There's 24 hours in a day. With customer engagement as your priority, it can seem like an impossible feat to connect with your audience on a daily basis. Tara Walpert Levy, managing director at Google, writes: In the accelerating swirl of chaos, excitement, and yes, sometimes fear, the brands that win will prioritize engagement over exposure. They will flip the traditional approach of using mass reach to connect with the subset of people who matter on its head. To scale engagement, your business must focus on executing strategies that boost customer satisfaction while saving your team time. Let's think differently about expanding engagement to build quality customer relationships. Here are five ways you can scale up your efforts. 1. Deliver on Brand Promise We live in a very competitive market. Businesses, large and small, are all competing to garner the attention of their ideal consumer base. In order to differentiate themselves, companies will develop wild brand promises. They vary from guaranteeing low prices to taglines saying that the customer is always right. While that may attract new customers, it can become a burden in the long-term. Most companies learn the hard way that a brand promise isn't a catchy phrase, rather an action a business must live by every single day. Even big box retailer Walmart had to shelve its nearly two-decade-old slogan, Always Low Prices. Now, their goal is to help their customers Save Money. Live Better. If you're attempting to scale your engagement, delivering on your brand promise is one of the best options. Happy customers will become recurring patrons who tell their family and friends. But delivering on your promise isn't easy. It involves meeting (and exceeding) your customers' expectations. You must provide product value along with superb customer support. For example, you may have to offer free shipping to an irate customer. Or you may need to budget for a customer appreciation sale. Building a genuine connection with your customers helps your business. Sticking to your promises is worthwhile for boosting engagement. 2. Take Action on Customer Feedback All human relationships are pretty much built on the same foundation. It centers on how we communicate with each other. Communication is a major factor in whether a customer continues to shop with your brand. If their needs aren't met after constant interactions, they may decide your company isn't worth their time. To improve how you interact with customers, start by listening to their concerns and answering their questions. For your sales team, this may look like a representative paying attention to the customer's needs before pitching a product. Your support team may give more specific responses instead of canned answers. Then, there's customer feedback. When a customer offers ideas on how to polish your product, be open to their suggestions and willing to take action. The direct relationship between customers and support teams holds a rich source of feedback through which customers can be better served. Support teams and representatives can be trained to probe for information while responding to complaints and inquiries, says Pius Boachie, a marketing consultant and founder of Digitimatic. Productivity tool Trello created a Slack community with a channel dedicated to product feedback. It's a chance for customers to offer their input and get notices about new features.
Implementing feedback is an opportunity to grow your business, while showing customers that you actually listen to their ideas. So do whatever it takes to address customer feedback. 3. Personalize Communications Several decades ago, businesses controlled communications with their customers. Major companies decided what, when, where, and how to deliver consumer messages. It was a lopsided relationship where businesses had the upper hand. Now, with advances in technology, the customer is at the center of the conversation. Not only do consumers choose when to connect with brands, but they also control where those interactions take place. For instance, consumers can opt-in to receive your emails and then decide to read it on their own schedules. For businesses, this means generic messaging isn't enough to make a connection with a consumer. Your online ad or email will get ignored, and there's a possibility that you will lose another potential customer. Email segmentation is an effective strategy to help your team send personalized messages. With Kissmetrics Campaigns, you can deliver emails based on certain subscriber criteria.
Let's say a subscriber doesn't purchase after 10 days. You can automatically send a special offer to entice them to come back and purchase. You also may want to send customers specific information as it relates to your product. Mint emails subscribers personalized data from their accounts.
Don't miss the chance to strengthen the consumer relationship with personalized communications. It's a necessity to scale your engagement. 4. Give on Social Media Every business is flocking to social media to tell their stories. Some are buying scammy ads to increase leads and purchasing followers to fake influence. Here's the truth: it's not working. And even if they get a few interested consumers, they probably don't close the sale because the buyer learns about their deception. Most businesses approach social media with the goal to broadcast their products and news. However, we know it doesn't work that way. Social media is an open forum for people to share ideas and talk about the latest trends in a casual setting. That's why it's fertile ground for boosting your engagement levels. To connect with more customers, educate and entertain them. You want to post lighthearted messages that humanize your brand. For example, you can host live broadcasts on Facebook or Periscope featuring your customers. Or you could post silly GIFs during special days, like National Pancake Day. You want to be part of your audience's community. So, you also must be willing to give and not just take. In the example below, HubSpot is giving its Facebook fans a chance to win two tickets to a concert. The company earned more than 160 shares, 500 reactions, and 62,000 views on this post.
Are you just broadcasting your message on social media? If so, try giving back to your followers to gain more engagement. 5. Develop an Advocacy Program You'll learn quickly that your best customers hold the key to spreading the word about your business. These customers act as advocates on a mission to give your brand praise. So why not make it official? You can start a pilot advocacy program by recruiting your most loyal customers. It gives the selected few another reason to connect with your team. Also, research shows that it's a win-win situation. A report by Standard Charters states: Successful online companies make users feel excited enough to share the products with their networks. Referrals from friends are still the most powerful way to gain customers, whether for a tiny startup or a multinational corporation. Brand advocacy programs are also incubators to experiment with retention strategies. You can monitor customer behavior to learn what keeps them excited about your brand. For instance, you may offer your program participants a special coupon to redeem a new product. Their reaction can provide insight on how a subset of your customer base will respond. Do your research and learn how to start your own advocacy program. It's your next step to increasing customer engagement. It's Time to Scale Up Engagement without a strategy is misguided action. Instead, your goal is to create a memorable customer experience. Exceed your audience's expectations and use their feedback to improve your product. Send personalized messages that speak directly to your customers. Plus, there's nothing better than starting an advocacy program that expands your relationships. Connect with your customers. Scale your engagement today. About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.
There are no two ways about it. If you're in ecommerce, you're in business to make money. Sure, there may be philosophical reasons why you provide your customers with top-notch service. But ultimately, your goal is to ensure money exchanges hands quicker and more often. The way to achieve that is through conversion optimization. This applies to all online businesses. In the ecommerce space, it's even more crucial. In this article, I'll explain why. I'll also get into how you can make some adjustments to your site to improve conversions. First, let's take it from the top.
What is conversion optimization? In layman's terms, conversion optimization is the process of increasing the number of visitors who take a desired action on your site. Any number of activities can count as a conversion. It depends on your goals. Signing up to an email list, creating an account, making a purchase, and downloading software are all examples. Here are some more examples:
The more often these conversions happen, the more revenue your business receives. In theory, it's pretty simple. In practice, it's a little more complex than just getting more people to take action. Why so? You need to get the right people to take the right actions at the right time. That means there are quite a few pieces that need to be moved to ensure your conversion funnel is working as it should. Here's what prioritizing conversions can do for your business. 1. You can have a fighting chance against Goliath competitors Every time I think of competition, I think of this simple yet profound quote: The strong eat the weak. It's true in life, and it's true in business. Ecommerce is extremely competitive. Just look at the increase in saleswithin the industry over the span of eight years:
New players are entering your space every single day with the sole goal of snatching up your customers. The only way to combat this is to make your customers so loyal to you that the competition doesn't matter. That can't happen without first moving them through your sales funnel. There's one mistake I see small ecommerce businesses make all the time. They focus on traffic generation without first having the systems in place to: [list=1] [*]convert that traffic into leads; [*]convert leads into loyal customers. [/list] If you already have some traffic coming in, I recommend you spend some time optimizing your conversion funnel. Because guess what? You may not be able to bring in as much traffic as larger sites.They have more resources, larger teams, and bigger advertising budgets. You may not even be able to compete on price. But you can still have a competitive advantage if you make use of conversion optimization. 2. You can get more bang for your advertising dollar Organic traffic outperforms paid methods, hands down. A ContentMXclient saw an 84% increase in organic clicks.
Here's the thing though. Driving organic trafficis a difficult feat. It's why many ecommerce sites turn to paid advertising. As more businesses use this strategy, the price goes up. Now imagine this. You're spending thousands every month on paid campaigns. Your ad copy, landing pages, and other elements at the top of your funnel are not optimized to convert. Wouldn't the result be catastrophic? There's no way you'd get a solid return on that investment. Let's just say your funnel is good enough to produce sales. What if your systems were leaner and more efficient? You'd get better results out of the same ad spend. It's a no-brainer. Before you launch a paid campaign, map every path your prospect would take after they click on your ads. Then, improve every touchpoint so that it converts at a higher rate. 3. The CRO process gives you a better understanding of user behavior The way users interact with your site is everything. It's the closest you'll get to reading your prospects' minds. It tells you what they're looking for, what they respond to best, and what turns them off. This means you can give users exactly what they want when they get to your site. Conversions would happen much faster because web visitors would have what they need at hand. But you shouldn't just glance at your analytics and make changes to your site based on that one analysis. You need to monitor user behavior over time. It's the only way to notice patterns you can capitalize on. My advice? Get a solid grasp on how to navigate Google Analytics. It's one of the most powerful free tools for analyzing user behavior on your site. Salesforce found that 56% of businessesrely solely on Google Analytics for their web analytics. Only about 11% don't use it at all.
Here are a few things you can track right now: [list] [*]Where are your web visitors coming from? You can target these sources to get more visitors. [*]Which channels are driving the most traffic? This will tell you where to focus your time and resources. [*]Where on your site are visitors spending the most time? This will tell you where users' interests lie. [*]How sticky are your site pages? Check your bounce rates for that info. You want them to be low. [/list] These are just a few ideas. User behavior has many aspects. How do you get this info? First, find the behavior reports within your Google Analytics account:
You'll see several subsections, each with insights on how visitors interact with your site:
Hopefully, you already have Google Analytics fired up. Go through the reports, and collect all historical data. Identify what's yielding the most results, and double down on it. Then, you can pinpoint underperforming areas and improve them. These insights are crucial not only for conversions but for every aspect of your digital marketing. Content, social media, and email marketing are all areas that can benefit from analyzing user behavior. Here's the other thing about using analytics for conversion optimization: It prevents you from making changes to your site based on a hunch. You'll have concrete data to base your decisions on, and that's how you avoid making costly mistakes. 4. The weak elements of your ecommerce site design will be revealed Design has a lot to do with how well your site converts. You should have a simple, easy-to-navigate layout. Conversion optimization almost always includes a site redesign to ensure these factors are at play. You'll pinpoint the weak spots, and your site will evolve to have a cleaner layout. Here are some things you may consider. Product Images People underestimate the importance of images to boost conversions. This is the most life-like representation of your product. Images should be high-resolution, large, and varied. This way customers can view your product from multiple angles. It makes the product more tangible, which positively influences conversions. Navigation Users should be able to browse through your products quickly and conduct searches without fuss. That's where a prominently-placed search box comes in:30% of site visitorsuse search on an ecommerce store.
The quicker you can get customers what they want, the quicker you make the conversion. That's the point of navigation. As such, it should be simple and distraction-free. Add-to-cart buttons and checkout signs must be clearly visible. CTA I'll admit. The right-colored CTA button won't make your sales funnel. But it can certainly hurt you. Don't think this is a major problem? These statisticsshow the many ways businesses neglect their CTAs:
If you don't have a color that stands out and compels visitors to click through, it can take away from the user experience. This is where color psychology can come into play. Make sure you choose the right colors for your ecommerce site,and your CTAs will perform as they should. It's not just about color though. The words you use have far more impact. I recommend using words like now and today that convey urgency.
These are just a few elements. Here's a good rule of thumb for deciding how your web pages should be designed. Step #1:Decide the primary goal of the page. Zone in on one thing. Step #2: Decide on the secondary goals of the page. These should be related to your primary goal. For instance, let's look at product pages. The goal is to get users to add products to their carts, right? Your secondary goal can be a catalyst to get your primary goal moving along. For example, you may decide you want more persuasive product descriptions, more social proof, etc. These will help advance your primary goal. Makes sense? Step #3: Make your primary call to action the most prominent element. This way you're deciding for the user which action they should take. Step #4: Include your secondary calls to action and nothing else. You don't want to have anything on your page that doesn't lead web visitors to your primary and secondary calls to action. For creative elements, I always recommend split tests. This is how you'll know for sure which version of your site provides the smoothest user experience. And that's it! 5. Conversion optimization is a profit maximizer Put simply, more conversions lead to bigger profits. But know this: you need to tighten every aspect of your sales process. There's no point in optimizing for conversions at the top of your funnel if you can't keep momentum as web visitors move through the funnel. The best way to capitalize on all customer touch points is first to map your customer journey. This is a map that illustrates the path your customers go through when they interact with your business. Once you have that figured out, deciding what to optimize at each stage should be obvious. Here's an example of a customer journey map:
6. Your customer acquisition cost will be lowered Conversion optimization is the silver bullet for reducing your customer acquisition costs (CAC). Here's the textbook definition of CAC:
In short, it's the price you pay for acquiring a customer. This one metric can make or break your business. If it costs too much to convert a customer, your profit margins will be restricted. Larger profit margins, on the other hand, give you more flexibility in your market. You'll be able to serve your customers with more value and secure a spot as a dominant player in your space. What does conversion optimization have to do with all this? Here's a scenario. Let's say you've decided to optimize your site for more conversions. With a few strategic changes, you see a 3% bump in conversions. The amount of traffic to your site hasn't changed. Your ad spend is still the same. The only variable is what you've done to optimize your site. The 3% increase in conversions means you'll be acquiring more customers, resulting in more revenue, without employing more resources. Granted, it may cost you to make changes to your site. However, the result is still the same. Your CAC will decrease while your ROI increases. Now, that's a sweet deal. 7. You will have a more targeted customer base When you optimize for conversions, everything about your marketing becomes sharper. Your messaging and positioning will be hyper-focused. This means you'll attract the right kind of customers and repel those who aren't your target audience. The result? You'll be better able to serve your customers' needs. This is bound to improve your customer lifetime value. Here's the other thing. Businesses that master their markets, audiences, and positioning command more authority. That's ideal for the optics and even better for business. Your perceived value will increase, which will no doubt give you the influence to land bigger profits. Conclusion If there's one thing you choose to do for your ecommerce site today, let it be conversion optimization. It's an especially powerful tactic for small businesses. Why? Because you can get better results by using the same resources you have. That's golden. It means you can start to scale your business and make headway on your competitors without outspending them. I'll say this though: conversion optimization is not about making a few tweaks to your site and watching conversions go through the roof. It doesn't happen that way. This is why my focus in this article is on the areas of your business that can benefit if you prioritize conversions. The way you go about achieving that depends on your business and your customers. What objections do they have to your product?What prevents them from taking critical actions? Consider these questions, use the insights in this article, and your ecommerce business will be better for it. How did your business benefit from conversion optimization?
You're designing a landing page for your Real Estate client, and you turn to best practice advice articles to help guide the way. But there's a nagging voice at the back of your mind: Does this best practice advice apply indiscriminately to my industry? Does this author really know anything about my audience at all? Best practices become better practices when they are industry-specific. When our design team was recently wireframing new landing page templates for the Unbounce builder, they set out to create industry-specific templates that addressed this truth: different audiences belonging to different industries behave differently. They have different pains, different motivators and different disincentives. Firm believers that data needs to inform design, our design team sourced their research in two key areas: [list=1] [*]Data from the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report: The report includes average conversion rates for 10 popular industries, as well as Machine Learning-powered recommendations around reading ease, page length, emotion and sentiment. [*]High-converting customer landing pages: Our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce landing pages in those industries, and analyzed common design and copy elements across the pages. [/list] Our design team then combined insight from these two key areas of research to build out content and design requirements for the best possible landing page template for each of the 10 industries. One of these industries was Real Estate, and now we want to share their findings with you. See a breakdown of their process for designing the Real Estate page template at the bottom of this post, or read on for their key findings about what converts in the Real Estate industry. Which copy elements convert best in the Real Estate industry? Word count The data scientists and conversion rate optimizers who put together the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report found that for Real Estate lead capture landing pages, short n' sweet is better: overall, they saw 33% lower conversion rates for longer landing pages.
This chart shows how the word count relates to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have word count - on the y-axis, conversion rate. This was consistent with what the design team saw across high-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in Real Estate: pages were relatively short with concise, to-the-point copy. Reading ease The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report also revealed that in the Real Estate vertical, prospects want simple and accessible language. The predicted conversion rate for a landing page written with 6th grade level language was nearly double that of a page written at the university level.
This chart shows how conversion rates trend with changes to reading ease for the Real Estate Industry. On the x-axis we have the Flesch Reading Ease score - on the y-axis, conversion rate. According to the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report, 41.6% of marketers in the Real Estate industry have at least one page that converts at less than 1.3% (in the 25th percentile for this industry). Download the report here to see the full data story on Real Estate and get recommendations for copy, sentiment, page length and more for nine additional industries. Fear-inducing language The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report used an Emotion Lexicon and Machine Learning to determine whether words associated with eight basic emotions (anger, anticipation, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise and trust) affected overall conversion rates. While these emotions did not seem to dramatically correlate with conversion rate in the Real Estate vertical, fear-based language was the exception. We saw a slight negative trend for pages using more fear-inducing terms:
This chart shows how the percentage of copy that evokes fear is related to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have the percentage of copy that uses words related to fear - on the y-axis, conversion rate. If more than half a percent of your copy evokes feelings of fear, you could be hurting your conversion rates.
Here are some words commonly associated with fear on Real Estate lead capture landing pages: highest, fire, problem, watch, change, confidence, mortgage, eviction, cash, risk See the full list in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.
Calls to action When our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in the Real Estate vertical, they took a close look at the calls to action and found that: [list] [*]Every page provided a detailed description of the offer [*]Almost all had a request a call back or call us option (other CTAs included get more info, apply now and get the pricelist) [*]Most did an excellent job of including button copy that reinforces what prospects get by submitting the form [/list] If you use a call us CTA on your landing pages, make sure you try out our CallRail integration. This will help you track which calls are a result of your paid spend and landing pages! Here are some examples of the forms and calls to action on some of our highest-converting Real Estate lead capture landing pages:
The usual suspects (benefits, social proof, UVP) Without much exception, the pages featured a lot of the copywriting elements that one would expect to see on any high-converting landing page (regardless of vertical): [list] [*]Detailed benefits listed as bullet points [*]A tagline that reinforces the unique value proposition or speaks to a pain point: [/list]
[list] [*]And not surprisingly, testimonials. One page went above and beyond with a video testimonial: [/list]
Which design elements convert best in the Real Estate industry? The highest-converting Real Estate landing pages included lots of imagery: [list] [*]Beautiful hero shots of the interior and exterior of properties [*]Maps [*]Full-width photography backgrounds [*]Floor plans [/list] Some examples:
Our designers also studied other design features as basic guidelines for the template they were then going to create. While these specifics are meant to be taken with a grain of salt (you may already have brand colors and fonts!) they could serve as a good starting point if you're starting completely from scratch and want to know what others are up to. Many of the high-converting pages had: [list] [*]San-serif fonts [*]Palettes of deep navy and forest green [*]Orange (contrasting) call to action buttons [/list] The highest-converting landing pages in the Real Estate industry sit at 11.2%. If your Real Estate page converts at over 8.7%, you're beating 90% of your competitors' pages. See the breakdown of median and top conversion rates (and where you stand!) via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report. Behold, the template our designers created After synthesizing all that research, our Senior Art Director Cesar Martnez took to his studio (okay, his desk), and drafted up this beautiful Real Estate landing page template:
Footnote: The design process Curious about the process our designers used to develop this data-backed Real Estate landing page template? Here are the steps they followed: [list=1] [*]For the 10 highest-converting customer landing pages, they analyzed all common elements (such as form, what type of information is collected, what type of offer, if there are any testimonials, etc). This allowed them to build their content requirements. [*]They referred to the word count recommendations in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and designed for that word count limit. [*]They referred to reading ease level recommendations for that specific industry from the Benchmark Report and shared the information with their copywriter. [*]They sketched out a rough idea of their potential landing page template. [*]They selected typography and colors relevant to the industry based on what was popular in the 10 examples. [*]They named their imaginary company in the industry and sketched out some potential logos. They picked photography built out a moodboard. [*]That helped them gather all the information they needed to build out their template! [/list]
Every online marketer knows that the Internet is an insanely skeptical place. It's with good reason. Let's be honest. Our space is littered with faux gurus and hyped up promises. You've seen them: Make $500 000 with your first online course launch. Give me 15 minutes, and I'll give you a profit generating machine! Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get the drift. Your prospects don't know you well, and they don't trust you yet. Social proof can change that. Think about the last time you bought a product without looking at the reviews first or without a recommendation from someone you know. Never happened, right? That should give you an idea of how integral social proof is to easing the minds of your customers. There is one question I get asked a lot. People want to know where on their websites they should display proof elements. The answer? Everywhere. Social proof should be splattered across your website. The key is to have the right kind of proof on the right pages. In this post, I'll describe different types of social proof you can use and where on your website you can display them for maximum effect. Sound good? Let's start. What is social proof? Do you know what the herd mentality is? It describes the way people are influenced by their peers to behave in a certain manner. That's the basis of social proof. You see a bunch of people doing the same thing. You assume it's the right thing to do. You do it too. Now, it's way more comforting to believe we are all independent thinkers and we take actions on our own volition. Not true. Of course, the pack mentality doesn't apply to every area of life. In business, however, you can bet it's always at play. And that's good news. It means you have the methods to ease your prospects' anxieties and push them to make that final purchase decision. Best of all, social proof makes your customers feel confident about their decisions. Here's the thing though. Not all proof elements are created equal. Some are more persuasive and impactful than others. Even the placement of that proof can have an impact. I'll give you the most compelling types and ways you can incorporate them so you have proof elements on every single page. 1. Case studies This is by far one of the most powerful types of social proof. Why? It tells a complete story (if done well). And as you know, a success story is the best kind of story in this case. With case studies, you get a holistic view of your customer's journey. You get to learn: [list] [*]what their life was like before they invested in you [*]what prompted the purchase decision [*]the obstacles they had on their way to a better outcome [*]how you helped them overcome these obstacles [*]the exact moment they experienced transformation [*]what life looks like in the aftermath of this transformation. [/list] Does your case study need all these elements? Yes. It's way more effective than simply having a customer say I had a great experience working with Jane, and I highly recommend her. There is a place for that kind of proof, and I'll talk about that later. Where should you display case studies? They're so powerful they can stand on their own. I always recommend having a separate page to feature your success stories. Like this:
Here's another example:
Ramit Sethi executes this kind of social proof perfectly in his GrowthLab:
While you can have these on a separate page, you should also include product- or service-specific case studies on your sales pages. You can do it in a number of ways: [list] [*]strategically embed video case studies into your sales page; [*]use case studies as a response to questions on your FAQ page; [*]condense the success story into a testimonial and have a read more link so prospects can access the full case study from your sales page. [/list] These are just a few ideas. 2. Customer testimonials These are much easier to put together than case studies. Simply ask people with whom you've worked (and have had success) to write you a testimonial. Like this:
Unlike with case studies, I don't recommend you hoard all your testimonials on one page. Why? A testimonial doesn't tell a whole story. That means it won't have much impact standing on its own. It needs to be backed by something else. Here are some ideas for placement: [list] [*]next to a contact form [*]next to a call-to-action button [*]on an order form [*]on a sales page, right after you've given the benefits of your product/service [*]on a newsletter opt-in form. This is excellent for those who don't have a large number of subscribers to use as social proof. [*]on your About page. [/list] I recently stumbled upon a sitethat places testimonials in a sidebar. This way, they appear on every website page. It's genius!
3. Strength in numbers You've likely seen this one used a lot. It works. The most common use of this type of social proof is to have social sharing buttons on your blog posts.
It tells people this is a quality blog post that should be read. It has the same effect as comments. Check out this postby Brian Dean:
It has 871 comments! Now, that's social proof. Here's the thing though. Be aware ofnegative social proof. If you have zero comments and zero social shares on a post, you may want to keep it to yourself. Most social sharing tools allow you to shut off displaying the share count if it doesn't clear a certain threshold. Some other ways you can show strength in numbers: [list] [*]number of users [*]number of downloads for software, tools, or resources [*]number of subscribers [/list] Displaying subscriber count is powerful proof. Considering how important list-building is in business, if you have the right numbers, make use of them. 4. Endorsements from influencers Influencers are people with massive authority in your niche. Everyone knows them, likes them, and trusts their opinions. Imagine getting an endorsement from one of the big players in your space. It can make your business. How do you land such an endorsement? [list=1] [*]Zone in on an influencer. [*]Get on their radar by engaging with their content. [*]Make contact via email. [*]Do something spectacular for them. [*]Ask for an endorsement. [/list] I know, it's easier said than done. But that's the general path you need to take. Don't want to take this route? You can also pay to play. In other words, you can hire influencers to endorse your brand or products. If you have the funds, it can be quite profitable. It's reported that for every $1 businesses spend on influencer marketing, they get $6.50 back. Those in the top 13% get $20 back.
Now, that's what I call rock solid ROI. After you've got your endorsements, you can display them on your website. The Home page and About page are prime real estate for this kind of proof:
It tells website visitors you're a big deal, and you're worth listening to. That's what you want, right? If someone prominent has praised you, show it off. 5. Media mentions Have you ever seen logos of different publications splattered across some websites? I'm sure you have. It's commonly used. Here's an example:
It doesn't have to be a formal media establishment like NBC News. It can be a popular website in your niche. If you've ever been featured there (guest post, interview, etc.), you can place the logo on your website as a form of proof. This is almost always displayed on the Home page. Here's a pro tip for landing media mentions. Go to a site called HARO. It's a platform that connects reporters with sources. If you have expertise in an area, you can easily become a source. On the website, click on I'm a source.
Here's how it works.
And that's it! You have a means of connecting with reporters and getting those much-coveted media mentions. 6. Trust seals and certifications Trust icons help customers feel safe about working with you. Certifications have the same effect. Sure, we no longer live in a world where credentials matter as much as results. But many people still rely on these signals so they can feel reassured in their decisions. Certifications that demonstrate your expertise can give potential clients a push in the right direction. This works best for service pages. Just look at the number of badges Kristi Hineshas on her freelance website:
I bet if someone is looking into her services, it may be enough to get them over the edge. Now, let's talk about trust seals. These are especially crucial for order forms. Here are some examples of trust seals: [list] [*]SSL certificates [*]privacy badges or statements [*]money back guarantee [*]credit card logos [/list] These are the most common ones. No order form or sales page should come without at least a few trust icons. This is where money is exchanged. Your customers need to know their information is safe. Sometimes all it takes is to have credit card iconography, like this:
ConversionXLtested a few popular trust seals to see how they fared with customers. PayPal was the most trusted, and Visa-Mastercard was the most familiar brand.
7. Expert opinions I get asked this question all the time: How can I display social proof on my website if I'm new to business and have no clients? That's an excellent question. I recognize many people may not have access to all these proof elements. Endorsements, case studies, and testimonials are not always easy to acquire. The simple solution? Expert opinions. Here's how this works. Let's say you're starting a blog on consumer psychology. You haven't worked in this space before, and you have no credentials. While you work towards getting the necessary proof elements, you can feature quotes from experts in the consumer psychology field. It tells people your topic is valid and there's a track record of success in the industry. It doesn't have to be a personal testimony, and this expert doesn't have to be connected to you. As long as you credit them as the source of your quote, you're good to go. 8. Popular posts and products This is another way to have proof elements on your website when you don't have many choices. I assure you, it works. You can display popular posts in your sidebar as I do:
Again, be mindful of negative social proof. If your numbers are low, turn off the count feature in your popular post widget. If you run an ecommerce store, you can display popular products, a.k.a. best sellers. It has the same effect:
9. Reviews and ratings This one is a no-brainer. I bet you've never purchased a product on Amazon or any other online store without reading multiple reviews. If it doesn't have at least a four-star rating, you'd be even more skeptical and cautious. The perfect placement for reviews and ratings? On product pages. This is more applicable to ecommerce stores. Some people find it useful to incentivize customers to provide reviews. They give a freebie or credit toward another purchase. While that's a solid strategy, I prefer a more organic way of generating positive reviews. I'm a big fan of customer advocacy. This is where you deliver such a spectacular customer experience that your customers are compelled to sing you praises. They'll recommend you to their friends, use their social media assets to promote your business, and be your most loyal customers. The best part? They do it for free (no incentives or payment required). Mobilize customer advocates, and you'll have an organic system for generating the kind of reviews that will inspire others. 10. Client or customer list A creative way to display social proof is to feature a client list. It helps if your clients are recognizable names in your industry. This is even more impactful than a verbal endorsement from an influencer. Here's an example from Sleeknote:
Service-based businesses can do this as well:
Smart, right? Conclusion The premise of social proof is simple. When you call on other people to tell your prospects how awesome you are, the message hits home more powerfully. And when you do decide to toot your own horn, at least you've got the testimony of dozens of people to back you up. Social proof isn't something that's just useful. It is critical. Your customers want to see these proof elements because they want to feel confident investing in you. You have no shortage of options. I've given you ten of the most impactful ones and the best placements for them on your website. Both service- and product-based businesses can use these elements. So can new and veteran entrepreneurs alike. Put these proof elements to work. Engagement on your content will go through the roof, and conversion rates will improve. What kind of social proof works best for you?
If you're obsessed with growth, you know how important it is to have a super detailed growth strategy. You and data are BFFs, right? Great, but you also need to understand the context that surrounds that data. I know that sounds a little dense, but bear with me. What I mean is that information alone isn't enough. Yes, in data we trust. Sure, lots of metrics are all well and good, but if you can't leverage that data, there's no point to it. Think about it. Who makes the growth happen? You might think it's you, but in the end, it's actually your audience. How your users respond to your tactics will decide how successful your growth strategy is. So take a step back and look at your audience. Do you really understand them? Be honest with yourself. Most growth hackers think they understand their customer base, but they only know raw data. Knowing demographics doesn't mean you understand your audience. This is where I drop my bomb of a topic. Behavioral analytics, folks. Understanding and applying behavioral analytics can be incredibly useful for growth strategies. In fact, it could be the energy and edge that your brand has been missing. Want viral growth? Say hello to behavioral analytics. These analytics give you a look into the minds of your users so you can put yourself in their shoes. You'll be able to build targeted campaigns that better suit your audience, create messages that reach the right users at the right time, and attract entirely new user bases. I realize that behavioral analytics doesn't sound all that sexy, but you're going to discover just how powerful it is. Let's take a look at some fundamental concepts of behavioral analytics that you absolutely need to know and then explore some actionable strategies you can use. If you've been sleeping on behavioral analytics, it's not too late. Read this article. Do what it says, and your brand will grow. What Psychographics Are (and how you get them) When it comes to behavioral analytics, psychographics are vital. Psychographics provide a foundational understanding of why your customers behave the way they do. Demographics are the who. Psychographics are the why. [center] Each psychographic is a data point that tells you something about your users' behavior. Here's a more comprehensive list of psychographics: [center]Image Source These go way above and beyond demographics to give you a fuller picture of your audience. Psychographics clue you in to your users' behaviors. For example, if you know that most of your audience is composed of parents of 5-11 year olds, you'll understand why those kid-sized T-shirts are flying off the shelves. Although you can't get any super specific data like number of clicks, you still need psychographics to get a general idea of how your audience acts and why they do what they do. Psychographics will often reveal what's important to your users. [center]Image Source Do you understand now why psychographics are so important? They help you see your customers as people and not just information from your analytics software. Speaking of analytics software, you can find some basic psychographic information in GA by heading over to Audience > Interests > Overview.
You'll see three categories: Affinity Category, In-Market Segment, and Other Category. The Affinity Category shows you different lifestyle categories. Google compares these groups to TV audiences. [center] This category points to specific interests that your users have. Even if you just look at this section of GA, you can get a pretty good understanding of what your audience likes. The In-Market Segment shows you what types of products your users have shown interest in. [center] Basically, your customers are looking to buy products or services within these categories. The Other Category offers a narrower view of your audience. [center] If you want to go even deeper, Google has a handy guide on using this psychographic info in conjunction with other analytics. There are many other ways to grab psychographics, from surveys to focus groups. Use as many of these methods as you want. Too much psychographic data is never a bad thing. Still, psychographics are just thatdata. You need to use them in a creative way. With that in mind, let's look at some growth techniques that depend on psychographics and other behavioral data. Data-Driven Customer Personas Creating an imaginary friend might sound a little childish to you, but that's essentially what you need to do with psychographics. Right, I know, it's not exactly an imaginary friend. I'm talking about creating a fictional person who is a representative of your audience base and not just some creature you made up. These representatives are otherwise known as customer personas. You're probably familiar with the idea of the customer persona, but if you're not, don't worry. Here's a brief rundown. A customer persona (also called user or buyer persona) takes aggregate data and uses it to create a fake person. This person is your average customer. His or her demographic and psychographic information is representative or your audience (or a segment of your audience). Here's what an example customer persona might look like: [center]Image Source As you can see, you can get really detailed with personas. The more detailed they are, the better you'll understand your users. By definition, a customer persona is chock full of behavioral analytics. They help you describe the persona in detail. Once you have all of your behavioral analytics together, you can take a couple of different approaches to creating a persona. The approach you take will depend on what you want to accomplish with your personas. Do you want to create better email sequences? Do you want to improve your Facebook ads? Think about your objectives as you create your personas.
[center]Image Source Specifically, you can use certain analytics based on the results you're after. Let's look at some examples of this idea in action. Let's say you want to redesign your CRM software to attract more leads. In terms of analytics, you'd want to look for business-related psychographics. These might include the user's role at work, how much time they spend at their job, or even the search terms they use to get to your site. So an example persona for that would look like this one (the one on the right side):
This persona is great for SaaS because it uses analytics that relate to work. There's little personal information here, but there's enough to give you an idea of who the persona is. But that type of persona isn't ideal for every sort of situation. Another example: Say you're the head of growth at an ecommerce apparel startup. You'd be more concerned with personal behavioral analytics and not so many work-related data. So a persona for you might look something like this: [center]Image Source The types of analytics you use should all depend on your goals and the kind of product or service you're selling. It doesn't hurt to get as many data points as possible, but you'll want to refine them to zoom in on your average customer. Creating a persona doesn't take much time, but it can change how you see growth. That said, you have to make sure your personas are as accurate as possible. If you get the wrong analytics, well, your entire customer journey might just go down the drain. But if you get it right, your customers will feel like you really know them. This is a perfect example of how behavioral analytics can make all the difference in your growth strategy. Remember, you're not simply looking at a bunch of random numbers. This information has real uses that you can take advantage of starting today. Let's take a look at another one of those advantages. Customer Segmentation You're segmenting your usersright? Okay, maybe you're not. That's okay. But you totally need to be. Some marketers and growth hackers see their audience as one big mass, so every campaign gets sent out to everyone. But not everyone has the same needs and wants. Your customers are all different. So if you group people into similar segments, you can deliver more accurate, targeted messages and have better results.
That's why segmentation is part of every good marketer's (and growth hacker's) playbook. Andyou guessed itbehavioral analytics can help you segment better. The basic idea is to create segments using one or more behavioral attributes. If you group generally according to behavior, you'll get an inside look into what different types of customers are looking for. [center]Image Source Just this basic behavioral segmentation already gives you a much better understanding of the different kinds of users you have. All you need to do is a little behavioral research to get started with this. In GA, you can go to Behavior > Behavior Flow to see an overview of the average user path on your site.
While this isn't incredibly comprehensive, it can prep you for actual segmentation later on. Odds are the trends you see on Behavior Flow will reflect your audience as a whole. This type of segmentation is flexible and can be used in a variety of ways. Take email marketing. You can see what emails people open, which people almost never open your emails, and maybe even how long a user spends reading your email. You probably look at data like this all the time: [center]Image Source But have you considered that you can use this information to tap into your subscribers' brains? All of those are behavioral analytics in their own right, and they're great for segmentation. There's a lot you can do with these analytics. You can send a special discount email to the loyal subscribers who regularly open your emails, or you can send more targeted emails to people who tend to open one type of email. And your results are almost guaranteed to improve. [center]Image Source The possibilities are endless. And if you're using Kissmetrics, you don't have to worry about any of this because the behavior-based delivery feature does it for you.
Still in doubt? I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn't, and it can pay off big time. MailChimp found that segmenting subscribers by interest made every metric soar: [center]Image Source If you're willing to get even crazier with segmentation, get ready. You can also use behavioral analytics to group your customers by their place in the customer journey. This concept is a little more advanced than the techniques we've gone over, but it packs a serious punch. The typical customer journey is more or less like this: [center]Image Source By using behavioral analytics, you can find out what stage of the customer journey a user is going through. Behavior Flow can often show this. If someone has checked out lots of your product pages but hasn't made it to the checkout, he or she is in the consideration stage. Once you've found out where someone is in the customer journey, you can place him or her into an appropriate segment. [center]Image Source This approach is a growth hacker's dream. Not only can you segment your customers, but you can also get a better grip on the customer lifecycle. It's awesome, isn't it? If you're serious about converting and growth, you should strongly consider this advanced tactic. It's one of the best ways to hyper-focus your messages, and you'll reach the right users at the right time. Conclusion Growth is all about people. And by people, I mean your users. A good growth strategy has to be centered around your customers. Otherwise, your strategy will fall flat on its face. If you're focused on sheer volume and ignore your customers in the process, you're going to get nowhere fast. Analyzing and leveraging your users' behavior is one way to enhance your current strategy. If you understand your users' behavior, you can more easily determine what kind of content they want and what kind of messages are best to send to them. Like I said, it's all about people. We want to be understood, and we want our needs to be taken care of. As a growth nut, it's your job to make sure that happens. So if you need to step up your game, behavioral analytics can give you a fresh perspective and boost your results. About the Author: Daniel Threlfall is an Internet entrepreneur and content marketing strategist. As a writer and marketing strategist, Daniel has helped brands including Merck, Fiji Water, Little Tikes, and MGA Entertainment. Daniel is co-founding Your Success Rocket, a resource for Internet entrepreneurs. He and his wife Keren have four children, and occasionally enjoy adventures in remote corners of the globe (kids included). You can follow Daniel on Twitter or see pictures of his adventures on Instagram.
Is it Worth Doing SEO for Bing? These Usage Stats May Surprise You [Infographic] In the SEO world we, unsurprisingly, hear about Google a lot. How much time have our collective SEOs devoted to Bing? With more than 5 billion searches per month and 59 million users, it's time for us all to take notice. This infographic outlines some interesting usage stats about Bing. Social Media Today
New Report: Millennials Hate Apps With Uncool Design A new Comscore report shows that logos matter to millennials, and that they're eager to delete apps from their phone if they don't like how they look on their screen. Other findings from the report include Snapchat's return to popularity with millennials and Facebook's continued dominance of the mobile app market. Ad Age
Facebook Engagement for Brands and Publishers Falls 20% In 2017 New research from Buzzsumo shows that Facebook's engagement rate for brands and publishers fell by 20% so far in 2017. The study analyzed 880 million Facebook posts from brands and publishers and found that average engagements fell from 340 to 264 in the first half of this year. Buzzsumo
2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report A study from Return Path shows that about 20% of marketing emails never reach the intended recipient -- globally, 14% went missing and the remaining 6% were vanquished to the spam folder. The results were similar for the US compared to the world at large. Return Path
Google Introduces Video to Google Maps Listings Google has announced that they'll soon be giving Local Guides the ability to upload video with an android device -- allowing users to start seeing videos on Google Maps listings. While Local Guides can only upload via Android, the videos can be viewed by users on iOS, Android or Desktop. Search Engine Journal
Facebook Advertising Benchmarks for 2Q17 MarketingProfs says: "The average clickthrough rate (CTR) on Facebook ads increased significantly between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017, according to recent research from Nanigans." The average global Facebook advertising CTR increased by 49% year-over-year. MarketingProfs
40% of Consumers Want Emails From Brands to Be Less Promotional and More Informative A new study from Adobe found that 40% of consumers wants brands to be more informational than promotional in their emails -- however, 61% would rather receive promotional emails from brands vs. other tactics like direct mail or social media. AdWeek
Consumers Demand More, Forgive Less, Study Finds MediaPost reports "Some 60% of consumers become less loyal to brands after poor website and app performance, a survey reveals, with more than 80% saying they would consider telling friends about their poor experience." The survey was multi-national, spanning from the U.S., to the UK and Sweden. MediaPost
What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?
As a travel marketer or agency marketer servicing the travel industry, you have a tricky gig. You need to convince your prospects to spend thousands of dollars and precious vacation time. Meanwhile, your prospects are increasingly wary of the legitimacy of your offers (thanks a lot, Fyre Fest).
Here's to hoping your vacation is memorable, but not in a meme-worthy kind of way. Your challenge then is to effectively convey trust on your travel landing pages. Doing so can help ease prospects' conversion anxiety, resulting in more travel leads and sales for your business. The importance of trust on your travel landing pages We often talk about the importance of trust and credibility on your landing pages - this isn't a new idea.
But for some industries, a lack of trust can have hugely detrimental effects on conversion rates. In a recent analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform, data scientists found that travel landing pages can realistically achieve conversion rates of at least 12%. Even more impressive is within the travel and tourism industry, the very best pages convert over 25% of their visitors (schwing!).
Notice the dramatic conversion rate difference between percentiles? If you're part of that percentile getting 2.1% or lower conversion rates, your pages have lots of room for improvement. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report. If you're not hitting these benchmarks, it might be time to take a hard look at your marketing and ask yourself if you've done enough to make your prospects trust you. And don't worry if your answer is No or I'm not sure. We've compiled four data-backed ways to boost trust on your travel landing page. Use them as a jumping off point for your optimization efforts. 1. Bolster your copy with trust words Using an Emotion Lexicon to analyze copy, Unbounce data scientists found evidence that visitors to travel landing pages have slight concerns about the legitimacy of the offers. However, they also found that using at least 7% (and up to 10%) of your copy to establish trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.
Notice the uptick in conversion rate once trust-infused copy is used more liberally? Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report. Unbounce data scientists found that these are some of the words that impart trust on travel landing pages: enjoy, perfect, secret, top, team, guide, save, personal, spa, food, planning, policy, provide, star, award, real, share, friendly, recommend, school (Keep in mind, though, that these words were generated by an algorithm and should still be applied using common sense. Just adding the word spa to your page - especially if you don't offer spa services - is not going to increase your conversions.) The travel experts at Nordic Visitor do a great job of using trust words to build confidence on their Iceland site. It's not a landing page per se, but the same principles apply.
Team, planning, provide and personal are all words found to positively convey trustworthiness. Adding these and other trust words to your copy could be the subconscious nudge your prospects need to convert. Take stock of the trust words you're using in your marketing, and particularly on your landing pages. If they're looking a little sparse, test out using confidence-building words to describe destinations in detail. 2. Cut copy that brings up emotions of fear and anger Just as trust words can drastically improve your conversion rates, words that subconsciously trigger fear or anger will have a negative impact on travel landing page conversion rates. In fact, Unbounce data scientists found that if even 1% of page copy reminds your visitors of feelings of anger or fear, you could be seeing up to 25% lower conversion rates.
No one wants to be angry while on vacation. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report. Words that may instill fear or anger in your prospects include: limited, tree, money, hot, desert, endless, challenge, treat, fee, feeling, rail, stone, bear, buffet, bang, cash, cross, despair So instead of Feeling endless despair this Canadian winter? Warm yourself up with a limited-time-only vacation in the hot Mojave desert. Try Escape the Canadian winter at a five-star award-winning vacation rental in sunny California. Get even more industry-specific emotion and sentiment copy suggestionsDownload the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how emotion and sentiment may be impacting conversion rates in your industry.
By entering your email you expressly consent to receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates. 3. Leverage social proof to build visitor trust Persuading your prospects to put their trust in you is tricky business, and it's even trickier when it comes to travel, because they're likely working with a tight budget and only a few weeks of precious vacation. They don't want to take a leap of faith - they want a sure thing. A proven strategy for easing prospect anxiety is to use social proof. It's the everybody's doing it mentality that helps convince your prospects to convert.
Testimonials When you let your satisfied customers sing your praises, your credibility goes through the roof. Including testimonials on your travel landing page can have a positive impact on how trustworthy your prospects perceive you to be, but not all testimonials are created equal. To best enhance your chance of conversion, heed the following testimonial commandments: [list] [*]Be specific [*]Include a photo of the person [*]Avoid hyperbole (i.e., This pedicure literally saved my life!) [*]Choose testimonials that demonstrate the transformative effect of your product or service on the lives of your users [/list] Nordic Visitor takes it one step further with a video testimonial from several happy customers:
Don't tell your prospects how great you are, show them with real live, happy customers. Reviews Similar to testimonials, including reviews on your travel landing page can help convey trust to your prospects. The luxury travel designers of Jacada Travel have embedded reviews from Trustpilot, a reputable online review community, directly into their landing page.
Awards If you recall, the word award is associated with trust on travel landing pages. So if your company or client has won any reputable awards, be sure to flaunt 'em. Tour guide company Kensington Tours not only includes several award crests on their travel landing page, they also mention in their Adwords ad that they're a National Geographic award winner.
Highlight awards strategically to build confidence in your offers. 4. Security measures Persuasive trust-infused copy and social proof are wonderful, but when you're collecting travel leads and even money, you need to assure your prospects that their data and money is safe. There are many ways to do this, but the two most impactful strategies are to enable SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and to include trust seals. SSL SSL creates an encrypted link between your landing pages and your visitor's browser. It's identified by the little lock icon and the https (vs. http) in the top left-hand side of your browser search bar.
All aboard the Conversion Cruise A lack of trust in any industry can hurt conversion rates, but in the travel industry the stakes are extra high. Fortunately, this means the opportunities to improve your conversion rates are plenty. And if you nail the whole trust thing down, you could be seeing some of the highest conversion rates across any industry. Leveraging a combo of effective copy, social proof and security measures, you can make your prospects forget about the stress associated with booking a vacation. Skip that trip to Poor Conversions-ville and instead put your feet up with a Mai Tai in hand on the Conversion Cruise. For even more data-backed conversion insights in the travel industry, or for insights into industries such as health, finance, higher education and more, download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report. Get data-backed conversion insights across 10 popular industriesDownload the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how your conversion rates stack up against the competition - and how to improve them.
By entering your email you expressly consent to receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates. Launching a travel landing page from scratch? Try out one of our travel landing page templates, designed specifically to boost conversions.