A Recent Mobile Optimization Data Set Example

It blows my mind that many fantastic websites and companies have yet to embrace mobile optimization. A couple of months ago I discussed (in this post) my recent studies on mobile conversion optimization. I had recently spent time learning and then putting to use the mobile optimization skills that I had learned on my company’s website. The results are in and they are more than I had initially hoped for.

Prior to the mobile responsive redesign (and yes, responsive is the only way to go – not a mobile subdomain) we had put some lead gen mechanisms in place that made mobile / tablet conversion, and desktop conversion for that matter, a touch more easy. So the 60 days post adding those lead gen mechanisms we saw an increase of about 20% across the board on both desktop and mobile / tablet. I was pleased, obviously.

Post Mobile Optimization
Here is where it gets good… We designed the site around the mobile experience first, and then adjusted the desktop user interface to meet those demands. Most mobile experts will tell you this is the way to come at your design, think mobile first, desktop on the backend.we were able to incorporate mobile best practices, without overthrowing the desktop side. In fact, in doing so, it appears as though we slightly improved the desktop experience, probably because of a ease of use factor.

In the first 60 days post mobile optimization we saw an increase in desktop conversion of around 30%, that’s excellent, especially considering desktop is still the majority of my traffic. BUT, on the mobile side of traffic, we saw an increase in conversion of 100%, it doubled! But thats not all…

Mobile Versus Tablet
Here is where it gets even sweeter!

The mobile conversions I was referring to above is a combination of mobile (primarily cell phone) traffic and tablet traffic. When you break down the numbers a little further, the picture gets a little prettier.

In the 60 days post mobile responsive redesign, we experienced a percent increase in tablet traffic of about 100% and a percent increase in mobile (again, primarily cell phone) of 425%, yes, 425%!! This increase brought mobile (cell phone) conversions up to almost the exact same percentage as tablet conversions. So obviously, the new, responsive design, combined with some of the mobile conversion best practices I had wanted to try, really worked on the much smaller screens of cell phone users. Getting a cell phone user to convert into a lead at this new rate was something I was really proud of.

Now, that alone sounds pretty great right? but wait, there is more… Mobile (cell phone) traffic is a number that is about 4X tablet traffic. So this increase in converting the mobile / cell phone user has meant huge things to our lead flow. So far the sales conversion side has been status quo as well, so all in all, great things came from this investment.

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Maximizing Your Organization’s SME’s – Grow Traffic, Leads and Social Media Reach through Your Talented Employees

Most leading organizations have Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) that they turn to for things like heavy technical work, high profile speaking engagements, consulting jobs etc. Within many SME’s lies tremendous marketing potential. Also a characteristic of these tremendously talented industry thought leaders is their lack of knowing how to market themselves or how to transform their marketing potential into action. This is where a marketing team can step in to harness this power. With a few simple changes and steps a marketing team can use this power to their advantage and can charge forward with high return campaigns with relatively low involvement.

Build an Internal Affiliate Program for Lead Generation

The question that marketers have to ask here is; what is the best way to get in front of this traffic with the buy-in of the employee. The answer is an internal affiliate program. I have personal experience with creating this type of program and the buy-in is usually VERY easy to acquire. These SME’s typically don’t have any form of monetization on their sites. An affiliate program can change that for them. Setting this up is quite easy. Build an affiliate form with an offer attached to it and have the SME post it on their blog. The affiliate form can be built via iFrame, and in cases where the blogging platform rejects an active javascript form, you can have your affiliate form then default to a more simple text link that refers the traffic to an internal page on your site that captures the affiliate ID and gives the appropriate credit. Both functions of this form can be tracked through your analytics package and with your CRM. That way, you can automate monthly reports to show the SME how their affiliate campaign has performed. Depending on how much you want to invest in the function of the form, other features like dynamic ip address location recognition can be added to do things like optimize the message on the form. Since you are creating a relatively simple iFrame form, multiple versions of the form can be set up to allow easy A/B testing.

Obviously, in order to keep the program alive, you have to show results / commissions to the publishers. Your sales staff should be notified of the source and nature of the lead. It also helps if you have a Marketing Automation or Revenue Performance Management platform that will nurture the leads, depending on how direct your affiliate offer message is. Leads can be scored and then put into a salesperson’s hands when they meet the criteria to do so.

Get Traffic and Link Juice from Your SME’s

High levels of targeted web traffic is relatively hard or expensive to acquire. In most cases you either need to invest in developing a powerful SEO presence (this obviously doesn’t work over night) or you need to buy the traffic via ads or a few other referral sources, which can really bite a chunk out of the monthly marketing budget. So typically, you are looking at making a large investment however you get your traffic.

Most organizations do not think to tap a resource that they have in their back pocket, the network of websites that their employees own. Many SME’s run industry blogs where they talk about things that they come across in the day to day challenges of their job. Many of these blogs get steady, really really targeted traffic.

So, this is an easy one. Hopefully your company is running a content calendar or some form of high output on quality content, in the form of blog posts. Tap your SME’s blogs for traffic and link juice by offering content or content ideas and request appropriate pieces be placed as posts on your SME’s blogs.

Utilize their Social Media Potential

The first thing to do is to use the applications that are managed within your organization’s social media marketing team to build up the social media presence of your SME’s. SME’s carry an inherent ability to pick up followers because aspiring professionals in their field often want to follow the messages of these experts so that they can learn. Many of these followers have a network of friends and so on.

Create branded social media profiles for your SME’s, ie. include the company brand in their handles, always. Have them include these handles in all of their interaction, business cards, presentation boiler plates etc.

Your SME’s should be trained to acquire followers wherever they appear and wherever they go. Beyond this, the social media team should set the SME up to help build their following. A mature social media marketing team will have tools and applications in place that build social media followings for the company. Most of these platforms allow for multiple user management. The social media team should set campaigns and even automate certain activity at the discretion of the SME that will allow for following growth. Also, acquire the OK from the SME to very rarely promote certain things that the company is doing. This shouldn’t include sales pitches on products or services, but rather, the promotion of company lead gen assets like white papers, contact capture videos and free downloads.

Social following also builds PR outreach capabilities. The social media team can monitor the profiles of your SME’s following and identify people with PR potential (and other potential like websites, co-marketing opportunities etc.). Request the SME to reach out to these followers when an appropriate message needs to be moved. Press Releases, white papers etc. Much of social media is about relationships, as relationships build, favors can be asked.

This is how a marketing team can easily (and with scale) tap the resource that exists within their company SME’s.

Engaging and Converting the Mobile User

Obviously, mobile web visitors makes up a widely growing base of overall visitors for many websites in many fields. Over the course of the last 12 months or so I started to pay close attention to mobile traffic on my website. I was watching the analytics closely, looking for sources, looking for conversion trends, looking at multi-channel attribution conversion trends, looking at overall conversion. I found nothing too stunning to say the least, except for these things.

1) The traffic looked very similar to traditional, non-mobile traffic. Sources, keywords, channels, landing pages, paths, etc., all very similar.

2) The traffic converted into a lead at approximately 50% the rate of traditional, non-mobile traffic. – WHOA, OPPORTUNITY!!!!

Item number 1 above has much to do with the industry I’m in. I have read reports to the contrary in many fields, but the industry I operate in and the way I choose to acquire my traffic leads to a user with a little more cut and dry purpose.

Item #2 is clearly the piece that grabbed the heck out of my attention and made dig in, much much more. I love discoering new opportunities for more leads, it excites me. Clearly, we could stand to make that number significantly better.

I immediately started my research and reached out to friends who I thought knew a thing or two about mobile marketing. Turns out, mobile marketing is pretty stinkin new in the grand scheme of all things marketing channel related. There aren’t many that know a whole lot about it. A friend of mine from college, however, is an expert in the field, and a bit of a thought leader in the space. In fact, he was one of the creators of Google’s Mobile Marketing Playbook, his name is Mark Hendrix. Mark was extremely helpful [Thanks man!].

Through my research I found many things that looked similar but different about the user interface and conversion strategy.  The mobile user needs different mechanisms laid out slightly differently with different methods of access than the traditional user. Creating the user interface on the mobile side of your site requires you to segment the mobile users even further than norm. Obviously, I can’t get too in depth about this because my competitors may be reading, but engaging the mobile user requires more than just a mobile responsive website (some people choose the mobile subdomain for their website, that’s way lame these days).

Engaging the Mobile User
– Take a brand first and foremost approach.
– Engage with calls to action / lead gen assets that are more comfortable in a mobile environment.
– Tell the mobile user more with easy access videos that define your product and your brand.
– Reduce copy on the mobile side that appears on the desktop side.
– Make related blog posts more accessible and make sharing via mobile device front and center (especially Twitter).
– Make following your Twitter (the most mobile friendly major social platform) account way easier!

Converting the Mobile User
– Reconsider your lead gen assets conversion approach (I basically took a whole new, internal, simplified approach and am rolling it out to both mobile and non-mobile visitors). Since the mobile user is much more likely to be turned away by multi-step conversion mechanisms, simplify the process, remove the opt-in email or off site second steps. Again, you are talking about a new non-traditional approach to conversion on your lead gen assets, it may be more difficult to set up, but worth the conversions.
– Choose lead gen asset / CTA’s that both fit the segment of the viewer based on landing page qualifications and fit your mobile segment. Not all assets will apply in the same manner as they do to non-mobile traffic. Easy targeted white papers, infographics and high value quick download videos are great here.
– Present a lead gen asset / CTA at the start of your landing page and show the simplicity of accessing the asset. Presenting the asset at the start of your content, before the body, makes it more visible to the viewer and is likely the first impression it leaves. Ideally you have a mobile responsive site, so from a cell phone, the content of the landing page is viewed in a singular column (in most cases), give them 1) the header, 2) the lead gen asset and then 3) the body.

Mobile conversion is optimized when you present a clear lead gen asset / call to action immediately in the hot zone without scrolling and  you do so with simplicity. That process is obviously a little more complex for non-mobile traffic, more conversion optimization techniques like trust building etc. can be added to that equation. However, in mobile, you don’t often have that luxury in many cases. If you take that approach, even as the user scrolls, they will know where to find what they want. Since a mobile responsive site pushes everything in one column, your call to action may get lost at the very bottom and that simply won’t cut it (unless you are my competitor).

So there you have it, engage and convert mobile users requires a little different thinking. Until next time!

Establishing a Social Selling Role within My Company

I think I am at the crest of something new here. I have scoured the web for job titles, blog posts and anything I could find on companies that have a role specifically designated to social selling. I have found nothing. Social selling is not new by any means, but I am in the process of establishing and training a person in my company designated specifically as a social sales person. The early results are promising and very exciting.

It came to a point where I had someone who I saw was clearly talented at social media. There are certain aspects you look for in someone, you can’t force someone or really even train someone to be great at social media if they don’t have a few certain things about them. So I knew this person could do quite well in the social media marketing capacity in which we already operate. However, we already have the needs covered there. It also just so happened that this person had sales experience, so it made the decision to do this, that much easier.

Social selling is something that many people have been evangelizing about for some time. I have been a proponent of it for a while as well and have lead training sessions with my sales staff on social selling and social prospecting best practices for the past couple of years. I’ve come to believe in it so much that I felt like there was a void within our organization. I wanted someone to handle this role and be responsible for the task, full-time.

Again, certain attributes are essential to someone who is going to be highly effective at social media for business. I learned this by watching my social media manager take the role and explode it out to a highly successful marketing channel for us. I also saw a handful of people prior to her not do as well. Our social media marketing has certain goals, which we achieve, pretty easily. I wanted to take most of the same things that made us successful as a marketing team in social media and apply those to this social “selling” role. That’s why those attributes were so important. I was going to put into place a similar strategy, similar tactics and similar tools, with some slight variations.

With this new social selling role, I defined a daily, weekly and monthly plan, most of which is more closely related to marketing than to a traditional sales role. Without a doubt, I consider this person in the role a marketer over a salesperson. Daily, weekly and monthly sales objectives and daily, weekly and monthly marketing objectives, clearly defined and the plan laid out. Marketing makes up 80% of the role, sales is 20%.

The results have been strong so far, I firmly believe that I have the right person in place to make this go very, very well. Fortunately, a few years of B2B and B2C social media marketing trial, error, failure and success has given me the ability to put the tools in place that will help make this person successful and will help this person to realistically hit the daily, weekly and monthly tasks we have identified. I think we have the right strategy, the right tactics and achievable goals. Let’s see how it goes!

How Social Media Strategy “Should” Look at the Enterprise Organization Level

Social media for business is really great. Businesses can seemingly compete on a pretty level playing field (for the most part) with their competitors when it comes to social media marketing. Companies that are successful in social media can gain massive exposure, generate leads, syndicate valuable content, grow mentions and backlinks etc. if they know what they are doing. If your following is bigger than your competitor’s, then you have an edge. So a small business with a huge, targeted following can achieve greater results (again, if they know what they are doing) from social media marketing than could a medium sized business with a much larger marketing budget (putting social media ads to the side here for the purpose of this article). All in all, this seems pretty true right? Well, larger businesses have a much greater asset than simply their company’s social following, that is, the people that work for them.

My experience has shown that individuals generally can be far more successful at achieving many of the goals often associated with social media marketing than a business. AKA, a person’s social media account can do more than a business account. Social media in general is driven by people looking to branch out to other people, not people looking to be sold to. I don’t know of any large organization that is doing this, but here is what a social media marketing strategy should look like, in an enterprise organization.

Obviously, they take the same approach to strategy any business who is successful on social media takes, content sharing, connecting with influencers etc.

The collective following of their employees is the untapped resource I am blogging about here though. Enterprise organizations should be utilizing this. These companies should create a plan to take advantage of this massive social media marketing resource. Here are some ideas for that strategy:

–          Encourage employees to be active on social media

–          Provide them with the tools (make them available on the company network)

–          In some cases, the social media team can manage certain social media tool application for the employees

–          Train people on how to use social media and the tools you have provided

–          Train people on do’s, don’t’s and how to promote a consistent brand message

–          Establish feeds to get them to move your corporate digital content and lead gen content

–          Establish incentives for participation and etch out “social media time”

If your company wants to run a webinar on a hot topic and you are expecting the primary source of promotion to be social media, your firm’s 40,000 Twitter followers will result in some pretty decent results, I’m sure. However, your firm’s 500 employees who are actively engaged on Twitter and probably have about 200 followers each, would be a heck of a lot more effective. My organization has had a great deal of success with this and we have yet to run in to a problem from it. Almost everyone in our company is set up with all the tools and techniques, many of the accounts are actually managed to a certain extent by our social media team, while the employee still has full access. The shares, retweets etc. gain us exceptional results, consistently. If you mature your enterprise social media strategy and harness your employee’s social following (and we all know we should, remember, marketing is not a department, its a company mindset), then you can eventually make your enterprise social selling strategy really rock!

(Time-Capsule Note: Here in 2013, the enterprise world isn’t quite ready to accept a social selling strategy…)

The Emerging Role of the Chief Marketing Technologist

As we all know, technology changes fast in the modern world. This is particularly true in business and marketing where the tools used to promote a product become more advanced every day. Many businesses have assigned the tasks of utilizing these new technologies to an emerging position starting to be referred to as the “Chief Marketing Technologist”, aka CMT or CMTO.

The Chief Marketing Technologist role is not a simple one. The person holding the position is usually responsible for a wide range of marketing tools and tactics from SEO to Marketing Automation to Social Media Strategy. The CMT usually needs to have a firm understanding of a variety of skill sets such as IT, finance, marketing, sales and more.

Digital Marketing
Digital marketing and inbound marketing are key terms in the role of the Chief Marketing Technologist. In fact, according to most definitions, digital marketing makes up the majority of the role. Things like video and delivery networks, content marketing, webinars, white papers, PPC, SEO, social media, content marketing, mobile marketing, web analytics, online lead generation, email marketing, website CMS etc. are all things that a Chief Marketing Technologist must be a Subject Matter Expert in.

A Chief Marketing Technologist also has the know how to plan the design and functionality of a company’s website. Layout, contact capture strategy, UI, URL structure, conversion optimization and more.

Mobile marketing is an emerging aspect of digital marketing. Google Analytics makes it pretty easy to pick through your website’s traffic data and see how well or not well your website is performing when it comes to mobile traffic. In general, mobile traffic requires a slightly different approach in order to optimize conversions. A successful CMTO has experience implementing the various best practices around mobile traffic conversion.

Social Media
Social media is still so under-utilized by many organizations. Even many great marketing organizations have yet to figure out what it takes to be successful in social media. A CMTO has experience in social media success. Define the company’s social media goals (all of which are pretty similar no matter the industry), identify the tools, identify and train the talent, educate the entire organization on do’s and don’ts (yes, an entire organization, each employee should play a role in social media for business, but that’s another post entirely), implement the strategy and succeed. There is so much that social media can do for a company, a good CMTO knows what is out there for the taking and has the knowledge to go and get it.

Analytics
Big data, website analytics, multivariate testing, business analytics etc. are key terms to a CMTO. Marketing has always been about tracking and analyzing data to be able to improve a campaign’s effectiveness. Today, more data is available and greater metrics are able to be utilized. A CMTO has deep experience mining data and using it for improved ROI and revenue performance management.

Sales
Its no secret that marketing and sales go hand in hand. A strong Chief Marketing Technologist has experience and strong knowledge in the role of the sales staff. The lead pipeline is perhaps the most essential element to this. lead nurturing, lead scoring, CRM and marketing automation are knowledge points essential today’s lead marketer.

Social selling is the next aspect directly relating to the CMTO. This is an emerging area for sure. Some would classify this under the actual sales department, some would classify it under social media, but it requires a strong Chief Marketing Technologist’s leadership to truly champion social selling. Along with the actual social selling tactics and strategy are the tools needed to be successful. There are many social media tools out there, which ones are essential to your sales staff in order for them to be successful? You better ask the CMTO.

Information Technology
IT now plays a key role in marketing. Everything from application development to web development to video hosting platforms requires a somewhat firm grasp of information technology principles. In order to now implement the full set of marketing tools needed by a successful digital marketing organization, the Chief Marketing Technologist needs to know how the IT resources behind them work.

Perhaps the Chief Marketing Technologist is simply a redefinition of the CMO. Maybe this is where marketing is headed. Either way, its a really cool role that requires completely unique experience. For more information and to see my inspiration behind this post, check out what Scott Brinker is doing here. He has some great stuff on his blog!

SEO Lifecycle – When to Take Conversion Optimization Seriously

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a stickler for conversion optimization. A recent consultation I had tuned me in to it a bit more. I’ve been doing SEO since about late 2003 in a variety of verticals. I’ve always known that conversion optimization was an important piece of the lead gen pie, but I pretty much always felt like “getting more traffic” was where I wanted to put my time and monthly budgets.

I recently reached a point with one website where I wanted to make a more concerted effort to squeeze more leads from the traffic I was getting. This particular site has a heck of a lot of strength. An overall trusted site, many years old, grows every month significantly, we’ve always done things the right way (no questionable link building, lots of valued backlink growth etc.) and a ton of targeted, organic search traffic. The site converts (what I consider to be) pretty well. In the range of 2.5 – 3.5%.

I’ve sat through enough conversion opt webinars to know the basic best practices. But this month I sought the help of an expert to pick apart my site. The things I gained from this consultation were tremendous. Several points that I am looking to employ, some minor code changes and some dev work, that I think will gain me quite a bit.

My point here is that, as being a person with SEO as what I believe in for lead generation, I have too long neglected squeezing every last drop out of the fruit hanging on the tree. It always seemed to make more sense to just create more fruit (search traffic). As your site reaches a certain point, taking that time to dig really deep into your conversion practices is essential. I’ll share the results of my conversion improvement after I have the changes implemented and enough data to show the trends, but I am expecting a good uptick of at least .5%, maybe more. That’s a lot of leads, potentially.