Why content marketing starts with your ‘sign up button’

Whilst much of the talk about content marketing strategy focuses on the creation, packaging and presentation of information that might encourage your target customer to interact and transact with you, the reality doesn’t need to be so complicated.

Committing to the setting up and writing of a blog, developing thought provoking white papers, producing video, webinars or hosting slides and documents is a serious undertaking and not for every business.

But what is within the reach of all businesses are a number of little fixes that can be made throughout your website, your email marketing and advertising to give your marketing the best chance of conversion.

A focus on headings, action buttons and supporting copy can make a significant impact on click-through, lead generation and conversion.

Changing an action button from ‘Register’ which may be an obstacle in the mind of prospective customer to ‘Start now’ alters the perception from being a task to becoming a desirable, benefit enabled action. In this example from a natural wellbeing site, Start Now is softer and less prescriptive.

Hubspot is a masterful example in the art of content marketing. Everything they do is aimed at developing deeper relationship, evolving to product trial. Free Demo buttons stand out on every page throughout the site, which uses its multiple daily blog posts and free webinars, white papers and ebooks to drive traffic.

Joe Browns clothing and accessories, below, help the browsing process by colouring their search button and using the words ‘make it easy – search sale by size’ to help customers get straight to what they want. Simple. Effective.

Expedia simplify site browsing, whilst personalising it, with the use of the copy ‘Find your deal’. Great copy which implies you’ll be able to locate a holiday that’s relevant for you at a price you’ll be happy with. Pretty powerful stuff when you analyse it.

Even the banks are getting creative with their action buttons as this example from First Direct illustrates. From  the core ‘Apply Today’ button to the standout buttons to the right offering online security, partner offers and free software, they are making the most of their real estate and trying to drive traffic to key transactional areas of the site.

What can you be doing better to help your visitors and customers along?

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Links worth a click #1

Links worth a click we 27 May, 2011.

It was an interesting week in digital. Here is my pick of the top stories.

GOOGLE WALLET heralded a new age of cashless transaction. Here is the Guardian’s take on it  and something from Google on how it works.

Staying with GOOGLE but going retro, here is a great guide from Mashable on getting started with Google Analytics.

For CONTENT MARKETERS trying to make some money, Seth Godin’s excellent new publishing initiative Project Domino put out a blog post which discussed the paradox of the paid PDF ebook.

FACEBOOK specific retail pages, or F-commerce, are on the rise. Here is an interesting Econsultancy review of the new Lyle & Scott Facebook
clothing store
.

Brand Republic reported this week that brands have been ‘liked’ by 150m Facebook users per day.

There was a big TWITTER development this week which meant that for the first time people can see what you see. It’s going to show up all those guilty pleasures you follow and some you might not want people to know about!

Finally, Lamborghini are considering a new ‘everyday model’ so you should start saving now!

Image: Gearlive.com

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Secrets to better email conversion

This blog reflects on the Econsultancy seminar on advanced email marketing at Technology for Marketing & Advertising, 2010. More can be found at www.econsultancy.com.

If you want successful outcomes from your email marketing campaigns, you need to think about conversion and deal with all the possible barriers to getting them to open it, read it, click through and do something when they hit your website. Yes, all the metrics around email marketing are useful, but they won’t keep your business ticking over if they don’t effect action.

As eConsultancy advocate, ‘think beyond the click’.

1. Start simple. Simple techniques might involve posing a question in the title, placing a big action button in the email and generally giving them enough but not too much so they have to click through for more.

2. Avoid averages. Some ‘experts’ always mention averages when discussing metrics on successful email marketing conversion. But with 2% of prospects opening your email, versus 10% of your customers, an average of 5% gives a false impression of what is happening and what is working.

3. Segment. As a bare minimum, your email marketing should talk to customers and prospects differently. Customer emails need to engage and bind and can be personalised taking into account past behaviour and preferences. You can target customers who have abandoned baskets, failed to complete a download etc. Prospect emails need to be propositioned slightly differently, set out to solve a problem, inform and encourage trial.

4. Create value. Think about the value exchange in both cases, understanding that developing new customers is harder and more involved than up selling and cross selling existing or lapsed customers. Ultimately, know what is in it for them. For customers understand and tap into recency, frequency and value data and build a profile of your most profitable customers. The masters Amazon use expensive collaborative filtering engines to establish what you bought and viewed in order to make similar recommendations. For prospects, offer a service like Hotel Chocolat’s reminder service for anniversaries and birthdays that gives you permission to make contact in the future. All are designed to keep you front of mind.

5. Personalisation. Get your salutations right. Have you deserved the right to use a first name? Conditional content – where certain areas of email (like images and personalised content) can be tailored within an established framework – is now becoming the norm. You can effectively mail merge using data in an Excel – even using what if scenarios.

Above all, keep it readable and keep it credible. Imagine your email without the images – the message and who it is coming from should still be clearly understood.

Image from www.theweblog.be

Are you using the right web analytics model?

I have been inspired to share some of the content I picked up at Technology for Marketing & Advertising, 2010.

This blog reflects on the Econsultancy seminar on web analytics. More can be found at www.econsultancy.com.

If you are into evaluation, (and my blog statistics suggest most visitors are), you need to start providing credible reports on return on digital marketing investment. Attribution models help allocate lead generation and customer conversion to specific activities but model used can give a very different report.

There can be massive differences in what your website statistics and advertising statistics tell you. That’s because there are natural drop offs between people clicking an ad, opening an email, clicking a link to your site (the ad stat) and staying on your site long enough to register as a session (website stats). It can be down to simple things like realising they have gone to the wrong or irrelevant site, the home page taking too long to download or a loss of internet connection.

At a deeper level though, understanding how to attribute the success for a conversion is gaining importance in internet marketing. There are essentially three different strategies which can be employed to help give you a view on web traffic. These are commonly referred to as ‘last click’, ‘conversion’ & ‘weighted’.

Last click is the most common and easiest to monitor as it attributes credit for the conversion on the last click. So if an email is sent which results in 20% clickthrough to site, the email takes the credit. The major drawback in this model however is that it fails to take into account any other touchpoints, which inevitably provides a false impression of what works.

Conversion isolates a click and offers a thread so is ideal for affiliate enterprises. It does however provide the greatest risk of duplication and double counting as there is no guarantee that the clickthrough ends in a sale.

A weighted approach tries to allocate credit to all aspects of campaign but is obviously the hardest to manage. Dell and other direct marketing giants pioneered the concept of dedicated landing pages to help allocate traffic to specific channels and activities. Other sites bluntly ask how you arrived at the site.

I think the key thing for most businesses is simply to start monitoring where your traffic is coming from. If you are not, start monitoring your clicks, traffic and conversion today. If you already are, perhaps this post has given you some food for thought on exactly what you are monitoring.

Image from willscullypower WordPress blog