“We see ourselves as our biggest competitor. We have to be better than we were yesterday”

Source: https://postfunnel.com/we-see-ourselves-as-our-biggest-competitor-we-have-to-be-better-than-we-were-yesterday/

In 2019, how do you convince a massive population to buy their goods online instead of heading to the stores to asses a product’s quality in person? After seven years working in digital marketing, Shreyansh Modi took on a challenging role at India’s leading digital commerce platform. And despite the market’s unique challenges, Flipkart’s head of Affiliate Marketing and Alliances is changing the way consumers shop. Read about why this ever-growing e-commerce platform considers itself its biggest competition, their approach to affiliate marketing, and how this executive got his start.

Check our latest Powwow interviews and many more special features here.

Let’s start with this: Who are you and how did get to Head of Affiliate Marketing & Alliances at Flipkart? 

I’m from the western part of India. I was born thereI have a Bachelor of Technologyin Information Technology. Post-college, I worked for a real-estate startup as a marketing intern, doing social media, SEO, SEM, events, ACM, creating contests, building fan pages, everything from offline to online. And fortunately, as we expanded into other regions in India, I learned a lot through my mistakes. I added the wrong keywords. I wrote horrible ad copies. I had to learn purely from the resources I could access and from all of my mistakes. But we corrected these mistakes and kept on going. I then switched companies and focused more on driving user acquisition and nurturing new customers into power users.  

Alright, so let’s bring this into the present day. Tell us about your role at Flipkart.  

Flipkart is a massive online marketplace in India. You can buy a mobile phonebook a flight ticket, buy groceries. It’s quite horizontal and with so many categories, affiliate marketing is a critical performance driver for us. It is not just a marketing channel, but a sales channel. It drives sales for all the categories. I have different stakeholders within the category. And for me, a typical day means talking to stakeholders, understanding what the business problem is, and then finding the solution and rolling it out. 

Why are affiliates so important here? How does it work?  

As far as our affiliate initiatives go, we have all different kinds of affiliates. It could be anyone in the ecosystem from the larger cashback or coupon websites to OEMs to the blogger who writes about a particular category or a particular product It can even be the admin of certain WhatsApp groups, which are like family groups or the college groups and he’s doing a lot of research and sharing recommendations on those channelsEven for blogs, which in nature are very vertical, the horizon of this affiliate gamut is very broad. 

I could even serve as an affiliate. Let’s say I research enough about an industry that I become the goto guy for people who want to buy a phone or an electronic applianceIf they want to buy a refrigerator, which kind should they purchase? I’m an opinion expert in my own circle. So why not start a group where I can recommend products to people and make an affiliate commission out of it? 

Here’s another example: we work with the mobile phone manufacturer, Xiaomi, which is also called mi.com, in India and China. Through our partnership with them, we created an affiliate out of their browser. It has an icon, which serves as an affiliate icon, so that any transaction that occurs through it, we have shared revenue. As we have a large set of users from partnerships like this, it puts us at risk of overlapping activities. It’s our job to figure out whether this transaction is incremental or not. Was this person driven through an affiliate or was it based on an attribution? We look at which conversions are assistedWe look at conversions that came directly from the last leg. We look at the entire journey of the user. We try and understand which marketing sources touched this user and what led to their decision to convert. 

India is a huge and unique market. What challenges are you facing here? 

We’re attempting to break a very large barrier hereIn India, people are used to buying products offline. We’re telling them, ” Hey, why don’t you try buying online?” They’re used to seeing the product in person. They’re used to touching the product, trying the product on and getting a sense for its feel. If it’s a fabric, What is the cloth like? And then they go ahead and make that final purchase. We’re saying, “Okay, you cannot look at the product the same way. You can see the product in the images. You cannot touch and feel the product, but hey, why don’t you buy?” So there are a lot of barriers we need to cross. 

Our affiliate partners can help us unlock these barriers, so that’s our reasoning for investing a great deal in affiliate marketing. 

So in some ways, Flipkart’s sprawling business is not unlike Amazon. They offer such an expansive array of products and services that it may feel like you’re one of the industry’s dominators. Yet, unlike Amazon, Flipkart’s market is just now breaking into the online marketplace. Who would you consider your competition if there is a direct competitor?  

Flipkart has the largest market share in the Indian ecosystem. We definitely have an advantage and the trust of millions of users. We built different companies to cater to different needs. We rely on constant innovation. And truly, we have been growing at a massive pace every year. 

We see ourselves as our biggest competitor. We have to become better than we were yesterday. We’re building a pie of online shoppers, some of whom make their first-ever online transaction with us. So it’s very critical for us to give them a very good experience that convinces them to buy their goods online, eventually working towards increasing the frequency of their transactions. So even as a market leader, the stakes are really high for us. 

10 Actionable Insights for Online Retailers

The post “We see ourselves as our biggest competitor. We have to be better than we were yesterday” appeared first on Post Funnel.

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The Secret Ways Chat Can Get You Sales-Ready Leads Tomorrow

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/the-secret-ways-chat-can-get-you-sales-ready-leads-tomorrow

There Is A Potential Customer On Your Website Right Now — And You Don’t Know It

Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy it’s a stat you see frequently when you troll the web. But that doesn’t mean the people visiting your site are unqualified.

What it means is you should have more ways for these people to ask questions, interact with your company and start the process of getting to know, like and trust your brand.

People make purchase decisions emotionally first and then rationalize those decisions. Know, like and trust are emotional words. The better you treat your visitors, the easier you make it for them to get to know you. The result is you’ll generate more leads, create more sales opportunities, shorten your sales cycle and improve your close rate.

Chat checks all of the boxes required to deliver an upgraded website experience.

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11 Traffic Sources For Fueling Your Sales Funnel & Growing Your Revenue

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/fuel-your-sales-funnel/

Have you ever stopped and marveled at how far we’ve come as humans? 

Maybe it was on your way to work downtown and you gazed up at those enormous skyscrapers towering overhead. 

Or maybe you looked down at your phone. This thing in your pocket that connects you to a practically endless source of information. 

And you were just struck with complete awe that humans, these weird animals, were able to create all these. 

The thing is, we weren’t always like this. Because not too long ago (in the grand scheme of things), we were chasing our food across the landscape and foraging for berries. 

It was when we started harvesting our own crops that we truly began to quickly evolve. It was when we stopped chasing our food and started growing it that we moved closer to becoming the society we are today. 

And like the human species, if you want to grow your business, you’ve got to start growing your leads rather than chasing them down. 

Think about it. Would you rather spend hours out of your hectic week making awful cold calls and sending out annoying email blasts? Or create a system that brings in and nurtures those leads automatically?

The second one… obviously. 

And a sales funnel is the best way to do that. 

But it’ll only start working when you send through traffic—the fuel for any funnel

Think of traffic as the seeds in your field and your sales funnel as the water and soil. 

So the question is, where do you get that traffic to send through your sales funnel? 

That’s exactly the question this guide answers. 

I’ll be covering the 3 main traffic source types and breaking them down into 11 individual sources that you can tap to keep your pipeline packed and your business growing.

The 5 Main Reasons For Building A Sales Funnel

Before we launch into how you’re fueling your funnel, let’s make sure we’re on the same page for why you should be using a funnel in the first place. 

We’ve written quite a bit about this in the past (from why funnels work to how to build them to examples of some of the most effective). So we’ll just hit the major points here. 

  • It lets you build trust with your prospects, an essential ingredient for turning them into customers.
  • It answers all of your target audience’s questions before getting on the phone with your sales team, pre-qualifying your leads to buy.
  • It lets you continue to sell and upsell to past clients, giving you a lifelong patron rather than just a one-off customer.
  • It weeds out leads that aren’t a fit for your product or service, saving you the hassle of wasting time on a low-quality lead.
  • A well-made sales funnel lets you accomplish all of this… automatically. And just think of the mountain of time that can save you.

Email Addresses & Lead Magnets: The Key To Any Well-Made Funnel

So, sales funnels are great when they’re built correctly—that much is clear. 

How do you actually get people into your sales funnel though? 

Sure, they can come hop around your website, browse your products, and maybe give you a call someday.

But if you want to feed those leads with targeted content that’s designed to push them one step closer to buying, you’ve got to do more than that. You’ve got to take control

And that’s where lead magnets and email capturing comes in. 

Gathering the email addresses of your prospects is the key to building a sales funnel that’ll turn browsers into leads into customers—if you follow the best practices that is. 

And the best way of capturing a prospect’s email is with a lead magnet

A lead magnet is usually the first or second step of your sales funnel. It offers a valuable yet easily consumable piece of content to your leads. And for free!

The only catch is it’s usually handed over in exchange for their email address.

And if the content is valuable, people won’t mind doing so. 

Lead magnets have the dual purpose of capturing that sweet, sweet email address and positioning you as a trustworthy authority on a subject.

They can come in a variety of forms too, including…

  • Guides
  • Checklists
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Recipes
  • Templates
  • Swipe files
  • Resource lists
  • Discounts
  • Free trials

There are many lead magnet examples proven to convert that can inspire you to build yours.

So in order to get the benefits of a sales funnel, you’ve got to capture your prospects’ email addresses. And in order to do that, you need to make a killer lead magnet.

But even with the best, most irresistible lead magnet in the world, it doesn’t mean anything if people aren’t seeing it and you aren’t collecting their email addresses. 

And THAT is why you need to fuel your sales funnel with the right traffic sources. Because if you don’t, all that work you put into your sales funnel won’t mean a damn thing. 

The question is, what kinds of main traffic sources are there?

Main Source #1: Paid Search

Paid search is usually what comes to mind when businesses consider online advertising. 

These types of ads are the ones that pop up first above organic search results. They’re usually marked with a small “Ad” or “Sponsored” label to separate them from organic results. 

Paid search also goes by the term PPC or pay-per-click. Why? Because you’re only charged when people click your ads. Makes sense, right?

If you’ve used a search engine before (and who hasn’t?), then you’ve probably seen them. 

Here’s what they look like on Google…

And here’s what they look like on Bing…

Paid search ads are great because they allow advertisers to target specific keywords that their ideal audience might be looking for. 

For instance, you can create a Google Adwords campaign around “dog grooming.” And when someone searches for that term, the ad for your business will pop up in their search results before the organic results. 

Now, how often your ads show up will vary depending on your ad spend. The higher you go, the more people will see it. 

But be careful… it can be hard to zero in on exactly what your target audience is searching for. And if you end up choosing keywords that don’t align with what you’re offering, the audience you attract won’t be interested in what you’re selling. 

Pros & Cons of Paid Search

Where does paid search shine and where does it involve more pain than it’s worth?

Pros

  • Target the right audience. One of the best things about paid search is just how direct doing this kind of advertising is. Often it’s as simple as just choosing the keywords that relate to your business and voilá! Your ads will pop up for some of the people who search for those terms. And since a searcher is actually looking for your service or product if you choose the right keywords, they’ll be motivated to buy too.
  • Easily trackable ROI. Search engines want you to know how valuable it is to put ads on them. So they make tracking clicks, impressions, and return on investment especially easy for advertisers. Many have their own dashboards. And that also makes A/B split testing a heck of a lot easier for marketers too.
  • Generates traffic quickly. Unlike organic search, paid search brings in traffic especially quickly. As soon as your ad goes live, it’s likely that you’re going to see a nice bump in website visits. That makes it a great option for a business that wants to start seeing results quickly. 

Cons

  • Requires a budget. For most, this goes without saying. Do you want results? You’re going to have to pay for them. Duh. But once your budget runs out, your ads come down entirely too. And that can be a problem for businesses that want to create a steady flow of traffic. That goes double for when keywords have a high cost-per-click (CPC).
  • Possible to misinterpret the searcher’s intent. Though simplicity is certainly a major draw for paid search, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an art to doing it right. It is possible for marketers to misinterpret the intent behind searching for a particular keyword. And if your ad is getting in front of people who don’t care about what you’re offering, it can wreak havoc on your budget with little to show for it.
  • Users are less likely to click than with organic. Unfortunately, organic search will almost always bring in more clicks than paid search. According to Hubspot, about 7 out of 10 searchers will click on organic links while just 3 out of 10 will click on paid search links. As a result, businesses tend to incorporate both paid and organic search into their marketing budget.

Main Source #2: Organic Search

While paid search puts you in front of viewers for a price, organic search appeals to customers based on how you rank according to a search engine’s algorithm.

Unlike paid search, you don’t get to choose the keywords that bring up your business. Instead, the search engine evaluates your rank and visibility based on…

  • Relevance
  • Domain authority
  • Inbound links to the page
  • And a variety of other factors

Most search engines keep the specifics of their algorithms quiet so that websites aren’t able to “cheat” the algorithm to earn a higher rank than they deserve. 

But for the most part, the name of the game is value and variety. The more valuable information you’re able to offer your audience and the wider the variety of the content you offer, the more likely you’ll be able to climb the ranks of search engines. 

And that means that your ideal audience will be able to find your business and become another satisfied customer. 

Using search engine optimization (SEO) principles also makes your business more visible for search engines. So be sure to always follow the best practices for an SEO friendly website

Pros & Cons Of Organic Search

So, what are the upsides and downsides of using organic search to fuel your funnel? 

Let’s take a look. 

Pros

  • Once systems are in place, organic search can be highly cost effective. The most obvious benefit of organic search is the fact that you aren’t paying for the clicks that get visitors on your page. They’re clicking because a search engine decided that you’re relevant to what a user is looking for, not because you paid for it. That being said, you’re still “paying” to rank in some sense because the content you create takes time and energy to create. Having the right tools can help you cut down on costs even more.
  • May bring in more qualified leads. The content marketing model is all about lead nurturing. And when done correctly, content marketing can give your audience tons of value and promote your business as a valuable service. It makes sense, then, that people who have been nurtured by your content will come to you ready to buy. 
  • People trust organic leads more. As I pointed out above, 7 out of 10 people skip paid ads and go straight for the organic results. As a result, if you can nail down your organic rankings on Google or other search engines, they’ll often end up attracting even more visitors than paid ads backed by an enormous budget.  

Cons

  • Not as targeted as paid search. The problem with organic search is that your audience is determined by the content on your page. No choosing keywords. No pointing out specific audiences. You are at the mercy of a search engine’s algorithm. And that can make it costly and time consuming to reach the people you’re actually after. 
  • Can take a long time to become effective. Search engines tend to favor websites that have a wide collection of pages and digital content for visitors to look through. Unfortunately, that means that smaller websites won’t be able to rank as highly as others that are more filled out. Building up your website is one way to combat that, but doing so also takes quite a bit of time and effort on your part too. 
  • Evolving algorithms can make it tough to stay on top. Since you’re at the mercy of the search engine with organic search, you can be in a lot of trouble when one switches up its algorithm. It can even throw your site pages back through the ranks if you’re not careful. It’s essential, then, to consistently monitor your ranks on search engines and adjust your website accordingly. 

Principles Of Effective Organic Search

Organic search can be a powerful way to promote your business. But doing it right takes a bit of work. 

Below are some organic search best practices to give you an edge when trying to climb higher in your organic search engine rankings. 

  • Focus on value, not keyword stuffing. Search algorithms have gotten incredibly smart these days. And while keyword stuffing was an effective way to essentially spam search engines before, companies like Google are now penalizing businesses for it. Instead, focus on offering true value to your target audience. Research their problems and pain points. Give them useful and actionable advice. And when the time is right, position yourself as the obvious solution to their problem. 
  • Vary up your content types. There’s more to beefing up your search engine ranking than just blogging and service pages. In fact, if you really want to perform well, you need to put out plenty of different types of content. Try to vary up your content schedule with the following content types in addition to your regular blogging:
  • Optimize your pages. According to Kissmetrics, 4 out of 10 people will abandon your website if it takes too long to load. And if your website design is clunky, confusing, or outdated, users won’t hesitate to find another business to browse. So be sure your load times are short (2-5 seconds), your website is polished, and your links aren’t dead. Because failing to do so can end up costing you customers. 

Main Source #3: Social Media

Now, social media is a bit of a weird one here since it has elements of both paid and organic content. 

If you’ve scrolled through a feed for more than 15 seconds you’ve seen them. At first glance, they seem like posts from your friends. A cat video here. Some hashtags there. It’s practically indistinguishable!

But when you look a little closer, you spot that sneaky “Sponsored” note hidden in the upper corner. 

Like this:

Those are the paid versions of social media content. 

Then there’s the organic route. Like organic search, using organic social media to bring in leads is all about delivering quality content that your ideal audience will love. 

And in doing so, you’re also building trust, helping them better understand their problem, and nudging them towards considering you as their solution. 

Pros & Cons Of Paid & Organic Social Media

As with any other method of fueling your funnel, there are upsides of both types of social media and there are downsides. 

Let’s take a quick look at both of each type. 

Paid Social Media

Pros

  • POWERFUL targeting capabilities. Many social media apps track how users engage with content and build a user profile based on those interactions. This lets them offer really strong targeting when choosing who you want your ads to go in front of. 
  • Massive audience. There are 2.82 billion social network users worldwide in 2019 according to Statista. And one of the most alluring aspects of advertising on social media platforms is tapping into this enormous audience.

Cons

  • Context can hurt conversions. When people are going to Google, they’re looking for something. A product. A business. Whatever. But with social media, users often aren’t searching for businesses. Their intent is to interact with friends and connect with others, not necessarily be sold to. And that means advertising on these platforms may be tough if you don’t know what you’re doing. 
  • Authenticity counts, and that takes work. People on social media love authentic and personable brands. But that kind of presence takes work. And if you want to stay on top of the biggest trends, engaging daily (if not hourly) with these platforms is critical. 

Organic Social Media

Pros

  • Free!(ish). Similar to organic search, organic social media is all about cost-effectiveness. And since posting on Facebook or sending out a tweet is free, the costs of organic social media are low. That being said, there’s still all the time, effort, and talent (yes, posting good content is a skill) involved in a strong social media presence. And that often equates to money. 
  • Showcases your unique personality. When brands aren’t authentic, people notice. And that can really hurt your image. But when they are authentic, people notice that too. And they usually love it. That’s why a lot of businesses use organic social media posts (zero selling) to help show their followers what their brand stands for. It builds loyalty. 

Cons

  • It takes time. As with traditional content marketing, building up a loyal following takes consistency. You’ve got to stick to a posting schedule in order to keep your audience interested. Otherwise they’re bound to just move on to someone else to follow. Added to that, you have to respond to comments, answer questions, come up with a regular content calendar—it can be exhausting.
  • It’s all very visible. Negative reviews of or interactions by your company on social media can easily be seen. And that means if you aren’t careful, you could be opening yourself up to embarrassment. That’s why it’s always important to address negative feedback immediately before things get worse. 

The 11 Traffic Sources For Fueling Your Sales Funnel

There are plenty of ways to fuel your sales funnel with traffic. Below are the top 11 sources you can start using today to bring in new leads and keep your funnel flowin’. 

1. Google: The unquestioned King of Search, Google is by far the most popular paid search platform. Hubspot points out that this platform alone receives an estimated 70,000 queries every single second. Every second! There are a few things you can do on this platform specifically to generate leads on your first try.

2. Bing: Though it’s often thought of as only existing in the shadow of Google, Bing ads actually give a lot of value to marketers. This is especially true thanks to the partnership between Bing, AOL, and Yahoo. 

3. Quora: This question and answer website boasts more than 300 million unique monthly users. And you can tap into those users by advertising your product or service on this website. Bonus tip: be sure to create an actual Quora profile for your business and try to be active on the platform to set yourself up as an authority too. 

4. Amazon: Ecommerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, AI… Amazon does it all. And when you use it to spread awareness of your products or service, you’re getting in front of millions of users. In fact, in 2018, nearly 21 million people viewed an Amazon website in December alone. 

5. Adroll: Great for retargeting ads in particular, Adroll places your ads on thousands of other websites for people who have already viewed your content. Retargeting ads can go a long way towards bringing people who have dropped out back into your funnel. 

6. Organic Search: Developing well-made, valuable content and optimizing your page with SEO best practices is a great way to rank higher in the search engines without having to pay a dime to Google or Amazon.

7. Facebook: Facebook is the king of social media advertising right now. It’s especially cost-effective compared to other platforms, it has super powerful targeting abilities, and it boasts literally more than a billion active users. 

8. LinkedIn: More of a professional environment and feel than the other social media platforms, LinkedIn is great for free organic B2B traffic. Sponsored ads are also available for businesses looking to get in front of the right people. 

9. Instagram: A photo and video-sharing platform, Instagram is highly visual which makes it great for businesses with physical products. Plus, it’s owned by Facebook, giving advertisers access to its powerful ad targeting. And when you use it right, it can be highly effective. 

10. Pinterest: Another highly visual platform, Pinterest lets you “pin” information or ideas that you’re interested in so you can collect, share, and save them for later. 

11. Use An Existing Email List: Last but not least, you can also use an existing email address list to drive traffic into your sales funnel too. Like I said before, email is one of the best ways to get your audience’s attention. But fueling your funnel with an existing list takes some work. That’s why we’re dedicating a full article to this topic coming up soon. So keep an eye out for it!

Conclusion

So there you have it. 

There are 3 main types of traffic sources that you can fuel your funnel with:

  • Paid Search
  • Organic Search
  • Social Media

Along with learning a bit more about each of those 3 main types, we also took a quick look at 11 of the top specific traffic sources to help you fuel your funnel:

  1. Google 
  2. Bing
  3. Quora
  4. Amazon
  5. Adroll
  6. Organic Search
  7. Facebook
  8. LinkedIn
  9. Instagram
  10. Pinterest
  11. Existing Email List

Each has its own pros and cons as well as its own best practices and ideal users. 

However, it’s best to use a mix of all 3 main types to get the most out of your marketing budget. 

Because just like evolution, diversification is key to survival here. 

What other types of traffic sources does your business use to fuel its sales funnel? Which have you found to be the most effective for you? 

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep funnelin’, stay focused,

Alex T.

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Marketers, Avoid These 10 Major A/B Testing Gaffes

Source: https://postfunnel.com/marketers-avoid-these-10-major-a-b-testing-gaffes/

What’s worse than neglecting A/B testing? Going about it the wrong way. While 72% of marketers believe A/B testing is “highly valuable,” it takes more than setting up experiments to get it right. In this article, we’ll take a look at some common A/B blunders and how to avoid them.

First, check out our other articles on A/B testing:
5 Major Testing Flaws to Avoid In Your Marketing Initiatives
Testing, Testing, A/B/C
A/B Testing Your Email Campaigns: Benefits and Drawbacks

Testing With a Hypothesis

The first step in any A/B test is to create a hypothesis. Without it, you’ll waste time and money analyzing random ideas. Below are three essential elements of productive hypothesizing:

  1. Conversion Problem: Determine what you’d like to change by utilizing customer feedback, analytics, and user tests
  2. Proposed Solution: Establish what will be done to fix your conversion problem. For instance, changing your CTA text from “Buy” to “Buy Now” should hike up online sales.
  3. Impact Statement: Define how the proposed solution will affect conversion outcomes

Not Using Segmentation

Forgoing segmentation is a big mistake when A/B testing. A variation that doesn’t outperform overall may have different results within a particular segment. That’s why 56% of marketers find segmentation useful for improving conversion rates. Here are three tips to keep in mind when using segmentation in A/B testing:

  • Segmentation Methodology: Segment your users between source, behavior, demographic, or outcome. When building your segmentation strategy, examine which sectors have the highest LTV for your business.
  • Refine Your Segment: Don’t segment to such a granular level that the results become useless. Make sure the sample size of your smallest segment is large enough to detect the expected difference.
  • Avoid Multiple Comparisons: Comparing multiple segments increases the probability of error. Choose a big enough sample size for each segment, compare significant segments, and make sure your data is relevant.

Calling A/B Tests Early

Ending an A/B test as soon as you see a winning variation will create false positives. Check these boxes before pulling the plug:

 Sufficient Sample Size: Don’t stop your test until you’ve reached the necessary sample size. Determine your sample size in advance, making sure the sample represents your regular traffic.

Statistical Significance: Make sure that you test the difference between your control and test version and can rule out the chances the result wasn’t due to error.

Tip: Wait until you’re finished testing to record a final significance level.

Test Duration: Run the test for *at least* a few weeks before making conclusions. Test for as long as you need in order to include all audience segments and experiment as long as it is still economically viable to discover a percentage lift from variation.

Tip: If you need to prolong a test, do it by a full week.

Customer marketing challenges and opportunities

Forgetting it’s Holiday Season 

The holiday rush can affect traffic and conversion rates alike, skewing your test’s validity. This means that if you’re running a test during Christmas, your winning variation might not remain on top when the holiday dash dies down. To prevent skewed test results, keep the following in mind:

  • Watch Your Data: Consult past data to see when traffic and conversion increases begin and end. Knowing when to expect high traffic will help you prepare test plans before the holidays kick-off.
  • Repeat the Test: Run repeat ‘winning holiday tests’ during off-seasons to confirm your results. When re-testing, evaluate how you set up the original test and correct any mistakes.
  • Run an ABN Campaign: An ABN campaign allows you to compare A to B, but you’ll have a control group as well, which will show how customers are likely to behave without a campaign during the holiday season.

The Effects of Statistical Power

Statistical power is the probability that a test will detect a real difference in conversion rate between offers. Without understanding statistical power, you can’t implement revenue-generating changes to your site, nor reduce false positives. In addition to statistical significance, there are two more variables that affect statistical power:

Sample Size: A small sample increases the likelihood of a false positive. Use a sample size calculator to ensure your sample is large enough to power your test.

Power Level: To avoid under-powering your test, you need a confidence level of 95% and a statistical power of  80%

Forgetting About Novelty Effect

Novelty effect is used to describe a positive effect that’s entirely due to a change, such as a new design feature. As a result of novelty effect, any recorded upswing will wear off with time. To prevent this from skewing your results, do the following:

Segment: To distinguish between a novelty effect and actual inferiority, that you segment your hits into new and returning visitors and compare the conversion rates

Test Duration: Extend your test duration to allow the novelty to wear off and to regulate test results

Shrugging Off Prioritization

 As a significant number of A/B tests produce either negative or neutral results, increase the odds of achieving a positive impact on your conversion metric. To save time and resources, prioritize what you test. Just be sure to keep these tips in mind:

If it’s Obvious, Don’t Test it: Don’t waste time testing elements that don’t matter to your consumers, such as random images and text. Test elements like page layout, navigation, and your checkout process.

Create a Framework: Using a framework increases transparency, sets the right expectations, and reduces opportunity cost. You can use prioritization frameworks such as ICE, PIE, or PXL — or create your own.

Test Money Pages First: Your money pages such as sales pages or checkout pages should take priority when A/B testing

Conducting Fewer Tests

You can’t conduct just one or two tests per month and expect improvements. You must run tests regularly to get results. 83% of companies that run frequent tests see improvements in conversion rates.  Things to note when testing:

Testing Strategy: Devise a clear testing strategy and ensure it includes simple A/B tests and complex experiments.

Schedule: Stick to a regular testing schedule that details which tests you’ll run, what you aim to optimize, and start and finish dates. Regardless of their complexity, consider running between 3-5 tests per month.

Maintain Momentum: Whether or not you see significant results, keep testing. Consider directing part of your budget to constantly testing your online sales platform to encourage the understanding that A/B testing is an ongoing process, not a lone event.

Two More Quick Nos

Not Testing the Entire Customer Journey: Don’t limit your testing to websites, landing pages, or checkout forms. Test elements on other channels that pertain to all stages of the customer journey, so that you can optimize it completely.

Not Allocating Traffic Equally: Sending unequal allocation of traffic to your ‘control and variation’ will lead to an inefficient or failed test. Even if your tools allow for unequal allocation of traffic, stick to a 50/50 split to achieve conclusive results.

Test the Right Way

Never assume that you categorically ‘know’ your customers. Always test to confirm your instincts. When it comes to A/B testing, use metrics that align with your business goals and the specific AB campaign’s goals (for example, if it’s making a purchase – test that, if it’s another activity like placing a bet in gaming, test relevant KPIs). Implement winning tests fast, stay open-minded, and don’t be afraid to fail.

Happy testing!

The post Marketers, Avoid These 10 Major A/B Testing Gaffes appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Top 3 Traffic Sources For Fueling Your Sales Funnel & Growing Your Revenue

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/fuel-your-sales-funnel/

Have you ever stopped and marveled at how far we’ve come as humans? 

Maybe it was on your way to work downtown and you gazed up at those enormous skyscrapers towering overhead. 

Or maybe you looked down at your phone. This thing in your pocket that connects you to a practically endless source of information. 

And you were just struck with complete awe that humans, these weird animals, were able to create all these. 

The thing is, we weren’t always like this. Because not too long ago (in the grand scheme of things), we were chasing our food across the landscape and foraging for berries. 

It was when we started harvesting our own crops that we truly began to quickly evolve. It was when we stopped chasing our food and started growing it that we moved closer to becoming the society we are today. 

And like the human species, if you want to grow your business, you’ve got to start growing your leads rather than chasing them down. 

Think about it. Would you rather spend hours out of your hectic week making awful cold calls and sending out annoying email blasts? Or create a system that brings in and nurtures those leads automatically?

The second one… obviously. 

And a sales funnel is the best way to do that. 

But it’ll only start working when you send through traffic—the fuel for any funnel

Think of traffic as the seeds in your field and your sales funnel as the water and soil. 

So the question is, where do you get that traffic to send through your sales funnel? 

That’s exactly the question this guide answers. 

I’ll be covering the top 3 traffic sources that you can tap to keep your pipeline packed and your business growing.

The 5 Main Reasons For Building A Sales Funnel

Before we launch into how you’re fueling your funnel, let’s make sure we’re on the same page for why you should be using a funnel in the first place. 

We’ve written quite a bit about this in the past (from why funnels work to how to build them to examples of some of the most effective). So we’ll just hit the major points here. 

  • It lets you build trust with your prospects, an essential ingredient for turning them into customers.
  • It answers all of your target audience’s questions before getting on the phone with your sales team, pre-qualifying your leads to buy.
  • It lets you continue to sell and upsell to past clients, giving you a lifelong patron rather than just a one-off customer.
  • It weeds out leads that aren’t a fit for your product or service, saving you the hassle of wasting time on a low-quality lead.

A well-made sales funnel lets you accomplish all of thisautomatically. And just think of the mountain of time that can save you.

Email Addresses & Lead Magnets: The Key To Any Well-Made Funnel

So, sales funnels are great when they’re built correctly—that much is clear. 

How do you actually get people into your sales funnel though? 

Sure, they can come hop around your website, browse your products, and maybe give you a call someday.

But if you want to feed those leads with targeted content that’s designed to push them one step closer to buying, you’ve got to do more than that. You’ve got to take control

And that’s where lead magnets and email capturing comes in. 

Gathering the email addresses of your prospects is the key to building a sales funnel that’ll turn browsers into leads into customers—if you follow the best practices that is. 

And the best way of capturing a prospect’s email is with a lead magnet

A lead magnet is usually the first or second step of your sales funnel. It offers a valuable yet easily consumable piece of content to your leads. And for free!

The only catch is it’s usually handed over in exchange for their email address.

And if the content is valuable, people won’t mind doing so. 

Lead magnets have the dual purpose of capturing that sweet, sweet email address and positioning you as a trustworthy authority on a subject.

They can come in a variety of forms too, including…

  • Guides
  • Checklists
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Recipes
  • Templates
  • Swipe files
  • Resource lists
  • Discounts
  • Free trials

There are many lead magnet examples proven to convert that can inspire you to build yours.

So in order to get the benefits of a sales funnel, you’ve got to capture your prospects’ email addresses. And in order to do that, you need to make a killer lead magnet.

But even with the best, most irresistible lead magnet in the world, it doesn’t mean anything if people aren’t seeing it and you aren’t collecting their email addresses. 

And THAT is why you need to fuel your sales funnel with the right traffic sources. Because if you don’t, all that work you put into your sales funnel won’t mean a damn thing. 

The question is, what kinds of traffic sources are there?

Source #1: Paid Search

Paid search is usually what comes to mind when businesses consider online advertising. 

These types of ads are the ones that pop up first above organic search results. They’re usually marked with a small “Ad” or “Sponsored” label to separate them from organic results. 

Paid search also goes by the term PPC or pay-per-click. Why? Because you’re only charged when people click your ads. Makes sense, right?

If you’ve used a search engine before (and who hasn’t?), then you’ve probably seen them. 

Here’s what they look like on Google…

And here’s what they look like on Bing…

Paid search ads are great because they allow advertisers to target specific keywords that their ideal audience might be looking for. 

For instance, you can create a Google Adwords campaign around “dog grooming.” And when someone searches for that term, the ad for your business will pop up in their search results before the organic results. 

Now, how often your ads show up will vary depending on your ad spend. The higher you go, the more people will see it. 

But be careful… it can be hard to zero in on exactly what your target audience is searching for. And if you end up choosing keywords that don’t align with what you’re offering, the audience you attract won’t be interested in what you’re selling. 

Pros & Cons of Paid Search

Where does paid search shine and where does it involve more pain than it’s worth?

Pros

  • Target the right audience. One of the best things about paid search is just how direct doing this kind of advertising is. Often it’s as simple as just choosing the keywords that relate to your business and voilá! Your ads will pop up for some of the people who search for those terms. And since a searcher is actually looking for your service or product if you choose the right keywords, they’ll be motivated to buy too. 
  • Easily trackable ROI. Search engines want you to know how valuable it is to put ads on them. So they make tracking clicks, impressions, and return on investment especially easy for advertisers. Many have their own dashboards. And that also makes A/B split testing a heck of a lot easier for marketers too.
  • Generates traffic quickly. Unlike organic search, paid search brings in traffic especially quickly. As soon as your ad goes live, it’s likely that you’re going to see a nice bump in website visits. That makes it a great option for a business that wants to start seeing results quickly. 

Cons

  • Requires a budget. For most, this goes without saying. Do you want results? You’re going to have to pay for them. Duh. But once your budget runs out, your ads come down entirely too. And that can be a problem for businesses that want to create a steady flow of traffic. That goes double for when keywords have a high cost-per-click (CPC).
  • Possible to misinterpret the searcher’s intent. Though simplicity is certainly a major draw for paid search, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an art to doing it right. It is possible for marketers to misinterpret the intent behind searching for a particular keyword. And if your ad is getting in front of people who don’t care about what you’re offering, it can wreak havoc on your budget with little to show for it.
  • Users are less likely to click than with organic. Unfortunately, organic search will almost always bring in more clicks than paid search. According to Hubspot, about 7 out of 10 searchers will click on organic links while just 3 out of 10 will click on paid search links. As a result, businesses tend to incorporate both paid and organic search into their marketing budget.

Types Of Paid Search Options

There are quite a few different types of paid search platforms out there. 

Of course, Google is the most obvious. But there are actually a lot more options available than you may realize. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most popular. 

  • Google: The unquestioned King of Search, Google is by far the most popular paid search platform. Hubspot points out that this platform alone receives an estimated 70,000 queries every single second. Every second! There are a few things you can do on this platform specifically to generate leads on your first try.
  • Bing: Though it’s often thought of as only existing in the shadow of Google, Bing ads actually give a lot of value to marketers. This is especially true thanks to the partnership between Bing, AOL, and Yahoo. 
  • Quora: This question and answer website boasts more than 300 million unique monthly users. And you can tap into those users by advertising your product or service on this website. Bonus tip: be sure to create an actual Quora profile for your business and try to be active on the platform to set yourself up as an authority too. 
  • Amazon: Ecommerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, AI… Amazon does it all. And when you use it to spread awareness of your products or service, you’re getting in front of millions of users. In fact, in 2018, nearly 21 million people viewed an Amazon website in December alone. 
  • Adroll: Great for retargeting ads in particular, Adroll places your ads on thousands of other websites for people who have already viewed your content. Retargeting ads can go a long way towards bringing people who have dropped out back into your funnel. 

Source #2: Organic Search

While paid search puts you in front of viewers for a price, organic search appeals to customers based on how you rank according to a search engine’s algorithm.

Unlike paid search, you don’t get to choose the keywords that bring up your business. Instead, the search engine evaluates your rank and visibility based on…

  • Relevance
  • Domain authority
  • Inbound links to the page
  • And a variety of other factors

Most search engines keep the specifics of their algorithms quiet so that websites aren’t able to “cheat” the algorithm to earn a higher rank than they deserve. 

But for the most part, the name of the game is value and variety. The more valuable information you’re able to offer your audience and the wider the variety of the content you offer, the more likely you’ll be able to climb the ranks of search engines. 

And that means that your ideal audience will be able to find your business and become another satisfied customer. 

Using search engine optimization (SEO) principles also makes your business more visible for search engines. So be sure to always follow the best practices for an SEO friendly website

Pros & Cons Of Organic Search

So, what are the upsides and downsides of using organic search to fuel your funnel? 

Let’s take a look. 

Pros

  • Once systems are in place, organic search can be highly cost effective. The most obvious benefit of organic search is the fact that you aren’t paying for the clicks that get visitors on your page. They’re clicking because a search engine decided that you’re relevant to what a user is looking for, not because you paid for it. That being said, you’re still “paying” to rank in some sense because the content you create takes time and energy to create. Having the right tools can help you cut down on costs even more.
  • May bring in more qualified leads. The content marketing model is all about lead nurturing. And when done correctly, content marketing can give your audience tons of value and promote your business as a valuable service. It makes sense, then, that people who have been nurtured by your content will come to you ready to buy. 
  • People trust organic leads more. As I pointed out above, 7 out of 10 people skip paid ads and go straight for the organic results. As a result, if you can nail down your organic rankings on Google or other search engines, they’ll often end up attracting even more visitors than paid ads backed by an enormous budget.  

Cons

  • Not as targeted as paid search. The problem with organic search is that your audience is determined by the content on your page. No choosing keywords. No pointing out specific audiences. You are at the mercy of a search engine’s algorithm. And that can make it costly and time consuming to reach the people you’re actually after. 
  • Can take a long time to become effective. Search engines tend to favor websites that have a wide collection of pages and digital content for visitors to look through. Unfortunately, that means that smaller websites won’t be able to rank as highly as others that are more filled out. Building up your website is one way to combat that, but doing so also takes quite a bit of time and effort on your part too. 
  • Evolving algorithms can make it tough to stay on top. Since you’re at the mercy of the search engine with organic search, you can be in a lot of trouble when one switches up its algorithm. It can even throw your site pages back through the ranks if you’re not careful. It’s essential, then, to consistently monitor your ranks on search engines and adjust your website accordingly. 

Principles Of Effective Organic Search

Organic search can be a powerful way to promote your business. But doing it right takes a bit of work. 

Below are some organic search best practices to give you an edge when trying to climb higher in your organic search engine rankings. 

  • Focus on value, not keyword stuffing. Search algorithms have gotten incredibly smart these days. And while keyword stuffing was an effective way to essentially spam search engines before, companies like Google are now penalizing businesses for it. Instead, focus on offering true value to your target audience. Research their problems and pain points. Give them useful and actionable advice. And when the time is right, position yourself as the obvious solution to their problem. 
  • Vary up your content types. There’s more to beefing up your search engine ranking than just blogging and service pages. In fact, if you really want to perform well, you need to put out plenty of different types of content. Try to vary up your content schedule with the following content types in addition to your regular blogging:
  • Optimize your pages. According to Kissmetrics, 4 out of 10 people will abandon your website if it takes too long to load. And if your website design is clunky, confusing, or outdated, users won’t hesitate to find another business to browse. So be sure your load times are short (2-5 seconds), your website is polished, and your links aren’t dead. Because failing to do so can end up costing you customers. 

Source #3: Social Media

Now, social media is a bit of a weird one here since it has elements of both paid and organic content. 

If you’ve scrolled through a feed for more than 15 seconds you’ve seen them. At first glance, they seem like posts from your friends. A cat video here. Some hashtags there. It’s practically indistinguishable!

But when you look a little closer, you spot that sneaky “Sponsored” note hidden in the upper corner. 

Like this:

Those are the paid versions of social media content. 

Then there’s the organic route. Like organic search, using organic social media to bring in leads is all about delivering quality content that your ideal audience will love. 

And in doing so, you’re also building trust, helping them better understand their problem, and nudging them towards considering you as their solution. 

Pros & Cons Of Paid & Organic Social Media

As with any other method of fueling your funnel, there are upsides of both types of social media and there are downsides. 

Let’s take a quick look at both of each type. 

Paid Social Media

Pros

  • POWERFUL targeting capabilities. Many social media apps track how users engage with content and build a user profile based on those interactions. This lets them offer really strong targeting when choosing who you want your ads to go in front of. 
  • Massive audience. There are 2.82 billion social network users worldwide in 2019 according to Statista. And one of the most alluring aspects of advertising on social media platforms is tapping into this enormous audience.

Cons

  • Context can hurt conversions. When people are going to Google, they’re looking for something. A product. A business. Whatever. But with social media, users often aren’t searching for businesses. Their intent is to interact with friends and connect with others, not necessarily be sold to. And that means advertising on these platforms may be tough if you don’t know what you’re doing. 
  • Authenticity counts, and that takes work. People on social media love authentic and personable brands. But that kind of presence takes work. And if you want to stay on top of the biggest trends, engaging daily (if not hourly) with these platforms is critical. 

Organic Social Media

Pros

  • Free!(ish). Similar to organic search, organic social media is all about cost-effectiveness. And since posting on Facebook or sending out a tweet is free, the costs of organic social media are low. That being said, there’s still all the time, effort, and talent (yes, posting good content is a skill) involved in a strong social media presence. And that often equates to money. 
  • Showcases your unique personality. When brands aren’t authentic, people notice. And that can really hurt your image. But when they are authentic, people notice that too. And they usually love it. That’s why a lot of businesses use organic social media posts (zero selling) to help show their followers what their brand stands for. It builds loyalty. 

Cons

  • It takes time. As with traditional content marketing, building up a loyal following takes consistency. You’ve got to stick to a posting schedule in order to keep your audience interested. Otherwise they’re bound to just move on to someone else to follow. Added to that, you have to respond to comments, answer questions, come up with a regular content calendar—it can be exhausting.
  • It’s all very visible. Negative reviews of or interactions by your company on social media can easily be seen. And that means if you aren’t careful, you could be opening yourself up to embarrassment. That’s why it’s always important to address negative feedback immediately before things get worse. 

Types Of Social Media Options

It seems like there are more and more social media platforms popping up with each passing year. 

But which are right for your business? And what kinds of audiences do each tend to attract?

  • Facebook: Facebook is the king of social media advertising right now. It’s especially cost-effective compared to other platforms, it has super powerful targeting abilities, and it boasts literally more than a billion active users. 
  • LinkedIn: More of a professional environment and feel than the other social media platforms, LinkedIn is great for free organic B2B traffic. Sponsored ads are also available for businesses looking to get in front of the right people. 
  • Instagram: A photo and video-sharing platform, Instagram is highly visual which makes it great for businesses with physical products. Plus, it’s owned by Facebook, giving advertisers access to its powerful ad targeting. And when you use it right, it can be highly effective. 
  • Pinterest: Another highly visual platform, Pinterest lets you “pin” information or ideas that you’re interested in so you can collect, share, and save them for later. 

Conclusion

So there you have it. 

There are 3 main types of traffic sources that you can fuel your funnel with:

  • Paid Search
  • Organic Search
  • Social Media

Each has its own pros and cons as well as its own platforms, best practices, and ideal users. 

However, it’s best to use a mix of all 3 to get the most out of your marketing budget. 

Because just like evolution, diversification is key to survival here. 

What other types of traffic sources does your business use to fuel its sales funnel? Which have you found to be the most effective for you? 

Let me know in the comments below. 

Keep funnelin’, stay focused,

Alex T.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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Black Friday vs Cyber Monday—How Brands Can Make the Most of Both

Source: https://postfunnel.com/black-friday-vs-cyber-monday-how-brands-can-make-the-most-of-both/

Black Friday and Cyber Monday do require separate strategies to some degree, but because both “holidays” are beginning to overlap more and more, the best strategy accounts for the differences and syncs up where applicable. So how do you maximize both holidays? And how do you synchronize your strategies to make that weekend profitable? Here are some tips to make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday strategy — take the pain out of the madness

Black Friday (during which many retailers begin advertising and offering deals many weeks in advance and for a few weeks afterward) is a chaotic time of year, as retailers limit the available deals. Their goal is to entice customers into the store by offering absurdly good deals, hoping to turn a profit through all the other normally priced merchandise.

This means deals are often limited, causing shoppers to stampede through the stores in the hopes of nabbing discounted items. You can easily defuse the madness by doing a couple of things:

  • Make the discounts more reasonable and offer more of them
  • Promise supplies aren’t limited

Limited availability drives the madness on Black Friday, and the madness is not only provoking a Black Friday backlash, but actively driving customers away from your store. According to The Balance, “Thanksgiving and Black Friday are still the busiest shopping days for stores, but traffic is declining.  In 2018, it fell as much as 9 percent from 2017. The number of people visiting stores in 2017 was 4 percent lower than in 2016. RetailNext Inc. analyzed in-store videos to count the shoppers.”

If you want to get more customers in the door and retain them after the turkey is long gone, ease up on offers that are limited to just Black Friday. Black Friday was once associated only with in-store offers while Cyber Monday was limited to online shopping, but online shopping has become so widespread that it makes no sense for a modern brand to limit a sale to their brick and mortar locations. Further, few customers make a clear differentiation between the two in their head—any customer who is that on top of the deals is there for the deal itself, not for your brand.

Your most loyal customers are loyal to you, not your single day of deals. That’s who your deals should be for, not the schmuck trolling every website in sight to just find a deal and never come back, so consider a marketing strategy offering discounts that start before Black Friday and last until after Cyber Monday—this ensures that your best customers have a chance of picking up great deals and coming to love you even more.

Remember that your goal for Black Friday isn’t just about profiting for that day, but rather getting shoppers in the door, beginning the process of turning them into life-long customers.

Cyber Monday strategy — start early, kill shipping, and make it easy

Online sales are far more forgiving. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this online shopping extravaganza:

  • Offer deals on Sunday (or even Saturday) and give shoppers more time to discover and take advantage of what you have to offer.
  • Offer free shipping. If customers add an item to their cart, get out their credit card, and then see an additional shipping fee, they may abandon right then and there.
  • The fewer steps required between selecting an item and purchasing it, the better. Obligating your customers to log in to make a purchase is a recipe for disaster, so skip the account creation requirements.

Synch your strategies — give customers a reason to shop on both days

Customers are inundated with Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers season after season, and it’s only getting worse. Household budgets rarely make room for all the deals available, which means that you might only be able to draw them in for one or two items (while they go elsewhere for other, more enticing deals).

Offering different discounts on each day is fine, but a higher-level strategy is needed to thrive on both days.

  • Offer customers who made a purchase on Black Friday a discount for Cyber Monday. A steep discount will entice customers to make purchases on both days. Advertise this discount and make sure people know that they save by shopping with you on both
  • Synchronizing varying deals on both BF and CM will increase the likelihood of getting people in the door and convincing them to try both days for all available deals. Try pairing items that go together (cat food discounted on Friday, cat food dispenser discounted on Monday).

Start planning now

Black Friday/Cyber Monday is just around the corner. Get your strategy in place now so that you can start drumming up excitement before everyone else does. Be clever and thoughtful, and you’ll avoid the backlash other retailers are feeling this time of year.

And good luck out there, marketer.

Keep Your First-Time Customers Coming Back

The post Black Friday vs Cyber Monday—How Brands Can Make the Most of Both appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Strengthen Your Company Culture

Source: https://postfunnel.com/strengthen-your-company-culture/

43% of workers would leave their company for a 10% salary increase, and weak company culture is to blame. Employees look beyond pay as a primary selling point, and many feel ready to change jobs at a moment’s notice. To retain the best team members, you need to empower your employees and maintain a healthy work environment. If want to shine bright on Glassdoor, focus on the following:

Prioritize Recognition

Recognition should be a core initiative, not just a sporadic event. Acknowledgment from peers and superiors can help strengthen your workplace culture and create a positive employee experience. 57% of employees say feeling appreciated is the aspect of workplace culture they crave most. Here are some tips on how to help you embed positive recognition into your company culture:

  • Make it deliberate: Align employee recognition programs with your company’s values. Create a feedback mechanism enabling leaders to access employee accomplishments, and give on-the-spot recognition.
  • Make it a priority: Enable publicly given credit among employees and consider scheduling meetings where the only agenda is recognition. Alternatively, carve out time before the weekend to congratulate employees who excelled that week, overcame an obstacle, or reached a milestone.
  • Make it personal: Clearly express how an employee’s work impacted your company’s goals, values, and customers. To avoid generalization in your recognition program, hold discussions to understand the types of recognition and rewards employees want. Additionally, give a reward experience that reflects individual work and lifestyle preferences.

Customer marketing challenges and opportunities

Emphasize Wellbeing

Ignoring employee wellness can hurt your company’s culture and affect productivity. Work-related stress costs US companies $30 billion a year in lost productivity. While wellness positively impacts work culture, companies must offer more than just Pilates and gluten-free snacks. Below are three strategies to help you build a company culture that takes employee wellbeing seriously:

  • Holistic wellbeing programs: Your wellness programs should touch every aspect of employee wellbeing: emotional, social, physical, and financial. 65% of companies with strategic, holistic wellbeing programs see improvements in their company culture.
  • Work-Life balance: Show employees you care about their wellbeing by supporting a healthy work-life balance. Offer flexible work opportunities such as adapted hours, remote working, and compressed workweeks. Note that your flexibility policy should be based on employees’ lifestyles and your organizational needs.
  • Inclusive culture: Inclusive workplace culture plays a significant role in employee happiness. Build an inclusive culture by treating employees with respect, supporting both junior and senior employees to create a sense of belonging for all, and creating an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and being themselves.

Give them Wings

 Make sure employees are presented with and knowledgeable of growth opportunities. A lack of advancement opportunity inhibits their engagement and retention, weakening your company culture. Providing meaningful opportunities doesn’t have to involve a pay raise. Consider using the following strategies to foster a sense of dynamic career growth:

  • Introduce special projects: Invite employees to work on special projects that will help them improve their skills and interact with more co-workers.
  • A seat at the table: Proactively ask employees for their opinions on important decisions. Give them the freedom to voice concerns openly and honestly through one-on-one feedback sessions with senior management or suggestion schemes. Show employees you take their opinions seriously by informing them about what you’ve learned and how you’ve responded.
  • Networking: Provide opportunities for career advancement and growth through networking with cross-functional peers and support cross-departmental projects. Don’t play favorites; offer networking opportunities to all employees and hold company-sponsored networking events during work hours.

Encourage Success

You can’t develop a breakthrough product if your company culture scorns failure. When you foster a culture of success (while being tolerant of mistakes), employees are empowered to do great work and celebrate personal and shared victories. If your employees aren’t feeling successful at work, here are some steps you can take to shift into a winning culture:

  • Show what success looks like: Show employees which behaviors or actions will lead to success by sharing accomplishments via company communications, team meetings, and social recognition tools. When announcing a particular achievement, discuss what the employee did to achieve their success and why it matters.
  • Allow safe failure: Encourage employees to try new things and support failures that occur when they take calculated risks.  Protect and respect those who fail, ensuring employees learn from mistakes.
  • Conduct performance reviews:  Help employees identify their successes through regular performance assessments. Reviews should highlight what employees are doing well, discuss opportunities for growth, and evaluate goals. To make performance reviews more effective, combine annual reviews with quarterly reviews, peer feedback, and regular one-on-one conversations.

Put Purpose Before Profit

Today’s workforce is increasingly purpose-driven, and employees are likely to stay with an organization that puts purpose before profit. 79% of adults would consider a company’s purpose before applying for a job. You need more than a few nice words on your website’s About section, however, to build a purposeful culture. Below are some tips to help you inject a culture of purpose into your company’s DNA:

  • Communicate your purpose:  Ensure employees know what your ideology is and understand how their responsibilities contribute to the bigger picture. Frequently discuss your company’s identity and set reminders at work. Bring out employees’ need for a sense of purpose by offering opportunities for volunteerism or community involvement. Ensure they understand how their efforts help make a difference.
  • Tie your purpose to employee value proposition and customer value proposition: Harmonize your purpose with your employee value proposition, customer value proposition, and social good to create a sense of purpose. You can do this by articulating how your company impacts your employees, customers, and people all over the world.
  • Link your recognition efforts to your purpose: Create a sense of ownership by connecting employee recognition to your company’s purpose. Publicly recognize employees that have demonstrated your corporate purpose and show how they’ve impacted customers with their work.

Never Take Your Eye Off Culture

Employees are your ultimate customers, and maintaining a strong company culture is the key to retaining excellent team members. While creating this culture doesn’t happen overnight, identify what you can improve by asking your employees what works and what doesn’t. View culture as a continuous effort and commit to creating one that leads with trustworthy management and a fair, inclusive environment for all.

The post Strengthen Your Company Culture appeared first on Post Funnel.

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The Perfect Webcam Headset Doesn’t Exist

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheWebinarBlog/~3/ppnLKM7FmJE/thewebinarblog~The-Perfect-Webcam-Headset-Doesnt-Exist.html

Why can’t you equip yourself optimally to present on a video conference or webcam-enabled webinar/webcast? As far as I can tell, the “correct” solution simply does not exist. Let’s take a look at what’s needed and how my ideal design would solve myriad problems for presenters.

I want to be very clear that this article refers ONLY to presentations where the presenter appears on camera, and ONLY to web conferences or video conferences where the presenter needs to hear others while also being heard. There are excellent solutions for recording “monologue” video presentations for YouTube and there are excellent solutions for presenting in an audio-only webinar where the audience can’t see you.

ASSUMPTIONS

Let’s start with my personal biases and preferences, based on shepherding countless guest speakers through the webinar process:

  • Using the built-in speakers and microphone on a laptop or tablet computer creates problems with clarity and feedback. They are low-price, low quality components placed too near each other in the casing. The microphone picks up every movement of the device and every click of the keyboard.
  • Using a desktop microphone creates problems with picking up keyboard and mouse clicks, since it is usually positioned on the desk near those noisy devices. Other external microphones (lavalier, desktop, shotgun, webcam) are susceptible to volume shifts as the presenter turns his/her head.
  • A headset is the optimal way to get near-field clarity and consistent volume, since it stays in place at the same distance from the mouth no matter what the presenter does.
  • Wired is better than wireless. Wireless devices lose power, lose pairing, and catch interference from other signals. Bluetooth is susceptible to transmission lag that can mess up audio/video synchronization or make smooth two-way conversation difficult.
  • A USB connector is better than 3.5mm audio plugs. 3.5mm audio jacks on computers are low cost components and often lose mechanical integrity over time. Many devices no longer include dedicated earphone/microphone jacks. [See geek notes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 to learn about formats and technical issues with connectors.]
  • As a presenter, you want the audience focusing on you, not your gear. This is the big problem… Existing USB headsets look obvious and distracting on camera.

EXISTING SOLUTIONS

The smallest combined earpiece/microphone headset unit I have been able to find is the Plantronics Blackwire 435.

Plantronics Blackwire 435

This is the right idea at the right price point, just not carried far enough to count as “optimal.” The boom microphone is still too large, the black plastic of the earpieces and boom stands out against all but the darkest skin tones, and the visible portion of the earpieces has a fancy design that calls attention to itself. I’d also prefer to reduce the set to a single earpiece for the least amount of gear sticking out of our head holes.

I far prefer the low-profile look of “earhook” or “head-worn” microphones designed for wireless presentation systems. You can find several manufacturers and models online. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, look at the JK MIC-J 071S.

JK MIC-J 071S

The thin “whip” boom ends in a tiny microphone capsule. The ear wires disappear behind the ears when worn. The beige color is less noticeable against a range of Caucasian skin tones [See geek note 5 to learn more about the thorny issue of equipment color.]

The problem with these earhook microphones is that nobody has turned one into a headset that includes an earbud speaker. And they are designed to plug into a belt pack transmitter that provides a small amount of power to the microphone while keeping the microphone cable short. [See geek note 6 to learn about microphone power… It’s VERY important!]

THE PERFECT DESIGN

My ideal, “optimal” headset for use while on a video webcast would be a thin whip boom earhook microphone, connected to the USB port of my computer, with an integrated low-profile earpiece. The whole thing should be available in two or three colors to get closer to a range of human skin tones. It needs a minimum six-foot (two-meter) cable. And it should be optimized for USB low-power operating voltage and human speech frequency range.

My current setup is a Frankenstein’s collection of specialized equipment trying to achieve something similar. It’s too bulky, too inconvenient, and too expensive to recommend to anyone else. Can’t some manufacturer create the “Ken Molay Video Conference Model headset?” Why, the world would beat a path to your door!

GEEK NOTES – BACKGROUND AND TECHNICAL INFO

Note 1: USB stands for “Universal Serial Bus,” which is hilarious when you look at the number of different standards for size, shape, and technical specs all falling under the supposed “universal” format. Desktop and laptop computers mostly offer jacks that accept full-size “Type A” cables, and this is the type of connector I want on my computer headset. Smartphones, some Apple devices, and newer equipment designs are currently moving from a variety of miniature Type A, Type B, and Type AB forms to a new Type C connector. Oy.

USB ports supply a small amount of power to connected devices through one of the wires in the cable. Although the specification is for 5V, many adaptors and external sound cards end up outputting lower voltages. This is important for reasons covered in Note 6.

Note 2: Some audio gear (both earphones and microphones) use a cylindrical plug that goes into a round jack. These may be called audio jacks, phone jacks, or headphone jacks. Big stuff like guitars and amps tend to use a big 1/4-inch plug. The usual size for headphones, microphones, and headsets is 3.5mm (sometimes inaccurately called 1/8-inch). And some devices (smartphones and some office desk phones) use a sub-miniature 2.5mm size. It’s important to know which size you are dealing with to match the plug and jack. Adapters are readily available. The red and green “microphone jack” and “headphone jack” on many computers use the 3.5mm size.

Note 3: Once you have the right size jack, you still need to figure out the plug configuration type. Audio plugs may be TS, TRS, or TRRS.

Audio plug types

You must match the plug and jack so they make the right connections in the right places. Never buy two pieces of equipment that are supposed to connect without making sure they use the same interface type. Adaptors exist to connect certain combinations.

Note 4: If you have audio gear with 3.5mm audio plugs but your computer lacks round audio jacks, you’ll need to buy an external sound card that plugs into a USB port and accepts the microphone and headphone plugs. These are cheap and plentiful on Amazon. They vary in audio quality, build quality, and power delivery to connected microphones. The first two issues are easy to figure out from customer reviews. I haven’t yet found such an adapter that specifies how many volts it delivers to a connected microphone. It’s almost never the 5V that the USB port offers.

Note 5: To make equipment less obvious on camera, we want it to blend in as much as possible with our skin color. We’ll never get a perfect match, but we can lower the contrast ratio a bit so it’s not as jarring. Manufacturers have a long way to go in this area. Headsets are overwhelmingly made of black plastic. A small percentage come in a pinkish-beige color (particularly the thin whip boom earhook microphones I like). Manufacturers may refer to this as pink, beige, nude, or flesh – which shows a marked inherent bias. I realize it’s impossible to make money trying to manufacture and sell a ton of different colors, but three shades would be nice… Two are essential. Neither of them should be solid black!

Note 6: Microphones need power in order to operate. Professional microphones typically use an XLR three-pin connector and expect to receive 48V. This is referred to as “phantom power.” No USB port can provide that kind of power… It requires an externally powered microphone amplifier or mixer. It’s too much equipment and too much money for our needs in this piece. If you see the term “phantom power,” stay away… It’s not the headset or microphone you want for easy connectivity on a webinar.

The little microphones in computer headsets are designed to run off anywhere from 2-10V. This small voltage is usually referred to as “bias voltage.” If you hook them up to a phantom power supply, the 48 volts will fry the microphone, leaving you with a nice looking lump of plastic that doesn’t work.

If your headset has an integrated USB cable, it has been designed from the factory to use standard USB power and current. All is right with the world and you can just plug it in without another thought (except for Note 7).

If your headset uses 3.5mm audio plugs, you have a tougher time ahead of you. You need to make sure that the right amount of voltage flows from the audio jack to the headset. The first problem is that you’ll never know how much power is actually being delivered through that jack… Just that it will be less than 5V. The second problem is that you don’t know how much power the microphone really wants. Although the manufacturer may specify an “operating voltage from 2-10V” the microphone may work much better with 5V than with 2.5V. That’s one reason you tend to find different versions of those earhook whip mikes made for different belt pack systems. They have been optimized to match the power supply and the microphone’s operating range – but the vendor won’t tell you what the voltage is! This is a sad case of trial and error to see if your microphone delivers adequate sound with the adapter you are plugging it into. If not, you may need to try another headset or another external sound card.  This is the reason I want a vendor to make an all-in-one headset that goes straight to USB… They can match the operating voltage correctly within the unit.

Note 7: Windows 10 seems to have a software issue where it drops the input volume on USB-connected microphones. Many users have reported problems with this using their preferred headsets or desk microphones, while others report no problems (probably because the headsets are designed to work with less power or provide a higher output gain). Here is an article that describes a solution involving third-party software. I haven’t personally tried this, as I use a different setup. But if you run into the problem of bad microphone volume on your Windows 10 computer, this might be something to try.

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Asking the Experts: Stand Out in Inboxes this Holiday Season

Source: https://postfunnel.com/asking-the-experts-stand-out-in-inboxes-this-holiday-season/

When the holiday season rolls around, consumers tend to shift their daily routines and temporarily disconnect from their phones, posing a yearly challenge for marketers. How can enterprises get back in touch during the holiday break, enticing sales without overwhelming customers completely?

9 Email Tactics Used by Smart Retailers

1. Seasonal Themes: Shakun Bansal, head of marketing at Mercer | Mettl, said that during the busy holiday season, an email campaign highlighting seasonal motifs is the best way to get noticed.

“The complete email campaign should be created around the season in which you are sending the emails — the design, subject line, color and theme,” he said.

If it’s Independence Day, the mail could focus on common themes like “The freedom to express yourself,” or if it’s Christmas, “The jolly season isn’t complete without…” Whatever the time of year, the goal is to make your brand a part of their tradition or overall experience.

2. The Name Game: Founder & owner of Premium Joy, Hassan Alnassir, believes an effective trick for making marketing emails stand out in the inbox is to greet customers using their first name in the subject line, not just the message body.

“Most of the marketing messages I personally receive from businesses don’t include my name in the email subject, even though this is a very simple way to get my attention as a customer and entice me to open the message,” he said. “Customers like receiving personal messages that call them by name, but some of them will only check the email’s subject. Hence, having their first name included there will improve the chance of your message being opened.

3. Be Different: Senior digital marketing manager at English Blinds, Polly Kay, said that in order to stand out during the holiday season — or any other time of the year — your email content needs to offer something that is both different from the rest of the spam avalanche, and that incentivizes the desired action.

“The vast majority of marketing emails that are delivered successfully don’t even get opened or read — even by prospects that proactively signed up to receive them in the first place,” she said. “This means that your sender name and the email’s title are the most important things to consider when sending promotional emails over the holiday season, and yet this is all too commonly overlooked by businesses.”

4. Match Customers’ Opening Schedule: Everyone takes a break from checking work-related emails during the holiday season, so it’s crucial to catch the customer’s eye when they take a peek at their inbox.

“Most customers also understand that there are relatively no important mails around the time of the holiday season and give only a cursory look at their inbox,” Bansal said. “You would want to make the most of your customer’s email scanning during the holiday season with the right timing of your messaging and communication.”

For email campaigns, Bansal recommends sending emails one week in advance and every day after that leading up to one or two days prior to the actual holiday.

5. Think Data Clustering: Mariona Prat, director of global marketing at Zeotap, said companies must have differentiated marketing strategies for different consumer cohorts, and that starts with the right CRM data clustering.

6. Offer Incentives: Prat prescribed a standard ‘we miss you, here’s an X% discount’ message to entice sales. “If the customer experience is satisfactory, chances are you’ll move them from the ‘likely to churn’ category to average consumers,” she said.

7.  Change it Up: If your company sends out frequent promotional emails, many of your recipients will develop a form of blindness to your content and automatically hit “delete” when they see your sender name (if they haven’t already delegated your content to the junk folder). Kay believes brands should use a new sender name or designation for their holiday promotions to make a positive impression and generate interest.

8. Keep Your Prospects Guessing: Polly Kay of English Blinds said that using a potentially high-value reward as bait (even if only a few prospects win the “top prize”) incentivizes click-throughs and moves prospects into the holiday spirit and primed to buy.

9. Include Social Share Buttons: Clickable share buttons at the bottom of each email will encourage consumers to share the content and increase your followers.

10. Be Creative: Give your holiday campaign a name that is interesting, informative, and full of seasonal promise — and use this as inspiration for your sender name.

11. Don’t Forget Loyalty: Loyal customers need the least amount of effort, but Prat emphasized that as the biggest source of revenue, they mustn’t be forgotten. A simple ‘great to have you back, we’ve missed you’ campaign across channels (direct emailing and/or paid social media) should be perfect for them.

12. A Catchy Subject Line with Discounts: Since days like Christmas Day usually result in low sales, a good way to attract consumers is by highlighting extra sales leading up to the season. Offering discounts in the subject line is a great place to start.

The post Asking the Experts: Stand Out in Inboxes this Holiday Season appeared first on Post Funnel.

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