Tag Archive | "Wish"

5 Content Optimization Mistakes You’ll Wish You Fixed Sooner

So, what happens when someone clicks through to your website? Do you persuade them to stay and find out more…

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Launched a Kickstarter Campaign

Crowdfunding is fascinating. Like many people, I have backed projects on Kickstarter. But I was curious about what it would…

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5 Content Optimization Mistakes You’ll Wish You Fixed Sooner

"Show your site visitors that you’re a match for them — faster." – Stefanie Flaxman

By now you know that — technical details aside — SEO is not separate from content marketing; it’s an integrated aspect of content marketing.

Optimizing your content for search engines is part of your craft and a skill you can strengthen with practice.

But even when you rank well for search terms your audience uses, the real test is what happens when someone clicks through to your website. As Brian wrote on Monday:

“There’s nothing worse than a quick bounce.”

To avoid a quick bounce, you need to focus on content optimization. Since you don’t want to miss any opportunities to connect with your site visitors, study this list of five common mistakes — and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Your visitors can’t tell if your content’s right for them

A row of four new houses that all look basically the same were just built on the street where I live. When a real estate agent starts taking potential buyers on tours of the houses, do you know what’s going to happen?

The potential buyers are going to examine the properties and make judgments about the differences they notice.

A woman is going to dislike the filigree on one of the front gates and select the house with the simple brown gate and extra large balconies. A man is going to love the house with the filigree on the front gate. Another woman is going to hate the house with the extra large balconies and prefer the house with additional living room space.

You get the point.

While these houses appear roughly similar from the outside, visitors quickly assess which property is right for them based on their personal preferences.

The same thing happens when people search for information about a topic. The websites that appear at the top of search results for a keyword phrase might all look the same at first, so visitors will quickly inspect your content to see if it contains the qualities that are right for them.

If your special qualities (your proverbial front gate with filigree, large balcony, or spacious living room) aren’t clear, you won’t convince the people you want to attract that you can satisfy their preferences.

How to fix it

Take 15 Minutes to Find Your Winning Difference

When you stop trying to attract everyone, it’s easier to attract those who recognize and appreciate your unique selling proposition (USP).

You’re right for some visitors and your competitors may be right for others. That’s okay.

Mistake #2: Your headlines aren’t specific

The quickest way to a quick bounce is a generic headline that could appear on any other website in your niche.

Typically, these weak headlines fail to offer a benefit, or the benefit could be so vague that it fails to capture the attention of the people who you actually created the content for.

They could also be boring.

How to fix it

Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines

If you immediately communicate details about why your content is helpful, you’ll grab the attention of people who need that kind of help.

Aim to infuse your headlines with the essence of your USP and show your site visitors that you’re a match for them — faster.

Mistake #3: You don’t edit

Plenty of websites have success publishing first-draft content. If rough drafts form a bond with the people you aim to serve … cool.

But if your content isn’t striking a chord with the people you want to attract and develop relationships with, you may need to push yourself further.

How to fix it

Discover Why Content Marketers Need Editors

Rough drafts often fail to effectively convey your messages. They may contain too much information or tangents that distract busy readers and make your content less useful.

Editing is about creating a content experience. Rather than expressing raw thoughts, you craft a thoughtful presentation that helps solve a problem. When you click on the link above, you’ll learn how to think like an editor.

Mistake #4: You don’t give visitors more opportunities to learn

Websites with a lot of content may still look like “brochure” websites if they don’t present a different angle or perspective that makes visitors think, “I like this specific approach to this topic.”

When visitors feel you offer them something they can’t find on other websites, they want to hear more from you and stay connected.

If you don’t anticipate a reader’s desire to learn more, he might bounce to other sites to see if they offer more resources.

How to fix it

Add a Tantalizing Incentive that Will Build Your Email List

Ideally, you want to have so much great content that when visitors land on your site they’re frustrated that they don’t have enough time to consume it all in one sitting.

They’ll have to make a note to come back. Now the question is:

Do they sign up for your email list so they don’t miss any new content?

Make signing up for your email list a no-brainer by providing an incentive that is a perfect match for their needs. Your email list could also offer exclusive content the public doesn’t see.

Visitors will feel like they hit the jackpot that day on their journey.

Mistake #5: You don’t empower visitors to make a purchase

Information is … information. It doesn’t spark the buying process.

If you don’t give visitors a taste of what it’s like to do business with you, you won’t convert prospects to customers.

How to fix it

Educate to Convert Your Prospects

When you convince your website visitors to keep up with everything you publish, you’re able to build the relationships that will build your business. And the right balance of content and copy helps your prospects imagine what it’s like to buy from you.

Demonstrate why your product or service will give them the transformation they desire.

Optimize your content to grow your audience

Here’s a suggestion:

Assign each of the mistakes above to a day next week, Monday through Friday, and spend a couple hours each day identifying where you might make those errors and how you can fix them. By the end of the week, you’ll have a wealth of new ideas about how you can improve going forward.

What’s your process for producing exceptional content that impresses your website visitors? In the comments below, let us know how you stand out.

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Using Optimizely

Posted by tallen1985

Diving into Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for the first time can be a challenge. You are faced with a whole armoury of new tools, each containing a huge variety of features. Optimizely is one of those tools you will quickly encounter and through this post I’m going to cover 6 features I wish I had known from day one that have helped improve test performance/debugging and the ability to track results accurately.

1. You don’t have to use the editor

The editor within Optimizely is a useful tool if you don’t have much experience working with code. The editor
should be used for making simple visual changes, such as changing an image, adjusting copy or making minor layout changes.

If you are looking to make changes that change the behaviour of the page rather than just straightforward visual changes, then the editor can become troublesome. In this case you should use the “Edit Code” feature at the foot of the editor.

For any large-scale changes to the site, such as completely redesigning the page, Optimizely should be used for traffic allocation and not editing pages. To do this:

1. Build a new version of the page outside of Optimizely

2. Upload the variation page to your site.
Important: Ensure that the variation page is noindexed.

We now have two variations of our page:

www.myhomepage.com & www.myhomepage.com/variation1

3. Select the variation drop down menu and click Redirect to a new page

4. Enter the variation URL, apply the settings and save the experiment. You can now use Optimizely as an A/B test management tool to allocate traffic, exclude traffic/device types, and gather further test data.

If you do use the editor be aware of excess code

One problem to be aware of here is that each time you move or change an element Optimizely adds a new line of code. The variation code below actually repositions the h2 title four times.

Instead when using the editor we should make sure that we strip out any excess code. If you move and save a page element multiple times, open the <edit code> tab at the foot of the page and delete any excess code. For example, the following positions my h2 title in exactly the same position as before with three fewer lines of code. Over the course of multiple changes, this excess code can result in an increase of load time for Optimizely.


2. Enabling analytics tracking

Turning on analytics tracking seems obvious, right? In fact, why would we even need to turn it on in the first place, surely it would be defaulted to on?

Optimizely currently sets analytics tracking to the default option of off. As a result if you don’t manually change the setting nothing will be getting reporting into your analytics platform of choice.

To turn on analytics tracking, simply open the settings in the top right corner from within the editor mode and select Analytics Integration.

Turn on the relevant analytics tracking. If you are using Google Analytics, then at this point you should assign a vacant custom variable slot (for Classic Analytics) or a vacant custom dimension (Universal Analytics) to the experiment.

Once the test is live, wait for a while (up to 24 hours), then check to be sure the data is reporting correctly within the custom segments.


3. Test your variations in a live environment

Before you set your test live, it’s important that you test the new variation to ensure everything works as expected. To do this we need to see the test in a live environment while ensuring no customers see the test versions yet. I’ve suggested a couple of ways to do this below:

Query parameter targeting

Query parameter tracking is available on all accounts and is our preferred method for sharing live versions with clients, mainly because once set up, it is as simple as sharing a URL.

1. Click the audiences icon at the top of the page 

2. Select create a new audience

3. Drag Query Parameters from the possible conditions and enter parameters of your choice.

4. Click Apply and save the experiment.

5. To view the experiment visit the test URL with query parameters added. In the above example the URL would be:
http://www.distilled.net?test=variation

Cookie targeting

1. Open the browser and create a bookmark on any page

2. Edit the bookmark and change both properties to:

a) Name: Set A Test Cookie

b)URL: The following Javascript code:

<em>javascript:(function(){ var hostname = window.location.hostname; var parts = hostname.split("."); var publicSuffix = hostname; var last = parts[parts.length - 1]; var expireDate = new Date(); expireDate.setDate(expireDate.getDate() + 7); var TOP_LEVEL_DOMAINS = ["com", "local", "net", "org", "xxx", "edu", "es", "gov", "biz", "info", "fr", "gr", "nl", "ca", "de", "kr", "it", "me", "ly", "tv", "mx", "cn", "jp", "il", "in", "iq"]; var SPECIAL_DOMAINS = ["jp", "uk", "au"]; if(parts.length > 2 && SPECIAL_DOMAINS.indexOf(last) != -1){ publicSuffix = parts[parts.length - 3] + "."+ parts[parts.length - 2] + "."+ last} else if(parts.length > 1 && TOP_LEVEL_DOMAINS.indexOf(last) != -1) {publicSuffix = parts[parts.length - 2] + "."+ last} document.cookie = "optly_"+publicSuffix.split(".")[0]+"_test=true; domain=."+publicSuffix+"; path=/; expires="+expireDate.toGMTString()+";"; })();</em>

You should end up with the following:

3. Open the page where you want to place the cookie and click the bookmark

4. The cookie will now be set on the domain you are browsing and will looking something like: ‘optly_YOURDOMAINNAME_test=true’

Next we need to target our experiment to only allow visitors who have the cookie set to see test variations.

5. Click the audiences icon at the top of the page

6. Select create a new audience

7. Drag Cookie into the Conditions and change the name to optly_YOURDOMAINNAME_test=true

8. Click Apply and save the experiment.

Source:
https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200293784-Setting-a-test-cookie-for-your-site

IP address targeting (only available on Enterprise accounts)

Using IP address targeting is useful when you are looking to test variations in house and on a variety of different devices and browsers.

1. Click the audiences icon at the top of the page

2. Select create a new audience

3. Drag IP Address from the possible conditions and enter the IP address being used. (Not sure of your IP address then head to
http://whatismyipaddress.com/)

4. Click Apply and Save the experiment.


4. Force variations using parameters when debugging pages

There will be times, particular when testing new variations, that there will be the need to view a specific variation. Obviously this can be an issue if your browser has already been bucketed into an alternative variation. Optimizely overcomes this by allowing you to force the variation you wish to view, simply using query parameters.

The query parameter is structured in the following way: optimizely_x
EXPRIMENTID=VARIATIONINDEX

1. The
EXPERIMENTID can be found in the browser URL

2.
VARIATIONINDEX is the variation you want to run, 0 is for the original, 1 is variation #1, 2 is variation #2 etc.

3. Using the above example to force a variation, we would use the following URLstructure to display variation 1 of our experiment:
http://www.yourwebsite.com/?optimizely_x1845540742=1

Source:
https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200107480-Forcing-a-specific-variation-to-run-and-other-advanced-URL-parameters


5. Don’t change the traffic allocation sliders

Once a test is live it is important not change the amount of traffic allocated to each variation. Doing so can massively affect test results, as one version would potentially begin to receive more return visitors who in turn have a much higher chance of converting.

My colleague Tom Capper discussed further the
do’s and don’ts of statistical significance earlier this year where he explained,

“At the start of your test, you decide to play it safe and set your traffic allocation to 90/10. After a time, it seems the variation is non-disastrous, and you decide to move the slider to 50/50. But return visitors are still always assigned their original group, so now you have a situation where the original version has a larger proportion of return visitors, who are far more likely to convert.”

To summarize, if you do need to adjust the amount of traffic allocated to each test variation, you should look to restart the test to have complete confidence that the data you receive is accurate.


6. Use segmentation to generate better analysis

Okay I understand this one isn’t strictly about Optimizely, but it is certainly worth keeping in mind, particularly earlier on in the CRO process when producing hypothesis around device type.

Conversion rates can vary greatly, particularly when we start segmenting data by locations, browsers, medium, return visits vs new visits, just to name a few. However, by using segmentation we can unearth opportunities that we may have previously overlooked, allowing us to generate new hypotheses for future experiments.


Example

You have been running a test for a month and unfortunately the results are inconclusive. The test version of the page didn’t perform any better or worse than the original. Overall the test results look like the following:


Page Version

Visitors

Transactions

Conversion Rate
Original 41781 1196 2.86%
Variation 42355 1225 2.89%

In this case the test variation overall has only performed
1% better than the original with a significance of 60%. With these results this test variation certainly wouldn’t be getting rolled out any time soon.

However when these results are segmented by
device they tell a very different story:

Drilling into the
desktop results we actually find that the test variation saw a 10% increase in conversions over the original with 97% significance. Yet those using a tablet were converting way below the original, thus driving down the overall conversion rates we were seeing in the first table.

Ultimately with this data we would be able to generate a new hypothesis of “we believe the variation will increase conversion rate for users on a desktop”. We would then re-run the test to desktop only users to verify the previous data and the new hypothesis.

Using segmented data here could also potentially help the experiment reach significance at a much faster rate as
explained in this video from Opticon 2014.

Should the new test be successful and achieve significance we would serve users on the desktops the new variation, whilst those on mobile and tablets continue to be displayed the original site.

Key takeaways

  • Always turn on Google Analytics tracking (and then double check it is turned on).
  • If you plan to make behavioural changes to a page use the Javascript editor rather than the drag and drop feature
  • Use IP address targeting for device testing and query parameters to share a live test with clients.
  • If you need to change the traffic allocation to test variations you should restart the test.
  • Be aware that test performance can vary greatly based on device.

What problems and solutions have you come across when creating CRO experiments with Optimizely? What pieces of information do you wish you had known 6 months ago?

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How I Wish Amazon Reviews Worked

Posted by Dr. Pete

This is not a post about SEO. It is, however, a post about the future of search. This surprised even me – when I started writing this piece, it really was just an idea about building a better review. I realized, though, that finding relevant reviews is a useful microcosm of the broader challenge search engines face. Specifically, I want to talk about three S’s – Social, Sentiment, and Semantics, and how each of these pieces fit the search puzzle. Along the way, I might just try to build a better mousetrap.

The Core Problem

Product reviews are great, but on a site as big and popular as Amazon.com, filtering reviews isn’t much easier than filtering Google search results. Here’s the review section for the Kindle Fire:

Kindle Fire on Amazon - 10,859 reviews

That’s right – 10,859 reviews to sort through. Even if I just decide to look at the 5 stars and 1 stars, that’s still 7,208 reviews. If I could click and skim each one of those 7,208 in about 5 seconds, I’ve got roughly 10 hours of enjoyment ahead of me (if I don’t eat or take bathroom breaks). So, how can we make this system better?

(1) The Social Graph

These days our first answer is usually: “SOCIAL!” Social is sexy, and it will solve all our problems with its sexy sexiness. The problem is that we tend to oversimplify. Here’s how we think about Search + Social, in our perfect world:

Search/Social Intersection = Sexy

Unfortunately, it’s not quite so magical. There are two big problems, whether we’re talking about product reviews or organic search results. The first problem is a delicate one. Some of the people that you associate with are – how shall I put it – stupid.

Ok, maybe stupid is a bit harsh, but just because you’re connected to someone doesn’t mean you have a lot in common or share the same tastes. So, we really want to weed out some of the intersection, like Crazy Cousin Larry…

Search/Social Intersection minus Crazy Cousin Larry

It’s surprisingly hard to figure out who we actually sit at the Crazy-Larry table. Computationally, this is a huge challenge. There’s a bigger problem, though. In most cases, especially once we start weeding people out, the picture actually looks more like this:

Real Search/Social Intersection - Very Small

Even with relatively large social circles, the actual overlap of your network and any given search result or product is often so small as to be useless. We can extend our circles to 2nd- and 3rd-degree relationships, but then relevance quickly suffers.

To be fair to Amazon, they’ve found one solution – they elicit user feedback of the reviews themselves as a proxy social signal:

20,396 people thie review helpful

This approach certainly helps, but it mostly weeds out the lowest-quality offerings. Reviews of reviews help control quality, but they don't do much to help us find the most relevant information.

(2) Sentiment Analysis

Reviews are a simple form of sentiment analysis – they help us determine if people view a product positively or negatively. More advanced sentiment analysis uses natural-language processing (NLP) to try to extract the emotional tone of the text.

You may be wondering why we need more advanced sentiment analysis when someone has already told us how they feel on a 1-5 scale. Welcome to what I call “The Cupholder Problem”, something I’ve experienced frequently as a parent trying to buy high-end products on Amazon. Consider this fictional review which is all-too-based in reality:

The Cupholder Problem (fake review)

I’m exaggerating, of course, but the core problem is that reviews are entirely subjective, and sometimes just one feature or problem can ruin a product for someone. Once that text is reduced to a single data point (one star), though, the rest of the information in the content is lost.

Sentiment analysis probably wouldn’t have a dramatic impact on Amazon reviews, but it’s a hot topic in search in general because it can help extract emotional data that’s sometimes lost in a summary (whether it’s a snippet or a star rating). It might be nice to see Amazon institute some kind of sentiment correction process, warning people if the tone of their review doesn’t seem to match the star rating.

(3) Semantic Search

This is where things get interesting (and I promise I’ll get back to sentiment so that the previous section has a point). The phrase “semantic search” has been abused, unfortunately, but the core idea is to get at the meaning and conceptual frameworks behind information. Google Knowledge Graph is probably the most visible, recent attempt to build a system that extracts concepts and even answers, instead of just a list of relevant documents.

How does this help our review problem? Let’s look at the “Thirsty” example again. It’s not a dishonest review or even useless – the problem is that I fundamentally don’t care about cupholders. There are certain features that matter a lot to me (safety, weight, durability), others that I’m only marginally sensitive to (price, color), and some that I don’t care about at all (beverage dispensing capability).

So, what if we could use a relatively simple form of semantic analysis to extract the salient features from reviews for any given product? We might end up with something like this:

Sample Review w/ Feature Extraction

Pardon the uninspired UI, but even the addition of a few relevant features could help customers drill down to what really matters to them, and this could be done with relatively simple semantic analysis. This basic idea also illustrates some of the direction I think search is heading.  Semantic search isn’t just about retrieving concepts; it’s also about understanding the context of our questions.

Here’s an interesting example from Google Australia (Google.com.au). Search for “Broncos colors” and you’ll get this answer widget (hat tip to Brian Whalley for spotting these):

Denver Broncos Colors (Google.com.au)

It’s hardly a thing of beauty, but it gets the job done and probably answers the query for 80-90% of searches. This alone is an example of search returning concepts and not just documents, but it gets even more interesting. Now search for “Broncos colours”, using the British spelling (still in Google.com.au). You should get this answer:

Brisbane Broncos Colors

The combination of Google.com.au and the Queen’s English now has Google assuming that you meant Australia’s own Brisbane Broncos. This is just one tiny taste of the beginning of search using concepts to both deliver answers and better understand the questions.

(4) Semantics + Sentiment

Let’s bring this back around to my original idea. What if we could combine semantic analysis (feature extraction) and sentiment in Amazon reviews? We could easily envision a system like this:

Reviews with Feature Extraction + Sentiment

I’ve made one small addition – a positive or negative (+/-) sentiment choice next to each feature. Maybe I only want to see products where people spoke highly of the value, or rule out the ones where they bashed the safety. Even a few simple combinations could completely change the way you digest this information.

The Tip of the Penguin

This isn’t the tip of the iceberg – it’s the flea on the wart on the end of the penguin’s nose on the tip of the iceberg. We still think of Knowledge Graph and other semantic search efforts as little more than toys, but they’re building a framework that will revolutionize the way we extract information from the internet over the next five years. I hope this thought exercise has given you a glimpse into how powerful even a few sources of information can be, and why they’re more powerful together than alone. Social doesn’t hold all of the answers, but it is one more essential piece of a richer puzzle.

I’d also like to thank you for humoring my Amazon reviews insanity. To be fair to Amazon, they’ve invested a lot into building better systems, and I’m sure they have fascinating ideas in the pipe. If they’d like to use any of these ideas, I’m happy to sell them for the very reasonable price of ONE MILL-I-ON DOLLARS.

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7 Writing & Marketing Links Your Neighbors Will Wish They’d Read

The Lede | copyblogger.com

This week on The Lede

  • 100+ Small Business Blogging Ideas
  • 21 Tools to Unlock Your Creativity
  • 22 Storytelling Rules from Pixar
  • If Only You Could Write Like Malcolm Gladwell
  • How an MIT Postdoc Writes 3 Books, a PhD Defense, and a Popular Blog (and Finishes His Days by 5:30pm)
  • The 7 Serial Killers of Creativity
  • The 7 Sins of Marketing

If you want to grab more useful links (than the seven we highlight here every week), follow @copyblogger on Twitter.

//

100+ Small Business Blogging Ideas

Ms. Barone penned this list of content ideas almost two and a half years ago. It still stands both as a useful resource, and as proof of the value of publishing good teaching on a domain/site you own. There’s not many 30-month-old tweets getting passed around out there, after all.

//

21 Tools to Unlock Your Creativity

This digital life breeds a burnout of sorts, one that previous generations didn’t need to consider in the same way. Used to be, you dug a ditch, plowed the field, hunted the food, or fixed the roof all day, and you were tired. You went to bed. Even intellectual workers of another age didn’t face the onslaught of information that we do now. And of course, we use information to create. But are you using the right kind? Ms. Milligan offers a tour of visual, textual, musical, and comical inspirations to aid in the production of your daily creative work.

//

22 Storytelling Rules from Pixar

Pixar has told several of the most beloved stories of the last two decades. When they start handing out advice, it’d be a good idea to listen. Or read. Or … whatever.

//

If Only You Could Write Like Malcolm Gladwell

Using a ridiculously demanding help wanted ad, Ms. Jiwa perfectly illustrates the true value of the work you may already be doing as a writer online. This is a call to action for building a platform you own, and to getting on with the business of (metaphorically) killing your heroes.

//

How an MIT Postdoc Writes 3 Books, a PhD Defense, and a Popular Blog (and Finishes His Work Days by 5:30pm)

If this article weren’t so useful and inspiring in regards to productivity, it’d be far too depressing and hopeless to pass along to you. I’m going with the former here, and betting that Mr. Newport’s tactics (and example) can — and will — move you to action.

//

The 7 Serial Killers of Creativity

These guys aren’t screwing around. You’ll recognize them instantly. Maybe you’ve passed them in the park, or on the way to turning on the tv, or in the flickering moment before you hit play on that YouTube video. Wherever you are, they’re in the shadows, waiting, watching, plotting the perfect opportunity.

//

The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing

Much more than a tactical post, Mr. Godin dives deep, hacking at the root of much of our failure and fear, “Of course, they’re not marketing sins, they’re human failings.” We focus on polishing the outside of the cup, so often leaving the inside untended.

Did you miss anything on Copyblogger this week?

About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter and Resident Recluse. Get more from Robert on Twitter and Google+.

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3 Inbound Marketing Lessons I Wish I’d Known @ Mint.com

 

mint.com
This guest blog post was written by Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo of web deals site AppSumo.com,  a daily deals site for web entrepreneurs. He was formerly an early employee at both Facebook and Mint.

I did all of marketing at Mint until they launched and then they subsequently sold for $ 170,000,000. At that time I never had traditional marketing experience but more of a LOVE for the product and a strong desire to reach a target market.

After looking back over that experience, I wanted to share three key things I wish I would have learned about inbound marketing. 

1. Start Early

Remember how your mom used to say, “the early bird gets the worm.” As annoying as my mom got it rang so true. 
Marketing to me starts the same day you start building your business. At Mint, I was brought on 9 months before the product was live. Can you imagine that?

Instead of waiting for a product with no customers, when we finally launched we had over 20,000 people BEGGING to use our product. So you’re wondering what we did, aren’t you?

Note: Before we even launched we were larger than all our competitors combined! 

1. Added an email collection box on our homepage. This is almost default now but something we just figured would be good to start collecting. The best thing to do for your business is to get emails. It is the EASIEST way to start communicating. Think of it this way. Only .5% may buy on your site but you can get up to 30% of people to get you an email. Stop trying to force them all around your site and instead put them in a funnel where you can educate them properly about your product.

2. Built an excel spreadsheet of the top 25 most influential personal finance bloggers. We then spent the next months developing and tracking building relationships with those people. Think of it like a garden you plant the seeds today to enjoy your delicious fruits in a few months. 

3. Created a quant-based marketing approach where you can predict the amount of traffic you are going to get. HubSpot helps you do this! Here’s a sample one from Mint we used. 

4. Wrote out our marketing plan. Don’t “hope” that traffic and customers will come. Here’s the marketing plan I did, Mint Marketing plan.

5. Did the HubSpot growth technique. Setup free things like websitegrader.com and use those leads to get new customers. 

2. Education Marketing is the Future

Would you let me borrow $ 100? There’s a great chance you wouldn’t. If we were friends for 10 years and have a relationship than the $ 100 decision might be a no-brainer.
 
Relate this back to your marketing, it should be less about selling and more about creating value for your customer. Educate them. Teach them.
 
Think of it as reciprocity. You give them stuff, it helps them and then over time it makes it a no-brainer for them to trust you and want to give you money. Can you imagine that? They actually feel bad for NOT giving you money after you’ve given so much!

So what does that mean for your business? I’ll make it easy and give you ideas we’ve done for AppSumo.com.

1. Free Action Videos for startups. Copywriting for Startups,  How to Actually use Google Analytics and more.

2. Free Webinars. Hubspot is very good at this. Train them in real-time, answer questions and share with them things that will help THEIR business, not yours.

3. PDFs and how-to-guides. Top 10 ways to reduce your bounce rate by 30%; 20% increase in revenue a month, etc. 

Imagine advertising to “come spend money and sign up your business” versus advertising “great educational material” that can help your future customers. The conversion rates on your advertising will speak for itself. I know.

Love Them and Choose Favorites

Congrats! You followed a few of things I wish I would have known and you now have a 1,000-email list.

What now? Now is  Nurture and Segment time.  At Mint,we waited nearly 9 months to really interact with our users and when we finally launched not all of them remembered who we are. That hurts Noah’s feelings. What should I have done?

1. Provided educational content like I talked about above on an ongoing basis.

2. Review your metrics. If you have some sales, look at what it took to get those sales. What did they read? What did they buy? Where did they come from? Then take that information and setup auto-responders or webinars or other activities to keep your visitors involved until they are customers. 

3. Segment them. At Mint, once we had people visit and give an email we offered them a chance to be a VIP. That was our way of segmenting, we made them do more work via surveys and promoting Mint and got early access to the product in return. What could you offer your customers to learn more about them?
Also, think about what you can do with that data before you ask.

4. Act like HubSpot. Formerly called CHI (Customer Happiness Index) they now provide benchmark data which should help you segment your customers better. Best use of your time is working with the customers who show you the most promise. HubSpot also does their segmentation on the registration process.

Shameless self-promotion: Hope what I didn’t know will help you in your business success. Join AppSumo or email me:  noah@appsumo.com and I’ll get you our “How to Actually use Google Analytics for Free.”

Image credit: Steven Snodgrass

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