tools

This is a guest post by Simon Campbell

Facebook is not only the most popular of the many social networks; it’s also the most prone to changes. What worked well just a few short months ago on the site may not be the best formula to try in 2014.
Changes in the News Feed have been among the most recent from the site. With a much larger emphasis on quality content that weights well via Facebook’s unique algorithm, marketers are forced to up their engagement tactics in order to survive inside of News Feeds without being missed, ignored or forced out.
Along with other changes, such as the sheer size of the mobile market today, anyone’s Facebook ad tactics should be updated. Not overhauled, just tweaked to remain a relevant and engaging brand on the site.
Facebook Tactics

The Audience Growth Survey: Subscribers, Fans, & Followers – Report #22 by ExactTarget a Salesforce.com company

3 Must-Use Ad Tactics for Facebook Marketers

1: Find the Right App

Facebook presents many tools to help marketers achieve success without having to venture offsite for much of anything. However, creating, testing, tweaking and targeting content is exceedingly difficult to do without some third-party assistance. Marketers looking for a sharper edge this year should try to find a third-party ad-management application that offers freedom and ease of use.
What you’re looking for in the right ad-management app includes:

        

  • The ability to schedule entire ad campaigns
  •     

  • Automated campaigns with rules you (the user) create
  •     

  • A plug-n-play Google Analytics feature
  •     

  • A streamlined interface
  •     

  • Templates for saved work
  •     

  • Organizational folders
  •     

  • Split-testing capabilities
  •     

  • Easy features for creating ad variations
  •     

  • Full control over which ads are actually used.

The end results is an easily programmable app that allows you to create, change, test and launch entire ad campaigns on a schedule you select, using ads you personally deem appropriate for the task. Every other tactic’s success depends in large part on the app you select for your ads.

2: Expand on Proven Organic Content

While paid advertising will, by design, always trump organic reach, many marketers find that some of their best ongoing success comes by way of everyday posts that ultimately build an organic following. Due to changes with Facebook’s Promoted Posts feature, you can now take an ad that was already popular and really kick it into overdrive with a bit of paid targeting.
Used in conjunction with your ad-management app to fine-tune the targeting, a Promoted Post can provide you with a litany of benefits, including:

        

  • The ability to boost a post visitors have already been engaged with
  •     

  • Adding new life to a post you feel hasn’t run its course
  •     

  • More views in more News Feeds
  •     

  • A longer lifespan in News Feeds for quality, paid posts
  •     

  • An expansion of the audience every time someone engages with the post
  •     

  • The ability to pin the post to your own page
  •     

  • An affordable way to keep pace with bigger brands

Along with greater reach comes greater recognition. Using a Promoted Post in 2014 is one of the safest, most affordable, and effective forms of Facebook advertising.

3: Target Small

Although niche marketing is a tried-and-true principle of advertising that doesn’t change much on a year-on-year basis, 2014 presents a couple of solid reasons to quickly narrow your advertising focus. With more brands, more mobile users, and many more advertisements, focusing on direct niche marketing allows you to target those most likely to engage. This offers quality control abilities you wouldn’t otherwise have.
When setting up your next advertising campaign, think about:

        

  • Starting with no more than 1,000 people
  •     

  • Split-testing and tracking variations of ads for effectiveness
  •     

  • Choosing a single interest so that you can directly target prospects
  •     

  • Split your campaign between male and female, measuring the results
  •     

  • Try age variations to see which demo bites the hardest

Targeting small, and in spurts, allows you to quantify your efforts easily and without must hassle. After seeing which group is most responsive to a certain ad type, you can begin expanding your efforts to draw more interest from more areas.

Bonus Tip: Tracking Advice

No matter the type of app you’re using, the type of ad you’re releasing, or the size of the market you’re targeting, your progress must be tracked in order to ensure the success of your tactics. Releasing an ad campaign and letting it run its course without a watchful eye could result in disaster.
Use Facebook Insights to your advantage to view your engagement numbers, such as Likes, comments, shares, etc. You can view an assortment of graphs to tell you if you’re heading in the right direction.
Using the right app for ads is also going to give you an easy way into Google Analytics. This is a more in-depth analysis of how your campaign is doing. You can track URLs, create separate landing pages, and pretty much customize the system for optimum convenience.
Tracking allows you to tweak when necessary, to cut your losses if needed, and to double-down on working tactics. A campaign that’s not being tracked is a campaign doomed to failure.
Simon Campbell, author
 
About the Author: Simon Campbell, a writer from a Facebook ad campaign tool – Qwaya. He loves to write different topics about social media and participates in some communities and forums. If you have more social media marketing questions, feel free to ask Simon on Twitter

imageThe Conversion Upside Report tells you what gains an optimization plan would give you.

We’ve redesigned our Conversion Upside Report so you can more quickly understand how much you should be investing in website optimization. We’ve used color and short commentary on six different criteria to help you understand where your site is on the spectrum of online businesses.
The Upside Report analyzes the current state of your online business and evaluates your readiness for an optimization program.
Every website will eventually add optimization to their tool belt. The question is when and how much should I spend?
The Conversion Upside Report seeks to answer that question.
All you need are the answers to three questions:

        

  1. How much traffic do you get a month on average?
  2.     

  3. How much new revenue does your site generate a month?
  4.     

  5. How much is a new order or lead worth on average?

At a glance, the report tells you some important things.

        

  • Do we have enough traffic to optimize reliably?
  •     

  • Do we have enough transactions or conversions to split test our ideas?
  •     

  • How much is a visitor worth to us? Is it more than we pay for a click?
  •     

  • How much more would we make in sales if we improved our conversion rate?

These are the questions you should be asking now if you want to have future success online.
Get your Conversion Upside Report and let me know what you learn.
[signature]
Brian Massey, Conversion Scientist

 

BourneConversion-Cropped
eatprayconvertcropped
Conversions_with_God_Book

After nine months of writing, fifteen chapters complete and dozens of columns supporting the effort, you’d think that the easiest thing to do would be to pick a name for my conversion marketing book.
As it turns out, this is difficult.
So why read a post about selecting a book title? Because, it’s all about conversion – not just the book, but the title is about converting book prospects into book readers.
The title of your book is key to maximizing conversions. It is like the subject line of your email, like the headline of your landing page, and like the value proposition of your home page. Get these wrong and your conversion rates will plummet. However the book title can’t be changed. Once chosen you are stuck with it until you write another.
It’s expensive to test titles, and this makes a Conversion Scientist very nervous.
I’ve considered a number of approaches. These approaches will also inform your online marketing.

Leverage something familiar

My first thought was to leverage something familiar, something that is already popular. This spawned several mockups including The Bourne Conversion, Eat, Pray, Convert, How to Win Friends and Convert People, and Conversions with God.
Unfortunately, copyright issues will prevent me from using any of these.

Ask your SEO person

The next thing I had to consider was how people might find the book on search engines. Phrases like “online sales conversion,” “analytics,” “conversion rates,” and “social media” are some of the most commonly searched phrases in the conversion marketing space. With this focus in mind, several titles were considered:
Online Sales Conversion: The Science of B2B, B2C, Online Services and Social Media Websites
The Well Managed Web Site: Conversion Strategy and Analytics in Simple Terms
Managing Websites to High Conversion Rates
Online Conversion Strategy
In my opinion, words like “conversion” and “analytics” are too clinical. Furthermore, these conversion terms don’t really get that much search traffic, so this strategy became less important to me.

Leverage your existing brand

I’ve been marketing Conversion Sciences and The Conversion Scientist pretty consistently for six years now through writing, speaking and training. The business is familiar to many online marketers and business owners, the two primary targets for my tome.
Playing on the science angle associated with the brand yielded several interesting titles, including the original working title, Get a Reaction.
Marketing + Science = Customers: Online Conversion Strategies to Transform Prospects into Buyers
Conversion Science: The Proven Formulas for Transforming Online Prospects into Customers
The Science of Reaction: Proven Conversion Formulas of Internet Based Companies

Own a word

I’ve always like one-word book titles that are provocative, like Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” and “Outliers.” I thought “REACTION” might be the word that sticks with people in my space.
REACTION: Getting visitors to take action on your website
Get a REACTION: Proven Strategies of the Conversion Scientist
The Science of REACTIONS: Websites that Convert Visitors to Leads and Sales
My feeling is that you have to have a large marketing budget to get a word to stick in the minds of potential readers. I didn’t get a multi-million dollar advance, unfortunately.

Surprise them

Seth Godin is great at naming books with unexpected titles, such as Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars and Meatball Sundae. I thought the unexpected or absurd might work for my book as well.
It’s Raining Soup. Get a Bowl. How to turn Internet traffic into a delicious business.
Glad I Stopped By: Websites We Love to Do Business With
They Did What?! Unexpected Strategies of The Conversion Scientist
Marketing Backwards: Unexpected Strategies of The Conversion Scientist
The Website Genome Project: Proven Research of The Conversion Scientist
The truth is, I’m not Seth Godin. Darn it.

State your topic plainly

We often get too clever for our own good when we’re writing headlines, subject lines, and book titles. It’s a business book, after all.
Managing Your Website: Conversion Strategy and Analytics for the Managers and Business Owners
Online Conversion Strategies for Websites that Dominate Their Marketplace
The problem with these is that the reader is more likely to fall asleep before finishing the title.

Ask your personas

If you follow The Conversion Scientist, you know that I believe creating visitor personas is the best way to get high conversion rates on your website. The same applies to books, and I have developed several personas for this book.
With this guidance, I was able to choose a book title that combines the right ingredients… I hope. Here’s what I know about my personas.
Most of my personas have heard of The Conversion Scientist through my columns, blog posts and speaking. This tells me to leverage the familiar science angle.
One persona studies marketing, and they are reluctant to read a book that will give them same advice they’ve already heard. Therefore, the title should indicate that it is presenting a fresh way to look at online marketing. Use terms like “unexpected” or surprise titles like “marketing backwards.”
Finally, all of my personas are human, which means they respond to things like metaphors, rhyming and alliteration (the repeated use of a sound in a sentence or phrase). This tells me I should use these tools.
After reviewing these persona requirements, we settled on the following title:
The Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Formulas of The Conversion Scientist™
The alliteration and rhyming nature of the main title will help people remember the name. It has the important search terms “conversion,” and “customer” in it. The terms “equation” and “formulas” evoke the science theme of my brand.
Finally, the strategies are “unexpected,” and indeed the book contains advice contrary to what you have been told. This was a tough decision for me. One of our personas is trying to solve a specific marketing problem. Calling my recommendations “unexpected” may not appeal to her. She will want to know about “proven” strategies, and I did consider the subtitle “Proven Strategies of The Conversion Scientist.” Yet, I knew she would find value in being “cutting edge,” and “unexpected strategies” should appeal to her.
Did we pick the right title? Which would you prefer to read? Let us know in the comments.

You won’t be converting much of anything if you start with the wrong kind of website. Find out which of five conversion signatures your website should be following with a free video that introduces some key concepts from The Customer Creation Equation.

Content Rules

That is what a lively trio showed us at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum in Austin.

#9: Have Fun

C.C. Chapman, Ann Handley, and an as yet unnamed robot shared the rules and tools of great content marketing.

#6: Stoke the Campfire

Here is the Converison Sciences Instagraph of their presentation, captured in real time.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Content Rules + Content Tools: INFOGRAPH

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Can you send a daily email to a business-to-business email list?

 
One of my favorite conversion strategies is the second chance. The second chance only comes when I have a way to continue the conversation; to get someone to come back again and let me make my case again.
 
There is no better second chance channel than email.
 
When entrusted with an email address, and permission to continue the conversation, I have one, two, three or more chances to persuade a prospect to reconsider.
 
In a business-to-business situation — the considered purchase — in which a decision will be made over a period of weeks or months, email is a true friend. And if it is executed with respect, it is a friend to those struggling with a purchase decision.
 
The question is, how many second chances am I going to take?
 

Five Emails an Hour

 
I tell companies that they can send email as often as their content allows them.
 
I once got five emails from American Airlines within the space of an hour. Did I unsubscribe? Did I feel spammed? The emails were telling me the status of a flight I was booked on as its departure time and gate changed. The emails were completely relevant to my situation, and were welcome.
 
If we were to stand by our statement that businesses can send as often as their emails’ relevance allows, we needed to understand the dynamics of a high-frequency email campaign.
 

An Email a Day Experiment

 
The goal of this experiment was to examine the following hypotheses:
 

  1. Sending email would outperform social media marketing.
  2. Sending frequent email would significantly increase my conversion rate.
  3. Sending frequently would cause an unacceptable number of my subscribers to unsubscribe.
  4. Sending frequent email would reduce my ability to deliver email due to spam reports.

 

The List

 
We chose a selection of 2000 names from my house list. This list consists of contacts made through personal interactions, meetings and consultations. It is primarily a business-to-business list.
 
I would call the list a “semi-warm” list having received email from me only quarterly. This list had received emails on January 11 and April 30. The experiment began September 7.
 
Your list could easily be generated from social media traffic or search engine traffic.
 

The Content

 
Because of the frequent nature of these emails, it was important that they provide some value and be entertaining. This proved to be a significant challenge.
 
Each email followed the following formula:
 

  • A non-promotional subject line
  • Relevant copy
  • Link to relevant content online or registration for a live event
  • Offers varied, including an invitation to subscribe to my mailing list, registration for a live workshop and an invitation to a Webinar on writing for landing pages.

 
Subject lines included “Are you the victim of the Email Invisibility Ray?,” “Social Media: Marketing from my La-Z-Boy,” and “Why eight-year-olds beat me at Chess.”
 
Download the content of the emails sent at The Conversion Scientist.
 

The Frequency

 
Emails were sent daily, Tuesday through Friday for two consecutive weeks. Eight emails we sent in all.
 

Test Results

 

Email Performance vs. Social Media

 
We’ve had relatively good luck using social media to drive traffic to my site. However, in Figure 1, you can see that the email resulted in significant increases in traffic, even outperforming our summer social media experiment.
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Traffic
Figure 1: Emails’ Effect on Site Traffic
 
Hypothesis: “Sending email would outperform social media marketing.” True
 
One interesting note is the rise in search engine traffic at the time of the email. This underscores that click-through rate is only a partial measurement of email effectiveness.
 

Increased Conversion Rate

 
It is probably not surprising that sending email to a targeted list is going to result in more conversions. However, keep in mind that my social media networks are also quite well-targeted.
 
As expected, both conversions and conversion rates for new subscribers increased. We can also attribute thirteen (13) workshop registrations to this email series, generating almost $1300 in sales.
 
Just looking at new email subscribers, the conversion rate for our social media experiment were 2.5%. For the period of this email, conversion rates were 7.6%.
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Conversion Rate
Figure 2: Emails’ Effect on Conversion Rate
 
Hypothesis: “Sending frequent email would significantly increase my conversion rate.” True
 

Opt-out Rates

 
This was the metric I was most interested in examining. How would unsubscribe rates change over the course of the experiment?
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Open, click and bounce rate
Figure 3: Open rate, Click-through rate and Bounce Rate for each drop.
 
I consider an unsubscribe rate of 1% or less acceptable and expected in any email that asks the reader to take action. So, I got pretty nervous as unsubscribe rates rose to 3.2%, and stayed well above 1%. Over the course of the experiment, 15% of the list unsubscribed.
 
There are two ways to look at this:
 

  1. We lost 15% of our prospects.
  2. We identified the 85% of list members that are interested and qualified.

 
If my goal with this list was primarily to sell, I would consider the 15% loss to be acceptable and even desirable. This is called Shaping your list.
 
However, my goal is to evangelize conversion and to educate, so the opt-outs represents a pretty significant loss of reach.
 
From a brand perspective, there were very few negative comments, and many positive ones.
 
Given the opt-out rates, would I do this again. The answer is a resounding yes.
 
Hypothesis: “Sending frequently would cause an unacceptable number of my subscribers to unsubscribe.” False
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Effect on Deliverability

 
The other negative effect that frequent emails can have is an increase in spam reports.
 
For most service providers, deliverability is the inverse of the bounce rate. If my emails are reported as spam, we would see an increase in bounces. Intuitively, when shaping a list, you expect bounce rates to drop quickly as bouncing addresses are removed from the list.
 
For our experiment, the bounce rate began at 2.5% but quickly dropped, leveling at an imperceptible 0.06%.
 
One reader was kind enough to let me know that they had “spammed” my email. I used the site MXToolbox.com to see if my domain had been placed on any black lists. However, it would be our Email Service Provider (ESP) that took the hit if spam was reported. This is one big value of an ESP. They keep themselves – and you – off of black lists.
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Unsubscribe Rate
Figure 4: Unsubscribe Rates for the Email Series
 
Another measure of reader interest is open rates.
 
Email service providers count the number of times a special image is downloaded to establish open rates. Since many people have images turned off in their email client, the open rate is not an accurate measure of actual opens.
 
However, I would interpret a steady drop in open rates as a sign that the list is becoming fatigued with my communications. Open rate can also be a good indicator of the quality of your subject line.
 
Open rates were relatively flat, dropping on Fridays.
 
Overall, I believe that few of my readers reported these emails as spam.
 
I attribute this positive outcome to the non-promotional nature of the copy, even though the emails were clearly promoting our email list, workshop and webinar.
 
Hypothesis: “Sending frequent email would reduce my ability to deliver email due to spam reports.” False
 

Conclusions

 
With some simple analytics in place, we can pretty easily establish the ideal frequency of our email campaigns. Based on these results, we should be sending email more frequently. You will probably come to the same result. However, we tested a certain kind of email with this experiment; an email that is informational and entertaining as well as promotional. This style of email requires a bit more work and creativity on our part.
 
The payoff is quite clear.
 
Email is a more effective channel in a B2B sale than is social media. It is also a great way to get more out of your search engine and advertising traffic. When you get an email address, you get a second chance at the sale. And a third, fourth and fifth chance.
 
For the complete content of the emails sent during this experiment, and the results of some split tests conducted, visit

Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission

Warning: this information will make you a more successful marketer, but may also put your immediate job in jeopardy.

science experimentTo be a true hero, you must have two things:

        

  1. An arch nemesis
  2.     

  3. A secret

Unfortunately for those of us in marketing, our nemesis is often the organization in which we work; that Dilbert inspired, plodding structure full of people that think they know how to market. Such a beast is often resistant to our most powerful weapons, such as positive results.
The best way to defeat such a daunting foe is through patience and stealth. As marketers, we must build our strength, our knowledge and our skills.

Your Secret Lab

I propose that you consider building your own secret laboratory, your own Xanadu. This is the place you go to explore new marketing strategies and ask questions that others may not have the guts to ask.
Questions like:

        

  • What if we used more copy on our landing pages?
  •     

  • What if we tried an interesting headline?
  •     

  • Would audio or video increase our conversion rates?
  •     

  • Will social media work in our business?

These are the questions that take time to sell internally, especially when you don’t have the data. These are the concepts that IT is designed to thwart.
It’s time to unshackle yourself. Build your own conversion laboratory.

Rules of Engagement

Now, as heroes, we want to do good in the world. This means doing no harm to our organization’s brand. We don’t want to work against our organizations already plodding attempts to communicate.
We want to minimize cost – most of us aren’t Bruce Wayne – and maximize automation. This will make our time in the lab most productive.
I cover all of the guidelines in my Search Engine Land column Setting Up Your Own Conversion Lab, Part 1.

Beakers, Bunsen Burners and Mass Spectrometers

We are fortunate to have many of the tools needed in our lab available for free or at low cost.
You will need tools to:

        

  • Create and host content of many types.
  •     

  • Put measurement equipment in place
  •     

  • Heat up your experiments with traffic sources
  •     

  • Select the right content management system to host your experiments

I make specific recommendations in Your Secret Conversion Lab, Part 2.

Cape and tights are not required

It may be tempting the done a hero’s uniform once you begin to feel the power of what you learn in your lab. Honestly, It’s best to stay under the radar.
Let us know which tools you find in your lab in the comments, and please share any interesting results you get from your experiments.
P.S. Want to know what to test in your lab? Get my Notes from the Lab and see what I’m up to.
Photo courtesy hberends

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?

Conversion-Scientist-Podcast-Logo-1400x1400


Subscribe to Podcast

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

 

Spend precious Web resources on the smart stuff

If you follow The Conversion Scientist, you will have dutifully put an analytics package in place on your Web site, such as Google Analytics, Woopra, Clicky or SiteMeter.
This doesn’t mean that the information has helped you improve your Web site. Let’s change that.
Let me introduce you to Web analytics in a way that will help you get more leads and more sales from your site. Web Analytics are only helpful if they help you spend your time and money in the right places; the places that help you sell more.
I’m going to be presenting a two-hour seminar on Web Analytics for the Austin Entrepreneur Network on Friday, January 15. You need to come to this, because I rarely work this cheap – it’s only $25.