The From Line

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Sara Steinnagel

Sara Steinnagel


Sara Steinnagel serves as Community Manager at Gold Lasso. Follow her on twitter at @Sara_C_Stein

Conversions either in the form of sales or in the form of lead generations are the lifeblood of most e-commerce sites. Conversion rates vary by industry but it is generally agreed upon that 2% is an average for most e-commerce sites. Unfortunately, most business get lost in the small percentage numbers and fail to realize that raising a conversion rate of 2% by a mere 1% can improve profits by a whopping 50%! That 1% can be a definite game changer for an e-commerce site, therefore conversion optimization of your site should be a top priority.

As such, we’ve created a list of the top five conversion optimization tips, which if implemented even partially, should result in an improved ROI. These are not in order of priority but instead we’ve placed them in the natural order of a typical e-commerce transaction.

  1. Relevant Traffic – Relevancy is a word you will see consistently in any e-commerce marketing discussion. As it applies to internet traffic it refers to visitors that are actively interested in what you have to offer. This means your traffic should be focused and targeted, two traits delivered by Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click campaigns. Purchasing generic traffic will generally result in extremely low conversion rates, if any at all. For optimal conversion optimization you should use targeted traffic, though more expensive, is actually more cost effective and will generate more conversions.
  2. Intuitive Navigation – Assuming you managed to get relevant visitors to your landing pages, you want to make it easy for them to find what they are looking for. Your product or service offerings should be divided into groups, each one with an easy to find navigational link. Your site should have an easy to use search option and don’t forget to enable breadcrumbs, so visitors know exactly where they are within your site.
  3. Unique Content – Visitors looking for specific products will most probably have already visited a few of your competitors. Make sure your product descriptions are not the same OEM descriptions your competitors are using, that will only cause your visitor’s eyes to glaze over. Instead use unique descriptions with a different angle or twist not covered in OEM descriptions. If you can provide more information about a product, a visitor is more likely to become a customer.
  4. Focus on Benefits – List your product specifications and features, those are always useful. But forconversion optimization you need to have your visitor imagine the benefits of owning that product. They need to see themselves using it, and reaping its benefits. This is why a test drive is so important in car sales. Take them for a drive and the sale is almost in the bag.
  5. Third Party Trust Seals – The last item you need to focus on is consumer confidence. Your potential customer needs to feel safe passing personal and financial information to someone they’ve never met. Third party trust seals are those logos and icons found on checkout pages designed to instill trust. Examples include logos issued by the Better Business Bureau, SSL certificates from your hosting company and Verified Seller logos from credit card processing companies.

There you have it. Implement these five conversion optimization tips and your revenue as well as profits should soar. Remember that some of these changes will result in instant changes, while others will definitely take longer. Should you have any questions about implementing some of these tips, feel free to shoot us a message and we'd be happy to chat with you.
 

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Is your brand in desperate need of a strategy to engage its customers, cultivate a stronger brand-to-customer relationship, create a more talked about social buzz, and drive repeat sales and returning customers?

Acquisition marketing can help significantly in each of these areas, and can improve upon your overall online marketing efforts.

But if you're like the majority of sales-based companies trying to navigate their way through the sometimes intimidating waters of digital marketing, you've probably missed valuable opportunities to acquire new email and mobile subscribers. It's important to keep in mind that each one of these missed opportunities leads to one less conversation, and one less purchase.

To determine how effective your brands acquisition marketing is, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you asking for the customers email address at the exact point of sale, as soon as they land on your website, or not at all?
  • Does your website have an email opt-in form that is easy to locate and simple to fill out?
  • Most importantly, what are you doing with the analytical data you're collecting? 

Knowing exactly what you are doing with the data your brand is collecting allows you to push forward a more personalized, relevant customer experience. Choose to ignore data in your acquisition marketing efforts and you miss the biggest opportunity of all.

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Permission marketing is all about getting your hands on a targeted marketing list that will give your content a competitive edge. You're striving to reach the email inboxes of people who could soon become some of your most valuable customers, if they're not already. However, a problem that continues to plague many businesses is how to move beyond permission marketing in a way that will reach out to those who might not ever get the chance to hear about your business otherwise.

Social media has answered that call for many businesses. The answer lies in being able to produce excellent content for your blog or your website that your visitors will deem as shareable. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about whether or not you have created a website that prompts your visitors to share your content with their network of friends and family members.

Social Sharing Buttons
Of course, if you have worked with a professional website developer, you probably have social sharing buttons on your website now. However, many business owners are taking advantage of the multiple free website options that are available to them, which don't always include social sharing features. Being able to share your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter gets your content out into the world. You never know who you might reach, and social media has helped take many businesses far ahead of their competitors.

Create Visual Content
One look at the expansion and popularity growth of sites like Pinterest will tell you that social media is taking a swift curve toward visual content choices. The saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words" holds a lot of weight in social media these days, and if your business produces a product or a service that is deemed to be valuable to the public, you'll do well to include graphics and pictures in your content.

Consider Using SlideShares
The SlideShares website has increased in popularity tremendously over the past few months. SlideShares will help you take advantage of your customers' partiality to visual content by generating a slideshow presentation out of a blog post. These can then be used to grow your business even more.
 

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Digital marketing is all about reputation, and unfortunately reputations are fragile. It does not take many complaints for an ISP to block a sender. To prevent this, the percentage of messages reported as spam should be well under 1%, and should actually be closer to a tenth of a percent. In addition to professional design, good opt-in practices, and strong segmentation, feedback loops are invaluable to protecting your credibility as an online marketer.

The Unsubscribe Link Is Not Enough
Most professional marketing email designs provide an “unsubscribe” link. This would seem to be the most courteous and clean way to allow people to opt-out of a campaign. However, no matter how well the email presents the unsubscribe link, many users are likely to regard the message as junk. You cannot rely on such a link to protect your reputation.

Feedback Loops Tell Us More Than Just Who Marked The Message As Spam
When a service provider gives you access to a feedback loop, you will receive a fairly reliable, automated stream of messages that your recipients regarded as spam. The level of sophistication involved in dealing with these messages is up to you, but the wisest course of action is to take them in bulk, parse out all of the useful data, and truly treat the mechanism as a way to get constructive feedback.

There are many subtle reasons why recipients perceive messages as spam. Use the loop as a way to correct errors and hone messages so that they do not damage your sender reputation.

Not All Providers Offer Feedback Loops
Feedback loops are restricted to the most trustworthy email service providers (ESP). They are available with Yahoo, Hotmail, and most of the recognizable names in email service. However, Gmail offers the functionality in a different manner - the List-Unsubscribe feature. This approach embeds the option for the receiver to “unsubscribe and report spam” via the email header.

As a rule, marketers should not overlook complaints or consider them irrelevant retaliation from an unruly subscriber. They should instead use feedback loops and the data they provide as tools to better their message content and improve upon their sender score.
  

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Business email in the corporate setting is generally formal, where million dollar words are common and industry jargon is a must. Marketing messages however, are most effective when they are kept simple. To avoid alienating your audience with useless “fluff”, follow these tips.

1. Get Rid of the Big Words
You’re composing a marketing message, not playing a game of scrabble. Longer, more obscure words will not win you extra points. Avoid using words that are more than two syllables. This rule of thumb helps ground the writer to basic speaking rules and establishes a smooth cadence. The goal is to compose a message that is effortless for the recipient to read and understand. Certainly the recipient is capable of understanding bigger words, but simplifying the message makes it both universally accessible and faster to digest.

2. Omit Technical Terms and Jargon
Read the email after it is written. Are there industry specific terms? Drill them down to more generalized terms. Consider the recipient and their knowledge base. A great amount of time will be saved if industry terms and jargon are avoided. The recipient will understand the message and valuable marketing dollars will not have been wasted on a missed meaning.

3. Get a Second Set of Eyes
Is there someone in the office who does not know as much about the industry jargon as the author? Perhaps there is an intern or someone from a different department who can read the email. The idea is for the author to step away from the document before it is sent and to have an unbiased reader give it a once over. The author is invested in the words and will likely skip over terms that are possibly confusing. A separate set of eyes can point out terms that need clarification and can give input and suggestions to make the message as inviting and easy to understand as possible. An unfarmiliar reader will bring a fresh interpretation that can predict how the message will be received by subscribers.

The idea isn't to "dumb down" the email, but rather to compose a message that is readable by a person who does not understand all the jargon of the industry. The email needs to be written for an intelligent audience who is interested in being educated about the industry. Keep it simple but don't talk down to your recipient.

 

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