Something that Marketing Managers in South Africa need to know

Nick Duncan
Nick Duncan - Operations Manager of ClickMaven

It’s surprising how many companies in South Africa are not yet clued up with what they should really be doing online. Apart from everyone jumping into bed with social media, SEO and PPC experts to get as much traffic to their website as possible, they forget about the last crucial step in their online marketing strategy: turning visitors into sales. I’m not saying that it’s not important to get high quality traffic to your site, but what are those visitors doing when they get there? Does their visit turn into a lead or sale? Are they doing what you actually want them to do? It’s pointless spending all that money if you haven’t thought about the end goal – selling your product.

Understanding your current situation

Let’s assume you’re a marketing manager of a big brand in South Africa and your company website does fairly well. By “fairly well” I mean your website ranks somewhere on the first page of Google and the quality of traffic you are receiving is resulting in around a 30% bounce rate (visitors who arrive, view one page and leave). Let’s assume that for every 100 visitors to your site, you get around three to five leads. That, Mr Marketing Manager, is substandard. Your website has the potential to reach a conversion rate of up to 20%, so why are you faffing around at 3% to 5%? The opportunity cost is clearly a bit high – I’ll show you how to fix that.

At this point you have two options; Do it in-house or, get an expert to help you. If you’re willing to tackle this in-house, I’ll provide you with the foundation of knowledge to get you started.

Should you wish to continue, click the “Pay with a Tweet” button in order to find out how you can convert more visitors into sales, in a simple, pragmatic approach.

Conversion Optimisation: A simple, pragmatic approach to increasing sales online.

It’s surprising how many companies in South Africa are not yet clued up with what they should really be doing online. Apart from everyone jumping into bed with social media, SEO and PPC experts to get as much traffic to their website as possible, they forget about the last crucial step in their online marketing strategy: turning visitors into sales. I’m not saying that it’s not important to get high quality traffic to your site, but what are those visitors doing when they get there? Does their visit turn into a lead or sale? Are they doing what you actually want them to do? It’s pointless spending all that money if you haven’t thought about the end goal – selling your product.

Understanding your current situation

Let’s assume you’re a marketing manager of a big brand in South Africa and your company website does fairly well. By “fairly well” I mean your website ranks somewhere on the first page of Google and the quality of traffic you are receiving is resulting in around a 30% bounce rate (visitors who arrive, view one page and leave). Let’s assume that for every 100 visitors to your site, you get around three to five leads. That, Mr Marketing Manager, is substandard. Your website has the potential to reach a conversion rate of up to 20%, so why are you faffing around at 3% to 5%? The opportunity cost is clearly a bit high – I’ll show you how to fix that.

Identifying your goals and getting to grips with the basics

As with every strategy, you need to define a set of goals. However, with conversion optimisation, a “goal” represents a specific action you want users to perform on your site, such as filling in an enquiry form or downloading a brochure. Create a list of the pages that you consider a “conversion”.

For most companies, getting an enquiry through their website can be valuable and can be considered a conversion or goal. On average, every 10 leads should equate to one sale. This is dependent on a number of factors such as your industry, competition, the nature of your product, etc. Along with your list of “conversion” pages, try attributing values to these goals. For example, if your product sells for R1 000 and it takes you 10 leads to make a sale, your value for that goal should be R100. This will help you with reporting and allows you to work backwards to find out which channels produced the most return on investment.

Creating a strategy to reach your goals

At this point it’s important to take note of a few metrics and their meanings before continuing.

  • Conversion rate: The total number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors.
  • Cost per lead: The total cost of the specific campaign divided by the total number of conversions.
  • Landing pages/Pre-sale pages: These are the pages that are instrumental in producing your conversions. Pages such as the “Contact Us” or “Product” page can be considered landing pages.

­Conversion optimisation (which is what you are embarking on) is the process of increasing your conversion rate and subsequently reducing your cost per lead, thereby increasing your return on investment. As fancy as that sounds, it’s really all about common sense and a ton of testing. With the right tools and insight, you can radically improve conversion optimisation.

Most of your strategy should be focused around creating alternative “pre-sale” pages in order to test the effect on your conversion rate. These landing pages need to contain high quality, relevant and well-thought out content and media. The calls-to-action on these pages need to be prominent and produce somewhat intuitive reactions from the user. They need to know what to do next.

Further reading: Smashing Magazine’s article on The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing by Paras Chopra

There is a vast number of resources online that suggest best practices when it comes to creating landing pages for your products. All of these resources are based on elements that help increase your conversion rate. I’ll be discussing these elements in greater detail in the upcoming weeks. For now, I have listed them with brief descriptions of each.

  • Trust: Does your landing page contain elements of trust? If your visitors are making an online purchase, do you have an SSL certificate? If you do, show them that you do with a badge.
  • Intuitiveness: Do your users intuitively know what to do next? I.e. is your call-to-action prominent and part of the natural flow of the webpage?
  • Imagery: Using the correct images and media plays a major role in conveying your brand message, and how many of your users convert into leads or sales.
  • Content: Is your content of high quality?
  • Calls-to-action: Do you have too many calls-to-action?
  • Layout: Testing different layouts may lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Incentives: Are you incentivising your calls-to-action? E.g. free shipping.
  • Congruency (core value proposition): Is the content on your website all delivering the same message without conflict?
  • Page load speed: Is your excessive page load time tampering with your conversion rate?

These are nine of the many elements that could increase (or decrease) your conversion rate. Finding the right balance between these elements is the key. The only way you’re going to do that is by testing, testing and more testing. You may end up blue in the face, but your ROI will breaking through the clouds.

Further reading: Kiss Metric’s article on 10 Little Known Factors that Affect Your Conversion Rate

 

Tracking and measuring your results

It’s pointless being gung-ho about strategy and then sitting back and hoping for the best. Every scientist needs to track and measure their progress in order to prove their theories. Similarly, there are a number of great tools to use to track and measure your conversions within your website. The three tools I have listed below can help you create the foundation for a winning formula. Used correctly, these tools give extremely insightful information that can help you increase your conversion rate from 3% to over 10% in a matter of weeks. Gets you excited doesn’t it?

Google Analytics

Used to measure traffic, visitor behaviour and to set up goals so that you can track which marketing channels are producing the most ROI.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics

 

ClickTale

This essential tool allows you to record mouse movement, mouse clicks and more. It aggregates all your visitors’ behaviour and supplies you with amazingly insightful reports allowing you to make informed decisions regarding your landing pages and website. My personal favourite functionality is that it allows you to playback visitors’ mouse recordings.

ClickTale
ClickTale

 

Google Website Optimizer

Google Website Optimizer allows you to test various landing pages against each other and provides you with a report on which variation is performing the best.

 Website Optimizer

Website Optimizer

 

Further reading:

Creating a site conversion optimisation strategy by Smart Insights

You’re Only as Good as Your Last Conversion Rate by Unbounce

7 Tips to Convert a Click into a Sale by ClickMaven

 

Resources

Google Analytics – track visitor traffic, behaviour and ROI

Google Website Optimizer – Measure effectiveness of various landing pages

ClickTale – Track mouse movements, clicks and visitor behaviour

ABtests – Library of different theories that have been tested

Google Me, maybe?

There’s been a “bit” of a rumour going around that the search giant Google may have another go at creating a social media platform. We all know that these rumours don’t just randomly appear out of nowhere, and after some research it would appear that a simple tweet has snowballed into a huge media-covered wonder.

GoogleThere’s been a “bit” of a rumor going around that the search giant Google may have another go at creating a social media platform. We all know that these rumours don’t just randomly appear out of nowhere, and after some research it would appear that a simple tweet has snowballed into a huge media-covered wonder.

A tweet originating (and then vanishing) by Digg’s co-founder, Kevin Rose wrote, in part, “huge rumor: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon ‘Google Me‘, very credible source.” Soon after this was tweeted, the tweet disappeared without an explanation. What makes this even more interesting is that this rumor was apparently confirmed by former Facebook executive, Adam D’Angelo. D’Angelo stated, “This is not a rumor. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.”

Does this mean Google is actually putting in more effort to create the ever elusive Facebook-killer? I sure hope so, but with recent failed products such as Google Wave and the completely dissapointing Google Buzz, I sure hope Google culminates its best efforts to get this done properly. However, it IS evident what Google’s capable of and I’m pretty sure this can actually be achieved if there IS in fact “a large number of people working on it”.

I for one, am not a Facebook fan as I despise having my personal information and pictures stored on a central server. I am however, waiting for the Diaspora launch which is rapidly growing in popularity. If Google can come up with something as secure and catchy, with a little flare I’ll be sure to give it a bash too. Good luck Google, you’ll need it.

Diaspora set to take on Facebook

Diaspora is a personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open-source social network. Did you get all that? The new Diaspora project, headed by four ambitious NYU computer science students, is set to take the internet world by storm. The concept is simple enough (much like all great inventions); Create a social network that is truly private and secure. Why send your updates a to a central hub to be dispersed to all your friends and connections when you can simply connect directly to your friends. This creates a more secure and private connection.

diasporaDiaspora is a personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open-source social network. Did you get all that? The new Diaspora project, headed by four ambitious NYU computer science students, is set to take the internet world by storm. The concept is simple enough (much like all great inventions); Create a social network that is truly private and secure. Why send your updates a to a central hub to be dispersed to all your friends and connections when you can simply connect directly to your friends. This creates a more secure and private connection.

This project has been dubbed the “anti-facebook” purely because it is a private, open-source social network that puts you in control of your personal data. The idea of Diaspora was conceived when the four  NYU students, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy spent time building a Makerbot (a type of web robot). They started discussing the possibilities of a distributed social network and hence, Diaspora was born.

diaspora-def

We already have a rudimentary prototype of Diaspora running on our machines, and are working like mad to make it all we can be. Our current implementations include PGP encryption, scraping Twitter and Flickr, awesome design aesthetics, and the initial stages of connection infrastructure (“friending” other Diaspora instances).

Although Diaspora hasn’t yet been completely developed, the concept and a simple working model has been completed (Not yet available to the public). This is due to a lack of funds which I believe they have now managed to source. The exciting thing about this project is the fact that they are going to release the software under the aGPL open-source software license.  I cant wait to get my hands on this!

It is our one and only goal to get Diaspora in the hands of every man, woman, and child at summer’s end. September 2010 will signify the release of the project in its first iteration, fully open-sourced under the GPL. This release will be comprised of several key features for Diaspora, mainly:

  • Full-fledged communications between Seeds (Diaspora instances)
  • Complete PGP encryption
  • External Service Scraping of most major services (reclaim your data)
  • Public GitHub repository of all Diaspora code
  • Version 1 of Diaspora’s API with documentation

Once Diaspora has been set up, the software can aggregate your information such as tweets, RSS feeds, photos, etc. When you decide to “friend” another user online, you’ll actually connect directly to that user. This eliminates the need for a central server and therefore eliminates most security risks involved with that process. You and your friends can then share information privately with each other using PGP encryption.

Personally, I reckon this is going to revolutionize the way we connect socially online. I have been constantly trying to think of the “new social media” and it seems these guys have beat me to it.

For more information on this project, go to http://joindiaspora.com. Also, have a look at the blog for updates.

Diaspora: Personally Controlled, Do-It-All, Distributed Open-Source Social Network from daniel grippi on Vimeo.

New myScoop “Social” Button

With myScoop blog reviewing now being introduced, you may want to put a myScoop button on your page directing your users to your blog’s myScoop page in order for them to review your blog.

With myScoop blog reviewing now being introduced, you may want to put a myScoop button on your page directing your users to your blog’s myScoop page in order for them to review your blog.

Vanessa came up with this button which looks great, thanks Vanessa!

myScoop Button

Simply save this image and upload to your site. Resize it to the standard social media button size: 32px X 32px and link it to your myScoop blog page.