The Little-Known Segmentation Issue that’s Directly Affecting Your Brand’s Relevance

For marketers, the quest for branding that matters to consumers has always been about how to achieve deeper relevance. The more relevant a brand is in a customer’s life, the more they’ll begin to look for ways to integrate it into their lifestyle.

Of course, many point to segmentation as the easiest and fastest way to achieve that kind of relevance.

But what if you could go even further?

According to a cross-site study by Optimove, going beyond simple segmentation – down to pure granularity, causes a distinctive and measurable campaign uplift. Optimove measured this by presenting different offers to smaller groups of consumers who had similar attributes. They found by going more and more granular, they were able to generate greater and greater lift within their respective campaigns.

Luck’s Got Nothing to Do With It

lucky-fish

LuckyFish, a developer of casino games powered by social networking, created over 100 player personas as part of their relevance campaign

In one such campaign for a set of casino games built on the power of social networking, they were able to segment to over 100 individual player personas. Imagine having that kind of deep detail about your customers or players. As a result, they were able to send the right messages to the right players at the right time, through the customers’ preferred channels.

So what were the results? A 65% increase in conversion rates, a 15% increase in the number of paying players and a 40% increase in the volume of player payments to name a few. As part of the larger study, they looked at this kind of granularity with over 30 million customers across 2,000 campaigns – measuring the uplift of the average campaign in groups of all sizes.

group-sizeThe smaller the segment, the higher the value per customer

The results speak for themselves. The smaller the group, the higher the lift. In this case, the smallest-sized group saw an average increase of $3.2 per customer. When you start sending segmented campaigns to targeted groups of 100,000 customer or more, the monetary uplift drops to a measly $0.1.

Many Small Campaigns Perform Better than One Concentrated One

Another note of the study is that, overall, many small campaigns targeted to a group of customers has a much greater effect on revenues than the all-too-common strategy of throwing an ad at the wall and hoping some of it sticks.

segmentation-rowthHyper-focused segmentation yields even greater results

Now the question then becomes, “why don’t more campaigns do this?” and that’s because there’s some risk involved. As with every strategy, there are exceptions to the rules and things to watch out for – namely, volatility.

Because these groups are so small and hyper-focused, there can be a lot of different outcomes for one message no matter what you’re testing. You can account for much of these differences by chalking it up to a small sample size. The revenues and customer relationship building obtained as a result are far too lucrative to not test granularity in your own campaigns.

How Do You Like Your Coffee?

cup-of-coffee-beansWhat customers say they want, and what they really want, are two completely different things

In his famous TED talk on the powers of segmentation, Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the customer preference of coffee. If you asked most people what kind of coffee they like, they’ll tell you “a dark, rich, hearty roast”. But if you give them that type of coffee, they’d likely rate it as a 60 on a scale from 0-100.

Now, break down that population into their precise coffee preferences and make coffee for them according to their actual tastes – the score would go up to 78/100. Gladwell notes, “the difference between coffee at 60 and coffee at 78 is the difference between coffee that makes you wince and coffee that makes you deliriously happy.”

Is the end result here implying that we shouldn’t trust our customers? Not at all! But it does mean that we shouldn’t hesitate to find out what they really want from our product – and not just rely on what we think they want.

Getting Started with Granular Segmentation

So now that you know the potential of granular segmentation, how do you do it?

The first step is to look at your existing campaign channels – are you running PPC ads? Doing social media marketing?  Blog posts? Landing pages? All of the above? Good. Make a note of where your best traffic is coming from right now – and even if it’s all of those places, that’s perfectly fine.

Next, imagine your prospect has just saw your campaign ad. Map out all the possible ways your prospects can interact with it. For instance, they could:

  • View
  • Click
  • Share
  • Call
  • Add to Favorites/Bookmarks
  • Link
  • Download
  • Comment
  • Buy
  • Rate
  • Review

Now, sort these according to the type of campaign channel. For example, people using social media are more likely to share, view and click, while people on a landing page are more likely to download, click, add to favorites, or even call for more information.

Once you’re sorted, it’s time to organize these labels so that your analytics (and the people behind them) can make sense of it all. UTM identifiers are great for this purpose. Here’s how to set those up in Kissmetrics.  You can use event tracking to see who clicked on buttons on your landing pages or social media campaigns, for instance.  Some of these steps, like calling or adding to bookmarks, need to be handled manually (some stats programs will tell you if someone accessed your page via a bookmark), but the goal here is to see who’s interacting with your pages and how.

If you want to segment your ad campaign, you can build custom audiences in Google Adwords in a few simple steps, including segmenting them by conversions, transactions, time of day, device used and more. Although these are all technical “granularizations” and the ones I mentioned above are more qualitative, having this kind of precision in defining and better understanding your audience is vital to giving them what they truly want, and making them deliriously happy.

Getting to Deliriously Happy

Our goal as marketers is to get customers on the deliriously happy end of the spectrum. Granularity may seem like an awful lot of segmentation just to reach a handful of people. But being able to chunk the process down again and again means you’re reaching those people with the kind of relevance that broader campaigns simply can’t match – and that’s where you’ll come out ahead. If you’ve ever hoped a customer might think “it’s like they KNOW me!” – granular segmentation is your answer.

Remember that by segmenting campaigns with this kind of laser-focused attention, you’re not only increasing conversions but building relationships with your customers using the kind of personalization they crave. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you micro-segment your customers and your offers to them? What have your results been like so far? Do you find that customers are more receptive to offers, or is it just too much effort for lackluster and volatile results? We want to know what you think, so share your thoughts in the comments 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!

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The Lazy Marketer’s Guide to Customer Acquisition

There are a billion emails sent every day by MailChimp alone.

There are over two million blog posts published each day.

Average page length has become a staggering ~2000 words, which based on average writing times, can easily take up to four hours (or half a workday) for a single post.

The sheer volume of marketing activities is rising to a nearly unsustainable point.

Not to mention, your calendar’s already full. Strapped and spread thin.

Today, doing more just isn’t possible.

But being better is.

Here’s how a seemingly lazy approach to the demands of marketers everywhere can help you double down on quality to excel.

Start by Doing the Right Things, Not Doing Things Right

A few years ago, digital agency Seer put together an excellent research Guide to Pinterest.

Towards the bottom, after all the fun tips, tactics and hacks for marketers to use, comes the analytics section.

One of the striking things you’ll see when staring at their work long enough (beyond those impossible-to-see images where you have to cross your eyes to make the foreground picture separate from the background) is a symbiotic relationship.

The more engagement (as in repins, clicks and likes) something gets, the more impressions (reach) it gets too.

This finding, while seemingly basic and obvious at first, appears on other social platforms as well.

Analyzing your top performing content updates on Facebook for example will show the same correlation between the posts with highest Engagement, also have the highest Reach.

reach-engagement-facebook

When you look at how these individual posts stack up over time, you’ll again see that when Engagement (measured by Reactions, Comments and Shares) spikes, so does Reach.

facebook-analytics-reach

This is no accident of course. Social algorithms are specifically designed to reward engagement as a quality signal. More ‘Likes’ on your funny cat meme tells EdgeRank that other people are enjoying what you’re doing, and more should be able to view it too.

Those individual interactions act similar to how quality backlinks act as votes for pages to rank higher in search engines too.

A literal Quality Score used in AdWords dictates what you effectively pay. Which means a higher Quality Score, enables lower CPCs. Which in turn should lower your Cost per Conversion. And raise your ROI.

The principle of leverage is clearly seen in this example, where you can quickly (like in a few days) take popular keyphrases from one Ad Group with notoriously low quality scores…

adwords-cost-converted-click-quality-score

… spin them off into their own dedicated Ad Groups with brand spanking new ads and landing pages to match, and watch how the new results eclipse the previous ones.

adwords-ad-groups

This AdWords example (like the social ones before it) are similar because they all share something in common.

Specifically, an economic principle founded over a century ago.

In the late 1800s, an Italian economist was tending garden when a sudden realization occurred to him.

The yield from his peapods resembled other distribution ratios he was recently studying, including distribution of income and land in his home of Italy.

His Cours d’économie politique paper was published at the University of Lausanne in 1896, going on to inspire what would become known as the Pareto Principle.

The infamous 80/20 principle may have become skewed in recent years (to more like 99/1% in some cases), but the basic theory still holds.

And when applied to digital marketing, it’s clear that certain activities can give you outsized returns.

Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things”.

That means prior to focusing on ways to improve efficiency and scale, start with making sure you’re doing the activities (whether we’re talking the type of social posts, quality backlinks, or AdWords fundamentals) that will provide leverage; generating the most significant returns with the least amount of effort.

Automate to Increase Results While Reducing Costs

86% of people flat out ignore banner ads on most websites.

While the number of people using ad blockers (which eliminates all browser ads altogether) has skyrocketed in the last few years, shooting up to almost 200 million in the last year.

Some companies, like Apple, are trying to bake ad-blocking features into their software from the get-go to help consumers deal with the onslaught of clutter.

limit-ad-tracking-iosImage Source

But why?

Why are so many intent on not just turning a blind eye, but going out of their way to make sure they never see another ad?

We could sit here and throw around some statistics about how consumers have never seen more ads in their lifetime than today. And they’d all be true.

But here’s the other reason.

It’s because these ads suck.

Not technically. The creative might be great. They ticked all the boxes. They’re hitting all the popular ad networks. They’re following the checklist of good ad campaigns over the last few years (or longer).

The problem is that in many cases, these ads are completely irrelevant to the people seeing them.

In other words, they’re being efficient but not effective. And unsurprisingly, these ads inevitably fall on deaf ears.

Again, the solution isn’t more ads, but better ones. Through personalization and automation.

Using automated ad platforms that personalize each message not only shaves off some time typically required for creating so many different creative campaigns, but also boost results over the standard junk people are clamoring to avoid.

A perfect, simple example includes Facebook Dynamic Product ads, which works similarly to other popular retargeting or remarketing methods. They target people on their network who recently viewed individual products on your site, with well-timed ads being pulled from a database or product catalog.

Image Source

It’s seamless, targeted, and timed to perfection. And the results speak for themselves.

The party line straight from Facebook boasts that The Honest Company saw a “34% increase in click through rates and a 38% reduction in cost per purchase” from these ads.

facebook-sponsored-ad-structureImage Source

Beyond ads, email is another popular channel whose performance continues to decline.

The reason should be obvious now. Too. Many. Damn. Emails.

MailChimp by themselves sends a billion every single day. Which isn’t necessarily the hard part according to an excellent Wired piece. The hard part is making sure those emails get delivered successfully.

Email service providers like Gmail have begun using sophisticated methods such as machine learning to either redirect your basic email blasts to a separate Promotions inbox (where they go to die a lonely unread death), or quickly flag them as spam (and again, don’t allow them to get through to the people you’ve intended to receive them).

More emails only compounds this problem. Again you need better ones. Specifically the kind only available through automation.

The Aberdeen Group reports that personalized emails improve click through rates 14% and conversion rates 10%. Jupiter Research says more relevant emails results in 18x more revenue.

Not to mention, Gartner says companies using marketing automation can also see a 15% cost savings on creative production.

These, it seems, are good stats. By fairly reputable sources evidently.

Automating key events, whether that’s customer onboarding or client follow up or checkout cart abandonment, is a simple way to get more done with less.

The automated relevancy and timing increases results. While the use of automation helps cut down on required staff or complicated manual methods that barely scratch the surface of potential tools like HubSpot might deliver.

email campaign cadence

Strategically Add Labor to a Well Oiled Machine

There’s a lot of debate around the performance yield of A players vs. B players.

The exact definitions are muddied but the picture is clear: most organizations can’t carry deadweight (no matter which letter grade we’re talking).

Good people, while absolutely necessary and critical to the success of any organization, are (a) hard to come by and (b) expensive.

Beyond the difficulties in hiring them, their compensation (deservedly so) typically follows that same 80/20 (or 99/1) relationship examined earlier.

What exactly makes A players, A players, is tough to define. But they’re essentially alchemists; possessing this rare combination of incredible vision, creative ingenuity and the raw intensity to get a lot of valuable shit done when there’s no map or rulebook to follow.

They blaze their own trail and figure things out on the fly that usually turn out correct.

The ambition is to have a team full of these A players. The reality is that yours probably won’t.

And that’s OK.

The key is to find people who can potentially become A players one day, and help them get there by giving them a clear process to follow.

Franchising sounds like entrepreneurial purgatory for most. However formal processes result in more revenue and innovative companies are still systematic.

So after toiling away for long enough, E-mything your business to work the system is the best approach to create a business built to sell.

Because typically hiring young, relatively inexperienced, or overseas people is the antithesis of quality. The reason this approach typically fails is because they’re thrown in the deep end, expected to figure things out when they lack the context of experience.

For example, many companies hire external writers to help share the workload. But problems quickly happen when you expect them to immediately understand your style, tone, and subject matter.

MailChimp created an entire website devoted to helping writers overcome that challenge.

mailchimp-voice-tone

Even a simple outline of the categories, messaging examples and specific personas each should target is a huge head start over what most people have.

category-messaging-primary-persona

The great news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel either. You just need to cobble together and amplify based on your preferences.

Start with Unbounce’s step-by-step campaign guide.

Download Headline Hacks and use their ready-made headline templates to create a spreadsheet for writers so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.

headline-hacks

‘Franchising’ as E-Myth refers to it allows you to document how you want things to look, and employ more, (relatively) inexpensive labor to scale your productivity and results. When done correctly, you can even have people tackle technical subjects even with a complete lack of experience.

For example:

Canonicalization typically refers to duplicate content issues, which can impact SEO by splitting authority across several different domains (instead of consolidating it into a single URL to maximize that page’s potential value).

Simply reading that last sentence probably made your brain hurt. Besides being a mind-numbingly boring topic, fixing canonicalization errors can get slightly technical if you have to edit HTML directly.

canonical-tag-wordpress

yoast-no-index-nofollow

Processing these potential scenarios gives ambitious, diligent people – despite a lack of skill or experience – the ability to help ‘punch above their weight class’. Mindfully adding these people can help you scale results significantly faster.

Conclusion

Marketing output has never been higher.

There’s never been more people, publishing, creating, producing and distributing more things.

It’s evolving at a breakneck pace; one that’s becoming increasingly unsustainable for most who’re already overwhelmed and stretched thin.

One counter intuitive solution to do less, but do it better.

Start by focusing on making sure that you’re doing the right things, and not just ticking boxes off your to-do list.

Once you’re going down the right path, use automation to help increase the yield or results you’ll see from your efforts.

And when ready, then (and only then) add additional labor on top of an already defined process to scale productivity.

About the Author: Brad Smith is a founding partner at Codeless Interactive, a digital agency specializing in creating personalized customer experiences. Brad’s blog also features more marketing thoughts, opinions and the occasional insight.

Recovering Lost Customers (and Revenue) with Kissmetrics

BI Intelligence estimates that $4 trillion dollars worth of merchandise is abandoned in online shopping carts.

$4 trillion dollars!

that-is-a-lot-of-money-dr-evil

That $4 trillion dollars either winds up with offline retailers or just flat out never gets spent.

And we know that shopping cart abandonment is a big problem with e-commerce retailers. Almost every online shopper has at some point put a product in their cart only to never return to complete the purchase.

Given this large amount of money left on the table, it seems to me that most e-commerce marketers would be wise to spend their time working to optimize their shopping cart process (each funnel performance differs, of course) for customers.

One of the better, more reliable ways to improve a e-commerce funnel is by remarketing to those abandon customers. And fortunately, if you’re a Kissmetrics customer there’s a pretty easy way to do it. Here’s how.

Using People Search to Find Cart Abandoners

The Kissmetrics People Search is one of our best tools. It allows you to find anyone on your site who fit a specified criteria. So, maybe if you’re a SaaS marketer you want to find the people who signed up but haven’t used a feature yet.

Or maybe an e-commerce marketer wants to find the people that have put an item in their cart but haven’t proceeded to purchasing. Here’s how to find those people.

The first step is to choose to find the people who did these events in order. We’ll stick with the last 7 days as our date range.

kissmetrics-people-search-all-of-these-in-order

Next we’ll add a condition by finding the people that have added a product to their cart:

added-product-to-cart-people-search

We’ll add another condition by looking for people that have not purchased. So this essentially tells People Search to find the people that have added a product to their cart but haven’t purchased.

has-not-done-purchase-people-search

We want to see when people last added a product to their cart (we don’t want to send emails to people who just added a product). To do this we’ll add a column to this data by looking at when people last added an item to their cart.

ecommerce-people-search-setup

The last step is to run the report and get our list of people:

people-search-results-export-kissmetrics

We’ll get a few anonymous IDs (those that aren’t email addresses) from people that haven’t been identified yet. Once they register for an account or purchase, they’ll be identified and all previous activity under that anonymous ID will merge with their new identity (which is an email address).

From here we can export this data to a CSV or export the list to MailChimp. Anonymous IDs will not be transferred to MailChimp (for obvious reasons). In MailChimp we can send an email reminding customers that they still have items left in their cart.

We can also utilize CRM retargeting in an attempt to get customers back on the site.

Lastly, we can click on each email address or ID to see each person’s latest activity.

What You’ll Need to Get This Data

This is all possible in Kissmetrics, but before you can can get this type of data you’ll need to have a couple things in place:

  • You’ll need to properly set-up events and properties. There are some things that work out of the box in Kissmetrics, but for any custom events and properties you’ll need help from a developer. We do have Click to Track which can help tremendously in setting up events.
  • You’ll have to identify people by email address. Any other form of identification (ie username) won’t return a list of email addresses. People Search will only return a list of however you’re identifying people, and most of our customers identify people by their email address.

Conclusion

This is just one way we built Kissmetrics to help you optimize your marketing. If you’d like to learn more about how Kissmetrics can help, check out our industry pages. We have one for SaaS, e-commerce, and agencies.

Questions? Leave them in the comments.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is the Blog Manager for Kissmetrics.

Labor Day

Young's Lobster Pound I’ve never been one to celebrate Labor Day. It’s a US holiday built to say, “Hey good job, workers. You did work!” Seems a bit patronizing to me. I prefer to celebrate work every day. But you can make a holiday what you want, and so I made mine my own.

Labor Day

Over the last handful of days, Jacq launched a new food blog, I launched a nerd blog, and I published a book. I released a new podcast episode, and I’ve created this blog post.

Continue Reading

The post Labor Day appeared first on chrisbrogan.com.

How to Use Release Notes to Drive Feature Adoption

Companies are understandably excited to tell the world when they push new features. New developments can take months and they are the hope for more users, greater engagement, and achieving milestones towards success.

So how do teams communicate these big announcements to their users? A blog post, an unread notification, an email, and… that’s it. They sit back and wait for impact, but are disappointed if the anticipated uptick in usage doesn’t arrive.

Here we’ll explain why standard feature announcements are missing the mark, and how to drive new feature adoption amongst your users.

The Standard Feature Announcement

The BJ Fogg behavior model is a big component of our thinking on user experience. It explains that new behaviors form when three elements align:

  • Motivation-the user wants to perform the action.
  • Ability-the user has the capacity to perform the action.
  • Triggers-the user is nudged to perform the action.

You can see how these three elements intersect in this graph:

BJ-Fogg-model-new

When people have high motivation, they are more able to do hard things. When people have low motivation, they will only take action for easy to do behaviors. Triggers will push people into performing the actions, as long as there is sufficient motivation AND ability (above the action line curve).

When trying to change user behavior to adopt a new feature, an announcement serves as the trigger.

However there are three problems with conventional feature announcements:

  1. Users miss them or forget about them because those channels are noisy and are out-of-context.
  2. Announcements focus on HOW to use the feature and emails are a terrible way for this: we learn by doing, but emails are not interactive. We explain more here.
  3. Announcements don’t actually help a user adopt the new behavior, because they don’t improve a user’s ability (they don’t make the new feature “easy to do”).

In these cases, the feature announcement email or notification or blog post is a trigger below the action line, and so it doesn’t cause users to act and adopt the new feature or workflow.

Blog & Email Announcements

Blog and email messaging can help motivate users, but they don’t help them adopt any new behavior. What’s more, when a user is going through their inbox or reading a blog, they are away from the context of the app. Even if they see information about a new feature, it is difficult for them to internalize the new actions just through reading.

Automation tool Zapier has a whole section of their blog devoted to product updates:

zapier-screenshot-resized

They post once a month about new updates to their product. This is great information for new and current customers alike, but it isn’t actionable. They are in the wrong place and the wrong frame of mind, so they don’t have the ability to make any behavioral changes. They are just reading a blog, not thinking about using the product.

Following this up with an email highlighting the feature is also common. This is an email from email marketing tool MailChimp announcing improvements to their A/B testing tool:

mailchimp-email-resizedImage Source

This email does tell you all you need to know about the new features. These types of update emails are great for maximum reach as you can send the update to the thousands of users on your email list. If any currently aren’t finding good use for your product, this might be enough to bring them back.

But this doesn’t help the user actually use the product. The call-to-action at the end of the email is to read more, even though they have just read a very long email about the product. Reading doesn’t help the customer internalize the idea of the new feature. Though they might be giving use cases for the new features, the only way people can really learn is by using the product. MailChimp missed the opportunity here to direct the user into the product and to a tour of the new features.

In-app notifications

Ability is slightly higher with in-app announcements. In this case, the user is in the product and they are familiar with how it works.

But they are still way below the threshold needed to get the new user invested in the product. They are often delivered at the wrong time to the wrong user. Also, they just give the user more to read, instead of guiding the user through actions they need to take to get value from the new feature.

Most in-app notifications have this fatal flaw. For instance, if you’ve ever used project management tool Trello, then you will be familiar with Taco the Husky and his announcements:

trello-notificationImage Source

If you were to click on that link though you would be taken away from the product and to their blog:

trello-blog

This is the opposite of what you want. Users have been moved to a detailed description of your product, possibly raising their motivation, but lowering their ability. Plus, there’s no guarantee users will come back once you send them away from your app. How many times have you clicked through a link thinking you’d just read one blog post or article and get back to what you were doing, only to disappear into a hours-long time sink? This is the fate Trello is tempting with this kind of feature announcement.

Instead showing them what to do in bite sized chunks through tooltips and product tours is much more effective. Users can internalize each new concept and start to use that feature, without being overwhelmed.

Increase Adoption with Targeted Product Tours

In each of the feature announcements we’ve looked at, users are simply told about the new feature and then left to find it themselves. They have low motivation and low ability. You need to get to your users when they have high motivation and high ability. This means teaching users with a product tour within the product.

Some products do this. For instance, Instagram’s new Stories feature comes with a quick in-app tour that is easy to find, and pushes you towards using the feature:

Instagram-Stories

These tours work best when they are in-context of what the user is doing at that very moment. For that, you need to segment users by both time and behavior.

Targeting the Right User

Sharing a new feature with all your users may seem the best way to increase engagement. But the truth is that each of your customer personas will have different use cases for your product. They will favor some features over others. Therefore, they will want to hear updates about some new features more than others.

Using behavioral data you can look at how different subsets of users have used a certain feature before, how engaged they currently are with the feature, or if they have used adjacent features recently.

You are looking for a behavior they have exhibited that demonstrates they are ready to learn about your new update. For instance, you could use Kissmetrics Analyze to identify specific customer journeys through your app and target different features to these different journeys.

Another example is the MailChimp feature above. If MailChimp wants to increase the use of their improved A/B testing they could target a tour towards users who exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Have previously created five regular campaigns – this shows they have the motivation to continually create campaigns, but perhaps not the knowledge of A/B campaigns.
  • Have two or more saved templates – they have the ability to start testing each of these templates immediately with A/B testing.
  • Have 1000+ contacts in their list – they have enough users to make a test statistically useful.
  • Are currently creating their next campaign – they are in the position to start their next campaign.

These are the users that will be ready to use A/B testing in their email campaigns. Users who are just starting out with a single campaign, don’t have templates ready, or only a small readership will not find value in this new feature.

Targeting at the Right Time

Targeting at the right time is as critical as targeting the right person. In the MailChimp example above, pinging that ideal customer just as they start generating their new campaign with “Hey, there’s a better way!” can be just the trigger to move them to the new feature.

This isn’t as simple as targeting someone the moment they sign in or start using a feature. It depends on what the new feature is and how it corresponds to the current feature they are using. Look at this example from survey platform Typeform. They show the announcement at the start of building a new survey:

typeform-tour

This is a lost opportunity. At this point I have a form to build. That is my main motivation. I am going to immediately dismiss this tour and continue with my main task. By the time I’m finished, I’ll have forgotten about these “cool features.”

If instead this was targeted after I had finished my main task then my motivation could be to check the new features out. Once I had successfully completed one task, I would then be ready to learn more.

Conclusion

Emails, blogs, and in-app notifications all have their place when it comes to feature announcements. Each messaging channel can be used at a different point to inform, teach, and highlight features to users.

But the in-app tour is the most powerful tool at your disposal for engaging users with new features:

  • You can target the right people: New features will appeal to a certain segment of your users most. Using behavioral data, you can find out who uses the features you’re upgrading or aligned features and target a brief tour of the release only to them.
  • You can target those people at the right time: in-app tours let you get your new features in front of users at the exact moment when they would find them most useful. This might be just as they finish a task, or just as they start another. But timing an in-app tour allows users to have the context needed for them to find value in the feature, as well as the ability and motivation to learn more.

When you target a tour to the right people at the right time you will have them when both motivation and ability are high. Then it only requires a small trigger to push them into action.

If you get this targeting right, then you have introduced the best customers to the most valuable features to them, meaning you are building success for them and your product.

About the Author: Pulkit Agrawal is cofounder & CEO of Chameleon, a platform for better user onboarding. He believes that first-user experience is a hidden treasure to drive improved user activation and retention. He writes on the Chameleon blog, which contains great resources on the psychology of effective user engagement. You can converse with him on Twitter.

Do You Believe in…Conversion Magic?

conversion elixir
Do you believe in… conversion magic? Image via Shutterstock.

Like any potions master would attest, the secret to a great elixir lies in the measured combination of its ingredients.

Over the years, Titan PPC, a full-service pay-per-click advertising agency based in Vancouver, has developed a “magic formula” for designing lead generation landing pages that convert at average of 15% or higher.

The secret ingredient? For company founder, Patrick Schrodt, it doesn’t boil down to just one.

Read on to find out what key ingredients make Patrick’s lead gen landing pages so powerful. Then test them yourself with the new, kick-ass Hyperion template in the Unbounce app.

1. Make your landing pages relevant

Any smart marketer knows that when visitors reach a landing page, they won’t all have the same intentions for being there. Some may have clicked an ad looking for a plumber in West Seattle where others may have clicked one looking for a plumber in Capitol Hill.

But if your client is a plumbing company that serves the entire Seattle metropolitan area, your landing page should show both the visitors from West Seattle and Capitol Hill that you’ve got the service they need in the location they want it.

In other words, you want to use geo-targeting to make your landing pages especially relevant to your prospects. As Patrick explains:

There’s always been geo-based searches and there always will be. For our own campaigns, we’ve gone as targeted as including a map on every landing page. We highlight a visitors location on the map depending on the where their search is coming from – people go crazy for it!

And the conversion rates don’t lie.

Watch this clip to hear how Titan PPC used geo-targeting to increase a client’s on-page conversion rates from 6% to 33%, practically overnight.

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Interview with Patrick Schrodt, founder of Titan PPC.

2. Use (awesome) images to break up your body copy

Never judge a book by its cover… right?

Well, fact is, when a prospect reaches your lead gen landing page, the first thing they’ll do is judge your offer or product by the way you’ve presented it to them. And they’ll do it within seconds.

That’s why you want to make sure it looks so good they won’t want to leave.

The key to keeping prospects interested? Great photography. According to Patrick:

Images help prospects get a clear picture of your client’s product or offer, and it shows them you’re a professional.

Titan PPC adds full-page horizontal image galleries throughout their lead gen landing pages.

It helps break up a visitor’s attention as they scroll by giving them something nice to look at.

But you can’t just slap a bunch of images into a gallery and hope that it all comes together.

If you’re going to source images for clients, you have to make sure you grab photos from a series. I’ve seen landing pages where it’s obvious that each image belongs to a different suite and it’s not coherent or nice to look at.

Check out this example of cohesive image galleries on one of Titan PPC’s lead gen landing pages for a lawn mowing client in Philadelphia:

GrasLawn

Screenshot of cohesive image galleries, landing page designed by Titan PPC.

3. Remind visitors why they are on your page

Remember that bit about making sure your landing pages were super relevant to your visitors? Well, that sometimes means reminding them exactly why they are on your landing page.

For Titan PPC, the best way to do that is by adding a smooth scroll call-to-action (CTA) bar right below the horizontal image gallery.

Why? Because it brings a prospect right back to where you want them: the form.

It works because every time a visitor sees something visual and eye catching [like the image galleries], they’re then prompted to fill out the form.

4. Make the form match the offer

Speaking of taking prospects back to where you want them, the design of a form on your landing page should never be an afterthought. That means weighing, measuring and sifting every item from the questions to the CTA so it’s fully optimized to ensure a conversion.

It’s so key that the form matches the offer. Otherwise a prospect will just be turned off.

So if your client is offering a 100% free quote on plumbing services, then the form on your landing page should reiterate, loud and clear, that the offer comes at no price.

Sounds pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it?

But matching a form to an offer also means making sure you have a solid understanding of your target audience. As Patrick explains:

For real-estate clients, the CTA is always to download a free floor plan. But for clients that are service based, like plumbers or roofers, the CTA is always to get a free quote.

It all comes back to personalization: different types of prospects want to see different kinds of offers. According to Patrick, real-estate prospects want the feeling of exclusivity, whereas service-seeking prospects are probably just looking for the cheapest way to fix a runny faucet or leaky roof.

Titan PPC’s last tip for optimizing the form? Make the form catch your prospect’s attention.

We always put a starburst or icon in the corner of the form. It’s usually something like ‘100% free’ so it pulls a visitor in and reminds them why they want to fill it out!”

Here’s an example of what Patrick means:

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 2.28.41 PM
Screenshot of a high-converting landing page form, designed by Titan PPC.

From showing your visitors ultra-relevant content to making sure that content has awesome design and flow, the landing page magic formula is all about giving prospects exactly what they’re looking for and expecting to see when they land on your page.

Care to try some of Patrick’s tricks yourself? Build a landing page in Unbounce today with the Hyperion template, design inspired by Titan PPC’s powerful elixir for high-converting landing pages.

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People Pay, Not Pageviews. Here’s Why People Are Leaving Your Website Without Converting

You’ve rolled out a lot of marketing tactics to boost traffic for your website. After copious amounts of content production, sharing, social engagement, and even paid ads, you feel like you can finally celebrate because your site is now pulling in tens of thousands of unique visits every month with a ton of page views.

However, if your conversions are bottoming out and growth is sluggish, then don’t celebrate just yet.

I hear about this problem on a regular basis. Unfortunately, pageviews don’t pay the bills. Purchases do.

If you’re struggling and want to improve your conversion rates, you should look beyond the traditional CRO recommendations and A/B testing recommendations for bottlenecks.

Here are some reasons why your visitors might be bailing on you:

Your Design is Turning Them Away

According to data from SmartInsights, more than 80% of people use smartphones as their primary method for accessing the web. You’ll see similar rates of mobile usage if you review visitor device information on your analytics platform.

It’s important to be aware of this trend, since 30% of mobile users admit to abandoning a transaction if the website isn’t fully optimized for mobile browsing.

Personally, I find it incredibly frustrating to visit a site on my phone, only to be greeted by a site that requires me to zoom in and scroll horizontally. It goes from bad to worse when a pop-up designed for desktop users suddenly fills my mobile screen and I’m unable to close it. That site is basically dead to me on mobile and I’ll never try to go back after that bad experience.

mobile-design-responsiveResponsive and mobile-compatible designs fit content to a mobile display, greatly reduce the need to zoom. Image Source

Google understands that frustration, and they have updated their algorithm to make mobile compatibility a ranking factor. If your site isn’t currently using a responsive, mobile-compatible design then it’s time to fix it. Otherwise you’ll miss out on conversions and risk a significant drop in organic search rank (and subsequent organic traffic).

Mobile usability aside, there are other on-page elements that can repel your visitors like:

  • Multiple calls to action that prevent them from taking action (analysis paralysis)
  • Poor navigation
  • Sliders and rotators
  • Too many steps in navigation to reach content/products
  • Confusing or cluttered content

Rather than guess at what makes a good user experience, you can quickly identify and work to eliminate a lot of usability issues by working with UserTesting.com. You can submit your site to be reviewed by real people and watch videos of how the interact with and react to your site.

Autoplay Videos Hijack the User Experience

Don’t you just love the autoplay feature on ESPN and CNN.com? You land on a page to read an article, a video loads (with an ad) and you scramble to hit the pause or mute button so you can read the article. Or you just hit the back button to read the story on a different site with a better user experience.

With that being said..

Implementing video on your website could work wonders for conversions. According to a Liveclicker survey among major retail brands, the more videos a visitor watches, the more likely they are to spend within your funnel.

videos-watched-average-order-value

According to a survey of major online retailers, the use of video on product pages lifted conversions an average of 9%.

But setting videos to autoplay could potentially harm your conversions. It’s potentially a major disruption. According to W3C (the group responsible for setting standards for web design best practices), autoplaying audio can interrupt the navigation process as a user has to search for the source of the audio to shut it down.

Certain groups of people, especially those with attention disorders, can be easily distracted by motion which can disrupt the user experience and make it difficult for them to focus.

Worst case scenario, the visitor has a negative reaction to the disruption and closes the page.

Instead of autoplaying the video, create a call-to-action that draws visitors’ attention to it and persuades them to click the play button on their own. Another option is to run the video on silent in the same way Facebook autoplays video in a user’s feed.

Your Value Proposition is Unclear

If you’re not clearly communicating the value and benefits of your offer, then your visitors won’t feel compelled to click or make a purchase.

Why should they, if they have no idea what they’ll get out of the exchange?

Here’s a great example from Help Scout where they reference the launch of the Apple’s early iPod product. Not every member of their audience is tech-savvy, so trying to leverage storage capacity (a feature) would be meaningless to many people.

ipod-marketing-messaging

Instead, they communicated the real value and benefit of the product: 1,000 songs in your pocket.

Make sure your value proposition is crystal clear on your landing pages. Test different variations to see which phrasing gives you the best conversion lift.

Content Doesn’t Match Audience Intent

The first conversion opportunity isn’t on your website, it’s wherever your visitor came from. In most cases, this will be organic search or an ad elsewhere on the web. The headline and description make a specific promise to the reader and set their expectations.

If they arrive on your website and find something completely different, such as copy or offers that don’t match their intent, they’re more likely to click the back button.

For example, if you’re targeting enterprise businesses and your audience is mostly CMOs and upper-level marketers, they’re not likely to opt-in if you’re only offering a free e-book on local marketing strategies.

reduced-form-fields-testImage Source

Make sure the copy, design elements, offers, and calls-to-action all line up with user intent to lift conversions on your landing pages. This is where audience research pays off.

Understanding the specific needs and pain points of audience segments will help you create more targeted offers to keep your visitors engaged.

Site Load Time is Terrible

Kissmetrics produced an infographic that shows us just how load time can impact your bottom line. Not only is load time a ranking factor for organic search, but it can also have a pretty significant impact on conversions.

As many as 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. If they’re met with prolonged loading graphics or a hanging white page then you risk losing them – and their patience can be short.

In fact, a delay of just 1 second in load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

Do everything you can to reduce page load time on your website in order to avoid negatively impacting your conversion rates. I recommend:

Opt-Ins Aren’t Optimized

The old trick for improving conversions with opt-in messages was to reduce the number of form fields. This advice was based on a study from 2008 so by now, it’s obsolete. In fact, ConversionXL examined another study by Unbounce that compared shortened forms to optimized forms.

The result?

The forms with fewer fields performed worse. Meanwhile, the forms with improved label copy instead of reduced field counts saw a 19.21% lift in conversions.

reduced-form-fields-test

So which method is the best approach?

The answer is “it depends.” There’s no concrete answer here. If you’re experiencing friction with opt-ins, then your ideal approach is to test variations and see what works best for your audience. Optimize the labels, try different field counts, adjust the call-to-action, and continue testing until you’re satisfied with the conversions.

Trouble with the Calls-to-Action

You would think that crafting an amazing offer, telling a great story with visuals, and writing dynamite copy would send your conversions through the roof. It’s actually quite the opposite.

Even if your audience is in tune with your offer, your conversions are going to suffer if you don’t have a strong, compelling call-to-action. In many cases, customers just won’t engage unless you specifically tell them what you want them to do.

storenvy call to action exampleA bold call to action captures attention and tells the audience what to do.

If you’re missing a call-to-action altogether, then you’re definitely going to suffer from low conversions. One study from Small Business Trends found that 70% of B2B businesses lack a call-to-action on their homepage.

Such a simple thing can have a major impact and at least it’s an easy fix:

  • Create a call-to-action that is prominent and stands out from other page elements
  • Make it compelling and focus on the value; what do visitors get by clicking?
  • Make your call-to-action relevant to match the audience’s intent
  • Use verbs and actionable language
  • Leverage urgency with words like “Now” and “Today”

Be sure test different versions of your call-to-action to determine which designs and copy offer the greatest lift in conversions.

There’s No Secret Formula

There’s no one specific thing you can do to suddenly make your conversions soar. While these individual items could hurt your conversions, making a single adjustment isn’t guaranteed to change or improve anything.

Rather than taking a tactical approach to improving conversions, identify the elements that could be creating problems and start testing. A/B testing small changes is more likely to help improve conversions over time and eliminate trouble areas like these.

What have you done to increase conversions on your website? Share your approach and results with me in the comments below.

About the Author: Andrew Raso is the co-founder and director of Online Marketing Gurus, a fast-growing, award-winning search company working with brands including HelloMolly, Baku Swimwear, and Forcast. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewraso1 or on LinkedIn.