Challenges All E-commerce Sites Face and How to Solve Them

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Challenges All E-commerce Sites Face and How to Solve Them

Despite fierce competition, e-commerce sites tend to encounter a common set of challenges, especially when not properly planned and executed. Some site owners are so overwhelmed by these issues that they decide to suspend operations altogether.

These challenges however, are not unique to young e-commerce sites. Even the most established sites, including Amazon and eBay, still face these concerns on a daily basis. The difference between established sites and those that have left the game lies in the way these issues are addressed. 

In this overview, we’ll 

a) take a look at the most common problems e-commerce sites face and 

b) how you can solve them.

Delivering a true omnichannel experience

Customers expect to have the option to shop and interact with their favorite retailers on different platforms. They want to be able to place an order on an e-commerce site, track the status of their order using a mobile app, call a customer service hotline to ask a question about their purchase, exchange it for another item at a brick-and-mortar store, leave a review on Yelp, and get regular updates on upcoming sales or promotions through email.

Challenges All E-commerce Sites Face and How to Solve Them

 

Source: Packaging Strategies

This approach to e-commerce is called an omnichannel experience. It allows customers to reach your brand whenever and wherever they wish. If your business isn’t moving toward offering an omnichannel presence, it risks getting left behind by the competition. Here are some steps you can take to form an omnichannel strategy:

  • Identify key channels: If your company is just starting with e-commerce or is gradually scaling up its online presence, you may start with a few channels first. Identify the channels that your customers prefer. These may include phone, email, social media (and live chat), messaging apps, or in-app communication. You need to integrate these channels and ensure that the content and tone of voice is consistent. You may even use chatbots to automate your responses to common customer inquiries.
  • Use context to respond correctly: Your e-commerce platform has a wealth of data about customer transactions. Performing real-time analytics will help you determine the next steps to take whenever a customer gets in touch with your brand. For example, when an existing customer logs into your e-commerce site, the site should be able to access their purchase history, even the transactions made in-store, and come up with relevant suggestions.

Creating a true omnichannel experience may seem complicated, but this need not be the case. The best ecommerce platform for your business will be able to integrate with the different channels you’re already using and make customer data readily available for these channels to utilize.

Shopping cart abandonment

Abandoned shopping carts (where people put items in their cart but fail to check out) are relatively rare in physical stores but present a big problem when it comes to e-commerce. An abandoned shopping cart means lost opportunity costs. Most of the time, a high cart abandonment rate indicates a poorly-designed e-commerce site or unnecessarily complicated processes.

The good news is that you can reduce cart abandonment and get more of your customers to click on “Checkout”. These simple strategies will get you started:

  • Increase the page load speed: One study shows that e-commerce conversion rates go down by 7% for every second delay in page loading. To reduce the page loading time, we recommend optimizing the images on the checkout page, removing unnecessary HTML code, or limiting social plugins.
  • Implement an exit intent pop-up: An exit intent pop-up displays when detecting that a page visitor is about to close the browser tab. You may use this pop-up to offer incentive deals or discounts, or promote new items to keep the customer on the website.
  • Send cart abandonment emails: Some customers abandon their shopping carts because of technical issues beyond their control and forget all about their transactions. Sending a cart abandonment email featuring high converting email copy will remind them of their pending purchase and give them an express lane to complete their orders. Send one email within one or two hours after the cart abandonment, then follow up after 24 hours if the customer still doesn’t push through with the purchase.

With so many competing options available, you need a compelling reason for your customers to stay on your website or come back and complete a transaction. Cart abandonment doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship with your customer. When you handle cart abandonment properly, it will lead to higher revenue and better customer loyalty.

Keeping customers loyal and engaged

According to Forbes, attracting a new customer costs up to 5 times more than retaining an existing one. While we’re not telling you to abandon new customer acquisition, you need to rethink your customer retention strategy. At the very least, you should exert as much effort on keeping your customers loyal to your brand as you do on attracting new ones.

Building trust and loyalty among your customers isn’t something you can do overnight. The first step in establishing trust is to ensure that your customer service processes are efficient, from ordering to shipping to after-sales service. Even if you have a good product, you can’t expect your customers to stay loyal to it if your customer service is lacking.

Aside from providing superior customer care, you also have to engage your customers and keep them interested in your business. Posting relevant articles to your company blog, for example, will help your customers identify market trends and position your brand as a thought leader. Publishing instructional content will allow your customers to get the most out of your product and solve the pain points that led them to your brand in the first place.

Loyalty programs are also a great way to build customer loyalty. Implementing a loyalty program achieves two goals. First, you get to reward your top customers for sticking with your business. Second, you encourage them to buy from your business more often or to refer you to their contacts, generating even more revenue and possibly converting them into repeat customers.

Attracting quality traffic and increasing conversions

Building a shiny new e-commerce website is the easy part of running an online business. Attracting quality traffic – users who are likely to make a purchase – is more challenging. According to conversion rate optimization firm Invesp, the global website conversion rate is around 4.3%, while for the U.S, only 2.63% of site visits result in conversions.

E-commerce conversion rates vary across countries and industries. If your business is performing at a lower rate than the average site, it needs to attract customers who are ready and willing to buy. You may try the following strategies to increase conversion:

  • Focus on high-converting channels: A significant number of non-converting visits come from channels populated with customers who are not interested in your product or are not in your target market. Social media, for instance, is not so efficient at getting customers to convert because it casts a very wide net. An email newsletter, on the other hand, is relatively effective because it reaches people who have previously indicated an interest in your brand, either by downloading content from your website or signing up to your mailing list.
  • Promote your best-selling products: Within your site, different products will have different conversion rates. Using a page analytics tool will help you identify which product pages have the highest traffic and the most conversions. These types of insights can help you determine the products you need to promote. For example, if you run a lighting fixture store and your page insights say that chandeliers perform better than pendant lights, you may feature chandeliers prominently on your home page and enjoy higher conversions.
  • Use long-tail keywords for improved SEO: If your customers can easily find you via Google, they are more likely to visit your website. Optimizing your website and product pages for long-tail keywords (specific phrases with more than two words) will attract customers who know exactly what they need. For example, the keyword “transistor radio” will lead you to the Wikipedia page on the subject, but the keyword “RCA portable AM/FM radio” shows this Amazon product page in the top three results because it is optimized specifically for that keyword:

Attracting traffic to your e-commerce site is good, but if your site visitors don’t make a purchase, you are not attracting the right kind of traffic. Focusing on high-converting channels, promoting your bestsellers, and optimizing your product pages for long-tail keywords will help you target visitors who are more likely to convert. This is referred to as the Quality-over-Quantity rule.

Challenges All E-commerce Sites Face and How to Solve Them

Choosing the right technology solution providers

Between two or more businesses offering the same type of product, the one that stands out is often the company that has chosen its technology solution providers well. Many online retailers encounter difficulties with growing their business because the solutions they chose were not easily scalable or because they engaged the wrong partners to manage their operations.

Technology is one of the bedrocks of business growth. You need to choose the right solutions for all facets of your business, such as collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), order management and fulfillment, inventory management, website analytics, email marketing, and finance and accounting.

In this sense, “the right solutions” does not just mean software that offers all the bells and whistles. For small businesses, it may also mean integrations with existing software, user-friendliness, and low costs. For example, some businesses may need specialized bookkeeping software, especially if they handle large volumes of complex transactions. Others choose to start with cheaper Quickbooks alternatives for simpler transactions then upgrade when they can afford it and it becomes necessary.

In addition to choosing the right software, hiring the wrong partners for software maintenance and project management may adversely affect your growth. You may think you’re saving money by hiring someone with a very low cost, but in the long run, you may end up paying more for software repairs and data recovery on top of the sunk costs of system downtime. Select a partner that has a proven track record in implementing the solutions you need and is able to provide assistance as soon as you detect an issue with your solutions.

Conclusion

Operating an e-commerce website brings challenges that are different from those you encounter while operating a physical store or another type of business. As your business expands, addressing these challenges will help you convert them into opportunities for generating more revenue and establishing customer loyalty.

The way that you deal with problems will determine the direction your business will take. Focusing on the customer, offering a true omnichannel experience, attracting quality traffic, and partnering with the right technology partners will help you take your business to the next level.

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Author

Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO of Shift4Shop, a completely free, enterprise-grade ecommerce solution. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.

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Scalable Analytics: High Traffic Website Measurement

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Scalable Analytics; High Traffic Website Measurement

Understanding Change

Now available: Real-time high volume traffic reporting. Think hundreds of thousands, millions of visitors and page views! We have made our Most Popular Pages report on-demand.

We start this article with a quote from the Xoriant blog which discusses architectural considerations for high traffic web portals:

“To withstand the heavy traffic, the system should primarily be scalable, be highly available and should be able to intelligently delegate/distribute the traffic to improve the overall performance.”

The Solution

This development project was accomplished with two technologies: Hadoop and Cassandra. The result is a fast, scalable, cutting-edge engine which is built on a platform characterised as “infinitely scalable”. We have tested this claim successfully with millions of pageviews per day on a single site.

This cloud-processing model is used by companies such as Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Facebook (it’s Facebook technology – Facebook started Cassandra). This technology is now available to all users of Opentracker.

Case Study

An online newspaper with millions of daily visitors spoke with us. They needed to know what stories are getting the most play on their website. They need this information now, in real-time, from minute to minute. This information will let them manage content and maximize advertising potential. The website content editors need to know what their readers are interested in.

Findings : 

Tools are needed to manage the traffic flow and also to manage the content people are looking for. For example, to produce or purchase more content if interest is growing. Websites also need to take advantage of traffic streams to generate revenue by displaying appropriate advertising. They also need to take advantage of opportunities by informing potential advertisers about opportunities.

The same scenario applies to social media sites, traffic portals, sports sites, television, media, video entertainment content providers (think Youtube, NFL, or HBO), gambling and adult content sites. This information is critical for managing content and advertising streams. Robust, scalable, traffic measurement is absolutely critical. Traffic movement can be volatile on the internet, the world’s attention span is dynamic, take a look at Twitter over a 24-hour period to get an idea. Millions of visitors can come and go within the space of an hour or less. Visitors are interested in different areas like international news, world sports championship events, large-scale media events, gossip, celebrities, movies, hollywood, etc.

Conclusion 

The reporting technology will deliver the capability to see where traffic attention shifts, as it happens. This reporting will give web masters the ability to monitor network traffic loads where scale is an issue.

Q: Who is this technology meant for?
A: Anybody who needs to know what is happening on a website while it happens. People who manage site with fluctuation and traffic spikes. People who need to make decisions based on visitor behaviour.

This technology is ready to deliver. Contact us for details and pricing

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How to Run Google Ads

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How To Run Google Ads

CONTENTS

  1. Vocabulary
  2. What are Google Ads
  3. Setting Up Your Ad

VOCABULARY

  1. Objective – What you want the ad to accomplish
  2. Keyword – a google search that is related to your product (what a customer might type to find your product)
  3. CTR (Click-through-rate) – the percentage of people that click on your ad after seeing it

WHAT ARE GOOGLE ADS?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords, is an online advertising platform. Google ads can work for any product or service because people search Google for almost any and everything.

One strong suit of Google Ads is that the system is centered around showing your ads to people who are ALREADY looking for a solution that your product or something similar will offer, as opposed to a lot of other forms of advertisement that may show it to people way outside your target audience.

The pricing system is pay-per-click (PPC). This means that you do not pay except the ad actually gets people to click on it and get to your chosen landing page/website. You can set your maximum bid for each click (Google Ads pricing works with a bidding system) and Google Ads will not spend more than that from your account. Payment could be CPC cost-per-click, CPM (cost-per-mille i.e. cost per 1000 impressions) or CPE (cost-per-engagement).

Google Ads, generally, averages an 8% click-through rate. With almost 250 million  different visitors and about 700 million dollars return on investment from the 2.3 million searches that Google gets every second, you can be sure that there are a lot of potential customers on the platform for your brand or business. The exception is that Google Ads does not support ads for products or services that are:

  • Dangerous e.g. weapons, recreational drugs
  • Inappropriate or offensive e.g. bullying and racial discrimination
  • Advocative of dishonest practices e.g. hacking software, fake documents

Types of Google Ads

There are five different types (also called campaigns) of google-ads namely: 

1. Search: These are the types, in text form, you see at the top of the result page when you make a google search. Ads can also be created to appear in Google Maps.

2. Display: These show up on Gmail and other websites that are a part of the GDN (Google Display Network) like youtube, gmail. etc. alongside relevant content, Google Display Networks have 180 million impressions per month. 

3. Shopping campaigns: These can show off your products with images and include links to your business page.

Source: Search Engine Land

4. Video: Ads shown on YouTube by the side bar and also placed when playing videos.


5. App: These promote your app on Google Search, YouTube, Google Play and other platforms to advertise to the right people.


 

Objectives of Google Ads

You can choose the goal you want to accomplish for your brand from the list of laid out objectives that will be shown to you in the process of setting up your ad. This list is comprised of the following:

  1. Sales
  2. Leads
  3. Website Traffic
  4. Product and Brand Consideration
  5. Brand Awareness
  6. App Promotion

 

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SETTING UP YOUR ADs

There are 3 stages to setting up your Google Ads Ad:

  • Create Campaign
  • Create Ad group
  • Create Ad in Ad Group

Before you start creating your campaign, it’s best you do some research on the most effective keywords for your niche.

There is a tool in Google Adwords that can help you do this, but you must have created your first campaign to have access to it. It’s called ’Google Ads Keywords’.

You can create a campaign, use the Keyword Planner and then edit your keywords for that ad. However, sites like keywords.io, ahref can help you with this before your first campaign is created.

  1. You must have a Gmail address to run a Google Ad.
  2. Go to Google Ads.com and click ‘Start Now’ at the top right corner of the page.
  3. At the bottom middle, click on “Switch to Expert Mode”

i. You’ll see an outline of different objectives. Select the one that is most relevant to you. For This example, ”Website Traffic”

a. Select web-site traffic.
b. Select the type of ad you want to run e.g. ‘search-based’
c. Input your website
d. Click continue.

e.Create your campaign

    1. Name your campaign (this won’t show on the ad)
    2. Deselect ‘search-network’ and ‘display-network’ if you don’t want your ad shown on the sidebar of other websites outside Google. Since Google seems to be more effective than its search partners, unchecking this box should save you some money.
    3. Set your start-date and end-date. If you don’t set an end-date, the ad will continue to run and you will continue to be charged.
    4. Select the location(s) where you want people to see your ad e.g. your country. (the more specific you are, the more the ad might cost you).

Instead of typing in a specific location, you can also set the ad to run within a specific-mile radius from a particular point e.g. a 30-mile radius from your store.

    1. Select the language you want your ad displayed in.
    2. Set your budget. You can start small and see how effective the ad is.  
      A very low budget like 1USD per day might not give you an accurate representation of how effective Google Ads is for your business because it is likely to afford you just a couple clicks.

You can set a maximum CPC. You can also experiment with this and see how it works .

Choosing accelerated means Google will spend your budget as quickly as possible, Standard means your budget will be spread over the course of your ad’s lifespan.

In additional settings, you can do things like set a time schedule for your ad to run, if you want it to run for specific periods during the day. You can also add more business information and your prices to your ad, amongst other things.

  1. Click ‘Save and Continue’.

f. Create an Ad Group

    1. Name your ad group (this won’t show up on the ad itself)
    2. Enter the phrases/keywords you want to trigger your ad. Once you have set up your account (which we’re doing right now), you’ll have access to Google Keyword Planner which will help subsequently in helping you choose the most precise and profitable keywords for your product or service.

There are also other tools that you can use to take the guesswork out of the game, even for your first attempt e.g. keywords.io

In inserting your keywords, you can type it in 4 different formats for 4 different effects, these effects are called ‘matches’.

      • Broad match: If you enter your keywords in this format: dresses for babies, it will give a broad match to those words and anything related e.g. baby clothes, baby things.
      • Modified broad match: In this format, you put the plus sign before words that you want to be in the Google search mandatorily e.g. +baby clothes (if someone searches ‘infant clothes’, the ad won’t show up) or baby +clothes (if the user types in ‘baby apparel’, the ad will not come up.
      • Phrase match: If you enter the keyword in quotation marks like so “dresses for babies”, it’ll give a narrower match to google searches that contain that exact phrase e.g. if someone searches ‘dresses for baby’, your ad won’t show up but if someone typed ‘colorful dresses for babies’ or ‘dresses for babies discount’, your ad will be displayed.
      • Exact match: Entering your keyword in square brackets allows a match with the exact phrase and no other additional word. It has been modified to include searches with synonyms or reordered phrases e.g. if your keyword is [dresses for babies], it will match with searches that say ‘dresses for babies’, ‘dresses for infants’, ‘babies for dresses’.

Each keyword can be entered in multiple formats in one ad, if you so wish, for any reason.

A column on the side will show you an estimate of how many clicks you could get with those keywords and how much it would cost you.

    1. Click ‘Save and Continue’.

g. Create Ad

      1. You can use split-testing and split your budget between multiple ads under one ad group so you can see which one works best and continue to use that one in the future.

Tip: Make sure to assign tangible amounts of money to each ad so you can get an accurate reflection of its effectiveness.

      1. Insert your 2 headlines. Try something catchy, maybe add a

discount to the second headline.

      1. Insert your descriptions.
      2. Save and Continue.
      3. Insert payment info and if you have a promo code, insert that also.
      4. Submit.

Congratulations! You just created your first campaign.

Tools to optimize your Google Ad:

      1. Now that you’ve set up an ad, you can make use of the Google Keywords Planner Tool to optimize your ads.

Click on explore your campaign.

To create a new campaign, go to All Campaigns” and click on the plus sign.

      1. Monitor the insights that Google Ads gives you on how well ads are doing. This will help you understand what’s working and what’s not so you can further optimize your ads in the future and gain more bang for your buck.
      2. Negative keywords: These stop your ad from being shown in search results if someone uses certain words along with your keywords e.g. discount or babies if you don’t give discounts or sell clothes only for adults. It also stops Google from bidding your set price/budget against the advertisers that want to use that/those keywords.
        • Click on keywords
        • Add negative keywords
        • Save

You can also create a negative keywords list to use in the future by clicking ‘Explore Campaign’, then ‘Tools and settings’ then Negative keywords list. When you’ve named it and created the list (it can be one or two words long), click on it, then click on “Apply to Campaigns’ to apply it to all or some of your campaigns.

Tip: You can use Ubersuggest.io to find negative keywords for your brand

      1. Google keyword planner:
        • Click Explore Campaign
        • Click on tools and settings at the top-right corner of your screen
        • Click Keyword Planner. Two bars will come up.

-You can use the first to find new keywords, see how much each will cost you, how much competition each keyword has (you want to pick the ones with low competition but relatively high searches; compared to others on the list).
-The second bar will help you see potentially how well your ad might do -this will help you ‘discover new keywords’ that you can use and see how well existing keywords do for other ads e.g. the CPM (cost per 1000 impressions).

      1. When you click on a particular campaign, you can change certain settings like what types of devices your ads are shown on by clicking the tab that says ‘devices’ on the lower left portion of the screen. Selecting the most likely option for your business removes the risk of your budget being used to show your ad on devices that are irrelevant to your business.

THINGS TO NOTE:

      1. You can choose to pause or even stop your ad at any point in time you so wish. You can even adjust your budget after it starts running.
      2. One campaign can have more than one ad group and one ad group can have more than one ad in it
      3. The more clicks you get, the less your CPC becomes.
      4. if you will be creating a large number of campaigns, you can use an app/tool called ‘Google Adwords Editor’ to help you out with managing them.
      5. If you’re managing multiple accounts for multiple clients, you need to first create a managers account.

You can then create your clients’ accounts under that and start from there. You can use one email for both the manager s account and up to 20 client accounts.

      1. To track conversions, you need to define what a conversion is to you: leads, sales, signups, phone calls from your settings. This will help you know which ad is working and which is not, know what time of day your ads are most effective etc.

Conclusion.

Remember Google shows your ad to who is looking for you. You have the ability to advertise to individuals that want to find you. This step-by-step guide covered the necessary knowledge you need to have before, during and after creating your first google ad. From Knowing the types of google ads, creating your campaign account, drafting your ad, picking a suitable keyword to tracking and measuring your first google ads.

 
 
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Bounce Rate and Click-through Rate

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Bounce Rate and Click-through Rate

 

In this article you will find discussion and definitions of:

  • Bounce rate
  • Click-through rate

You will also find information about:

  • What bounce rate will tell you
  • Why bounce rate is important

And, how to use bounce rate to:

  • Improve your site
  • Measure the effect of content changes

What is Bounce Rate? (bouns rāt) n.

The bounce rate for the homepage, or any other page through which visitors enter your site, tells you how many people ‘bounce’ away (leave) from your site after viewing one page.

So, if the bounce rate from your homepage is 30% (which is relatively low), that means that 30% of your visitors ‘bounce away’ from your homepage.

The concept is designed to tell you how your homepage performs. Keep in mind that different types of resources, for example, products, services, or information, will have different bounce rates and usage patterns.

Conversion Rate

Two goals of email marketing are to get more people to sign up to a newsletter and, needless to say, boost your sales. Unfortunately most email service providers do not offer conversion rate metrics. Instead, you will have to use Google Analytics or a tool like Omnisend.

Your conversion rate is one of the most important things to assess. If you boast a great conversion rate, it is a sign that your email campaign is targeting the right group. What’s more, it is also an indication that your offer is attractive and that people are convinced by your copy to take action.

Return On Investment (ROI)

You have probably spent some money on your email marketing campaign. In that case, you would like to work out if you have gained anything, right? You can assess if your email marketing campaign has been successful by working out the return on investment (ROI). The formula is very simple: take what you have gained (in other words, the sum of all the sales that you have made via your email marketing campaigns) and subtract what you have spent (like the fee of your marketers and copywriters). Then, divide this answer by what you have spent (yes, the same amount that you used earlier) and you will get your ROI percentage.

Unsubscribe Rate

The reality is that you will always have subscribers who choose to hit that unsubscribe button. That being said, luckily, on average only about 0.25% of subscribers choose to unsubscribe. Though, if your e-commerce business has loads more who opt to unsubscribe, it could be that your content is too promotional or one-sided or that you are simply sending emails too often.

Wrapping Up

You can only manage your email marketing campaign effectively, if you take the time to analyze the metrics. Start by looking at your open rate to determine if your subject lines need more attention, while your click-through rate will help to determine if the rest of your copy needs to be improved. Whatever you do, do not send emails too frequently! While it may be tempting, your spam and bounce rate will only suffer.

 

Conversion Rate

Two goals of email marketing are to get more people to sign up to a newsletter and, needless to say, boost your sales. Unfortunately most email service providers do not offer conversion rate metrics. Instead, you will have to use Google Analytics or a tool like Omnisend.

Your conversion rate is one of the most important things to assess. If you boast a great conversion rate, it is a sign that your email campaign is targeting the right group. What’s more, it is also an indication that your offer is attractive and that people are convinced by your copy to take action.

Return On Investment (ROI)

You have probably spent some money on your email marketing campaign. In that case, you would like to work out if you have gained anything, right? You can assess if your email marketing campaign has been successful by working out the return on investment (ROI). The formula is very simple: take what you have gained (in other words, the sum of all the sales that you have made via your email marketing campaigns) and subtract what you have spent (like the fee of your marketers and copywriters). Then, divide this answer by what you have spent (yes, the same amount that you used earlier) and you will get your ROI percentage.

Unsubscribe Rate

The reality is that you will always have subscribers who choose to hit that unsubscribe button. That being said, luckily, on average only about 0.25% of subscribers choose to unsubscribe. Though, if your e-commerce business has loads more who opt to unsubscribe, it could be that your content is too promotional or one-sided or that you are simply sending emails too often.

Wrapping Up

You can only manage your email marketing campaign effectively, if you take the time to analyze the metrics. Start by looking at your open rate to determine if your subject lines need more attention, while your click-through rate will help to determine if the rest of your copy needs to be improved. Whatever you do, do not send emails too frequently! While it may be tempting, your spam and bounce rate will only suffer.

 

Conversion Rate

Two goals of email marketing are to get more people to sign up to a newsletter and, needless to say, boost your sales. Unfortunately most email service providers do not offer conversion rate metrics. Instead, you will have to use Google Analytics or a tool like Omnisend.

Your conversion rate is one of the most important things to assess. If you boast a great conversion rate, it is a sign that your email campaign is targeting the right group. What’s more, it is also an indication that your offer is attractive and that people are convinced by your copy to take action.

Return On Investment (ROI)

You have probably spent some money on your email marketing campaign. In that case, you would like to work out if you have gained anything, right? You can assess if your email marketing campaign has been successful by working out the return on investment (ROI). The formula is very simple: take what you have gained (in other words, the sum of all the sales that you have made via your email marketing campaigns) and subtract what you have spent (like the fee of your marketers and copywriters). Then, divide this answer by what you have spent (yes, the same amount that you used earlier) and you will get your ROI percentage.

Unsubscribe Rate

The reality is that you will always have subscribers who choose to hit that unsubscribe button. That being said, luckily, on average only about 0.25% of subscribers choose to unsubscribe. Though, if your e-commerce business has loads more who opt to unsubscribe, it could be that your content is too promotional or one-sided or that you are simply sending emails too often.

Wrapping Up

You can only manage your email marketing campaign effectively, if you take the time to analyze the metrics. Start by looking at your open rate to determine if your subject lines need more attention, while your click-through rate will help to determine if the rest of your copy needs to be improved. Whatever you do, do not send emails too frequently! While it may be tempting, your spam and bounce rate will only suffer.

 

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How can I improve my bounce rate?

As a first step, consider updating your entry pages to decrease the bounce rate. Start with your homepage. Think about the old adage that “first impressions are the most important”.

Websites do not get a second chance to make an impression. If you are expending energy to attract visitors, you should be putting at least as much energy into keeping them, if not more.

Use a visitor tracking service to find out what search terms people are using to find your site: if visitors are leaving quickly, make sure that your content and search terms are well-matched; the cause of a high bounce rate may be that visitors are not finding what they expected.

Check your exit pages to see where most of your visitors are leaving and try to determine why they leave, especially if that is not where you intend them to leave from.

What is Click-through rate?

Click-through rate (or click-thru rate) tells you how many people are clicking through to your site from a third-party. For example from a link, search engine, banner, advertising or email campaign.
Your click-through rate tells you the success of your campaigns. Use this knowledge to determine which strategy is the most effective and focus your energy there.

Use bounce rate to measure the effect of content changes

A good way to make use of your bounce rate stats is to measure the efficacy of content changes. When you make a content change, record your bounce rate. Then make a comparison after a week and see if you are encouraging visitors to move further into your site.

The bounce rate stats that we have designed can also tell you how far into your site visitors are surfing. We have designed a bounce rate feature that graphically shows how many people bounce after viewing, for example, three pages.

To view an example of a bounce rate, login to our demo, and view the Opentracker.net bounce rate statistics.

There are many theories about how to draw visitors further into your site. Make sure that your clickpaths are intuitive, and lead visitors further into your site. Some analysts suggest that this is best accomplished by orienting your site more towards browsing visitors than searching visitors, and ‘pulling’ them deeper to explore your content, instead of ‘pushing’ them directly to specific information.

Further reading:

And an article by Steve DiPietro, the man we believe coined the phrase ‘bounce rate’, way back last century, in 1998:

Glossary:

Bounce rate
Click through rate

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Access Facebook user profile data with FB Login

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Access Facebook user profile data with FB Login

 

Use Facebook user profile data to populate your analytics reports

visitor profile with gender from facebookHave you ever wanted to have in-depth details about your website visitors or app users?

If your users “login with Facebook” and login to your site with their Facebook credentials, you can access valuable profile data.

In this article, we will discuss and explain two topics

a) How to access Facebook visitor data and 
b) How to insert it this data into your Opentracker web analytics reports.

This data is available when a visitor/ user is logged in with Facebook login details.

Q: How does it work?
A: When your visitors login to your site or app with their Facebook identity, you collect user information which you can access via our api. This information can then be shown in the Opentracker reporting system, and populate Visitor Profiles.
Additionally, you can then search through all of your data to match or locate any visitors or variables that interest you.

Furthermore, note that due to the technical nature of this article, knowledge on javascript and Facebook api [1] are required. In this example, we will collect information on the visitor’s gender.

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The Javascript used to collect visitor Facebook profile information


function login() {
    FB.login(function(response) {
        if (response.authResponse) {

            // connected
            console.log("FB.login connected");
            window.location.reload();

        } else {

            // cancelled
            console.log("FB.login cancelled");
        }
    },
    fbscope);
}

window.fbAsyncInit = function() {
    FB.init({
        appId: '123456789012345',

        // App ID
        channelUrl: '//staging.pdfmyurl.com/facebook.channel.html',

        // Channel File
        status: true,

        // check login status
        cookie: true,

        // enable cookies to allow the server to access the session
        xfbml: true // parse XFBML
    });

    // Additional init code here
    FB.getLoginStatus(function(response) {
        if (response.status === 'connected') {

            // connected
            console.log("FB.getLoginStatus connected");
            sendUserInfo();

        } else if (response.status === 'not_authorized') {

            // not_authorized
            // User logged into FB but not authorized
            console.log("FB.getLoginStatus not_authorized");

        } else {

            // not_logged_in
            // User not logged into FB
            console.log("FB.getLoginStatus not_logged_in");
        }
    });
};

function sendUserInfo() {
    FB.api('/me', function(response) {

        //console.log("my object: %o", response);
        var map = new OTMap();

        //map.put("username!", response.username);
        map.put("gender!", response.gender);

        OTLogService.sendEvent("user logged in", map);
    });
}

The above javascript code snippet is triggered when a user clicks on a login button on your website. When the user has logged in via the pop up window, and successfully authorized, a custom event is sent to opentracker [7]. Note the exclamation mark on the map key. This is the start of the journey to collect user information on your site. To learn more about what user information can be collected, please refer to the facebook api [8] [9] [10]. Here are a few examples from the facebook api [2] [3] [4] [5].
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In order to see what data has been collected for your site, login to http://ot3.opentracker.net and navigate to visitor online and visitor clickstream. Below are screenshots illustrating the example from this article, implemented in the Opentracker reporting system. Please note that the gender has appeared in the visitor profile.

clickstream with gender and login status

The illustration above shows us Opentracker visitor engagement reporting with clickstream enhanced visitor profile including a visitor gender.
full clickstream detail with gender and login status from facebook

The illustration above gives us two pieces of information: the gender and the login status (login event), derived using a “login with facebook” event.

Full screen Facebook user-data in Opentracker clickstream

References

[1]  https://developers.facebook.com/apps/

[2]  https://web.archive.org/web/20200203213418/http://www.fbrell.com/auth/account-info

[3]  https://web.archive.org/web/20200129213616/http://www.fbrell.com/fb.api/does-like

[4]  https://web.archive.org/web/20171226151555/http://www.fbrell.com/fb.api/everyone-data

[5]  https://web.archive.org/web/20161106191718/http://www.fbrell.com/fb.api/friends

[6]  http://pdfmyurl.com/js/facebook.js

[7]  http://api.opentracker.net/api/inserts/browser/javascript_implementation.jsp

[8]  https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/javascript/FB.api/

[9]  https://fbdevwiki.com/wiki/FB.api

[10]  https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/javascript/

Articles & White-papers

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Marketing Campaigns: Creating Highly Effective Promotions

, ,

Marketing campaigns: Creating highly effective promotions

This is the ultimate guide to crafting online marketing campaigns that converts traffic to clients. This article is written to get you high ROI from organic and paid marketing.

Do you want a highly effective marketing campaign that delivers quality traffic that converts to paying customers? This article is for online businesses who want to attract prospects & qualified traffic that converts to happy customers.

1. What you will learn in this article

In this article we address marketing campaigns. For starters we provide the definition of a marketing campaign. We provide some background history. We outline developments in internet advertising which set the playing field. There is a list of ten steps to plan a perfect marketing campaign. We discuss the challenges marketeers face; what makes it difficult to launch a successful marketing campaign. We discuss options specific to LinkedInGoogle, and Facebook.

To give value, we provide tools for improving your chances of launching a successful marketing campaign and seeing a return on your investment. Learn more by watching this video.

Table of contents:

  1. What you will learn in this article
  2. Definition of a marketing campaign
  3. Best way to plan a marketing campaign
  4. Problem (issue) the difficulty of launching a campaign in today’s environment
  5. Potential solution – use measurement for data-driven campaign planning and execution
  6. Recent developments in the history of marketing campaigns
  7. The current landscape – challenges facing marketers – better targeting
  8. Avoid spend without ROI
  9. Measure and Increase Chances of Measurable Success
  10. Conclusion

2. definition of a marketing campaign

The definition of a marketing campaign is an effort to publicize new or existing products and services through established channels using advertising and marketing materials. A typical combination of media might include email, social media, pay-per-click, and print, television or radio advertising.
dictionary for marketing campaign

The main goals of a marketing campaign should be to drive traffic, improve brand awareness, and increase market share through additional sales.

3. best way to plan a marketing campaign

This list of ten modern Best Practice will help you create an exceptional data-driven marketing campaign.

Ten steps: the best way to plan and run a successful marketing campaign. The process from campaign launch to leads.

  1. define your marketing campaign goals
  2. define measurement metrics for your marketing campaign goals
  3. build your call-to-action – what do you want people to do
  4. plan the work flow – where will visitors land – build and test your landing page(s)
  5. outline campaign goals: define success – the minimum numbers needed for ROI
  6. determine your marketing campaign budget
  7. asset production: prepare your message and offers
  8. identify marketing campaign channels
  9. identify target personas
  10. measure results: monitor conversion closely once the campaign is launched

4. The difficulty of launching a successful marketing campaign in today’s environment

On the face of it, this should not be so complicated. At the moment however, many people are losing money on marketing campaigns. It’s become increasingly difficult to guarantee success or even positive ROI outcome in today’s landscape. The point of a marketing campaign should be to: use a formula to put in Spend and get out Desired Outcome. At the moment however, we see people spending money and losing it.

Question: what is the current problem with launching marketing campaigns?
Answer: the complications and uncertainty involved in predicting success, or even break-even outcome

5. Potential solution – use measurement for data-driven campaign planning and execution

Question: what is the solution?

Answer: social web and mobile analytic data now available for measuring marketing efforts allows you to deliver data-driven campaigns. This increases the chances of a successful outcome. Identify your ideal target buyer personas and use data to target them. Marketing can target them with content. Once they are engaged, leads can be passed on to Sales. Use metrics to manage and improve the process.

As with many strategic business decisions, fail to plan = plan to fail. Here is a list of campaign components you will need to plan:

Options (channels, platforms)
Audience (target buyer persona)
Workflow (call-to-action)
Plan (budget and objectives)
Mechanisms to track and monitor success (test, deploy, monitor, adjust, repeat)

Uncle Sam's marketing campaign

6. Recent developments in the history of marketing campaigns

Ten years ago, it was relatively easy to launch a marketing campaign. Instead of becoming easier, things have become more complicated. The current landscape is a moving target. It is very hard to guarantee ROI. There are many unknowns; targeting has become both standard and increasingly expensive, to the point of being cost-prohibitive. An additional challenge is designing measurement correctly so you can both pivot and measure conversion. In other words plan for and define the desired outcome.

Some historical background

Advertising and Marketing is an ancient and noble art. A bronze plate advertising a needle shop during the Song dynasty in China a thousand years ago is considered our first advertising medium. Trademarks have been around for up to 4,000 years, in the form of marks and seals. The first advertising agency in the U.S. was founded in Philadelphia in 1840. Think of campaigns such as ‘Uncle Sam wants you’ and ‘Got Milk?’ which have become part of our cultural lexicon. [insert image – Uncle Sam Wants you / Got Milk?]

7. The current landscape – challenges facing marketers – better targeting

Fast forward to the 1990s and the introduction of search engines which allowed for targeting based on search queries. Today, the problem situation is:

  1. the major players are Google Facebook, and LinkedIn
  2. the marketplace for launching campaigns is a shifting landscape
  3. this is further complicated by the fact that lead generation involves several delicate steps
  4. Google and LinkedIn are no longer for testing – they are expensive
  5. You need to be an expert in many fields – ie LinkedIn / Facebook / Adwords certified in order to compete. It takes many months – even a year, to become an expert – which costs money (or hire an agency due to complexity)

Context: a few years ago, Facebook started by copying Google, in allowing you to target ads. Six months ago, for example, you could not target niches on LinkedIn.

Now, Facebook is copying LinkedIn, allowing you to target professions/ professionals using lead ads. Meanwhile, LinkedIn offers targeting via firmographic demographics.

8. Avoid spend without ROI

This may sound like a lot of opportunity, but many people try and fail, because a) prices have become so high and b) linking the technologies together is tricky. In other words, the outcome is a (high) cost without the desired outcome. It is necessary to configure attribution, conversion, and success in order to measure and repeat results. A structured plan will increase the chances of generating a positive ROI outcome because it will allow you to verify results, both good and bad.

9. Measure and Increase Chances of Measurable Success

In spite of uncertainty, by looking at these basics we can help you increase chance that ROI outcome is successful. You can minimise risk through planning. Using the

  • i. point 3. above: Ten steps to plan a Marketing Campaign
  • ii. planning how to measure and
  • iii. using metrics to update campaign elements and increase chances of successful outcome

10. Conclusion

Learn more by watching this video.

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Marketing Campaigns: Creating Highly Effective Promotions

Facebook Ads Vs Google Ads Vs Instagram Ads Vs Linkedin Ads: Which will get you better ROI

It’s no news that Advertisement has a huge impact on sales. Digital Advertising has made it a lot faster, easier and cheaper to advertise your products.


With the number of internet users being on a steady rise at 11 users per second daily, online advertisement is now one of the biggest ways to promote your products and table your offers. It should definitely be part of your content promotion plan.

The bottleneck with Digital Advertisement is picking the right platform to use, one that would give you the best returns.

It would be refreshing to know the platform with the best ROI for your business. 

Many Digital Marketing Experts have pounded on this, and after interviewing four digital marketing experts the answer still remains the same – it depends,  not the answer you’re looking for but read on.

Picking the best platform for your business depends on a number of factors, like the kind of business, the goal of the business at that given time and your budget. This is because these applications were launched at different times, for different purposes and dissimilar consumer profiles.

In this article, we’ll make the task of choosing or not choosing a platform less daunting by giving you an actionable strategy to use when choosing an advertising channel and also by comparing Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Linkedin Advertising Platforms; based on their features, cons, pros, most expensive, the platform with the most views and benefits with respect to years of research and experience of Digital Marketing Gurus.

Comparing Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Instagram Ads.

The Ad Formats

Google

With Google Ads, you can target ads based on what users are searching for on Google, your ad can be in the form of text, image, video or call. You can also narrow who sees your ad by adding age, gender, demographics and country. 

  • Text: You can advertise your product or service by targeting search keywords and phrases. For instance; if you’re a legal lawyer in California looking to advertise your service on google. You target keywords such as “legal lawyers in California” or “I need a legal lawyer in California”. So when someone searches for the picked term your ad shows on the result page like so; 

With google text ads choosing the right search term to target for is prime. You want a phrase with the right volume and audience for your business.


  • Image: You can use static or interactive graphics or animated ads(.gif and flash format) to place your ads on businesses that partner with google on their website or app. 
  • Video: Google places your video ad on YouTube or across google’s video partner sites depending on your goal, settings, and type of content you want to promote.

    

  • Call:  Google drives phone calls to your business with ads that include your phone number. People can click on these ads and then call your business directly.                    
  • Product cart Ads: Your Ad will be displayed to people shopping online for that product or related products.                                                   

Facebook

With Facebook , You can target Facebook ads based on their age, gender, languages, activities they perform on the app, or lookalike audience (ie profiles that are identical to your existing customer profile.).With Facebook ads, you can showcase your ads using an image, video, carousel, slideshow, instant experience, and collection.

  • Photo: Facebook allows you to show engaging photos on your targeted user’s feed, stories or even their Facebook messaging platform.

 

  • Video: You can showcase a video ad to your target profile on their feed or story. 
  • Playables: Playable ads offer people an interactive preview on Facebook before they download an app.

  • Instant Experiences: formerly known as Canvas, allow you to create a full-screen, fast-loading destination designed for mobile and add them to almost any ad format.

  • Slideshow: Slideshow ads are video-like ads made of motion, sound, and text.
  • Carousel: Carousel ads let you showcase up to ten images or videos in a single ad, each with its own link.

LinkedIn

You can target LinkedIn ads based on location, company name, company industry, size, the school they went to, years of experience of a particular skill, gender, target groups, and age.

  • Sponsored Content: This Ad type appears alongside content LinkedIn members curate for themselves. You can think of them as promoted posts, as they are essentially amplified versions of the links, media, or messaging you would normally share through your Company Page.
  • Sponsored InMail: You can use this feature for sending personalized messages to highly targeted recipients. Sponsored InMail only delivers to active LinkedIn members, there is no need to worry about messages bouncing or landing in abandoned inboxes. You can tailor your content directly to the audience, and a responsive design ensures that your CTA button is always visible on any device.
  • Text Ads: Linkedln displays this ad on the side rail or inline. It is only shown to desktop LinkedIn users.

Instagram

Instagram ads are identical to Facebook ads. You are able to target profiles based on demographics, gender, interest, behavior, lookalike audience, custom audience(people you know by inputting their email or phone number), automated targeting(they create a profile based on people they think would be interested in your product by their activities on the app). Their Ad format is the same as Facebook. Using Images and Videos on feed or story, Carousel, etc except for instant messaging instead they offer “ explore ads”.

  • Explore Ad: Showing ad Videos or images to people when they are on their Instagram explore page.

Average Cost.

The Average Cost depends on how much you are willing to spend. You have the ability to set a limit on the amount you want to use and see the result it will get you then decide if you need to invest more money or not.

Google: The average cost-per-click (CPC) on Google Ads is $1 to $2 for the Google Search Network and less than $1 for the Google Display Network(Advertising with google partners).

Facebook: If you’re measuring cost per click (CPC) Facebook advertising costs on average about $0.27 per click. If you’re measuring cost per thousand impressions (CPM), Facebook advertising costs about $7.19 CPM.

LinkedIn: On average, businesses pay $5.26 per click and $6.59 per 1000 impressions, as well as $0.80 per send for Sponsored InMail campaigns.

Instagram: On average, Instagram advertising costs between $0.20 to $6.70. For CPC or cost-per-click, advertisers pay $0.20 to $2 per click. For CPM or cost-per-impressions, advertisers pay $6.70 per 1000 impressions.

Audience Volume and Views.

Knowing the user volume and average views of an advertising platform is not so important. This is because their volume and views do not determine their user engagement rate with your ad.

I mean you won’t want to advertise on a platform with 0 views but even if a platform has 20,000 views and another has 200,000, your decision should still be based on if these views include your target audience because if not, you are advertising to people who are not interested in your product or service. In other words, you are wasting your time. You can advertise on a platform with 200,000 views and your conversion rate will be 0.1% and on a platform with 20,000, your conversion can be 2% depending on your customer profile.

Google: Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

Facebook: Facebook has a total of 2.5 billion monthly active users and 500 million Story viewers.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn has 627 million monthly users and 40% of monthly active users use LinkedIn daily.

Instagram: Instagram has 1billion monthly active users, 500 million+ story views daily and 4.2 billion photo likes per day.

Average Conversion Rate.

The conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. For example, if a site receives 200 visitors in a month and has 50 sales, the conversion rate would be 50 divided by 200, or 25%.

Facebook: Facebook has a conversion rate of around 9.21%, which is very high with respect to the number of users they have monthly.

Google: Google’s average conversion rate hovers around 3.48% for search ads, and .72% on the display network. Display ads, therefore, are really best suited for strong campaigns.

Linkedln: Linkedln has a conversion rate of 6.1% for sponsored posts, 3.48% for text ad and 2.5% for Inmail ads.

Instagram: Instagram has a conversion rate of 1.08%.

Average Click-through Rate.

Click-through rate is the rate at which your ads are clicked. This number is the percentage of people who view your ad (impressions) and then actually go on to click the ad (clicks). The formula for CTR looks like this:

(Total Clicks on Ad) / (Total Impressions) = Click-Through Rate

Google: Currently, the average click-through rate for search ads on Google is 1.91%. Whereas the average click-through rate for Google’s display network(Google partner websites, videos, and apps) is 0.35%.

Facebook: The average click-through rate for Facebook is 0.9%

LinkedIn: Presently, the average click-through rate for search ads on LinkedIn is 4.1% for text ads and 0.39% for sponsored content. LinkedIn is improving rapidly, hence the ctr is subject to constant change.

Instagram: The current average click-through rate for Instagram ads is 0.52%

Audience Type.

Google: Google’s audience type varies, old, young people all “google it”. Before advertising with google, the one time you ought to do is check the search term with the best ROI for you. This guide can help you.

Facebook: Facebook is actively used by individuals between 29-65 years, mostly college graduates. It’s a good place for B2B advertising, eCommerce and service-based ads.

Linkedln: Linkedin comprises majorly by individuals looking for job opportunities and others offering jobs and rarely for personal use, with their ages between 20- 50 years. It’s best for B2B content, Finance and it wouldn’t be so good for eCommerce.

Instagram: Instagram is used majorly by a younger audience, focused on small scale businesses, eCommerce and lifestyle.

Usability.

Ease of use is subjective and shouldn’t discourage you from using any advertising platform before using it yourself. According to reviews and digital experts; Facebook ads are the easiest to set up followed by Instagram, then google and finally Linkedin. Below are youtube videos on how to easily navigate and set up Ads on these platforms by Gurus in each field. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Linkedin Ads and Instagram Ads.

Customer Support.

This is important because anything can happen and it’s paramount that you are able to get reliable and fast support when it’s needed.

Google: Google has a customer support number which makes it very fast and you can also fill out their customer support forum to leave a message on their ad forum.

Facebook: You receive help from Facebook by visiting their help center where they have FAQs and also leave a message on their Facebook help community.

Instagram: You are able to reach Instagram by visiting their help center where they have FAQs and also leave a message in their support forum.

Linkedin: You can contact LinkedIn by going to their help center for FAQs and also by leaving an email for them to respond to.

According to the data above, Google has the best customer support then Linkedin followed by Facebook and Instagram.

Retargeting.

Retargeting is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98% of users who don’t convert right away.

All the above-mentioned platforms (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram) have the retargeting function. Giving you the ability to show an ad again to someone that took an action on the ad the previous time.

Here’s a simple strategy you can use to pick an online advertising platform.

  1. Using a Software Program like Opentracker, you are able to track where your existing customers/visitors are coming, you can also see the search keyword, word or phrases that drove them to your site.
  1. Using an eCommerce Teenage Thrift Store as an example;
  1. Know your Audience base: Having a customer profile and picking the right search term is very important here because it’s the base of everything that follows. Most thrifters are between the age of 13- 30 and mostly female.
  2. Have a business goal: Their goal at this point is to get more awareness and conversion.
  3. Check Each Platform for the one with the highest search volumes on multiple keywords for your company.

Instagram


LinkedIn

Google

 

Facebook


In addition: You also check for the click-through rate and conversion rate for your keyword and your company type on each platform.

  1. Pick one or two at first based on the highest search volume and the goal at that point: Based on the results above as the thrift store digital marketer I will run ads on Instagram because of the search volume and age brackets of Instagram users and I’ll also invest in google to see which one gives a better return. If it were a thrift store I’ll invest in Facebook, Google and/or Instagram and track the results depending on my ad budget.
  1. Get an Expert or self-study the platforms.
  1. Budget Wisely.
  1. Track the results.

Concluding Thoughts:

Deciding to utilize Online Advertising can make or break your business.

All platforms can give you high or no returns depending on how you use it.

Implementing the tips and strategy shown in this article would help you choose wisely.

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User Engagement Metrics

User Engagement Metrics – What They Are – Why You Need Them

How to increase your ROI by tracking the right metrics.

Do you ever wonder if your product or service would sell? Do you ever wonder whether your audience will find your products valuable?

Every Smart Marketeer is concerned about this.

When you start or run a business, ask questions like these to yourself: what kind of service am I providing? what kind of product am I selling? to whom am I providing or selling this to? is the price within their budget? and, how will I make them loyal customers to my brand?

Answering these questions as honestly as you can, creating a buyer persona, setting your price, and finally crafting an effective marketing strategy will determine the kind of ROI you’ll get from your marketing efforts.

But an iron-clad marketing strategy isn’t enough. You need feedback as your business grows. You need to see how your users behave. Track this user behavior and use the data to improve your services.

If you don’t track it, you won’t know it. If you don’t know it, you can’t improve it. Hence, you lose money instead of increasing profits

How?

Let’s take an instance;

Two competing companies were visited by similar users over a period of one year.

Business A and B are both online women-only clothing and accessories stores.

Business A tracks their user engagement. At the weekly marketing meeting, they tell each other stories about what the users are doing.

They are currently focusing their efforts on getting users to make return purchases.

Take a look at their main metrics for the last month:

With the results above, they were able to plan the following:

Business A discovered that the majority of their purchases came from Ad spend – they decided to spend more time and effort on retargeting ads on abandoned cart users, baiting the ads with discounts to get more returning traffic. At the same time they want to strengthen their emailing list, so that they can become less dependent on ad spend.

They checked the profiles of churned users and realized that they consisted mostly of unmarried men, not the ideal customer for a women’s only clothing store.

They decided to:

– Not target their ads to single men, and

– add a pop up for bouncing users to know why they are leaving. Is it the website design, speed or plain lack of interest?

They will be reviewing the results beginning next quarter.

From the tracking results, they were able to segment their audience and decide the kind of emails to send:

– upsell complementary items for first time customers who purchased on the first session,

– send out omens of concern to users who abandon their carts, and

– incise loyal customers to fill in Get-a-Discount-For-Feedback survey.

They continually check the profiles of customers that purchase and target people with similar profiles once a pattern emerges. They experiment to see what type of upsells are working.

With the results Business A got from tracking their user engagement, they now have the power of segmentation, a better understanding of who their customer is, and the ability to plan the next year with intentionality.

They know how to improve their sales by crafting the targeted ads to be more tailored and personal.

Their email marketing efforts are improving and they are creating surveys with higher response rates, and relevant data-points. As long as they continually take action based on their findings, they are likely to improve their ROI in the coming years.

Business B on the other hand does not track its user engagement. Their marketing team meets often to debate strategies and the best debater often determines the direction and marketing spend. As a result, they have a very good idea of direction, but spend almost no time testing their ideas in the market by focusing on customer metrics.

They target the same demographics year over year, thinking a bad year will come and go. And when they target a different group, it’s based on motivations echoed during the marketing team’s quarterly strategic debate. Marketing means spending time and money on SEO but it’s not known if it achieves desired returns. The head of marketing is convinced that SEO is getting results, but there is no data to back it up.

Overall, they are making choices because of what they think instead of what their users and customers are telling them through their own behaviour. There is no story based on data.

A customer’s experience highly affects their engagement and in turn your sales. If you don’t address their needs and quell their objections, they leave and become one time customers. As a result, you’ll lose money or make less than what you could have. Studies show customers don’t mind brands tracking their habits as long as it improves their experience.

Customers are the pillars of a brand. Using your user engagement analysis as a means to improve their experience will make them loyal to your brand. They may become advocates and recommend your products and services to others. This gives your brand a type of trust that you wouldn’t get with other marketing efforts.

Key customer engagement statistics

Key customer engagement statistics

Statistics chart from financeonline.com

One time customers generate short term sales and short-term profits. Conversely, long-term returning customers generate long-term sales and then long-term profits. We are pretty sure you prefer the latter.

In case you’re still unclear about what User Engagement is, here’s a concise definition:

User Engagement is an evaluation of how people respond to your brand’s offering. It could be a service or a product.

User Engagement can be assessed in so many forms, like the number of views on a site, number of page shares, number of clicks on your ads, bounce rate, etc. The type of metric you use to assess engagement largely depends on your company and what you’re offering.

For instance:

Company TypeActions to be considered as an engagement
Visual Content Site
  • Liking/commenting on a post.
  • Reading a post.
  • Sharing a post.
Invoicing software
  • Creating an invoice.
  • Adding a new customer to send an invoice to.
  • Receiving payment
Online Survey application
  • Creating a survey.
  • Sending out a link to your survey.
  • Sharing survey site to someone.

Important User Engagement Metrics

Here are a few key important metrics, in as much as they’re subjective to your brand, they’re the KPIs that will be relevant and useful to any brand.

  1. Users: users are a vital aspect of your brand, various ways you can track your users include measuring your Active Users (daily, monthly or yearly active users, you can use this information to know the kind of visitors you have overtime.

If they fit into your customer profile, what products or pages they interact with the most, the users that keep coming back over time, and where they come from.

  1. Sessions: A session happens when a user or a customer spends time on your app or website. With this metric, you can determine how often each person engages with your app or website.
  1. Session Duration:

How long users stay before they leave. – knowing how much time users spend on your app/site will help you know how engaging it is and how best to improve it.

  1. Retention rate: This is the number of users that return and become long term customers.

Tracking this metric will help you identify who your loyal customers are, who to maybe give discount codes, send Feedback-surveys to and also use their profiles to retarget ads if need be.

  1. Churn/bounce rate: This is the opposite of retention rate, it’s the number of users that leave your site, after the first click, visit or overtime.

You can use this to compare your retention rate to the churn rate. Know the kind of users that leave and maybe send a survey asking what made them leave, so you can improve.

  1. Acquisition: This is the root of where your users come from was it a referral? Ads? , organic search? Social media? or a Paid search?

Understanding where your interactions come from so you can budget your customer acquisition cost better, decide what marketing activity to focus on and what to spend less effort on.

  1. Screen flow: With this metric, you can see what your customers /users interact with the most.

Find out what makes them have longer sessions, what triggers them to leave – With this, you can restructure and redesign your app or website based on the results you get.

All of these metrics are interrelated and it’s the best when you track them together in a dashboard, rather than independently.

It’s not just these metrics that matter. There are other engagement metrics and engagement actions that depend on the kind of business you run. Cart abandonment rates matter for eCommerce brands, number of comments for blogs and usage frequency for SaaS brands.

Picking the right one for your business is imperative, because not every metric is worth tracking. Not every metric is germane to your brand’s goals and growth. In fact defining just a few metrics to guide you or your team is better than defining too many risking information overload.

Tools to help you track your user engagement metrics

After knowing the what and the why, the how is what completes the circle of growth. In this case the how is by investing in analytics tools that will make it easier for you to understand how your users engage and use the results to improve your brand.

Once you can measure it, you can improve it.

  1. Opentracker:

Image of Opentracker's dashboard Image of Opentracker’s dashboard

This software can be used on your website or app. It will give you a detailed overview of where your visitors come from, what keywords they use to find you, and how long they stay on your site, how many times they’ve visited, if your link was shared, and even the city they’re from. This is the holy grail for measuring your user engagement, you have everything all on one, – metrics that will greatly improve your SEO efforts, better-target your ads based on their profiles, and overall brand performance.

Book a free consultation with OpenTracker to get started!

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2. Google Analytics:

This software is the swiss army knife of analytics. It can be integrated with Shopify or Oberlo – it helps you measure performance, segment traffic based on actions, and understand how many actions are performed.

 3.HotJar:

This is a heat map tool that helps you see what needs to be improved on your website. It helps you determine if people reach important content, follow the main links, buttons, and CTAs, and/or experience issues across devices while browsing your site. When you use heatmaps on business-critical pages (including your homepage, product and checkout pages), you make sure you are always creating a great experience for your users.

4.Survey Monkey:

This is a survey software that can help you create custom surveys to get feedback from your customers.

STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE YOUR USER ENGAGEMENTS RATES.

Two key things to always keep in mind when creating a user engagement strategy is – listen to your customers and – keep them happy.

  1. App/Website Speed: 70% of Customers say speed affects their busting decisions, if your app or website is slow or below average and you don’t improve, you are losing potential customers.
  1. Create a customer profile for your brand: Having a profile helps you target the right persons otherwise you’d be wondering why your ads are not effective. It’s because you don’t have an idea of what your ideal buyer should look like. Here’s how to do so and a cheat sheet to help.
  1. Personalizing your brand: Be relatable, customers love it when they can relate to a brand. They feel understood. Personalization starts when you can call them by name. Creating a target profile will take you a long way. 96% of Marketers agree that personalizing their brands improves their customer’s experience.
  1. Efficient customer service/support: Be reachable: Consumers are willing to spend 17% more on a company that has outstanding customer service and 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service. Poor customer service/support will cost you a lot. Include a chatbox on your site, offer 24/7 support if possible, have a blog that explains Frequently asked questions/ issues about your brand and how to resolve them.
  1. Website and App design: Make your App and website easy to navigate. Clunky designs can hurt your SEO efforts; poor graphics can affect your app. Colors have a psychological effect on your visitors, so be sure to understand this and make use of color(s) that truly represent your brand.
  1. Invest in analytical software programs: Invest in software like Opentracker, survey monkey and hotjar. Track your Engagement – having an overview of the actions taken by users over time will help you improve your business continually.
  1. Learn to make your customers feel loved: Give discount codes if you can, say thank you when they purchase something, ask for opinions. Customers who already have a relationship with your brand, want to be heard and seen. It builds trust and loyalty.

In conclusion,

You don’t need to guess anymore.

You can see what your customers are dissatisfied with. You can take steps to address them.

Improve your ROI and make more profit by providing value to your customers. Understanding and satisfying your customer base is key.

Tracking user engagement is the way for you to do this.

 

Author : Vera Agiang

Vera Agiang is an Experienced Marketing Specialist with a demonstrated history of working with B2B FinTech and Saas companies. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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3 Ways To Increase Traffic

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How to Buy Traffic

Executive summary and article navigation

Lead Generation And How To Buy Traffic ( 3 Part Article )

We discuss 3 ways of driving traffic directly to your site, and present our findings.
Part 1 talks about paid inclusion in newsletters, and ads / banners on tech & marketing sites.

The 3 articles are:

  1. Buying targeted leads & Paid Inclusion – placement in newsletters & blasts
  2. PPC ad campaigns – adwords / google; proven source of targeted traffic
  3. Bulk traffic clicks – buying 50,000 visitors

The secret is that there is no easy way to buy traffic. There are a lot of sites and products claiming to bring you traffic, but in reality, it is difficult to arrange for people come to your website, click around, and buy something. We tried 3 techniques and share our findings with you here.

We are of the opinion that
1) PPC campaigns are a definite must
2) paid inclusion in newsletters, ads and banners, can be successful if well-placed and well-designed, & that 3) bulk targeted traffic is a scam.

Note: industry information on lead generation is somewhat guarded. Lead generation and the purchase of traffic is a complicated business, with networks and affiliate groups. There is not much info on this subject to be easily found on the internet. We present this account with a pinch of salt. We would be very interested to read about your experiences.

Part 1: Buying Paid Newsletter Inclusion

Research markets – buy advertisement

We purchased advertisement inclusion in two well-known opt-in / subscription newsletters. Both inserts were in the price range of $750 – $1000.

For both campaigns we provided a banner ad with text for inclusion in a newsletter published on the internet and sent out to various email lists, made up of 25,000 to 500,000 opt-in subscribers.

We were told to expect anywhere from 300 to 3000 click-throughs. From that number, 10% of the visitors might take out a free Opentracker trial, and of those trials in turn, a percentage of people would purchase website statistics subscriptions.

We created separate landing pages for each mailing, so that we can very clearly see, by url, how many people landed on each page.

Results – collect data

In both cases the numbers were lower than expected.

For the first mailing, we received 10% of the visitors we had been told to expect, but the visitors showed a high level of interest, based on pageviews.

For the second mailing we received the amount traffic we had been told to expect but less than 10% of the visitors created trial accounts. The average number of clicks was much lower, indicating that this group was clearly less interested than the first mailing group.

Analysis – study what is happening

Here are three sample variables we use to measure success in this situation:

  1. Acquisition cost-per-visitor or cost-per-lead
  2. Is traffic well-targeted? Average number of pageviews each visitor generated
  3. Conversion: percentage of visitors who follow call of action and “do what we want them to do”

Evaluating variables:

  1. The acquisition cost-per-visitor / lead was substantially higher than we had expected, i.e. whereas we pay $0.50 or $1.00 per lead on Google or Bing, we were paying up to $4.00 per lead in this lead generation campaign. A lead is a lead, however, and if they are well-targeted, they are worth the investment. Which brings us to
  2. The number of pages the visitors view. This is important. There was a large difference in the quality of the traffic. For the first mailing, the average visitor viewed 7.5 pages, and hence was likely to create a trial account. The group that received the second mailing averaged 2.5 pageviews each. The lesson is to stress the importance of well-targeted traffic. The question remains; why would one group of visitors look at more pages than another?
  3. The percentage of visitors who follow the primary call to action and “do what we want them to do” was larger for the first group than for the second. This can easily be explained by looking at the average number of pages viewed per person. The finding is that the lower the average number of pages viewed, the less likelihood of conversion.

Best landing page practices

If your campaign spans several days, experiment by changing the landing page, and comparing results. On the right, please see the places that people clicked, in order of popularity.
At one point we noticed that the average pageviews were very low, meaning that nobody was reaching our target page (the sign-up page). We changed the landing page and directed the visitors directly to the ‘create a free trial’ page. This led to an even further drop in the average number of pages viewed.
People did not respond well to being landed directly on a sign-up page.
There is a lot of literature on this subject. The challenge is to offer a well-built page which is to the point, invites exploration, and leads visitors to complete a desired action. In this case a text-link produced the best results (see diagram).

Text links were most effective at driving traffic

See the diagram above (click to enlarge). The diagram tells you what percentage of visitors clicked on each image or link on the page. The text links towards the bottom of the pages attracted the most visitors.

Conclusion: paid inclusion

You do not know what the quality of the traffic that you will receive is going to be. There is no way to guarantee that your visitors will take any action, which tells you that you need to both a) have well-targeted traffic, and b) make your site a great place to visit.

Nobody can “force” people to come to your website, look around, and make purchases. Of course, some people are paid to surf to your site, a sneaky tactic which is covered later in part 3.

What to bring – budgeting

In our experience, you need a budget of several thousand dollars to test the waters; a regular budget of somewhere between $500 and $1500 per month, or every other month. You should budget a larger percentage to continue purchasing sources of traffic that work for your site. Also budget a small percentage of your marketing wallet for experiments, to find new sources, and tap into new marketing channels.

next: Part 2 – PPC pay-per-click campaigns

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7 Powerful Customer Profile Templates For Your Marketing Campaigns

7 Powerful Customer Profile Templates For Your Marketing Campaigns

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Introduction

Do you know why customer profile templates are critical?

They’re super important because you have better ways to spend your time than to be designing new customer profiles when you run new marketing campaigns.

In this article, we’ll be giving away examples and describe the best practices to save you time and money so you can be more effective in marketing, and measure how well your sales campaigns are working.

53% of marketers say they have “too much to do with too little time.” This means marketers need templates to automate tasks and save as much time as possible. Customer profile templates are one of the methods used to focus effort optimally and avoid wasted energy.

customer profile template

Why do you need a customer profile template ? 

Customer profile templates help you save time. They provide a pattern for you to build your customer profiles for any campaign you’re working on.

However, building a customer profile template that rightly describes your buyers begins with in-depth research.

The more in-depth the research on your customer is, the better your marketing campaign will be. And by extension, a great customer profile helps your marketing campaign target the right people.

In this article, we’ll look at four customer profile templates (examples) for B2C and three for B2B businesses. Let’s start by exploring a variety of B2C customer profile examples you can work with.

B2C Customer Profile Templates

B2C basically refers to the type of transaction in which businesses sell products or services directly to consumers.

So here are four customer templates you can use to describe a B2C customer:

B2C customer profile example #1: Animal Loving John

Our first example is from a Dribbble User. This customer profile is as explanatory as they come.

customer profile template

This customer profile layout describes the customer’s current feelings, frustrations, and his needs. All of that information in your customer profile helps you understand what role your product or service will play in the daily lives of your target customers.

B2C customer profile example #2: Rachel, The Stay At Home Mum

You can get a good idea of who Rachel is, in this example, by learning about her background, lifestyle and challenges.

customer profile template

It’s simple and easy to understand as it displays the information of the customer in bullet points and the sentences are concise. No lengthy story here to describe the customer, just some points that are easy to act on.

B2C customer profile example #3: Stressed Susan

The customer profile example #2 above portrays Rachel as a customer who has her life together. Conversely, Sarah’s life, in this customer profile example from UX Mastery, does not seem so perfect. She’s overwhelmed and in need of help.

customer profile template

Not all businesses need a customer profile that describes their customers’ challenges to this extent, but many businesses do. For example, a health-related organization will include all possible medical issues a customer can have but may not take into consideration their financial profile.

On the other hand, a financial services company will include their customer’s financial issues in a customer profile rather than focus on health or marital issues a customer may have — unless there’s some connection between such customer challenges and their services.

But in general, and for most businesses, knowing your customer’s life, business or family challenges helps you more effectively create an amazing customer profile and, in the long run, great marketing campaigns.

B2C customer profile example #4: Trendy Brandi

This customer profile example from Indie Game Girl describes how Brandi Tyler, a woman with extremely narrow feet, has searched high and low for comfortable, stylish shoes. The specific details in the buyer profile help you see the process a customer like Brandi goes through when she needs to purchase shoes.

customer profile template

Knowing the customer to this extent also provides something extra to help you fully understand their frustrations. This customer profile also includes actual quotes gathered from surveys and interviews, lending insight into the personality of the people you are trying to reach with your campaign.

As stated in the Best Practices section above, interviews and surveys should be organized in order to glean accurate information to create the best possible customer profile. Real quotes were included in the above example, giving the profile a more personal touch.

If you’re a B2B business, here are three customer templates you can use to describe a customer:

B2B customer profile templates

As a B2B brand, you’re typically dealing with professional buyers or high-level executives. This means your customer profiles should target business owners, policymakers and people who influence and make decisions in their respective industries/organizations.

So while the B2C customer profile examples above heavily focus on individual customers, the B2B examples below include more specific details about the buyer’s workplace, their job role and how important they are within the organization. And if your target buyer is not always in charge of making purchasing decisions, you need to include that detail in your customer profile as well.

B2B customer profile example #1: Technical Decision Maker

Here’s how one customer profile example from Referral SaaSquatch shows how much more information about buying decisions can be included in a customer profile. It shows that the customer is the decision-maker and also influences the organization’s purchasing choices.

customer profile template

One key difference between the B2C and B2B customer profile examples is that this example has more detail — what internal influences can affect the customer’s purchasing decision, their attitude, how long-form content is his preferred content type.

B2B customer profile example #2: John Johnson

This ClearVoice customer profile is a great example of a concise B2B buyer profile. It explains who John is and provides the necessary information about his job position as well as his capacity to make or influence decisions in his company — as a marketing manager.

customer profile template

This example shows how you can be succinct and accurate when creating your customer profile and still drive home your point about an ideal buyer. This is especially useful when you have a campaign to run on a tight schedule.

B2B customer profile example #3: Diane, The Director

The last example is one of the finest customer profile templates around, and it’s from Buffer. Meet Diane, the Director:

customer profile template

It’s a jam-packed customer profile template. One of the key features you can appreciate about this customer profile is the way the details are placed around the image in such a way that it is easy to scan through.

Looking at this, you can quickly learn everything you need to know about Diane. Outside the regular demographic information, you can learn about her goals and values, the problems she faces daily, her job role (and who she reports to), her information sources and the experience she seeks when searching for products and services.

But in general, when building your customer profiles, you need to consider the following elements — depending on whether you’re a B2C (Business to Consumer) or B2B (Business to Business) brand:

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Customer profile elements for B2C brands:

  • Customer’s personal demographics:

— What is the age range of the target customer?

— Where do they live?

— Are they all male or female or mixed?

  • Customer’s educational background:

What level of education did they attain?

— What did they study?

  • Customer’s socioeconomic status:

What is their annual income?

— Can they afford what you are offering them?

  • Job title/Role:

What is their job title and how long have they been in that role?

— Are they self-employed or salaried employees?

Customer profile components for B2B brands:

  • Value Proposition:

— How does your product or service improve their business?

— Identify the problems you are trying to solve.

  • Nature and Size of the business:

What industry category do they fall into?

— Which industry do they serve?

— What is the number of employees?

  • The Customer’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

What problem are they trying to solve for their own customers?

— What is your customer’s USP?

But while creating your customer profile, whether for B2B or B2C, you need to understand some ground rules (best practices) that will ensure your customer profiles make a definitive impact on your marketing. 

Here are four key customer profile best practices you should follow:

 
  • Focus on the rationale behind behaviours: Understand “why” the customer is doing A, B or C.
  • Humanize customers (fictional or otherwise) with a real picture: Include a headshot of a specific customer in your customer profile template. Preferably, get the headshot of a real customer from their social account (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) and put it on your customer profile. This helps you keep in mind, as you run campaigns, that your customers are real people; sometimes it’s easy to forget that
  • Build your marketing strategy by sticking to three or four customer profiles: Use three or four primary customer profiles to represent who your ideal customers are — because your customers don’t all have one personality. Veteran marketer Mark Schaefer estimates 90%+ of sales come from 4 to 5 types of buyers.

Identify your ideal customers and use their characteristics to build your customer profile. You can look at an existing customer’s social media profile — LinkedIn, for instance — and identify salient characteristics about them. You can also hold interviews with some of your best customers and get a better understanding of their daily lives and what makes them draw their wallets. Download a free sample script and process that helps you setup an interview and understand your customers better.

  • Weave customer information into a story: Convert all the raw, demographic data gotten from research about your ideal customer into a story. This helps your team connect better to the customer when they understand all the elements used to build the profile.

But remember, developing your customer profile is only one of the first steps of a successful marketing or sales campaign. Think of it as the cornerstone that empowers your campaign to reach your target audience and convert them into customers.

How to get correct customer profile information

The best personas are created from real surveys and interviews — not from ballpark guesses, conjecture or assumptions, says Schaefer.

You can, of course, take wild guesses about your customers and stuff their profiles with misleading data. Or you can use a tool that helps you accurately pinpoint customer data. OpenTracker is one such tool. 

Opentracker helps you profile your website visitors and helps you identify key characteristics like:

  • Your customer’s location — OpenTracker helps you identify where the bulk of your customers are coming from. The tool helps you generate accurate reports so you can target the right buyers and drive them to your business.customer profile template
  • Identify the activities of visitors on your site. Opentracker is a very robust and powerful analytics tool as it can identify users and tag them so you can follow them or look them up through time. Just enter their details directly into the Visitor’s profile. This is especially useful for email marketing campaigns and tracking hot prospects.
  • Beyond giving you details on which devices your customers are using to access your website, you can combine Opentracker with LinkedIn and/or Facebook. Learn how to build insights with Linkedin or Facebook, download the free course here.

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