Master conversion optimization & website testing at Conversion Conference Chicago 2014   Get my full pass for $897!

Can Your Conversion Optimization Strategy Last Another Season?

April 7th, 2014 No comments

conversion is king

 

Brace yourself – The optimized websites are coming.

We were thrilled when conversion rate optimization (CRO) finally gained attention in the past couple of years. Thanks to CRO geeks everywhere, the word “conversion” became part of every digital marketer’s vocabulary.

However, now that the “secret” is out, your work as a digital marketer has become harder. More companies (i.e. more of your competitors) are doing the same tactics: they’re testing and tweaking every page element they can get their hands on.

Worse, by now even your own efforts may be suffering from diminishing returns. If you were among the first to dabble in changing button colors, copy messaging, or image placement, then you’re probably seeing less of a lift from every tweak and test.

You’re also probably running out of good ideas to further optimize your website and improve user experience. It doesn’t help if you’re limited to working on the tactical aspects of conversion rate optimization, without a solid CRO strategy. And even with a strategy in place, that has still to be evaluated and updated on a regular basis. Because without a focused CRO strategy that incorporates emerging trends, technologies, and tools, it will be difficult to sustain whatever gains you’ve made.


Attend the One Conference That Makes Your Website Convert Better


If you suspect that your strategy is fast becoming outdated, send your team to Conversion Conference. Find out for yourself why some of the world’s biggest e-commerce and business-to-business (B2B) players attend one of our events year after year.

Discover not only the strategies you need to up your optimization game but an entire community built upon a common passion for website conversion optimization. Learn from the world experts in conversion rate optimization. At our Chicago event in June, you’ll meet:

  • Tim Ash, Author of Landing Page Optimization and CEO, SiteTuners
  • Charles Nicholls, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, SeeWhy
  • Melissa Burdon Cameron, Director of Marketing Optimization, Extra Space Storage
  • Charlie Claxton, Chief Creative Strategist, UpTop
  • Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder, Strategic Director Orbit Media Studios
  • Mary D’Alatri-Ward, VP of Accounts, ion interactive
  • Sean Ellis, CEO, Qualaroo and Founder, GrowthHackers.com
  • James Green, CEO, Magnetic
  • Joel Harvey, Managing Partner, Conversion Sciences
  • Greg Jarboe, President, SEO-PR
  • Arnie Kuenn, President, Vertical Measures
  • Brian Lewis, Director of Optimization, SiteTuners
  • Anita Perez, Co-founder and VP Operations, TopSpot Internet Marketing
  •  Kyle Rush, Head of Optimization, Optimizely
  • Yulia Smirnova, CEO and Founder, CommerceBrain
  • Talia Wolf, CEO, conversioner

Conversion Conference is attended by hundreds of digital marketers, who, like you, insist on tracking, measuring, analyzing web performance, and utilizing the data and insights to improve online campaigns. Attend the conference and engage with these folks who know that there really is only one king in the realm of digital marketing: conversion.


Image credit for the iron throne: Wicker Paradise via Flickr

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Hey, Super Early Birds! Save your seat at Conversion Conference Chicago for only $797. SEB rates end Friday, April 11 at midnight, so go check the agenda and register today!

Categories: Conference News, Conversion Tags:

Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014: Highlights, Takeaways, and Selfies

March 26th, 2014 No comments

convcon sf 2014

Another successful Conversion Conference San Francisco wrapped up last week and we are immensely grateful to everyone who joined us there. The SF event marked the 5th year of the Conversion Conference event series. Although we’re a bit saddened that it would be the final ConvCon in San Francisco, we’re glad that we had this opportunity to spread the conversion rate optimization in the Bay area one last time (and reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones is simply…priceless!).


Half a decade of preaching CRO


Continuing the conference’s tradition of providing a space for web optimization and digital marketing professionals to learn and forge relationships, this year’s event brought together the best and the brightest in the website conversion optimization field to share success stories and their best tips. Keynote speakers Tim Ash, Bryan Eisenberg (who was back at ConvCon for the first time since 2010), and psychologist Bart Schutz impressed attendees with their knowledge on conversion maturity, ecommerce optimization, and psychological techniques for persuading visitors.


The sessions encouraged attendees to light Twitter up with insights on testing, persuasion, web design, mobile optimization, content marketing, usability, and user experience:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Check out the rest of the #convcon tweets here!

 

Oh yeah, there were “selfies” like this one, too:

 

 

Check out ConvCon chair Tim Ash’s fun pics from the 2 day conference here!

 

Techniques to last a lifetime

If you want to know what you missed or just need to relive the experience, check out these articles:


Welcome to Conversion Conference San Francisco! by ion interactive


That’s a wrap! at Conversion Conference San Francisco by ion interactive


#Convcon 2014: Interviews with the Experts by Fernando Florez, LanderApp


Conversion Conference 2014: Best Tips from Day 1 by Fernando Florez, LanderApp


Conversion Conference 2014: Best Tips from Day 2 by Fernando Florez, LanderApp


42 Takeaways from Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014 by SiteTuners


Broken Promises: How to Avoid Launching Tests That Break Your Site by Brian Massey


Conversion Conference Comes to San Francisco by Murray Newlands


Conversion conference proves that ‘conversion is king’ by Murray Newlands


 

See you in Chicago!

Join us next in the Windy City on June 17th-19th – Better not miss ConvCon Chicago because it will be the last show for 2014 before the re-launch of a bigger, better Conversion Conference next year. Super Early Bird rates until April 11th only so check out the agenda and register today!

 

Categories: Conference News Tags:

Finding the better in the different

March 14th, 2014 No comments

By Ryan Dahlstrom Staff Manager, Interactive Windstream Communications

different

  Everyone is unique. We all think, act, and respond differently to situations than the person sitting next to us in the office, on the bus, or at home on the couch. So, assuming this to be true in each and every situation in which we find ourselves, why don’t more websites take this into account when serving up content for users to consume? Why do we continue to be faced with one-size-fits-all (or at least one-size-fits-enough-to-remain-profitable) experiences?

The answer, as I see it, has a lot to do with Mr. Ives’ thought. It is so easy to simply serve content differently; it’s an entirely different matter when it comes to doing so and achieving better results. Why spend the extra effort to concept, create, and stand up something that you don’t know will work? Most business owners won’t. So then, how do we go about figuring out what different works?

My suggestion: segmentation testing. “Huh? What’s that,” you may be asking. Simply, it’s finding the better in the different by trying different things with different users and measuring the results. As a business owner, you know the ins and outs of your audience. You (should) know who is most profitable, who complains the most, who are your greatest advocates. You (should) know who prefers Product A to Product B. Use this knowledge as your starting point when figuring out what to test and where.

Three things to keep in mind when choosing segments to target & test:

  • You must be able to easily identify the segments that you want to test. It does no good to conceptualize a test that targets 50+ men when you have no way to actually identify this group once they hit your site.
  • You must be able to do something once you learn something…and be able to do it over and over and over again.  (Big bonus points if you are able to do something differently in other channels with what you’ve learned)
  • The segment you choose should be large enough to be profitable. There’s no sense in dedicating design and programming hours against a test (no matter how successful from a data standpoint) when that test won’t yield enough positive lift to cover the development work.

Ok, so you’re sold on the idea, but are having trouble figuring out this whole segment identification piece. Here’s some ideas of things that you could try:

  • Geography – try selling ‘Pop’ to a New Yorker or “Sneakers” to someone in the mid-west. They won’t know what you’re talking about, let alone purchase from you. Testing something as simple as product references could go a long way.
  • Life Cycle – what is the sense in testing ‘Offer A’ vs. ‘Offer B’ to someone his or her first time back after purchase? They just purchased! How about trying a “Thank You?” Even an upsell test wouldn’t be so bad…but don’t try to sell them what they’ve just bought!
  • Traffic Source – someone clicking on a flashy banner ad is likely in a much different sales funnel location than the person organically navigating to your URL.
  • Time of Day – we do different things at different points during the day, which means that our frames of mind are very different throughout our waking hours. Use testing to appeal to these variations…flash sales or “pressure tactics” during lunch hours when people don’t have a lot of time to think about what they are doing or move from one thing to another very quickly.
  •  Weather – if you knew that the “storm of the century” was coming early next week would you buy a new jacket today if it was on sale with free two-day shipping? The likelihood is a lot greater than purchasing new swim trunks at the same offer. Unless, of course, you’re headed to Aruba to beat the snow…

So then comes the age-old question, “What do I test?” Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Test something. Test anything…

  • Headlines
  • Button Colors/Shapes/Sizes/Font size/CTAs
  • Imagery & Artwork
  • Body copy – especially useful when “echoing” search terms to capitalize on intent

…just get away from thinking that one-test-fits-all. Please. So, go. Get out there. Start looking for the better in the different.

 

 

This post was originally published in RyanDahlstrom.com

Image credit: Zoha.Nve via Flickr

 

About the Author

Dahlstrom-vRyan Dahlstrom leads digital customer acquisition, support, and engagement at Windstream Communications. His experience includes overseeing digital strategy for a Fortune 500 company, managerial and leadership skills in e-Commerce, SEM, SEO, digital media, A/B Testing, web optimization, and customer support.

See Ryan Live!

Join Ryan in his session on “Segmentation Testing – Because One-Size Won’t Fit All” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Ryan on Twitter and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.

Categories: Targeting, Testing Tags:

There’s No Place like Home

March 12th, 2014 No comments

By Brian Lewis
Director of Optimization, SiteTuners


home-sweet-home

 

Many times the name we call something greatly affects our attitudes about that something.

Take the term “homepage”, for instance. In the context of the web, we all know that our homepage is where most of our visitors will first meet us, experience our brand messaging, learn about our products and services, and hopefully determine if we offer solutions to their problems.


As such, many marketers treat their homepages as an electronic kitchen sink, throwing every message, offer, special, countless products and then further distracting us with endless rotating banners under the misconception that “we need to show everything … after all, it’s our homepage”.


One of the reasons marketers have gotten derailed trying to construct effective homepages is because this page is referred to as “the homepage”.


Think about it … “Home” commonly refers to a place you are content to stay; a place where one lives. In baseball, it’s a place a runner wants to reach to end his journey around the bases and score a run.


On the web, though, we want to get our visitors off the homepage and into our site as expeditiously as possible. An effective home page:

  1. Quickly communicates  what it is we do;
  2. Allows the visitor to quickly decide if the company can meet their needs, and;
  3. Guides the visitor to the page in the site that’s of interest to them


I like to think of the homepage as more like an airport terminal. Remember your last visit to an airport? The problem you were trying to solve was to get to your destination as quickly and easily as possible. You were looking for information to get you to the right gate, and the shortest path to that gate, so you could board your plane. You didn’t care about flights to other destinations and certainly did not want to spend any more time than necessary there.


Remember that your homepage should provide clear navigational information and direct the visitor to their desired destination. The challenge is to meet the various needs of all the many types of visitors who’ll arrive on your homepage while not creating an electronic kitchen sink.


One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the development of Common User Scenarios. To learn all about Common User Scenarios, why they’re productive and how to craft effective scenarios, stop by my session, “Maximizing Conversion with Common User Scenarios” at the Conversion Conference in San Francisco, CA, March 17-19.


Image credit: Jawcey via Flickr


About the Author


lewis-vBrian is Director of Optimization at SiteTuners, a firm that improves website conversion rate via conversion-focused redesign blueprints, landing page testing, and training of internal optimization teams. Brian’s 20 years of hands-on and strategic online marketing experience spans a diverse range of industries and has made him a popular expert speaker at industry conferences such as Search Marketing Expo, PPC Summit, Conversion Conference, Online Marketing Summit, and others. Brian earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and an M.B.A. from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, graduating both schools with honors.


See Brian Live!


Join Brian in his session on “Maximizing Conversion with Common User Scenarios” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Brian on Twitter and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.

 

Categories: Conversion Tags:

4 Tools Smart Marketers Are Using To Optimize

March 10th, 2014 1 comment

By Josh Krafchin
Founder, Clever Zebo

 

marketing-toolbox

What’s in your optimization toolbox?

It’s an exciting time in online marketing. There are so many interesting tools out there that help us do a better job of optimizing our marketing efforts. I thought I’d share a few hot tools that are relatively inexpensive but incredibly useful.


1. Get Data Driven


Built by the guys at Kiss Metrics, this nifty tool helps you make sure your A/B test is actually statistically significant. You can use data from any source, plug in, and, boom, you have your results.


2. Lucky Orange


Lucky Orange has been around for a while, but it keeps getting better and is ridiculously inexpensive. Its flagship product is the ability to record videos of how users scroll, move their mouse and click their way through your site. Additional tools include heat maps, watching visitors currently on the site and the ability to pop a chat box to a current visitor. Great tool for live usability optimization.


3. Log My Calls


Phone calls are often the vacuous pit of analytics. CRM allows sales and customer service reps to describe the call, but consistency can be difficult. Knowing what actually happened on the call is nearly impossible. Enter LogMyCalls analytics which actually scans the recording of the call and gives all sorts of insights into what happened on the call to inform the marketing process. Really important optimization tool for phone-dependent businesses.


4. Gin Wiz


Mobile sites are now officially necessary. Who doesn’t have a mobile device they use for research? Gin Wiz offers solutions for transforming desktop-based sites to mobile-friendly.

These are just a few helpful tools, but they’re worth your time to investigate if you haven’t already.
Image credit: Florianric via Flickr



About the Author


josh-krafchin-vJosh is a web marketing samurai. Combining online marketing savvy,revenue generation acumen, and an unruly haircut, he has spent the past seven years helping companies of all sizes dramatically grow their businesses online. Some of the bigger brands he’s built online strategies for include Sandals Resorts, Amazon, Register.com, Aeropostale, The Body Shop, Quicken Loans, and Rocket Lawyer, but he’s most proud of the businesses you may not yet have heard of but soon will.


See Josh Live!


Join Josh in his session on “Visual Analytics: Using User Videos to Personalize your Data & Testing Program” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Josh on Twitter and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.

Categories: Conversion Tags:

Why Your Marketing Campaign is Incomplete without Optimization

March 7th, 2014 No comments

By Dan Siroker
CEO, Optimizely

marketing-missing-a-piece

Are you missing a piece of the marketing puzzle?


Today’s marketers have a lot to keep track of. When I talk to Optimizely customers, I’m humbled by the number of moving parts involved in running marketing campaigns—the messaging, the email cadence, the social media strategy, the paid advertising. And that’s just execution. Once all of these parts are accounted, there’s hardly any bandwidth left for measurement.


They’re so busy thinking about how to get everything out the door that they forget to think about how all of this investment tracks towards added business value. In other words, optimizing these campaigns takes a backseat to getting them done. Through conversations with customers I’ve learned that many marketers operate as if there’s a wall between marketing campaigns and optimization.


This wall results in wasted budgets and sub-optimal results. If marketers want to ensure that they’re getting the most value out of the platforms they’re spending money on to drive traffic to marketing campaigns, then actively testing the web experience connected to all of these channels is essential.


In other words, testing is critical to drive more return on investment from each marketing channel.


How to make marketing campaigns ROI positive


We know that more traffic, more content, more ads is not the answer to ROI because more eyeballs on your brand doesn’t necessarily translate into revenue. Designing web experiences based on intuition doesn’t equate to conversions either. The step between executing a campaign and seeing return on investment from it is creating a high quality website experience where eyeballs become leads, opportunities, and revenue.


In our experience, marketers who prioritize both traffic generation and conversion optimization will see efficiencies and increases in ROI. Traffic generation and CRO can help you build a conversion engine.


The parts of this engine are all of the marketing channels you’re using to drive traffic to your site. Each component is optimizable.


Search engine marketing. If you’re spending money to bring people to your site, you should be investing in tools to turn those visitors into customers. Your search engine marketing spend is a primary optimizable component of your conversion engine because it’s highly trackable. The insights you discover by A/B testing landing pages targeted to SEM traffic are applicable to other channels of paid advertising as well. Messages, images or page flow that converts well here may result in a win on other channels like social media or display advertising.


Community. Outside of your brand’s main website, customers and prospective customers have many opportunities to engage with you. You should think of channels like your support portal, user community, and social media accounts as optimizable parts of a campaign that lead to ROI. Questions to ask yourself are, how do you get your content to be shared more on social channels? How can you leverage people in your community to refer friends?

Mobile. The consumer uses a mobile device to research, purchase and compare items from a number of different places ranging from in the store to on the couch. Should the mobile experience be the same for each of those various contexts?


A/B testing mobile experiences will enable brands to understand evolving consumer behavior and profit like they should from this mobile explosion.


Most marketers today see paid search, email marketing, search engine optimization, and social media as crucial elements to their success. The tools that allow them to test and optimize these channels should be the next word on that list. Marketers who understand that making decisions based on data and experimentation, not gut, instinct and opinion will be more successful. And this is a bet I’m willing to test…


For more information on building optimization into every campaign, check out our ebook about how to build a culture of optimization at your company.

 
Image credit: Katie Thebeau via Flickr


About the Author


siroker-vDan Siroker is the Co-Founder & CEO of Optimizely, a dramatically easier way to A/B test your website. The inspiration for Optimizely came from Danb s experience as the Director of Analytics for the Obama Presidential Campaign and Deputy New Media Director for the Presidential Transition. Before Optimizely, Dan co-founded an online math game for kids called CarrotSticks. He was formerly a Product Manager for Google Chrome and AdWords. Dan graduated with Honors from Stanford University with a B.S. in Computer Science.


See Dan Live!


Join Dan in his session on “Optimizing Your Conversion Engine” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Dan on Twitter and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.

Categories: Conversion, Digital Marketing Tags:

From Promodo with love: why we would like to attend Conversion Conference

March 6th, 2014 No comments

By the Promodo team

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convcon-winning-entryEditor’s note: It was extremely difficult to choose between the two finalists of our blogging contest so we decided to give away two full day passes and declare both entries as winners.

This post is the second winner of a full pass (the other one was Deana Morgan, whose entry was published yesterday). Congrats, Promodo team! We look forward to meeting one of your team members at Conversion Conference. 

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conversionConference_logo-sq-150x150If you are a conversion optimization fan, you might have heard this name, if not – you should definitely start following him or write down his name to your note J.  He is one of the brightest stars in the conversion optimization world, his name is Tim Ash.  Tim is so powerful and magnetic that you risk to fell in love with conversion optimization if you hear him speak.


Every speech of his is a work of art featuring exciting facts about human behavior and consumer psychology. Being an experienced speaker, he makes the audience hang on every word and eagerly absorb every tip he gives.


Promodo team would really like to attend the Conversion conference, but we also encourage you to join this awesome event.  Globally adored marketing experts such as Dennis Yu and Neil Patel will also speak at the conference. They are so passionate about what they do and share their enthusiasm and knowledge in such a way, that just being in the same hall with them, already adds a couple of points to your IQ.1009576_10151444901862882_1810703228_o-1024x699-300x204


Conversion optimization is the most brilliant thing in online marketing, as it can potentially give most rapid and huge results with a tiny change.  As our mission is to help online businesses flourish in the internet space, we would be glad to equip ourselves with the latest conversion optimization tips. Then we will be able to help more websites create kind of experience that will make the users feel absolutely satisfied and happy.


San-Francisco, where the conference will take place, is an amazing city you never can get enough of – beautiful and free – it is an acknowledged center of innovations and perspectives.  What could be more exciting than to watch as people from different cultures come to one place to tell about the recent discoveries and to open new horizons? Since Promodo team has been taking interest into the best conversion optimization practices for long, we really want to be a part of this mix.


Conversion conference is something about uniting people and their smartest ideas, so we have found the way how to express this in one image – we created a photo made of all people who liked the conference on Facebook as well as conference speakers.  Enjoy the photo and be sure to join this great community!

TIM_ASH_2011_square-mozaik2

This post was originally published on the Promodo blog

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Only 2 weeks to go till Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014! Don’t be left out – register today!

 

Categories: Conference News, Promotions Tags:

Top 10 reasons why I would LOVE to be at the Conversion Conference in San Francisco

March 5th, 2014 No comments

By Deana Morgan
Digital Marketing Executive

 

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convcon-winning-entryEditor’s note: It was extremely difficult to choose between the two finalists of our blogging contest so we decided to give away two full day passes and declare both entries as winners. Beats having to toss a coin as tie (and heart) breaker!

This post won the author a full pass (Congrats, Deana!). Stay tuned tomorrow for the other winning entry.

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1) To become an expert in Conversion Rate Optimization

I have some optimization skills and a marketing background that makes me pretty good at it already, but I want to become one of t
he TOP, Awesome CRO experts in the country.  So I need to go to the conversion conference and learn directly from the experts.


2) I’m passionate about Conversion Rate Optimization

I’ve been involved in online business for many years from selling e-Commerce software to being a VP of Marketing and my favorite aspect is Conversion Rate Optimization.  Landing page optimization and conversion rate optimization is by far the thing I’m most passionate about and dedicated to continuously increasing my skills, knowledge, and results.  I want to learn more.


3) The conversion conference has been hailed as the best conference, a must see event, extremely useful, actionable so I need to see what all the fuss is about.


Excellent feedback about the Conversion Conference:
**Must attend conference
**Extremely useful and engaging
**World Class Experts


4) Awesome Conversion Conference Speakers
I want to soak up all the knowledge from the amazing speakers.   I want to hear the keynotes and I want to meet Dan Siroker of Optimizely.   Neil Patel of Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics.   Michael Mace of usertesting.com.  Tim Ash, and Bryan Eisenberg and more.


5) Networking and knowledge sharing with great people at the Conversion Conference
I want to meet and network with other S.F. attendees to build a collaborative network of friends and business colleagues interested in CRO.  I want to be able to share my experience and also learn from others experience.


6) I want to meet Tim Ash—we both went to UCSD and studied Cognitive Science 


7) Valuable Content
The agenda is chock full of useful topics like multi-variant testing, psychology triggers, content, user experience and more.  I want to walk away with ideas to implement right away.  I want to learn from the experts.


8) Enhance My career
I want to share lessons learned with my colleagues.
I want to help companies achieve huge revenue gains through conversion rate optimization.
I want to be known as a marketer with an expertise in CRO.


9) I have never attended this conference before so I want to check it out so I can take my entire team next time.


10) I’m planning to launch a new website and I want to have the latest knowledge and tools to be successful right from the start.


I would love to go to the Conversion Conference in San Francisco!  It would mean a lot to me if I was able to attend.

 

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Only 2 weeks to go till Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014! Don’t be left out – register today!

Categories: Conference News Tags:

How to Capture Your Content Marketing ROI

March 3rd, 2014 No comments

By Arnie Kuenn
President, Vertical Measures


reaching-for-roi

If you have created a culture of content marketing in your business, you’ve probably found yourself in a nice rhythm of producing content pieces. You know how to develop a strategy, map out an editorial content calendar, manage your internal team, and tell an interesting story. You’ve already learned how to “think like a publisher.” But knowing how to run a content marketing strategy isn’t the same as producing results. In the end, you want to make sure that your time, expenditures, and resources are being invested in something that pays off.

Know What You’re Investing In


You wouldn’t spend money on a client project unless you knew what pot it was coming out of and how much you had to spend. It may seem simplistic to say, but it’s vital to understand the “I” in your ROI. Know what you’re investing in when you create good content so you can see positive returns for your business, Here are some obvious and more subtle costs to consider when figuring out your content marketing investment:

total-marketing-budget

  • Internal team time spent creating and publishing content
  • Any additional payments to designers, content producers, developers, etc.
  • Promotional marketing costs including PR, social media ads, and other advertising
  • Time it takes to follow-up on measurement and analytics
  • Investments in planning and strategy creation & training

Be sure to include any and all investments you know you’re making so you can get a good picture of how much your content marketing is costing you as well as know what you’re getting in return.

Subtle Signs


If you’re just starting you’re content marketing campaign for the first time, you won’t always have a treasure trove of knowledge or data to use as a starting point for your content’s success. If that is the case for you, use subtle signs and indirect indicators to help you pinpoint what is performing and what is not. Some things that will show you this are:

  • Tweets
  • Pins
  • Facebook Likes, Shares, or Comments
  • +1s on Google+
  • Backlinks


When you’re more established and you have a broader audience, you can then look at direct metrics and start tracking them as main elements that make up your content marketing ROI. The above listed signs are always great ways to know what’s working, but as time goes on, you will learn which of these indicators are more consistently producing as your success metrics.


Put a Number Value on What You Want


One of the best and clearest way to see the return on your content marketing investment is by setting up and tracking goals within your analytics program. You can assign an actual dollar value to the goals you want to reach. This is something often done for eCommerce obviously, but is also important for calculating less direct conversions. You can look at a lot of different elements, but the simplest value to use is your average sale value multiplied by your conversion rate.

Let’s say on average a sales contract from a website ends up bringing in $3500 in margin. Anyone who fills out a contact form is a lead, and leads become customers 5% of the time. In this example, the average value of a lead from a website contact form is $175.

goals


Since you now know the value of a lead (or whatever goal you’re tracking), you can start to see what content produces the most leads. Say that one of your website visitors reads one of your blog posts, and then is compelled to fill out a contact form to learn more about your services. If we go off the example I listed above, that blog post has made you $175. You now have a dollar amount that you can measure up against the costs you’ve incurred with your content marketing.

Being able to give a value to your visitors means you can start to see how returns come from different content types or audience segments.


Go Deeper into your Visitor’s Actions


By following the process outlined above, you have a great way to start measuring your content marketing ROI. There are more ways to get into the details and have an even more precise look at what works and what doesn’t. You know that some of your content far surpasses others, so going past the surface level averages into the more in-depth metrics can really show you which content your audience is most likely to spend money on.


One example of this is what Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute calls a profitable customer action. This is action they take on your site by making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter, registering for your webinar, or any other action you may ask for. Most often, this customer actions happen when the visitor has been on your site for a longer period of time.


You’ll want to consider this fact when analyzing your ROI. Ask yourself: do customers that spend over 4 minutes (or whatever time is relevant to you) on my website convert more than someone under 4 minutes? After you know the answer to that, you can understand the returns of your content, since reading a piece of content keeps a visitor on your site longer…thus providing a higher ROI.


The biggest takeaway here is to find powerful indicators and also trust averages. Maybe a blog or video didn’t perform up to expectations for you, but if it’s the kind of content that usually performs well in the bigger picture, then don’t scrap it. Here are some more factors to help gauge content marketing returns:


Time on Page


Like I mentioned before, the time a visitor spends looking at your content can really show you what is working. Of course, it depends on your industry and audience as this can vary greatly. In some cases, when someone spends a long time on a page, they are really in depth with what you have to share and might read every word. Other times, high on-page time means the opposite: they don’t understand your content and are taking time to try and get through it. Make sure to relate this metric against your overall conversion rates to clarify if longer time on pages is positive or negative for your specific website.


Traffic Source


Traffic source is truly vital for substantial content marketing ROI measurement. If you’re a brand that has relied on paid search advertising, organic search, referrals, or direct traffic to boost visits to your site, this can mean dramatically lowered costs for you to acquire leads. Even if you don’t see an increase in leads, if you can reduce your paid search spend in half per month and still get traffic from other means, you can measure that lost half in return on your content marketing investment.


Time on Site vs Average Pages


As a rule of thumb, the longer someone is on your site the more likely they are to convert. But you still must look at how this data coincides with your conversions. In some case, someone will come to your site ready to convert and spend a long time looking around your whole site at multiple pages. Maybe their interest is cooling off, so be careful to look at the metrics side by side.


Bounce Rate


Do you know the percentage of time that someone comes to a page on your site and immediately leaves? Bounce rates are a great metric, but be careful because a high percentage doesn’t always mean there is something wrong. Maybe someone came and found just what they were looking for on your blog and then left. The opposite rings true, however, for service/sales pages and eCommerce product pages.


New vs. Returning Visitor


If you do find you have a high bounce rate, there is a metric to help you understand that those people might be still coming back for more. When you’re determining your content marketing ROI, you need to look at why people are returning along with your conversion data. Maybe you find that when you have an increase in site visitors, you successfully are moving prospective customers through your sales cycle at a faster pace. They’ve become more familiar and trusting of your brand. Same goes for higher conversion with more returning visitors. You can track your increased percentage of returning visitors in your ROI.


On the other hand, returning visitors may be the ones coming to you only for more informational content and industry news like in the graph below:

new-vs-returning-visitors
In this case, ROI may not indicate direction conversion as much as continued value if that content is shared or linked, along with driving referral traffic and lower lead costs. Either way that it swings, it’s essential to track who your audience is and how they behave to be sure you’re positioning your content correctly for the kind of response you want to get.


Offline Factors


Online data will always be important for your ROI, but make sure to look at what is giving you returns to your day-to-day business. Here are some examples we’ve come across:

  • Customer service spends less time answering questions due to coverage on site
  • Leads come in better qualified with less nurturing needed
  • Less of a need to spend additional money on traditional advertising and other expenses
  • Support calls lessen with how-to videos, resources lists, and articles

Challenges & Tips

Since measuring content marketing can sometimes be tough, you have to remember to be fair yet firm with what you choose to look at. If you find that your content marketing isn’t performing up to expectations, you need to understand that and then make the necessary changes to make your money go further. I recommend focusing on a few, most visible metrics so you don’t overlook the rewards that you are reaping in through your content marketing.


About the Author


arny-kuenArnie Kuenn is the president of Vertical Measures and author of Accelerate! Content Development & Marketing to Grow Your Business Online. Vertical Measures provides search, social and content marketing services, designed to help businesses improve their online presence and obtain more traffic and conversions.
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Categories: Content, Digital Marketing Tags:

The 5 First Steps in Optimizing Performance to Engage Users

February 28th, 2014 No comments

By Ari Weil
Director of Products, Yottaa

 

Every marketer knows that faster pages lead to fewer bounces, and that a faster site converts better overall…right? In reality, speed is important, but the benefits are finite. Once you achieve page load times in the 2-4 second range, you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns from a marketing conversion perspective. Read on for five steps you should take to structure your mobile and website optimization efforts to maximize conversions and drive your bottom line.


1. Define Measurable Goals


executive-leaders-icon-v2_opt(1)-1Know your company’s goals, and within those whether there are specific goals for your website. For example, your website optimization project will be different if your primary goal is to increase inbound leads by 20% versus increasing eCommerce conversions by 20%. Pro tip: our friends at HubSpot have published an excellent glossary of website optimization terms.


Eliminate assumptions by understanding your website’s current business metric performance. Google Analytics is commonly used for this purpose, and even provides an eCommerce dashboard out-of-the-box. Choose a representative timeframe (for example, the previous fiscal quarter) and note the performance of key metrics that are related to the goals you identified in the previous step.


Define measurable website goals based on your analyses. Now that you understand your company goals, and your current website performance, you can set specific, well-defined metric goals for your website and measure their performance relative to the representative timeframe you’ve chosen.


2. Load Every Page on Every Device


indexOptimize the entire visitor flow (not just your homepage and landing pages). Conversion marketers know that optimized landing pages convert between 27% and 42% better. But if your goal is to encourage users to spend more time on your site, and to have them view more pages, then you’ll need to optimize every page the visitor sees. Abandonment rate increases just as conversion potential decreases – 7% for every additional second of latency.


Optimize specifically for mobile. Mobile browsing has exploded, with over 50% of the time spent on eCommerce shopping occurring from mobile devices, and the sharpest uptick in spending coming from tablet users. Studies show that 29% of users who have a poor experience on your site will never return – that’s a huge opportunity cost. Your website optimization effort must include both desktop and mobile visitor contexts. Pro tip: don’t discount tablet-specific optimizations to maximize conversions!


Search engine crawlers are the bots behind the SEO scenes, so ensure you have optimized both desktop and mobile versions of your site. Google and other search engine providers rank those contexts differently, because users have different but consistently high expectations between desktop and mobile browsing. For example, you actually want to disable most of your optimizations and remove dynamic content for search engines. Something that’s counterintuitive for a content marketer but works wonders for conversion!

3. Display Relevant Content First

magaphone-icon_opt(1)-1Put mobile first. Whether you use responsive web design (RWD) or separate www and m.site deployments today’s omni-device website consumer expects a consistently great experience, including consistent treatment of your content. Planning for the smallest viewports and lowest-powered devices first forces youto optimize your content placement and your message, and enables you to amplify that impact as viewport real estate grows.


Showcase your high-value, curated content. User browsing and buying behavior proves that powerful content is key to a successful inbound strategy. Ensure every visitor is presented with relevant content first, and enrich the experience with CTAs and related content that encourages engagement with your site.


Withdraw workarounds. Studies from Google and others prove that users hate interstitial offer pages, distracting popups, and auto-playing multimedia content because they result in inconsistent performance and get in the way of the content they visited your site for in the first place. Often times companies insert these elements to direct users to “the right content” but studies show they’re actually just a good way to increase a user’s web stress.

4. Minimize Disruptions

devops-icon-v2_opt-1Eliminate outages and opportunity cost. Any single point of failure or bottle- neck can spell disaster for an online business by compromising employee productivity, risk losing revenue – on average $5,600/min – and customers, force you to pay SLA-based penalties, and severely damage your brand.


Avoid page load or content errors. Page and content errors decrease a user’s perceived value of your site, as well as their own perception that they are capable of completing a task on your site. Ensure that you diligently monitor for and eliminate any content or server errors.


Go the last mile. Optimizing for efficiency isn’t just important for speed. Delivering less content and performing fewer round trips to assemble a mobile or desktop web page page enables you to overcome shaky internet connections or frequently lost connectivity challenges to maximize mobility for your users and ensure that you capitalize on the booming mobile market.

5. Deliver content “Just In Time”

saas-icon-v2_opt-1Prioritize above-the-fold content. We don’t just mean putting the right content above the fold, but also prioritizing rendering so that essential content displays above the fold, while less-important and invisible below-the-fold content remains unloaded until the user scrolls down. This creates and immediately engaging experience and delivers the right content to the user first.


Enrich user experiences with personalization. Of course, you think. But most personalization elements are treated exactly like other content. Comment areas, social media integration and customer service callouts are most impactful (and really only relevant) once the user has had time to consume your key content.


Analyze while you optimize. Rich graphics and personalization features can feel like a must-have, and in some cases they are. In those (most) cases your users will have a better, snappier experience if you load content just before it becomes visible in the viewport. But A/B split testing is crucial as you optimize so you can ensure your efforts are justified and improving users’ engagement with your site.


Conventional wisdom around mobile website optimization has conditioned marketers and IT to chase every extra millisecond in page load time in the hopes that raw speed will increase conversions and drive more revenue. But following a measured approach to performance optimization can save you time, money and even your sanity. By taking care to clearly identify your goals, and then to continue measuring your progress against those goals, you will not only improve your sites’ business metric performance but ensure you have time and resources available to move your business forward with things that really matter: better content and differentiated features.

 
This post was originally published on Yottaa.

 

About the Author


weil-vAri is an experienced product manager, marketer and technical evangelist who has worked for and with SaaS companies for over 14 years. Currently the Director of Products for Yottaa, Ari is responsible for the product direction, product marketing and community engagement for Yottaa’s web and mobile performance optimization service.


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Categories: Conversion, User Experience Tags: