Category: Traffic Training

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How to Find the Right Keywords to Rank #1 on Google For

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/right-keywords-seo/

Do you want more traffic?

Well, who doesn’t?

The reason you want more traffic is that you think more traffic equals more revenue.

But here is what you’ll learn the hard way… as your traffic goes up, your revenue won’t increase at the same pace.

And in many cases, as your traffic goes up, your revenue won’t increase one bit.

In other words, if you get the wrong kind of traffic, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels and becoming frustrated.

It happens to all of us, let me show you what I’ve learned the hard way.

So how good is my search traffic?

Take a look at the screenshot below.

That’s a laundry list of keywords that drive me the most traffic. But there is an issue with a lot of those keywords. They drive traffic but not revenue.

Keywords like affiliate marketing, SEO analyzer, SEO checker, statistical significance calculator are all terms that won’t drive me any revenue.

I don’t offer affiliate marketing services and anyone searching for terms like “SEO analyzer” are looking to do SEO themselves versus paying my agency to do it for them.

Even terms like “statistical significance calculator” don’t drive revenue. Anyone searching for that is looking to see how their A/B tests are performing versus hiring my agency to run tests for them.

If I naturally ranked for these terms without any effort, that’s one thing. But I created dedicated landing pages, like this one, because I was trying to rank for them.

In other words, I spent time and money ranking for keywords that don’t drive any revenue.

Now, there is a reason why I rank for these terms and I do want this traffic, even though they don’t drive revenue, but I will get to that later in this post.

First, let’s go over how you can pick the right keywords to rank number 1 for.

How to pick the right keywords

You probably already have some ideas are a good fit for your business. I want you to type them into Ubersuggest.

Ubersuggest will show how many people search for that keyword within a particular region as well as the SEO difficulty and paid difficulty.

In addition to that, you’ll see a laundry list of keyword ideas if you click on the “keyword ideas” navigational option.

What you’ll want to look for are keywords that have high paid difficulty, which means the keyword is so valuable that a lot of people are competing for the paid ad spots.

In addition to looking at the paid difficulty number, you’ll want to find keywords that have a low SEO difficulty score.

When a keyword meets those 2 requirements it means it is easy to rank and people find it valuable enough to buy ads on the keyword. And if they find it valuable enough for people to buy paid ads, that means the traffic is converting into customers.

That’s more important than just finding popular keywords as traffic doesn’t always equal sales.

And when you are doing keyword research, make sure you pick the right regions.

Not all traffic is equal

Again, you already know I get good traffic, but as I mentioned earlier, not all of the traffic is equal.

Just look at the regions that made up my traffic in the last 7 days:

The United States makes up a large portion of my traffic. Over time I’ve expanded globally, hence you are seeing my traffic increase in regions like India and Brazil. Even Japan, which is the newest region I have been expanding to, has been growing rapidly.

Knowing the split between regions, which ones would you say make up the largest portion of revenue?

If you guess the United States, you are correct. But what region do you think is in second place?

If you guess India or Brazil, you are wrong.

I love those two countries, but the United Kingdom generates more revenue than both of those regions combined, even though it produces 25.6% of the traffic as Brazil and India combined.

Are you picking the right regions?

When you are doing keyword research, you need to think about regions. This is also the main reason why I integrated regions within Ubersuggest.

You can’t just focus on keywords that have high paid difficulty and low SEO difficulty. You need to focus on the countries where the majority of your customer base is.

Now, you know SEO is competitive and it takes a while to rank. So if you can go after up and coming regions that you know you’ll want to target in a few years, then you should go after those keywords right away.

It takes a while for people to see this, but the reason I have done pretty well when it comes to picking the right terms is that I focus on regions that aren’t ready for my company just yet but will be over the next 5 to 10 years.

I know that sounds crazy, but to do well you need long-term goals and a strategic outlook for your business.

To give you an idea of how I think, let’s look at how the worlds GDP is going to change over the next 10 years:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9l2yCH5wBk?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

That video bases GDP growth off of historical data. Companies like Standard Chartered believe there will be much more aggressive GDP growth, especially coming out of Asia.

China: $64.2 trillion
India: $46.3 trillion
US: $31 trillion
Indonesia: $10.1 trillion
Turkey: $9.1 trillion
Brazil: $8.6 trillion
Egypt: $8.2 trillion
Russia: $7.9 trillion
Japan: $7.2 trillion
Germany: $6.9 trillion

No matter what source you look at, almost everyone is coming to the same conclusion… countries with big populations will see faster GDP growth.

If I were you and I was trying to pick the best keywords to rank number 1 on Google, I wouldn’t just focus on countries that are already established and saturated, I would also focus on countries that are growing fast and aren’t competitive yet.

Even in the short run, although some of these countries may not have as much demand, there is no competition, which means it will be easier to take up a larger chunk of the market.

How do you find popular keywords in these countries?

Doing keyword research in new countries isn’t as simple as typing in random keywords and seeing what’s popular.

You can do that with tools like Ubersuggest, but that may still cause you to pick the wrong ones.

For example, in the United States, the keyword “SEO” is more lucrative than the phrase “digital marketing.” But in Brazil, the phrase “marketing digital” (their version of digital marketing) is more lucrative than the term SEO.

In other words, cultures are different.

So, what you should do is use a tool like Similar Web to see who your closest competitors are. When I look at NeilPatel.com on Similar Web, it gives me the following results:

You can then take those competing URLs and enter them into Ubersuggest.

What I want you to do is first look at the “top pages” report. This report shows you the most popular pages that are driving traffic to any given site.

The best part about this report is that you can break down popular pages by country.

From there you can see the popular pages and even the keywords that drive traffic to that page within that country.

And similar to the top pages report, you can do the same thing with the keywords report.

With the combination of the top pages and keywords report, you should have a list of great keywords to go after. Not just from a domestic standpoint, but from a global standpoint as you can see the popular keywords for each country in Ubersuggest.

But how do I rank number 1?

Once you have a list of keywords, it’s time to create content and focus on ranking at the top of Google. But you already know that. ?

The real question is, how do you rank high?

Well, I have tons of blog posts on that. Here are a few of my favorites that will help you out:

How to dominate Google – there are over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm. One too many for you to follow. In this post, you’ll find a 4-step process that will help you climb to the top. It’s made SEO more feasible as there is no way you are going to focus on all 200 of Google’s algorithm factors.
How to build links when no one will link to you – link building is still a huge part of Google’s algorithm. This post breaks down how to do link building when nobody knows you and you don’t have money to spend on link building.
The future of SEO – if you want to rank high and maintain your rankings, you need to know the future of search and how algorithms are going to change.
How I think about SEO – this post breaks down my personal SEO strategy for NeilPatel.com. If you copy it, you will do well. Look at the brand hack I mention in that post, it helps a lot with rankings.
The advanced SEO formula that helped me rank for 477,000 keywords – this is how I rank for thousands of keywords on Google.

Once you start ranking for the terms you want to go after, you need to do one last thing.

The last step

Remember how I said earlier in this post that I rank for terms like “SEO analyzer” that don’t drive me any sales?

And how I want to rank for those terms?

Once you rank for the main terms and even the long tail ones that will drive you direct revenue, you need to start winning mindshare.

The way you create a successful SEO campaign is to capture an audience before they are even ready to become your customer. This way your brand will grow with all segments of your potential customer base.

Just think of it this way, when people Google the term “SEO analyzer” and land on my site, the majority of those people will want to do SEO on their own.

But a small portion of those people may get frustrated and realize that they should just hire someone to do it for them.

And then there is another group that will search for that term, want to do SEO for their own site, and they’ll even get great results over time. Then when their friends asked them how they did it, they’ll mention how they used a free tool on NeilPatel.com.

Their friend will probably check out my site and maybe even contact me for services as they don’t care to do their own SEO.

In other words, when you are doing keyword research, you’ll want to focus on ranking for all the terms in your industry if you want to build the biggest brand and dominate.

The mistake I made is I went after those terms too soon. It worked out in the end, but I should have first focused on keywords that drove direct sales and then went after the keywords that would grow my brand.

Conclusion

SEO isn’t free! It takes time and money.

You have to look at it as an investment just like you would with paid ads.

So, if you are going to rank for keywords and do SEO, go after the correct terms. Spend a little bit of time doing keyword research and competitive analysis because you don’t waste a year climbing to the top of Google only to find that the term you went after doesn’t drive any sales.

And if you happen to be lucky enough to have extra money to invest in SEO, consider expanding internationally. It’s the best move I made, and I am dumping in as much money as I can to dominate the globe.

Businesses no longer have to live within one city, region, state, or even country. You have to think global if you want to win in the long run.

So, what do you think about my keyword research process?

The post How to Find the Right Keywords to Rank #1 on Google For appeared first on Neil Patel.

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How I Grew My Declining Google Traffic

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/declining-google-traffic/

When you look at the chart above, what do you see?

A site that gets a ton of traffic, right?

I am a marketer, so I should be somewhat decent at getting traffic… or so you would hope.

But here is the thing, just because I am decent at marketing doesn’t mean my Google traffic keeps climbing up and to the right.

Just like you, I face challenges.

I have ups and downs, I can also get penalized, and I have to continually battle algorithm updates.

When you are doing SEO, nothing is ever going to be perfect and it won’t always go the way you want.

My overall traffic growth

Let’s look at my overall Google traffic. Here’s my organic search traffic in January of 2018.

I had a whopping 743,744 visitors during that month. 550,607 of those visitors were unique.

Now if you fast forward to January 2019, my organic search traffic increased to 2,035,321 visitors. Of those visitors, 1,495,372 were unique.

That’s a 173% increase in search traffic in just 12 months.

Now you may think that it was easy for me to achieve those results because I’m a decent marketer. But just like you, it’s a constant fight to maintain and grow my traffic.

And in many cases, it goes down.

My decline in search traffic

Yes, you saw my search traffic from January to January, but let’s look at the dips as well.

Here’s my search traffic in October of 2018.

As you can see, I had 1,941,994 visits from Google of which 1,417,994 were unique.

Now when you fast forward to November, my search traffic went down to 1,799,837 visitors of which 1,347,775 were unique.

That’s a 7.3% decline in search traffic.

Sure, November had one less day than October and there was a holiday in the United States in November… but my traffic is global and NeilPatel.com is currently in 10 different languages.

In other words, there are holidays everywhere in the world every single month. Plus, the United States only makes up 23% of my total traffic.

And, of course, in December it got much worse, but I expected that as that happens each year.

As you can see from the graph, the last few weeks are really slow, but that is because of Christmas and New Years.

So, how do you know when your traffic is dropping?

If you don’t, you should start looking at your Google Analytics daily.

The one report I look at to make sure everything is going right is a week over week comparison.

The reason you want to look at a week over week comparison is that your traffic is going to fluctuate day by day. For example, Tuesdays are typically my highest days and Saturdays are typically my lowest days.

The last thing you want to do is compare a Saturday with a Monday.

As you can see in early November, my search traffic started to drop. In the first week, I saw a 4% dip.

And on Tuesday I saw a 6.94% drop in search traffic.

In the following weeks, the traffic didn’t bounce back. That’s when I knew something was off.

Now when you start to see traffic drops you shouldn’t panic. The first thing you should do is head over to this site.

It will tell you if there is a holiday somewhere around the world that could be negatively impacting your traffic.

The second thing you should do is check out Search Engine Roundtable, as they tend to cover more algorithm updates than anywhere else. They’ll even break down what people are experiencing and potential solutions.

Assuming your traffic did drop and it didn’t bounce up within a week or two, you need to start making changes.

The longer you wait the harder it is to recover your decreasing search traffic.

How do you increase your search traffic when Google keeps reducing your rankings?

9 out of 10 times when your traffic drops it’s related to your content. Whether it’s content on one page or content on your whole site it typically is content related.

The moment you see drops you need to login into Google Search Console and see if there are any messages.

Chances are, there won’t be any messages. ?

The next thing I want you to do is to click on “Performance.”

You should see a screen that looks something like this:

Now click on the date button above the graph. It should say “Date: Last 3 Months.”

Then click on compare…

Then enter the dates you want to compare on start versus end date. Make sure you select a 7-day period so you get the full picture.

You should now see a report that looks something like this…

I want you to unclick “Impressions.”

Then, I want you to click “Pages” and sort by “Difference” (the arrow should be pointing up).

This will show you all of the pages that dropped in traffic. These are the pages that lost the most significant rankings and, ultimately, your drop in traffic.

Next, I want you to click on a URL. You should start from top to bottom (you’re going to have to repeat this process for each URL with a massive drop).

Then click on queries and again sort by Difference.

Now before you do anything, scroll back up and click on “Position” in the graph. This will adjust your table and show you if your rankings dropped for any of those terms.

Assuming it did drop, I want you to do a Google search for that term and look at all of the sites that rank in the top 10 and compare your content with those that are ranking on page 1.

I know there are companies that offer software solutions that break down all of the keywords your competitors use on their page and it tells you what you are missing. I spent over $60,000 doing this in 2017 and it didn’t help boost (or even recover!) any of my rankings.

Instead, I want you to ignore all of the SEO software out there and just put yourself in the user’s shoes.

What do you honestly think of your competitors’ pages? Is their content better than yours? Is their design more user-friendly? Does their site load so much faster that it creates a better experience for you?

When you put yourself in the searcher’s shoes, it will give you an idea of what you need to fix.

I know I am making it oversimplified, but it really comes down to doing what’s best for the user. In most cases, that might be adding better images or improving your content because it isn’t up to date.

It’s not about keyword stuffing or having more words than anyone else. Heck, I rank higher than my old blog Quick Sprout for the same terms, with content that contains fewer words.

Just look at the term SEO. I’m on page 1 of Google for it:

Now let’s look at my SEO guide. It contains 10,244 words.

The Quick Sprout guide on SEO has 9 chapters and is a bit shy of 30,000 words.

Can you guess where the Quick Sprout guide ranks?

Middle of page 2.

The point is, it’s about quality.

That’s why most sites lose their rankings. Because other sites come out with content that is better for users. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have as many backlinks or that the word count is lower. In the end, Google focuses on user metrics.

Things like backlinks can help boost your rankings temporarily, but if the user metrics show that people hate your content once you are at the top, your rankings will drop.

This can’t be the case, my content is better and my rankings keep dropping

You might look at the steps above and believe your content is better but your rankings keep dropping. You might even talk to users and they agree and give you the same feedback. They think it’s better. So what’s going on?

The chances are your rankings dropped because of age.

Do you remember how my traffic dropped from October to November? Well, in November, I hired a few contractors to help fix my old content.

A lot of it wasn’t outdated and through surveying, we found people were happy with it. However, it just wasn’t ranking.

I had more backlinks than my competition and even more brand queries.

So, I embarked on a journey where I had a few people update my older content pieces. Sometimes they only adjust a few sentences and sometimes they rewrote entire paragraphs or sections.

That one thing grew my search traffic to 2,199,658 visitors over the last 31 days:

With over a billion blogs on the web, Google truly has its choice of deciding who to rank. There’s too much content to rank on the web, so when picking between 2 sites that are almost identical in SEO metrics, they are going to pick the fresh site versus one that hasn’t been updated in years.

Conclusion

No matter how good you are at SEO, you are going to see traffic drops. The key to seeing consistent growth year over year is to focus on the process I outlined above.

I know people still talk about backlinks and on-page SEO. But that is something everyone already does and you should be as well.

To truly stand out in the crowd, you need to put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and create the best experience for them.

And a simple thing like updating your old content will usually solve the problem and boost your traffic. ?

So, how often do you update your old content?

The post How I Grew My Declining Google Traffic appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Top 10 Takeaways from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019 Every Marketer Should Know

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/top-takeaways-traffic-and-conversion-summit/

A LOT happened over the last 3 days at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019.

But over the course of 119 sessions, we noticed some common themes and takeaways that we think every marketer should know…

Takeaway #1: The Marketing World is About to Be Massively Disrupted

In 2019, we are living in a time of innovation and disruption. Marketers who don’t create a movement will be left behind.

During his Day 1 Keynote, Ryan Deiss outlined his strategy to ensure DigitalMarketer is one of those game changers.

He is implementing one strategy: Do the complete opposite of what used to work really well.

Everything that is fast becomes slow
Everything that is big becomes small
Everything that is small becomes big

Let’s use DM as a case study to see how Ryan is applying this strategy so you can use it as inspiration in your business…

To Shift from Fast to Slow, DigitalMarketer Is:

Placing emphasis on journeys (i.e. the Customer Value Journey) over funnels.

This is being done by changing automated customer interactions to one-on-one conversations. We use automation to start the conversation with our customers and move it toward a human interaction.

Plus, we’re removing the focus from scalable ideas and trackable strategies to ideas that don’t scale and strategies that can’t be tracked. Like when we launched 2 new podcasts last year. We’re doing this because it feels like the right thing to do for our customers.

To Shift from Big to Small, DigitalMarketer Is:

Segmenting our customers into the following categories:

And we’re using longer form fields to do just that. It may sacrifice some conversions in the process, but it’s leading to better data and more qualified leads.

Then, we use the customer’s self-identification to pair them with the best DigitalMarketer products for them (i.e. WarRoom, certifications, the Certified Partner program, etc.).

To Shift from Small to Big, DigitalMarketer Is:

Asking what do we fundamentally believe to be true about the universe and our place in it?

In 2019, marketers need to create movements.

Don’t tell stories about your product—change the stories the customers tell about themselves.

Movements matter and if you want your business to matter, start a movement.

We’re doing this with our products, like with our newly launched company and product, Praxio.

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

Takeaway #2: There Are 2 Things in Digital Marketing that Will Never Change

Ryan closed out his Day 1 Keynote with a reminder to all marketers: no matter what the future of digital marketing holds, there will always be 2 certainties:

We will always need to generate traffic
We will always need to convert that traffic into revenue

It all comes down to traffic and conversion.

So at the end of the day, it all comes down to this.

No matter how your company may change in the future, no matter what you’re implementing next, it all comes down to traffic and conversion.

So make sure you keep traffic and conversion at the core of your digital marketing strategy.

Takeaway #3: Use Authority to Capture the Heart, Mind & Wallet of Your Audience

In his Day 2 Keynote, Ryan reminded people about the importance of creating a movement.

But, you can’t create a movement unless you have authority.

No one will deny the importance of creating authority for your brand. But building authority is easier said than done.

So how do you do it?

There are 5 elements of authority:

1. A Plan

It is impossible to have a movement without a plan. Nobody wants to follow a leader without a map.

Do you have a plan people can tell others about?

Ask yourself, what is the step-by-step plan for success that you have created for your clients and customers? 

2. Answer Your Customers’ Questions

You need to come down and meet your customers where they are by answering their specific questions.

Why is Dave Ramsey so popular? One reason is because he answers the same questions over, and over… and over, again. He may be answering the same few questions about personal finance, but the question comes from a different person each time.

So answer your customers’ questions, no matter how many times you’ve said the same thing. New customers will have the same questions.

Use AnswerThePublic.com to find the questions your customers are asking and use Quora to answer those questions. Or create a FAQ section on your homepage like we do here…

So, ask yourself, what are 10-20 ultra-specific questions your customers are asking that you can answer?

3. Speak in Absolutes

Tell your customers what they can and can’t do. This is a strategy you’ll see Dave Ramsey, Grant Cardone, and Gary Vaynerchuk using.

They speak in absolutes. Just like Gary does here.

Love ’em or hate ’em. Agree with them or not, they stand for something. Speaking in absolutes tells people what you stand for.

If you qualify everything you say, you may never be wrong, and you may never piss anyone off, but you will risk sounding like you don’t stand for anything.

If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing, sort of thing.

So, use these words to convey your authority:

All
None
Always
Now
Never
Period
Guaranteed
I promise
Going to happen
Fact
Evil
Dumb
Stupid
Genius
Best
Greatest
Worst
One thing
Everything
Nothing
Everyone
No one

When you start getting haters, this is when you know your absolutes are working. This also means you have to be prepared to support your absolutes and be prepared to be challenged.

So answer this, what absolutes are you willing to maintain even in the face of haters?

4. Define Your Core Beliefs

Your core belief speaks to your place in the universe. How would you define your place in the universe? Your business’ place?

This belief is the reason people want to buy or work with your business. If your core belief aligns with your audiences’ core belief, they will get behind what you are saying and they will become a customer.

For example, at DigitalMarketer our core belief is that the best product or service should win.

Think about and answer, what do you fundamentally believe to be true about the universe and your place in it? Your brands place in it?

5. Change Their Rites or Rituals

There are 3 options to get people to become raving fans of your brand.

Option 1: Get People to Do Something They Normally Wouldn’t Do

Tony Robbins does this by getting people to walk on fire.

Dave Ramsey does this by getting people to call into his radio show and yell, “I’m debt free!”.

None of these behaviors are “normal.”

But getting people to do just that builds a community. And there’s power in that.

(RELATED: 8 Essential Strategies to Build a Thriving Customer Community)

Option 2: Get People to Alter an Existing Routine

Is coffee part of your morning ritual?

Do you start your coffee maker before you’ve even used the bathroom?

What about putting butter in that freshly brewed cup of coffee? Is that also part of your routine?

It is for some people.

Bulletproof Coffee got people to make butter coffee. They nailed this option and altered a pre-existing routine for many of us.

And because of it, Bulletproof Coffee created a movement.

Option 3: Get People to “Lick” Your Brand by Giving Them Free Promotional Items

As a kid, did you ever lick something to claim it?

Your big brother wants the last cookie. Nope! Lick. Mine. Claimed.

So along those lines, how can you get your customers to “lick” your brand? To claim you.

Offering free incentive items is one way to do it.

Beachbody is the perfect example of this—if you send in a before and after picture, they’ll send you a t-shirt. A t-shirt that you can wear with pride for all the hard work you’ve put into changing your body.

It serves as a trophy or reward for your customer. And it also serves as a promotional item for your brand.

And promotional items start conversations. “Cool t-shirt. Where’d you get it?” And with that, people are talking about your brand. And it all happened naturally.

At DigitalMarketer, we give away stickers of our branded gears. And people put them on their laptops. Customers send in pictures of it, and we see the gears throughout Austin where we’re based. People are claiming us.

So finally, what customs and rituals should you promote and institutionalize?

Keep in mind, it’s hard to embody all 5 of these elements of authority. Really, only the world’s dominant religions have come close.

But if you can start bringing in these elements to your overall business strategy, you’ll see positive results.

Start by focusing on 1 element to build your authority.

Takeaway #4: It’s Good to Be Better, But It’s Better to Be Different

Do you want to fascinate? To cut through the noise and grab and hold people’s attention.

What business wouldn’t? Which is why we asked the Queen of Fascination, Sally Hogshead, to kick off Day 3 of T&C.

Sally’s expertise lies in helping brands discover what makes them more fascinating than the competition.

In her Day 3 Opening Keynote, Sally explained fascination is an intense state of focus where a person is bewitched and held captive by what they’re seeing.

What qualities make people fascinated by you and showcase you as intensely valuable?

This can be a hard question for many to answer. You can start by focusing in on what makes you different. As Sally said throughout her presentation, “It’s good to be better, but it’s better to be different.”

She also dove into the Personal Brand Archetypes. This is how the world sees you. This is what makes you different and therefore fascinating. Based off of your Primary Advantage and your Secondary Advantage, you’ll understand what makes you captivating.

For example, Ryan Deiss, CEO of DigitalMarketer, is positioned as a thought leader in digital marketing. Why? Because he is the “Maestro” personality archetype and is seen with power and prestige. The adjectives that best describe Ryan are ambitious, focused, and confident.

Ryan can use these words to differentiate himself from the competition.

What YOU Took Away from T&C

But we weren’t the only ones who had key takeaways. We loved hearing the aha moments our attendees had, like…

Brands that tell stories create movements and go on to rule the world.

Business partners should complement each other, not be copies of each other. Perry Belcher pointed out the reason he, Ryan, and Roland have been so successful is because of their varying personality traits that cumulate to a power trio.

How do you save your business? By putting in the work. Choose 3 specific takeaways from the 119 presentations at Traffic & Conversion 2019, and start implementing those in your business.

Remember what Ryan said in his Day One Opening Keynote? Everything big needs to become smaller.

If you can get people to feel something, you can get them to take their wallet out.

Last Key Takeaway

There is nothing that is out of our league.

As business owners, and specifically as humans, we have the ability to solve any problem or adversity that we are facing. That was the theme of Sir Richard Branson’s Day 1 Closing Keynote.

Case in point, after wrapping up his keynote, Branson planned to fly back to Necker Island to meet with entrepreneurs who are trying to decrease the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by figuring out a way to vacuum it out and transform it into something less harmful.

If there’s anything we want you to take away from the 10th Traffic & Conversion Summit, it’s this:

“Changing the world begins with a small group of people who simply refuse to accept the unacceptable.” ~Richard Branson

See you next year!

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The post Top 10 Takeaways from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019 Every Marketer Should Know appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Ryan Deiss on the End of Marketing As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/end-of-marketing-as-we-know-it/

There is a huge event happening that directly affects digital marketers, agencies, entrepreneurs, and founders.

As Ryan Deiss pointed out during his opening keynote at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019, change occurs in a cyclical pattern. Just like the seasons change, the world of marketing is changing in phases.

And right now, we’re at the end of a cycle—which means the opportunity for innovation and disruption is the largest that it’ll be for years.

To learn more about this opportunity and how to make it work for you (and not against you), watch Ryan Deiss’ opening keynote from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019:

Ryan covers:

Why it’s the end of marketing as we know it… and why he’s not worried about it
3 digital marketing strategies to help you rise above the noise
A brief history of digital marketing and what the future of digital marketing holds

Don’t have time to watch an hour-long presentation? Read on to learn the highlights from Ryan’s keynote!

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The 5 Phases of Technology

History has shown us this cycle over and over again.

In 1801, the first steam engine was unveiled.

In 1830, railroads were opened across the US and UK.

By 1880, there were 2,000+ railroad companies causing a necessary standardization that regulated the industry in 1886.

By 1906, all of the rail lines were owned by just 7 entities.

Alexander Bell patented the first phone in 1876.

His patent expired in 1894, and immediately 6,000 phone companies were launched.

Today, there are only 4 major phone service providers.

We see the same pattern with the newspaper industry and the automobile industry.

The world is moving in cyclical phases which means—technology is too.

There are 5 phases of technology:

Phase 1: Discovery and Invention

In Phase 1, there is a new technology that benefits an industry or is even so large that it changes society.

To succeed during Phase 1, you have to be in the right place, at the right time.

The invention of the steam engine and the phone are examples of Phase 1.

Phase 2: Proliferation

The proliferation phase is the gold rush and becomes the wild west of the new technology.

In an ideal world, our business enters at this stage. Here, we have the first mover advantage.

It’s during this phase that businesses spring up and grow at a rapid pace, like the railroads in the US and UK. And—unfortunately for those like Alexander Bell—patents expire and entrepreneurs rush to launch their own company causing a ton of new companies to start.

Phase 3: Standardization

By Phase 3, there are so many companies selling the new product that the economy, government, or industry itself has to create regulations for the benefit of everybody.

It’s at this stage that a lot of companies fail because they don’t get with the program.

Instead of adapting to standardization, they fight the change and go out of business or get bought up, which leads to the next phase…

Phase 4: Consolidation

During consolidation, companies get gobbled up and the industry becomes consolidated in the hands of only a handful of dominant companies.

For instance, the 2,000+ railroad companies and 6,000+ phone companies of the past merged into 7 railroad companies and 4 phone companies.

This is the phase where the rich get richer.

Phase 5: Innovation Or Disruption

In the final stage, the company that was once on the cusp of the brand new has become so normal, so part of the every day that the companies that own them become comfortable and the level of competition that once existed goes away.

This is a crucial stage because there are only 2 directions to go: avoiding or embracing innovation.

Companies rather become stagnant and will have a harder time competing when a new player comes onto the stage and starts to disrupt the status quo.

Or companies lean into innovation and push the boundaries of the current technology and create a brand new cycle.

The process of discovery and invention begins again.

This cycle has been happening for centuries, and it is happening in the digital marketing world…

The History of Digital Marketing
Discovery: 1994-2000

This is when the first banner ad was displayed (and had a 78% click-through rate!!!)…

…the Dotcom bubble placed the internet in the news and Google AdWords launched.

Proliferation: 2001-2009

During proliferation, the first (of many) mommy blogs were created, WordPress launched, and the major social media players were established (Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter).

Facebooks ads rolled out and the first iPhone was released. 

Standardization: 2010-2014

In 2009, Google introduced its newest ad ranking feature, Quality Score. This forced advertisers to completely change tactics as Google now favored high-quality ads and landing pages. Paired with Panda, this standardization is now referred to as, “ The Google Slap.”

During this time, Facebook started to audit advertisements, banning dating sites and weapons in 2014.

The whole era can be best described as a giant flaming pile of poop for marketers as the rug was ripped out from under them.

And then it got worse…

Consolidation: 2015-2019

The technology wave of consolidation placed Google and Facebook at the top of the advertisement world. They control 84% of the ad space, allowing them to push their prices up.

Facebook’s ad revenue doubled in 2009 and 2018. Think about this… they doubled their revenue without doubling the number of users. And they did this in a very short amount of time… by increasing their prices.

Then came Amazon, who is accountable for nearly 50% of all US ecommerce sales. FIFTY PERCENT!

Startups are currently spending almost 40 cents of every VC dollar on Google, Facebook, and Amazon advertisements.

Why?

Because the average Facebook organic reach is 0.5%.

In 2019, traffic costs are up and conversions and engagement are down. And they have been for some time now.

The question digital marketers are asking themselves today is, do we innovate or disrupt?

Innovation or Disrupt: 2019-?

“Today digital becomes king.” ~Ronan Shields

2019 is the year that US digital ad spend will surpass offline ad spend. Digital marketing is disrupting the world of marketing.

The digital marketers, agencies, entrepreneurs, and founders who don’t want to accept that it’s time to disrupt are going to be left behind.

DigitalMarketer is not one of them. Change is here and Ryan’s strategy to become a disruptor is simple. And it can be applied in your business, too.

Do the opposite of what used to work:

Everything that is fast, needs to be slow.

Everything that is big, needs to be small.

Everything that is small, needs to be big.

What does Ryan mean? Let’s take a look…

Strategy #1: Shifting from Fast to Slow

There are 3 ways to make this shift.

Fast to Slow
Automation to Conversation
Scalable to Unscalable and Untrackable

Let’s start with…

1. Fast to Slow

Funnels need to be shifted into a journey.

I have nothing against funnels, but in 2019, they focus too heavily on value extraction (how do we get customers to buy?) instead of completing the Customer Value Journey (how do we get customers to sell our product without being asked?)

The Journey starts with the customer coming to us in an incomplete and sad state and shifts to them being in a complete, happy state.

This is known as the Before & After.

In the “Before” state, the customer is discontent in some way. They might be in pain, bored, frightened, or unhappy for any number of reasons.

In the “After” state—life is better. They are free of pain, entertained, or unafraid of what previously plagued them. All thanks to your product or service that solved their problem.

And to get them to buy your product, you need to move them through your Customer Value Journey…

The Customer Value Journey

The Customer Value Journey starts at Step 1 with Awareness and moves to Step 8: Promote.

To get customers to sell your product by becoming a promoter, you need them to be successful. You need to help them get to their ideal After state.

Have you mapped your customers’ Journey? You can do it for free (without having to opt-in) here.

2. Automation to Conversation

I’m sure you’ve heard Newton’s famous law that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The action in the past decade has been toward automation, and we are about to see a significant reaction to it.

The reaction is going to come as a solution, talk to your customers.

Chat with them on Facebook, use Drift to automate chat conversations on your website and have bots filter (but not replace) basic human interaction.

Or, here’s a crazy idea, answer the phone.

Here’s an even crazier idea, send emails without links—this feels more like a personal conversation.

Ryan believes the future of digital marketing belongs to companies that are willing to invest in real-time, one-to-one interactions.

Now, there are 2 questions to ask yourself during this time of disruption:

Do you know how much it costs you to acquire a conversation?
How much is a conversation worth?

Answer those questions to help your company focus and grow.

3. Scalable to Unscalable & Untrackable

If you want to kill any idea, say, “It doesn’t scale.”

What “it doesn’t scale” really means is—we don’t know if it’s working and we don’t know how to track it.

But if you’re not careful, saying something doesn’t scale can hurt you in the long run by killing a good idea.

Here’s a new idea, do the things you cannot track.

Untrackable Idea #1: Send Emails Without Links

Instead of links, ask for replies or ask if your customer has any questions.

The response you get can lead to a conversation that generates a sale.

Or at the very least, can help strengthen your relationship with your customer and continue to move them through your Customer Value Journey.

Untrackable Idea #2: Managed Facebook Groups

Do you have a Facebook group? Assign a team member to manage that community so it becomes a community that delivers value.

Does your community actually make you any money? It’s hard to tell. We’re unsure if our private community does.

But we know it helps retain customers.

So while we may not be able to track how much, we know the DigitalMarketer Engage Community makes us money through retention and happy, successful customers.

Untrackable Idea #3: Post Unrelated Content

At DigitalMarketer, one of our most popular blog posts is, “100 Books Every Marketer Should Read.”

And this post actually helped generate a lot of buzz for Traffic & Conversion.

What does it have to do with selling tickets to the event?

Not a whole lot.

But it was unrelated content that our customers wanted and responded to when we distributed it throughout our channels.

Untrackable Idea #4: Answer Stupid Questions

When you’ve been doing something a while, the easy, intro questions start to sound pretty basic and stupid to you. You may even get tired of answering them because they’re not what you want to talk about.

But that doesn’t matter because they’re the questions your customers want to talk about.

Find ways to answer questions that your customers inevitably have.

For example, you can use Quora to answer questions about your industry or place a “Questions and Answers” section on your homepage, like we do here…

Untrackable Idea #5: One-on-One Onboarding

Assign a team member to onboard each new client.

Give them that special white glove treatment and make them feel special. We do this for the highest level of our membership.

Untrackable Idea #6: Write a Book… or 2

Writing a book is a painful process with absolutely no trackability—do it anyway.

It exposes your brand to new audiences.

Ryan wrote Invisible Selling Machine years ago, and people still ask him to sign it. Since then, he’s worked on Digital Marketing for Dummies and another book is in the works.

Untrackable Idea #7: Publish a Podcast

DigitalMarketer has 2 podcasts, Perpetual Traffic and The DigitalMarketer Podcast, and helped launch Roland Frasier’s Business Lunch, and we have absolutely no idea if these podcasts are helping us acquire more clients.

But the podcasts have helped build the DigitalMarketer brand and expose us to different audiences.

All of these ideas are very hard to track and therefore, hard to scale. But we do them because they feel right. They feel like the right thing to do for our customers.

More businesses should start doing things that feel right for their customers.

If you want to know more about becoming an expert at these techniques, read this book.

Strategy #2: Big to Small

At DigitalMarketer we’ve created a system that segments our customers. And we’ve done this by adding in more fields as a customer signs up for our products—be it for our free membership of Lab or one of our products.

While this longer form has decreased our conversions, it has increased the value we are able to deliver to our customers.

And we’re happy to accept lower conversion rates for better data. We’re able to get better customer segmentation.

And through this customer segmentation, we’re able to…

Figure out the best products to pair customers to so we can help them reach their ideal After state
Increase the number of customers in those programs
And get a better idea of the ROI of a customer

Strategy #3: Small to Big

Fact: No one willingly follows a small idea.

But as companies have niched down, their focus has become so granular that they’ve stopped thinking big. They’ve become kings of tiny, little ant hills.

As marketers, we need to start thinking big again.

Marketers need to define new categories for themselves.

Drift has defined a new category of conversational marketing and entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson have defined a new category of celebrity entrepreneurship. These are examples of companies and brands thinking bigger.

Want to get in on this? Ryan suggests reading Play Bigger, the playbook for category creation.

In 2019, Marketers need to create movements.

Don’t tell stories about your product—change the stories the customers tell about themselves.

Movements matter and if you want your business to matter, start a movement.

Ask yourself, what do we fundamentally believe to be true about the universe and our place in it?

But despite all that’s changing or will change, in digital marketing, we can be certain that 2 things will never change:

The need to generate traffic
The need to convert that traffic into revenue

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

The post Ryan Deiss on the End of Marketing As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

Harnessing Statistical Power for Test Results You Can Trust 0

Harnessing Statistical Power for Test Results You Can Trust

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/statistical-power/

Years ago, when I first started split-testing, I thought every test was worth running. It didn’t matter if it was changing a button color or a headline—I wanted to run that test.

My enthusiastic, yet misguided, belief was that I simply needed to find aspects to optimize, set up the tool, and start the test. After that, I thought, it was just a matter of awaiting the infamous 95% statistical significance.

I was wrong.

After implementing “statistically significant” variations, I experienced no lift in sales because there was no true lift—“it was imaginary.” Many of those tests were doomed at inception. I was committing common statistical errors, like not testing for a full business cycle or neglecting to take the effect size into consideration.

I also failed to consider another possibility: That an “underpowered” test could cause me to miss changes that would generate a “true lift.”

Understanding statistical power, or the “sensitivity” of a test, is an essential part of pre-test planning and will help you implement more revenue-generating changes to your site.

What is statistical power?

Statistical power is the probability of observing a statistically significant result at level alpha (α) if a true effect of a certain magnitude is present. It’s your ability to detect a difference between test variations when a difference actually exists.

Statistical power is the crowning achievement of the hard work you put into conversion research and properly prioritized treatment(s) against a control. This is why power is so important—it increases your ability to find and measure differences when they’re actually there.

Statistical power (1 – β) holds an inverse relationship with Type II errors (β). It’s also how to control for the possibility of false negatives. We want to lower the risk of Type I errors to an acceptable level while retaining sufficient power to detect improvements if test treatments are actually better.

Finding the right balance, as detailed later, is both art and science. If one of your variations is better, a properly powered test makes it likely that the improvement is detected. If your test is underpowered, you have an unacceptably high risk of failing to reject a false null.

Before we go into the components of statistical power, let’s review the errors we’re trying to account for.  

Type I and Type II errors

Type I errors

A Type I error, or false positive, rejects a null hypothesis that is actually true. Your test measures a difference between variations that, in reality, does not exist. The observed difference—that the test treatment outperformed the control—is illusory and due to chance or error.

The probability of a Type I error, denoted by the Greek alpha (α), is the level of significance for your A/B test. If you test with a 95% confidence level, it means you have a 5% probability of a Type I error (1.0 – 0.95 = 0.05).

If 5% is too high, you can lower your probability of a false positive by increasing your confidence level from 95% to 99%—or even higher. This, in turn, would drop your alpha from 5% to 1%. But that reduction in the probability of a false positive comes at a cost.

By increasing your confidence level, the risk of a false negative (Type II error) increases. This is due to the inverse relationship between alpha and beta—lowering one increases the other.

Lowering your alpha (e.g. from 5% to 1%) reduces the statistical power of your test. As you lower your alpha, the critical region becomes smaller, and a smaller critical region means a lower probability of rejecting the null—hence a lower power level. Conversely, if you need more power, one option is to increase your alpha (e.g. from 5% to 10%).

Type II errors

A Type II error, or false negative, is a failure to reject a null hypothesis that is actually false. A Type II error occurs when your test does not find a significant improvement in your variation that does, in fact, exist.

Beta (β) is the probability of making a Type II error and has an inverse relationship with statistical power (1 – β). If 20% is the risk of committing a Type II error (β), then your power level is 80% (1.0 – 0.2 = 0.8). You can lower your risk of a false negative to 10% or 5%—for power levels of 90% or 95%, respectively.

Type II errors are controlled by your chosen power level: the higher the power level, the lower the probability of a Type II error. Because alpha and beta have an inverse relationship, running extremely low alphas (e.g. 0.001%) will, if all else is equal, vastly increase the risk of a Type II error.

Statistical power is a balancing act with trade-offs for each test. As Paul D. Ellis says, “A well thought out research design is one that assesses the relative risk of making each type of error, then strikes an appropriate balance between them.”

When it comes to statistical power, which variables affect that balance? Let’s take a look.

The variables that affect statistical power

When considering each variable that affects statistical power, remember: The primary goal is to control error rates. There are four levers you can pull:

Sample sizeMinimum Effect of Interest (MEI, or Minimum Detectable Effect)Significance level (α)Desired power level (implied Type II error rate)

1. Sample Size

The 800-pound gorilla of statistical power is sample size. You can get a lot of things right by having a large enough sample size. The trick is to calculate a sample size that can adequately power your test, but not so large as to make the test run longer than necessary. (A longer test costs more and slows the rate of testing.)

You need enough visitors to each variation as well as to each segment you want to analyze.  Pre-test planning for sample size helps avoid underpowered tests; otherwise, you may not realize that you’re running too many variants or segments until it’s too late, leaving you with post-test groups that have low visitor counts.

Expect a statistically significant result within a reasonable amount of time—usually at least one full week or business cycle. A general guideline is to run tests for a minimum of two weeks but no more than four to avoid problems due to sample pollution and cookie deletion.

Establishing a minimum sample size and a pre-set time horizon avoids the common error of simply running a test until it generates a statistically significant difference, then stopping it (peeking).

2. Minimum Effect of Interest (MEI)

The Minimum Effect of Interest (MEI) is the magnitude (or size) of the difference in results you want to detect.

Smaller differences are more difficult to detect and require a larger sample size to retain the same power; effects of greater magnitude can be detected reliably with smaller sample sizes. Still, as Georgi Georgiev notes, those big “improvements” from small sample sizes may be unreliable:

The issue is that, usually, there was no proper stopping rule nor fixed sample size, thus the nominal p-values and confidence interval (CI) reported are meaningless. One can say the results were “cherry-picked” in some sense.

If there was a proper stopping rule or fixed sample size, then a 500% observed improvement from a very small sample size is likely to come with a 95% CI of say +5% to +995%: not greatly informative.

A great way to visualize the relationship between power and effect size is this illustration by Georgiev, where he likens power to a fishing net:

3. Statistical Significance

As Georgiev explained:

An observed test result is said to be statistically significant if it is very unlikely that we would observe such a result assuming the null hypothesis is true.

This then allows us to reason the other way and say that we have evidence against the null hypothesis to the extent to which such an extreme result or a more extreme one would not be observed, were the null true (the p-value).

That definition is often reduced to a simpler interpretation: If your split-test for two landing pages has a 95% confidence in favor of the variation, there’s only a 5% chance that the observed improvement resulted by chance—or a 95% likelihood that the difference is not due to random chance.

“Many, taking the strict meaning of ‘the observed improvement resulted by random chance,’ would scorn such a statement,” contended Georgiev. “We need to remember that what allows us to estimate these probabilities is the assumption the null is true.”

Five percent is a common starting level of significance in online testing and, as mentioned previously, is the probability of making a Type I error. Using a 5% alpha for your test means that you’re willing to accept a 5% probability that you have incorrectly rejected the null hypothesis.

If you lower your alpha from 5% to 1%, you are simultaneously increasing the probability of making a Type II error, assuming all else is equal. Increasing the probability of a Type II error reduces the power of your test.

4. Desired Power Level

With 80% power, you have a 20% probability of not being able to detect an actual difference for a given magnitude of interest. If 20% is too risky, you can lower this probability to 10%, 5%, or even 1%, which would increase your statistical power to 90%, 95%, or 99%, respectively.

Before thinking that you’ll solve all of your problems by running tests at 95% or 99% power, understand that each increase in power requires a corresponding increase in the sample size and the amount of time the test needs to run (time you could waste running a losing test—and losing sales—solely for an extra percentage point or two of statistical probability).

So how much power do you really need? A common starting point for the acceptable risk of false negatives in conversion optimization is 20%, which returns a power level of 80%.

There’s nothing definitive about an 80% power level, but the statistician Jacob Cohen suggests that 80% represents a reasonable balance between alpha and beta risk. To put it another way, according to Ellis, “studies should have no more than a 20% probability of making a Type II error.”

Ultimately, it’s a matter of:

How much risk you’re willing to take when it comes to missing a real improvement;The minimum sample size necessary for each variation to achieve your desired power.

How to calculate statistical power for your test

Using a sample size calculator or G*power, you can plug in your values to find out what’s required to run an adequately powered test. If you know three of the inputs, you can calculate the fourth.

In this case, using G*Power, we’ve concluded that we need a sample size of 681 visitors to each variation. This was calculated using our inputs of 80% power and a 5% alpha (95% significance). We knew our control had a 14% conversion rate and expected our variant to perform at 19%:

In the same manner, if we knew the sample size for each variation, the alpha, and the desired power level (say, 80%), we could find the MEI necessary to achieve that power—in this case, 19%:

What if you can’t increase your sample size?

There will come a day when you need more power but increasing the sample size isn’t an option.  This might be due to a small segment within a test you’re currently running or low traffic to a page.

Say you plug your parameters into an A/B test calculator, and it requires a sample size of more than 8,000:

If you can’t reach that minimum—or it would take months to do so—one option is to increase the MEI. In this example, increasing the MEI from 10% to 25% reduces the sample size to 1,356 per variant:

But how often will you be able to hit a 25% MEI? And how much value will you miss looking only for a massive impact? A better option is usually to lower the confidence level to 90%—as long as you’re comfortable with a 10% chance of a Type I error:

So where do you start? Georgiev conceded that, too often, CRO analysts “start with the sample size (test needs to be done by <semi-arbitrary number> of weeks) and then nudge the levers randomly until the output fits.”

Striking the right balance:

Requires a thoughtful process as to which levers to adjust;Benefits from measuring the potential change in ROI for any change to test variables.

Conclusion

Statistical power helps you control errors, gives you greater confidence in your test results, and greatly improves your chance of detecting practically significant effects.

Take advantage of statistical power by following these suggestions:

Run your tests for two to four weeks.Use a testing calculator (or G*Power) to ensure properly powered tests.Meet minimum sample size requirements.If necessary, test for bigger changes in effect.Use statistical significance only after meeting minimum sample size requirements.Plan adequate power for all variations and post-test segments.

The post Harnessing Statistical Power for Test Results You Can Trust appeared first on CXL.

0

Bootstrapping Relevance: Making Web Conversions Meaningful for Long Sales Cycles

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/analytics-long-sales-cycles/

Most hurricanes that reach the United States start off the coast of West Africa. Those storms join and split with other minor systems as they move across the Atlantic. Some dissipate into a mild breeze; others devastate coastal areas along the Eastern seaboard.

So what does an afternoon rainshower over Cape Verde tell you about the next Category 5 hurricane? Often, little more than a form fill tells you about the potential for a five-figure sale months down the road.       

Google Analytics insights frequently end with raw counts of goal completions, leaving a yawning gap between on-site behavior and sales for companies with long sales cycles.

More challenging still, the space between marketers’ realities and solutions is equally vast: Seamless integration of marketing and sales data or a Google Analytics 360 subscription is aspirational.

This post details four steps that any organization can follow to estimate the value of on-site conversions more accurately:

Identify every potential touchpoint.Organize existing data into an idealized customer journey.Integrate data into goal completions.Analyze and act on that data.

No solution is perfect, but incremental progress is possible—and worthwhile.

Why bother? Analytics incentivize behavior

The data-related challenges of long sales cycles are well known: Between a form fill and a sale, there may be dozens of touchpoints spanning weeks or months. Those interactions occur across teams (marketing, sales, customer support) and platforms (analytics, CRM, email).

The challenge of joining those datasets resigns many marketers to limited measurement: We know our data is incomplete, so we might as well just count form fills.

Yet analytics incentivize behavior, and if marketing teams can’t see past total goal completions (euphemistically, “leads”), they’ll devote resources to those efforts—even if a painfully low percentage ever become sales-qualified leads.

The limits of attribution

A common focus for companies with long sales cycles is attribution. But even data-driven attribution, robust as it may be, usually improves attribution of form fills or PDF downloads—marketing metrics that may be weak indicators of sales.

Goal completions can become stronger predictors of sales by pushing data about the relative value of each goal completion back into analytics.

Attribution’s relevance depends on the known value of the conversion.

Regardless of how much data you have, you will make decisions on how to allocate marketing resources. Partial data—or even anecdotal data—can, at the bare minimum, form the basis for experimentation and a means to test your assumptions.

It starts with a survey of all known customer data.

Step 1: Identify every potential touchpoint.

“Long lead time before the sale is an opportunity to do more data collection,” offered Snowplow Analytics’ Anthony Mandelli, “which will ultimately help you in the long run.”

Compare the number of touchpoints in a year-long sales process to the purchase of novelty socks (Mandelli’s example). The latter is a single image, the former a feature-film—a complete narrative with deep insight into what influences consumer behavior.

“It’s a long sales cycle for a reason,” Mandelli continued. “Leads are conducting online and offline research.” The starting point, then, is to “get all your data together somewhere—start with the first interaction, then all the way to purchase.”

That data may include:

Form fillsPDF downloadsPhone callsEmail opens/clicksWebinar signups/viewsDemo requestsFree trial signups, etc.

It may also include reports from your sales team, estimates by executives, or other offline sources. At the outset, you simply want to know all the potential sources of data (regardless of whether you’re able to gather them into a Customer Data Platform that curates “a single source of truth“).

You may be missing key data or may not be able to integrate it in future steps, but knowing what exists—and what is or isn’t accessible—helps establish the immediate path forward and guides future improvements.

Step 2: Organize existing data into an idealized customer journey.

Sketching an idealized user journey—or reviewing one already created—is not about forcing users into a linear funnel but about creating a structure to help organize your data.

A customer journey map, Hull’s Ed Fry explains, “highlights the macro-conversions that many teams in the company optimize for (like a new user signing up) vs. micro-conversions that concern few other people.” Each stage in the journey, in turn, is delineated by a conversion:

In a customer journey, the step-by-step progress of a user usually includes a measurable conversion in a digital channel. (Image source)

In an example Mandelli shared, a flooring company had no visibility into what happened between a potential buyer’s $10 sample purchase and a $10,000 sale. Building an idealized user journey—based on data from a real customer—helped the company organize the data they had by the steps the customer took:

Web ad (Google AdWords or Bing)Visit the websiteOrder a sample from the websiteReview samplesReceive drip email marketing campaignPurchase flooring (through the web or on the phone

With existing data points plotted along the idealized user journey, ask yourself: “Where are the biggest gaps between touches?” (In the above example, it’s Step 4.) “The goal is not to sink under analysis paralysis,” writes Fry. “It is to simply understand the backbone of your customer journeys.”

A data gap does not invalidate conversion values for long sales cycles. Charles Farina of Analytics Pros explained:

If you are able to qualify a lead quickly, work to connect your metrics to center on qualified leads. From there, try and work further down the funnel.

In other words, if a form fill can be qualified with a second interaction (say, responding to a phone call), that data—the percentage of form fills who become qualified leads—can guide conversion valuation, even if months pass before those qualified leads become sales.

Even with complete data, Farina suggested, you’ll rarely optimize based on close-of-sale metrics: It simply takes too long. If you make changes to service pages today, would you put everything on hold for months while you waited to see how many leads from the updated pages became customers?

What you really need, Farina suggested, is a two-stage optimization process:

Focus on bringing more quality into your funnel, then use the fully connected journey to make additional optimizations on top.

For many, the perspective is liberating: Data points from one or two steps post–form fill can make conversion data vastly more relevant, no matter how long the sales cycle stretches past the initial conversion.

Step 3: Integrate data into goal completions.

There are elegant solutions for integrating Analytics data with CRM data and similar sources:

Google Analytics 360 connects anonymous user data with CRM data in BigQuery (as well as Salesforce data within the Google Analytics UI).Data collection platforms like Snowplow Analytics or Hull integrate data from various sources.

The potential value of an integration—like pulling Salesforce data into Google Analytics—is clear, but securing the budget is, for most, unrealistic. (Image source)

In the prior example of the flooring company, Snowplow joined the data from web analytics and marketing automation tools to provide ongoing visibility about how users progressed through the journey. But that ongoing portrait—while closer to the ideal—isn’t mandatory.

If you don’t have a sizeable analytics budget or an in-house team of developers to manage multiple connections, use a snapshot of your post-conversion data to adjust Goal Values in Google Analytics.

1. Make periodic calculations for Google Analytics Goal Values

Goal Values assign dollar values to conversions—replacing the faulty “a conversion is a conversion” logic with estimated revenue from on-site actions.

To set Goal Values, you need to calculate the value of a lead on a goal-by-goal basis. In its simplest form, the process divides the total number of goal completions by the revenue from those conversions.

100 form fills5 form fills convert to salesEach sale generates $10,000 in revenue

Thus, a form fill is worth $500. The calculation requires two data points outside Google Analytics: The number of web leads who became customers, and the value of each sale. (If you don’t have access to both, skip to the second option.)

In a perfect world, the calculations are exact enough to establish ROI for marketing efforts. However, for long sales cycles, obtaining that degree of accuracy is almost impossible—but that shouldn’t keep you from using Goal Values.

Goal Values Are fixed numbers…with relative value

When it comes to long sales cycles, setting the Goal Value of a form fill is less about ROI and more about weighting the impact of on-site behavior. Relative differences in dollar values, as detailed in the fourth step, allow for better comparisons of how each page or channel performs.

For example, if a lead who initiates an engagement with a phone call—tracked via CallRail or Marchex—closes at twice the rate of a form fill, that difference will be reflected in the Goal Value. Likewise, a newsletter signup from a blog post will probably be weighted less (by using sales data from newsletter subscribers).

To think of it another way, not assigning Goal Values gives every goal the same value: $0. If your Goal Values aren’t accurate enough to determine ROI—whether left as $0 or calculated based on sales data—you might as go with the calculated estimate that at least has a chance of being directional.

Note: If seeing “inaccurate” Goal Value figures will ruffle feathers in other departments, create a new View with the same Goals and add estimated Goal Values.

Use Lookup Tables to generate dynamic Goal Values

Not all form fillers—even of the same form—are equal. A Lookup Table in Google Tag Manager (GTM), as Bounteous details, can set dynamic Goal Values based on form inputs.

So, for example, if a form question includes the size of the company, you can adjust the Goal Value based on the likelihood of conversion, average order value, or lifetime value of that demographic.

Set a different Output (Goal Value) for each based on Input (the form-field options):

The Default Value is used if none of the other criteria is met.

Create a Data Layer variable to capture the business category data (the Input field) upon submission. Then, create an Event that pulls in the business category information and the associated lead value from the Lookup Table.

Finally, use the Event value as the Goal Value for the that conversion:

Even if you don’t know the value of a given type of lead—or any lead at all—you still have another option.

2. Estimate the relative value of online touchpoints

If quantitative data on lead conversion rates and order value isn’t available, you can add relative values. Branko Kral of Orbit Media detailed the process for a stem-cell clinic with a long sales cycle and limited data.

They identified the primary touchpoints, then assigned relative values from $100 to $10—the actual dollar values were irrelevant—to gauge the impact of campaigns that spurred a range of micro- and macro-conversions:

First-time calls – lead to most new businessRepeating calls – also highly valuableCall-back requests – capture contact info and explicitly ask to be contactedBlog subscriptions – capture contact info and indicate trustVideo views > 50% of the video length – patients who book often mention they’ve watched the patient testimonial videosEmail link clicks – typical for inquiries higher up the funnelSocial share clicks – spread the wordViews of a Contact Us page – a subtle but valuable indicator of interest

It’s easy to poke holes in the process: How do you know that a social share click is worth say, half that of a video view? You don’t. However, that initial, heuristic estimate is a baseline for hypothesis development and testing.

After all, if you don’t assign Goal Values, you’re still allocating resources based on which actions you perceive to be most valuable. Adding relative Goal Values to on-site conversions makes it easy to visualize the implications of your assumptions throughout your site.

Step 4: Analyze and act on that data.

Adding calculated or relative Goal Values to conversions populates one metric (Page Value) and makes others—even basic channel grouping reports—more instructive.

Page Value   

The Page Value metric provides URL-by-URL valuations of every page. (Image source)

In Google Analytics, Page Value “is the average value for a page that a user visited before landing on the goal page or completing an Ecommerce transaction (or both).” As Effin Amazing notes:

Goals are a Session dimension metric, which means that you cannot use them in a Hit dimension report like Pages report, Event reports, or any type of Custom report built around a Hit dimension.

Page Value bridges the gap between these Session dimensions and Hit dimensions by tying a specific page URL to a monetary value when users complete a goal or transaction.

It’s one way to see the value of content at a URL level. With a Goal Value calculated from actual sales data, the Page Value metric may (roughly) estimate revenue; without it, it still offers a weighted estimate of importance for pages in the conversion process.

That URL-by-URL view can break down further into:

Mediums (e.g. organic vs. direct visits to the same page or group of pages)Website sections (e.g. /case-studies/ vs. /whitepapers/)Anything else you can think to add as a secondary dimension.

A caveat on taking action

A one-time estimate of close rates or average order value is good for only so long. The more often (monthly, quarterly) those calculations can be reworked—and Goal Values adjusted—the more reliable that data will be. (Goal Values are not assigned retroactively.)

Further, if an initial estimate suggests that email visitors are more lucrative than those from other channels, that may justify a push to acquire more email addresses—only to capture the addresses of less-relevant, less ready-to-buy visitors.

Every update of your Goal Values, then, is an opportunity to spot diminishing returns and shift marketing resources to another channel or site section. Disappointing as it may be to realize that you’ve exhausted a strategy, you’ll never notice unless you rerun the numbers—all you’ll see is conversions trending up, a vanity metric reaching ever-higher to nowhere.

Conclusion

When it comes to long sales cycles and web conversions, “perfect” is often the enemy of anything. But just because you don’t have uninterrupted lead-to-sale data doesn’t mean you can’t make your web analytics more meaningful.

Indeed, the second and third interactions after an on-site conversion—those you’re most likely to have on hand—may be the most influential metrics no matter how much data you accumulate.

Importing calculated Goal Values based on those metrics back into Google Analytics offers a more accurate valuation of the actions that take place on your website.

Even if those values are relative, you gain visibility into the assumptions you have about your site. Whether or not they hold true, the outcome will improve your marketing.

The post Bootstrapping Relevance: Making Web Conversions Meaningful for Long Sales Cycles appeared first on CXL.

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How to Drive Traffic to a Brand-New Site with Little to No Money

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/traffic-brand-new-site/

I know what you are going through.

You were excited to launch your brand-new site until you realized no one is coming to it.

So, you head to all of the marketing blogs to learn how to fix this, but for the life of you, your traffic won’t go up no matter which tactic you leverage.

What you’re feeling right now is very common. Not only have I experienced it, but when I was starting out, I even took the small life savings that I made from cleaning restrooms and sweeping up trash to pay a marketing firm to help me out.

And can you guess what happened?

They took my money and provided no results.

See, what most marketers aren’t telling you is that there are two main reasons why you aren’t getting traffic to your brand-new site (other than the fact that you don’t have much money to spend on ads):

Marketing is a long-term game – almost all of the tactics marketers, including me, talk about are long-term tactics. They take 6 months or even longer to see any results.
Your execution needs to be flawless – if you don’t implement the tactics correctly, you won’t see results.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t see short-term results or sales. More so you have to change up your strategy.

So, I thought I would do something a bit different today. I am going to break down what you should be doing during the first 12 weeks after launching your site.

I’ll be sharing a tactic for you to follow each week and, if you follow it, you’ll notice that your traffic will start going up right away. From there, you’ll start to see sales coming in.

Before I dive into the 12 tactics, note that you won’t have to spend much money, if any at all. I am also not going to give you advice that is extremely time-consuming, like writing blog posts, as you’ll also be running your business at the same time.

And of course, the tactics work for both B2B and B2C sites. It doesn’t matter if you are an ecommerce site or a SaaS company. Follow the steps below exactly.

Week #1: Respond to comments on other people’s blog without spamming

Have you heard of a popular site called Mashable? It was founded by Pete Cashmore.

When he launched his competing site to TechCrunch, no one knew about him and no one cared to listen to him as he was based in Scotland instead of Silicon Valley.

But do you think that stopped him? Of course not!

So, what did he do? He went out there and commented on every competing tech blog. And not only did he comment, but he always tried to be the first commenter.

See, when you leave a comment on a blog, most ask you to put in your name, URL, and comment.

Assuming you are leaving valuable comments and nothing spammy, you’ll notice that you’ll get referral traffic in your Google Analytics.

This will be because a very small percentage of people are clicking on your name when you leave a comment.

And considering some of the most popular blogs on the web receive millions of visitors each week, it’s not that hard to drive a fraction of a percent of their traffic back to your site.

The key with this strategy is to be one of the first commenters as that ensures your comment is at the top. The other key, of course, is that your comment must add value.

For example, if you own a marketing related product or service, marketing blogs would be a great place to comment. But what do you think will happen if you leave this kind of standard comment:

Nice post! Keep up the good work!

Nothing. On the flip side, if you put in some effort to write something that benefited the reader, you’ll have a chance at getting some traffic.

An example could be something like this…

Neil, I love the actionable tips on generating traffic for a brand-new site within the first 3 months of launching it. But I know you didn’t discuss much if any about SEO.

I know SEO is a long-term strategy, but people should get a head start right away or else it will take that much longer to get loved by Google.

One thing that I recommend every site to start off with is simple keyword research. You can use any free keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner and type in your competitor URL. Google Keyword Planner will then suggest keywords and even show you the cost per click.

By going after keywords that aren’t competitive and have a higher cost per click, you’ll find that you can generate search traffic at a much faster pace and these keywords will drive sales. As keywords with a high cost per click tend to mean that they convert.

Do you see what I mean by writing thoughtful comments that help people?

This tactic works!

Jared, who runs Skincare by Alana, still leverages this tactic today. When he and his wife launched their ecommerce store they commented on other popular blogs and social sites when it came to all things skin related.

This helped them generate 931 visitors during their first week and 12 sales.

I know it’s not a lot, but you have to start somewhere and grow from there.

I also have leveraged this tactic for years. Instead of focusing just on blogs, I commented on relevant social sites too.

As you can see from the screenshot above, I’ve generated over 1.9 million views on my Quora responses.

Here’s an example of one of my responses:

You’ll notice that in my response I also link out to my own site which drives traffic back to me.

Yes, the response looks very long, and you may think I put in tons of work, but I literally copied and pasted a blog post I had already written and added it to Quora.

Google doesn’t penalize for duplicate content. ?

If you are going to use this strategy during week one, try to leave at least 10 solid comments per day. I would try to leave 20 as it shouldn’t take you more than two hours per day… assuming you haven’t done this before.

I can typically leave 15 comments in less than 50 minutes. So, throughout the first week try to speed things up and spend no more than an hour on this tactic per day.

Week #2: Be helpful on Twitter and you’ll get tweets

Before I go into week 2, keep in mind you’ll still want to maintain the tactics I share in the previous week.

By week 12, you’ll want to be following all 12 tactics each week.

Of course, you won’t be able to put in the same number of hours into each tactic and that’s fine, but you can still do them a bit. For example, you can still leave 5 comments a day instead of leaving 20.

So, let’s dive into week 2, which is all about Twitter.

This tactic I learned from my brother-in-law Hiten Shah. He used to leverage this tactic for every one of our startups… Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, and he now leverages it for his newest company FYI.

If you look at Hiten, he built up his personal brand and influence in the tech space because of Twitter. Sure, people like me may have a bigger brand or more Twitter followers, but he has much, much, much more authority on Twitter than I do.

As you can see influential people on Twitter are tweeting about Hiten’s latest company.

He even tweets and connects with well-known entrepreneurs like the founder of HubSpot and Drift because of Twitter.

So how is Hiten getting all of these people to show him some Twitter love? Well, he has a 3-step formula…

Help people
Help people
Help people

And no, I am not joking, that is his formula. He doesn’t care to promote his business, he just helps people.

Let’s look at his Twitter profile to dive deeper into his strategy.

If you look at the tweets above, you’ll notice that Hiten continually pushes out advice on his Twitter profile. He rarely mentions his own company, but instead just tries to help people.

And when people ask questions or need help, he constantly responds to people’s tweets.

Not everyone takes his advice, but his mentality is to just be helpful no matter what. Just look at how he responds to people’s tweets.

Lastly, he retweets stuff that he likes. Whether you are an influencer or an average joe, he doesn’t care. He just wants to share the best information out there.

This is why so many people tweet about his product FYI. It’s because he is super helpful, so people naturally want to help him out without him even asking them to.

Now I know this strategy that Hiten uses seems like it is going to take forever to get results, and it does. But there is a hack that he uses to get immediate results.

Every day you should search Twitter for people talking about your competitor. When people have questions about your competitors’ products or services (or they have complaints), try and help them.

Don’t pitch them on your company, just try and help them.

What you’ll find is people will be shocked that you are helping a competitor. And if you are this kind and helpful, then what kind of service would they get if they took their business to you…

In other words, being helpful wins you goodwill and it will cause people to switch from your competitor over to you.

And if you go above and beyond like Hiten, people who haven’t even used your product or service will help promote you. Just like how one of his followers tweeted about FYI and he hasn’t even used it yet.

His strategy to help, help, and help some more has made Twitter one of FYI’s biggest traffic source. It accounts for roughly 25% of their weekly traffic.

Week #3: Go after small affiliates

No matter what industry you are in, there are affiliates. If you aren’t familiar with affiliate marketing, check out this post.

When you are starting out you probably haven’t created an affiliate program yet in which pay other marketers every time they drive you a sale or a lead.

You can always use software like Hasoffers to set one up or go through a network. There are literally hundreds of options and with a few quick Google searches, you can find one which is the right fit for you.

Now, what most people will tell you is that no one is going to promote your affiliate offer because it is unproven and new.

Although it’s true that your offer is unproven, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

During your third week, I want you to copy the strategy ConvertKit used when they first launched.

The strategy I am about to break down helped them grow from a few thousand dollars a month in revenue to over a million a month.

What ConvertKit did was they went to all of their competitors’ sites and looked to see which ones had an affiliate program. One of those competitors happens to be Aweber.

Then once they had a list of competitors with affiliate programs, they performed a Google search for “competitor name vs.” An example would be “Aweber vs”…

From there they would email each of those site owners asking them to include ConvertKit in the article or even write a unique article about ConvertKit. Just like this one.

Just think of it this way, if someone is willing to be an affiliate for one company, they won’t mind throwing in a few extra competitors. All it does is give them the potential to make more money.

When leveraging this tactic, consider sending out 10 emails a day. It shouldn’t take long and people typically don’t mind adjusting their web pages to add in another link that could potentially earn them extra money.

Now compared to most tactics, this one will drive the least amount of visitors.

But the traffic will be very qualified and more likely to convert as you are going after “versus” articles. When someone types in “Company X VS Company Y” into Google, they are researching which solution is ideal for them. These posts rank well and they tend to drive sales.

Week #4: Hire guest writers

Now the strategy I am about to break down for you in week 4 is my favorite strategy.

This is what I used in my last startup KISSmetrics to grow our blog traffic to over a million visitors a month.

If you head to the KISSmetrics site you’ll notice that it now redirects to NeilPatel.com as I bought the site.

So how much traffic did the KISSmetrics blog get from this strategy?

As you can see from the image above, we peaked at 1,260,681 unique visitors a month.

Our strategy was simple… hire writers who had a social following.

We went to the Problogger Job Board and posted a job looking for writers.

The job description looked something like this…

Are you a marketing expert? Do you know marketing like the back of your hand?

That’s great because I have an opportunity for you.

KISSmetrics is a leader in the web analytics space and we are looking to work with expert writers who know marketing and analytics.

We’re currently looking to expand our team of writers with passionate enthusiasts for digital marketing and with expertise and passion for writing.  We are hiring individuals for each of the following categories:

SEO
Content marketing
Social media
Web analytics
Conversion optimization
Paid advertising
Web design
Branding
Email marketing

Please go to our blog for examples of content we’re looking to create. [insert URL of your blog]

We would like to build a long-term relationship with you that is on a project basis. Initially, we will have you submit a list of topic ideas you would love to blog on, then we will pick one, have you outline it… and of course, you’ll then be off to the races.

The articles will be anywhere from 1,000 words to 3,000. Our goal isn’t to enforce a word count, we are more interested in high-quality content.

We’re looking for someone who is:

Looking for a long-term working relationship
Has 1 year of working experience as a writer
Has a good level of knowledge of digital marketing
Is willing to research and learn more about marketing
Has great grammar and spelling skills as well as proficiency in English
Likes working with deadlines and structure
Has a social following and doesn’t mind promoting the content you are writing as it will be published under your name

How to apply

Send an email to [insert your email] with – Applying For Writer Position in the subject line. Your email should include:

A bit about you as well as links to your social profiles
Why you’re a good fit for this position
Links to 2 -3 articles you have written
Your rate per 500 words.

The way we scaled up to over a million visitors a month was by publishing 5 blog posts a week. And every time a writer wrote a blog post for us, they didn’t mind promoting it to their social following as their name was on the article.

Once we got over 50,000 visitors a month, we noticed that we started to get inbound inquires of people willing to write for us for free. So eventually we slowly transitioned to a model where people wrote for us for free and we didn’t need to hire or pay writers.

You’ll notice that this will happen with your blog as it gets more popular.

What’s great about this strategy is the more writers you get, the more people that will find out about your company as each writer has different people following them on the social web.

Week #5: Create a podcast and interview guests

Have you listened to my podcast Marketing School? If you haven’t listened to it yet, check it out.

My co-host Eric Siu and I give marketing advice each day in under 5 minutes.

But don’t worry, the strategy I want you to implement isn’t to copy Marketing School or even listen to it (although I would be honored if you did listen to it).

Instead, it’s to copy my co-host, Eric Siu. He has another popular podcast called Growth Everywhere where he interviews someone new each and every single week.

You don’t have to do a weekly podcast, but I want you to interview someone in your space at least once a month.

And instead of making a separate site for your podcast, just pop it onto your main site.

Now when you publish each of these interviews, ask the guest to share it with their audience. From their social profiles to posting it on their own blog to even emailing their own list.

Although Eric has built a brand in the marketing space, he wasn’t well known when he started Growth Everywhere.

Just look at his stats from leveraging this tactic:

Eric’s generating over 15,300 unique visitors a month. That’s a lot of traffic considering Eric hasn’t even tried to grow the traffic to Growth Everywhere.

Best of all, you can generate similar results to Eric. But the key to doing this is interviewing people within your space so that way the traffic that comes to your site is relevant and over time those visitors will convert into customers.

If you don’t know how to start a podcast, watch this:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIJpOcFf5h4?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

You could buy fancy equipment, but I would just use whatever’s built into your computer until you start seeing results from this tactic.

And if you really want to make your podcast popular, check this out.

Week #6: Become a rising star

Do you want to be a rising star? Well of course you do… who doesn’t?

Now you probably wondering, what the heck is a “rising star?”

Well, let me first start off with, Facebook groups.

Whatever industry you are in, whoever your ideal customers are… you can find them in a Facebook group.

Look for niche groups on Facebook related to the product or service you are selling. You want to join these groups as long as they have over 1,000 members.

You may also find groups that have over a million members. You’ll want to avoid these groups.

Focus on groups that are between 1,000 members and 17,000 members. Those groups are big enough to where you can generate traffic and small enough where you’ll be noticed.

What you’ll want to do is join a handful of groups and post 4 to 5 times in the group during your first month.

Assuming you are creating posts that are engaging in which people are responding and interacting with you, then you’ll get a rising star badge.

That means people are interacting with your posts. So then when you mention your product or service, you’ll find that not only will people see it, but they are going to head on over to your site.

The key with posting to Facebook groups is to create a high amount of comments and replies. If you just link out to your site you’ll get very few clicks and you will look like a spammer. Posting links and nothing more will get you banned from the group.

But if you link out within context or answer someone’s question with a link to your site or share something from your site that will help group members, you are much more likely to get clicks.

But if the content isn’t engaging and people don’t care to leave comments, you won’t see much traffic from your Facebook group.

I have a private Facebook group with 2,616 members.

When you post something that is engaging, you’ll get featured as a “top recent post” and I’ve found with my 2,616 members I can generate 119 to 184 visitors when I post something that is super engaging that links to my site.

But instead of creating a group as I did, just join other popular groups. You’ll save a ton of time.

Week #7: Co-publish content

Have you ever thought about co-publishing content with other site owners? Even if you don’t have a huge audience, people will still love co-publishing content with you.

Why you may ask?

Well, they may have the audience, but they may be too busy to continually create new content.

Just look at me… I co-published so many guides with other writers.

And…

And…

These writers got tons of exposure and did the majority of the work.

Over time, these guides have generated well over a million visitors. But I know they are time-consuming to create, and I’m not asking you to create guides.

Instead, you can co-publish blog posts together, record a webinar together, create a white paper, or anything else that you feel could be a good fit.

A good example of this is how my team co-published content together with a company called Hotmart in Brazil.

They wrote about Ubersuggest. They even co-published a video about SEO and, of course, my team mentioned Ubersuggest.

That helped make Brazil the most popular country when it comes to usage for Ubersuggest.

If you are going to try and co-publish content with others, make sure you are willing to do the majority of the work.

Hit up other sites within your space and make your offer. Let them know how they won’t have to do much work and, of course, mention what they’ll get out of it.

When you co-publish content, you can’t just talk about your company, you also have to talk about theirs.

Week #8: Product launches

Have you heard of Drift?

It’s a chatbot tool that a lot of people in sales and marketing use.

What I love about Drift is their Product Hunt strategy. Every time they release a new feature, they push it hard on Product Hunt.

You probably don’t have a ton of new feature releases as you have a brand new site but every time you have one you should consider pushing it out on Product Hunt or even a Sub-Reddit.

But for now, why can’t you launch your site on Product Hunt or on a Sub-Reddit?

Sure you site maybe live for a few weeks, but you haven’t announced it to the world yet. ?

Product Hunt is super effective when it comes to traffic generation. When FYI launched via Product Hunt they got over 1,000 votes. It was so successful, the HubSpot co-founder even offered them funding.

I did something similar with Ubersuggest. Every time I release a new feature, I announce it on Product Hunt. So far it has driven me 12,319 visitors.

The key with doing well on Product Hunt is:

Get as many votes right when you release it… ideally within the first hour (so ask your friends and co-workers to vote)
Participate in the community before you submit your own site. Ideally, you want someone else to submit, but if you don’t know any active Product Hunt users, participate for a bit before you submit your own site.
Make sure you respond to every single comment as this helps with engagement.
Submit your site very early in the morning Pacific Standard Time. Product Hunt resets every night, so consider submitting it around 4 am Pacific Standard Time.

I know self-promotion might be a bit difficult for you when you are starting off but you need to embrace it. There is nothing wrong with pushing your own company… if you don’t, no one else will.

Week #9: The gram

Honestly, what do you think of Instagram?

Well, whether you like it or hate it, it is one of the most popular social networks out there. And influencer marketing is becoming one of the most effective promotion channels.

Anytime a Kardashian talks about a product, it flies right off the shelves.

That’s how companies like FitTea came out of nowhere and grew to 7 figures in revenue overnight.

I know what you are thinking: It’s going to be too expensive to pay Kim Kardashian to talk about your business. And you are right, it will be too expensive.

Heck, anyone who has over a million followers will try and charge you too much. Anyone with over 100,000 will also probably charge you too much.

Instead, I want you to look for micro-influencers who have at least 10,000 followers. Find people within your vertical who aren’t too popular but whose followers would be your ideal customer.

Now I want you to reach out to these influencers and offer them a bit of money to promote your product or service.

When it comes to making your offer, don’t pay them money for a post because it will be too expensive, pay them to create an Instagram story.

See, the moment someone hits 10,000 followers, Instagram enables the “swipe up” feature. This means they can tell their followers to swipe up to head over to any website. And in this case, they will be telling their followers to swipe up and head over to your website.

You’ll find that influencers will create a story for pennies on the dollar as it expires within 24 hours.

Typically, if someone has 10,000 to 20,000 followers, I am able to pay them a few hundred bucks for 3 stories over a 2 week period.

I prefer this over a post because this drives traffic to your site and you can track the number of sales you are generating from each campaign.

You can also leverage sites like Influence to find influencers.

A friend of mine, Timothy Sykes, does this often. He goes crazy and pays influencers with over a million followers to do this because he has been able to make each campaign profitable.

Typically, you find that 1% to 2% of the person’s followers will swipe up and head to your site, assuming the story is good. With this strategy, you won’t get a ton of visitors, but the visitors you do get are more likely to convert into customers as they’ve already been pitched during the story.

Week #10: Wikipedia

Have you ever thought about Wikipedia as a traffic source? I know I didn’t until I attended a marketing conference years ago and heard someone from Comedy Central speak.

This marketer was breaking down how Comedy Central gets millions of visitors a month, which isn’t shocking because it’s a popular television channel.

But what was shocking is how they broke down how they generate over 100,000 visitors a month from Wikipedia.

You heard me right, they get well over 100,000 visitors a month just from Wikipedia.

How’s that possible?

Well, they go in and modify Wikipedia articles and mention Comedy Central whenever it is relevant.

But before you go off and modify hundreds of Wikipedia articles, know that you won’t get the same result as Comedy Central.

It’s more realistic for you to generate a few hundred visitors a month… and maybe even work your way up to a few thousand visitors a month over time.

The key with editing Wikipedia articles is to first adjust tons of pages that aren’t about your website. It’s not just about linking to your site, it’s more so about providing value to the community.

So, during this week, I want you to adjust 12 to 15 articles. Once you do that you can then adjust any relevant ones to your business and include your own company when it makes sense.

Again you won’t get a ton of traffic from this, but you can easily get a few hundred visitors.

Here are the steps you need to follow if you want to edit articles on Wikipedia.

Week #11: Speak at a virtual summit

By now you should have some traffic coming to your site. It may not be a lot, but if you followed all of the steps above, your visitors should be highly qualified.

And now I want you to leverage those visitors to get you a speaking spot at a virtual summit.

Search Google for a virtual summit in your industry. You should be able to easily find one.

It doesn’t matter if they are charging people to attend the virtual summit or if they are giving tickets away for free. Offer yourself to speak and promote the event.

You’ll be shocked at how many people will say yes if you are willing to promote their event.

Remember, unlike a physical conference it doesn’t cost them much to add hundreds of speakers and keep the summit going for an extra day or two.

When speaking, be sure you can promote your company during your speech and you’ll notice that you’ll be able to generate some visitors and sales. But that’s not why I want you to speak at the virtual summit.

Instead, I want you to ask the host of the summit to share the attendee list with you. Assuming they have the right terms of service and privacy policies this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

You’ll also have to make sure they aren’t breaking any GDPR rules.

What you’ll find is this is a common practice with most virtual events in which the speakers will promote the event and the virtual summit will share the attendee list with the speakers.

This will give you a list of super qualified people that you can promote your blog posts to or even your product and services.

Week #12: Scripts and tools

You know I love SEO and it’s an amazing long-term strategy. But to do well with SEO you need backlinks.

The more relevant sites linking to you, the better off you are going to be.

And as you get more backlinks, in the short run it will provide referral traffic. In the long run, it will cause your search traffic to skyrocket.

Just to show you how powerful referral traffic is, just look at my referral traffic:

Over time, all of those sites linking to you will start driving thousands of visitors.

So, what’s the best way to get more backlinks?

Well, you don’t want to buy them. And manual link building takes a long time and isn’t as effective as it used to be.

Instead, what you should do is release free tools, like how I released the SEO Analyzer years ago. And over time, it’s naturally produced 2,369 backlinks from 450 referring domains.

Now, I know what you are thinking: building a free tool is expensive and time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be. You can buy existing tools and put them on your website for pennies on the dollar. And over time, they will naturally get backlinks without you needing to do anything more.

For example, if you have a real estate website, you can always add a mortgage calculator to your website. And can you guess how much it would cost for you to add one to your site?

$13. That’s right, it only costs 13 bucks! How crazy is that!?

There’s a site called Code Canyon where you can buy tools for almost any industry.

You can use these tools as your own and put them on your site with a few clicks of a button.

Just head over to Code Canyon and perform some searches. You’ll quickly find some tools that can work for you.

Keep in mind that these tools won’t be 100% perfect compared to building your own tool. But that’s ok, you have to start somewhere. Plus, people will still link to your tool even if it isn’t perfect.

Conclusion

I know some of the tactics I mentioned above won’t drive you thousands of visitors right away but they can drive you hundreds. And hundreds of visitors is a great place to start!

And when you combine them over time, it will help you get thousands of visitors. You just have to be willing to perform all of the steps in each week… no matter how silly the tactic may appear.

More importantly, the tactics I broke down above will drive you visitors that convert into customers and leads. All you have to do is take the next 12 weeks and follow them.

It may seem like a lot of work at first, but you’ll get faster at them as time goes on.

So, what do you think about the tactics above? Are you already using them?

The post How to Drive Traffic to a Brand-New Site with Little to No Money appeared first on Neil Patel.

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My Secret Playbook: 28 Hacks Guaranteed to Grow Your Traffic and Sales

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/marketing-hacks/

Are you tired of algorithm updates?

Well, who isn’t?

From Facebook to Google, marketing is continually changing and getting harder. Even if you are willing to give these platforms money, it still doesn’t guarantee success.

You can experiment, run tests, but digital marketing isn’t as easy as it used to be. Years ago, when I started as an online entrepreneur, companies used to raise money to hire engineers and build infrastructure.

But nowadays, technology has become easy to build and companies like Amazon Web Services save you millions on infrastructure costs.

So, these days companies raise money for one main thing… can you guess what it is?

Marketing!

It’s become so much easier and cheaper to build companies that the majority of the money is spent on customer acquisition.

This is why marketing has become so competitive. But that shouldn’t stop you from succeeding, it just means you need to get creative in this ultra-competitive landscape.

So, to start you off… here are 28 digital marketing hacks that I still use and still work in today’s marketing landscape.

Hack #1: Video remarketing

The highest converting marketing tactic I have ever leveraged is to remarket everyone who visits my checkout page but does not convert. I then show them a video of what it would be like to be a customer… these videos appear on Facebook and YouTube.

For every dollar I spend, I typically am able to get a 17-20x return on my ad spend. If you are going to take away one thing from this post, start using this tactic.

Whether you are in B2B or B2C, this tactic works extremely well. Just keep your video to under 5 minutes in length.

Hack #2: Do the opposite

Most remarketing campaigns don’t work well because you are driving people back to the same page that they didn’t convert in the first place. So instead of doing that, when you are remarketing users, send them to a page that has the opposite pitch.

For example, if your original sales pitch was logical, try a landing page that leverages emotions instead of logic.

Just think of it this way, that person didn’t buy from you the first time for a reason. You need to show them something different if you want them to convert into a customer.

Hack #3: 2-step checkouts beat one step

From my experience, I am usually able to get a 9 to 11% lift by making my checkout pages 2 steps.

Whether it is an e-commerce site or a B2B lead generation site, 2 steps typically beat out 1 step.

It’s counter-intuitive but once someone gives you their name and email, they are more likely to give you the rest of their information because they’ve already started the process. You can also email everyone who didn’t complete the registration process and convert some of those people.

If you have a strong brand like Nike or Amazon, this doesn’t matter as much. But if you don’t, which is more likely your case, use a 2-step checkout page. Whether it is a lead generation page or an e-commerce checkout page, use a 2-step.

Hack #4: Don’t forget sidebar links

Within your blog, link to your cornerstone content within your sidebar on every page. And I literally mean every page of your blog.

You don’t have to make the links rich in anchor text… but this one little thing will give more juice to your cornerstone content.

And within a year of doing this, those pages will shoot up to the top of Google for competitive terms. This is how I rank for terms like “Google AdWords” on page 1.

Hack #5: Blend in keywords from Google Suggest

If you are already ranking for popular terms, take them and put them into Ubersuggest.

It will provide a list of long-tail phrases that people search for. Integrate those keywords (at least the ones that are related) into the same page that ranks for the main head phrase.

This one little hack will increase the traffic to your most popular pages within 30 to 60 days.

Just be careful when using this tactic because you can’t keyword stuff. You need to adjust the content to also be relevant to the long-tail phrases if you want this hack to work.

Hack #6: Don’t stop with email

Email marketing is something that most blogs and sites leverage. If you add in push notifications and you add in chatbots, however, you’ll double up the traffic you were getting from email.

In other words, if emails drive you 1,000 visitors a month, push and chatbots combined should also drive you at least another 1,000 visitors a month.

You also find that push notifications and chatbot notifications generate higher click-through rates than email, but they also receive substantially more unsubscribes.

So, the next time you are sending out an email, don’t forget to also send out that same message to your push notification and chatbot list.

Hack #7: Brand queries is the fastest way to increase rankings

No matter which industry you are going after, the more people that type in your brand name into Google and click on your site, the faster your rankings will climb.

And not just your rankings for brand related terms, more so for all of your terms.

If you want to boost your brand queries, you have to do crazy PR stunts. Companies like PRserve do them on a performance basis.

You can also monitor if the PR stunts are working by typing your brand name into Google Trends. This one trick helped me rank on page 1 for the term “online marketing.”

If you are successful with this strategy, you should see results within 2 or 3 months.

Hack #8: YouTube only cares about the first 24 hours

If you want to do well on YouTube, your video needs to do well in the first 24 hours. It’s the opposite of traditional SEO. On YouTube, you’ll rank right away and get tons of traffic if you can make sure the first 24 hours are successful.

Every time you release a video, promote it to your email list, push notification list, and messenger bot list. It’s a great way to ensure your video does well.

Hack #9: Facebook loves comments

One of the largest parts about Facebook’s algorithm is how many comments you generate. The more comments you generate the more views your videos will get and the more reach your status updates and posts will get.

Asking people to leave a simple comment helps more than a like or share.

For example, in a video, I may ask the question of… “Do you use voice search? If you do, leave a comment with yes and if you don’t, leave a comment with no.” It doesn’t matter what people type as their comment, but this is the easiest way to ensure you get 2 to 3 times more reach from Facebook’s algorithm.

I’ve tested this a handful of times and the key is to make it easy for your fans to leave a comment. If you ask them to type up a sentence or a paragraph, you’ll get fewer comments.

Hack #10: Adding the year to your title tag increases CTR

If a lot of your traffic is generating from your blog, the easiest way to boost your rankings is by getting a better click-through-rate than all of the other listings.

Adding the year in your title tag lets people know your content is up to date and relevant and typically it helps get more clicks than anything else.

For example, the title “The Complete List of SEO Tools (Updated in 2018)” would do better than “The Complete List of SEO Tools”.

Another example that worked well was, “How to Start a Blog in 2019.” That generated way more clicks as people want to know how to start a blog in today’s competitive environment.

On the flip side, if you add a year to your title tag and your content is old and outdated, you will get a lot of bounce backs, which means your rankings will go down. So be careful when using this hack.

Hack #11: Don’t put dates in your URL

A lot of bloggers and site owners put dates in their URL in hopes that news sites will crawl them.

Don’t do this!

I removed the dates in my URLs and my search traffic went up 58%. It was the easiest and dumbest marketing win I ever got. When I removed the date in my URLs, it took 30 days to see the results.

And if you leverage this hack, make sure you use 301 redirects and you update all of your internal links to the new URL.

Hack #12: Subdirectories over subdomains

People love using subdomains, but Google passes more juice to subfolders. When I changed blog.crazyegg.com to crazyegg.com/blog, I saw an instant 11% increase in search traffic.

Now, it didn’t happen overnight, but it was close enough… I saw the results within 7 days. Same when I moved the blog on TimothySykes.com into a subfolder.

If you are going to use this hack, you also need to change your internal links to the new URL and, of course, 301 redirect the old URLs to the new ones.

Hack #13: Hreflang works better with subdomains

I know above I said subdirectories work better than subdomains, but that is not true when you are translating your content into different languages.

For example, if you are expanding your website into Portuguese for Brazil you are better off creating URL structure that is br.yourdomain.com than youdomain.com/br/.

I need to fix this on NeilPatel.com still, but when I tested this on 2 other sites that focused on the global market, one saw a 17% increase in international search traffic within 3 months and the other saw a 23% increase in international search traffic within 3 months.

Hack #14: Start with the Link Intersect

Links still matter when it comes to SEO. And it will for a very long time because it is becoming harder to build them.

The easiest way to build them is by using the Link Intersect feature by Ahrefs. What this Ahrefs feature does is it shows you everyone who links to your competitors but not you.

If someone is linking to 3 or 4 of your competitors, this tells you that they don’t mind linking out and there is a good chance you can get them to link to you.

Hack #15: It’s easier to build up a personal brand

From social profiles to blog traffic, people relate more to personal brands than they relate to corporate brands.

If you want more followers on your social profiles and you want to quickly grow your traffic fast, make everything around a personal brand.

But keep in mind, a personal brand is harder to sell and grow into a multi-billion dollar company.

Hack #16: The best way to get podcast listeners is through an exit popup

If you want more listeners for your podcast, the best way is to add an exit popup to your mobile site.

And on your mobile exit popup, ask people to subscribe to your podcast. Don’t use the same exit popup for all mobile devices, you should be sending people who use iPhones to the iTunes Store and people using Android to their version of the iTunes store.

Keep in mind that showing an exit popup on mobile devices is irritating, so wait at least 30 seconds before you show mobile users an exit popup.

Hack #17: LinkedIn prefers video

If you want to get the most attention from LinkedIn, upload videos instead of text-based content. Videos on LinkedIn get 2 to 3 times more engagement than text.

So, if you want more traffic from LinkedIn, upload videos.

And if you want more traffic from any social network, look to see what type of content they are lacking. If you provide them with that type of content, you’ll notice that your traffic will go up.

Hack #18: Journeys and courses convert better than ebooks

Typically, most people offer ebooks in exchange for an email. And although it is more effective to give away an ebook in exchange for an email address than it is to ask people to opt into your newsletter, it still isn’t the best strategy.

If you offer a 30-day course or if you offer a journey, you’ll generate more email subscribers.

A good example of a 30-day course is, “30-Day Free Course: Double Your Traffic in 30 Days.” A good example of a journey is, “Follow My Journey to $100,000, I Am Learning a Lot and So Will You.”

Hack #19: Buying sites is cheaper than buying traffic

If you know certain pay-per-click terms convert extremely well, why not just buy a site that already ranks for all of those terms.

That’s what I did when I recently spent $500,000. I bought a website that already has traffic.

If you buy a site that already has the traffic, keep in mind that the traffic won’t convert as well as paid traffic.

With paid traffic, you are able to control your landing page more, limit the amount of text, and optimize for conversions. Nonetheless, it is still worth buying sites who already have your audience.

Hack #20: Quizzes collect more leads than lead forms

Most people collect leads by asking people to fill out lead forms. It’s not as effective as collecting leads through quizzes.

Here is a good example of this.

When I converted my lead form pages into a quiz, I increased my lead count by 281%.

If you don’t know how to create a lead generation quiz, you can always use tools like Lead Quizzes.

Hack #21: Tools generate more traffic than content marketing

The upfront cost is higher, but the long-term cost is significantly less.

For example, when I created the SEO Analyzer I put in around $25,000 in money and another $1,800 each month for hosting, but it consistently brings in 73,201 visitors a month.

Ubersuggest costs me more, but it brings in 492,394 visitors a month.

In general, tools are easier to maintain and are more affordable in the long run for how many visitors they generate.

Hack #22: Send paid traffic to content first

Marketing is like dating. You can’t expect to send cold traffic to a product or service and expect people to buy a high-ticket item.

You’ll find that paid advertising is much more effective and affordable for selling high ticket items if you send people to an educational piece of content such as a blog post. And then remarketing those visitors and then driving them to your product or service.

In the long run, this is cheaper if you are selling products for above $500 and it is more effective as paid ads to content are cheaper than paid ads to landing pages.

Hack #23: Facebook Info and Ads

Are you struggling to run Facebook Ads that convert and are profitable when you know your competitors are crushing it on Facebook? Well, struggle no more.

Go to your competitor’s fan page and in the left navigation bar click on “info and ads.” This will show you all of the ads that your competition is currently running.

Now when you create Facebook ads, start off by running similar ads to your competition. This will give you the best shot at success.

Hack #24: Respond to comments with a question

As I broke down in hack number 9, Facebook loves comments.

Another simple hack, which works for Facebook and every other social network, is to respond to comments answering their question and of course also asking another question.

This keeps the momentum going and it causes a portion of the people who left a comment to come back and leave another comment.

By doing this on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn, you will find yourself getting more reach for every single thing you share on each of those networks.

I know this hack sounds dumb, but it works really well and no one leverages it.

Hack #25: Don’t forget about the AMP framework

No one talks about Google’s AMP framework, but it is a simple way to get more mobile traffic.

If you are targeting traffic from the United States or even most parts of Europe like the UK or Germany, the AMP framework won’t give you a lift in traffic.

But if you are also targeting international markets where their infrastructure isn’t as great, AMP framework will give you a boost in search traffic.

For example, when I rolled out the AMP pages in Brazil, I got a 28% increase in mobile search traffic.

For markets where their infrastructure isn’t as developed and people rely on mobile devices, enabling the AMP framework will typically give you a 20 to 30% boost in mobile search traffic for those regions.

Hack #26: Webinars are the best way to sell ebooks and courses

If you want to monetize your blog, the best way is usually selling ebooks and courses. But driving people to a sales page to sell an ebook isn’t too effective.

Instead, if you create a webinar and then sell a $497 or $997 ebook/course, it is much more effective.

It’s so effective, in fact, that I am able to get 3.6 sales for every 100 webinar registrations. This video will teach you how to do it step-by-step.

Hack #27: Order bumps don’t hurt conversions, they help increase revenue

On your checkout page, you don’t just want people to buy, you want them to spend more money.

The easiest way to generate more revenue from each customer, without reducing your conversion rate, is order bumps.

As long as you make your order bump a really good deal, it can typically add $5 to $15 to every purchase on average.

If you don’t have an order bump, you should create one right away.

Hack #28: Share your content over and over again

You spend all of this time writing content, but then you spend very little time promoting it.

What most people do is write content and then share it on all of their social profiles. A few people send out email blasts notifying people about their content, which you should also do.

But if you want to double your social traffic, what I do is share the same piece of content 6 times throughout the next 12 months. In other words, retweet that content 6 times. Share the same post on LinkedIn a few times over the next 12 months.

As for Facebook, sharing the same URL over and over again doesn’t work, but the other social networks are fine with this.

This one simple hack has doubled the amount of traffic I get from social sites on a monthly basis. Best of all, no one really complains as the majority of your social connects won’t see the content the first time you post it.

Conclusion

I know some of the hacks I mentioned above seem simple, but they work. And if I had to bet you a dollar, you don’t do most of those “simple” hacks.

No matter what vertical you are marketing in, it’s competitive. You aren’t going to find one hack that’ll drastically increase your traffic. You’ll find that you need to do a lot of little things.

But don’t take them for granted because all of those little things add up to a massive amount of traffic over time.

What other hacks do you leverage to increase traffic and sales?

The post My Secret Playbook: 28 Hacks Guaranteed to Grow Your Traffic and Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Google Analytics 360: The Features Worth $150k a Year

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/google-analytics-360/

For many, Google Analytics 360 is a black box. Marketing and sales collateral from Google is spartan, and common refrains about key features—like unsampled data—seem unworthy of a six-figure bill for most sites.

That disconnect exists because many, myself included, have understood Google Analytics 360 primarily as an expansion of the data caps we encounter with the free version. As it turns out, those caps represent a fraction of overall value—like differentiating a presidential suite from a standard room based on square footage.

Charles Farina of Analytics Pros, who has used Google Analytics 360 for years, gave me an hour-long walkthrough of the platform to highlight the most meaningful differences: those that drive ROI.

Google Analytics 360 overview

Google Analytics 360 (GA360) is one of seven components of the Google Marketing Platform. With paid access to GA360—$150,000 per year, billed monthly at $12,500 with an annual contract—users also get access to 360 versions of other products:

The announcement of the Google Marketing Platform, in June 2018, combined paid ad platforms and the Google Analytics 360 Suite. (Image source)

The GA360 license is all-inclusive: There are no tiers or additional features to unlock. (Users get credits toward BigQuery; extensive querying of GA data in BigQuery could generate added costs.)

Some differences in functionality between 360 versions and their free counterparts are limited. Tag Manager 360, for example, touts “enterprise level support” as the primary benefit.

This post focuses on Analytics 360 and the integrations with other platform products that occur within the Google Analytics UI.

Google Analytics 360 vs Google Analytics

Dry lists of feature comparisons are available in other posts, like this one from Blast Analytics or this one from Google. I won’t replicate those resources here, but a few oft-cited, quantitative differences are worth mentioning:

Sampling. The free version of GA begins sampling data for non-default reports that exceed 500,000 sessions. GA360 doesn’t begin sampling data until reports exceed 100 million sessions. The free version also stops recording data at 10 million hits per month compared to 2 billion for GA360.
Time lag. GA360 pushes all data into its reporting interface within four hours and often does so in a matter of minutes. That near-real-time data entry is faster than the free version, which usually takes a full day to process data.
Export size. GA360 allows 3 million rows; the free version offers 50,000.
Custom dimensions and metrics. GA360 offers 200 of each compared to the free version, which provides 20.

And yet, most businesses are not another custom dimension (or 50) away from actionable data; few make different decisions because their data is based on 87% of all sessions. (As Farina noted, “if you have 50% sampling, it’s still very likely that the data is directional.”)

Other well-known differences focus less on raw numbers and more on enterprise business needs:

Roll-up reporting. GA360 allows users to roll up reporting from multiple properties efficiently with capabilities not available in the free version—deduplicating users, stitching sessions, inheriting custom dimensions and metrics, etc.
Data-driven attribution modeling. GA360 moves beyond the standard attribution models available in the free version and—using machine learning—creates custom attribution models with data from GA and connected accounts, including TV ad buys.

A report showing weighted attribution in Attribution 360, which allows users to create custom attribution models for GA data.

Each of the above features enables the collection of more data, improves the quality of data, or increases the accuracy of calculations from it. Still, those differences only hint at the bottom-line benefits of GA360, which center on:

Connections between Google Analytics data and personally identifiable information.
Integrations with a wider range of ad networks.
Granular, actionable data visualizations.

Farina walked me through each.

The Google Analytics 360 benefits that generate ROI
1. Connections between Google Analytics data and personally identifiable information

In a previous agency job, I’d seen clients switch from Google Analytics to Adobe Analytics for one reason—to connect anonymous analytics data to specific users. Google Analytics has unambiguous warnings about collecting personally identifiable information (PII), which chases some to Adobe:

(Image source)

A platform change for that reason, it turns out, is unwarranted—if you take your GA data to the international waters of BigQuery.

BigQuery

BigQuery, part of the Google Cloud Platform, is a fully managed data warehouse. Integrating GA data with BigQuery is possible only with GA360. BigQuery starts with 13 months of historical GA data, collecting new data indefinitely moving forward.

“At the end of the day,” Farina explained, “if you can get data into BigQuery and you have a question you can write to that data, BigQuery will go out and answer that question without you having to worry about storage or compute or memory.”

BigQuery bridges the gap between anonymous GA IDs and CRM data.

It is possible to export data from the free version of GA into another platform, but the process is incomplete and doesn’t scale: It relies on the GA API—a source of report data but not raw data—or a plugin, like the one for Google Sheets.

Because it has different Terms of Service, BigQuery can join GA data with PII—from your CRM or anything else you choose to connect. Once data is in BigQuery, SQL scripts return a user-by-user table with the requested data:

BigQuery can join data in GA to a CRM via, for example, a hidden field in a contact form that passes the anonymous GA ID into a field tied to an individual ID in a CRM.

As Farina detailed, some companies use BigQuery as their primary data warehouse; others treat BigQuery as a way station before passing data on (via export) to a preferred cloud storage system.

(BigQuery is HIPPA compliant, making it a viable repository for medical data or, consequently, any other type of personal data.)

GA360 and Salesforce integration

In 2017, Google announced a partnership with Salesforce; the two companies deepened that partnership in 2018. (Salesforce is now a reseller of GA360.) The collaboration yielded several integrations. Those with access to both products can:

Move Salesforce data from Sales Cloud into GA360 for attribution reports, bid optimization, and audience creation.
Push GA360 data into the Salesforce Marketing Cloud reporting UI.
Connect GA360 audiences to Salesforce Marketing Cloud for inclusion in Salesforce campaigns (e.g. email, SMS).
Create audience lists from customer interactions in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Import Salesforce Sales Cloud user attributes, Einstein Lead Scoring, and ecommerce metrics into GA360.

Those integrations enable the creation of funnels like the one below, which draws on data from both platforms:

The Salesforce integration lets users create funnels with GA and Salesforce data. (Image source)

In another use case Farina suggested, companies could customize email content based on browsing behavior. If you manage a daily digest for The Seattle Times, for example, you could include more sports stories for sports junkies and more political headlines for partisans.

I asked Farina if the Salesforce integration was likely the first of many GA–CRM connections. But the Google–Salesforce partnership, Farina speculated, is unique: “Google doesn’t have a strong martech—no email tool, CRM, CMS; Salesforce doesn’t have enterprise analytics.”

The decision to integrate Salesforce with GA360, he continued, arose from the ongoing consolidation of martech stacks by Adobe: Adobe purchased Marketo in 2018, pressuring Google and Salesforce to offer a competitive alternative.

2. Integrations with a wider range of ad networks

Ad spend, rather than total traffic, may be the easiest way to justify a GA360 investment. If you’re currently spending $100,000 per month in Google Ads, Farina postulated, how much more efficient could you be with GA360? A 10% increase in efficiency would nearly cover the cost of GA360.

Not surprisingly, Google has case studies detailing strong improvements:

Panasonic used GA360 to increase the return on advertising spend (ROAS) by 30%.
Moncler’s GA360 investment delivered a 35% improvement to their ROAS.

The free version of Google Analytics already includes robust (yet underused) integrations with Google Ads. As Farina highlighted, you can build segments based on a combination of conditions, then export that audience to Google Ads for remarketing.

GA360 extends the capabilities available for Google Ads to other platforms and networks, like Campaign Manager, as well as non-Google networks, like Index Exchange, in Display & Video 360.

Display & Video 360
Display & Video 360 extends GA functionality for Google Ads to more ad networks.

Display & Video 360 pulls click- and view-through data from display and video ads into Google Analytics. The ability to include display view-throughs in Multi-Channel Funnels strengthens attribution models. In the example below, the eye icon represents display impressions:

View-through data sheds light on potential catalysts for conversions from direct or organic sessions. Adding a secondary dimension, like Campaign, identifies instances when display impressions for a particular campaign were not the first brand interaction (and, therefore, deserve less credit in any attribution model):

Because the data exists in BigQuery as well, audiences transition fluidly between anonymous Google Analytics users and known leads or customers in a CRM.

Thus, the value of GA360 is not merely getting more granular data on ad impressions but attaching that data to real users for smarter retargeting or tailored email campaigns.

3. Granular, actionable data visualizations

Two high-value data visualizations are unique to GA360: Custom Funnels and Advanced Analysis.

Custom Funnels

Building a useful funnel in the free version of Google Analytics, Farina conceded, is nearly impossible. In GA360, it’s simple—agonizingly so for those who have labored through funnel creation or analysis in the standard version.

Farina demonstrated how GA360 translates any combination of variables into a funnel in seconds:

Custom Funnels are easy to create and simple to export as an audience or segment.

Like other GA360 features, the primary benefit of Custom Funnels is not only visualizing user behavior but translating that visualization into action through export to a marketing automation platform.

Advanced Analysis

Advanced Analysis, still in Google’s beta purgatory, “sits very closely between Data Studio and Analytics,” according to Farina.

Its drag-and-drop interface offers several report types, including a Segment Overlap that identifies users who share characteristics. That visualization, in turn, is available for export back into Analytics, where you can drill down from the audience level to the individual user:

Advanced Analysis combines elegant visualization with granular user information.
Product-market fit and alternative solutions

A common refrain from Farina was that GA360 is an enterprise product—most users fail to max out the capabilities of the free version and wrongly assume that an unsampled report or limited export holds back analysis and growth.

Companies that are a good product-market fit for GA360 likely fall into one of three categories:

Extremely high-traffic sites. According to Quantcast, about 600 U.S. sites generate more than 1 million monthly visitors—enough so that a month’s worth of data is sampled below the 50% threshold. For those sites (and many with less traffic), an enterprise analytics tool is essential.
Large B2B companies that already use Salesforce. The managed integration of Google Analytics and Salesforce data would likely cover the costs for any independent effort to bind analytics and CRM data.
Companies with high ad spend. As noted earlier, a $100,000 monthly ad spend requires a 12.5% increase in efficiency to cover the cost of GA360.

What about alternative analytics platforms like Heap, Segment, or similar options? Where do they fit into the analytics conversation?

To Farina, they’re good options for “advanced businesses with small data sets that don’t have the ad spend, volume, or are not yet at a level where $12,500 per month is something that they can allocate.”

A potential challenge of a patchwork system, Farina continued, is aligning all teams on the same data:

Even if you use Heap, it’s likely that Google Analytics is still a primary tool that marketing uses, where Heap might be something that the data science team starts to use more.

And the challenge that we’ve seen again and again is that, at that point, you have two different data sets and two different implementations and two different sets of metrics and conversions.

That can be a real challenge, especially when the data is not directional between platforms, and you get into this area where no one trusts it, no one is using it, and you’re not getting value out of either side.

I asked Farina a final question: If Google is worried about competition from Adobe, why not just give away other 360 features for free? Or charge $100 per month?

Some aspects of Google Analytics 360 are a clear drain on server resources, but others, like the ability to connect GA data to a CRM, could quickly undermine a primary selling point for Adobe.

“There’s a user journey,” Farina argued. “We already have great solutions for mid-market. You can use something like Google Analytics and add Segment or Heap if you’re not at the level of being able to benefit from a Google Analytics 360 or Adobe.”

Conclusion

If you continually bump up against the data caps of the free version of Google Analytics, a switch to Google Analytics 360 may be necessary—even though the business case might remain murky. You’ll get more complete data, but how will you drive more revenue with it?

The key benefits of GA360, then, are about putting data to work:

Using BigQuery to connect on-site behavior with individual users for targeting via marketing automation platforms.
Exporting tailored audiences in Google Analytics back into ad platforms for smarter remarketing.
Using integrated ad spend data to create more reliable attribution models that, in turn, dictate ad spend.

Ultimately, Farina’s reference to the “user journey” applies to more than the analytics platform. It also includes overall marketing maturity: Even user-specific data or actionable attribution modeling will fail to deliver ROI unless those insights direct marketing efforts beyond analytics.

The post Google Analytics 360: The Features Worth $150k a Year appeared first on CXL.

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The 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report

sourced from: https://conversionxl.com/blog/2018-conversion-optimization-report/

To assess the State of the Conversion Optimization Industry in 2018, we gave a 26 question survey to 701 people who work in the optimization space.

This year we partnered with VWO, the all-in-one platform that helps you conduct visitor research, build an optimization roadmap, and run continuous experimentation. This partnership resulted in a great success as we were able to reach more than double respondents compared to last year (701 vs. 333).

This is the third issue of our report (the first was published in 2016) and—with three datasets available—we begin to see some trends.

This post outlines some of our findings. You can download the full report for free here.

Some major findings this year:

Global trends for prioritizing and investing in CRO;
Which industry (Ecommerce, Lead Gen, SaaS, Agencies) is investing more in CRO;
The biggest struggles of CROs;
How much CROs make (by industry and work experience).

Let’s begin…

Demographics: The profile of an optimizer
Gender

CRO professionals are mostly male. The imbalance was evident in 2016, and the trend seems to be continuing (at least in our sample population). The female CRO population decreased from 27.6% (2016) to 17.3% (2018).

Age group

Concerning age, there is no big change from the previous year. Almost 50% of the CRO population is in the 30–40 age group.

Female CROs seem to be younger; they’re equally distributed in the age groups 20–30 and 30–40.

Location

While a plurality of survey responses came from the United States (30.6%), we received responses from 68 Countries.

Four countries—United States, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and Canada (ordered by number of respondents)—account for 54% of all responses.

Company type

The proportion of CRO professionals working in-house and those working at an agency (or freelance) has remained stable throughout the three years of the survey. This year, 56.7% reported working in-house; 43.3% work with clients.

Most CROs work at an agency (or as freelancers) or in ecommerce. All other industries combined—SaaS, Lead Gen, Publishing/Media, Non-profit/Government) make up just 34.9% of the total.

We spotted one trend: The percentage of professionals working in ecommerce is decreasing while the percentage of those working in agencies (or freelancing) is increasing.

Note: We still do not have enough data on the Publishing/Media or Non-Profit/Government sectors, so we will not focus on those when comparing industry trends.

Most respondents (51.9%) work exclusively on optimization of desktop and mobile websites. As in previous years, very few optimize mobile applications.

Salary

In 2018, the average salary of CROs is $69,238 ($64,984 in 2017, $71,340 in 2016).

In 2016, the United States had the highest average salary at $87,926; in 2017, Australia took the prize with an average salary of $88,676. This year, the United States wins the crown with a whopping $95,431.

Among the top four countries (by number of respondents), the lowest salaries were in The Netherlands, where a CRO professional makes an average of $56,847.

By industry, SaaS companies pay more than others. CROs working in SaaS make an average of $84,294; no other industry reaches the $70k mark. The Publishing/Media industry has the lowest average pay, with a salary of just $48,750.

So, if you want to make big money as a CRO expert, should you be based in the United States and work in the SaaS industry? Yes! Survey data backs this up (brilliant), with 47 (wealthy) respondents in this very situation who make an average of $109,680 per year.

On the other side of the spectrum, you probably don’t want to live in The Netherlands and work in the Publishing/Media Industry: You would have just $49,166 to show for one year of CRO efforts.

But before you pack your things to move to the United States: Salary correlates strongly with experience:

You need several years of CRO experience before you can score big numbers.

(If you want to expedite that personal development—and earn the commensurate salary—you need to know your stuff. At CXL Institute, we teach CROs the strategies and tactics of top practitioners.)

Work Experience

Speaking of experience, 62.4% of respondents have been working in the CRO space for less than 4 years and 81.7% for less than 6 years. CRO is still a very young industry.

The CRO process

A company is only as good as its processes. Processes achieve consistent, long-term results. But do you know what CROs reported as their biggest struggle in 2018?

The lack of a well-defined, efficient process.

Here are the relevant questions we asked:

Who does optimization in your organization?
How often do you meet with others on your optimization team to discuss CRO?
Does your team have a conversion optimization process that you follow?
Do you have a formal conversion/user-research process you use for extracting insights?
Do you have a test prioritization framework that you follow?
Approximately how many online experiments (tests) does your team run every month?

CRO and teamwork

Companies take CRO seriously: In over 60% of cases, CRO is in the hands of a specific person or a dedicated team.

Across all industries, only 15.8% of respondents stated that “Optimization is nobody’s primary job.”

Ecommerce, SaaS, and Lead Gen companies are investing in CRO. Over 30% of respondents working in these industries report working on a CRO team (with 25% working independently on CRO).

Not surprisingly, agencies are the most likely to have a CRO team (40%).

CRO meetings

CRO meetings are most often held weekly..or not at all. Some 30.6% of respondents report weekly meetings, while 29.2% report meeting “only when necessary.”

Among those having at least one CRO meeting per week (daily or weekly), three industries stand out: Ecommerce (51.7%), Lead Gen (46.6%), Agencies/Freelancers (45.1%). All the other industries scored below average.

The CRO process in detail

When it comes to a CRO process, the SaaS industry lags behind. While 23.7% of companies have no structured process, the percentage of SaaS Companies with no process is 31.7%.

Ecommerce and Agencies are the most structured, beating the average of 37.6% that have a “documented/structured” process with 44.1% and 41.0%, respectively.

In 2018, the percentage of Companies without a formal research approach is almost the same as in 2017 (38–39%). There is an increase in the percentage of those who created their own process and a decrease of those using borrowed process, including ResearchXL.

We see this as a positive sign that indicates an increasing level of commitment to CRO activities.

Among companies with their own research process (39.4%), Agencies/Freelancers (43.5%) and Lead Gen (41.9%) stand out. Ecommerce is on par with the average, and SaaS lags behind (33.7%).

Another important component of the overall CRO process is the system used for the prioritization of tests. While most companies use a test prioritization framework, 43.6% just wing it. Things are getting better—it was 47.1% in 2017.

Ecommerce companies and Agencies beat the average when it comes to investing in an “in-house” tool.

CRO execution

Most companies (68.2%) do not execute more than four tests per month. SaaS and Leag Gen companies are equally “slow” while Agencies are leading the way, with 39% executing more than four tests per month.

A slow rate of testing by in-house teams is one reason why companies outsource CRO work to agencies (like our own CXL Agency).

Agencies live and die by the ROI they deliver to clients, motivating investments in better systems and teamwork, which return higher execution speed—and greater ROI (more on that below).

Tracking results and ROI

A good process should be self-improving; there should be procedures in place to learn from experience and modify the process as necessary. This is possible only if results are handled and evaluated properly and shared across the CRO team.

To get a good idea of what’s going on in the CRO Industry, we asked the following binary questions:

Is the percentage of winning tests tracked?
Is the average lift per test tracked?
Are CRO test results shared across your team?

Lead Gen companies scored “Yes” most often, followed closely by Ecommerce organizations.

When we asked, “How are CRO test results typically archived?”, we found a gradual trend towards better results handling. Only 20.7% of respondents fail to archive results, an improvement from the 24.1% we measured in 2016.

Most companies still export and archive full data with screenshots, but more than a third (a 36.6% cross-industry average) opt for specific archiving tools or testing tools with built-in archives.

Proving the ROI

As we learned from this survey, proving the ROI of CRO activities is one of the top six struggles of CROs. (You don’t have to guess the other struggles—just keep reading.) If your leadership doesn’t believe that conversion optimization will yield returns, that’s a big problem when you have to get buy-in.

Does CRO work?

In the survey, we asked participants to rate the results of their CRO efforts. Most respondents (56.4%) reported better results compared to the previous year, while 37% declared they achieved the same results.

The Lead Gen industry stands out, with 65.9% achieving better results than in 2017. But of course, “better” results don’t necessarily mean “very profitable” results.

To understand the perception of the ROI within organizations, let’s see how they’ve changed their CRO budget and priorities in 2018. Some 60.8% report that, in their organizations, CRO activities are given more priority than in 2017.

Again, professionals in the LeadGen Industry paint the best picture, scoring 65.9%. (Same percentage, same industry: It seems that getting results pays off.)

Only 7.8% of Companies are making CRO less of a priority in 2018.

But money is the final (and definitive) indicator of the effectiveness of conversion optimization, and only 45.0% of respondents report a bigger CRO budget than last year. Even in Lead Gen companies, a budget came in only 54.6% of cases.

This means that, although the perceived effectiveness of conversion optimization has made it more of a priority, that effectiveness has not driven a majority of organizations to put more money into CRO.

In most cases (over 90%), CRO still does not have a dedicated budget but is part of the overall budget or marketing budget. However, in 2018, 57.9% of companies specifically mention CRO in the budget. (It was 53% in 2017.)

Trends in testing

Here it comes the fun part: tests!

In the survey, we asked participants to rate the usefulness of different testing methods. Here is the list, ordered by the average score each method totaled:

Digital Analytics
A/B Testing
UX/Design
Copywriting
Psychology/Persuasion
User Testing
Customer Surveys
Personalization
Click Maps/Scroll Maps/Mouse Hover Maps
Website Polls
Eye Tracking
Biometric Research

The ranking is exactly the same as in 2107.

Some 97.6% of participants report running A/B/n tests, and 65.4% run exclusively A/B/n tests.

Compared to 2017, A/B/n increased in popularity; MVT is stable in the 31–32% range, although it has increased 25% increase compared to 2016.

Bandit tests are the least common, run by just 8.4% of our sample population.

Some 52.8% of CROs responding to our survey do not have a standardized stopping point for A/B testing—no change compared to 2017.

The biggest struggles

This year we asked an open-ended question: “In one sentence or phrase, what is your biggest CRO/Optimization challenge today?”

We collected 580 responses on this one, with a length ranging from 4 to 328 characters. (And, yes, the four-character answers were meaningful: “time.”) We analyzed each answer and identified 39 recurring topics.

After that, we created a scoring system based on the length of the answer (as suggested by Ryan Levesque in his book Ask), and we scored the topics. This method allowed us to sort topics (struggles) and assign a weight to the pain they cause.

According to this scoring system, 50% of the pain is caused by just six struggles:

Establishing a process
Learning/training
Educating clients
Proving ROI
Time and budget constraints
Integrating CRO into the business

Establish a sound process for CRO is by far the most common struggle—and the one that got the longest answers.

Almost all of the struggles mentioned above are internal struggles, meaning they arise not from external circumstances but from within the organization. This means that they can largely be fixed within the organization, too.

That brings us to the next batch of struggles, the ones that take our pain coverage from 50% to 80%:

Getting management onboard
Getting clients
Wrong expectations
Traffic
Building a CRO team
Client participation
Technical skills
Cooperation between development units

In this second batch, only two struggles are external: traffic and client participation. Everyone in the CRO space has experienced at least a few of the 14 struggles above. Curious about the other 15 struggles? Download the full report here.

Conclusion

Overall, there are largely positive changes compared to 2017, and we were able to dive deeper on how different industries are investing in CRO: Lead Gen has taken the lead, followed closely by Ecommerce and Agencies. SaaS still lags a bit behind, but not by far.

We are thrilled for what is coming in 2019 and we can’t wait to launch a new survey!

Wanna be in the 2019 Survey?

Over the three years that we’ve conducted this survey, we’ve noticed that CRO specialists tend to go by different job titles. This makes it hard to identify them correctly and to get in touch with them for a survey like this one.

Here are some job titles a CRO expert might go by:

Analyst
Conversion Optimizer
Conversion Specialist/Consultant/Strategist
CRO Specialist
Director of Optimization
Director of Marketing
Ecommerce Manager
Digital Marketing Analyst
Growth Hacker / Head of Growth
Digital Marketing Manager
Growth Marketing Manager
UX Analyst
Product Manager
Web Analyst
And so many more…

If you are a CRO specialist and want to participate in the 2019 Survey, leave us your email in this form. We’ll get in touch with you when the time comes to collect new data.

Download the full report—with more charts and data—here.

The post The 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report appeared first on CXL.