Monday, April 20, 2015

Bounce Rates...what does your bounce rate say about your site?

Using Google’s definition, a bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)
High bounce rates imply that there’s a problem with your website – specifically with the user experience. Common sense says that if users come to your site and then turn around and leave, they don’t like your site.

I’m going to challenge that notion.
According to Mashable, the average bounce rate is around 50%. That would mean that about half of website visitors leave the site without clicking anything else on the page.
Does this mean that people are unhappy with half the websites they visit?
Or could it possibly mean that half of the time that we visit websites, we get what we want out of them without needing to click anything else on the page? If that’s true, a high bounce rate could imply that a website is efficient.
Let’s look at a non-digital example. If I walk into your store and don’t buy something, does that mean there is something wrong with your store? Maybe I’m just browsing. Maybe I’m planning to come back later with my wife before making my purchase. Neither of these scenarios means that your store isn’t great. I just may not be ready to buy.
Couldn’t that be true online too?
Or consider this scenario. Maybe I went to your website to read about your business, saw what I needed to see, and decided on the spot to hire you. I pick up the phone, or visit your location without looking at any additional pages on your site.
And couldn’t this be even more true if I’m using a mobile device? Most of my website visits on my phone are brief. I need a phone number, or a physical address – both normally found on the home page. When I find them easily, I don’t need to click through the site.
And while I’m ranting, even though I have a nice smartphone, that screen is still too small to be surfing the web with my over-40-year-old eyes. If I really want to check out a website, I’m coming back later on my laptop, no matter how “optimized for mobile” your site may be.
While bounce rates average around 40%-60%, (Mashable claims average bounce rate is 50%) bounce rates coming from mobile devices tend to be 10%-20% higher than those of desktop.
Take a look at these Google analytics that show how mobile visitors tend to view less pages and stay for a shorter amount of time.

Some claim that if users aren't sticking around, it’s the quality of the leads coming to the site in the first place. They’ll blame high bounce rates on bad pay-per-click or display advertising. One complaint is that the keywords aren't targeting the right audience.
Allow me to challenge that notion too.
You’re surfing the web. You do a search for a given product or service. Or maybe you’re reading content relevant to something you’re interested in. Later, you see a display ad for that product or service.
If you’re interested in the display ad, you click on it. If you’re not, you don’t. Agreed?
You end up on the site and bounce for one of the many reasons we discussed.
If you weren't a good prospect for the business, would you have clicked the ad in the first place? No. Ads don’t bring the wrong kind of audience to your site – unless the ad copy itself is misleading the prospect.
The argument “the ad is targeting the wrong kinds of prospects, so my bounce rate is high” doesn’t hold water. If the ad is targeting the wrong audience, no one will click on it anyway. I know. When I see ads for purses, make-up and high heels, I don’t click on them. You don’t click on the ads that aren’t relevant to you, do you? Of course not.
So while decreased bounce rates could indicate that your ads are bringing a higher quality lead to the website, increased bounce rates are probably an indication that your website doesn’t offer a good user experience, you’re getting a lot of mobile traffic, or your ads are misleading.
As with other metrics, there are usually a lot of factors that impact bounce rate (both positively and negatively) and a lot of ways to interpret it. It should be looked at from different perspectives and considered along with other metrics on your site.

What do new Google algorithms mean for you?

Google is making a big change to its ranking algorithm tomorrow. For the first time, mobile usability will affect search results. If you don't have a responsively designed site or mobile version, your SEO will take a nosedive. You can check to see if your site adheres to the new guidelines here. If you or your engineers need a refresher, I highly reccommend Google's Web Starter Kit and Web Fundamentals course.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Is there a single, 'right' way to sell?

Sales Tip
There is no plan, program or technique that's guaranteed to boost sales. A salesperson succeeds with one approach because it’s based on his or her talents and skills. It may fail miserably for another person.

You can gain insights from studying other salespeople’s success. The key is to understand that you must take what you learn and make it work for you, based on your own strengths. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Twelve Strategies For Creating Better Display Ads

In order for a display campaign to be successful, it must have great creative. In fact, Creative can be the most influential element of a successful or failed display campaign. And because creative is so important, here are twelve strategies for creating better display ads.


While design and layout are important, the message of your creative trumps design every time. Customers need to know what makes you special. Why should they care? What's in it for them? So always emphasize the benefits with a powerful message.



When you hear "keywords", you probably immediately think of search engine marketing or keyword retargeting tactics. But don't forget how powerful keywords can be in a display ad. Potential customers will only look at the ad for a few seconds at most. Keywords of the products and services that interest them can grab (and keep) their attention.



Because we have their attention for such a short amount of time, it's essential that we don't try to tell them your advertiser's whole value proposition in the ad. You've heard the phrase "thirty-second elevator pitch." This is more like a three-second elevator pitch (if that!), so keep it short and sweet and to the point.


Call now, click here, book now, buy today... tell the customer what you want them to do. You may be surprised how often they do it. Use action words that are short and descriptive.  Placing the call to action in a button makes it more understood as actionable and it is less likely to be overlooked.


If we're honest with ourselves and our advertisers, we've had the conversation about CTR and we all understand that most display ads do not get clicked on. Okay, so then let's play to the strength of display: BRANDING. Be sure customers see your advertiser's brand name or logo. That way, when they have a need for their products/services, they'll think of them and search for them by name.


Hopefully, your advertiser's display ads are a part of a larger marketing program that includes newspaper, radio, television, and/or direct mail. Encourage them to use the same messaging and themes throughout so that the impact of the display campaign is enhanced by the other things they are doing and vice versa.



Use words like "special offer" and "exclusive" to grab the customers' attention and draw them in. They also like to compare prices and rates, so when possible, prominently display those as part of the ad.

* Claims to offers, products and/or services as "free" should be made with caution. The FTC has guidelines regarding the word "free" and similar representations.


Over time, your advertiser's campaign may get stale. Users may overlook an ad they've seen several times. Freshen it up with new images, messaging or even colors, while sticking to the brand's identity. Don't be afraid to try new approaches.


Be sure that there is consistency between the ad and the page users come to when they click on it. First of all, it should look and feel similar. Colors, images and overall design should match. Secondly, if there is a special offer or a specific product featured in the ad, that offer or product should be easy to find on the landing page. 



Grab the customer's attention with engaging and interesting images and graphics. 
  • Have a focal point. This can be an image, a logo, or the offer or call to action.
  • Color is powerful. Use it to grab attention and encourage action.
  • Fonts should be limited to three or less. Avoid script and small fonts.
  • Use white space between design elements.
  • Do not sacrifice clarity of images for smaller file sizes.

Don't use animation just to use it. Make it strategic. Use it to tell a quick story or to highlight the benefits of your offering. Don't wait until the last frame to tell your primary message or place your call to action. Viewers may miss it. 


While the classic "square box", "skyscraper" and "leaderboard" are a good starting point, always include mobile (including apps) and Facebook ad creative for more opportunities to reach customers no matter how they access the web. 


Never "shrink" traditional ads to mobile sizes. Instead, simplify the ad creative to highlight fewer elements on a smaller canvas. Often one image (logo or product) and a benefit and/or brief call to action is all that should be used in smaller, mobile ad sizes. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

1 Million B2B Sales Jobs Will Vanish by 2020


So what role does the salesperson play in the new B2B buying journey?The trend can't be ignored any longer: Buyers are more informed and self-sufficient than ever before. They can do all the research they want about a particular product or service on the company website, and even buy online if the option is available.
This question was the topic of Andy Hoar's presentation at the 2015 Forrester Sales Enablement Forum. And the principal analyst didn't shy away from dropping the bomb that his research indicates is on the horizon. 
Of the 4.5 million B2B salespeople in existence today, "we believe one million jobs will be net displaced by 2020," Hoar said.  
However, not all types of B2B salespeople will be impacted equally. Hoar identified four main seller archetypes, listed in order of representation in the overall population:
  1. Order takers: Salespeople who work with a non-complex buyer dynamic and non-complex product or service.
  2. Navigators: Salespeople who work with a complex buyer dynamic and non-complex product or service.
  3. Explainers: Salespeople who work with a non-complex buyer dynamic and complex product or service.
  4. Consultants: Salespeople who work with a complex buyer dynamic and complex product or service.
Of these personas, order takers are projected to take the biggest hit in jobs lost, according to Hoar. 
"Order takers are in the cross hairs, because if [a buyer] knows what they want and they're ready to buy it, just give it to them," he said. "Enable them to buy it -- don't create friction." These salespeople stand to be displaced by self-service portals.
Explainers are the second most at-risk group, thanks to sophisticated company websites. "If you look at really compelling websites, they provide things like how-to videos, detailed facts, and user-generated content," Hoar said. "So as technology gets better at explaining things, we don't need humans to explain any more."
Navigators will take a small hit due to the rise of tools and integrations that streamline procurement. While 91% of B2B buyers in a Forrester survey said they would like to interact with a salesperson on price negotiations, Hoar said he sees "a clear trend toward software and algorithms doing more of that." 
But there was one bright spot -- the consultant category is expected to grow instead of shrink, according to Hoar. 
"Consultants are a qualitatively different bunch of people," Hoar said. "They can explain abstract concepts; they can solution sell; they can build relationships. They're true consultants."
So while this research doesn't spell the demise of all salespeople, it certainly puts a date on the death of the traditional salesman. What should companies do to mitigate the impact on their sales teams?
Hoar offered a few suggestions. First, he recommended scaling back on field sales in favor of inside and online models, especially in the "order taker" category. 
In addition to changing sales models, he also suggested reexamining business models. "The reality is a lot of B2B companies we talk to are getting out of the product business entirely -- they're now doing services," he said. Lastly, he advised that organizations embrace technology and adopt new tools to radically alter their sales operations. 

As for individual reps? "Not everybody's going to make it," Hoar acknowledged. While much of the burden of reskilling salespeople falls on companies in the form of reimagining sales and marketing processes, salespeople would be smart to start tweaking their personal techniques today. Your job might depend on it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sales Tip: Disagreeing and diffusing

You can get away with disagreeing with prospects as long as you show them the respect of really listening to what they have to say. Take into account when and if it makes sense to disagree.

You can diffuse an angry prospect by starting your answer to a question with the phrase, "You're making a legitimate point," or "I hear what you're saying," and really mean it.

Never underestimate how much prospects want to feel that they have been heard, and once you have given them that chance they will hear you. 

Marketers: How to Bridge the Generational Screen Gap

Strategies for Brands to Reach Users on Different Screens Based on Intent

Digital ad buys today are governed largely by the efficiencies in audience targeting that ad tech affords. But the screens that such buys are delivered on are to some extent an afterthought, primarily viewed as a channel to reach the generation being targeted -- millennials on smartphones, Gen Xers on laptops and baby boomers on PCs.
While content and messages are optimized for the size and function of each screen, these buys don't truly take into account how different generations choose screens based upon purpose. Marketers assume, for example, that all mobile devices are used in the same way and for the same purpose, regardless of the generation that is using them.
But new evidence is suggesting that there is significant variance in generational preferences for screen usage, ranging from content consumption to shopping, and marketers would be wise to take these variances into consideration if they hope to fully optimize their buys and maximize marketing investment.
recent study by Millward Brown Digital found that while younger audiences are more smartphone-centric, consuming less TV than older generations, the majority of consumers across all generations still rely on laptops or PCs. The study also found that for low-attention tasks, audiences prefer smartphones, but that as the amount of time spent on a task increases -- usually after a five-minute threshold -- so does laptop and PC usage for all groups. Screen size and speed were the biggest determinants of screen preference across generations.
So how should marketers approach taking differences in screen preference and usage into consideration when preparing their digital campaigns? Here are some tips:
1. Understand the audience your marketing is reaching by more than just demographics.
When evaluating digital ad performance, consider the differential impact of your creative and messaging by device. An ad will display differently across devices. For ads in which the visual attributes are more important (think retail, consumables or auto), advertising targeted to tablets can be very effective in boosting awareness and brand favorability, because the overall quality and display of the product being advertised is bigger and clearer. That same ad on a smartphone will have to be cut down and resized, and its impact will be different.
What is so exciting about this is that with the promise of programmatic, marketers can use these types of findings to sequence ads across devices to achieve a brand's objective (for example, building awareness and favorability of the product on a tablet, then following up with laptop/desktop ads that allow a consumer to compare features, and then closing with mobile ads designed to drive in-store behavior). These sequences can be built out by brand objective and target audience to tell a sequenced story and move consumers down the digital purchase funnel.
2. Optimize messaging across screens based on audience and generational screen preferences.
If a campaign's goal is to drive consumer behaviors like purchase and research, ensure that the marketing investment and delivery match the screen preference. For example, in categories such as financial services that require in-depth understanding of product features and comparison of multiple offers, digital marketing focused on product benefits and features is better targeted to more desktop and laptop screens, where users can pay attention to and act on the content in the ad. This is particularly true for boomers, who are more likely to do research on financial service products on a laptop than on a smartphone (31% of boomers have done research for financial service products on a laptop compared with 7% who've done that research on a smartphone and 5% on a tablet).
Alternatively, a hyper-local ad that requires a lower level of attention and research, such as an ad for clothes or apparel, may be better served on a smartphone where younger audiences like millennials are almost as likely to shop for clothes and apparel on a smartphone (35%) as on a laptop (37%).
3. Invest in the next and the now. While audiences are shifting to mobile, in the short term they are still reliant on laptops and PCs for purchase and acquisition activities. Commit to obtaining holistic insights that not only explore the individual components of your marketing's performance -- such as audience, brand lift and consumer behavior insights -- but tell the complete story across delivery and impact.
4. Consider how screen preference influences the consumer journey.
Consumers still rely heavily on laptops and PCs for shopping across categories. Millennials are the first generation to push the envelope on mobile shopping, but they still reach for their laptops for some categories, depending on the amount of time needed and the importance of the task. For example, millennials' use of smartphones and PCs for consumer packaged goods purchases is almost identical (39% of millennials have used laptops or PCs for CPG purchase and research, and 37% have used smartphones). However, for a higher-investment product, like consumer electronics, 36% have used their laptops v. 27% who have used smartphones. This has implications for all marketers -- before you put all your eggs in the mobile basket, consider how your consumers engage with your category and optimize accordingly.
Each generation uses digital differently to consume content and shop for products and services. Shifts in generational screen preference give us insight into both the present and the future -- while audiences are shifting to mobile, for now they still rely on laptops and PCs for many content and purchase activities.
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