Top E-Commerce Trends to Watch in 2017

Every year, e-commerce trends change, whether it’s improvements in logistics, product discovery, or brand building. If you want to keep up with the times in online commerce, you have to adapt and evolve, and be more innovative and updated on trends over your competition. To benefit even more, you need to be aware of the implications; embrace the newest trends, and implement them accordingly and change the way you do business.

Mobile, and omni-channel approach

The shift to mobile has been steady over the past 5 years and we have witnessed a complete change in the way users shop. In 2016, mobile traffic has overtaken desktop as the primary way to purchase

It is true that most session on ecommerce sites come from mobile devices, but revenue by device is biggest on desktop. Still, a very large chunk of customers isn’t very comfortable or happy with mobile purchases. And over half of them have privacy and security concerns, and prefer purchasing on a PC.

The (simple) solution to overcoming this gap, instead of treating customers as two different groups – mobile and desktop customers, is the omni-channel approach – designing a brilliant UX and creating a seamless experience across all devices. This is important because even though smartphones might have the lowest conversion rate of any device, according to a new research done by Wolfgang Digital, people are making searches on smartphones and making key purchasing decisions, then actually buy over desktop.

Artificial intelligence and big data for personalized experience

Crafting a perfect customer experience is the main goal of every e-commerce website. And as data-availability is significantly increased, marketers can easily target customers based on personal info and behavioral data, which makes achieving this goal a lot easier. Amazon, for example, has become great at offering highly personalized experiences, that go beyond “one size fits all” product recommendations, and for customers it is becoming the new norm of service expectancy.

Personalization and customization of the user experience are becoming the vital difference between competitors and key factors for lower cart abandonment rate. Online retailers are becoming aware of this, and embracing the new trend.

2017 seems to be the year of big data and AI. Shopify, as a platform has some of this very basic personalization built into the platform, but, understanding this even further and leveraging personalization and big data tools could really level up your game. Also, understanding your customer further leveraging tools like MixPanel and CrazyEgg can help you with targeting, messaging, and marketing to customers via the various advertising platforms.

Loyalty and Rewards Programs

Improved buying experience and customer loyalty play a major role in the success of every business. Unfortunately, customer loyalty is becoming harder to maintain, since almost half of the consumers would switch brands for a coupon.

One way of providing better and more convenient shopping experience is the introduction of mobile payment. Mobile payment apps are becoming more popular as smartphone users get used to using digital wallets and contactless payment.

The added bonus of mobile payment apps is the opportunity to collect customer behavior information on a personal level. These shopping preferences can be used to create highly personalized promotions and rewards for each and every consumer.  The result is build strong relationships that are beneficial for the e-tailer and the customer, and also, present an excellent way for creating a long-term loyal customers base.

Delivering to your customer

Online shopping standards have been raised once more in the last few years with the significantly faster and shorter delivery times. Online shopping customers are becoming less and less patient and demand to have the product(s) delivered as soon as possible. And thanks to Amazon Prime who began the trend, flexibility of delivery options is becoming the new standards.

The majority of retailers now offer next-day delivery for orders made before 10pm. But the prediction is that same-day delivery will continue to rise in 2017. Another efficient way of cutting delivery times that is also gaining popularity is the integration with drop-off point providers.

Many online retailers are willing to make the take the steps to making delivers faster and more convenient because delivery options and speed are becoming key ecommerce differentiators. And the truth is that almost one third of consumers are willing to pay extra for same-day delivery. Worth it, right?

Leveraging Online Chat for Conversion and Customer Feedback

Another combination of personalization and AI delivers a new way of shopping and communication with customers – chatbots. Chatbots are automated AI-led messenger services that allow website visitors engage with your brands via instant messaging. The smartest chatbots can discover what the customer wants, and suggest products, place the order, answer customer service questions, and much more.

Since consumers are beginning to get familiar with speaking to machines, brands are looking to use this to their advantage, and east the shopping experience for their customers. The reality is that chatbots are not yet perfected, and still undergo development, but soon enough they might start to become how we first interact with brands on their websites.

Convenient product returns and automated processing systems

We are all aware that the shopping experience doesn’t end with payment nor product delivery. And with online shopping, the lack of physical contact with the products before purchase can result with as much as 33% of returns, especially for apparel.

Stores like Zappos already offer free returns and a customer-friendly no-questions-asked policy. For a great number of customers, product returns can be a deciding purchase factor. And over half of online shoppers desire a complementary return shipping and simple return process in order to feel confident completing a purchase.

But complying to this new standard might not be so hard. Newer software solutions integrated directly into the online store allow shoppers to go back to the same site where they made the purchase and quickly process a return. This new software can also communicate return inventory to the warehouse and provide detailed analytics to the retailers.

 

The rapidly changing ecommerce field requires alertness and quick response to the latest trends. Sometimes learning on the go can be hard to do on your own. But we are always here to help you adapt and grow because heated competition, new rules of play, pricing strategy and customer experience on the retailers’ side, and customers’ expectancy on the other, may make it more difficult for brands to hold their leading position and loose out. These are some of the major trends to shape ecommerce now, so pay close attention and decide where you want to be in 2017, fast.

Content Marketing Tactics as an Influence Building Tool

Building influence in your industry can greatly emphasize and amplify your marketing efforts. Becoming a trusted, credible and meaningful source of information and knowledge is crucial for establishing your business influence, impacting the attitude of people about your brand, and has the potential to change people’s minds and their purchasing behavior. One of the most effective ways of building influence and differentiating your brand from the pack is through the use of content marketing. We believe it actually is one of the most powerful tools that every business should include in their marketing arsenal.

Content marketing can be the means for achieving many end. It can help you position your brand as an industry leader and provide sales leads, but it can also build trust and influence among your audience.

In order to do so, you need to follow a few essential steps that we consider vital in generating content that’s valuable enough to turn you into “the best answer” out there.

Recognize your audience’s needs

In order to be able to recognize your audience’s needs, first you need to take a step back and ask yourself whether you know who your target audience is. It can be one group, or several different customer segments, and that is fine as long as you identify key traits for the people in each group.

Next, you need to learn what they care about. You can simply go and ask them directly through surveys or polls, reviews your analytics data or do a keyword research. Then, you should find out who influences them, and try to include some of the influencers or their work in your content in order to maximize exposure and build credibility.

Now that you have a clearer picture of who you are addressing, and are ready to move on to the next step: content creating, you need to keep in mind that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Preferences vary, from content types to topics and goals.

Create content that answers your audience’s needs

If your audience research is complete and you have a full customer profile, you can begin planning content creation. You can lay down a content plan, including content topics and types. This is step where must be careful and make sure you are answering key customer’s concerns, and that the content meets the needs of every step in the buying cycle. The basic model includes content which addresses three key stages: attract, engage and convert.

In this step of the process it is important to identify few content specs:

–       the channel where you’ll publish the content

–       keywords and phrases you intend to use

–       which devices the content should be optimized for

–       content topics for each stage

As we noted before, different people have different content preferences. This means you need to test different content types and find out which ones appeal most to your audience.  There are numerous content marketing tactics you can try and use in order to engage your audience and build influence.

Make an impact

To make your efforts count, and get you the desired results, you need to create content that leaves a strong impression and has maximum impact on your audience, and your marketing goals too. The main difference between content and great content most often lies in storytelling.

When you incorporate storytelling in your content you deepen the connection between your brand and the reader/viewer. Don’t look at story telling as an extra effort, look at is a source of multiple benefits including:

–    Sharing a mutual experience with your audience

–    Developing an emotional reaction and connection

–    Differentiating yourself from the competition

–    Giving meaning to the content and message

Additionally, great stories are sharable and very often accompanied with compelling visuals. Simply adding creative images, gifs or short videos alongside your written content can make it stand out, and more desirable (clickable). If you are sharing on different platforms, adapt your visuals and message accordingly. And lastly, make sure you add social sharing buttons to help increase exposure.

We believe more and more businesses choose to utilize content marketing as an influence building tool because it creates a connection and strengthens relations. And building influence with your audience is about providing as much value as possible. If you can offer content that provides value and benefits, you will grow your audience.

Even though building influence takes time, when done right, content marketing can generate results sooner than expected. If you find putting together a content marketing plan to be the hardest part of the process, you don’t have to struggle with all the work on your own. Let us help you build your content marketing strategy. Share with us your knowledge about your audience and your main marketing goals, and we can help you plan and execute the best and most effective content marketing strategy for your brand.

facebook ads b2b lead generation

Turning Up B2B Lead Generation Volume with Facebook Ads

Lead Generation is crucial in B2B marketing. They are a source of prospects, and eventually customers by which businesses can increase revenue and grow. While it might not be obvious because Facebook is not a “business” tool like LinkedIn is, you can still leverage advanced targeting techniques and its 1.86 billion monthly active user base. Because of this, Facebook is one of the most powerful tools to use for B2B Lead Generation in order you increase awareness about your products and grow prospective clients.

However, for that to happen, you must optimize your Facebook Ads for B2B lead gen. You can use following techniques to achieve this goal. Here’s how to go about it.

Track Your Conversions by Installing the Facebook Pixel

A good way to optimize the impact of your ads and eliminate waste in campaigns is tracking the leads you are generating. You can do this by tracking your lead conversion metric using the Facebook Pixel.

It’s pretty straight forward, go to the Facebook Pixel tab in your Ads Manager and click the Create a Pixel. Then, choose a name that best represents your business because you can have only one pixel per ad account.facebook pixel creation

Setting up General Targeting Options

When setting up B2B Lead Generation campaigns through Facebook, you’ll need to come up with a set of demographics information. This might seem really basic but it’s important to mention because targeting your ads to different industries and geographic locations can impact campaign performance. Even the creative to different segments of your customers might be important, as well as gender of your prospective audience.

Precise Interests and detailed targeting options allow you to further refine your targeting. This is available in the “Audience” section of ad set creation. You can use professional filters like job title, employer, industry, company size, degree level, seniority, among many others to effectively seek out the roles who are most likely to submit a lead or purchase your products or services.

facebook audience targeting options

Custom Audiences Based on Existing Lists

Facebook allows you to target specific people with its ad platform. This targeting can enable you to maximize the impact of your ad campaigns by marketing directly to a specified section of your B2B market.

In addition, you may always have people in your existing customer database or a lead list who has not purchased yet. Custom Audiences allows you to target these audiences specifically. A Custom Audience is a Facebook ad audience that you create from an existing list.

To create a custom audience, go to Campaigns and find the Audiences button listed under it. Click on the tab and select Custom Audiences, then Customer List. This function lets you upload a CSV or TXT file list of customer emails you’ve gathered, phone numbers or Facebook user IDs.

create facebook custom audience

Facebook then matches this data with information on user profiles, allowing you to target specific people.

Create Lookalike Audiences to Match Your Ideal B2B Customer Profile

Facebook allows you to create Lookalike Audiences as well. Lookalike Audiences allow you to match a customer profile similar to your Custom Audiences. For example, you can create a Custom Audience of existing customers and the Lookalike Audience will target users who match those same characteristics and would likely have a higher propensity to purchase.

We use lookalike audiences quite a bit in our campaigns to find SMB customers for clients because of the expanded reach it gives us.

Retarget Your Ads For Another Opportunity to Convert

Using retargeting would be a great way to drive up conversion rates and increase lead generation for B2B. Prospective clients can always come across the site via press, SEO or some form of earned media. Putting retargeting campaigns into place help keep your brand top of mind to those people while they are in consideration mode.

You can conveniently install a Facebook retargeting pixel on your site, go to Custom Audience and select “Website Traffic” option. You can target your ads to all people who visited certain pages of your website while excluding others. This targeted marketing can help remind the decision makers the reasons your product makes sense and give them another opportunity to engage with your business.

Using Lead Magnets to Get B2B Leads

In some cases, using a Lead Magnet could be a great option to generate leads from a B2B campaign, leveraging offers, incentives, or a free trial. You can provide high-quality content gated content with the submission of an email address to access it.

Lead Magnets can include things like a webinar, eBooks, white papers, checklists, case studies, guides, etc. They can be used to entice a visitor to engage, without singing up as a customer. Providing a simple email capture or something a little more targeted can be a great way to generate B2B Leads.

Many inbound marketing and sales platforms like HubSpot effectively use lead magnets.useful content as tools to harvests leads for businesses. Their strategy is simple, create something unique or useful; offer it to your audience and get valuable contact information and in return

As an example, here is a recent example of a “A Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat for Business” from HubSpot

snapchat for business hubspot

snapchat for business hubspot form

Just like Hubspot and Salesforce you’ll want to make it easy for the visitors to download the lead magnet from your landing page.  in exchange of their email address, and if required, their demographic data, phone number etc.

Rather than try to get a lead to buy a service or product, create an ad that promotes an offer of a free trial of your product or something else that they’ll find valuable. This is your lead magnet. And it could be a great way to build your emailing list beyond your current customer base.

Bonus: to effectively reach entirely new prospects with your incentives, target your ads based on people’s work categories or major life events. Navigate to the More Demographics button and select your best demographic-defining options in the popup menu that follows.

Facebook Lead Ads for B2B Lead Generation

You can also use Facebook’s Lead Ads using the ad creation tool, like other ads. Facebook Lead Ads give you the ability to gather information from potential customers just like web lead forms. You can collect information like name, email address, phone number as well as customized questions. (e.g “How much do you spend on advertising monthly?”)

If you want to iterate through lead forms quickly, Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to collect the information without building new landing pages and creating tons of copy. The contact forms appear natively on Facebook and Instagram. You can easily use them to sign people up to newsletters for drip marketing campaigns or in a direct B2B campaign funnel.

I know, this was a ton of information, but, given everything form the ability to target via demographic information, precise interests (e.g. job title), and leveraging lead magnets, Facebook gives you all the necessary tools. You will be able to generate tons of B2B leads, find scale, and do it efficiently. With Lead Ads you can do this even quicker by testing and iterating through forms on Facebook And Instagram natively. With all this, there’s no reason not to build in some of your B2B Lead Generation budget into Facebook.

Have you used Facebook for B2B Lead Generation? If so, would love to hear your ideas in the comments. If your looking for help getting Facebook Advertising for B2B set up, reach out and our team would be glad to help! And, remember to follow Visible Factors on Twitter.

No One Clicks Your Banner Ads? Let’s Change That.

Banner Ads Image - Get More Clicks

While banner ads may seem like a great opportunity for you, you’ve probably noticed that it’s rare to get click throughs. And, trust us when we say this, you’re not alone! Internet users have become increasingly weary of banner ads over the years and learned to simply block them out when visiting sites. So, it’s no wonder click through rates from banner advertising has diminished.

We’ve set out on a mission to figure out exactly why people are ignoring them and how to fix that.

Just Another Distraction

This day and age we have enough distractions of our own and are naturally averted to external distractions. If you obnoxiously interrupt what a reader is doing, you will get no clicks. People don’t want to be sold to. So, leave room for native ads that will be less in-your-face to users!

Relevance

If you user is there for a specific intention, they won’t click on something that goes against their intended pathway. It will be helpful to place your ads where they have higher relevance and won’t be a complete change of pace for readers.

Retargeting is a great opportunity to stay relevant to your ad-viewers. If you haven’t heard of it, retargeting is a method used for people who have previously visited your site but never took action. So we’re talking people who abandoned their carts or researching insurance options. The idea behind this type of ad campaign is to stay at the top of your user’s mind.

Value Proposition

Give your viewer a reason to click your ad! If your ad is filled with frilly graphics, it will offer minimal value. Believe it or not, ads with lots of textual description can receive higher click throughs. This is because it can help give the viewer a clearer idea of what they will be looking at.

But don’t just stop at having a clear and attractive value proposition. Make sure your ad is well-designed and has consistency with the landing page it leads to, which will make the viewer have a better transition into the website.

As a general rule of thumb, offering something free is always attractive. Unfortunately, discounts don’t have the same success. But click-throughs on free offers typically show high rates.

Usability

Plenty of banner ads aren’t compatible with mobile browsers. If the ad totally goes against the design of the page and messes up the browser configuration, the user will probably leave the website completely. Make your ad mobile-friendly!

With these quick tips and fixes, you’re on your way to more clicks in no time. Redesign, reword, and retarget until you get the rate you want.

 

We would love to know if you have any tips or tricks about increasing banner ad click through rates, tell us in the comments. And, if you’re company needs help with optimizing online advertising efforts, we can help!

7 Organic Ways to Boost Your CTR

Click-Through Rate (CTR) is one of the most important metrics when it comes to online marketing and advertising. It can be pretty difficult to increase CTR, depending on the method you use. And, increasing conversion rates can dramatically increase the revenue your business drives. These methods also differ based on the marketing channel, whether its paid or organic, or how much brand awareness you have out there. As you start to figure out what message works best for your target audience, you start to understand what makes them click, literally. Here are a few organic ways you can try:

1.    Improve on Shortcomings

Start by analyzing the performance of your content and keyword focus. There’s no need to touch top performing pages, content, and keywords can, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, reverse that process and look at your content with the worst performing CTR and try to understand whether it’s the messaging, the keywords, ad titles, etc. You have to analyze this and look for ways to take the worst performing CTR and make them top performers as well. Depending on the magnitude of the traffic and clicks your getting, you could increase it 10x.

2.    Get Creative with Titles

A common mistake marketers make is stuffing keywords in the titles of pages. While it is an effective SEO practice, it doesn’t work if you put it there blatantly rather than organically. The focus here is on organic, so make sure the title reflects the content on the page. If the keyword fits naturally in the title, then go for it. Otherwise, be creative with titles. This will give you a better chance of capturing the attention of your target audience.

3.    Write for Humans

Believe it or not, but content is still the king when it comes to SEO. If you want to attract clicks, you have to provide content that offers value to the readers. The savvy customers of today aren’t likely to buy from you just because you promise to offer the best quality in the market. They want you to demonstrate how you can solve their problems. For this, you need to come up with content that is relatable and more importantly, written for human readers and not just for SEO robots. Pick a specific perspective to write from and you are good to go.

4.    Offer Lists

Did you know you have close to 40% greater chance of getting clicks if you number your points? That’s right, offer your content in the form of a numbered list and you will attract clicks more effectively. In fact, that’s the reason why this article features numbered subheadings! Coming back to the point, offering content in digestible chunks rather than large blocks of text will be more effective. Therefore, break the content down into a numbered list!

5.    Be Meta Savvy

You have to leverage the meta title, keywords, and description to generate maximum traction for your content. The key to making this work is following the ideal template for your page titles. To ensure optimal engagement, start your title with a number followed by an adjective and then the subject of the article, for instance 7 Organic Ways to Boost Your CTR (and you did click on this post, right!). For the description, use words that capture the attention of your prospects, for instance premium or incredible.

6.    Build an Emotional Connect

SEO is not just a science, there is a lot of artistry going on behind the scenes. You have to tap your artistic side and try and build an emotional connect with your audience. You can do this by adding an emotional hook to your content. Try and influence your readers’ emotional side and this will help you build a connection with them on a more personal level. They are more likely to be engaged by your content and also trust your brand if they feel this connect.

7.    Create Effective URLs

It’s quite simple to come up with a generic URL for your landing page or web pages. However, according to Microsoft, you can get 25% more clicks on your pages if your URL describes the content of the page. This is easier when you are using WordPress or a similar website management platform. Make sure all new blogs and posts you create have a descriptive URL that gives the visitors a clear indication of what they can expect to find on the page.

These 7 simple yet highly effective organic ways you can use to boost your CTR. Keep in mind that you have to combine these tips with SEO and other online marketing techniques to generate the results you are looking for. The key to making this work is creating effective content and writing for humans instead of SEO robots. Appeal to readers on a personal level using an emotional hook and they are more likely to connect with you.

Using Storytelling in Content Marketing

Storytelling is an ancient form of art of telling stories as a way of social and cultural expression and activity, often accompanied with improvisation and/or theatrics. Stories have been shared for generations in every culture as a means of entertainment and education about cultural and moral beliefs and values.

Starting from Mahabharata, Odyssey by Homer, the 1001 Arabian nights tales, to the emotionally moving plays by Shakespeare, all of these masterpieces have something in common – they are timeless stories that stick with the readers long after they finish reading them.

Brands recognized the potential of storytelling – the lasting impression it makes, the benefits it brings them, and are now using it in many domains, such as movie making, book writing and as of late, branding. Slowly, it has become an essential marketing technique that has the central place in content marketing strategies. It has pushed the product in the back, making the story the main protagonist. But why do inspiring stories play such an important role? There are three main reasons for that:

  •         Our brains are programmed for stories. Dating back to caveman times, and evolving to today, it’s in our nature to positively react to stories. Research shows that different parts of the brain are connected and firing up when people are engaged in a story.
  •         Great stories can break down barriers. With the help of stories, we can understand each other more easily. They can help us connect better, have compassion, even change our opinions and attitudes.
  •         Stories build lasting relationships. Our tendency to embrace stories, along with the connection they help us feel, influences the relationships we build, making them strong and lasting.

First thing to remember is that stories can take many forms, from long episodic epics to ten-word sentences. Stories have a narrative structure which describes an event or sequence of events. They allow the viewers to participate, or passively absorb them, when read, seen or heard.

But how do you create stories that stick and engage the audience in a digital environment? How do you get your audiences’ brains to light up when they engage with your content?

The principles are closely related to word-of-mouth, social sharing and brand perception, and are important success factors of content marketing. This means that storytelling needs a strong focus on what people want to hear, read and share. Great campaign stories are not only well-crafted, but are based on four key elements:

#1 A beginning and an ending. Every writer can tell you that the key to hooking a reader is by getting her emotionally invested in the story as fast as possible. Very often, for marketers the proposed problem can be sold by the product you sell, so the beginning and ending can be placed in one element (one video), or stretched across a whole campaign.

#2 Emotional connections. A story that provokes emotional reaction, such as sympathy, empathy, envy or intrigue pulls the audience in, and creates emotional memories about the product. These connections, which are far more powerful than stating facts, are committed to memory. That way, as the narrative unfolds, it’s easier to move the audience from one emotion to the other, thus increase the connection.

#3 Authenticity. A great story is also authentic and speaks a truth, to the brand and its audience. It is very important to keep your authenticity throughout the whole campaign because people respect and trust honest brands. If you lose your authenticity, you might lose your audience, and customers.

#4 Relatability. The previous three elements lead to the last and most important one – relatability. If people can form an emotional connection with your brand, they will be more likely to buy your products. Make sure your story has a connection to the customers, and they can identify themselves with it. It can be the problem your product can solve, the characters that are featured, or the time period which is highlighted.

Storytelling is a powerful and significant tool, but is not a magic wand. It is crucial for businesses that want to make a difference, and stand out from the crowd in the digital age. But it has to be done right. Beside having a beginning and end, and creating emotional connections through authenticity and reliability, stories need to be nurtured, shared, and refined. The simplest three-step process of content marketing storytelling goes like this:  

Create content that tells compelling stories for each stage of the buyer’s journey. First, address shared interests and values. Then, talk about your company, product and customers, and lastly turn to stories about the product/service.

Connect with your audience via select channels – your web site, email lists, social media or webinars. Make a choice based on what you prefer to achieve – brand awareness or conversions.

Optimize the content you created based on its effectiveness metrics. Learn what engages your audience and refine content pieces according to the audience’s preference.

With good research of your product, your customers, your proposition to them and the media you intend to use, you can get the insight that will allow you to achieve the necessary breakthrough which will have a lasting impact on your audience. Use a great content marketing strategy and storytelling within it to create loyal long-term customers and brand advocates. Over time, that translates into increased sales and revenue for your business.   

Mobile-First SEO Planning and Strategies for Startups

Woman on mobile device looking for local listings

Startups often have issues gaining traction on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in general, so trying to make sense of the differences between desktop and mobile SEO can be painful. And, gaining real traction in search engine rankings and getting organic search traffic can feel impossible. There are so many sites that have had more time to tinker with their SEO, more time to produce high-quality content, and more time to build the links that drive the results. How do you even begin to think through your company’s SEO strategy for Mobile at that point?

One Step at a Time

It’s not impossible for a startups to get momentum and increase rankings on Google. You just have to take it one step at a time. Google’s new announcement they will be splitting the Mobile and Desktop search indexes, with mobile being the primary index is a major part of this. The key takeaway is it will be a pure mobile index focusing on “pure mobile content” to differentiate them. The good news is, the best practices of title tags, url structures, etc. are all still the same.

Becoming a Mobile-Friendly Website

Mobile-optimized pages are obviously going to play a part here, and having a site that is responsive is the key to this all. Web pages on smart devices like iPhones, iPads, and on various mobile OS’ like iOS and Android should be just as attractive as your main, desktop site. All of the functionality and usability should basically be the same, obviously scaled down for these devices and mobile operating systems. Using responsive web design, you can create a site that shares the same HTML across all devices and allows CSS to decide how to render it properly. .

You Don’t Need New URLs

The days of m.website.com are over, thank god! Now that we have responsive web design to render the sites appropriately, you don’t need to create a separate URL for your Mobile Website, and your Mobile SEO won’t be affected by it. This is a big part of the new mobile algorithms and indexes, in that responsive sites will benefit more from Mobile SEO Signals. Having responsive sites will allow you to make sure all of the content is the same, on all the same URLs, and thus, not confusing users or search engines.

Mobile Pages Need To Load Faster

Page speed is even more important than it ever has been. The main thing here is understanding what is putting the most stress on the mobile internet connection of your user. Using smaller image sizes and videos will decrease the data needed and time to download a page, which is especially important for Mobile SEO. Image optimization techniques are extremely important, and things like leveraging web fonts vs. text in images and removing unnecessary resources will decrease page load times.

Bounce Rate is Even More Important Now

You have to take into account mobile visitors are likely to be limited with slower processors, battery life issues, and much slower internet speeds. When searching, all of these things will be prohibitive and the more optimized for these things, the more likely a user to purchase or stay on your site. This keeps bounce rates from mobile low. the answers to their search queries quickly, they will likely leave your site, which means your bounce rate will be lower. Bounce rates are a general SEO signal, but, the above items mentioned will impact bounce rates from search engines even more via mobile devices.

The Important of Mobile & Local Search

Most of the content people search for while on their mobile devices is going to have local content. This could because they are starving and looking for a restaurant in their area (I know I’ve done this!), because they need to find a gas station, or maybe a flower shop. Think about all the use cases where people are looking for businesses or products and it shouldn’t surprise you that the research supports this.

People are generally performing mobile searches for availability of a product, the pricing, store hours, among other things. Your website will have to take this into account to optimize your mobile SEO for local search. Understanding the intent, how they search for these local businesses or products will help you craft better titles, urls, and content.

Small businesses can be very targeted by included locations, phone numbers, zip codes, etc. For example, if we use the flower shop example above, I have done this specifically where I have done a search like “flower shop near me” and “flower shop in <city name>” when I wanted to get flowers for a special occasion.

Mobile-Friendly QA (Quality Assurance)

After keeping all of this in mind, there are tools and resources at your disposal to make sure your doing all you can. Google has a mobile SEO guide to help guide you along the way and a tool that allows you to test if your website is mobile friendly. Also, because page speed is so important, run a Google PageSpeed test to make sure your page load times are low. These tools and resources and free and will give you feedback on how to address and fix issues you may have.

Remember, Google and Search Engines are really focused on delivering the best possible user experience. They want to make sure everyone searching is finding what they need efficiently, tehrefore, you will be rewarded if you do the same. Focusing on building a user friendly and highly usable site that is fast, responsive, and not resource intensive for mobile devices is going to win at Mobile SEO.

Have you seen a difference since Google has started to make the shift to a Mobile and Desktop search index? What Mobile SEO tactics are you implementing?

Don’t have a Mobile SEO Strategy for your business? Time to start thinking about this and let us build an SEO Program that will grow your organic search traffic like our past clients. Our team is focused on tactical and actionable feedback to grow your business.

Reducing Bounce (Rate) Is The Key to Conversion Optimization

Reducing Bounce (Rate) Is The Key to Conversion Optimization

Most companies we talk to don’t have a ton of experience with conversion rate optimization and how to effect it in a positive way. Especially as a retail brand taking their products online, it can be overwhelming to understand things like traffic sources, conversion rate, exit pages, etc. And, even as we talk to startups, there are many situations where we find companies are frantically searching for a secret silver bullet to solve for increasing revenue or signups.

Once you dig down though and focus in on the most important conversion metrics, you start to focus in on the things that are most important and come to one singular goal of increasing conversions. (revenue, signups, user growth, etc.) And, as you start to dig into conversion funnels, you realize the most important thing is digging in, to reduce people bouncing from a given flow.

User acquisition is only the first step, keeping a visitor on your site, and making sure they make it through conversion funnels is quite frankly more important because for every person you bring into the top of the funnel, your metrics will look better across the board.

In order to reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates, you should here are a few things to focus in on.

Page Load Time:

You only have a few seconds to tell people what you’re selling or why the should join your community because, our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. No one will wait for a page to load, images to load. Generally what I find is, a page should load within a 3–5 seconds and time to interact (tti) with a page should be within a couple seconds. The TTI can make a huge difference in the conversion rates and in some cases, orders of magnitudes of difference for online retainers, especially.

Site Navigation and Experience

People want to be able to move around a site quickly, find what they want, and checkout. In order to do so, creating an easy to navigate site that leads the customer down the path of conversion is important. Creating several means of getting through to the next page, navigating them through a flow, or making sure there are multiple points to convert are a big part of this.

As an example, once someone is in the checkout flow, we really want to make sure that they stay in the flow to purchase the products they have chosen. In order to do this, we remove the standard site navigation items and footer navigation. This removes the ability for someone to start clicking around and either (a) forgetting to come back or (b) second guessing their decisions.

In Landing Pages and lead generation forms, especially when it comes longer form content, we have multiple methods to generate a conversion, whether it’s an email sign up or two calls-to-action, at the top and bottom of the page.

Simplicity (or, too many calls-to-action)

Along the same lines of navigation and experience, simplicity of experience is a big part of this. Sure, this could be tied to the last one, but, it’s just as important. Do not be afraid of whitespace, and I mean lots of it. Keeping a focus on creating a clean looking site experience that leads customers where you want them to go. The more you add to the page the more you take away from the singular focus that you have started with. when you’re trying to get someone to buy something, sign up for something, or even just read more content, when you start pushing people down multiple paths and types of calls-to-action, the more confused they will be.

Along the same lines, the color palette of your site can make a huge impact on this. Having a main, secondary, and tertiary set of colors allows you to focus your actions. Primary action colors should focus on your primary conversion elements will allow people coming to your site to look for those subconsciously. Secondary and tertiary colors for site links, other form buttons, secondary actions (e.g. primary is checkout, secondary is email sign up) should be more subtle will be apparent but not detract a customer from the main conversion action you want them to take.

Anything Broken…period.

One of the biggest sins I have seen in the last few years was an e-commerce site who had broken reviews links or links that led to specs or reviews of a different product. No matter how great we are at online advertising and seo services, we still would never be able to increase revenue, because people could not find the information they were looking for. Even worse. possible customers were led to a different product all together and links that were 404’s. Having any of these issues is going to increase your bounce rate and reduce conversion rates.

Obviously in the above case, the bounce rate from reviews pages was ultimately higher than any other page on the site. Reducing the above issues, 404s, broken images, links, or anything broken for that matter will naturally increase the conversion rates and reduce bounce rates.

What are your thoughts? Do you have tips around optimizing bounce rates and increase conversion rates? Let us know in the comments or follow us on twitter, @visiblefactors to keep the conversation going.

Increasing your SEO opportunity by thinking outside the box

Many times, as companies, we get so laser locked in on “ranking #1” for our keywords that we lose focus on the real KPIs that matter: conversions, revenue, traffic.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen this in our SEO engagements where people are so focused on a ranking of a keyword or set of keywords. It takes a minute to get people to understand what is truly important. The true goal is never ranking #1 for something or even ranking top 10 for example. Usually, it’s generating revenue, leads, traffic, engagement, etc. Focusing on this is the most important thing, not where a specific keyword ranks.

Along with that, it’s important to think outside the box. Creating a content program or finding new traffic opportunities for the business can create new opportunities to connect with customers.

And, speaking of content, one of my favorite measurements of this was a company I worked with who was worried about blog traffic converting. Think about it this way, if you have a blog with 100 visits that converts 3% of the time but a site that only gets 10 visits and converts 30% of those visits, you’re net conversions is still 3 for each one. If your goal is converting users to paid customers, it’s important to understand your traffic sources.

Similar to rankings, it’s important not to think so narrow minded about the opportunity. Thinking broadly about topics and thinking outside of the box could present growth were the business previously didn’t have it.

Content is an amazing example because you can find so much new opportunity on your SEO efforts. Creating content for SEO purposes not only increases your traffic and long term conversion (albeit at a lower rate), but, if you’re running retargeting campaigns, you’re creating a broader audience by pixeling users that come to your blog for education.

You can also take a look at competitors and understand what they are doing to increase their SEO Opportunities. Are they creating a blog? are the growing their blog content constantly? Maybe another opportunity is creating a resource center for your customers to educate them on products, services, etc.

A company like OnDeck, for example, could create a “small business loan knowledge base” and create a resource center for all terms related to small business loans. At the same time, a company like Luxe Valet could create a “parking costs” or “valet costs” resource that shows parking costs, meter costs, or average valet rates across the U.S. and educate visitors while increasing brand reach, and possible conversions for search terms like “parking costs in los angeles”.

Again, the key here is understanding the opportunity, mapping it out, and finding ways to reach new visitors and hopefully convert them instantly or over time, using other methods like email marketing and retargeting.

Would love to hear more about how you look for SEO opportunities and think outside the box for content. Leave a comment below!

Our team has grown SEO for companies like Blue Bottle Coffee and Ticketmaster. Inquire more about our SEO services and we can help you grow as well!

Email Marketing: You’ve got subscribers, what’s next?

We’ve run into a couple instances where our clients are sitting on a large list of email addresses or are starting an email program and just want to blast everything out at once. Recently, a member of our team pointed this out to me and it was a really interesting conversion. Based on that, we thought it would be important to talk about how to get value instantly, without overwhelming yourself and your subscribers.

One step at a time.

There’s an old saying, “you need to learn to crawl before you walk”. It holds true here because before you start implementing a hundred different strategies, it’s important to find out what is working. What I mean is: start somewhere and start small.

Start with a test email, you can format it in a way you think might be the first of a Drip Marketing or CRM campaign, but, there’s no need to set up automation immediately. First, try to generate some feedback. You can do this by testing. The key is, start small and send a couple test emails to see what type of response you get.

Don’t send it to everyone!

So, speaking of starting small. If you have a list of 500 subscribers or 25,000, it doesn’t matter, sending the email to everyone can cannibalize your audience and limit your ability to test. Consider segmenting out the list if you can, and, if you can’t, just split the list out into chunks so you can do the above, test and iterate.

Generally, the biggest the list, the lower the percent of users I want to send an email to. For example, a list of 500 I would break into 25%-50% tests of 125-250 people, where as a list of 25,000 I might break out into 10% chunks. The more subscribers the more data you can extract.

An example of this that we have right now is around 20,000 subscribers that we’ve split into an email sent to 5% at first, then two 10% segments to be sent the following 1-2 weeks. From there, based on the data, we will be able to learn about how our customers are responding to the emails being sent and can adjust the program going forward.

In many cases, you won’t have to do more than a couple tests on larger lists to find what you want. The key is not generating a ton of unsubscribes, having a really low open rate, or worse, report to spam.

Figure out your benchmarks

Along with not breaking anything, you’ll be able to benchmark some data. As an example, with open rates, when sending out your first email, you can test a couple subject lines and iterate on that with a second email. Once you find a good industry acceptable or higher open rate, you can then put that line in the sand and use that as a subject line for future emails.

You can do the same with templates, content, and design by iterating through your emails and understanding the click through rate and engagement with them.

The key is, again, finding your benchmarks and iterating through them.

Once you take these basic steps into account for an existing list or a new list your starting to build on your email marketing program, you can be way more effective. Also, you’ll find yourself to be way more efficient when iterating through campaigns because testing methods will be nailed down.

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