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Conversion rate optimization isn’t an easy game to play, especially if you’re the new kid on the block. One of the best ways to improve CRO is by A/B testing features on your website.
The real challenge with CRO is in knowing how to start and what to test. This post covers the latter.
There is one thing to keep in mind: testing every random aspect of your website can be counter-productive. You can blow time and money on software, workers, and consultants, testing things that won’t increase your website revenue enough to justify the tests.
So before you dive in, make sure to think about what your goals are.
Then, take a look at the following tests and see which ones make sense for your specific business. If so, ahead and run it. If not, try another one.
Typography is proven to affect conversions in a major way, but casually testing each Google font won’t get you anywhere. There are a few aspects of typography you need to test first before getting specific with typefaces.
Serif typefaces are accented with various widths for each line in a character and contain flourishes (for example, Times New Roman). Sans serif typefaces are just the opposite, plain with a consistent width (like Arial).
I suggest using sans serif, but interestingly, Georgia (a serif typeface) is by far the most popular typeface on the web.
Try both varieties to see which works best for your website.
As per a WDD infographic, sans serifs are best for the web, and serifs for print.
For your blog, your long-form copy, and most of the text on your website, always go with black (dark) text on a white (light) background. It’s a traditional color scheme our eyes are accustomed to.
For your calls to action and other smaller, more impactful text elements, however, test each of the basic eight colors (or whatever colors fit with your design). Always remember this principle: what stands out gets clicked.
Tahoma tends to be the most legible at 10 px, Verdana and Courier at 12, and Arial at 14 px.
Whatever typeface you choose, make sure that you test the differences in user engagement and click-throughs according to the size of the font. These days, as mobile traffic increases, larger tends to work better — but not always.
Finally, we get to the most tedious typography test – typefaces. Take this one with a grain of salt. Don’t test each of the 700+ Google fonts available. Doing so would be very counter-productive. Only test a few of the major ones that harmonize with your design.
When testing these, you’ll also want to go with an A/B/C/D/etc. test. This will let you test multiple typefaces at a time.
Your call to action (CTA) is the most influential element on your landing page. Period.
As such, it requires a substantial amount of experimentation. Here are a few of the main call to action “ingredients” you need to test.
Too often, web designers put the call to action button in the middle of the landing page above the fold, and just leave it there, because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do.
But did you know that locating your CTA below the fold could increase your conversion rate by 304 percent? Don’t take anything for granted: test above the fold, below the fold, in the middle/left/right of the page, and relationship to text elements.
Color is a biggie in most CRO tests. Many have read this post on HubSpot about how a red CTA button beat a green one with a 21 percent increase in conversions. But a similar test in the Content Verve post (linked to in test #5 above) detailed how a green “add to cart” button got 35.81 percent more sales for an e-commerce store than a blue one.
A contrasting color that is distinct and stands out from the other elements on the page seems to work best. Experiment to see what works for your CTA. Don’t rely on other people’s tests to pick a color.
As the most crucial copy on your landing page, your call-to-action button text needs to be tested heavily. Try out various lengths, pronouns, power words, and action verbs.
Back when the 2007 U.S. election campaigns were in progress, Obama raised an extra $60 million just by changing his CTA button text from “Sign Up” to “Learn More.”
Yes, that’s a 60 million dollar test.
Don’t miss out on those potential returns.
This section encompasses more than just what price you set for your product/software. You also have to think about free trials and money back guarantees.
To allow prospects to try products (and yes, product demos are important), vendors usually offer at least one of three models: a very basic freemium product with limited features that can be used forever, a time-sensitive free trial that allows users to experience all the bells and whistles, and a time-sensitive money back guarantee.
Changing from a freemium software model to a 14-day free trial increased Acuity Scheduling’s paid signups by over 268 percent. Try each model to see which works best for your business.
If a time-sensitive free trial is what works for your website, then how long should that free trial be? 7 days? 14, 21, 30? Test it!
This post on Sixteen Ventures mentions how shortening a 30-day free trial to 14 days proved to be a profitable choice for a SaaS company.
Depending on your particular niche, the results may vary. As you can see below, for Crazy Egg, a 14-day free trial is the sweet spot.
Don’t forget to experiment with your pricing plans. Not only should you try out different prices for plans (should your price be $x9 or $x7?), but you also should play around with the features of each to make your higher-ticket plans convert better.
Oh, and don’t forget: decoy pricing models are the bomb. By offering a much higher price before a mid-tier option, users are likely to spend more without realizing why.
The art of persuasion through words on a page – copywriting – is another essential part of a landing page. Great copywriting is never great on the very first draft; it requires careful testing to ensure maximum impact.
From a philosophical point of view, short-form copy should work better than its longer rival. After all, humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish, right?
Unfortunately, that isn’t a set-in-stone rule. For example, testing on Crazy Egg found that long-form copy produced 7.6 percent more leads (and better-quality ones as well). On the other side of the spectrum, a Scandinavian gym chain got 11 percent more conversions with shorter copy.
The takeaway? TEST to discover what works for your business.
Video copy is both difficult and expensive to create; hence, the general preference for text-based copywriting. But could you be missing out on potential conversions by failing to test video copy? Maybe so.
Depending on the size and capital of your business, you’ll have to decide whether a video sales page is worth it (and don’t forget text and video combinations).
This video landing page helped Six Pack Ab Exercises improve conversions by 46.15%. What could a video do for your business?
As with typefaces, testing hundreds of different versions of your text-based copy, each with only a small change from its predecessor, can be a fruitless waste of time and money.
So, while you should continually edit and experiment with your copy, remember to look at the bigger picture. Don’t get hung up on every other word.
The following are various A/B tests that don’t fit in any of the above categories. They fall under sales funnels, website design/structure, and more.
Multiple-column landing pages definitely look a whole lot cooler than those with single columns.
But in CRO, coolness doesn’t count.
In fact, a SaaS company increased its conversion rate by 680.6 percent when it changed its two-column pricing page to a single-column page.
Your landing page background (a solid color, pattern, or image) has a very consequential subliminal effect on your readers. If you haven’t tested different background varieties yet, you’re leaving money on the table.
Spreadshirt tested their homepage images and increased clicks by 606 percent and sales by 11 percent.
Your navigational menu’s presentation affects how and if you can get visitors to your money pages (your pricing page, contact form, etc.).
Test the number of links, the color of the menu, its position, etc.
Trying to get visitors to click links from your blog post to your money page? Test the link color.
The presentation of your internal links isn’t something that most people associate with CRO right off the bat. But when you think about it, internal link color really can have a huge impact on the number of visitors that get into your sales funnel.
Take Beamax, for example, which increased link CTR by 53.13 percent by changing their link color to red from the standard blue.
If your objective is to get contact/quote requests from your website, then the format of your contact form is critical to your conversion rate.
Test the number of fields (bare minimum is usually best) and the types of fields (checkbox vs. drop-down) to elicit more form submissions.
We changed the number of contact form fields from 4 to 3 for a 26% boost in conversions.
Case study after case study has proven that single-step checkouts will almost always convert significantly better than multi-page checkouts. If you’ve never considered a single-step checkout before, it’s time to test one.
Sometimes it’s not the most obvious A/B tests that drive the most growth. Instead, it can be the unconventional tests, the ones you would have never thought would make an impact, that prove to be the most valuable. Other times, doing less can actually drive more conversions than constantly testing.
The A/B tests above should serve as a starting point. Once you see what changes impact conversions, you’ll have a better understanding of what drives your audience.
Have you had success with A/B testing your website? What change made the most difference?
The complex digital media landscape changes every day, and this year is no exception.
Having advanced social media tips at your disposal certainly has its perks, but finding a no-nonsense list can be pretty challenging.
That’s where I come in.
Since we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, let’s dive in with our first category and get you solving your digital marketing struggles, one platform at a time.
One of the most popular digital media marketing tools, Facebook Ads is a cost-effective way to market your business. Access to a massive audience and the ability to tailor your audience make Facebook Ads useful in just about any digital marketing campaign.
With that in mind, choosing how you engage with Facebook Ads can significantly impact how well your campaign performs. For example, are you running traditional ads or boosting previous posts?
Are you targeting general demographics or building your custom audiences? The most impactful Facebook Ads take time to develop, so monitor your experiments and test different techniques regularly.
Validation is a priority in social media marketing, but Facebook’s capacity for customization and experimentation makes validation particularly important. With hundreds of unique audiences, formats, and content styles available to you, proving each component’s value reinforces the integrity of your campaign.
When you reverse engineer an effective marketing strategy, you can easily disassemble and reassemble your marketing campaign. Take the time to determine the traits that make up your ideal audience. Where are they located? How old are they? What do they do for fun?
As you identify audiences that respond to your brand, you can save those specific groups. This social media tip is especially useful when you’re promoting future content or retargeting that audience.
As I’m pointing out social media tips for Facebook, I have to explain the value of using ads to retarget warm leads.
Imagine you ran a Facebook Ad on the value of hiking boots. It was presented to a cold lead, so they never ended up clicking on your link. For most marketers, that’s the end of the marketing journey.
Lucky for you, you can advertise to those same audience members in a few days with a retargeting ad designed to take full advantage of your previous content. If you’re retargeting using video ads, you can even set your ads to only retarget users that watched at least 50 percent of your hiking boots video. This approach lets you pre-qualify prospects before you’ve spent a dollar on them.
Now that you understand the power of retargeting on Facebook, let’s take it a step further and discuss link retargeting.
If you’ve never heard of link retargeting, here’s what you need to know: Link retargeting lets you add Facebook retargeting pixels to your short link whenever you share curated content. Why does this matter? Essentially, anyone who clicks on your content can then be retargeted with relevant ads.
Whether someone clicked on reviews, industry news, or media coverage related to your brand, you’ll be able to retarget them. This works even if the link leads to a third-party website! This lets you leverage your content curation and expand your retargeting ad reach while still offering genuine value.
Instagram saves were introduced as both an expansion of the user experience and an alternative to the traditional “like” feature. The idea behind saved content is that users can actively save certain pieces of content to come back to later.
As saves become a larger part of the Instagram algorithm, one of my social media tips is to find creative ways to make a repeat visit to your content worthwhile.
Traditionally a visual-first community, Instagram travel content creators have found success with the mini-blog format. By creating a second, deeper experience for users, these content creators have been able to pack more value into a single piece of content.
When brands create content for Instagram, they tend to focus on producing original images. Although having fantastic, high-quality pictures is valuable, there are plenty of other content styles to choose from.
Brands can choose to create engaging videos or GIFs to connect with their audience. Everything from memes to micro-blogs can increase retention time, which leads to greater exposure and growth within your social media channel. As far as social media tips are concerned, it’s in your best interest to experiment with a variety of different content styles.
IGTV is fascinating, mostly because it showcases the growth Instagram has had over the years. From pictures to full-blown video productions, Instagram has empowered brands with some incredible marketing tools.
By creating long-form video series, you can live stream events, host Q&As, create tutorials, share reviews, or even host your own live talk show!
Tools like IGTV let you experiment with your content style while connecting with audiences in a powerful, meaningful way. If you’ve wondered how you can expand your content offering, IGTV is worth considering.
Possibly one of the most undervalued resources in digital marketing, micro-influencers can make a massive difference in your campaigns’ effectiveness.
When brands imagine an endorsement or a brand ambassador, they tend to imagine celebrities and industry leaders. Those are definitely great aspirations, but there’s just one problem: Most brands simply don’t have the resources to secure celebrities.
That’s where micro-influencers come in. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram Ads are absolutely worth using. However, there’s just no substitute for a micro-influencer with a loyal fanbase in the thousands. You could end up with access to a much higher quality audience with fewer bot accounts and ghost followers.
Like any social media platform, LinkedIn puts a premium on the connections between users. This might sound strange considering that it’s typically seen as a networking space for employees and employers.
However, the last thing you want to do as a brand is disappear into the sea of business pages. On LinkedIn, developing your relationship with your audience is crucial. That’s why regularly posting updates and content has become a priority for brands on LinkedIn.
Building that audience connection goes further than posting updates. Consider setting up introductions, messaging users, or publishing weekly blog posts. There are lots of inexpensive ways to engage your audience on this platform.
As far as social media tips go, experimenting with paid ads usually makes perfect sense. You’re leveraging the reach of social media with a targeted marketing tool.
When it comes to LinkedIn, the rules change a bit. For starters, LinkedIn Ads are notoriously expensive. They also come with low click-through rates (which is usually attributed to the idea that there are fewer leads, but they’re higher quality).
Still, the issue is bigger than budgeting. The reality of LinkedIn Ads is that unless you’re going after a very particular crowd, you can find much cheaper PPC (pay-per-click) ads on a variety of other platforms.
Test ads on LinkedIn and another platform at the same time. Determine your CPC (cost per click), reach, and conversion rate to make sure LinkedIn Ads are a good investment for your business.
Traditional sales language and tactics are not your friends on LinkedIn.
Trying to brute force your way into being an industry leader simply doesn’t work. Instead, refocus your attempts on building relationships with your audience and selling your brand, not your product.
Users are going to scan through your content in less than a second if it’s not immediately valuable to them. Instead of taking the typical hard-sell approach, you should prioritize honest communication with users above all.
Videos and other multimedia content do exceptionally well on LinkedIn when handled properly. Ideally, the content should start by teaching your audience how to solve their problem in an immediate, tangible way.
Beyond that, as a brand with loads of expertise, you also have the ability to establish yourself as a thought leader by using the right content and helping users address deeper issues in your industry.
Post videos, infographics, or whatever valuable piece of content you can think of. Experiment, test, and discover what truly works.
Twitter is constantly changing. As the conversations develop over time, it can feel impossible to follow every new update. My social media tip is to focus on social listening and determine where your brand stands on the latest relevant issue.
Not only should you strive to understand what your audience thinks, but you should also take the time to become part of the conversation in real time. The last thing you want is to be left out of meaningful conversations with both previous and current users.
Your brand voice on Twitter matters quite a bit. Authenticity and brevity are essential to your brand’s relatability, so take the time to clarify exactly what your brand voice is.
Are you casual? Are you funny? Are you instructional? Identify your strongest options and start experimenting.
Polls are interesting because they accomplish two goals at once. The first goal is user-generated content (UGC). Not only that, but polls also help you increase your engagement with minimal effort on your end.
If that’s not enough reason for you, keep in mind you can make these polls for whatever you want. Try out different landing pages, or test different offers. The choice is entirely up to you.
There are a few different types of Twitter Ads (Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends), but for this list of social media tips, we’re just going to focus on the value of Twitter Ads.
Like most social media marketing tools, you’re paying for performance here. One of the most valuable aspects of this platform is that you can start to create specific social media ads based on what’s happening in the world. This gives your ads a sense of urgency and authenticity that you can’t find anywhere else.
Much like LinkedIn, Pinterest is a fantastic place to connect with a specific audience. If your market research shows that your audience is populating Pinterest, you can have a compelling experience ready for them.
Once your audience is proven to be a good match, you can use images, make them interactive, and tweak your Pinterest Ads for brevity.
For those unfamiliar with this, Rich Pins are essentially a way for users to collect more Pins without having to think about it.
There are a few different types of Rich Pins:
The point is simple. Create content tailored to your specific audience and continue to develop that relationship over time.
Mobile is massive on platforms like Pinterest, so you can make a few safe assumptions about the user experience. For starters, it’s unlikely that they’ll use desktop computers when checking content.
To properly optimize for mobile, you’ll want to set up vertical images in a rectangular shape. Set those images to have a 2:3 ratio to fill the mobile screen, and just like that, your Pinterest account is ready for the modern age.
When you think of Pinterest, the term “‘search engine” may not jump to mind. On the other hand, when you consider how easy it is to look up just about anything on the platform, it’s no surprise that it’s become such a useful search engine for others.
My final social media tip is that when you’re on this social media platform, take the time to focus on the keyword viability of the words you’re using.
Navigating social media marketing can be just as confusing as it is stressful. If you’re struggling with elevating your marketing campaigns and need some social media tips, don’t worry. You’re certainly not alone in this.
When using Facebook, make sure to properly validate your audience and use link retargeting regularly. With Instagram, take advantage of their diverse content formats and build something unique.
Use LinkedIn to build a relationship with other users and are actually willing to chat with them.
Twitter lets you stay updated, and it’s time you started updating your audience regularly. Use Pinterest when you want a mobile ads experience with a focus on keywords.
No matter which platform you use, know that by listening to these social media tips, taking control of your marketing campaign, and thinking critically about what works and what doesn’t, you’re one step closer to digital marketing mastery.
Which platform would you like to see covered next? Let me know in the comments below!
The post Beyond the Basics: 20 Fresh Social Media Tips for 2021 appeared first on Neil Patel.
One of the latest evolutions in SEO is called schema markup. This new form of optimization is one of the most powerful but least-utilized forms of SEO available today. Once you grasp the concept and method of schema markup, you can boost your website in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
My goal in this article is to show you exactly how to get started using schema markup for your website.
Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you place on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. If you’ve ever used rich snippets, you’ll understand exactly what schema markup is all about.
Here’s an example of a local business that has markup on its event schedule page. The SERP entry looks like this:
The schema markup told the SERP to display a schedule of upcoming hotel events. That, for the user, is exceptionally helpful.
Here are some facts about schema markup:
The content on your website gets indexed and returned in search results. Obviously. But with schema markup, some of that content gets indexed and returned in a different way.
How? Because the markup tells the search engine what that content means. For example, let’s say the word “Neil Patel” appears in an article. The search engine sees this, and produces a SERP entry with “Neil Patel.”
However, if I put the right schema markup around the name “Neil Patel,” I’ve just told that search engine that “Neil Patel” is the author of the article, not just a couple of random words. The search engine then provides results that display better information for the user who was searching for “Neil Patel.”
Schema.org explains it this way:
Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means — “Avatar” could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.
You don’t need to learn any new coding skills. Web pages with markup still use HTML. The only difference is adding bits of schema.org vocabulary to HTML Microdata.
It’s not too often that competitors come together to help each other, but Schema.org is exactly that kind of inter-industry collaboration. What you have, then, is an agreed-upon set of code markers that tells the major search engines what to do with the data on your website.
When a website has schema markup in place, users can see in the SERPs what a website is all about, where they are, what they do, how much stuff costs, plus plenty of other stuff. Some people have taken to calling schema markup “your virtual business card.”
This is a user-focused improvement. Search engines exist for users to gain the information they need. Schema markup does exactly that.
Schema markup helps your website rank better for all kinds of content types. There is data markup for a ton of different types of data, including:
There are hundreds of markup types—from toy stores to medical dose schedules. If you have any type of data on your website, there’s a good chance that it will have an associated itemscope and itemtype.
Websites that use schema markup will rank better in the SERPs than companies without markup. One study determined that websites with markup rank an average of four positions higher in the SERPs than those without schema markup. While it’s not totally clear that this higher result is due to the markup alone, there is obviously some correlation.
Right now, one-third of Google’s search results incorporate rich snippets, which includes schema markup. However, according to recent research, less than one-third of websites use schema markup.
In other words, there are millions of websites missing out on a huge source of SEO potential. If you use schema markup, you’ll automatically have a leg up on the majority of your competition.
Now, let’s talk about how to use schema markup. Your goal is to rank better, look better, and do better in the SERPs and in front of users.
Schema markup will help you. With your website in hand, follow these steps.
There are several options listed. This list is not exhaustive. For the sample below, I’m going to use “Articles” since it’s one of the most common types of content.
If you only have HTML, you can paste that instead. Then, click “Start Tagging.”
The page will load in the markup tool and provide you with the workspace for the next phase of markup—tagging items. You’ll see your web page in the left pane, and the data items in the right pane.
Since this piece of content is an article, I’m going to highlight the name of the article in order to add “Name” markup. When I finish highlighting, I select “Name” from the tooltip.
When I select “Name,” the tool adds it to “Data Items” in the right pane.
Use the list of data items as a guide, and highlight the other items in your article to add them to the markup list. You probably won’t be able to tag every item in the list. Just add what you can.
Once you’ve finished, click “Create HTML.”
In the following page, you will see the HTML of your page with the relevant microdata inserted in the spots that you selected.
Next, you will go into your CMS (or source code if you’re not using a CMS) and add the highlighted snippets in the appropriate spots. Find the yellow markers on the scrollbar to find the schema markup code.
A simple alternative is to download the automatically-generated HTML file, and copy/paste it into your CMS or source code.
When you click “Finish,” you will be presented with a series of “Next Steps.”
Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to find out what your page will look like with the added markup.
Instead of analyzing a published web page, I’m going to analyze the code that the tool generated for me, and which I downloaded.
Once the code is pasted, I click “preview.” The testing tool shows me what the article will look like in Google search results:
In addition, I can inspect every markup element that I added.
If necessary, I can edit the HTML directly in the testing tool in order to update the schema and preview results again.
The purpose of this article was to get you started in the world of schema markup. It’s a big world.
The next few tips will show you how to dive even deeper, and gain even richer results from schema.
Schema.org provides a list of the most common types of schema markup. You can visit the Organization of Schemas page to see this list. Check out the types that are best suited to your business.
As I mentioned previously, there is a myriad of markup types. To get the full list, visit The Type Hierarchy. This master list provides most of the markup types that are available.
Schema.org’s instructions explain clearly, “the more content you mark up, the better.” When you start understanding the vast array of item types, you begin to see just how much there is on your web page that you can mark up.
Keep in mind the disclaimer, however: “You should mark up only the content that is visible to people who visit the web page and not content in hidden div’s or other hidden page elements.”
As simple as schema markup is to implement, it’s surprising how few businesses and websites have taken advantage of it.
Schema markup is one of those SEO techniques that will probably be with us for a long time. Now is the time to learn and implement the relevant microdata to improve your search results. Doing so right away will put you ahead of the curve, giving you a leg up on the competition.
How do you use schema markup for your company’s website?
Case studies go beyond simple testimonials by providing real-life examples of how your brand satisfied your customer’s needs and helped them accomplish their goals.
An in-depth case study helps you highlight your successes in a way that will help your ideal potential customer become your next customer. They help you show rather than tell prospective customers how you can help them reach their goals.
But, creating a solid case study can be a challenge. Today, I’ll provide actionable tips to help you write a case study, provide background information, and identify key metrics that will help your case study drive conversions.
Do you know who your ideal customer is? If it’s someone in the education industry, then make your case studies about your university customers. If it’s someone in the automobile industry, then make your case studies about auto parts and accessories manufacturers.
The goal is to ensure that your case study will show prospective customers that you are:
Think about it on a smaller level, such as when you’re reading a how-to blog post. Most of of these posts are geared toward average readers.
But when you come across a post designed specifically for your needs (such as online marketing for the healthcare industry), you are more likely to understand and apply the information.
The same goes with case studies – people who read about results in their industry will feel like the same approach will work for them.
Storytelling is a powerful marketing strategy. A great case study will allow someone to really get to know the customer in the case study including:
But don’t stop a month or two out. Follow up with the customer in the case study and update your case study a few months down the road to show how your solutions continue to provide long term benefits.
This gives readers the opportunity to see that your goal is not only to help with immediate needs, but also to ensure long term results.
No one likes to read one huge chunk of text, no matter how interesting and informative it might be. Case studies, like blog posts, should be scannable and easy to read.
Be sure to use good content formatting elements as you would with articles, blog posts, and copywriting on your website, including:
In addition to providing great SEO value for your case studies page, these formatting elements will help your readers (especially those that like to skim) find the most important parts of your case study and get a great impression about what your business could do for them.
Consider adding multi-media elements in addition to written content, such as videos, PDFs, and images to mix it up and make the content more engaging.
Have you ever read case studies where a business states they “doubled traffic” for the customer in their case study and wondered if that meant they went from 100 to 200 visits or 10,000 to 20,000 visits?
Avoid using broad statements by using clear, direct numbers. This makes your case study more believable and helps build trust in your brand.
You want your case study to be as precise as possible. Instead of saying you doubled their traffic, provide specific, accurate numbers and (if possible) real proof in the form of charts, graphs, or analytics data.
Remember that not everyone is as familiar with analtyics technology as you are, so highlight the most importnat pieces of data and provide context to why it matters.
This way, the reader can see where the customer began and where the customer ended up with your help.
Plus having the picture proof can help the reader envision exactly what you might do for them, making your case study that much more powerful.
So you doubled a website’s traffic or sales, right? How did you do it? This is where you sell your products or services simply by saying which ones you used and how they led to the desired result.
Don’t just say “our online marketing services led to these results.” Instead, say something like, ” A three-month social media campaign focusing on Facebook & YouTube and five-month of link building campaign led to an increase in rankings, plus brand exposure led to these results.”
Don’t worry about giving away your secrets — the goal is to establish your brand as an industry leader and you need to show you know your stuff.
Case studies do not have to be fit into a story form every time. Try different types of case studies, such as an interview format where you have your clients answer the same questions mentioned earlier about what they do, their needs, their goals, and how you met them.
Quoting your customer in their own words will make the case study even more relatable to your ideal customer than you telling the story.
Infographics, webinars, and even podcasts can also be used to highlight case studies. Don’t get stuck in the same old text-only format — get creative and see what type of content your users respond to.
Here’s a case study example from Venngage that uses a brochure-style case study to highlight how Vortex was able to grow conversion. (Notice the results section that highlights specific gains.)
While some people enjoy reading, others may prefer audio, video, or visual representation of your case study. So consider taking your text-based case studies and re-purposing the content as:
The bonus with YouTube videos and infographics is that they are easy to share. This means that your case study may go further than just your own site, leading to more of your potential customers finding out how they could benefit from your products or services.
Case studies can also be embeded in other types of content — such as an ebook, how-to blog post, or resource guide.
What’s the point of having great case studies if no one will ever read them? Be sure that your case studies are organized and easy to find.
Here’s a few examples of good case studies that are easy to find — and therefore, much more powerful.
AWS provides case studies right on their homepage. They also make it easy to look for an-industry specific case study in manufacturing, financial services, fitness, and more.
Drupal provides case studies right in their hero image. Users considering using their solution don’t have to look far at all to see how other brands are finding success with Drupal.
A great case study starts with case study research. Ask your customers to fill out a short form that highlights how you helped them reach their goals — be sure to ask for specific results.
Explain how the case study will help them by increasing brand awareness and link opportunities. Remember, a highly effective case study helps both you and your client build trust and reach a wider audience.
Have any case study best practice tips or examples of case studies you have enjoyed? Please share them in the comments!
The post 8 Tips For Creating a More Effective Case Study – With Examples appeared first on Neil Patel.
Suddenly you notice that none of your social media activity seems to be showing up at all. It’s like you don’t even exist on the site… Weird!
Is it a bug? Every website suffers from them sometimes, and the interactive features can often be the first to go haywire. Server maintenance could also be the culprit.
But another possibility is that you might have been “shadowbanned” (previously called ghostbanned).
Accounts that are shadowbanned are put into a kind of invisible mode. In other words, they become a “shadow” that no one can see.
In this post, we’ll talk more about what exactly shadowbanning is, and how you can tell if it happened to you.
Shadowbanning is when your posts or activity don’t show up on a site, but you haven’t received an official ban or notification.
It’s a way to let spammers continue to spam without anyone else in the community (or outside of it) seeing what they do.
That way, other social media users don’t suffer from spam because they can’t see it. The spammer won’t immediately start to look for ways to get around the ban, because they don’t even realize they’ve been banned.
Now, all of this might sound a little odd or shady. Since many websites and apps deny that they shadowban, there’s no way to know for sure that it’s happened.
If you suspect a shadowban, a change in the website’s search or newsfeed algorithm might actually be to blame. And since the algorithms are the property of social media companies, it’s not in their best interest to reveal everything about them publicly.
Regardless of whether you’ve been penalized deliberately or accidentally, the effect is still the same… no one can see your posts.
There’s no way of getting a full list of sites that shadowban people, since the practice isn’t entirely out in the open.
Respondents to a survey called Posting Into the Void reported four general types of shadowbans:
Here’s how to tell if you’ve been shadowbanned on some popular social media sites:
Does Twitter actually shadowban people? Well, yes and no.
In a blog post, Twitter claimed that they don’t “deliberately make people’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it”, and they “certainly don’t shadowban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”
However, they did say they “rank tweets and search results” to “address bad-faith actors”. Basically, if Twitter thinks you’re a spammer or a troll, its algorithm will penalize your content.
Twitter lists these as some of the factors they use to tell if you’re a “bad-faith actor” or not:
To avoid getting shadowbanned on Twitter, you should confirm your email address and upload a profile picture.
Don’t spam people and don’t be overly promotional. If you’re trying to sell a product or service and are posting too much, other users might block your content, causing a shadowban on your account.
You should also try to avoid trolling, getting into online arguments, or being too confrontational in your posts and comments. This can lead people to mute or block you.
There’s no way to tell for sure if you’ve been shadowbanned on Twitter. However, you could try using the site Shadowban.eu, which claims to be able to detect a shadowban.
How frustrating is it to work hard at building up an Instagram following, only to see that your posts suddenly aren’t showing up?
Like with Twitter, Instagram’s CEO has publicly claimed that “shadowbanning is not a thing”, but as with Twitter, that’s not entirely true.
While you personally might not be being shadowbanned, the algorithm could still be hiding your posts.
Instagram’s algorithm is designed to remove certain content. Namely, the algorithm penalizes content that Instagram considers “inappropriate”, even if the content doesn’t go against the app’s Community Guidelines.
Specifically, they mention sexually-suggestive content. According to their Community Guidelines, spammy content and content associated with illegal activity or violence is also a no-go.
Instagram prefers “photos or videos that are appropriate for a diverse audience”… so less family-friendly content may be at risk of a shadowban.
There’s no surefire way to tell if you’ve been shadowbanned on Instagram, but there are sites that say they can test it. Triberr is one option.
Shadowbanning on Reddit is a bit different from shadowbanning on other social media sites. Up until 2015, Reddit openly shadowbanned users who broke the site’s rules by hiding their posts.
Reddit then announced that the shadowbanning system had been replaced with an account suspension system. Basically, some Reddit staff thought that the shadowban tool had been useful for dealing with bots, but that banning real human users without telling them what they did wrong was unfair.
However, the site appears to still occasionally be using shadowbans, with the r/ShadowBan subreddit still active.
According to their official content policy, Reddit may enforce their rules by “removal of privileges from, or adding restrictions to, accounts”, and also by “removal of content”, among other methods.
Of course, to avoid getting shadowbanned on Reddit, you’ll need to follow their rules. But one tricky thing about that is that the rules on Reddit actually depend on the subreddit you are submitting to.
You’ll want to read and comment a lot first before submitting your own links. Watch how people react to various types of submissions within a specific subreddit, and then act accordingly.
You can also check out this unofficial guide on how to avoid being shadowbanned. Some key points:
To find out if you’re shadowbanned on Reddit, make a post in the r/ShadowBan subreddit. A bot will respond to you, letting you know if you’re shadowbanned.
Even if you’re not, the bot will tell you which posts of yours have been removed recently (if any).
You could also use a third-party tool, like Am I Shadowbanned?
TikTok is a popular social network for sharing short videos. Unfortunately, you can get shadowbanned there too (kind of).
While there’s no official mention of the term “shadowban” in TikTok’s Community Guidelines, like other social media networks, TikTok uses algorithms to privilege certain content. If you get on the wrong side of the algorithm, fewer people might see the content you post.
To have more people see your content and avoid penalties, try to follow best practices for TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, and always follow the Community Guidelines.
Stay away from illegal material, violence, hate speech, spam, and other similar topics.
To check if you’ve been shadowbanned on TikTok, look at your pageviews and “For You” page statistics. You can also use a hashtag and see if your post shows up under that hashtag.
Facebook calls its content moderation policy “remove, reduce, and inform.”
Basically, content that violates Facebook’s Community Standards will be removed from the site, while other undesirable content (like misleading information) may be less visible on Facebook or have a warning label placed on it.
If Facebook is consistently “reducing” your content, that could be considered a type of shadowban.
The main thing you can do to trigger a shadowban on Facebook is to share links to fake or misleading information. Content on the site is checked by independent fact-checking organizations.
Facebook also penalizes links from websites that its algorithm considers clickbait. Low-authority websites without a lot of inbound and outbound links that generate a lot of clicks on Facebook may be considered clickbait.
Facebook groups where a lot of misleading links and clickbait are frequently shared may be shadowbanned.
If you’re worried your personal page, business page, or group might have been shadowbanned on Facebook, check for a change in engagement levels on your recent posts.
While people don’t often think about getting shadowbanned on LinkedIn, it’s possible for your content’s reach to be throttled there.
Like other social media sites, LinkedIn has Community Policies that all members need to follow to avoid problems.
Since LinkedIn is a professional site, its content policies are even stricter than other platforms. Not only should your content be safe, legal, and appropriate, it has to be professional as well.
Although LinkedIn is obviously a place for career growth and self-promotion, spamming people is still a no-go.
You’ll need to respect others’ privacy and intellectual property. You should also avoid harassment or unwanted romantic advances towards other members.
If you violate LinkedIn’s policies, they may “limit the visibility of certain content, or remove it entirely.”
That said, the LinkedIn algorithm is pretty complicated. Even if your content is perfectly professional and high-quality, it might still not be getting the reach you want.
Engagement and relevance are the top two factors to keep in mind when creating content for LinkedIn.
While it’s not exactly a social network, it’s definitely still a site where people go to learn and share content. Can you be shadowbanned from YouTube?
Well, YouTube shadowbanning has been in the news because of popular creator PewDiePie. According to his fans, the Swedish videogame YouTuber’s channel was penalized in YouTube search.
YouTube’s official response was that it doesn’t shadowban channels, but that some videos might be flagged and need to be reviewed before they show up in search.
In an interview with Polygon, they said they were “currently working on fixing the issue.”
Different social networks have their own opinions on what type of violations merit a shadowban. However, we can definitely see some general trends that are worth noting.
Adhere to these guidelines if you want to be safe from a shadowban:
You may not have any idea you are being shadowbanned. At least not at first… though over time, you may begin to suspect it.
What you should do to protect yourself is to be careful that what you post isn’t against the terms and conditions of the site or app. Also, try to avoid spamming content, starting fights with and trolling other users, or posting things that might be considered inappropriate.
A shadowban can be frustrating, especially if you don’t feel like you deserve one. Maybe you don’t agree with the social media algorithm about what is or isn’t inappropriate, or maybe you think you were having a constructive debate while the algorithm thinks you were being a troll.
However, hopefully the tips in this guide can help you avoid being shadowbanned in the future, so your content can get better engagement.
What other ways can help people know if they’ve been shadowbanned? Let us know in the comments.
The post How to Tell if You’re Shadowbanned on Social Media appeared first on Neil Patel.
Using quizzes in your marketing strategy is one of the most underrated marketing moves.
They are incredibly effective at generation leads, engaging your audience, and much more.
But, it isn’t enough for me to just convince you to implement quizzes in your marketing strategy, so I’m going to show you exactly how to create an effective quiz, how to distribute it, and how to follow it up with marketing automation.
At the end, we’ll cover several brands successfully using quizzes in their marketing strategy so you can walk away with a little more insight.
There’s more to a quiz than you might actually think. Did you know that six out of ten people only read a headline? That means we’re going to have to make a pretty good first impression, so let’s talk about the title first.
The very first step to creating a quiz would be coming up with the title for it. Once you’ve got that down, you’re going to want to figure out what type of quiz you want to make.
Here are a few of the most common quiz titles;
The quiz titles above will give you a few ideas of quiz types, but here’s a few more to consider:
Now that you’ve got a general idea of what kind of quiz you want to create along with a title to go with it, it’s time to bring it to life by filling it up with questions!
Here are some things to keep in mind when formulating your questions:
After coming up with the questions for your quiz, it’s time to create a lead capture form. The purpose of lead capture is to gather contact information so that you can grow an email list.
You can then follow these leads up through marketing automation, which we’ll get into later. For now, here are some helpful do’s and don’t’s you should follow when creating your lead capture:
Give your audience a reason to provide you with their contact information. Offer incentives like a free eBook or an entry to a free giveaway. Standard incentives include infrequent updates about your brand or a weekly newsletter. Find what works best to encourage your audience to join your mailing list.
What’s the point in asking your audience for their phone number if you aren’t going to call them? Make sure you only ask for information that your brand will use; the most basic being a first and last name, and an email address.
Otherwise, you risk annoying your audience and having them bounce from your quiz.
It won’t always be clear to your audience that after you get their contact information, you’ll be contacting them. It’s a good rule of thumb to let your audience know that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon, so don’t be all hush-hush about your marketing strategy.
Be honest with your audience. Give them a quick heads up about what’s to come, like this:
Now onto the results! This is the moment your audience has been waiting for. You want to make sure your results are something they’re going to like and share with others, so creating share-worthy results will be your priority.
Here are a couple of pointers that will help you create results worth sharing:
Now it’s time to put your quiz through the ultimate test by promoting it on social media. Your major outlets for social networks would be Facebook and Twitter, but if you wanted to take it a bit further, you can also use paid advertising on Facebook to give your quiz that extra boost.
When sharing your quiz on Facebook or Twitter, be sure you check off each of these to get the most out of promoting your quiz:
The process of promoting your quiz through Facebook via paid advertising can be a fairly lengthy operation, so to save you guys some time, we’ve truncated the whole process into a more time-friendly summary.
Here’s the fun part: following up on the leads you’ve collected. With the help of marketing automation, this may not take as much effort on your end as you might’ve thought.
We’re going to follow-up on your leads the very moment people opt-in, and in the course of two weeks, we’re going to show you how to nurture these leads until you can finally convert them into paying customers.
Here’s a four-step sequence that your marketing automation email follow-ups should live and die by:
Immediately after someone opts-in, send him or her an email that telling them “Thank you for taking our quiz!” This will remind your audience that they’ve opted-in, and it’ll also help assert your brand. It’ll give people a head’s up that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon.
After a couple of days, we’re going to pick up where your audience left off: their quiz results. Inform your audience about the other results they could have gotten. This may prompt your audience to retake your quiz, and maybe to even share their new results.
This is the perfect transition from your “thank you” email to sending out different content.
After a week, now would be a good time to build trust between you and your leads. Introduce testimonials or customer case studies to familiarize your audience with your brand and what other people think about it. This not only makes your brand look good, but it also lets your audience get more comfortable with who your brand is and what it stands for.
After two weeks, it’s time to convert those leads. Your audience should be familiar with your brand by now. Use incentives, like a webinar signup or coupons and discounts to encourage your leads to buy into your brand.
The rest is up to you and your expertise in converting leads into customers. These marketing automation follow-ups did most of the work for you, so it’s your turn to close the deal.
It’s time to take a quick look at several examples of brands from different industries and how they implemented quizzes in their marketing strategy. Seeing these examples should give you a solid foundation when it comes to considering the use of quizzes in your own marketing strategy.
Z Gallerie is known for its commitment to providing furnishings, art, and accessories to both professional and amateur interior designers alike. They created the quiz “What is your Z Gallerie Style Personality?” to provide a personalized experience for every potential and current customer.
Z Gallerie used a personality quiz as a way of bringing results that offered personalized product recommendations as a part of their marketing strategy. This method brought in a massive amount of leads per day which they followed-up with marketing automation.
It allowed Z Gallerie to continually recommend products tailored specifically to each person based on their individual quiz results. Now that’s online shopping done right.
Cloud Sherpas specialized in cloud advisory and technology services for the world’s leading brands. (They’ve since been acquired by Accenture.)
Cloud Sherpas used their quiz to gauge each individual’s level of maturity, which helped determine the more qualified leads for their marketing strategy. They also promoted their blog on Facebook with the quiz attached.
Cloud Sherpas’ quiz brings in 3-4 qualified leads a day. Nothing like quality over quantity, am I right?
The Foundation focuses on building businesses with entrepreneurs through the idea of building backward. It’s an incredibly interesting concept, and with it, they created the quiz “Do You Have An Entrepreneurial Mind?” based on an existing eBook they had which covered the basic types of business owners.
The Foundation used a quiz in its marketing strategy by pairing it with a Facebook ad campaign. This combination was able to cut their cost per lead from $6.00 to $3.80, and collected over 16,000 leads and millions in revenue. That’s quite the turnout if you ask us.
Pin Cancer’s call-to-action is the rallying of the US wrestling community to fight against, you guessed it: cancer. Their noble efforts have prompted the aid of their quiz “Which USA World Team Member Are You?” as a means of driving social traffic and raising awareness on cancer.
On a site that normally sees 200 visits per day, Pin Cancer had the best day ever when their quiz went up, driving social traffic up to 6,000 in a single day and bringing in 3,800 new email subscribers. Talk about turning the tables on cancer!
— Reece Humphrey (@ReeceHump60kg) August 25, 2015
Who knew implementing quizzes into your online marketing strategy could be so effective? We’ve just covered a lot of material, but hopefully, you got a lot out of it.
Just to recap, we went over the entire quiz creation process, so you should be familiar with how to create your own quiz by now. Distributing your quiz will really put it to the test, but as soon as you generate those leads, you know exactly how to nurture them until conversion.
Don’t let quizzes fly under your radar any longer; try using them in your marketing strategy to see just how far your brand can get.
Have you used quizzes in your marketing strategy? What were the results?
With over 4 million mobile apps in the major app stores, getting your app discovered is one of the biggest issues facing mobile app publishers today. This is why understanding app store optimization is so crucial.
But what is app store optimization, and how can you make the most of it? Here’s what you need to know to help your app rank well.
App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers.
That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.
The goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store, so searchers can take a specific action: download your app.
The ASO process also requires a crucial understanding of your target customer base, including the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps similar to yours.
When you learn more about which keywords are being used, you will better understand your potential customers’ language so you can hone in on the best keywords to use.
Recently, at Google I/O, Ankit Jain reported that “For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs.” Simply put, this means that:
If you’re not using ASO to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.
With hundreds of thousands of apps in each app store vying to rank above one another, the amazing reality is that most publishers are not investing in app store optimization.
So here’s my gift to you: ASO is your secret weapon. Spend time every week improving your ASO, and you will meaningfully impact your app’s ranking and overall success.
Much of what I’m about to explain is going to be SEO basics.
If you’re already familiar with these for web searches, there are still a few key differences within the App Store.
Let’s start by breaking down the various components that can affect your ASO:
Besides being the most important ASO factor, the title and keywords can be modified easily to optimize them regularly.
Here’s a complete breakdown of all the factors to keep in mind when optimizing your app for better rankings.
The title is our first impression online. It’s what drew you to read this post, and it’s what will draw users to your app.
Optimizing with a keyword in the title increases search ranking for that title by 10.3%!
Obviously, some limitations apply, as the App Store is very regulated.
You’re given only 30 characters for a title in iOS 11, and keyword stuffing is a surefire way to risk being banned.
Users are also wary of downloading shady-looking apps for privacy concerns.
Think about it — would you rather have “Evernote” or “Note Taking Note App for Notes” on your smartphone?
Be smart about how you optimize.
Pandora, for example, does everything right.
Its icon is sleek and simple, and with a short name, it was able to fit in three essential keywords.
When searching the App Store for “free,” “music,” or “radio,” you’ll find Pandora at or near the top.
Here’s where things get a bit murky. Technically the App Store algorithm ignores the description.
Users, however, are a different story.
Rather than optimizing for SEO, focus on explaining the features and benefits of your product.
And, while it seems like you have a lot of space to do this, you actually don’t.
Truncated snippets are shown on your product page, and a few readers will ever click “more” to read beyond what you see here.
You have 252 characters to make your pitch and convince someone you’re worth downloading.
There’s no room for fluff, and you may need to A/B test several iterations to find what works best.
iOS 11 provides you with 100 characters to enter keywords separated by commas.
These help your app get discovered through search and related content.
There’s no need to duplicate efforts here, so choose keywords you haven’t already used in the title.
Some in-depth keyword analysis can be done using Apple Search Ads.
This feature is only available to iOS app developers and is an essential tool for listing any project.
You can also use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find common key terms and test them.
You’re given a subtitle below the title in search results. This is also limited to 30 characters.
It gives you another chance to use more descriptive keywords.
TypeShift, for example, uses the space to input its SEO.
This is a cleaner look and can work well.
I would’ve still taken the opportunity to use some keywords in the title, but that’s out of my control.
Which is a great segue to my next topic.
Customer reviews and ratings are an important consideration for users, especially those unfamiliar with an app brand.
Apps with higher ratings also ranked higher. This raises a tricky dilemma: you want more ratings and reviews, but not if they are negative. So, you need a way to connect with your customers inside your app, giving them a place to vent and talk directly to the developer.
On the flip side, you want to guide happy customers to leave positive reviews for you.
The average rating of the top 100 free apps in the App Store is 4 stars!
Quality clearly matters.
The lower your rating, the fewer consumers who will be willing to consider downloading it.
Think about it. When was the last time you downloaded a one-star app?
You may have rated an app one star, but it was likely rated 3 or more stars when you downloaded it.
Ratings also affect conversions.
Maintaining a high rating is often easier than raising one from 2 to 4 stars.
That’s why it’s important to solicit reviews from customers within the app.
One time is all that’s necessary, and it needs to be done within the first 72 hours.
That’s how long 77% of users will use an app before never again turning it on.
It’s also important to wait until after the customer has a chance to use the app.
Instead of basing it on a timer, consider a push notification when the customer completes certain actions.
Examples of great times to do this are after the first level of a game or after a customer sends their first message through your encrypted messaging app.
Try not to be too spammy, though, and keep in mind your app’s performance can affect its rating.
Ultimately, you want a page full of glowing reviews.
And don’t be shy about replying to negative reviews.
It’s possible a bad customer experience happened due to an error or glitch that’s since been corrected.
Thank users for their reviews whenever possible, good or bad, and correct issues brought up. This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.
This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.
Ultimately it’s a download that matters.
An app preview video and screenshots help convert indecisive users.
Both the App and Google Play stores use the number of times an app has been downloaded to determine ranking.
More specifically, it’s the current download rate.
For example, while an app may have 1 million overall downloads, a newer app can beat it by getting more downloads this month.
The preview video and images can be a major factor in this.
The majority of top apps in the App Store use app previews to increase customer conversions.
Once you have a user, however, you’ll need to keep them.
It’s harder than it sounds, and Apple is paying attention.
What can you do to get more downloads for your app?
Improving your ASO is a great place to start. Beyond that, work on marketing your brand and app to improve recognition, awareness, and appeal, from app store description to images, ratings/reviews, and social media presence.
Retention rates are important for mobile device rankings, but the bar isn’t set very high.
The average app has only a 36% retention rate in the first month.
Further breaking things down, we can look at the retention rates by industry.
Media/Entertainment, Lifestyle/Travel, and eCommerce/Retail apps have the best three-month retention rates.
There are so many apps available in the App Store that users download plenty to never use them.
A study found Americans use an average of 30 apps each month out of the roughly 90 they have installed.
This means even if your app is downloaded, it’s unlikely it’ll ever be used beyond the first 72 hours.
How long your app stays installed and how many times it’s used while installed can help App Store search rankings.
Now that you understand how the search rankings work, it’s time to explore best practices for publishing an app to ensure it’s seen and downloaded.
This test was done by taking a random sampling of keywords and categorizing them by difficulty related to rankings.
An “easy” keyword results in fewer than 25 apps trying to rank for that keyword. “Medium” keywords are included in 25-100 apps, and “competitive” keywords are those in 100+ apps.
Based on this test, there is a clear trend showing that apps with higher ratings also rank higher for keyword difficulty.
Do apps with better ratings rank higher? Yes.
(But don’t beg for them; earn better ratings for your apps the right way.)
ASO is a process that needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over a period of time. Your optimal set of keywords rarely is the set that you first opt to put in the app store.
In most cases, little or no research on keyword searches occurs before the app submission, leaving most apps hidden, and the likelihood of discovery quite low.
To reap the rewards of ASO, you need to invest time and effort. If you do, you’ll have a consistent channel driving traffic to your app.
Being found is one of the most difficult challenges for mobile apps, but it is a problem you can actively solve with the tips above.
Have you found success with ASO? What has helped your app rank better?
Creating a customer journey map is enough to make even the best marketer freeze in their tracks and realize how little they really know about their prospects.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry.
Even if you’ve never created a buyer persona before, I’ll help you make sense of the process by giving you a sort of “map” to help you better understand who your customers are and what they want.
Let’s take a closer look.
A customer journey map is a diagram that illustrates each step in the buyer journey, including who the customer is, what their needs are, and what objections they face.
This map makes it easier for sales, marketing, and executives to make more informed decisions and humanize your audience.
The very first step in a customer journey map is the core demographic information about your customers, such as:
You’ll likely find most of this data in your CRM. If not, a survey can give you a clear picture of who your audience is and what they do.
I also recommend “humanizing” the persona by giving them a name and image. This brings out more of our emotional, empathetic side, versus looking at the potential customer as a number to slot somewhere in a sales funnel like a puzzle piece.
Now that you have the basics let’s look at an example of a customer journey.
For our example here, we’ve chosen to work with Lucy, a marketing director in her late 40s.
Her job primarily entails lead generation, sales management, and gathering competitive intelligence.
She organizes and prioritizes campaigns. She’s a pro at gathering competitive intelligence and uses it wisely to reinforce the brand while cementing customer loyalty in a very competitive marketplace.
Because of the huge growth in social media, Lucy’s looking to streamline the interaction process on social media without losing the “personability” of the brand.
She’s in the market for a solution and wants to make a confident decision quickly.
So with this in mind, our persona map is going to look something like this so far:
To stick with the map concept, this is our starting point. Next, it’s time to look at the journey.
Our first stop along the map is the buyer’s needs.
She has the basic research to know what’s out there. If we were looking at this from a traditional sales funnel point of view, she’s at the “comparison shopping” stage.
She’ll be looking to make a decision soon.
Buyers are eager to tell you what they need. All you have to do is ask.
Basic lead follow-up and nurturing questions can reveal quite a bit. Simple polls and surveys can often reveal a great deal about where the buyer actually is in the process (and whether they have an urgent need for your product or service versus basic curiosity).
Even if we don’t know specifically what they need, we can make a few general statements that apply them to our persona.
What would someone in this job typically need from our solution?
For starters, the buyer likely needs the product to be well documented. She’ll be managing dozens, perhaps hundreds of staff members – some of whom (based on age) may be more technically savvy than she is.
Some of the staff may pick it up quickly; others may need more time. We’ll add the needs and the persona’s place in the decision-making process (one persona can have multiple roles in the decision process — they can be a user and initiator, for example)
There’s also the fact that whatever solution needs to be adaptive and flexible to accommodate existing platforms and tools.
The company likely has certain procedures and requirements that will be added to the mix, like cloud-based access and specific security protocols.
These factors can influence and even conflict with what the primary buyer wants. The committee often makes decisions like these, which lengthens the time needed and the requested features.
Like all maps, there will be roadblocks that prevent your customer from taking action. You’ll want to outline those in your customer journey map.
There are constraints and concerns, frustrations, and issues that will affect their decision. You can brainstorm these obstacles and add them to your customer journey map to ensure that sales know how to address the most common objections before becoming major pain points.
You also have to decide where this buyer falls on the scale of decision-making.
Will they be using the product? Influencing the decision-maker? Initiating contact with the company? A mix of all of these?
Make a note of these objections and the buyer persona’s place in the decision-making cycle on your map.
Following our example, we end up with something like this:
Here, we’ve managed to discover (and brainstorm) the buyer’s potential:
All the kinds of sales-propelling information needed to acknowledge objections, concerns, and frustrations while concentrating on needs, requirements, and urgency.
We’ve learned core demographics about our buyer and key information that may be preventing them from taking action or details that could move a sale into the next stage.
Our customer journey map is less of a neatly-organized, bulleted list, and more like a mind-map that’s always being adjusted and revised. It may not be as tidy, but our customer journey map is closer to the actual customer experience — and therefore far more useful.
Think about the last time your company made a major purchase. It’s seldom a “beginning to end” one-time shot, right?
There are many details to hammer out, presentations to sit through, and suggestions and sign-offs to gather.
It’s a big process, and a fancy list of bullets just doesn’t cut it anymore – not in today’s two-way communication world.
Now, you need to go through this entire process with every type of buyer your company encounters. Each type of customer will have a different buyer path, objections, and challenges.
For example, if retail, you’ve got suppliers, wholesalers, resellers, and a whole avalanche of personas out there. Each buyer you have must be addressed individually.
Don’t panic, prioritize. Focus on your most profitable customers first and find the unifying threads that tie them together, then build on that persona. Once you have those down, start working down the list until you have all your customer journies mapped.
And remember that buyers are multi-faceted human beings.
Sometimes they make decisions that go against the grain of even the most well-developed persona. It happens.
Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, and the easier you make that journey, the more receptive the buyer will be to taking the action you want them to take.
Are you planning to create a customer journey map? What is holding you back?
The post How to Create a Customer Journey Map (Even if You Have No Idea Who Your Customers Really Are) appeared first on Neil Patel.
Social media is critical. I doubt anyone would argue with me about that. But social media is also misunderstood in some ways. One of those misunderstandings is which social media sites a business or individual should be on.
If you read this article, you’re going to understand which social media sites are best for your brand or business.
You won’t have to waste your time messing around on social media sites that have no ROI, and you even might do better at gaining leads on the social media sites that are perfect for your business.
Social media isn’t a fad or trend. It’s an enduring reality of online existence. For marketers, it’s indispensable. But when you approach social media as a marketing channel, things may get a bit confusing.
Social media marketing includes a myriad of potential social media sites, a vast array of ways to engage, and a medley of styles for each platform.
It’s more than just Facebook. You need to figure out which of the legion networks to join. Then, you need to determine optimal messages, posting frequency, cost of social media management, integration with other marketing channels, and how to make the most of the billions of people who are purportedly hanging out on social media.
To slice through the confusion, here are four questions that you should answer.
The primary question to ask about social media is where your audience is actually spending time. What social media outlets are they on?
A caveat is in order: just because you have followers doesn’t mean that you have an audience.
In January 2019, a report claimed as many as 50% of Facebook’s accounts were fake. Simply having a bunch of followers doesn’t guarantee that you have a human audience.
If you buy followers, you are almost assuredly bought fake accounts. While these fake accounts might be great for follower numbers, they don’t do much for your actual marketing. (Which is why I recommend deleting fake followers.)
Big social media numbers don’t mean big activity.
For example, there are nearly 3 billion accounts, but only 1.73 billion are daily active users. Twitter, too, has a lot of members with a relatively low number of active members. Of the site’s 330 million signups, only 145 million are daily active users.
A social media user needs to be active on a social media site to be of any use to you.
There’s a disparity between overall members on a site and the number of active members.
As I’ve discussed before, people use social media for searching, not only socializing.
Every minute, people are conducting millions of queries on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you are active on these social media platforms, you can appear in social media search results.
Some businesses are missing out on a deluge of warm leads, because they are absent from niche social media sites.
Someone might tell you, “OMG! You have to join this social media site! We get all our leads from it!”
Okay, that’s great. But that doesn’t mean that your business needs to be there.
What kind of business do they have? If they are a boutique silk scarf seller and found a social media site for silk scarf aficionados, then they’ve obviously found the right social media site.
But if you’re a SaaS business, chances are you won’t gain as many warm leads from silk scarf social media sites.
I’ve provided these four questions as a framework for determining your social media strategy. Don’t join randomly. Instead, choose intentionally by answering the four questions.
With that in mind, let me explain the social media accounts that truly matter.
At this stage in social media, there are three sites that reign supreme. These sites are crucial, regardless of your audience, your business model, and your strategy. Join them.
Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly active users, the largest of any social network. In the past decade, it has become a fixture of the daily online experience. Nearly half of all Facebook users are active each day, and they spend half an hour or more on the site.
These users aren’t only browsing profile updates or viewing photos.
Each Facebook user is connected to dozens of pages, groups, or events. That’s where you come in — your marketing efforts and Facebook presence.
Twitter is a happening place. There are more than 330 million Twitter monthly active users, and 100 million users are active at least once a day. Plus, there are more than 460,000 new accounts created every day.
Twitter is less of a lead generator than other platforms like Facebook. But it is an incredibly powerful search engine and news source. Many businesses also use Twitter to provide customer service.
LinkedIn proudly touts its user base of professionals. Many of those professionals are connected with companies. These companies could benefit from the extra marketing love. Don’t neglect LinkedIn, especially if you’re in B2C.
Those are the big three. Whatever you’re selling, doing, being, or saying, these are the three social media accounts you need to keep active.
These are called “the lesser three” (my term) only because they’re not part of the big three. These social media sites are huge, and I strongly encourage you to be present on them as well as the big three.
Early in its life, Pinterest got labeled as a social platform for women. At first, that was true. But now, women account for about half of Pinterest pinners, which isn’t much different from the gender slant on other social media sites. Pinterest is a place to be for any gender, any company, and any brand.
And the site is growing fast. The business generates more than $400 million a quarter and has 335 million monthly active users.
I’ve found that Instagram is a powerful way to promote both one’s personal brand and a business, too. Despite my not-so-often posting, I discovered that liking and commenting on other photos is a powerful way to grow a massive following.
Instagram is a visual platform. We already know that pictures get 5x higher engagement on Twitter, and photos make up 93% of the most engaging Facebook posts. With Instagram, it’s all photos and videos. That kind of visceral appeal is one of the reasons for Instagram’s massive popularity. Throw video into the mix, and you’ve got a social media channel that is basically addicting. Visual content in social media is electric.
Some social media marketers have argued that Instagram only serves the purposes of image-heavy brand content for companies like National Geographic. Sure, National Geographic’s Instagram channel is killer, and they have a strong 4.8 million followers.
However, I would argue that Instagram is effective for nearly any type of business. I’ve seen successful fitness coaches, booksellers, conference speakers, coders, video game designers, SEO companies, and accountants make a dent in the Instagram universe.
YouTube has the distinguished position of being the second largest search engine in the world. Considering that Bing and Yahoo have been vying (unsuccessfully) for that position, that’s no small feat. YouTube did it without even trying.
Despite their modest pretensions to massive search, YouTube is a hit when it comes to video watching. Obviously. In fact, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults than any cable network.
Some brands lend themselves to video virality more than others, but any brand can be successful at video marketing. A video doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be effective in brand promotion. It needs to be on YouTube.
My word “little” needs a bit of a disclaimer. These social media sites are massive. However, as social media marketing platforms, their benefit comes in their niche sub-communities for people of shared interest.
On Facebook, you might socialize with people you went to school with — friends from past and present. On Tumblr, however, you might interact with people who share your interest in, say, aerial photography drones.
In that sense, your audience might be smaller but more focused.
Even though it’s technically a “blogging platform,” Tumblr has enjoyed meteoric growth in its young life.
In 2013, Tumblr was raking in monthly pageviews that soared over 5 billion. With smart posting (i.e., great content) and consistency, many marketers have discovered that Tumblr is an ideal place to impact one’s niche. Some marketers actually host their company blog on Tumblr. (This is something which I don’t recommend for SEO purposes).
Reddit is a news site, basically. But as a social media news site, it has an appeal that goes beyond mere “headlines.” These headlines are voted up and virally shared.
Maybe a dog saying “Hiiiii!” isn’t quite as meaningful as business news or government decision-making. But still, Reddit is a marketing channel that might work for some companies. Of all the social media sites, Reddit has the highest percentage of news-readers — 62%, according to Pew researchers.
To use Reddit effectively, the secret is creating engagement on subreddits and communities packed with people who are passionate about what you are. This is your target community. Then, you create relevant headlines and promotions to create an uptick in your stories.
Want to learn more about marketing on Reddit? Here’s a quick rundown:
Last, explore the niche social media landscape. You might discover that it’s an absolute waste of time, and there is zero ROI. Or, on the other hand, you might find a world of untapped potential and dozens of warm leads. It’s worth doing some exploring.
Here’s are a few sorta-popular niche sites. Forget the millions of followers and fans. Here, it’s all about a targeted audience:
The best way to find your niche social site is to google it. You will find something.
The social media scene can be bewildering. But if you follow this plan, you’re going to see a higher social media marketing ROI:
As you engage in social media, you’ll discover the social nuances of your own niche. It will look different for every business, region, target audience, and personal style.
What social media sites have you discovered to be useful for your business?
Facebook Insights is a powerful tool for those wanting to track user interaction on their Facebook business page. Facebook Insights can be seen by all the admins of your page, and it can provide a wealth of information about your content and audience.
By using Facebook Insights, you’ll be able to determine the best time of day to post, the best day of the week to post, and what type of content is most popular.
It is important to note that the Facebook Insights tool is constantly updated to reflect your page’s developments and any patterns that may form. So you’ll need to keep checking back to keep in the loop.
So, what can you learn from Facebook insights?
Go to your Facebook Business page, then click “See All,” under “Insights” on desktop.
This is the main Insights dashboard, and here you’ll see information about trends, posts, and your audience.
You’ll be able to see your most recent posts, Facebook likes, reach, actions on page, the gender and age of your audience, and much, much more. Don’t be afraid to dive in here; it might look a bit overwhelming, but it is pretty easy to navigate.
One of the most important things you can learn is what type of content is likley to go viral.
Click on Posts, you’ll see your latest Facebook posts and learn about their reach and engagement. This is especially useful if you would like to see which posts were the most successful.
You can sort posts based on:
This is useful if you want to know the success of a certain post (i.e., a video you posted recently). So instead of sifting through all the posts, you can simply sort by videos.
You’ll be able to see the date the post was made, the title of the post, the type of post, who it targeted, reach, and engagement. You won’t see the virality in a percentage form anymore, but you can still gain a ton of useful knowledge about your post behavior.
Takeaway: Knowing the reaction to different types of Facebook posts gives you the knowledge to create more content that your fans like, which will then increase your branding, reach, and hopefully drive traffic to your website.
If you click on “Likes,” you’ll be able to see the demographics as well as the locations of your fans. You’ll also be able to see their age groups.
In this example, the Cheap Flights South Africa fan page has a much larger female fan base than a male fan base. We are also able to see that most users are in Cape Town, South Africa, so they should customize their posts accordingly.
Below you’ll see another graph that looks like this:
Now you can search by new likes and even by unlikes. For example, in the above graph, you can see the fan page had some unlikes.
It would be useful to go back to your page and see what posts you wrote on those days. Your previous posts may be able to give you an indication as to what went wrong that day.
Weren’t you entertaining enough? Or were you just too much? Perhaps you posted too many articles and not enough images? It is crucial that you do this step otherwise the stats are pretty much just stats.
What to get more likes? Check out this video for seven strategies to grow your Facebook likes:
Takeaway: Having demographic information about your fans allows you to build personas of your target audience. This can be very beneficial when creating landing pages, home page copy, and overall marketing messages.
It’s all very good and well that you have a Facebook business page, but how much of your content is actually reaching your fans? Who is talking about your page? Are any of your fans referring your page to others or sharing your images with their friends?
The Reach section, located just under Likes in the left-hand bar, will provide this crucial information.
It will also tell you how often your posts are marked as hide, report as spam and unlike.
Takeaway: The important part of the Reach area is that you can see what days and types of content help you reach the widest possible audience. (Unlike before, you won’t see reach in terms of paid Facebook ads; you’ll need to use the Ads Manager for this information.
Facebook check-ins can be really useful for companies that have a physical location. Fans that ‘check-in’ when they arrive at your business show their loyalty to you in doing so.
Under the check-in section, you’ll be able to see the number of people who have checked in, where they live, whether they are male or female, etc.
Takeaway: Check-in data is extremely valuable for businesses with a physical presence. From being able to measure the social media impact on sales, to monitoring your busiest days – definitely, dig into this info!
Insights already offers a ton of data, but did you know you can actually export the data? Export your data using the top right button on the Insights page.
This little block will pop up:
Select Page Level Data and the MS Excel format option. You can choose a date range for the data.
Once you’ve downloaded the insights you’ll see never-ending columns of data which may at first seem overwhelming. At the bottom, you’ll also see various data sheets containing information such as key metrics, daily like sources, daily viral reach etc.
Each column in the key metrics sheet provides you will different information. For example, if you scroll to the Lifetime Total Likes column you’ll be able to see how many likes your page received over the dates you specified.
Total Daily Reach is useful as well and here you’ll be able to see the number of people your posts may have reached (even from friends of your fans).
Takeaway: Sometimes looking at the tabulated data can provide more insights than graphs. If you’re proficient with Excel, you can slice and dice your data to find out more about your Fans and social media impact.
My recommendation: Don’t be afraid to dive in and see what’s inside!
From learning what types of Facebook posts are most effective to learning where your audience is located, Facebook Insights provides a plethora of useful information about your business page.
However, the key is to take that data and create something meaningful with it. Use the data to track the performance of your page, find emerging patterns, and develop a more effective social media strategy.
What have you learned about your post or audience from Facebook Insights? How will that data help you create a more effective Facebook strategy?