5 Reasons Why Nobody is Engaging With Your Social Posts (and How to Fix it)

Your content is poppin’. Polished and proofed, you’ve put this piece of content through the wringer to get it ready.

Now all you have to do is let people know where it is and wait for those likes, retweets, and accolades to start rolling in.

So you keep waiting.

And waiting.

Nothing happens. You might have built it, but the users aren’t coming to find it, contrary to the old adage. What gives?

Why isn’t your content (or product) getting the engagement you expected?

In 2018, if your social media strategy isn’t working in conjunction with your content strategy, you’re falling behind the curve.

There’s a reason 10% of professional marketers report social media marketing as the strategy most likely to yield big rewards in 2018.

most effective digital marketing techniques 2018

The bad news: sabotaging your brand on social media is easy and potentially irreparable. If your social strategy isn’t getting the kind of engagement you want, you may be committing one of these five self-sabotaging social media sins:

  • Denying what people want
  • Forgetting to make room for new (older) users
  • Skipping movie day
  • Letting little errors cripple credibility
  • Talking without listening

The great news: I’m going to show you to fix them.

Social sabotage #1: Denying what people want

An estimated 73% of Americans report using YouTube. Facebook comes in at a respectable 68%. Instagram ranks as the third most popular platform at 35%.

majority of americans use youtube

Brand engagement and social media interactions are also on the rise. Nearly 50% of millennials and generation Xers follow brands on social media.

In other words, there’s never been a better opportunity or wider net to cast for social media engagement. But what users want from their social media experience with a brand may surprise you.

For one, they want something real.

They want real people, real interactions, and real, unbridled human connection. And they aren’t going to accept auto-spamming Twitter bots in place of it.

Social media users expect a lot out of a brand.

behaviors consumers want from brands

Sprout Social also found while 86% of users want to see a brand come to life on Facebook, only 27% of them want to see the same personality on Snapchat.

For an example of someone who demonstrates a ‘real’ approach, take a look at Twitter-crowned mogul Elon Musk:

Elon Musk perfectly implements four of the seven desired brand traits with this tweet alone.

He’s honest: whatever you might think of The Boring Company’s progress or projects, they’re definitely ambitious. (I’d say they’re reaching for the stars, but that’s SpaceX.)

He’s friendly: is there any easier way to get people to laugh than to laugh with them? Poking fun at his own image and goals fosters a sense of connection.

Sure, he might be different from us, but he’s not disconnected. That matters.

By giving users the option of calling his tunnel system a “stupid hole in the ground” or an “impossible pipe dream,” he’s putting users in a place of power.

That matters even more.

Elon’s prowess isn’t limited to Twitter alone.

Look at his earlier Instagram post for the now-infamous “Not a Flamethrower.” He engages users with the same masterful sense of wit.

While we can’t all be Musk, we can take a page out of his book. He knows what people want from him on social media and delivers consistently.

More Than Personality

But the want for honesty and realness isn’t exclusive to personality alone: users also care a lot about a brand’s position on real-world events.

You may want to avoid the can of worms that comes with political stances, but your users? They want to know where you fall on the issues.

do brands need to take a stand on social or political issues poll

Users identified education, immigration, and the environment as the most important issues for brands to take a position on.

So if you’re avoiding taking a stance on an issue or worried about seeming too unprofessional on social media, stop. The stats just don’t back up that approach.

The real human essence of the brand is what makes a brand worth someone’s time. They want to see that come through loud and clear.

For proof of how being social pays, look no further than Shareaholic’s 2017 Traffic Report.

search vs social share of visits

As you can see, although web traffic driven through social media has declined somewhat, it still accounts for 25.6% of visitors.

That’s 1 out of every 4 of your visitors. Borrowing a line from the mildly misquoted Queen of France, if your users want cake, let them have cake. You can’t afford not to.

Social sabotage #2: Forgetting to make room for new (older) users

The social sphere is changing. I know, I know: it’s always changing, but there’s more than just one new up-and-coming generation to contend with in your social media strategy.

All across the board, social media use is up among different age demographics and at its highest rate ever.

percentage of adults who use at least one social media site

One of the most rapidly emerging user groups is the retirement age adult. They’re also one of the least talked about groups in social media marketing.

Increasing at a rate up to as much as one new user every 8 seconds until 2030, ignoring this user group as part of your social media strategy is untenable.

“But wait,” you say, “Doesn’t that user group have the lowest social media adoption rates?”

(Okay, maybe that’s not quite how you say it.)

Although that’s true, the answer isn’t as black and white as it seems.

When you look at social media’s rapid growth and increased technology adoption rates, it’s clear that social media isn’t strictly a “young man’s game” anymore.

To see this in action, look no further than total Internet users in the older adult demographic.

Up from 14% in 2010, a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that 67% of respondents in the 65+ age group use the Internet on a regular basis.

internet use and broadband adoption among seniors

Now that we’ve covered the importance of the older generation, what do you need to know to add them as an integral part of your user base on social media?

For one, that they’re not that different from their younger counterparts.

Like others, they use social media to foster personal connections, keep in touch with family, and are concerned about their privacy.

why do people use social media

Unlike others, they sometimes struggle to suppress extraneous information and stimuli.

The W3C, the international organization that sets usability standards, has this to say about older adults:

“…Cognitive ability – including reduced short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, and being easily distracted, making it difficult to follow navigation and complete online tasks.”

In other words, busy images, moving GIFs, and anything else that can tax their cognitive load can be a crippling barrier to social engagement.

For instance, take a look at one of Lay’s more recent tweets:

This tweet is simple and visually compelling while staying accessible for a wide variety of people.

On the other hand, consider this tweet:

Highly saturated and featuring more than one focal point, the use of visuals here could potentially stress older adult users.

It may also exclude users who experience red-green color vision deficiency, which includes 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women.

Ensuring your social media is engaging requires keeping it accessible for every potential user group.

And with a population swiftly set to become 20% of the total United States population those user groups should include adults over the age of 65.

older population by age

Here’s the bottom line: If you’re not including older adults as part of your social engagement strategy, you’re alienating a very large (and growing) user base.

Keep your posts simple, resist the urge to throw eye-bleed neon colors around it, and get to know your elders. They’re here to stay.

Social sabotage #3: Skipping movie day

You’re in fourth grade. You walk into the classroom to see a true and trusted friend: a bulky, unwieldy cart with a big screen TV the size of Arizona. Dimmed lights herald the elation of your classmates.

It’s movie day.

If you’re not recreating this experience for your audience, you’re missing out on engagement in a big way.

In a December 2017 survey, 83% of respondents said they would consider sharing relevant video content with their network.

And video is expected to keep growing by significant leaps.

global consumer internet traffic

Cisco forecasts, “…Internet video streaming and downloads are beginning to take a larger share of bandwidth and will grow to more than 81 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021.”

Does this mean that every post has to include a custom-made video? Unless you’re working with Elon Musk’s budget, then no, that probably won’t be the case.

But it should include a link to relevant video content, whether it’s a supplement or the showstopper for your post.

Keep in mind that videos do more than make your posts more engaging. They make your brand more engaging.

Bill Shander, CEO and founder of Beehive Media, calls this transition the difference between “water cooler talk” and “the cafe.”

model for knowledge content

While the water cooler talk provides brief snippets and headlines, the cafe talk is a much deeper level of engagement. When users enter this stage, they commit more time to learning about the content and the brand associated with it.

There’s a reason I’m spending $ 144,000 on video content alone this year.

So the next time you post to social media, help your audience return to the days of yore with a timely, snappy video and make every post a movie day.

It’s that easy.

Social sabotage #4: Letting little errors cripple credibility

Have you ever written, proofed, polished, and double-checked a Facebook post or tweet, only to come back a few hours later and find a glaring typo?

“It’s not that bad,” you say, searching for the edit button anxiously, “Maybe no one else noticed.”

Unfortunately, that’s probably not true.

Making simple grammatical or spelling mistakes can tax your engagement and wallet significantly.

Consider this Q3 2017 report from Sprout Social about reactions to seeing other users issue “call-outs” on social media.

consumers reactions to other consumers complaints of social

While this report looked at brand behaviors, the implication for being “called-out” on your mistakes is clear.

(And it will happen.)

It invites skepticism in first-time users and new customers. Skepticism, in turn, makes your conversion rate much harder to maintain.

But while that may not be surprising, what is surprising is the origin of many of these mistakes.

Basically, it’s your brain’s fault, not yours.

To understand how you make these mistakes, you have to get a little insight into… well, sight.

More specifically, you need to understand how your eyes and brain work together to perform the highly unnatural act of reading.

Here’s how it goes:

You read one word at a time. The places where your eyes rest are called fixations.

And you don’t actually read all of the words or the whole page.

reading stats

You just think you’re reading the whole page because your eyes are moving like the interstate at 4 am in a rapid series of saccades.

As you shift to each word with a saccade, your brain tries to offset the burden by anticipating and connecting the words ahead.

You don’t actually read most transition words (a, an, and, etc.) You just assume them.

Take a look at this graphic. Read the words first and then follow the arrows.

roadside graphic joggers

This represents the usual reading pattern of high-literacy readers. Do you notice how they skip short words entirely?

In fact, you rarely read words by the letter. You read most words as a whole according to their shape, according to Microsoft’s Mike Jacobs.

But what does that have to do with typos?

When you’re proofreading, you’re relying on the shape of the letters to create the architecture of the word.

Add to it that you’ve probably read the same thing six times in a row, and your brain starts filling in the details and cutting attention corners.

You easily read “than” as “then.” “Is” becomes “as,” “an” becomes “and,” and so on.

Sure, you know the difference. But do your followers know you know? If not, your credibility will take a hit.

So will your budget if you’re discussing prices or rate changes on your social media channel.

pay per ride

(Unlike the New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $ 250,000 misprint, your social post should be easier to correct.)

But while there’s no definitive way to overcome this problem, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate it.

Here are some of the most popular techniques:

  1. Walk away and coming back to proof later. It’s even better if it’s overnight.
  2. Grab a second set of eyes. Their brains aren’t primed to autocorrect and can catch things faster.
  3. Read your post aloud. Add funny voices if it helps. Disney characters can liven things up (and really confuse/concern your coworkers).
  4. Use a service like Grammarly to catch contextual errors.

Social sabotage #5: Talking without listening

Social media is becoming the preferred medium for interaction. 56% of consumers report they’d rather fire off an emoji than pick up a phone.

shift in consumer business interactions

Imagine their discontent when those brands are unresponsive.

Increasingly, customers and followers want more than just content: they want interaction.

Is the solution to respond to every single tweet, email, or comment? Sure, if it was possible. But it’s not.

Instead, you should focus on being aware of them and try to be at least marginally more engaging than a slab of concrete.

Enter social listening.

Social listening isn’t a spring chicken in technology anymore, but it may still be a new area for many fledgling marketers.

67% of marketing leaders report the use of social listening tools, while 20% report the intention to start using them in the coming year.

planning to use social listening tools

But don’t worry. If you missed out on the social listening train before or haven’t jumped on the automation track, you can still get your ticket.

Hootsuite is one of the most highly-ranked tools available. And best of all, it’s free for individuals for up to three social accounts.

Here’s how to turn your social ears up and get your listening game on point:

Head over to Hootsuite.

Hover over the word “plans” to see the drop-down menu and select the highlighted area for a free account.

free hootsuite plans

Click on the green signup button.

hootsuite signup

Fill in your information or link one of your social media accounts. You’ll need to link your accounts on the next screen, so feel free to use either option.

hootsuite signup form

Link up to three social channels by clicking on their respective icons.

hootsuite connect social accounts

Fill out the last signup screen and click the blue submit button.

final hootsuite signup step

Rejoice! Open your new Hootsuite dashboard. Use the modal on the right to set up your first monitoring stream by clicking on the third option.

welcome to hootsuite

Your linked social media accounts should already be ready to go. Use the down arrow to toggle between accounts.

Open your “mentions” panel by clicking on the button with the large @ symbol. Peruse your mentions and start deciding who and how to reply.

Now that you have a bird’s-eye view on your social feeds, you can manage your engagement from one dashboard and never miss a beat with your followers.

In turn, you can engage them more. They’ll reciprocate by engaging you more.

So fire up that dashboard and start hitting “reply” to keep your fans happy and your critics soothed.

reply button on comments section

Conclusion

Social media engagement is critical for conversion rates and brand growth, but it’s easy to get wrong. Too easy.

People want more than just a branded message or trophy personality on social media. At its highest use rates ever, users clamor for honesty, friendliness, and humor from brands.

They also want brands to take real positions on real issues. Conventional strategy may say to avoid hot-button issues, but that isn’t what your users are saying. Listen to them.

Older adults are quickly rising up as one of the largest user populations and are expected to comprise one in every five people in the coming years in the US.

So if you’re not considering the baby boomers as part of your strategy, you’re missing out.

Videos resonate with people. You don’t have to produce a new video every time you put out a new post, but you should provide users with a relevant video option to dive deeper.

Small mistakes happen. Even the most polished and copyedited brands in the world let a typo slip through – it’s the human brain’s fault.

But your users won’t see it that way. Consistently letting errors pile up can put a serious damper on your engagement and credibility.

Those mistakes become cumulative, as does the damage to your brand.

It’s not enough to talk to your users: you need to be talking with them. Brands that interact with users on social media forge deeper connections and stronger followings.

Fortunately, there are a lot of great tools to help you keep track of social media conversations and take part. Hootsuite is one of the best and free for individuals.

If you’ve been committing these five social-sabotaging sins, it’s time to repent and make good. Give the people what they want, and you’ll get the engagement you want in return.

What’s been the most surprisingly successful engagement strategy for your brand?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

9 Local E-Commerce Marketing Tips To Drive More Foot Traffic To Your Store

E-commerce is growing at a meteoric pace, and there is no doubt about it.

According to a recent study by Statista, retail e-commerce sales worldwide reached $ 2.4 trillion in 2017 and are expected to reach 4.9 trillion in 2021.

retail ecommerce sales worldwide

Interestingly, this growth pattern is not solely a retail B2C phenomenon.

In fact, B2B e-commerce worldwide sales in 2017 peaked at $ 7.7 trillion, which is 235% higher than B2C.

Sounds pretty impressive, right?

And these figures do tell us a lot about major changes in consumer behavior that will continue to evolve in 2018.

The shopper is more technologically advanced than ever before and is empowered to drive disruptive changes in traditional retail business.

So if consumers increasingly prefer e-commerce to brick-and-mortar shopping, why do we still need physical stores? Why do businesses still want that foot traffic?

There are a number of reasons why, but let’s just start with another very simple, yet very loud statistic.

In-store sales accounted for 91% of all retail sales in the US in 2017.

This means that brick-and-mortar is still the most popular way to shop for most Americans.

And it comes as no surprise.

The in-store shopping experience is incomparable to browsing items on a desktop or mobile screen. The ability to see, touch and try products before purchase remains the biggest motivator for consumers to shop offline.

And that’s not the only thing stopping consumers from buying online.

According to 2017 BigCommerce study, 58% of US consumers hate paying for shipping, and 34% think product return process is difficult when shopping online.

what ecommerce shoppers hate

All of these are e-commerce pain points that can actually serve as huge growth opportunities for brick-and-mortar retailers.

But ultimately from a business perspective, you want to provide seamless and consistent customer experience across all sales channels and reach that omnichannel zen.

You have probably heard the term omnichannel before.

Google defines it as: “ensuring retailer marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel.”

Sounds too sophisticated.

But the main idea behind omnichannel retail marketing is to simply provide shoppers what they want, whenever and wherever they want.

That said, there are many ways you can use local e-commerce insights and marketing tactics to drive foot traffic to your store, and I will show you exactly how you can do this.

But before we dive into the realm of local e-commerce marketing tactics, you might want to check out Neil Patel’s 4 Local SEO Marketing Strategies to Build Your Brick And Mortar Business.

1. Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS)

Since customers hate to pay for shipping, the first thing you can do to ease their pain is to offer an in-store pickup option, also known as BOPIS.

This is a very popular service offered by almost every major retailer, and it is something you can easily implement for your customers as well.

In fact, according to the Great Omnichannel Expectations 2016-2017 Shopper Survey Report by iVend, 57% of US shoppers say that they use the “buy online, pick up in store” option.

And 65.3% of those consumers say they do so to avoid delivery costs.

top reasons shoppers choose bopis

Another thing you can offer to drive foot traffic is the ability to reserve the product online and collect it in-store. This options works best for new product releases and can help build excitement.

Think new Apple product launches. Usually, they are sold out even before official sales date.

Although BOPIS is an attractive alternative for most shoppers, it still makes sense to provide some extra incentives, like faster shipping or even an in-store redeemable coupon.

An important thing to consider when implementing buy online pick up in store service is to make sure the whole experience is as smooth and convenient as possible.

How?

  1. Use a multichannel integration platform to connect your store inventory to your website and make sure they are always in sync.
  2. Train your in-store sales staff to serve BOPIS customers with special care and in case of immediate returns or exchanges and be ready to offer more profitable alternatives.
  3. Put up proper in-store signage and make it extremely easy for customers to navigate the store and find the pickup location without getting overly frustrated.

2. Provide local inventory availability information

There is a common myth that consumers who search online will only visit online shops.

That is not entirely true.

In fact, three out of four consumers are more likely to visit physical stores if they find local information in search results helpful.

So why not give your consumers what they look for?

First of all, make sure your store locator is up and running. Let your shoppers easily find their local store and make sure to provide all details, like phone numbers, email, and address.

Then go one step further and provide local inventory availability information for each item and each local store.

You might be wondering why customers even need this if they can buy products online and pick up them in the store?

Well, it turns out that a lot of shoppers do not want to pay upfront, especially for specific products, like personal hygiene and care items, that are more difficult to return and get a refund for.

So informing your website visitors about the stock availability at your local store can be a great foot traffic driver for undecided customers.

Ikea is one of the biggest retailers to have successfully implemented this on their website.

It offers website visitors to choose the local store and see the inventory of a particular product in that store.

This information can be especially helpful if your customers tend to buy items in bulk.

check local ikea store

3. Buy in store and walk out hands-free

This is a relatively new approach to retail marketing and comes as a result of shopper behavior changes as well. It serves as a good way to respond to consumer “showrooming.”

What is showrooming and why does it matter?

Showrooming has become a common way of shopping for a lot of deal hunters and simply shoppers who like to compare prices or try out products before purchasing.

Customers now can come into your store, get all information they need about the product, see and touch it, but then buy it online from another web store. How sad, isn’t it?

25% of Americans even admitted purchasing while standing in a brick-and-mortar store.

when and where americans shop online

The good news is you do not need to fight this behavior. You can embrace it.

What if your customers could try products in your store and then have them delivered straight to their preferred address?

It’s an entirely new approach to retail, and a few brands have already implemented it.

For instance, Bonobos, have opened “guideshops” across the US, where you can find the perfect fit and style with the help of a professional guide.

When you’re done shopping, your orders are delivered to your home or work free of charge.

You can do this too.

4. Offer in-store redeemable mobile promotions

Did you know mobile users spend more than 4 hours a day on their phones?

Just look at this graph from Statista.

In 2017 mobile accounted for more than half of worldwide website traffic and is projected to grow even more this year.

percentage of all global web pages served

Consumers rely more on their mobile devices to research even the smallest decisions on the go. But they also are more susceptible to mobile communication than, for instance, email.

Research shows that text message open rate in the US is 82%, which is a mind-boggling number if we compare it to email open rate, hovering at around 24%.

This once again proves that SMS marketing is not only alive but thriving. You should really consider implementing mobile marketing solutions, including phone number collection program.

If you want to speed things up a little bit, you can go for Facebook Lead Ads to collect phone numbers fast by offering something enticing in return.

Here’s how it works.

Open your Facebook Ad manager and choose your marketing objective to be “Lead Generation.”

lead generation facebook ad

Next, fill in all your targeting, budget, placement and scheduling details and head straight over to building the ad.

Scroll down a little bit until you see the “Create Form” section of your ad builder.

Create a new form and describe the special something your customers will receive when they sign up.

Then click the “More options” in Questions section of the form creation menu and tick “Phone number.”

phone number in facebook ad

It’s a good idea to have essential information fields to improve the conversion rate of your form. So keep it short and attractive.

When you’re done, your form will look something like this:

name and phone number in facebook ad

There you have it.

This will allow you to legally grow and maintain a list of your customer phone numbers to fuel your mobile marketing initiatives.

Once you have your first batch, you can start sending coupons and gift codes to your list via SMS and encourage customers to visit your brick-and-mortar store and redeem them.

Another great way to collect customer phone numbers is to incentivize them upon check out on your website, by offering free shipping or even the in-store redeemable coupon itself.

5. Optimize for near-me searches

Following the explosive growth of mobile, consumers now expect to receive specifically tailored and personalized search results whenever and wherever, using near-me queries.

So what are those near-me searches anyway?

Near-me searches are location specific search queries, usually aimed at getting quick results nearby.

This is what they look like.

store near me google search

Near-me searches have been growing steadily in past five years and are only taking off.

near me google search trends

The tricky part is that it’s not enough to be geographically near the searcher to rank high in search results.

You need to really tap into local search optimization to get a piece of the “near-me pie.”

Here are some quick local SEO tips to get you started.

  1. Make sure your website is mobile ready, as Google will be rolling out mobile-first indexing anytime soon.
  2. Perfect your Google My Business listing as it is critical for local search rankings. Verify your listing and keep it up to date at all times.
  3. Optimize your website meta data with “near me” keywords. Do not overdo, but rather keep it relevant and user-friendly.
  4. Get geographic anchor backlinks from authority websites.
  5. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing. Luckily, Google does not prohibit direct communication with customers to solicit reviews.

Shortlist your happiest customers who use Gmail and reach out to them with a quick link to review your business on Google.

6. Offer in-store exchanges and returns

Did you know that 30% of all e-commerce purchases are returned versus 8.89% of brick-and-mortar purchases?

Sounds like a lot. But it is not surprising.

Despite all technological advancements, online shoppers still do not have the opportunity to see, touch and try products before purchase.

Hence the high return rates.

There is little you can do to minimize order returns, but if you want to drive foot traffic to your store and also improve customer experience, you can offer in-store returns and exchanges.

A recent study by Invesp Conversion Rate Optimization Company reveals that 9 out of 10 consumers will buy something again if returns are easy and hassle-free.

And 62% of shoppers are more likely to purchase online if there is an option to return items in-store.

This means that having a great in-store return and exchange experience will not only drive your customers from the web to your store, but it will also give them another reason to shop with you next time.

And this is true not only for North American shoppers but Europeans as well.

The 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study shows that almost half of consumers would prefer to return items to a brick-and-mortar store.

And 49% of them would prefer to work with an in-store associate to process returns.

importance of in-store associate interactions UPS study

7. Organize in-store events and workshops

Having a physical store has some advantages for an e-commerce retailer, and it would be a wasted opportunity not to make use of those.

One of the best things you can do to drive foot traffic and as a result, in-store sales, is to organize various events, like new product launches, runway shows, shopping festivals, etc.

The reason why this is important and why it works so well is because consumers still view shopping as entertainment.

Having the right atmosphere and mood in your physical store can work wonders.

1 in 5 customers around the world

According to that 2017 Mood Media study, music is a crucial element for a great in-store shopping experience.

In fact, 81% of shoppers globally agreed that shopping experience is more enjoyable if a store is playing music. This figure rockets to 90% among those 18-24.

The same study suggests that consumers love in-store events, especially brick-and-mortar store openings of online-only brands.

appeal of retail stores

So why not organize a shopping night with live music and cocktails? Power these events with heavy promotion on your website and social media and your store will be jam-packed.

8. Localize your digital ads

Digital advertising is a big part of your marketing budget, and you want to make sure you utilize it properly and with maximum ROI.

Luckily, there are many local advertising solutions on most ad networks and particularly on Google.

On average shoppers search and purchase via multiple channels almost 40% of the time and the majority of these shoppers go to a search engine to start their research.

initial ecommerce shopping search

So it really is important to target and convert these consumers at the early consideration stage.

Here’s how you can do it using local advertising on Google.

If you already have active search ads, go ahead and set up location extensions in your Adwords account.

This will allow you to show local search ads with your address, a map to your location, or the distance to your store.

While these ads will help increase foot traffic, there is an even more powerful ad type that is specifically designed to bring online searchers straight to your local store.

I am talking about Local Inventory Ads. These ads show the stock availability of an item at your local store along with the typical product information that shows up in a regular Google shopping ad.

When you click on a Local Inventory Ad, it takes you to a digital storefront with your local store information, including stock availability, address, phone number, email, and hours.

9. Create unique and compelling in-store experiences

The power of in-store experiences is incomparable to online shopping in any way. It is the top reason for consumers around the world to choose brick-and-mortar over e-commerce.

Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

What motivates consumers to buy online instead of going to a local store? What really drives this huge shift to online?

reasons consumers shop online

The 2017 KPMG Global Online Consumer Report shows that the main advantages of online shopping are 24/7 availability, easy price comparison, and better deals.

Now let’s see how physical stores beat these powerful facts.

reasons consumers shop in-store

As expected, more than half of consumers globally still prefer to see the product with their own eyes, 55% want to try it on before purchase, and 22% simply enjoy the experience of going to the shops.

So how can you make your in-store experience a blast?

Easy.

Start with eliminating the main consumer pain points.

Did you know that waiting in line is the number one in-store frustration for 60% of shoppers around the world?

Leverage the advantages of having (more) mobile POS devices to cut the lines at cash registers and accept card payments on the spot.

This will serve you particularly well during in-store sales.

Another thing you can do to ease the hectic atmosphere in your store is create an immersive brand experience with uplifting background music, proper lighting, and smell.

Yes, the smell is actually even more powerful than you think.

Scent travels to your brain immediately and is closely linked to memory. That is why it is widely used by major retailers to influence consumer behavior in-store.

It turns out there is even research on which scents are more likely to drive sales.

It suggests that people tend to spend more when they smell warm scents, such as vanilla and cinnamon.

Whichever scent you choose, keep it very light and ambient so that it adds up to the overall in-store experience and not vice versa.

Conclusion

E-commerce is on the rise and will continue to grow remarkably in the near future. It changes the way consumers shop and influences offline sales as well.

However, traditional brick-and-mortar retail is far from dead and is going through an exciting yet transformative change.

This change will require an omnichannel approach to marketing and a sound web-to-store strategy, focusing on the following key aspects.

Bring online and offline together by combining the major advantages of these two channels.

Provide your customers with the convenience to pick up their order at your local store. Let them see your stock availability and then shop offline.

Allow shoppers to enjoy the experience of seeing, touching, trying your products before purchase, checking out and walking out of the store hands-free.

Be there when your customer needs you.

Optimize your web presence for near-me searches. Experiment with local search ads and Google Inventory Ads to gain visibility and drive more in-store traffic.

Consider investing in mobile marketing solutions to accurately and legally collect customer phone numbers and send deals and special offers at the right time.

Create an unmatched in-store experience.

This is the biggest strength of your brick-and-mortar store.

Build excitement around real-life shopping experience by organizing one-of-a-kind fun events that every shopper would love to attend.

Take advantage of the latest tech solutions to provide exceptional customer service and encourage brand loyalty.

What e-commerce marketing tactics have you seen drive foot traffic to your store?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Achieve high growth by keeping customers coming back to your eCommerce website

Tom Robertshaw (@bobbyshaw) is an Ecommerce Evangelist at Space 48, an award-winner ecommerce consultancy for forward-thinking retailers. He recently recorded a webinar with Kissmetrics, listen here.

It can be easy lose ourselves in the chronic battle of customer acquisition. Expanding the top of the funnel to get more visitors coming to the site seems like the obvious way to grow the business.

However, according to the Adobe Digital Index Report, returning customers make up 40% of revenues whilst representing only 8% of visitors. This tells us there’s a huge opportunity to increase customer retention rates further to support revenue growth.

The same report found that returning customers are nine times more likely to place an order than new customers. This encourages to review our investment in customer retention strategies and tools when compared to our budget for initial acquisition.

It’s a worthy investment. In my experience, high growth merchants have healthy customer retention rates. In the best cases, customers are returning multiple times a year which really helps to validate the cost of acquisition.

Repeating this finding is the consulting firm Bain and Company, who reported that increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. It’s readily apparent that this level of profit increase not only gives the business a lot more breathing room, but it facilitates more reinvestment in the business, which leads to more returning customers. Conversely, those businesses without returning customers and the margins to show for it don’t have the same kind of money to invest and perpetually fall further behind their competitors.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see how having more repeat customers can be the difference between a business scraping by and one that’s flying. Hopefully I’ve been able to validate the importance of investing in customer retention, but where should you start?

Why would a customer come back?

It’s important to set the scene. Ignore your current website for the moment and spend time thinking about it from the customer’s perspective. Regardless of your ecommerce vertical, a customer is going to return if two things are true:

  1. You reliably fulfill their needs (Customer Experience)
  2. They think of you in a time of a new need. (Engagement)

This formula may feel a bit oversimplified, but it’s useful to remind us that customer retention strategies aren’t just about marketing. We are building relationships with a customers and they need to be able to trust our ability to solve their problems.

Looking first at the customer experience and their needs, when they arrive on your site, they already have a need or desire. If we’re lucky this may be a need for a very specific product, or, if we’re not, they have a more generic problem which requires research and discovery. In both cases, a merchant’s responsibility is to guide them through their journey, educate them on the offering and give them the confidence to enter into a relationship. Other than that, the best thing to do is to keep out of their way by providing as frictionless an experience as possible!

To achieve this, the focus should be on creating a high quality User Experience (UX). This is a broad area that is fundamental to the design of the site so isn’t something that I will cover in this article. To summarise, a site with a good user experience will provide timely, precise and orderly information as well as clear, prioritised and easy to use navigation and action elements.

In addition to providing a low friction design, we need to give the customer confidence that we are trustworthy. There are many aspects to the experience that can help here. Whether it is spending time working on professional branding, educating the customer on the company background and history, reducing site bugs, displaying site seals or advertising multiple methods of contact clearly.

There are more functional components to a successful transaction such as the pricing and value offering as well as the shipping methods that are available. These all contribute towards meeting the customers’ needs.

Moving on to the second requirement which was a customer thinking of the brand in a time of a new need, there are direct and indirect methods of supporting this. The direct methods are the traditional customer retention strategies of advertising, remarketing, email campaign, catalogues, etc. However, the other methods of encouraging customer engagement should not be forgotten. Providing ways for customers to actively engage with the brand by providing user generated content features like reviews will strengthen the bond.

The timing of directly reaching out to the customer is more difficult to achieve with email but this can at least be tackled by customer segmentation which we will talk about shortly.

How do you identify what you’re doing wrong?

It can be hard to identify customer experience issues once we are expert site users, but it’s far from impossible. It requires us to remain humble and not assuming that we know everything. We should be open-minded, reflective, and empathetic to potential issues that visitors may have. Reviewing with fresh eyes can be easier once you have fresh knowledge.

One type of resource for acquiring new knowledge is to use heat mapping and visitor recordings tools such as Hotjar or Mouseflow. The best way to understand any kind of behaviour is to combine samples with overall statistics. In our case, combining analytics from Google Analytics or heat mapping tools with information provided by visitor recordings can give new insights into how customers interact with the site and what problems they may be having.

Secondly, there are some great free resources to educate yourself on user experience principles. My favourite is the Baymard Institute, who are the undisputed experts in ecommerce UX with a wealth of research and studies that help us to better understand how customers interact with different pages and specific page components.

For example, one common problem with ecommerce navigation and the rise of “mega menus” is the difficulty moving from a top level menu item to a sub-menu item within the mega menu without accidentally activating an adjacent top level menu item. See the example below on the Toys R Us site.

toys r us closing website

Other useful resources include Smashing Magazine, Practical Ecommerce and Econsultancy.

Increase customer enjoyment

A sure-fire way of getting customers to come back is to make it more fun to buy from you than anywhere else! There’s a huge variety in techniques of how this can be achieved, but the methods that play to the brand’s and products’ strengths are going to be the most successful. Here are some examples of ways that the merchants we’ve worked with have supported customer engagement.

1. User generated content

Charlotte Tilbury is a makeup and beauty brand that enables customers to give back to the community by way of detailed product reviews, including photo uploads. These personal reviews will aid the decision process for all customers while also promoting the authenticity of reviews.

charlotte tilbury ecommerce reviews

Another way that they centre the experience on the customer is by way of photo uploads through the website or social media and featuring them on the site. Both of these are an effective way of enabling your brand advocates which is beneficial for them, for you and other customers.

tag your tilbury

2. Product Samples

One of the challenges of the makeup and beauty market can be product discovery and giving customers the confidence to change products. Charlotte Tilbury has tackled this by providing free samples with every order. This is a brilliant way of promoting products, enabling discovery as well as bringing a little bit of extra joy in each delivery!

charlotte tilbury complimentary samples

3. Product Launches

Irregular Choice is a fashion brand that sell truly unique shoes, bags and accessories. Over the last year they’ve collaborated with Disney to release some wonderful designs inspired Star Wars, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and the Muppets to name a few.

irregular choice boots

irregular choice boot

It’s no surprise to find out that customers get very excited about such unique designs. Irregular Choice support this by way of product launches on advertised dates and times and then market these within emails, around the site and on social media. This can be a real success when partnered with in-store shopping events as well.

4. Rewarding Loyalty

Rewarding loyalty doesn’t just have to mean implementing a loyalty points program. Through customer segmentation, we can identify the most loyal customers based on their spending or number of orders and then we can tailor our messaging. If you have product launches or sale periods, you may be able to give them an exclusive or provide them with early access. Even just communicating with them on a more personal level because you are using the context of their previous purchases in the way that you talk to them will make it feel more personal.

5. Thoughtful Packaging

It’s wise not to forget that the shopping experience continues all the way until the arrival of the item and the customer unboxes it.

Smythson are a luxury stationery and leather goods brand with history all the way back to 1887. They invest in this luxury experience by making sure that every order is exquisitely wrapped in tissue paper and carefully presented in a quality gift box finished off with ribbon. This helps to position the product and brand as luxury and, from experience, I can say that it makes the customer feel special as they carefully unwrap it.

smythson

Timed and Targeted Re-engagement

Once the on-site and delivery experience has been created, the traditional outreach portion of the customer retention strategy can be tackled. The primary areas to consider are:

  • Email
  • Search Ads
  • Remarketing
  • Social (ads and engagement)

When approaching designing email campaigns, customer segmentation is a powerful tool to ensure that your messaging is personalised to the customer context increasing its effectiveness. Even abandoned cart emails can be considered one form of customer segmentation.

For those that haven’t really started with customer segmentation, the easiest way to start is to segment based on total spent and number of orders. This will quickly provide a list of VIP customers that can be sent special offers, or early access to news and products like in the case of the product launches mentioned earlier. Once that has been done, the next group down will be “pre-VIP” which are customers that are primed to become brand advocates given some attention.

Another particularly popular form of email campaign over the last year has been a welcome campaign. When customers subscribe to the newsletter, rather than just sending a confirmation email, it’s an opportunity to educate them on the brand and the product highlights. Instead, consider creating a 3-email series that includes information about the brand history and values, provides highlights on the most well-received blog content over the last year and also take the opportunity to continue to educate the customer on the range of your product catalogue and your top selling products.

Other campaigns types to look into include win-back, i.e. when a customer hasn’t purchased for a while, or a customer that has been subscribed for a while and hasn’t placed an order yet.

Customer Segmentation

As I hope it’s starting to become clear, moving away from all communication being broadcast-based is critical for customer engagement. The next level to achieve beyond customer segmentation is by way of personalisation. Recommending different products to each customer, both on the website and in emails, is easily achievable with tools like Nosto. With just a small piece of code, Nosto will track customer behaviour around the site so that it can intelligently suggest products based on their activity and extrapolated needs. This is a particularly smart way of livening up emails, making them more personal than could ever be achieved at this scale manually.

Kissmetrics for eCommerce is a valuable tool as well. Kissmetrics collects person-based behavioral data, defines and tracks key customer segments and then enables you to engage with your customers with more targeted email and facebook campaigns. When you create refined segments of your many different customer types and tailor messaging uniquely toward just that segment you’re creating a memorable experience between your brand and customer which leads to brand loyalty and more repeat purchases.

Outreach

Paid advertising through search, social and remarketing are all incredibly valuable tools in the customer retention strategy chest. Each one will need to be researched, experimented with, evaluated and iterated on to find out what works best.

The point of interest here for returning customers is to have tracking pixels, similar to the Nosto code so that the remarketing networks can target customers based on the categories and products that they’re interested in and, importantly, stop selling to once they’ve ordered.

Strategy Checklist

We’ve covered quite a range of aspects to consider for any customer retention strategy but it’s far from exhaustive list and there are always going to be unique opportunities for each vertical and business.

As a quick summary to use as reference when reviewing your strategy, make sure to consider:

  • UX Review & Conversion Rate Optimisation
  • User generated content
  • Loyalty Programmes
  • In-Store Events
  • Content Marketing
  • Social
  • Customer Service
  • Delightful shipping
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Personalised Product Recommendations
  • Abandoned Baskets
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Advertising
  • Remarketing

Remember, that many of these areas will help to improve conversion rates for new customers as well as returning ones!

Finally, as part of any strategy, decide upon some KPIs to track the effectiveness of the strategy. I would expect there to be KPIs for each area implemented as well as overall KPIs. At a high level, these KPIs would include comparing the primary KPIs of number of sessions, orders and therefore conversion rate between new and returning customers. I would also recommend tracking the customer lifetime value and hopefully this will increase which will warrant further investment in acquisition! Then watch the growth cycle continue!


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

How Long Should I Run My A/B Test?

A/B testing is one of the most polarizing marketing tactics ever invented. It seems like everyone has an opinion on whether it works or not.

So, where do I stand on the issue?

Well, if you do it wrong, I think it is a giant waste of your time. But if you do it right, A/B testing can make a major impact on your conversions.

Only 28% of marketers are satisfied with their conversion rates. That’s a sad statistic.

The good news is that A/B testing is an easy way to improve those conversion rates if you know how to do it effectively.

But the problem is that many marketers aren’t sure how long they should run their A/B tests for or even how to set them up to ensure accurate results.

Thankfully, you don’t have the blaze the trail. Many have already benefited from A/B testing, and we can learn from their success. Plus, there are tools available do much of the hard work for you.

I’m going to show you how long you should run your A/B test for and give you a few simple rules that will help you get accurate results every time.

Does A/B testing really boost conversion rates?

Let’s start at the beginning. What are A/B tests, anyway?

An A/B test is simply a way to compare two variations of the same concept to see which performs better.

Here’s an example of a simple A/B test from Optimizely.

ab testing example

A/B tests let you ask the right questions about specific changes to your site, your app, or any other content source you’d like to improve.

More importantly, it allows your audience to provide the answers.

It isn’t a new concept, either. In fact, A/B testing has actually been around for almost 100 years.

It got its start in agriculture with farmers attempting to test how much fertilizer to use on their fields. Then, it made its way into medicine in the form of clinical trials.

So, what’s the benefit for you?

For one thing, A/B testing provides data to support a hypothesis so that you aren’t acting on a wild guess.

I doubt that your finance department is very fond of wild guesses when it comes to setting and meeting budgets. You shouldn’t be, either.

Look at this example of how conversions improved by 11.5% for Kiva.org by simply adding FAQs, a few statistics, and some social proof.

kiva ab test

That’s a healthy return on a small investment of effort.

Even President Obama’s campaign used A/B testing. His team split tested their campaign website, they were able to collect 2.8 million more email addresses.

That translates into a lot of campaign funding (to the tune of $ 60 million). And when Election Day was finally over, their campaign yielded great success.

So, if it works, then why don’t more marketers do it?

In many cases, marketers simply don’t make it a priority.

Despite the fact that websites see an average lift in responses of 13.2% from A/B split testing, 61% of marketers do not test subject lines. Of the ones who do, 74% spend less than an hour on their subject line tests.

how many marketers split test

They wrongly assume that a change will only provide insignificant results because they aren’t measuring the right things to begin with.

In reality, studies show that A/B testing creates up to 40% more leads for B2B sites and 25% more leads for e-commerce sites.

But there’s also a good reason that some businesses don’t A/B test: they know that they aren’t ready to do it.

The reality is that some businesses simply aren’t yet at a place where A/B testing would be helpful. So, how can you determine whether you’re ready or not?

If your conversion volume is less than 1,000 per month, you aren’t ready. Your results will not be statistically significant.

Wait until your conversions ramp up over 1,000, and then you can start A/B testing with confidence that your results will mean something.

We’ll dive into that later on in this article.

If you’ve been testing for a while, but you don’t feel like you’re getting a good return on your efforts, take a look at the main reasons why A/B tests fail:

  • You’re starting with the wrong hypothesis.
  • You aren’t taking statistical significance into consideration.
  • There aren’t enough conversions in the experiment to make it valid.
  • You aren’t running the test long enough.

Here’s how to stop these four saboteurs to make sure your A/B tests aren’t a waste of time.

Do your research

Before you do anything else, you need to decide what to test.

Every good experiment begins with an educated hypothesis. A/B tests are no different.

Unfortunately, many site owners run their test on “gut feelings” instead of on data and thoughtful hypotheses.

This pie chart from 2014 shows the ways that e-commerce companies were choosing to implement new changes.

how ecommerce marketers approach ab testing

There is simply no excuse for this anymore. As you’ll see throughout the rest of this post, case studies have proven the power of A/B testing.

It’s up to you to run accurate tests and implement changes based on the data.

First, you have to take a look at what isn’t going right for your company. Is it a lack of conversions? Are you lacking new email sign-ups?

Now, translate that shortfall into an achievable goal. Make it specific and measurable.

Next, take a look at your buyer personas. If you haven’t looked at them in a while, it’s time to get them out and dust them off.

hubspot buyer persona

If you haven’t created buyer personas yet, don’t panic.

HubSpot offers a simple template to help you get started with your persona library.

Using the information you know about your audience, take a long, hard look at how you’re letting them down when it comes to customer experience.

It’s not easy to go on a faultfinding mission with the content you’ve worked so hard to create, but this step is very important.

Try running a 5-second test with a portion of your audience to shine a light on problem areas.

Once you have a better idea of how you can improve, it’s time to write your hypothesis.

Narrow your focus to something that you can realistically change and resist the temptation to ask leading questions. Wishpond recommends using these three steps:

creating a split testing hypothesis

Maybe forming a hypothesis isn’t your issue. Maybe it’s narrowing your focus to the highest-priority issues so you know what to test first.

Conversion XL has a great prioritization worksheet to help you decide where to focus your energy first.

conversionxl prioritization framework

Now that you have your hypothesis, it’s time to put it to the test.

Statistical significance is key

Statistical significance reflects the level of risk involved with the variation you are measuring.

It’s your level of confidence in the outcome that you select.

According to Optimizely, “statistical significance is a way of mathematically proving that a certain statistic is reliable. When you make decisions based on the results of experiments that you’re running, you will want to make sure a relationship actually exists.”

For meaningful results from meaningful data relationships, don’t stop running your test until you reach a statistical significance of 95%-99%, which simply means that you are 95%-99% confident that your outcome is valid.

Look at this example from ConversionXL.

statistical significance difference in duration of tests

As you can see from the data, Variation 1 seemed like a losing proposition at the outset. But by waiting for statistical significance of 95%, the outcome was totally different. In the end, Variation 1 won out by over 25%.

If they had cut off the test early, they would have skewed the results, and the test would have been pointless.

Here’s another example from BaseKit, an online website building company.

baskit testing

Since most of their traffic is paid, they could safely assume that their audience had a distinct interest in their product. It makes sense, then, that they focused their test on their pricing page.

They reached statistical significance of 95% within 24 hours and saw an overall conversion boost of 25% just by redesigning their pricing page.

Tools like this one take the hard work out of determining statistical significance.

neil patel significance tool

If at some point you want to run more than just a split test (comparing only two variables), this tool will allow you to add as many variations as you’d like to analyze significance on each of them.

Simply enter the number of visitors and the number of overall conversions of your variants, and the tool compares the two conversion rates and tells you if your test is statistically significant.

If your significance is not 95% or higher, then keep testing.

I can’t stress this enough: don’t quit once you reach what you think is an adequate level of statistical significance. Never stop before you reach 95%, and aim for statistical significance of 99%.

Anything else is a wild guess.

Reaching statistical significance isn’t the only ingredient for a successful A/B test. Your sample size also makes a huge difference on the results.

Size matters

If your sample size or conversion pool is too small, your margin of error will increase.

That makes sense, right?

Think of it this way. Let’s say that I have a bag of 100 jellybeans, and I want to run a test to see the likelihood of pulling different flavors out of the bag.

So, let’s say that I randomly pull three jellybeans out of the bag, and all three of them are licorice-flavored. If I only use those three jellybeans to gauge my likelihood of pulling out another licorice jellybean, I’m unlikely to get an accurate result from my test.

It’s possible that there are only four or five licorice jellybeans in the entire bag, and I just happened to pick three of them right away. Or perhaps half of them are licorice and the other half is a cherry.

Whatever the case may be, if I only use those three jellybeans to determine my odds of drawing more licorice ones, I’ll assume that my odds are far higher than they actually are.

Or, if I only pull out three jellybeans and none of them are licorice, I may wrongly assume that I’ll never pull a licorice jellybean from the bag.

Those are two different assumptions, but both are wrong because the sample size of the test was too small to draw sound conclusions from.

So what is that magic number of conversions or subjects you’ll need for your test?

Obviously, it varies a bit depending on your overall number of visits and conversions. But, a solid guide is to have at least 1,000 subjects (or conversions, customers, visitors, etc.) in your experiment for the test to overcome sample pollution and work correctly.

Some marketing experts even recommend sample sizes of up to 5,000 people.

Remember that if you’re running an A/B test (two variants), you automatically split that sample in half and show one variant to each half. When you think of it that way, you wouldn’t want to drop below 500 samples, right?

Another consideration that you can easily overlook in A/B testing is making sure that your sample audience actually represents everyone in your conversion universe. If you aren’t careful, you could receive inaccurate results due to sample pollution.

Here’s a common example of sample pollution:

Many of your visitors access content on their desktops, tablets, laptops, and even televisions.

which devices are most popular

They are accessing your website and content from a bunch of different devices.

If you include each of those visits in your data (as if they are a unique visitor), you’re a victim of device pollution. You’ve essentially counted the same visitors several times.

There are other factors to consider, such as multiple users using the same device, publicly-accessed machines, and so on. The point is that you have to cover your bases when it comes to the evils of sample pollution and think ahead.

How do you do that? One way is to run A/B tests separately for specific devices and browsers.

Sure, it will take longer to arrive at a healthy sample size. But you can rest well knowing that your sample sizes will be far more accurate.

If you’re still not sure how large of a sample you should aim for, Optimizely has an easy calculator you can use to help determine your ideal sample size. Plus, it even takes statistical significance into account!

optimizely sample size calculator

Now, let’s get to the heart of A/B testing, and the million-dollar question that every marketer asks at some point.

How long should I run the test?

Patience is a virtue

Marketers often make the mistake of ending their A/B tests too soon because they think they already know the answer.

If you jump to conclusions about which variation will “win,” you’ll skew the results, and the test won’t work.

Think about it.

Why would you run the test in the first place if you know the answer? If you’re running an honest test, you have to let the process play out.

Remember our discussion about statistical significance? I can’t say it too many times: always, always, always stick to the 95%+ rule and do not pull your test before you reach that level of significance or higher.

Use a tool to help you see where your statistical significance is at, and wait it out.

Now that I’ve drilled that point home, let’s talk about timing.

To keep your data honest, you ideally want to run your tests for at least two weeks.

Why? Conversions and web traffic vary wildly depending on a few key variables.

Look at this data from Conversion XL.

conversion rates by days

The conversion rates are much higher on Thursdays than they are on the weekend. In this case, testing for less than a full week would heavily skew the results.

As a rule, you should test for a minimum of seven days, make sure you’ve reached statistical significance, and then test for another seven days if you haven’t.

When it comes to data, more is almost always better than not enough. Factor testing time into your A/B plan at the start, and you won’t feel rushed or tempted to cut it short too early.

Can you run a test for longer than two weeks? Of course!

Look at this example from TruckersReport. This was their original landing page:

truckers report original

At first glance, it doesn’t appear that anything is wrong. But they weren’t seeing the response they wanted, and conversions were topping out at about 12%.

Now compare that to their revised design:

truckers report variation

With this new layout, they jumped to a 79.3% conversion rate.

How did they do it?

They didn’t look at their A/B test as a “one-and-done.” They ran a total of six iterative tests over the course of six months.

They made sure that they not only had statistical significance above 95% but that they were also capturing every distinct traffic pattern, regardless of the devices truck drivers were using to find them.

Here’s another example where waiting paid off. Copy Hackers ran an A/B test on their homepage.

copy hackers original ab test variant

After the first couple of days, their results were inconclusive. But after the sixth day, they a reached statistical significance of 95%. Would you have stopped?

They didn’t.

They ran the test for another day since it hadn’t yet been a full week. And after waiting one extra day, they achieved a completely different result that created almost 24% more conversions. By waiting that extra day, their significance level rose from 95% to 99.6%.

results on copyhacker ab test

Patience gets results.

But what do you do if time is dragging on (and I’m talking about months here, not days) and your variants are running neck and neck?

When you’ve followed all of the steps, and there is no clear winner, sometimes you need to walk away and start again with a new set of variants. And that’s okay.

Convert has a great A/B testing duration calculator to help you determine how long to run your test to preserve the integrity of your data.

ab testing duration calculator

It not only considers your existing conversion rate, but it also gives you the opportunity to test directly against that smart, measurable hypothesis you spent so much time building.

Conclusion

Even though you’ll find vastly different opinions about A/B testing in the marketing world, it’s hard to dispute the results that the organizations I’ve highlighted in this post have achieved.

Some organizations ignore A/B testing completely. Companies usually decide to go this route after running a couple of faulty tests that seemed like a waste of time.

But don’t let that be you. Don’t miss out on the conversion lift and data you can get from a solid A/B test because of a few naysayers in your organization.

If you’ve never given A/B testing a try, it’s time to dip your toe in the water.

You’re not in it alone. Those who have gone before you have done much of the legwork and early experimentation.

And with all of the calculators available to help you add the right ingredients in the right amounts, your A/B test is virtually guaranteed to give your conversions a lift.

Just remember the “Big Three” factors of A/B testing and keep them intact from start to finish in your testing process:

  • Form the right hypothesis — no wild guesses or gut feelings.
  • Keep going until you reach 95-99% statistical significance.
  • Make sure your sample size is large enough (at least 1,000 samples).
  • Don’t stop running your test too soon. Aim for 1-2 weeks.

If I had to sum up my best advice in four words based on my real-life experience with A/B testing, I would say this: be precise and be patient.

Which A/B testing tips have given you the biggest lift in conversions?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Brand Bias: Does Branding Matter For Driving Sales in B2B? Here’s What The Data Says

The marketing world loves to talk about branding.

Take a look at just about any marketing company in the world, and you’ll find the word “brand” on at least one page.

Startups and small companies frequently look for ways to get mentions online so they can start building their brands.

And big companies often preach branding, too.

You’ll see blog posts on “improving your brand” or something similar.

And you’ll often read news stories about how a particular brand is “valued” at a certain figure.

A recent example of this would be the digital communication giant Slack. Some have recently valued Slack as a $ 5 billion brand.

But when you get down to the brass tacks, does branding really have anything to do with, well, anything?

More specifically, does a brand actually correlate to sales, especially for B2B players?

This is a question that companies all over the world are discussing that needs an answer.

I want to show you what the data says about branding, sales, and how it affects you.

To get started, you first have to understand how brand loyalty and value have changed.

Then, I’ll show you ways to dig deeper into each.

The basics of brand bias

Branding is, in effect, a method of creating an image around your company, product, or service.

You’re probably familiar with many multi-billion dollar brands that have anchored themselves in your life.

You do everything you can to establish your brand, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

But is there data to back up this information?

And if so, what elements of branding are the most important to consider for B2B players who want to wisely join the trend?

Branding is considered conventional wisdom so these questions are often taken for granted.

I think that trend should change, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the vital elements of branding. This will help us determine whether you actually can prove ROI with them.

But before we get to those, you have to know a bit about the details of brand bias.

You’ll also hear marketers call it brand loyalty. The terms are pretty much synonymous.

Brand loyalty goes way back in our history.

history of brand loyalty

Without a doubt, you could ask your grandparents about the brands they were loyal to in their youth, and they could give you an extensive list with ease.

These relationships had the staying power many companies only dream about today.

But how has brand loyalty progressed to modern times?

Despite claims that brand loyalty is dead, the truth is that the bias is still overpowering in B2C arenas. In fact, 82% of adults in the US claim loyalty to a product brand.

And the translation to B2B here is only natural.

Those same brand-loyal people are likely to be amongst the decision-makers of your clientele in the B2B world.

They want to find a brand to be loyal to. It’s a mental shorthand that looks to make decisions easier and faster.

So the biggest overall change in loyalty isn’t that it’s dying. It’s that buyers are in the driver’s seat instead of brands. They now have the power to research brands carefully.

digitization and internet have put consumers in the drivers seat

But while the information available to your clients has grown, most industries show a relatively slow rate of growth in revenue compared to the astronomical rise of website traffic.

This trend might be eerily familiar to you. It’s likely that you’re seeing indications that the clients you’re trying to win are probing your brand and going elsewhere.

And you can bet that your target audience is doing extensive research on your brand before coming to a decision.

how many days consumers spend gathering information

So at the very least, it’s clear that loyalty has changed.

And this makes sense. When you change your customer’s reality, you have to change the marketing reality with it.

new marketing reality

The traditional brand elements like name recognition and being “top of mind” don’t pack the same punch anymore.

The result is that we need to turn more toward metrics like sales, ROI, and conversions to find an accurate measure of brand bias.

So let’s address this issue of “brand value.”

What does that mean?

This is another concept that people worldwide throw around, but the lines have become hazy.

brand strength index

As you would expect, because of the evolution we’ve seen in brand bias, there is an ongoing discussion of whether brand value is a monetary assessment of the company or a softer assessment of value delivered to your audience.

The former approach treats all marketing efforts as “branding” and calculates ROI based on this value.

Thus, a simple revenue-to-cost analysis provides ROI.

And unfortunately, the later causes many businesses to ignore their brand value altogether because it makes value hard to measure and puts it in a constant state of change.

The overriding principle that both tend to miss, however, is that a strong brand or “high brand value” can solve many common problems before they occur.

Therefore, linking brand value to ROI is a matter of showing a causal relationship between strong branding and the elimination of issues that can impact sales.

This requires us to look at the hard measurements that data gives us and tap into what we know of human behavior.

So now that you see the dilemma that faces marketers seeking to prove branding ROI, let’s take a look at how various sales-related data points link back to branding.

We’ll start, of course, with your biggest client.

Your brand may be the only thing keeping your biggest client

This is a pretty frightening claim, and you should be a little scared of it if you’re a B2B company.

Recently, Gallup found that 71% of B2B customers are actively considering taking their business to a different company.

b2b customers at risk of taking their business elsewhere gallup poll

That’s a staggering statistic.

But how could that be?

B2B companies should be best equipped to meet their audience’s needs, which makes a statistic like this seem out of place.

But think about the reality of the situation.

B2B companies frequently make enormous promises to their clients.

Even if they’re equipped to follow through, they set the bar high from the beginning.

And your problems compound when you remember the fact that bigger client companies have greater bargaining power.

You begin to ask, “what happens if we delay one deadline?” Suddenly, money starts to tighten in negotiations.

Tack on the ever-looming fact that poor economic growth mixed with other factors can slow success and force brands to adjust post-contract, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Even more pessimistically, only about half of B2B customers believe their vendor is delivering on their promises or feel proud to associate with that brand.

b2b customer vendor survey

Those are pretty dismal numbers when you think about it.

And this is given greater context by the fact that 81% of consumers are satisfied with the service of B2C companies.

What are B2B companies missing?

For one, B2B companies have been slow to respond from the traditional PR-dominated branding to a now marketing-dominated branding.

The best practice used to be leaving your image in the hands of your PR team.

But with the rise in consumer research we talked about earlier, this trend is now damaging companies that are still opting for the old school.

The room for growth is astronomical, and B2B companies that fail to focus on their brand and market it effectively are essentially neglecting their future and their clients.

Your name, reputation, or brand could be the only factors preventing your clientele from leaving you.

Or worse, it could be what’s driving them to look for other options.

Brand loyalty improves engagement and customer acquisition

One of the biggest data points that links branding to B2B sales is customer acquisition.

If it’s possible to use your brand as a tool to help you gain clients, then it’s a logical conclusion that focusing on your brand can improve your marketing ROI.

And from the data I’ve compiled, there’s a compelling case that branding can indeed help improve customer acquisition.

Let’s start with the bad news.

Engagement levels for B2B customers are abysmal according to Gallup, coming in at only 29%.

b2b customers who are fully engaged

This might be a curious statistic to start off with, but there’s good reason for it.

The main reason I share this fact is because fully-engaged customers share more and are better brand advocates.

In other words, brand bias and customer engagement are directly correlated.

And it’s a basic marketing principle that loyal customers refer business.

loyalty and referrals

More than half of consumers who have a good experience with a brand will recommend it to people that they know.

And many of those referrals turn into loyal customers themselves.

So, that 29% of engaged B2B clients isn’t making a very big ripple when it comes to referral business.

When you consider that the remaining 71% of your clients could be referring you and aren’t, you start to see how important these numbers are.

And this picture gets a little grimmer when you take into account that two-thirds of touchpoints when a client is actively considering to do business with you come in the form of word-of-mouth or online reviews.

touchpoint during evaluation phase

That means your leads, audience, and potential clients are neglecting your trained sales team to see what others have to say about your brand.

And in 2016, 62% of B2B buyers were relying more on peer recommendations than on their own research.

In the technology industry alone, 60% of buyers look for peer-to-peer reviews to aid their decision-making process.

And the majority of your clients don’t care enough to share simply because they aren’t engaged with your brand.

Imagine what could happen if you increase your customer engagement.

You’d see much more growth.

And this concept is backed by data too.

investing in relationships econsultancy survey

49% of B2B companies report higher ROI by investing in relationships instead of acquisition marketing.

That translates well based on all of the other data we’ve been looking at.

By improving their current level of engagement with existing customers, their ROI increases.

And that is branding – pure and simple.

Branding motivates action

There’s another question we want to answer:

Does content (and ultimately branding) truly push your digital audience to take actions that lead to sales?

First, I think it’s worth showing you how actions, content, and branding share an inherent relationship.

One way to look at branding is in relation to the actions that your leads, customers, or website visitors take.

These actions are ultimately intended to culminate in a sale.

Marketers usually call this entire action-oriented process the buyer’s journey.

buyers journey roadmap

And as you can see, the B2B buyer’s journey is fraught with complexity.

Branding gives definition to your buyer’s journey primarily through the content you create and share.

The general consensus among marketers is that content motivates action among your audience.

actionable content pyramid

By moving through this process of fixing pain points, offering value, building a relationship, and earning trust, your content is reportedly building your brand and promoting further action.

That means that the role of content marketing is social brand building.

So, by providing the right content, the strategy is to push leads to an action and create a custom buyer’s journey that increases sales.

That means that a logical place to start for a data-driven relationship is tracking the ROI of your content marketing efforts.

You’re in luck, then.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, you can not only track ROI, but you can also attribute ROI to the various phases of your sales funnel.

phases of buyers journey where b2b marketers measure content marketing ROI

This is helpful in a conversation about branding, as it lets you narrow in how effective certain parts of your campaign are at motivating action throughout the sales cycle.

That means that you have a direct window to how content affects your branding at every stage.

What’s more, the overall lean toward content marketing is very favorable.

77% of B2B marketers feel that their content marketing is successful.

how b2b marketers rate their success

That’s a pretty impressive cohort of marketing professionals who feel their content marketing is leading to actions.

And there’s a good amount of data to back up those feelings too.

Again according to the Content Marketing Institute, 75% of B2B companies can show that content marketing has increased engagement over time.

content marketing goals and metrics

More engagement combined with precise ROI tracking makes for a strong case in terms of the branding/content/action relationship.

And when you tack on the fact that 94% of B2B buyers are going to be researching you online, these statistics only look better.

By providing actionable, curated content, you can boost conversions in your sales funnel and ultimately increase your business’s sales.

Branding often negatively affects internal productivity

You don’t often hear about your employees in terms of branding and ROI, but there’s an abundance of data that suggests a correlation between your brand and the degree to which individual employees are profitable.

In a parallel move to marketers, HR professionals have started focusing on what they call employer branding.

employer branding process

This is a concerted effort by companies to not only portray themselves favorably to external forces but also to align themselves with an internal brand.

And when you consider that engaged employees are 21% more profitable than their peers with lesser engagement, you begin to understand why.

What’s more, that same Gallup poll found that sales professionals are 20% more productive when actively engaged in their company’s brand.

So the correlation here is clear as day.

But what are the factors driving employee engagement?

Without diving too deeply into HR, there is one main element called the employer value proposition, or EVP.

employer value proposition

EVP works much like a traditional branding campaign, but you’re focusing on your brand image in regard to current and future employees.

You want to appear credible, reliable, and attractive to your employees in the same way you would a client.

The more you think about this, the more it makes sense.

Employees are the frontline of customer experience and the final link between you and your clients.

In essence, they’re ambassadors for your brand.

If they don’t buy in, sales will suffer no matter how strong or weak your digital presence is.

Not only that, but a transparent and consistent brand will attract top talent at a higher rate.

That means that your brand can start bringing in high-performing professionals who will boost sales even more.

So while old-school elements like employee alignment are still big, branding is taking center stage with employee engagement and productivity.

Emotionally-charged branding efforts boost profit

Finally, I want to discuss the emotional side of your B2B brand and how it relates to your overall sales performance.

Brand loyalty always caries emotion with it.

Thankfully, brand connection is usually positive.

But that doesn’t mean you can just gloss over this point.

Tapping into the raw emotion of your brand can be a good way to see improvements in your sales.

For example, 64% of consumers report that their relationship with a brand is tied to shared values.

stand for something helpscout

Values are, strictly speaking, not necessarily a metrics-based type of measurement.

Humans often determine their values based on how they feel about certain subjects.

Whether that value stirs up controversy or elicits much response, it’s simply part of a business’s branding.

And under the microscope, it becomes much clearer just how important emotions are to branding.

emotional ad campaigns

By understanding your audience and delivering an emotional message, the evidence suggests that you will ultimately amplify your sales.

So it follows that emotional campaigns are more successful than rational campaigns.

emotion is more effective than logic in advertising

Interestingly enough, emotional branding efforts are even more effective than a hybrid rational-emotional mix.

That’s why branding is so powerful.

It’s the emotional core of your business.

But there’s more to consider when it comes to building an emotional brand.

We can also see how even certain words and phrases you use in branding can evoke emotional responses that drive sales.

ecommerce copywriting

While all of these might not be applicable to your particular B2B niche, there’s an undeniable emotional draw in each of these words and phrases.

And as long as you don’t cheapen your brand, proper emotional wording can improve your conversions.

The overall goal of emotion in branding is to create brand immersion.

This, in turn, creates loyalty and boosts sales.

So, by providing an emotional connection and going beyond a bare-bones service, you can see incremental boosts in sales.

That seems like a pretty compelling reason on its own to emphasize branding for your company.

Hyper-focused branding can improve ROI

As we’ve learned more about what works in digital marketing, our methods have evolved to match our capabilities.

One of the more noteworthy evolutions is account-based marketing, or ABM.

This hyper-focused version of marketing allows brands to cater their message to individual businesses instead of a general audience.

As a B2B-specific tactic, it’s a battle-proven method that can help you leverage your brand as the solution to your audience of one.

account based marketing stat

Strikingly, almost all B2B businesses that have attempted ABM have had a higher ROI on their marketing efforts.

And more importantly to branding, those same businesses saw a significant benefit from focusing on expanding their existing client relationships through ABM.

arm provided significant benefits

By focusing on the relationship and boosting engagement, these brands are seeing a higher degree of revenue for their services.

Imagine what it could do to your business then, right?

And perhaps even more telling are these statistics from ITSMA:

What other methods could you use to increase your reputation, relationships, and revenue across the board?

I’m not aware of any others.

And all of this rises and falls on branding.

ABM is all about presenting all of what you do as a solution.

It’s just relationships and engagement.

Conclusion

The branding message can get old for B2B companies, but it’s not going away anytime soon.

You’ve seen the data, and you’ve hopefully read the signs.

Your brand could be your only lifeline, or it could be pushing your biggest clients out the door.

You largely determine which scenario is the case for you.

Overall, branding improves engagement and keeps your sales funnel full of potential customers.

By positioning yourself strategically throughout your buyer’s journey with actionable content, you encourage your leads to convert and take action.

Focusing on your internal brand can boost employee loyalty and sales significantly.

And creating an emotional, well-rounded brand can position you as a reliable source in your niche and improve your sales efforts.

Finally, using a hyper-focused method like account-based marketing can revolutionize your branding efforts and draw a direct line to increased revenue.

Across the board, branding serves an important purpose toward your bottom line.

In what ways have you noticed your brand making a difference in your sales?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

8 Advertising Mistakes SaaS Companies Make All Too Often

Ad media buying for SaaS products can feel like a rabbit hole of complexity.

Best practices, capabilities and tactics will change depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, what platform you’re on and whose advice you take.

But once you do understand that layer, there’s even more differences and challenges depending on the audience you’re trying to appeal to, and other factors specific to your situation.

As daunting as it might be to master, digital advertising is an unavoidable growth channel for most SaaS companies. So the sooner you get started figuring it all out, the better. Not that experimenting necessarily leads to success, but it’s definitely a prerequisite.

The era of social media as an unpaid marketing free-for-all is ending, with organic reach continuously declining. And all the while, competition with other SaaS companies for search rankings and audience attention is becoming fiercer. Two years ago, Cisco tallied over 150,000 distinct SaaS products in the wild, representing 30 times more volume than just two years prior. Now more than ever, paid acquisition is a key piece of the puzzle.

Most marketers are taking this challenge to heart. According to the latest Gartner CMO Spend Survey, 67% of CMOs plan to increase their spending in digital ads this year. And the latest annual Private SaaS Company Survey found once again that spending a higher percentage of revenues on sales and marketing correlates with faster growth.

SaaS sales and marketing spend growth rate

If your product is among the SaaS companies emphasizing advertising this year, I’m sure you’re feeling pressure to ensure your budget isn’t going to waste on simple mistakes.

Here are eight tips to make sure you avoid some of the most common SaaS ad buying pitfalls.

1. Taking an ‘Everything, Everywhere’ Approach

The first and easiest mistake to make is thinking of digital advertising as one large platform that you can take a “one size fits all” approach to. Plenty of marketers simply try to run the same campaign, the same way, on multiple channels and end up shocked that it’s not working.

Context matters more than you think. It’s true in most situations, but especially in the case of SaaS products.

When you’re advertising a technology product, the pain point that your product aims to solve should ideally be at least somewhat aligned with the activities being performed when your audience sees your ads. For example, targeting mobile users with ads for your web-only app might not be the best idea. The overall experience just wouldn’t make sense.

Instead, adjust your campaigns for each platform so they take viewers on a natural and friction-free journey of discovery. For a web tool, that might mean promoting pieces of content, instead of your product itself, and nurturing and converting via a different channel later.

ahrefs content offers on facebook ad

For example, Ahrefs includes content offers that can be consumed anywhere as part of its advertising strategy on Facebook, whereas they might offer their product directly on AdWords or display campaigns.

2. Assuming Only Humans Click

It’s easy to look around your own environment and see the positive impression tech can make on your target customers, but don’t forget how often it’s used for nefarious purposes, like click fraud used to tank advertising campaigns.

Pixalate’s data found that desktop click fraud rose to 25% and is on the rise in all forms, meaning the metrics on your campaigns might not represent its true reach and impact. In addition to the obvious drain on resources and ad spend that click fraud represents, it can also skew your metrics and interpretation of your overall campaigns and make your digital marketing strategy harder to figure out in general.

clickcease dashboard

Be sure to protect your marketing budget and campaign itself by being proactive against click fraud. Click-fraud prevention tools like ClickCease can detect and block fraudulent clicks on your Google and Bing ads before they deplete your budget. By using sophisticated AI, the engine picks up on suspicious behavior patterns, auto-bans offending IPs and even submits refund requests to the ad networks on your behalf.

3. Underestimating Brand Awareness

In competitive SaaS landscapes, measurable growth in sales conversions is often favored over brand awareness, which is trickier from an attribution standpoint. However, given the importance of familiarity in such a competitive landscape, building awareness is underrated.

A user likely won’t sign up for your tool the first time they hear about it. Instead, advertising and retargeting can “plant the seed” and build brand awareness strategically. This is the power of the “familiarity bias.” We’re more likely to do business with brands we recognize than those we don’t.

For example, Delighted uses simple display ads with noticeable imagery that’s in line with their app’s use case itself.

delighted start getting feedback

Use brand awareness campaigns to build further relationships and familiarity over time with people getting to know your product. People are still generally loyal to the software they use, so you’ll need a long-term strategy to alter that relationship and win them over.

Take your time wowing them with awareness-focused content around educational topics. These people are still too high up in the funnel to respond well to sales pitch messaging, especially if they’re currently happy using your competitor’s product. But even if they have what’s called “inertia loyalty” to your competitor, meaning that they’re sticking around simply because they don’t want to deal with the nuisance of switching, you’re still going to need to win them over before you can effectively pitch.

4. Ignoring Audience Intent Signals

The importance of context matters in more ways than one.

By ignoring the context and intent around which a user might be looking for a tool, you might end up paying to have the wrong messaging served up to the wrong audience members. This may lead to poor conversions right away, or you could make the longer-term mistake of winning customers who won’t stick around long-term.

For example, AdWords campaigns targeting anyone searching for free software can be a mistake that’s costly in the long run. Many SaaS experts believe that someone prioritizing a free price over benefits or features likely won’t be your demographic with the highest lifetime value.

Instead, target users who emit signals indicating they’re likely to become high-value customers. For example, Asana targets searchers of team collaboration software, but you likely won’t see them going as aggressively after those looking for free to-do list tools. Intent signals come in many shapes and forms, ranging from spending a lot of time looking at sales-oriented resources on your website to using keywords in Google searches that speak to the types of considerations people make at the bottom of the funnel.

asana advertisement on AdWords

Hubspot’s free CRM is a good option to automatically log all interactions across channels and touchpoints, to track and nurture leads and manage your sales pipeline. This allows you to take sophisticated intent modeling into account when automating follow up and scoring leads to determine sales-readiness.

5. Writing off Branded Keywords

“Why bid on the one term we can rank for organically?” is an understandable sentiment, but it’s also one that will hold you back.

Search terms using your brand name often signal high intent and readiness to close – a desirable audience you want to make sure you’re in front of. Don’t rely on an organic listing alone.

For one, with “brand plus” terms (think: “Kissmetrics alternatives”), you may not be able to rank organically but want to capitalize on the name recognition. Plus, combining organic and paid listings can result in more clicks overall, driving more immediate results than SEO alone, and often improving your AdWords quality score. The more your brand dominates a given search result screen, the more likely you are to yield those clicks, one way or another.

wordstream branded impression share

To easily manage multiple campaigns combining different types of keyword targeting, a management tool like WordStream will come in handy, especially in analyzing which ones are worth your budget. You can easily use it to segment ad impact, regardless of your campaign structures, to reveal the value that your bids on branded terms are delivering.

Just make sure you don’t get swept into a bidding war for your own brand name with a particularly brash competitor who’s trying to poach your prospects. Keep your acquisition cost thresholds in mind when bidding on your own brand name, just like you do when bidding for any other keyword.

6. Overlooking UGC Opportunities

User-generated content (UGC) is among the most powerful wellsprings of persuasion known to mankind. Audience members find content posted by their peers to be far more relatable and trustworthy than content produced by professional marketers.

Research from Reevoo found that approximately one-third of respondents rate brand content as “very influential,” whereas nearly two-thirds feel that way about UGC.

Much of the power of UGC comes down to issues of trust. This is especially true when it comes to virtual products promoted in virtual spaces, where many buyers feel vulnerable. With so many scammers, hackers and trolls around, a little bit of social proof can go a long way. Using genuine product reviews in your ad creative helps people to feel safe.

sanebox facebook advertisement

In this ad for SaneBox, an emotionally charged excerpt from a glowing customer review is rendered even more impactful thanks to the additional elements in the ad. A sparse, bold visual easily conveys the main benefit of the SaaS solution. Bright stars make the UGC rating pop out, and mentioning a free trial further helps alleviate people’s worries that about risk.

7. Not Building Nurture Funnels

In case you haven’t noticed a theme with these mistakes, marketers often aren’t thinking long-term enough. While the nature of SaaS does allow for a shorter sales cycle, you still won’t convert tons of customers in one touch alone.

Instead, build out ad funnels to nurture your prospects over time.

Using sequences of connected content and CTAs, you can increase your marketing impact at each stage of the buyer’s funnel and guide audiences over time from one step to the next.

moz different ads in stages of sales funnel

For example, Ryan Stewart has explained how you can use content to capture cold lookalike audiences on Facebook, and then use offers to retarget and take them to consideration, before showing testimonials and case studies and finally a hard sell.

Ads guide users through every stage, rather than just dropping them into the sales funnel and letting them fall out at any time. People who heed the calls-to-action in each ad group merit to see the next round of ads.

8. Overlooking Current Customers

Why pay money to advertise your product to its existing users? Because SaaS’s success is in customer retention. You need to be working to keep your customers at all times, and it’s an important enough priority to devote ad spend to.

There are multiple ways advertising can fit into your customer retention strategy, from content and onboarding communication, to promoting new product features and announcements, to sharing new case studies and uses of your tool to unengaged users. The objective here is to keep people associating your product and brand with their most empowered selves.

For example, Pardot’s inspirational content can give current users ideas for improving their own campaigns and getting more out of the software.

pardot inspiring email templates ad on facebook

When you build out an ad-driven nurturing funnel, be sure to extend your strategy to include retaining current customers.

Make Your Spend Matter

With so much changing in the online marketing space right now and increasing competition from new apps every month, a carefully planned paid media strategy can give you a head start on companies still not giving it the attention it’s worth.

While they’re obsessing over ways to get their organic Facebook reach back or connect with SaaS users on Snapchat, you’ll be reaching users with high intent on Google searches and through Facebook retargeting.

And by avoiding the above mistakes, your competitive advantage only becomes greater.

About the Author: Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the Founder & CEO of InboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. Nadav helps well-known brands in boosting their online visibility through PR, SEO and Social Media.


The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog