Your conversion marketing practice is actually a “stack” of disciplines each of which you will have some level of capability with.

Business Goals

Knowing exactly what you want your Web site to do for your business.

Visitors

Understanding the best visitors needs, the reason they are visiting today and the information they need to feel comfortable taking action. Touchpoint Personas are the important tool at this stage.

Content

What content will you create for these important visitors? Will it be articles, video, or audio? These are important considerations made easy from your touchpoint personas.

Channels

How do your visitors want to hear from you? Where can your visitors be reached? Your choice of channels may include webinars, email, social media, blog posts and more.

Measurement

Putting the analytics and processes in place to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. This often means designing your online presence differently to enable tracking of visitor behavior.

Optimization

Testing your assumptions is the only way to achieve the high conversion rates that make you seem invincible to your competitors. This is how you reduce the cost of all online marketing efforts.

Don’t Worry

This may sound like a tall order, and it is. However, if you are marketing online, you are involved with conversion issues by definition.
The good news is that the folks at SiteTuners.com, lead by the always brilliant Tim Ash have put together the Conversion Conference.
The attendees will be leading the online charge in each of their industries.
I can think of no better way to get up the many learning curves that your conversion practice needs than this two day conference.
Topics at Conversion Conference include:

  • Using Headlines, Copy and Graphic Design to Lift Conversion
  • Split Testing, Multivariate Testing and Google Website Optimizer
  • Segmentation, Personalization, and Persuasion
  • E-commerce, and Lead Generation Conversion
  • Landing Page Principles
  • Optimizing Social and Mobile
  • Design & Usability Mistakes

You’ve likely read books written by some of the Conversion Conference Speakers, like Landing Page Optimization and Web Design for ROI. There’s no question that the speakers at this conference are the folks you want to be learning from. Check it out. You can even save $250 if you use promo code CCE650 when you register on the Conversion Conference website.
If you won’t be there, I pray that your competitors won’t be either.
P. S. I do a complete writeup on the Conversion Stack in The Quintessential  Marketing Automation Guidebook, Conversion  Stack: Marketing Automation for Performance Marketers. It is free and you should find it enlightening.

Brian Massey Speaking

My ten-year-old son gave me a valuable lesson in content marketing today.

Sean has a good friend who, to hear him tell it, rarely changes his expression. It’s just who he is.

However, Sean was sharing one of this friend’s more interesting ideas: to build a tall building and put a catapult at the top of it to deliver packages around town.

“Was he serious?” we asked.

“Yes,” said Sean. “He had his explaining face on.”

Clearly, when this boy puts on his ‘explaining face,’ you had better listen.

Sean gives words to an attitude that offers all of us a way to make our content more helpful, more interesting and more engaging.

We just need to put on our explaining face.

Your Selling Face or Your Explaining Face

I’ve got my explaining face on right now. It is different from my selling face.

When I have my explaining face on, my eyes are wider, my eyebrows go up, my jaw is drawn back to help me enunciate.

When I have my selling face on, my eyebrows come down and my forehead furrows. My jaw jets forward. I’m in your face.

How does your content change when you have your explaining face on? Mine does.

A Face for Every Occasion

There is a place for each of your faces.

You should use your explaining face when you are participating in what I call an Attention-managed Zone. As I write in my most recent ClickZ column, an attention-managed zone is a place where we have curated the participants or content.

Our Facebook page is an attention-managed zone. Our inbox and our feed reader are as well.

When you are communicating within one of these attention-managed zones, put on your explaining face.

However, when you have drawn someone to your site, to a landing page for instance, you will want to put on your selling face and be more persuasive. Visitors expect to learn about your offering in these places where they have no control over what they will see.

Let me put on my selling face to help persuade you of its value.

Your selling face delivers what your business needs to grow and thrive. If you are afraid to promote your products your online marketing strategies will most likely fail.

Your selling face is a powerful, and you should put it on if you want:

  • More persuasive copy
  • Calls to action that deliver leads and sales
  • A clear focus on reader benefits and less focus on you

If you want captivating headings and pages that turn visitors into readers and then buyers, then put on your selling face today.

Act now and receive a Thinking Face at no additional charge.

Signs that You’re Wearing Your Explaining Face

If you’re new to face management, here are a few signals that you have your explaining face on:

  1. You find yourself telling stories in your writing
  2. You prefer simpler ways to convey a point
  3. You look for more interesting and colorful words
  4. The writing is fun
  5. You feel that you’re helping someone when you click “publish.”

Ironically, these are also the markers of good sales copy, when you should have your selling face on.

Nonetheless, I recommend that you mentally put on your explaining face when you want to write for social media, for your blog or anywhere else that your reader has control.

Your explaining face content will give them reason to stay tuned in.

P. S. Don’t for get to read my ClickZ column Advertising in an Attention-Managed Society.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

It is rare that my visual live blogs are less visual than the original presentation, but Dan Zarrella’s presentation on Twitter and Facebook optimization is SO choc full of graphs, that I could barely keep up.

So I resorted to banal prose in my notes.

As a fellow scientist (Dan is the Social Media Scientist), I am happy to borrow from his work in doing my own. Here are my notes from Dan’ presentation at PubCon Masters Group Training. I was glad to share the stage with him.

Dan Zarrella Twitter and Facebook Optimization Notes.

Dan Zarrella Twitter and Facebook Optimization Notes.

Getting More Followers

“The best way to get followers is to follow people.”

To get more followers:

  1. Finish your profile.
  2. Put a link to your website.
  3. Upload a picture.

Twitter

The twenty most retweeted words:

  • please retweet
  • follow
  • top
  • social media
  • help
  • you
  • blog post
  • new blog post
  • retweet
  • free
  • twitter
  • how to

Twitter Stats

  • Over 50% of retweets have links.
  • Retweets tend to have larger words. You don’t have to dumb things down.
  • Retweets use “novel” or less-used words.
  • Retweets are noun-heavy, third person.
  • Retweets have more punctuation, even exclamation marks.
  • Retweets are less emotional, more conceptual.
  • Social behavior is retweeted.
  • Men retweet opinion, women retweet entertainment.
  • Retweets happen later in the day, after 4:00pm ET.
  • Women follow more people and tweet more.

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

New technology renders emails invisible. Customer Chaos Labs suspected.

Everyone who seeks to do good in the world will inevitably be challenged by an arch-nemesis; someone who’s view of the world is diametrically opposed to yours.

At Conversion Sciences we have Customer Chaos Labs, whose motto is:

If we’re not working for you, we’re working against you.

They are an organization who seeks to lift their clients’ online Web success by simply bringing everyone else down. We see them as basically evil.

This week, one of our clients became the victim of a new Customer Chaos technology: an email invisibility ray.

The results are devastating.

Proof of the Invisibility Ray’s Existence

The folks at J’Tote Bags crafted a beautiful email, with professional photography, strong reasons to buy, and clear calls to action.

Then, J’Tote sent the email to eager prospects and customers. Somewhere in transit, many of these emails entered the range of the invisibility ray.

The invisibility technology rendered the email almost completely invisible to the human eye. Clearly, an invisible email is going to be read less, depressing open rates and clicks.

Conversion Sciences Defense Technology

Conversion Sciences has worked with the major email clients to develop a “de-cloaking” technology. For example, recipients can restore the email by clicking “Display Images below” in Gmail, or “Click here to download pictures” in Outlook.

Most email clients have implemented something similar.

The problem is that many recipients of your emails may not find a good reason to click on the de-cloaking links if they can’t see the email.

Clearly, this is not an ideal solution.

Defending Yourself Against the Invisibility Ray

A detailed analysis by Conversion Sciences has exposed some weaknesses in the invisibility ray.

It only works on images

Apparently, the invisibility ray doesn’t affect text, but only images. Thus a proper defense against this kind of attack is to use images more sparingly in your email and place text strategically around the email.

This will allow readers to understand the point of the email if the images have been inviso-rayed.

Image “Alt” Text is Sometimes Impervious

If you look closely at Exhibit B, you will see some text appearing in places where the images would have appeared. This is the images’ “alt” text and is created using the “alt” parameters in the HTML <img> tag.

Here’s an example:

<img src=”picture.jpg” alt=”Text that describes the image” />

Use the “alt” text to tell the reader what they will see if they click “Display images below” and invoke the de-cloaking technology.

This does not work in all email clients. Microsoft Outlook won’t show these cues, for example.

However, some email clients will actually allow you to format your “alt” text, making it different sizes and colors.

Don’t Fall Victim to Invisible Emails

Email remains one of the most effective online marketing tools available. No wonder the foes of good marketing have targeted it for disruption.

Let a Conversion Scientist review your email strategy. This will ensure that

  1. You are using best practices to maximize deliverability, open rates, clicks and conversions.
  2. You are sending content that is relevant and interesting. This gives you permission to continue sending email to desirable prospects.
  3. You are sending with the right frequency. Sending too often or too rarely can render an email strategy impotent.
  4. You are defended against the invisibility ray and other weapons of chaos. Enough said on this one.

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Tell me your social conversion rate

"Social media is revolutionizing customer care." Yawn.

"Social media is helping brands build awareness." That’s sounds interesting (not).

"Social media increases the quality of the traffic coming to your site in measurable ways." Now you have my attention.

Don’t Hate Me for My Myopia

It is my choice of career that has given me this singular focus when it comes to online marketing. There are other people to create brand image. There are smart, dedicated people trying to improve their company’s customer service.

I say “you go!”

But, I want measurable, tangible data on how social media gets qualified prospects to a Web property, and how it helps me carry on a conversation with them making them more likely to buy.

I can already hear Qwitter messages landing in my inbox. I hate Qwitter personally, but it is a FABULOUS metric, the equivalent of email’s unsubscribe rate. So, I have to listen. It’s an measure of my social media Return On Investment, my social media ROI.

This attitude is good for social media

How many times do you have a great conversation in the social space only to find the company’s Web site opaque, posing, and irrelevant?

Social media won’t work if we’re transparent in our social graph and obsequious everywhere else.

Let’s encourage businesses to put content out that draws people to their Web site. They will quickly begin to realize that certain content works (educational, entertaining content) and certain content does not (home pages with self-aggrandizing copy).

ROI is the great informer for these companies.

If our stuff is worth talking about, why hold it back?

There is a camp of social media digerati that believe social channels are not for promotion, that it is evil to advertise where conversations are the norm.

But, if conversations are going on around a brand or a company, why deny the social citizenry of a chance to own or use their offerings?

It’s just plain selfish to hold back.

When buying is an outcome of conversation, ROI tells a company how it’s doing in starting and continuing those conversations.

Communities that raise their hand get more attention

Let’s face it. We want the support of companies as we complain and cheer about their products. We want them to hear us, to reply to us, and to see things our way.

And we are not above the occasional bribe.

How many times have you started a complaint with, “I spend $_____ with your company every _____, and I expect… .”

We regularly use ROI as a way to get attention.

Online communities are arbiters and aggregators of ROI. They drive it, highlight it and can take it away. They should be rewarded for their financial contribution to companies with increased support, more say in product design… and the occasional bribe.

What do eBook Groupies and Designer Laptop Bags have in Common?

I’ve recently begun working with J’Tote Designer Laptop Bags, and heard a story that illustrates this concept perfectly.

It seems that the women of an eBook community have developed a love for J’Tot’e’s chic laptop bags. How do we know?

     

  1. Mysterious spikes in J’Tote’s Web traffic led to the discovery that people were posting about them on the forum.
  2.  

  3. Boxes of bags were soon waiting to be shipped to the group’s members.

Visitors from this community stay on the J’Tote site longer than average, view more pages, and have a very low bounce rate (a measure of the number of visitors who leave immediately after visiting a site).

The folks at J’Tote now make it a priority to tune into the conversations on the forum, and are certain to give them warning when inventory clearing sales are imminent.

Companies speak ROI

It is the lingo of the bottom line; the babble of budgets; the conversation of the coin. If we want more companies to engage in social media for all the “right” reasons, we need to communicate with them in this language: more visits from interested conversationalists who buy their products.

We need to speak to them with ROI.

It’s one thing for a company to monitor our conversations attempting to gauge positive or negative sentiment. It’s quite another for them to know that their Facebook page is generating additional visits and sales.

There is a catch

Companies that don’t measure the ROI of social media won’t get the message. They’ll continue to ignore important communities, cut social budgets and generate plenty of negative social sentiment in the digital conversationsphere.

If you’re not measuring, you’re not listening.

J’Tote is listening. Are you?

On July 21, I’ll be showing you ways to measure your social ROI, and in particular, your social conversion rates.

Did you know there was such a thing as a social landing page? It’s nothing like your landing pages.

Did you know that there are six major conversions that happen when you add social media to your sales funnel?

My presentation is just one part of a spectacular Master’s Group Training being held in Austin by Webmaster World, the PubCon people.

Only, you don’t have to attend a full PubCon to go.

Not only will you learn from me how to measure your social media efforts, you’ll learn how to do the things that make social media work.

     

  • Andy Beal will tell you about social media reputation management.
  •  

  • Dan Zarrella will give you the low down on Twitter and Facebook optimization.
  •  

  • Brett Tabke will show you how he reached influentials in his social graph and put PubCon registrations slashed his marketing budget.

Oh, and there is also an search marketing track going on at the same time. Yawn.

We’re going to make people love your business through your Web site at The Conversion Scientist. Subscribe to learn the strategies and tactics that turn more of your visitors into leads and sales.

What are you afraid of?

The goal of my Ion Interactive presentation “What Can We Learn from the Bad Boys of Marketing?” was to shake things up a bit.

Conversion marketing is about bringing visitors to choice. B2B marketers carry this same burden.

Can marketers in more conservative industries use techniques proven to increase online leads and sales in B2C markets?

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Not only should B2B marketers try everything that B2C businesses are using, they risk irrelevance if they don’t.

In my Ion Interactive webinar, I use two B2B landing pages to illustrate how these B2C techniques can be used:Mary O’Brien Adwords Advantage landing page AdwordAdvantage.com and CoverActionPro.com.

  • Long copy
  • Bold headlines
  • Highlighting and bullets
  • “Johnson” boxes
  • Risk reversal
  • Testimonials
  • “Act” buttons
  • Signatures and postscripts

I go as far in the Webinar to state:

“Business to business copy sucks. It’s horrible to read. There is a need, that when someone recommends a site to their boss that you look professional, but it doesn’t mean you have to write like an idiot.”

Certainly you can deliver a high-converting experience without harming your online brand, like CoverActionPro.

You have to work harder. You can’t ask a committee of executives to review your pages. You have to know how your page is performing and how changes are affecting your results.

You can learn more about analytics and their proper application at my AEN Short Course “Web Analytics: Tools and Best Practices” on June 11, 2010.

Enjoy the Webinar and don’t miss Anna Talerico’s Conversations on Conversion podcast.

Brian Massey's social graph

NOTE: Portions of this article originally appeared on ClickZ.
I had the pleasure of being on a panel with Tim Hayden recently, and overheard him talking real-life targeted banner advertising: billboards that connected with your mobile phone as you passed by.
I could only imagine what a billboard would say to me.
But the more I listened to Tim, the more I became intrigued with his vision for the future and the present.
Tim was nice enough to answer some questions on his birthday, of all days, and my summary of what I learned can be found in my ClickZ column “Mobile Marketing and Your Digital Geo-relevance.”
My favorite quote didn’t make the editing process:
“We aren’t wired to sit on our asses all day and stare at Twitter,” says Hayden.

Tim asks businesses the question, “How can we have compelling touchpoints, beyond the device that will bring people back to the device to engage us?”

Einstein has given me some doubts about where I am. He demonstrated that time and space is really quite malleable. It leads to the conclusion that you can never really be sure that you are where you think you are; you can also never really be sure you are when you think you are.
Fortunately, we have these little computers we carry around called mobile phones to tell us both when and where we are…relatively. It turns out that these devices are fine for fixing us in time and space, unless you are standing too close to a neutron star.
These devices are also good at telling advertisers where we are, where we want to be, and where we’ll be in between.
Is “Mobile” Necessary?
The term “mobile” already seems a bit quaint. It’s like calling an automobile “out-of-home transportation.” It’s not necessary. It’s a car, and we “drive.”
Likewise, a device that is with us always really doesn’t need to be called “mobile.” All we have to do is “be” somewhere. The rest is implied. When I turn on a device that has GPS capability, I begin to “be” somewhere in the digital sense of the word.
Famed VC John Doerr admitted that we don’t have a word for the next mobile/social/new commerce “wave.”
“Geo-relevance” is written more frequently these days. And I like the double entendre: we can know what businesses are relevant to us geographically, but mobile device users are also making themselves more relevant wherever they are “being.”
Tim Hayden prefers the term “mobile lifestyle” to describe what he calls “passionate and influential” smartphone users. He also likes the term “digital out of home.” My personal mobile strategy has been limited to adding a mobile theme plug-in to my blog, so I’ve asked Tim to give me his view of the mobile space.
Intermediaries
Just as mobile devices determine where individuals are “being,” business can “be” somewhere in a digital sense as well. Let’s consider some ways businesses can use their “being” to connect with customers.
All we need is some intermediary to figure out when we are “being” in the same place as a business is “being,” and magic starts to happen. Because of the Internet, that business can send a message through this intermediary suggesting that I start “being” in their store instead of nearby. Coupons, menus, and hot new products may entice me to shift my location, and my digital beingness along with it.
Intermediaries find interesting ways to connect where a business is being to where a prospect is being.
Though subtle, the distinction is important.
You “are” where you physically stand. You are “being” where the Internet thinks you are. Where you “be” is different from where you live or where your computer is. As a business you can “be” in many places.
Tim imagines a day not too far in the future when a smart roadside billboard can be a place where your business is “being,” reaching out to passing mobile devices.
Your Friends
We tell our friends where we are “being” by communicating a business’s location. An e-mail with a link to a map is sufficient to establish a bar, coffee shop, or restaurant’s geo-relevance to others. There are some other, more interesting ways of borrowing a customer’s geo-relevance to enhance your businesses digital location.
Foursquare is a popular “being broker,” encouraging visitors to build a business’s being by associating it with their being, sharing it with all of their social connections.
As a business, you should start by encouraging customers to check in through Foursquare or Gowalla. Install Wi-Fi. “Being” somewhere does not an ad make, so check out Foursquare for Business for opportunities to advertise to visitors and their social network. Brightkite is another, more venerable being broker.
Search and Place
Search engines with geographic features such as maps and routing act as the intermediary for your future being. If you want a hamburger; if you need a new dry cleaner; if you want to know where to buy a lab coat in a strange city, search combines prospect intent via keywords with their location. Search is your place intermediary.
Search engines do their best to establish a business’s digital being automatically, but you should help them legitimize and optimize your locations. David Mihm of GetListed.org packed a great amount of local search strategy into his presentation at InnoTech Portland this month.
[sitepromo]
Mobile Devices “Wire” Our Touchpoints
Tim offers the example of a nightclub that issues cards with RFID chips in them. When a card-carrying patron comes to the door, the host can see on her terminal who has come and their preferences for seating, drinks, and appetizers. Tim believes that these “smart touchpoints” are well suited to leverage the digital location defined by our phones.
Tim asks businesses the question, “How can we have compelling touchpoints, beyond the device that will bring people back to the device to engage us?”
Mobile Applications
“I applaud anyone who is reaching out to mobile users who are passionate and influential,” says Tim when I ask about the value of mobile apps.
He prefers promotional microsites designed for the small screen. They can have more impact and are often easier to implement.
Some businesses are a natural fit for apps. There are services, such as MobBase, Kyte, and Mobile Roadie that can make it easy for any business to develop a third-screen presence.
Ad Networks
As I write this, I’m receiving the news that the Google AdMob merger has been approved. The Mobile Marketer article, “Google becomes world’s largest mobile ad network: 9 implications,” spells out the implications.
Because of Google’s self-service search advertising model, this merger bodes well for small and medium-sized businesses that want to begin leveraging mobile advertising.
Privacy
Tim falls squarely into the “privacy is dead” camp. While we should have more control of our privacy on our personal devices, Tim acknowledges that where we “be” reveals plenty about us.
Influential smartphone users leverage the wholesale transparency implied by this utter lack of privacy. These users produce “earnest to visceral” user-generated content. They are building a public personal brand for themselves, and are exactly the people that businesses of all sizes should reach out to.
It’s hard to think about mobile marketing when we’re just getting our heads around search and display advertising. Still, businesses must do what they can to establish their digital “being” now and keep an eye on the intermediaries that can connect them with passionate, influential mobile device junkies.
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“Let your mind go” image: https://www.movieforums.com

You can do almost anything on the Internet now. You can monitor your finances, socialize, organize ideas,manage your job search, broadcast your travels, and recruit college students.
The core conversion marketing pattern that these sites should adopt is the “Site as a Service Pattern.” This is the fifth and last of the core conversion strategies in this series.
Explore this site pattern in my Conversion Science column on Search Engine Land.
Read the entire column at Search Engine Land.

We’re going to make people love your business through your Web site at The Conversion Scientist. There is plenty you can do to increase online sales conversions, and we share it all. Learn what that you can do to convert more of your visitors into leads and sales.

What would you tell a recent marketing grad about “real” marketing?

People don’t ask me to make commencement speeches. I think it’s because they don’t want me “converting” impressionable minds.

Amanda McGuckin Hager of GoMarket.me has no such reservations. In fact, she’s trying to fill in the missing information that colleges are doling out to the rumored “clay-like minds” of our young adults.

GoMarket.me is “Your Real World Marketing Mentor” and Amanda asked me to contribute some mentorly words for the site.

What would you say to help a recent marketing graduate?

Here’s what I said, and there should be no surprises if you follow The Conversion Scientist.

You will have been taught a great deal about how to get people’s attention, primarily by interrupting them. You will have been steeped in the importance of message, brand, and emotion. You will have learned the importance of creative in the communication process. You will have been shown the importance of identifying your market segments by demographic, geographic and psychographic data.

In the world of branding and image-building, these skills are largely sufficient. However, when you are asking “suspects” to call, register, or buy from you, conversion is the critical piece of the puzzle.

Read the rest.

More Businesses Realize that Conversion is the Key to Lowering Search Costs

The folks at PubCon are smart, and I’m talking about the attendees. They’re good at what they do because, well, they go to PubCon. Brett Tabke’s organization, which has several conferences around the country has a loyal following.
And they get that conversion math make search math work better.
I’m pleased to be an active part of the organization. I am supporting the cause with a workshop and two panels this year at PubCon South.

Masters Training: PPC/SEM/Conversion Track

We start off with a full-day workshop on Pay-per-click advertising (PPC), a subset of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Conversion Optimization. I am humbled to be in the company of Austin’s own Kate Morris and the no-holds-barred style of Tim Ash. I’ll be talking about understanding your audience by “Killing Brad Pitt.”

Conversion Optimization Panel

On Thursday, its the Conversion Optimization Panel with Wider Funnel’s Chris Goward, Tim Ash and Khalid Saleh.
For my part, I’ll be presenting the case study of Newsday.com, examining how an online news site can invest $4,000,000 in a redesign, and yield only 35 paid subscribers in three months.

Über Advanced PPC

Right after the Conversion Optimization Panel, I’ll be joining Christine Churchill, Wister Walcott, and David Szetela to discuss advanced tactics and tools for PPC advertising.

Smart People. Great Topics

I hope to see you at PubCon and hope you’ll come to my sessions for two totally new presentations.
If you can’t make it, I’ll let you know where to get the slides if you’ll give me your email address right here: