How to Increase Conversions: 10 Tips to See Positive Results

As a marketer, many of your campaigns may be built around one primary objective: getting people to fill out a form.  Often, designing a compelling advertisement isn’t enough to encourage people into handing over their details. Many factors can deter someone from submitting a form, including the unwillingness to provide contact information.

Here are some content design strategies and tips that you can employ today to effectively nudge people toward conversion:

Just Say ‘No’ to Distractions

When driving people to a form, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to distract them with detours. Landing pages should be built as simple as possible. Here’s how:

1. Drive people to a landing page—not your website.

You want people to do one thing, and one thing only: fill out that form. You must drive them with a simple and engaging email to a landing page that is specifically built for your campaign. Sending someone to your website offers a plethora of distractions, including images and text that don’t apply to your campaign’s appeal, multiple links to other information, and in some cases, flashing beacons of light that are begging folks to take some other action. If you want people to drive directly to your destination, don’t drop them off in the middle of Las Vegas where sparkling lights from competing assets beg for their attention. Likewise, steer clear of cluttering your emails with the same distractions.

2. Remove ALL navigation from the landing page.

Don’t offer an exit ramp when you are trying to capture a person’s information on a form. Doing so can make your lead stray away from your primary call-to-action. Will they find their way back to your form?  Maybe.  Most of the time—no. At that point, you may have lost their impulse to decide. Instead, your landing page should be designed simply, and with only ONE action they can possibly take: fill out that form.

Be Consistent

Emails, advertisements (online and offline), and social campaigns should have a similar look and feel. Using too many different images, layouts and copy between assets can create a disconnect for people, and can even make a person feel like the content is not reliable.  Instead, try to use the following techniques in design:

  1. Use the same (or reasonably similar) header image in the outbound email and on the landing page.
  2. Repeat copy from the email on the landing page—especially the headline.
  3. Use the same color scheme in emails, landing pages, and on the form.
  4. Always provide a clear call-to-action:  don’t make people search for it!  One of my colleagues calls this the “BOB” (Big Orange Button). Top-converting emails and landing pages always contain some version of the BOB.

Do More with Less

All too often, I have seen emails and landing pages designed with too much text, and entirely too many images.  Asking people to read an entire magazine before filling out your form will certainly contribute to losing their interest.  Here are some tips on how to do more with less:

Create an impulse decision.

  • A compelling headline with a short summary of details in an email can create an impulse to react.

Don’t give up the farm!

  • Your email should be quick, to the point, and provide just enough information to drive them to the landing page—and don’t forget the BOB!
  • The juicy details should be found in the downloaded content after submitting the form, not in the email, and not all on the landing page either. Otherwise, what’s the point of filling out the form?

Keep all the important stuff above the fold.

  • Remember old-fashioned newspapers?  If you haven’t heard “above the fold” in the past, it refers to everything you see on the newspaper page before the paper folds. All the interesting, juicy, enticing, infomation and your call-to-action should be above the point where someone needs to scroll through the email or landing page in their browser.
  • Just remember “If a person must scroll, it takes a toll.”

Use a short form.

  • This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have seen a ton of long forms out there. On average, forms with five fields or less have higher conversions. Several factors can impact conversion on even short forms, however. For example, making the telephone field required is a typical detour. In some cases, simply moving the telephone field to the bottom of the form can help. Results can vary based on your content and your audience. To optimize your forms, try an A/B test and see which one is performing the best.

In this exciting new digital age, social media has impacted customer behavior in a way that creates multiple challenges for marketers. Today’s savvy internet surfers are accustomed to getting all the information they need in a short social media status message or in a brief article online. We can learn from this behavior. These micro status messages entice people to follow links to landing pages. Your content marketing strategy should do the same.

Creating short, simple, and actionable marketing messages using the techniques I described here can have a positive impact on conversion rates. While this is not an exhaustive list of conversion strategies, these basics can significantly impact your results.

Do you have any conversion strategies that you use? Please share them here!

The post How to Increase Conversions: 10 Tips to See Positive Results appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Bing Ads Releases New Audience Features

Finding your ideal audience is the end of the rainbow for digital marketers. The more we can know about the users behind the screen, the better we can customize our messaging and capture their interest in our brands and their dollars. We’re always trying to reach our best customers and last week, Bing announced two new open betas to help us do just that: In-Market Audiences and Custom Audiences. These new targeting options intelligently leverage customer data, enabling marketers to serve better ads.


With In-Market Audiences, you can associate lists of users who are “in-market” for particular products or services with your ad groups and modify bids accordingly. There are currently 14 In-Market Audiences available:


In-Market Audiences


Bing is promising that more segments will be added this summer.


There are two reasons that I am excited about this feature in Bing:


  1. You can capture audiences in the moments that they are most valuable to you, right before they’re about to buy.
  2. You can apply the lists to your campaigns with zero risk. You can layer these audiences across your campaigns without bid modifiers and see how performance shakes out before throwing marketing dollars at it.


Additionally, once you determine which audiences convert, you could test personalized ad copy to keep pace with consumer desires for tailor-made content.


To implement In-Market Audiences follow these steps:


  1. Contact your Bing Rep. to opt into the Beta
  2. In The audiences tab, select “Create Association” and then choose In–Market Audience.
  3. From the list of available In-Market Audiences, select the audience you want to associate with the ad group.
  4. Select targeting options (target & bid or bid only)
  5. Save


Create association


Of course, we don’t know exactly how Bing’s algorithm determines who is in market and what audience triggers it uses to create these lists and if they will be as sophisticated as Google’s. However, this new effort has a leg up over Google in that the audiences can be applied to Search campaigns, whereas In-Market audiences in Google only are only an option on the Display Network. Currently, the In-Market Audiences beta is only available in the U.S.


In another effort to help marketers reach their ideal audiences, Bing rolled out The Custom Audiences global pilot. Custom Audiences is a type of remarketing list that is generated using first-party customer data directly from your client’s CRM. Here’s a snapshot for the visually inclined.


Custom Audiences


The benefit is being able to create highly sophisticated user segments based on deeper data than what is traditionally available from Bing alone. You can then customize messaging to better target these primed audiences. Here are a few examples of Custom Audience segments that can be used as a remarketing list.


Potential remarketing audiences


This is a tool that is pulsing with potential. However, the very obvious downside is that currently, it can only integrate with Adobe Audience Manager, which excludes a ton of clients from what could be a very valuable targeting method. It’s hard to have any enthusiasm about a product that is off limits to a lot of us, but Bing is working to integrate more CRM platforms. Another downside is that there is a hardy implementation process to integrate the API.


P.S. Bing calls CRMs “Data Platform Managers.”


Should you have a client that uses Adobe Audience Manager, here are the steps for integration From Bing:


To get started, your CRM needs to do two things:


  1. Integrate Bing’s Custom Audience APIs into their platform.
  2. Agree to Bing’s data sharing and privacy policy.


Depending on the DMP, they will have their own enablement steps within their software. Adobe provides this reference guide on how to enable new integrations with their Audience Manager.


You will have to connect with your DMP on additional steps needed to enable this feature.


Once the integration steps have been completed, your Custom Audiences will show up in the Audience section of the Shared Library in the Bing Ads UI. Associate these Custom Audiences to your ad groups in the same way you would associate a remarketing list.


 Associate a remarketing list


View Custom Audiences


Final Thoughts


While my initial enthusiasm for Custom Audiences deflated like a dollar store balloon, I cannot see any reason not to get In-Market Audiences applied across your Bing campaigns right away if your segment is currently available. Who knows, maybe you’ll find marketing El Dorado.


Optimized the Hell Out of Your Client’s AdWords Account? Don’t Drive More Traffic, Do This Instead

This is Dale (okay, it’s actually Corey, our Director of Campaign Strategy), but we’ll call him Dale for the sake of this post). Dale is the Manager of Paid Media at a local digital marketing agency.

Look at Dale’s face and tell me you don’t see yourself 👀.

Dale is an AdWords wizard, so much so that he’s optimized his clients’ accounts to the point where he can no longer get a notable conversion lift.

He’s tried everything: changing bids, testing ads, adding negative keywords, sitelinks, geography targeting — but no matter what he tweaks, he’s unable to push beyond the dreaded conversion plateau.

Dale is stuck between a rock and a hard place; he can either ask his clients for more money to send more traffic to their not-so-specific site (rock), or he can keep banging his head against his desk (hard place, literally).

But wait, Dale! There’s another way — one that doesn’t result in head trauma. One that has the potential to supercharge your client’s ad spend and help you retain more clients (not to mention make you the hero of your agency and the envy of your co-workers — ooh la la).

That “other way” is to focus on the post-click experience.

What is the post-click experience and why should you care?

Before we define the post-click experience, we need to dissect what goes into a conversion rate.

A conversion rate is the result of three very important components coming together:

  1. Your client’s offering (the thing or service they’re actually selling)
  2. Your client’s industry
  3. The surrounding marketing strategy (this is where you can have the biggest impact as an agency marketer)

The marketing strategy can further be broken down into pre- and post-click strategy. The pre-click experience is whatever happens before your client’s prospect clicks through on an ad — it’s what you’re already spending 80% of your day optimizing deep in the trenches of AdWords, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and Google Analytics. It’s all about getting people to the next stage in the funnel.

The post-click experience, on the other hand, includes whatever happens after your client’s prospect clicks through — everything from how accurately the landing page copy matches the ad’s promise to how well the page conveys the offer to how much the page asks of your visitors and whether the ask is aligned with the visitor’s current buyer stage.

You might be thinking, Cool, but this falls outside my job description. And you’d be right.

But let’s face it, if your agency is only focused on improving the ad experience, you’re drastically limiting the impact you can have on your client’s on-page conversion rates. Convincing your team to allocate time and resources to optimizing the post-click experience will result in converting more of those clicks you work so hard to get.

The image on the left represents the visitors that drop off after they click through your ad. However, allocating resources to the post-click experience via landing page optimization can help you drastically impact on-page conversion rates without increasing ad spend — more like the image on the right.

Focusing on the post-click experience (or where people land after an ad) won’t just increase on-page conversion rates. It can impact other metrics you’re trying to impact while optimizing in AdWords.

Here’s what I mean…

Let’s say your client is a Canada-wide alternative health clinic. Right now you’re running ads for each of its 18 locations, but your client has provided you with a generic, catch-all page on their website, to send all this ad traffic to. This generic website page lacks a clear call to action, and the copy doesn’t match the ads, which are hyper-targeted based on location and service.

Example of a generic, catch-all webpage, with your ad’s offer circled in red.

You know that a more targeted page would perform better, so you convince your agency to create several targeted landing pages instead. You create unique pages for each service this client offers (like massage therapy, homeopathy, and acupuncture )and drive very specific ads to these corresponding pages. You can even go as far as to use Dynamic Text Replacement to ensure the search intent is reflected from ad to landing page.

Example of a targeted landing page, with a single call to action and a headline which matches the ad copy.

In this case, by focusing on the post-click experience with dedicated landing pages, you’re indicating to the visitor they’ve made a “good click.” Your agency starts to notice an increase in on-page conversions, which results in lower cost per lead; you’re doing more with the same ad spend. But here’s the clincher: Your client’s AdWords Quality Score improves, thereby — wait for it — lowering CPC. (Insert mind-blown gif here.)

Virginia-based digital agency Workshop Digital did it. They were able to test their way up to 20-22% conversion rates — four times the leads their client was getting prior — without driving more traffic, but instead by allocating resources to the post-click experience.

What does focusing on the post-click experience look like?

The simplest and most impactful way to improve the post-click experience is to introduce landing page design and optimization as a service your agency provides.

The first step is to build dedicated landing pages for your client’s campaigns using best practices and insights about your client’s industry from the Conversion Benchmark Report. (This will take some collaboration with your client to determine which offers to roll out.)

The second step is to optimize your client’s pages to increase the conversion rate over time, like Workshop Digital did:

“We started testing everything from images to backgrounds, slideshows, videos, copy, headline placement, form placement, button placement. At first we just played around with what we thought would work. And we started slowly seeing improvements. Every landing page iteration we tested would get incrementally better.”

Optimize your client’s entire AdWords funnel, convert more prospects and lower your cost-per-acquisition with dedicated landing pages from Unbounce.

How to offer landing page optimization services at your agency

Working landing pages and optimization into your agency’s offering doesn’t have to be a mammoth task (we promise!).

Get everyone on board

We get it, there are a ton of people that need to buy into landing pages and optimization before your team can start running with it.

They’re like you; they need evidence that what you’re proposing will actually help the business, the bottom line or even just make their lives easier. Lucky for you, here are four reasons you can provide your team:

  1. Build long-term relationships with your clients by launching and optimizing specific, targeted campaigns versus one-off, generic campaigns.
  2. Unlock a new revenue stream for your agency (Montreal-based digital agency Webistry saw a 23% increase in revenue by offering landing pages and a 50% increase in average retainer fees by offering optimization services).
  3. Get ahead of (or at least on par with) your competition, who might already be offering landing page and optimization services.
  4. Improve your client’s AdWord’s Quality Score and break through the conversion plateau… basically impress the heck out of your client.

Price your services

Working landing pages and optimization into your pricing can be tricky, and what works for one agency may not work for the next.

Is landing page design a staple service of yours? Will you offer follow up, maintenance and optimization services? Or are landing pages simply an add-on that you’ll teach clients to maintain themselves? Here’s how a few successful agencies already do it:

  1. Include landing pages in your retainer fee, like Utah-based Disruptive Advertising. They include landing pages in their pricing, whether their client uses it or not. (And guess what? 95% of their clients do use it.)
  2. Charge your client for landing pages directly, like digital marketing agency Third Wunder, who establishes a flat fee and then makes additions based on the client’s needs, or Titan PPC, who charges a flat fee of around $500-$700 for a custom landing page.

Pitch it to your client

Getting your client on board is slightly different from getting your agency on board, although the premise is the same: Show them how it will improve their business. Here are a few points that might stick.

  1. Sending ad traffic to your catch-all page with a high attention ratio is a waste of money. Dedicated landing pages, on the other hand, have an attention ratio of 1:1, and therefore a higher chance of conversion.
  2. Landing pages increase ROI thanks to a principle called message match, whereby your ad copy matches your landing page copy.
  3. You can keep upping your ad spend… or you can optimize what you’ve got. Landing pages compound PPC efforts so you can convert the traffic you’ve already got, versus paying for more traffic.

And for future clients, consider doing what Webistry does and don’t give clients the option. Landing pages and optimization are an essential part their offering, and help them get the best results for their clients.

Final thoughts

As a paid media manager, you may never have focused on the post-click experience… but it could make your job optimizing a ton easier.

Armed with the tools required to build and optimize your client’s ad-to-landing-page experience, your team will amplify your PPC efforts, impact the metrics that matter and, ultimately, impress and retain the people who matter the most: your clients.


Engage to Win, a Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy

In a blog post earlier this year, I introduced the concept of the Engagement Economy, which is the digitally connected world we live in that demands we, as marketers and brands, communicate with buyers in ways that resonate and are meaningful. In the Engagement Economy, our customers are in charge and they are more informed than ever because of the informational convenience and convergence of search, social, blogs, video, and hundreds more easily accessible digital touchpoints. Buyers are forming opinions, reaching conclusions, and influencing others well before we as marketers have a chance to “make our pitch”.

Beyond the buyer, our existing customers today want to feel wanted and understood. They want to build long-term relationships and align with brands that care about them and connect with them on a personal level across every channel and touchpoint. The point is this: Customers want to be engaged! With that said, it’s worth exploring what that really means for us as marketers. More to the point, how we can shift our marketing strategy and effort to more engagement?

Value Over Volume

True customer engagement is the whole idea behind the book that I am writing entitled, Engage to Win, which is my call to arms to all marketers to challenge their views about what it means to really “engage with” and not “market to” their buyers. I believe that many of the digital tools we have at our disposal—email, digital ads, social media, web, mobile, and more—make it easier than ever before to automate how we understand, connect with, and communicate to our customers. Improper use, or coordination, of these digital tools is where we often falter as marketers. We prioritize volume metrics over value metrics and we miss a huge opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with our buyers. To illustrate the types of relationships that I’m referring to, let me share two examples.

  • TOMS shoes has become successful in large part because of what it stands for. You buy a pair of shoes and they donate a pair of shoes to children in need. Everyone who wears TOMS shoes knows TOMS has built a movement and invited their customers to be a part of it. Thus, it has created an unpaid army of tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of “brand advocates” who spread the word about the company and the passion they have for the brand to their friends and followers across channels including social media.
  • Amazon has taken just about all the things people hate about retail—limited selection, slow delivery, a cumbersome checkout process and turned them into competitive advantages. You can order anything you want including clothes, movies, pet food, or automotive supplies and get it in two days or less. They started with books, but with the acquisition of Whole Foods, it’s fairly clear that Amazon wants to become the more engaged version of Walmart before Walmart becomes the more engaged version of Amazon!

These are examples of companies that connect with us as buyers in a profoundly more meaningful way than the repetitive pop-up ads that appear when you visit a website or the relentless emails you get from a retailer for which you have little interest!

The Nine Commandments of Engagement

In the precursor to my book, I offer nine “commandments” as rules of engagement that every marketer can follow to build customer relationships based on shared values and trust. These new rules start with listening to and learning from your customers before acting on what you find. They include tips that will help us as marketers be the best ambassadors we can be for our brands. The truth is that we have to curate the values associated with our brands. With that, here’s an excerpt:

ONE: Listen. Develop the discipline of continually listening to your customers via every channel you possibly can.

TWO: Learn. Take all that data you collect from customers and potential customers and turn it into insights.

THREE: Act on those insights, by dealing with your customers the way they want you to, when they want you to.

FOUR: Never forget you don’t create the engagement journey, your customers do. (You can curate it though!)

FIVE: Don’t let anyone other than you define what your organization stands for.

SIX: Everyone in the company has the opportunity to influence the engagement process—for good or evil. Choose good.

SEVEN: Never let anyone define your personal brand. Your organization must stand for something. You, as a human being, must as well. (And, of course, what you stand for will reflect on your organization).

EIGHT: No outbound content for your customer, whether it is an email, a video, whatever, should ever leave your company without being vetted by some type of focus group or feedback pool. In today’s age of hyper-reactivity, this is a requirement.

NINE: The world is evolving at an unprecedented, accelerated pace in terms of norms, tastes, preferences, beliefs, biases, and on and on and on. You cannot assume that what you believed to be true yesterday, literally yesterday, is true today. You and your organization need to accept that fact at the very DNA level of your being. It’s an absolute.

To help you put these suggestions into practice and sketch out your own engagement plans, we’ve developed a workbook that takes you through a set of provocative questions that will help you to take a critical look at where you are and where you’re going. I encourage you to take some time to work through it —possibly as a team activity—to help you shape your collective path forward in the Engagement Economy.

With that, I’ll leave you with one thought. It is our responsibility to engage our customers, not market to them. We must engage them early, engage them everywhere, and do so in meaningful ways at all times. But it’s your choice. You can choose to engage, choose to demonstrate that you understand the values of your customers, and choose to let them know you want them as a customer, or take the easy way out, and risk becoming irrelevant. I hope the choice is clear.

Engagement Economy Workbook

The post Engage to Win, a Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


4 Custom Affinity Audiences To Try For Display Advertising

For the sake of this post, let’s pretend I own a new company that develops and sells golf clubs. As a new company in a competitive market, I strongly feel the need to invest in Display advertising in AdWords to build awareness. People aren’t going to search for my company’s products if they don’t know they exist. I’ve tried keyword and interest targeting, but most of the suggestions were too broad. Next, I looked at affinity audiences which are closely related to “TV-style” demographics. When I searched for “golf,” here are the options AdWords gave me for affinity audiences.


golf affinity audience


Look it up yourself. Those really are the results in AdWords. The only audience remotely close to what I’d want would be “Golf Enthusiasts.” Even this particular audience is pretty broad. I have no idea what requirements make up a golf enthusiast in Google’s eyes. If I have the budget to reach a wider, broad audience, I’d test out an affinity audience. However, I want my targeting to be as precise as possible. I’d rather create custom affinity audiences to not only save budget but reach a more relevant audience. Here are four custom affinity audiences you might want to consider creating for your Display campaigns.


Competitor Names And URLs


Pretty straight forward. Gather a list of all of your competitors’ names, URLs, and potentially branded products to create a new affinity audience. Depending on how big each of your competitors’ brand recognition is, you may want to consider creating a new custom affinity audience for each competitor.


competitor custom affinity audience


I need to make it clear this is not a remarketing list created from visits to your competitors’ sites. That does not exist. We’re merely creating interest audiences based on competitor keywords and URLs. I’ve found this audience to be effective for many of my Display campaigns, especially when I can’t target their sites via exact placements. 


Industry Publications


There is a good chance your target audience reads some sort of newspaper or magazine (online or print) related to your products and services. Test adding a list of relevant publication keywords and URLs as another custom affinity audience. This strategy can also be applied to any other educational source within your industry.


publications custom affinity audience


If you are B2B, add all of the publications closely associated with your service categories. If you are ecommerce, you may have more leeway to test other publications outside your industry if you feel your target audience is interested in those magazines. This custom audience may require more testing, but can lead to a new way to reach new customers.


Industry Trade Shows Or Convention


Trade shows, conventions or even conferences are another must-try custom affinity audience. Users interested in these events are most likely bigger fanatics of your products and services over most people. If they pay a fee just to enter a building to look a t product which suits their interests, they are relevant. And I want to try and get in front of those users.


trade show custom affinity audience


In the golf industry, I might consider creating a few custom affinity audiences. First, I’d create a list of trade shows the consumer would be interested in attending. These are the end-users who will hopefully be using your products. Second, if applicable, I’d also create a list of trade shows tailored to the retailers who may eventually supply my product to the end user. Every industry will have different groups of trade shows, conventions, conferences, etc. Consider testing each group to see which event audience makes the biggest impact for your business.


User Behavior Related To Your Product Or Service


In the scenario of owning a golf club company, I want to reach the users who are going to use my product. Whenever I can, I try to create a custom affinity audience based on the behaviors users are involved with when using my products. Here’s a simple example.


user behavior custom affinity audience


This target audience will give me a better shot of getting front of a more active user than just targeting “golf enthusiasts.” Users who are looking to fix their swing don’t just watch golf. They play golf. With clubs. Clubs they hopefully will buy from me. While there’s no guarantee this interest audience will only reach consumers, at least I know I have a better shot going this route over the basic affinity audience.


Final Point


If you have the budget to advertise to a wide variety of people, you might be okay with basic affinity audiences in AdWords. Personally, whether my clients have large budgets or not, I still like to test out custom affinity audiences to make sure I’m giving the best performing audiences the proper budgets. Start out as specific as possible to the right audience. Then expand upon the reach if you’re not meeting your awareness goals. These are just four examples of what you can do with custom affinity audiences in AdWords. Learn more about your target audiences and understand their interests and behaviors. You’ll most likely find additional options for custom audiences we didn’t talk about today.


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June 20, 2017 at 07:49PM