implement a process for identifying which parameters to test and optimize. Below are 3 metrics you need to know before you spend one more minute split testing.
1. List-to-Sale Conversion Rate
What if I told you one simple calculation would tell you whether to optimize any conversion metrics between an opt-in and a sale, or to look elsewhere? That’s what the list-to-sale benchmark gives you. “List-to-sale” is the percentage of buyers of your product or service over a given time period relative to the number of opt-ins to your email list for the same period.
Say in a given month you get 1,000 opt-ins to your email list, and in that same month, you make 55 sales of your flagship product. Wondering whether you should go with a webinar funnel instead of an email onboarding sequence? Whether to incorporate video into your sales page? Whether to change the color of your “buy now” button?
The answer to all of them is “no”, and I didn’t even need to take a look inside your funnel. Why? With 55 sales, you’re converting at a staggering 5% list-to-sale.
To calculate, just take the sales in the last 30 days and divide those by opt-ins over the same time period.
Some readers will be noticing the absence of a sales cycle in that calculation (i.e. since it takes days-to-weeks and several touch points to make a sale. We should be comparing this month’s buyers to last month’s opt-ins). You can control for this with a simple average:
- Take the last 4 months, and average the opt-ins over the first 3
- Then average the sales over the last 3.
- Then perform the same percentage calculation. (Sales divided by opt-ins)
For example, say you’re calculating in August:
- First you’d average the monthly opt-ins for April, May, and June. Let’s just say the average is 1500.
- Then you’d average the sales from May, June, and July, in order to leave a 30-day lag. Let’s say that average came out to 75.
- Dividing the sales by the opt-ins, and you’d get 5%.
The benchmark you should be aiming for? 1-2%. Below that, go nuts with split testing parts of your funnel. Above 1%, look elsewhere.
Above 2%, and I’d seriously consider raising your prices. In the hypothetical case of the 5% from above, I’d immediately double the price.
Next, and especially if your list-to-sale conversion is at-or-above the 1-2% benchmark, it’s time to look at your traffic.
2. Opt-in Conversion Rate
The vast majority of businesses I work with have list-to-sale conversion rates closer to benchmarks than their opt-in conversion rates. Put another way, if they’re wasting any resources split-testing their funnel or sales copy, they’re completely ignoring the sizable cohort of website visitors who never even see the offer because they bounce off the site.
As with list-to-sale conversions, you can do a back-of-the-napkin calculation for opt-ins. Just count your new subscribes from the last 30 days and divide it by total website visitors during that same 30 days.
The benchmark to aim at for opt-in conversion is 10%.
If you haven’t ever found your opt-in rate before, my guess is you’ll be astonished how low it is. I’ve seen it as low as 1-2%.
Luckily, there’s a simple strategy to improve it:
- Find the individual opt-in rates of your biggest webpages and your 10 most popular content pieces. (If you’re using a plugin like SumoMe or OptinMonster, you can set up the software to tell you your opt-ins for each page.)
- Look for the “outliers” – content pages often perform worse than home and about pages.
Once you’ve identified the worst-performers, perform this simple checklist (from lowest-hanging-fruit to more subtle)
- Can readers find your opt-in offer, or is it buried below the fold or ¾ of the way down a blog post?
- Are you giving your visitors only one thing to do on each page or post, or are you offering 3 different giveaways on various parts of your page?
- Is your opt-in offer not just well written, but well copywritten? Does it specify exactly who it’s for, describe a clear, specific benefit, and emphasize the urgency for opting in? (Even high performing opt-ins can usually be improved).
- Are you requiring your subscribers to double-opt-in? This will lower your opt-in conversions. Many founders I’ve talked to like to use a double-opt-in because it seems more “polite”. In my opinion, making somebody go off the page to get the freebie they just gave your email address for, let-alone to wait up to 20 minutes for it to arrive in their mailbox isn’t particularly polite. When I give my email address to get a lead magnet, I want it now – not after reconfirming my email address and waiting 20 minutes for the email.
This is not the type of page you want to create if you’re looking to increase opt-ins.
Don’t give your readers more than one choice when optimizing for opt-ins
Split-test ninjas take-note: if you’ve read this far, and your opt-in rate is indeed garbage, there’s ample opportunity to split test:
- Two versions of a homepage with different opt-in copy/design.
- Two versions of an exit-pop on a popular content piece.
If you’re among the extremely lucky minority with list-to-sale conversions at-or-above 2%, and opt-in conversions at-or-above 10%, and you’ve raised your prices, I have some disappointing (although kind of good) news: split testing is not a good fit for your business.
Here’s the question to ask: Are your monthly sessions at least 50% of your list size? (i.e. if your list has 2,000 subscribers, are you getting at least 1,000 uniques per month?) If not, you need a traffic strategy. Don’t waste your time A/B testing anything.
While I’m a conversions expert and not a traffic expert, here’s a quick decision tree:
- Determine your market size. If you could 5x your traffic, are there enough people in your market to support it?
- Implement a content/syndication/guest-post strategy ASAP. It’s practically the only guaranteed winner across all verticals, but it can take up to a year to bear fruit.
- Consider hiring a paid traffic expert for one month to test customer acquisition costs from various paid sources. Choose the most profitable and double down while you wait for organic traffic to grow.
Bottom line: the same month spent split testing two opt-in offers on a homepage, landing page, or content page, could provide a 2-4x increase in revenue (by, say, improving an opt-in conversion rate from 1% to 4%), while the same time and money spent trying to boost an already maxed-out sales conversion rate would have a much smaller return.
That’s why a little context can save you thousands.
About the Author: Nate Smith is a direct-response copywriter and funnel expert who helps businesses scale by exploiting their most powerful profit levers. Nate is founder of 8020MarketingGuy.com.