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Posts Tagged ‘conversion’

Value Gulfs: Making sure there is differentiated product value when marketing upgrades and upsells

May 31st, 2018
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unique value proposition in the marketplace is essential for sustainable marketing success. You must differentiate the value your product offers from what competitors offer. That is Marketing 101 (which certainly doesn’t always mean it’s done well or at all).

However, when you offer product tiers, it is important to differentiate value as well. In this case, you are differentiating value between product offerings from your own company.

This is a concept I call “value gulfs” and introduced recently in the article Marketing Chart: Biggest challenges to growing membership. Since that article was already 2,070 words, it wasn’t the right place to expand on the concept. So let’s do so know in this MarketingSherpa blog post.

When value gulfs are necessary

You need to leverage value gulfs in your product offers when you are selling products using a tiered cost structure. Some examples include:

  • A freemium business model
  • Free trial marketing strategy
  • Premium membership offering(s)
  • Good, better, best products
  • Economy paired with luxury offerings
  • Tiered pricing

The customer psychology of value gulfs

MECLABS Institute web designer Chelsea Schulman helped me put together a visual illustration of the value gulf concept:

Allow me to call out a few key points:

Read more…

Email Marketing: Five ideas to increase your email’s perceived value

August 16th, 2017
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This article was partially informed by The MECLABS Guide for Optimizing Your Webpages and Better Serving Your Customers. For more information, you may download the full, free guide here.

Email messaging is a constant evolution of tiny tweaks and testing, always in search of the “perfect” formula to keep customers interested and clicking.

The ugly truth is, of course, that there is no perfect email formula. You will always need to test to see what is working — and what will continue to work for your customers.

You always need to be striving towards value. People will open your email and engage with it if they perceive that it will provide some value or service to them.

Marketers and customers shouldn’t be opposed — their issues, concerns and needs are yours as well. So it follows that when you focus on customer-centric tactics that put providing value before promoting your own product, engagement is bound to follow.

In fact, according to a MarketingSherpa online research survey conducted with 2,400 consumers, “the emails are not relevant to me” was chosen as the second most likely reason that customers would unsubscribe from a company’s email list.

This means that relevance and value is more important than ever when planning out your sends, and here are five ideas on how to do it:

Idea #1. Turn your email into a personal note, not a promotion

This is something that all marketers struggle with — we getting tunnel vision, focusing only on meeting certain goals instead of looking at the customer’s perspective and needs.

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Six Places to Focus to Make your Website a Revenue Generator

May 24th, 2016
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We have more digital marketing channels than ever before, but it’s become even harder to connect with customers. In my role as chief evangelist for MECLABS Institute, MarketingSherpa’s parent company, I get to talk to marketers and thought leaders daily.

One thing’s become clear, that there is a growing divide between those who are fully engaged with digital marketing and those who are still figuring out the fundamentals. When I read the report by Kristin Zhivago, President of Cloud Potential, on “revenue road blocks,” I wanted to see what she’s discovered to help marketers quickly close this digital marketing gap and do better.

If marketers directly address getting six key focuses right, you can move forward and close the gap between digital and customers.

Brian: What inspired you to do your research on revenue road blocks?

kristin-zhivago-president-cloud-potential

Kristin: Actually, it was our day-to-day experience working with company managers that drove us to these conclusions, combined with our research on the best practices of digital market leaders in more than 28 industries. The gap between the companies that are successfully using the newer methods and those who are not is growing wider by the quarter.

What is really concerning is we are seeing otherwise solid, successful companies slipping behind their more digitally adept competitors, and they can’t figure out why. They’re doing what they’ve always done, and it’s not working anymore.

Of course, that’s the problem. Buyers have radically changed the way they buy, especially in the last couple of years, and these sellers haven’t changed the way they’re selling. Mobile and the cloud have changed everything; today’s buyers are not the obedient, pass-through-your-funnel buyers that we used to be able to depend on. They are looking for any excuse to say no, because they are sure that there’s another solution only a click away. There is absolutely no risk for them to reject you. In fact, rejection is the safest option for them.

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How a Single Source of Data Truth Can Improve Business Decisions

September 12th, 2014
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One of the great things about writing MarketingSherpa case studies is having the opportunity to interview your marketing peers who are doing, well, just cool stuff. Also, being able to highlight challenges that can help readers improve their marketing efforts is a big perk as well.

A frustrating part of the process is that during our interviews, we get a lot of incredible insights that end up on the cutting room floor in order to craft our case studies. Luckily for us, some days we can share those insights that didn’t survive the case study edit right here in the MarketingSherpa Blog.

Today is one of those times.

 

Setting the stage

A recent MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Newsletter article — Marketing Analytics: How a drip email campaign transformed National Instruments’ data management — detailed a marketing analytics challenge at National Instruments, a global B2B company with a customer base of 30,000 companies in 91 countries.

The data challenge was developed out of a drip email campaign, which centered around National Instruments’ signature product, after conversion dropped at each stage from the beta test, to the global rollout, and finally, to results calculated by a new analyst.

The drip email campaign tested several of National Instruments’ key markets, and after the beta test was completed, the program was rolled out globally.

The data issues that came up when the team looked into the conversion metrics were:

  • The beta test converted at 8%
  • The global rollout was at 5%
  • The new analyst determined the conversion rate to be at 2%, which she determined after parsing the data set without any documentation as to how the 5% figure was calculated

Read the entire case study to find out how the team reacted to that marketing challenge to improve its entire data management process.

Read more…

Customer-Centric Marketing: How transparency translates into trust

May 23rd, 2014
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Transparency is something that companies usually shy away from. From the customer’s perspective, that product or service just appears for them – simple and easy.

Marketing has a history of touting a new “miracle” or “wonder” product and holding up the veil between brand and consumer.

michael-norton-summitHowever, in Wednesday’s Web Optimization Summit 2014 featured presentation, Harvard Associate Professor Michael Norton brought up a different idea, speaking about how hard work should be worn as a badge of honor.

“Think about showing your work to customers as a strategy,” he said, coining it “The Ikea Strategy.”

The idea behind this is that when people make things themselves, they tend to overvalue them – think of all the DIY projects around the house. In the same vein, when people comprehend the hard work that has gone into a product, they are more likely to value it.

Michael gave the example of a locksmith he had spoken to as part of his research to understand the psychology of people who work with their hands. This man was a master locksmith, Michael said, and he started off by talking about how he used to be terrible at his job – he would go to a house, use the wrong tools, take an inordinate amount of time and sweat over the job.

Gradually, he became a master at his trade, and could fix the same problem quickly with only one tool. It didn’t matter that his work was superior because of his experience, his customers became infuriated when he handed over the bill. Even though the result was the same, the customers hadn’t seen the effort.

Independent of the service being delivered, Michael explained, we value the labor people put in.

“We like to see people working on our behalf,” he said.

He asked two questions on how to apply this in the marketing sphere:

  • Can this be applied to the online environment as well?
  • Can this be built into websites so people feel like these interfaces are working for them?

A counterintuitive mindset must be applied in this area. In many cases, rapid service or response comes second to transparency. Michael spoke about how his team ran a test where they purposefully slowed down the searc results for a travel site by 30 seconds.

“30 seconds of waiting online is like … 11 days. It’s an enormously long time,” he said.

But slowing something down like a search, he continued, makes people feel like the algorithm was working hard for them.

As surprising as it sounds, more customers picked the delayed search travel site because they perceived that it was working harder for them, he said.

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Social Sharing: Twitter has highest amplification rate, email has highest conversion rate

March 23rd, 2012
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While researching an upcoming consumer marketing case study about SquareTrade, a provider of extended consumer electronics warranties that tied a referral program to the release of the latest iPhone, I had the chance to speak with Angela Bandlow, Vice President Marketing, Extole, a consumer-to-consumer social marketing company that creates social referral programs. (Note: You can sign up for the Consumer Marketing newsletter to receive the case study on SquareTrade once it’s published.)

Social referral programs allow companies to tap into their customer advocates to promote their brands, products and services by getting those customers to share within their social networks. These programs then track the shares through to the conversion, whether that is a sale, an opt-in or a coupon redemption.

Extole recently conducted research on 20% of its customer base with an average data collection length of 45 weeks, and this research uncovered some interesting data points on social sharing among different companies.

 

What to measure when tracking social sharing

“If you think about a referral program, it’s a little different in terms of what you would measure than a standard marketing program,” Angela explains.

She offers a few areas to track with referral programs:

  • How many of your customers are participating in your program? These people are called “advocates” at Extole.
  • Of the people participating, how many people do they share with, and through what marketing channel — email, Facebook, Twitter, personal URL (PURL), etc.  This metric is important because it shows the “amplification” of the message or call-to-action.
  • The number of social shares is the multiplication of the number of participants and the amount of sharing.
  • Clicks-per-share, or in other words, the rate of clicking with the social shares from your customers.

“You see a different rate of amplification across social channels versus email,” says Angela. “Email is always going to be a one-to-one share.”

Extole’s research found in aggregate its clients get 3.49 shares per advocate. In other words, everyone participating in a referral program is sharing with almost three and a half friends. On the high end, some advocates share with as many as 12 friends.

Here is a breakdown of some of the data points across several channels:

  • The largest percentage of advocate sharing is through email, and those shares get a 21% open rate, 80% clickthrough and 17% conversion (the highest conversion rate of any channel), which breaks down to .17 clicks per share.
  • Facebook shares average 1.24 clicks per share, but the conversion rate is only 1.21%.
  • Twitter actually averages 6.81 clicks per share, which creates the highest amplification rate of any channel.

 

Click to enlarge

 

 

This research also found an overall average of 42% clickthrough rate through social referral programs and almost five friend clicks per share for highly performing programs.

Angela also offers a couple of examples from different clients:

A video rental service company gets the majority of its shares through people who get a personal URL and share it through various channels through cutting and pasting. This referral program includes an incentive offer of a free one-night rental for the customer advocate and a first night free rental for the friends.

Extole has found that amplification is improved when the effort involves an incentive.

A food delivery service gets 70% of its shares through email and another 15% via Facebook. On Twitter, that company gets almost nine clicks for each tweet.

“We’ve always known that word-of-mouth marketing was very powerful, and converted at an estimated three to five times higher rates than other channels,” states Angela. She adds this research puts some data behind the marketing power of letting your customers drive conversions through their social networks and communication channels.

 

Related Resources:

Email Summit: Integrating mobile, social and email marketing channels

Social Media Marketing: Social login or traditional website registration?

Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 1

Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 2

Social Media Marketing: Analytics are free and plentiful, so use them

Using Social Sharing to Achieve Specific Email Goals: 5 Insights

New Chart: Increasing Reach through Social Sharing

Lead Nurturing: 12 questions answered on content, tactics and strategy

March 20th, 2012
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B2B and other lead nurturing marketers are beset with challenges. Many are struggling to improve nurturing, scoring and alignment with the sales team, but they have a laundry list of questions.

I received 21 questions from the audience in recent a webcast for the American Marketing Association,The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content” (a replay of the webcast is posted below). Yesterday, I answered nine of the questions in a post on the B2B Lead Roundtable Blog. Today, I am answering 12 more below.


Questions on content

Q: When your sales team consists of medical reps who sell to doctors and show up at their offices twice a month, how do you nurture? Especially considering doctors aren’t Internet savvy?

A: I disagree doctors aren’t Internet savvy; there are social networks for the medical community that engage a quarter of a million physicians. That said, equip your sales team to ask for each doctor’s preferred means of communication: email, video, executive summaries, reports, etc. It could be a simple questionnaire.

 

Q: Should we consider paying outside subject matter experts to develop educational content?

A: Leverage internal experts first to build authority. But be sure the content you’re sharing will be valuable even if the prospect never buys. If your content doesn’t meet that standard, then you’ll want to think about using third-party experts to fill the gap.

 

Q: If you keep sending your contacts repurposed content (although the same information), won’t they be annoyed?  Wouldn’t they prefer fresher info?

A: Research suggests it takes at least seven to nine interactions for a message to be remembered.  If you have a complex offering, your audience will appreciate you breaking it down and presenting it in a variety of ways so they can better understand it. We have to look at our content from our customers’ point of view, not our own. Don’t be afraid of repetition — embrace it.

 

Q: What’s the right amount of emails with video versus straight emails?

A: You need to know your audience and how they prefer to consume content. Test and measure.


Questions on tactics

Q: My team has auto-communications that go to prospects once a week for eight weeks, and we have a team of callers that supplement this. Do you believe this will help nurture/re-engage older leads?

A: It could. Here are some thoughts and ideas:

  • Nurturing is about building a relationship based on trust to continue a conversation. It’s not just about sending irrelevant information that could cause prospects to emotionally unsubscribe.
  • Examine the cadence of your emails to determine if once a week is too frequent. Nurturing is a marathon, not a sprint. Nurture them at least the length of your sales cycle.
  • Look at your results. How many opt-outs do you have? What are the call-to-lead conversion rates? How many opens and clickthroughs are your emails getting? The key is measurement.
  • These resources will help:

Five nurturing tips to create relevant and engaging emails

How ECI Telecom Developed a Content-Marketing Program from Concept to Completion and the Surprising Results

 

Q: How do you know which marketing tactic attracted your customer? Email? Direct Mail? Print? TV?

A:  That’s a challenge every marketer faces in the complex sale. The answer depends on whether you’re measuring first touch or last, and if you’re focused on gathering names or closing the deal immediately.  Leverage your CRM to capture every touch point: Have they attended a webinar, downloaded a whitepaper, or registered for a newsletter? All of these actions contribute, so measure all of them. Make sure your CRM allows you to track multiple campaigns.

 

Q: What is the best way to treat leads from a purchased list versus inbound leads?

A:  Your answer can’t be quickly summarized, in fact, a book could be written on the topic. However, these blog posts will help:

How to Build a Quality List and Make Data Drive Leads

Lead Generation Check list – Part 5: Treat your marketing database as a valued asset

Do you expect your inside sales team to practice alchemy?


Questions related to strategy

Q: Any thoughts on lead engagement for B2C versus B2B?

A: In B2B, more people are involved in the buying decision, but, ultimately, people buy from people and the lines between these groups have blurred. MarketingSherpa will soon release its first-ever lead generation benchmark report that includes feedback from more than 1,900 B2B and B2C organizations on their lead generation challenges. In the meantime, here are some resources:

Lead-Gen: Top tactics for a crisis-proof strategy

B2B vs. B2C: What does it really mean?


Q: How does lead-nurturing ROI compare for B2C (rather than B2B)?

A:  As I mentioned above, MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report will be published soon and will have a very detailed answer. Again, reference this post: Lead-Gen: Top tactics for a crisis-proof strategy


Q: Can you set up a simple lead nurturing strategy without lead scoring, and then add scoring later, when you have data to evaluate?

A: Absolutely. In the beginning, simplicity is best.

 

Q: What’s a good lead score for a technology company?

A: You’re in charge of developing your score based on your requirements. There’s no industry-wide scoring system. Here are some lead scoring resources that will help:

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

The Lament of the Inside Sales Team: Data, Data Everywhere, but Who’s Ready to Buy?

How to Use Lead Scoring to Drive the Highest Return on Your Trade-Show Investment

Funnel Optimization: Why marketers must embrace change

 

Q: Do you have a buying process model and a list of stages of the sales cycle?

A: Please refer to Pages 7 and 17 in my free e-book: Start With A Lead: Eight critical success factors for lead generation

 

A link to a replay of the webcast is included below. Do you have additional questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments.

 

 

 

Related Resources:

The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content

How to Get the CEO to Support Your Next Marketing Plan

B2B Marketing Research: 68% of B2B marketers haven’t identified their Marketing-Sales funnel … and it shows

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

Marketing 101: What is conversion?

March 15th, 2012
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I recently attended an event on social media for film and video professionals. There were four panelists: two social media experts and two video pros who are very active in using social media to market their work. The crowd ranged from very green on the topic to a few power users.

What stood out to me was that when the questions got started, one of the social media experts went off on a marketing riff and threw out the term “conversion.” A hand immediately shot up and asked, “What is conversion?”

Flat out the best question of the evening.

Sometimes as marketers, we get lost in a sea of acronyms — CRM, SEO, ROI, CTR, etc. — and it only took one word to remind me that not everyone gets all of these references.

To be a truly successful marketer, you want to be as transparent as possible as well as provide clarity. If your message is anywhere in the world of insider esoterica where the audience might be confused, that message is lost. And maybe worse than just ignored, the audience might even feel left out.

 

What is “conversion”?

The definition in the MarketingSherpa glossary that appears in MarketingSherpa handbooks defines conversion as, “The point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action.” In other words, conversion is simply getting someone to respond to your call-to-action. Read more…

Holiday E-commerce: Make online shopping a rewarding experience for customers, not just an extension of the holiday hassle

December 1st, 2011
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I think it goes without saying that online shopping is no longer just a convenient option for consumers. It’s a retail mainstay, and a key to holiday marketing success.

Wasting no time in supporting this point once again, IBM has just unveiled the findings of its fourth annual Cyber Monday Benchmark, revealing that online spending for Cyber Monday 2011 eclipsed the previous year’s sales  by 33%, and even this year’s Black Friday sales by 29.3%.

As crazy as it can be for consumers, holiday retail is like bacon-flavored manna for marketers. While the online opportunity is huge, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd, by remembering those who make up the crowd.

You must offer shoppers a thorough, convenient, enjoyable online experience, and promote your shopping experience as part of the holiday solution, not a digital extension of the traditional holiday hassle.

With the growth of e-commerce as a viable alternative to in-store retail, aided by more Web-exclusive discounts, free shipping offers, and the like, you can help boost business by providing an efficient, but personal online shopping experience that ensures your customers will never again long for crowded malls and crazed deal-hunters.

Here are three tips to help make the holidays happy, for your customers and your bottom line.

Read more…

Holiday Marketing: 3 last-minute ideas to boost conversion

November 22nd, 2011
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The holiday shopping season is upon us – the proverbial golden goose for consumer marketers. I’m sure you’ve planned thoroughly throughout the year, and just have to focus on how to execute, execute, execute in these last remaining days before December 25 rolls around.

But, it’s too late to make impactful changes to your plans, right?

Right?

Well, I’ve been listening to one of those “challenge the model” books on tape (you know, the ones that tell you, “Burn the status quo! The only rules that exist are the ones we impose on ourselves!”). So, I’m understandably pretty worked up. All the same, I say we take on this beast. Let’s try to make a few last-minute shifts and move that needle.

If you can spare a minute away from your daily transactional data, let’s brainstorm a few last-minute ideas to help you get an extra bump in sales this holiday season (and I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section, as well). After all, anything’s possible. As long as you commit.

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