What does Conversion Rate Optimization Mean for Marketers in 2019?

 

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has developed into its own specialty field in digital marketing that is growing rapidly. The field of CRO deals with increasing the amount of web traffic a site gets into buying customers. As you can imagine, this field is of critical interest to retail website owners and its influence on marketing programs continues to grow.

Talking To An Audience

Website owners are constantly looking for more effective ways to convert web traffic into buying customers because this cuts down on the cost of selling. A CRO expert understands what makes users go from browsing to buying, and this means that more CRO experts are working with digital marketing experts to improve the overall customer experience. With the data generated by CRO experts, marketing professionals can determine more effective ways to find new target audiences, communicate with those audiences, and develop more powerful marketing messages.

Simplifying The Process

A CRO expert considers everything that attracts and repels potential buyers when developing their ideas. It has been proven over and over again that a streamlined purchasing process is one thing that keeps consumers coming back to a website. But before the emergence of CRO experts, digital marketing professionals were never really sure what buyers wanted. With the help of CRO, marketers now have a better understanding of how buyers want the purchasing process simplified.

Don't Forget The Desktop

Since CRO is relatively new, most people assume it only deals with the emerging industry of mobile computing. But any good CRO expert will tell you that consumers want a unified experience with desktop and mobile websites, and consumers want both kinds of websites to be as easy as possible to use. The idea that the desktop is going away is not accurate, and CRO experts are constantly reminding marketers to keep an eye on desktop development.

Maximize Mobile Options

One of the aspects of mobile computing that CRO experts constantly talk about is the lack of modern tools being used in developing mobile websites. Geolocation and the click-to-call marketing tactics are not used as widely as they could be, and that is not making users happy. There are some forms of marketing that users want to see on mobile websites, and CRO experts are trying to educate marketers on what those new tools may be.

The Regional Framework

When a portion of digital marketing spins off into its own field, such as CRO, the detailed manner in which that field is analyzed becomes more intense. Lately, CRO experts have discovered that regional limitations such as laws regarding online retail sales, international shipping issues, and maintaining inventory for customers all over the world is hurting CRO as much as anything else. Websites need to be aware of where their target audiences are located and develop strategies that address regional challenges.

The field of CRO will only grow in 2019, which is good news for digital marketing experts. The more information marketers have regarding consumer trends, the easier it gets for those marketers to develop effective marketing programs.

Five Key Considerations for Implementing AI Personalization

 

Online users have come to expect that their experiences with consumer websites will be personalized to make everything more relevant to them. Artificial intelligence (AI) has allowed marketers to anticipate the individual needs of each consumer and then develop marketing campaigns directed specifically at individuals. It all sounds great, but there are some extremely important considerations to keep in mind if you want to get AI personalization right for your online customers.

Start With a Good Foundation

The temptation for most companies is to check out what the competition is doing and they trying to top that. But it is important to remember that Google, Facebook, and a lot of other large Internet platforms are also offering personalized experiences using AI, and those larger platforms are going to offer a broader experience because they are dealing with broader information. You should check out how everyone is using AI and then create the best experience for your customers and not for someone else's audience.

Offline Must Work With Online

When you offer a personalized experience for your users online, you need to have the right kind of offline support to make that experience robust. Utilizing AI to wow your customers is only effective if all of your support systems work and your customers can benefit from what you are creating.

Offer Relevant and Timely Content

There is only so much AI can do when it comes to helping to personalize a user's experience. If the only content a system has to work with is outdated and irrelevant, then the experience is not going to be that great for the client. It is critically important that any AI personalization experience uses updated material and stays in line with current consumer trends.

Don't Give Away the Farm

Pre-fabricated marketing messages mixed in with personalized content are going to be an effective way to get your message out to your clients and the messages of your sponsors as well. If you try to personalize the entire experience, you take away from the effectiveness of focused marketing. You need to decide which elements you are going to personalize and then maximize those elements with good AI.

Learn as You go Along

An AI personalized experience is just like any other marketing campaign in that you collect data on its effectiveness and make changes based on your findings. You should never consider your AI experiences to be finished products. You should always look to improve and make them not only more effective at selling products, but better for the users.

Giving online users personalized experiences is becoming an expected part of online marketing. Users are expecting to see banners that are designed specifically for them and marketing information that follows their buying trends. But it is also important to temper your AI personalization and learn to improve as you go along instead of trying to do it all at once.

How to Get Clients by Growing Your Business Network

 

For any business, word-of-mouth advertising is extremely powerful for bringing in new clients. There are plenty of ways to pay for word-of-mouth advertising and paying for it is just as effective as growing your own network. But an organically grown network is going to give you a more hands-on approach to growing your business through the power of referrals.

Creating a Business Network

A business network is simply a collection of people you meet in your daily travels that are interested in growing their business and helping you to grow yours. Your business network will consist of anyone you meet because you never want to limit your range of influence to just one industry. To create a business network, you carry business cards wherever you go and swap cards with people as you meet them. You keep their contact information and use that contact information when the opportunity is right.

Using Your Business Network

As you are talking to someone you just met, they might mention to you that they need a plumber to fix a problem they have in their home. You give them the contact information of one of the plumbers you have in your business network and strongly recommend that your new contact call your plumber. You should also make sure that your new contact mentions to your plumber that you said to call. Over time, these referrals create a constantly-growing network of business contacts that will help grow your business.

Online Business Networks

Creating business networks online is just as powerful as the networks made up of contacts you meet face-to-face. Social media is an excellent place to start building your networks because of all of the groups and communities each network has available. You should also look into professional organizations that have online message boards and other ways to network with people online. As you grow your online network, you would utilize it the same way you would use your business card network.

Mixing Networks

At some point, you will want to find the social media profiles of your business card contacts so you can connect with them online. But it is important to keep your business card and online networks separate to prevent you from making incorrect referrals. For example, a local small business owner you meet would probably benefit better from the local accountant you know instead of the one you know several states over.

Business networks are essential to any growing organization. It is important to constantly connect with people you can refer to others to help enhance your credibility and, eventually, grow your own business as well. The larger your networks and the more active you are with them, the more you will consistently add to your customer base and improve your overall revenue.

How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Social Media Platforms

 

The two biggest problems companies have with social media platforms are a lack of activity and a lack of consistent website traffic. It is expected that reaching out on a platform that has millions of people in your target audience already participating should bring in big results. But as marketing experts have learned over and over again, nothing happens by accident. There are solutions to these two big social media platform problems, but they are not necessarily easy solutions.

Add Focus

Most business owners, when explaining their social media strategy, cannot get past the part where they want to get lots of people to like or follow their company's page. In marketing, nothing happens without a plan and every individual marketing goal requires a plan of its own. If you have no stated purpose for using social media, then you will not get any results. If you are not using focused marketing tactics on your social media pages, then you are not going get the kind of web traffic you want.

Add A Human Touch

More and more companies are buying into the idea of using online bots to scout social media and respond to posts. The problem with bots is that they are unable to engage in a meaningful conversation, and many social media users are able to sniff out a bot in a second. When a company uses a bot to try and interact with its social media audience instead of people, the results will suffer.

Interact More

You will get more out of your social media platforms if you talk to the people you are marketing instead of at them. The companies that are getting great social media results are the ones that ask engaging questions and use the information they get to improve their social media presence. While it is perfectly fine to post marketing pieces on your social media pages, you should also have plenty of real interaction going on with your audience as well.

Be Consistent

If you consistently post interesting information on your social media pages and become known for directly interacting with your audience, then your social media influence will grow. But if you are on for a day and off for a couple of days, then people are not going to feel like you are putting enough effort into staying in touch with your target audience. If social media is going to work, you need to have a consistent amount of contact every day and maintain a schedule for releasing information that your audience can rely on.

The ideal solution for solving social media problems is to hire a professional social media marketing manager through a digital marketing agency. The truth is that even the smallest company does not have the time to properly maintain and grow a social media presence. With the help of an experienced professional, your social media pages can start to generate revenue and help to consistently grow your customer base.

Online Marketing vs. Offline Advertising

 

Online marketing has become very popular around the world and many companies wonder if they even need to do offline print advertising anymore. The comparison between online and offline marketing has several facets to it with cost being only one. In order to get the full benefit of your marketing dollar, you must be prepared to spend a few extra dollars on targeted print advertising. A robust digital marketing plan should, in all instances, also include offline advertising programs.

Costs

No matter how you try to compare them, digital marketing costs are always going to be less than print. One of the big advantages of digital marketing is that there are so many ways to track the effectiveness of your results that calculating return on investment becomes much easier. But before you bury offline advertising for good, remember that print collateral often lingers for months longer than digital. A full-page ad in a magazine could still be getting read on an airplane or a doctor's office months after it was printed, where most digital content has a solid deadline where it no longer exists.

Exposure

Offline print advertising is accessible to almost anyone. A billboard can be seen by thousands of people who might not own a computer, while an online banner is only seen by computer users. There are millions of computer and smartphone users all over the world who are capable of seeing digital advertising, but there is not a lot of room for the kind of random exposure print offers. A digital ad is usually placed on a user's computer or smartphone based on their past purchases. But a newspaper or magazine can still put that random ad in front of a consumer that could spark an interest that was never there before.

Working Hand-In-Hand

The truth is that offline and online marketing need to work hand-in-hand if you are going to have a successful campaign. In some demographic groups, such as people over the age of 40, print advertising is a way to add an air of legitimacy to online advertising. Contrary to popular belief, younger audiences also read print advertising and when done properly, print can add a great deal of power to digital marketing.

The key to a successful marketing campaign is to understand your audience and use the right mixture of online and offline advertising. Every demographic group has its own preference when it comes to offline marketing, and you need to exploit those preferences if you want to get your message out to the widest possible audience.

When it comes to brand building, the goal with your marketing is to find the largest audience possible. Offline advertising fills in gaps online advertising leaves behind and creates a more comprehensive marketing plan. If you want your marketing to be a success, then it consistently needs to be some mix of online and offline marketing.

What is a Content Management Platform and are They Needed?

 

Content management software (CMS) helps website designers to create a content management system for all of the content on a particular website. Some people complain that CMS takes more work than just posting content, while others insist that they could not run their websites without their CMS platform. What is CMS and is it really necessary to run your website?

What Is CMS?

Content management software (CMS) is a platform of programs that allows you to publish, arrange, edit, and archive all of the content on a blog or website. It is most commonly used on blogs, but many programmers use CMS on corporate websites as well. The CMS platform allows you to add any graphics or templates to your content that would help to unify new content with existing content.

Why Do People Use A CMS Platform?

The most appealing feature of a CMS platform is that it allows a person to manage website content without having to know anything about Internet coding. A CMS system is very straightforward and easy to use, and most CMS platforms offer a wide array of add-ons that can help you to customize your CMS even further.

Why Do I Need A CMS Platform?

Without a CMS platform, you have to know the HTML coding process for adding and arranging content in your website. Even for people who know Internet coding, a CMS platform makes it easier and faster to manage content and move content around on a website. But if you do not have that coding knowledge, then you have to find someone who can add and manage your content for you manually. Not only is the manual content management process time-consuming, but it is going to add extra costs to maintaining and updating your website.

A Content Management Plan

Every website or blog needs a content management plan if it is going to be successful. You need to map out how often you want to add content, what kind of content you want to add, how to handle older content, and what to do with content that you want to archive on your website. Do you want to keep your archived content available to all of your users, or are you going to put it someplace only you can get to it?

With a CMS platform, you can create an entire content management plan that will allow you to maximize the content that you add to your website. Without a CMS platform, the entire process will get extremely complicated and bogged down. A good CMS platform increases your content management efficiency and makes your content more effective.

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms in the world, and you can usually get WordPress for your blog for free. Before you start getting involved with CMS platforms, you might want to talk to a digital marketing expert to get the information you need to maximize your content management plans.

How To Promote Your Business With Hashtags

 

The idea of labeling conversations with hashtags became popular on the Twitter platform and has since moved to most of the major social media websites. A hashtag is a short marketing message done in one word and identified with a hashtag or pound sign. If Bob's Bakery wanted to create a hashtag to promote his new wedding cakes, then that hashtag might be #bobsweddingcakes.

How To Use Hashtags

When you put a hashtag in a conversation, people can click on the hashtag and follow the conversation about the topic you have created. For businesses trying to build a buzz about their new product or trying to enhance their branding, a hashtag can create an ongoing conversation that will hopefully get others engaged.

To use a hashtag, you simply create one as we outlined earlier and then strategically place it in your posts. When someone clicks on the hashtag, it will take them to a listing of all of the posts that make up the conversation.

Where To Place Hashtags

It is always best to place hashtags in parts of the post where they can seem like part of the dialogue. The structure of a hashtag makes it difficult for it to look like it belongs in a sentence, but when used properly a hashtag can be very effective. For SEO purposes, it does not matter where in your post you put your hashtag.

Structuring Hashtags

If you want to create an ongoing conversation about your company's new line of widgets, then you can create a hashtag such as #bobswidgets. Every post you put that hashtag in will appear in the ongoing conversation. The best use for hashtags is to be very specific about the topic it refers to and always make sure it references your company in some way.

Going Viral

Your company will never be penalized for creating hashtags, so create as many as you want. The point to hashtags is to create an engaging conversation that starts to draw in a lot of people and goes viral. If your hashtag conversation is trending on Twitter or some other social media platform, then your business name is getting seen by a lot of people.

When your hashtag goes viral, you can start throwing in your company's website and even a specific link to the product in question. You can interact directly with people who show interest in your company and you can build brand strength by acknowledging your customers as well.

You should experiment with hashtags on as many social media platforms as you can to see if you can start getting people engaged in your conversations. While using hashtags is a powerful marketing tactic, it can also be a lot of fun if you can get a conversation to catch on with a large group of people.

How to Build and Manage a Private Facebook Group

 

If your business relies on customers, then there is a good chance that most of those customers are already on Facebook. With most of your customers in one, neat little place, it makes sense to offer a way to organize your customers under your company name and offer specializes service and communication. A private Facebook group is the ideal solution because you can focus on a group that consists of only your customers, and you can use the group to continually grow your business.

Start Your Group

All you have to do to start a group on Facebook is click on the down arrow in the top right-hand corner of your page and then choose to start a new group. As you set your group up, you can choose to have a secret or closed group. A secret group cannot be seen by Facebook users at all unless they are members. A closed group can be found in Facebook searches, but you have to be approved as a member to join. For business purposes, closed groups are better because they can attract members on their own.

Have Criteria

A closed group is unique because only the members of the group will see any group activity. Even though the group can be found in a Facebook search, group activity will only be seen on each member's wall by the members of the group. This allows you to communicate in privacy with your clients and grow your business.

You will need to have some sort of criteria to use to allow people to be a member of your group. While you can never be sure who is telling your the truth, you are going to have to take people's answers to your criteria questions at face value. Some criteria should include an owner of your product, someone who is considering buying your product, and someone who would like to help develop new features for your product. When people have to pass a criteria test to be part of a group, they usually value their membership in that group more highly.

Create User's Guidelines And Stick To Them

On top of needing to meet a certain criteria for membership, you will also want your members to carry on in the group in a civil and productive manner. You should develop a list of user's guidelines and then make sure each new member reads them. It takes time to build a group, and your guidelines will evolve over time. For example, you may learn early that banning members who get into arguments with other members is not always the best approach. Sometimes muting an unruly member for 24 hours will give them a chance to see the error of their ways and conform back to your community rules.

A professional digital marketing agency can build up your closed Facebook group into thousands of members that will help you to grow your business. The more your closed group grows, the more people you will have to present new products to directly, and the more consumers you will have to get feedback from on your current product offering.

 

Digital Marketing Game Plan- 5 Ways to Reach New Customers Online

 

An online business such as an online retail store requires a steady flow of paying customers to be successful. Every online business starts with a digital marketing game plan and that game plan includes everything from improving search engine results standings to finding ways to bring in new online customers. Before you start trying any exotic customer attraction methods, there are some basic methods you should use that will get the customers to start flowing to your website.

Make The Site Visually Appealing

In this modern age of the Internet, visually appealing means using space wisely to create an attractive and functional website. The idea of crowded advertising banners is starting to take off, but they are only effective when placed against the background of a well-designed and visually appealing website. The look of your website is the first impression it makes, which means that making it look good is very important.

Make The Site Easy To Use

If you website is visually appealing on first glance, then that increases your chances of repeat traffic. But if navigating your site is difficult or confusing, then most of that traffic will not return. There is an old rule in website design that says that if customers need to click more than three links to find anything on your page, then they will not come back. That rule still applies and it is something professional website designers follow closely.

Good Customer Service

Consumers who are comfortable with buying products online usually prefer their customer service options to be online as well. This means that product returns, video tutorials on setting up products, and answers to product questions should all be available online. While offering a toll-free phone number is also considered good customer service, you will find that the majority of your online customers prefer using chat to picking up the phone.

Social Media Networking

When used properly, social media is more than just a way to present information to your target consumer audience. It is a way to interact with that audience, develop a rapport, and cultivate a growing customer base. Social media is one of the more effective ways to immediately engage a target audience and get them interested in your website. It is also a very effective way to personally network with individual customers and enhance your online credibility.

Email Marketing

The perfect component to any successful digital marketing campaign is email marketing. When you work with a reputable email marketing company you will have a list of contacts that wants to receive your emails and is interested in what your company has to offer. You can create a variety of promotions and new customer programs that will work very well through email marketing.

A steady flow of new customers is the lifeblood of any online business. When you team up with an experienced digital marketing firm, you will be able to use a variety of marketing methods that will bring in new customers and help retain repeat business.

How To Respond To Bad Online Reviews in 6 Steps

 

Getting a bad online review for your small business can be frustrating and, in some cases, feel like the end of the world. You work hard to create happy customers and then someone leaves a bad comment. There is a six-step approach every small business owner should take when it comes to reading and reacting to bad online reviews.

It Is Not Personal

A bad online review of your business is just that; a review of your business. It is not a personal attack on you or your family. When you see a bad online review, your best course of action is to take a deep breath and walk away. Let the comment sit overnight and then go at it again with a clearer head and a more rational mindset.

Is It Real?

There are services available online that will write bad reviews about any business as long as the service gets paid. Before you launch into any type of response to a bad review, you should do your research and find out if it is a legitimate review or not. If the platform hosting the review is known for posting fake customer opinions, then contact the site and ask for proof that the review is genuine. In most cases, the site will simply take the review down. But if you prove the review is real, then you need to move quickly onto the next step.

Is It A Legitimate Complaint?

Good business owners use negative reviews as ways to find and resolve issues within their business. If you look at the context of the review and realize that the reviewer is right, then you can post a response thanking them for their comment and letting them know that the problem will be resolved. If the complaint seems to be nonsensical, then you can respond by asking the one who complained to contact you in a private conversation and provide more details.

Do Not Let It Get Out Of Hand

No matter how you are handling a bad online review, you do not want to allow the situation to get out of hand in a manner that the public can see. Your initial acknowledgment and your promise to solve the problem are posted publicly to show that you are working on the issue. But then you should ask the customer to contact you in a private conversation. If they persist on posting private information on the public conversation, then ask again for them to contact you privately. If they refuse to contact you privately, then you should stop responding.

Be Sincere

Whether you are right or wrong in this discussion, you should always offer a sincere apology. This means that you do not offer a template apology that does not apply to this particular situation because insincerity will not only anger the customer, but it could draw more angry people into the conversation. You should write a quick and personal apology that indicates acceptance of the customer's inconvenience and a willingness to solve the problem.

Learn

If you are getting a lot of bad online reviews about the same subject, then you have a pattern that has to be addressed. Your company can learn a lot about creating happy customers by paying attention to online reviews and watching for trends.

Online reviews can help boost your business, even if those reviews are bad. As long as you address bad online reviews properly, your company should be able to solve problems and create satisfied customers with the sincere manner in which you handle each situation.