Digital marketing quick wins you’ve probably overlooked

Following on from my post about SEO quick wins, here are simple, but often overlooked, ideas for you to use in your digital marketing. Applying these to your digital marketing will create instant results, quickly and easily.

In this post I’ll show you how to:

  • Re-optimise your website for even more traffic (I did it and increased traffic to a post by 115%)
  • Track how people use your website and where they click (or don’t)
  • Capture, store and analyse customer feedback to make data driven changes
  • Put yourself in control of the data with tag management
  • And more!

Re-optimise your website content

I’m not going to lay claim to having thought of this myself, but using this idea from Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout blog, I increased traffic to pages I re-optimised by up to 115%. I am currently working my way through the rest!

The original article is here, “How to increase your website’s traffic without any marketing” but in a nutshell, the idea is to find search terms you already rank well for in Google (using Google Webmaster Tools) and then conduct those searches.

For example:

keyword search

Scroll to the bottom of the page to find which keywords are presented as being related to the search term.

related searches

 

Then, go back to the page and add those keywords in to your page content (in a natural context). Because Google already associates you closely with these terms, you are very likely to start ranking well for them once you use them in your content.

Simple, but brilliant!

Add heatmap tracking to your website

Heatmapping has been around for years, but I am surprised how few websites use it. I suspect it is treated with suspicion by some designers because they are scared it will highlight “mistakes”, but that is looking at it from the wrong angle.

It is an extremely powerful tool to highlight where you can improve, and no website can ever improve if you shy away from user generated data.

Heat maps will show you where people are clicking on your website, visualised as, you guessed it, a heat map! For example:

  • Are people finding your primary call to action or are they clicking on an unlinked image?
  • Are visitors scrolling below the fold?
  • Can they easily find your sign-up/log-in button?

Here is an example of a heatmap in action. Note how people click on areas you couldn’t possibly anticipate or expect. The challenge is to work out why, and how to adapt the page accordingly.

heatmap

Which is the best heat map software? The most famous, and oft-used paid supplier is CrazyEgg. I have used them in the past, and it is very easy to set up and the visual reports are very easy to analyse and act upon. It comes with a 30 day free trial so you can have a go without any risks.

Use customer feedback to drive your product marketing

Nobody knows your product like your customers, not even you. They will always find ways to bend and break it you can never think of. They are also the most honest about how you are performing.

Creating a centralised, systematic, reportable and actionable process to capture this feedback will drive both your product, and your brand. Companies such as The Money Shop use multiple sources of data to capture customer feedback, in their instance TrustPilot, store feedback forms, online community steering group and social media.

There are five key stages to using customer feedback to inform product and brand marketing:

  1. Collecting – Collection of the data
  2. Cataloguing – Putting the data in to distinct groups
  3. Storing – Where the feedback is stored to be retrieved
  4. Analysing – The ability to analyse volume, trends and value
  5. Acting – Putting the ideas in to practice

Here are some practical ideas for you to think about.

Collection and cataloguing

Report on how customers interact with your support databases. I.e. most commonly read articles, popular searches, failed searches…

If you have customer feedback forms, use closed questions to make it easier to identify trends. One tip is to include fields for the customer to categorise the topic/product for you.

You can crowd source product road map, asking customers to recommend and vote up what features we should work on next https://www.uservoice.com.

Run a bi-annual survey asking customers for feedback on brand/product related topics to gather ideas, and benchmark performance.

Use Net Promotor Score (NPS) to benchmark how you are performing over an extended period of time, and see how the changes you make are impacting on customers.

Storing, analysis and acting

Don’t view sources of data as silos. Bring all your data in to one centralised database and start associating the data with customer account data including revenue and product metrics.

NPS dashboard

For example, if you associate NPS data with customer accounts you can then start tailoring the messages you send to the three groups, as well as track a customers’ responses over time, and act accordingly. E.g. if a traditionally regular Promoter drops to a persistent Detractor.

Create a marketing dashboard

Your digital marketing effectiveness can only be judged by using data, but it is easy to become overloaded with too much data, a lot of which isn’t relevant to you.

Every business and website have different objectives and use different marketing channels. Additionally, if you use different sources of data, logging in and logging out of multiple control panels can get old very quickly.

By creating your own marketing dashboard you can get instant access to the data that matters to you.

Services such as Google Analytics Solutions Gallery (free) and cyfe.com (paid) will let you connect all your different sources of data in to one dashboard, as well as giving you the choice on what information to show, and what to ignore.

Use a tag manager

What is tag management? Tags are snippets of code that you add to your website, which then enables you to add and remove analytics, remarketing, conversion tracking, affiliates etc. code via a control panel, without having to touch the website’s HTML again.

GoogleTagManager

More than just a time saver and general admin idea, using a tag manager also ensures consistent and up to date tracking code across your website.

Tag managers also give you control over adding and removing code without having to ask a developer or web admin to do it for you.

As you’d expect, Google provide a tag manager for free here: Google Tag Manager.

Looking for more ideas?

If you want more quick and easy digital marketing ideas, you’ll like my 30 online marketing quicks wins you can apply today.

A great way to test the strength of your brand

With so much information competing for your target audience’s attention every day, the importance of strong branding has never been greater. From recall, to sales to satisfaction levels, it has an impact on everything to do with your business.

But how strong is your brand?

Here is a great way to quickly test the strength of your brand.

 

Because we need to justify marketing costs, there are countless brand metrics agencies will use to measure the value of a brand. The fact that there is no one definitive answer shows how difficult branding is to quantify.

Most companies can’t afford to hire an agency to do this in-depth brand analysis any way, but there is a quick way you can determine how strong your brand is yourself.

No research, no data, no graphs and no fancy pie charts at jaunty angles. Just you, your brain, a pen and some paper.

The one question to ask yourself

“If your brand was a commercial airline, what would it look like?”

Write down as much detail as you can think of. For example:

  • The check-in process customers would have
  • The type of uniforms your flight staff would wear
  • The in-flight entertainment you would offer
  • The amount of seating space on the place,
  • The quality of the food,
  • The speed of the plane
  • and so on…

You will get better results if you are brutally honest with yourself at each stage.

How easy did you find that to do?

If you instantly had a clear picture of every element of an airline applying your brand, then you have a very strong brand position and statement of purpose.

If you could think of some of the elements, but had to force a few others or were unsure, then you are making progress but your brand needs to be better defined.

If you sat there unsure of any of it, or it being a real jumble of ideas, then that is probably how people see your brand.

To illustrate my point, think of some of the world’s top brands and apply the same idea. Without fail, the type of airline they would be is clear and obvious.

My example

Let’s have a go at applying this to the world’s most valuable brand; Apple.

You know an Apple airline would use beautifully crafted aeroplanes with very comfortable seating, and customisation of the experience at each stage available via connected devices.

They would instantly know who you are and your preferences based on the data stored on your iPhone/iPad/iPod. The service would be relatively informal, with as much emphasis on helping yourself as much as possible.

The in-flight entertainment would be heavily focused on consuming the content on your Apple device, connecting people on the plane to play games. The food would be presented in such a way that it felt original.

That all came very easily.

Your turn

Have a go with your own brand, and let me know how you get on.

Running your first A/B test

Acquiring new customers is expensive, so it shouldn’t be left to guess work. A/B testing gets more out of your existing traffic, using data to identify postive and negative changes you make to your website.

Every website has a goal. Online shops want visitors to buy products, software providers want people to sign up to their service, blogs want people to subscribe and so on. People completing these goals are your conversions. By testing a different version of your web page, you can measure how many more (or less) of yours visitors convert based on these changes.

I will show you how to run your first A/B test, and get actionable data that increases your conversions.

 

What do you want to test?

You can test anything on your website, however that doesn’t mean you should. Rather than diving straight in and making ad-hoc changes, you will get better results by applying a methodical approach.

A good framework to follow:

1. Ask yourself a question about something you don’t like about how your website performs e.g. Why don’t I get many sales of my 2nd tier product? Even better, if you have an active customer/visitor base, ask them what they would like to see changed.

2. The next step is to create a hypothesis based on this information e.g. Adding a ‘Most popular’ badge to my 2nd tier product in the product table will draw more sales

3. Once you know what you want to test you now need to decide on how long you want the test to run. There is a handy calculator using your current conversion rate, the level of improvement you want to see, the number of variations you are running and your daily visitor count at convert.com.

4. Now we get to test your hypothesis by running the A/B test for the planned length of time.

5. Once the A/B test is complete analyse your results. You’re A/B testing software (more on those later) will tell you which is the winning version. If it is your new page, make that your new default!

Common A/B testing mistakes to avoid

A/B testing sounds simple; create two versions of a page and see which is better. However, there is  a lot more to it than that, especially if you don’t want to waste time testing changes that have next to no impact. Here are common A/B testing pit falls to avoid…

Testing too many things at once

If you make too many changes to a page you won’t know which are having a positive impact and which are having a negative impact. Multivariate testing will help you test a few ideas at once, but this relies on a lot of traffic to be statistically valid.

For A/B testing, make one change and test the impact on your conversion before moving on to your next test.

Thinking too small

Micro-changes such as amending some copy here, or adding a link there, won’t have a significant impact on the performance of your web page. You need to make big changes to see big results.

For example, compare a short form version of your page with a long form, compare two completely different header images (e.g. one with a person and another of the product) etc.

Once you have exhausted the big ideas, then you can start to drill down to finer details to optimise even further.

Focusing just on clicks

The goal of every test should be to increase conversions, not just clicks on a button or link from one page to another. Clicks on links matter, but only in the context of how that contributed to an uplift in conversions.

Every test should be judged against how many conversions it generated.

Overruling your results

It is common to get results that surprise you or go against everything you thought was true.

When this happens it easy to dismiss them and continue with the old design. If you are unsure of the data, as a minimum run the test again. If it comes back positive a second time, trust the data.

A/B testing case studies to inspire you

Having the framework to run an A/B test is one thing, knowing what to test is another. Here are some classic A/B test case studies to help you get some ideas.

A/B testing software

I have personal hands-on experience of using Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely. Of the two I found Optimizely to be easier to set up and analyse my results. Google offer a basic A/B testing tool called ‘Experiments‘ through Google Analytics, but I haven’t used it so I can’t honestly comment on its qualities. Seeing as it is free, I would recommend having a look if you are on a tight budget.

Most providers offer a free trial period, so I would recommend shopping around to find the one that suits you and your budget.

SEO quick wins you’ve probably overlooked (Part 1)

90% of SEO is easy for anyone to do, and a fair amount is just attention to detail. You’ll often find the businesses in your industry that look beyond the introductory strokes of meta data (i.e. <title>), keyword usage, internal linking etc. are the websites that rank well.

Here are five really easy to do, but often overlooked, SEO quick wins that will have a positive impact on your rankings and traffic.

Find unlinked mentions of your business

Chances are you are already being discussed or referenced on other websites, but there is no guarantee they have linked to you as well.

Use this search query to find URLs where your website has been mentioned, but hasn’t been linked to:

-site:yourwebsite.co.uk -inanchor:yourwebsite.co.uk -inurl: yourwebsite.co.uk -intitle: yourwebsite.co.uk

Once you have your list of websites, start contacting them and ask them if they will add a link to your website. Some will, and some won’t but for such a simple task it is worth trying.

Optimise for your location

Research is showing that 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. Additionally, 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same (source).

The information they are looking for on your website is:

  • 54% business hours
  • 53% directions
  • 50% the store address
  • 45% availability of product at your store

Additionally, the research found that local searchers are ready to act. Many visit a nearby location within a day and complete purchases at a higher rate than consumers who conduct non-local searches.

With all this in mind, make sure you have optimised your website to be highly relevant to your locality. E.g.

Instead of:

<title>Your local law firm – Friendly, confidential advice</title>
<h1>A law firm putting you first</h1>
<p>We offer high quality legal service that focuses on innovative thinking and deep client relationships.</p>

Use:

<title>Nottingham law firm – Friendly, confidential advice</title>
<h1>Nottingham law firm putting you first</h1>
<p>Based in Nottingham, we offer high quality legal service that focuses on innovative thinking and deep client relationships.</p>

Also, ensure that key information such as business hours, location etc. are easy to find as quickly as possible – ideally on the home page. Frozen meal company ‘Cook’ are a great example of how to do this well:

COOK Nottingham

People won’t spend long looking for this information. If they can’t find it on your website they will move on to a competitor.

Google Maps is now a business search engine

Get all your information added to Google My Business (previously Google Places). Google My Business puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ so that customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using.

Your verified business information can appear in Maps, helping customers find directions to your business. They can also find contact info, as well as ratings and reviews of your business.

Here is an example of an Indian restaurant in Nottingham that has taken advantage of this service:

My Business Google Maps

This gives customers the right info at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, opening hours in Search or a phone number they can click on to call you on mobile phones.

Use rich snippets

Rich snippets are the reason why you see additional data on Google’s search engines such as reviews, videos, authors (although that has now been discontinued) and alike.

rich snippets

These are never guaranteed to appear, and they only use a selection of results on any one page, which means they draw more of the clicks when they are used.

You can read Google’s overview about this here with instructions on how to set up reviews, people, products, and more. There is also their testing tool here to make sure you have set it all up correctly.

Use sponsorship to build easy, relevant links

Link building is difficult, and leaves even seasoned marketing professionals scratching their head. However, there are ways you can do this within Google’s parameters and without having to do laborious link outreach or “content marketing amplification.”

One of these is to find local/industry related events, forums, competitions and groups that are looking for sponsorship. In return they will add your logo and/or link on their website.

sponsorship and partners

They are often very low-cost, and these links will also be deemed as highly relevant industry links by Google. Additionally, you get great PR by being associated with them as well!

WordPress plug-ins that increase sales & engagement

If you use WordPress to power your business’ website or take orders online, you instantly have access to a huge range of really powerful marketing tools ready to install and use in a matter of clicks.

In this post I will showcase the best plug-ins for you to increase conversions, boost subscriber opt-in rates, enhance your visitor/customer engagement levels and much more.

The following are all plug-ins I have experience of using and genuinely recommend. They are not random plug-ins I have stumbled across or googled just to build this list. The plug-ins listed below are a mixture of both paid and free.

 

Email marketing

Mailing list and emails

MyMail is an all-inclusive product that will allow you to capture subscribers as well as sending ad-hoc, timed and event driven email marketing.

MyMail

Cost: $39. Find out more and download

Capture subscribers

Give visitors an incentive to sign up to your subscriber list by giving them exclusive access to great content.

optin locker

Cost: $14. Find out more and download

SEO

All-in-one SEO

Yoast’s SEO plug-in is one of the most downloaded plug-ins in WordPress’ directory and currently rated a huge 4.7 out of 5. I use this for my website and it makes setting up all the essential SEO variables very easy.

Yoast SEO

Cost: Free. Find out more and download

Keyword tracker

Track your keyword rankings in Google from within your WordPress dashboard. Very easy to get set up and running.

Rankie

Cost: $15. Find out more and download

Customer marketing

Community portal

Create a community based around your website with user profiles, badges, commenting, and member exclusive content.

UserPro

Cost: $28. Find out more and download

Team showcase

People like dealing with people. Increase credibility and sales by adding a personal flavour to your website.

team showcase

Cost: $16. Find out more and download

Testimonials showcase

One of the best ways to convert a prospect is to show them know how highly your current customers rate you.

testimonial showcase

Cost: $15. Find out more and download

Pop-ups and data capture

Deliver marketing messages to visitors based on their onsite behaviour and exit intent. Includes A/B testing tools to get the message just right.

Ninja-popups

Cost: $20. Find out more and download

On-site live chat

Chat with your visitors on you website. A great tool for closing sales, speeding up support query resolution and adding a personalised touch to your visitors’ experience.

LiveChat

Cost: $17. Find out more and download

Social

Social media sharing buttons

A lot of themes comes with social sharing buttons included, however if yours didn’t or you want a more flexible solution check out ‘Easy Social Share Buttons’.

Easy-social-share

Cost: $14. Find out more and download

Share to get access

Lock content away until they like, tweet or +1 your page.

social content locker

Cost: $24. Find out more and download

Sell online

Sell digital products

Sell downloadable products from within your WordPress website, with full shopping cart and payment integration included.

Easy Digital Downloads

Cost: Free. Find out more and download

Use your order confirmation email to sell more

Research has shown that the probability of selling something to a prospect is only about 5-20%, while the probability of selling something to an existing customer is 60-70% (source).

What if you were to take your traditional order confirmation (simply letting customers know the order has been placed successfully) and use it as an opportunity to encourage an already extremely warm lead to buy more?

In this post I will show you how to use your order confirmation email to sell more products/services.

Reduce purchase anxiety

Purchase anxiety typically happened when someone buys a product that is a little too expensive for them or they spend more than they normally do.

The danger here is they instantly get nervous, want to back track and then try to cancel and get a refund.

To combat this continue marketing to them and reinforce their belief they just made the right decision. Include testimonials, reviews/ratings, awards, trust marks etc. in the design of the email.

Cross-sell added value services

Do you sell any complimentary services that instantly support their purchase? A great example I received was from a hotel that linked to services such as car hire, tourist excursions, theatre tickets etc. for that city in the booking confirmation email.

The important point here is to compliment the product, not replace it. Don’t try to get them to upgrade at this stage, you’ll run the risk of undermining what they just bought.

Encourage a referral

Having literally just bought from you, now is the time to trade on their positive sentiment and try for a referral.

Do they know anyone else who might want your services? Set up an easy ‘Click to recommend us’ link within the order confirmation email.

Give them a discount on their next purchase

I wouldn’t go too crazy with this one, maybe just a small amount like 10% when they spend £X to act as a nudge and to get them coming back. I would also time limit the discount to create a sense of urgency.

Get actionable data

If you want to gather feedback on how people find using your website and order process, this is the perfect time to ask!

The whole experience is fresh in their mind, and with a little incentive (e.g. 10% off next order) a lot will be willing to share their experiences via a short survey.

Applying these ideas

I have created a wireframe lay out to show you how you can apply these ideas to your order confirmation email:

Order confirmation email