Category: Digital Marketing

How to Use Color to Increase Conversions

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Did you know that 92.6% of people say that the visual dimension is the number one driver of their purchase decision (over other dimensions like taste and smell)? No wonder, colors have a significant impact on your website’s conversion rates.

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How to Boost Your Conversion Rate by 49%

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Did you know that only one in seven A/B split tests boost conversions? Now, don’t let this fact dampen your enthusiasm for split testing your way to conversion success.

When done right, testing can actually increase your conversion rate by 49%. To find out how to create tests that will produce significant results, check out the following infographic from QuickSprout:


Even We Were Surprised When Our Digital Marketing Campaign Grew Our Client’s Revenues by 278%

Is it possible to use digital marketing and a brand make-over to increase revenues 278% in just 6 months?

If you’d asked me that question a year ago, I would have said you were crazy. But when we were asked to use digital marketing and a brand make-over to kick-start an organization’s sales, we decided to do everything we could to turn things around for them.

To our great surprise, it worked.

In fact, it worked better than we expected. And all we had at our disposal was a modest digital marketing budget and a team of smart, hardworking professionals (both on the agency and the client side).

The Secret to a Digital Marketing Make-Over? Start with a Blank Slate.

To kick things off, it’ll help you to know a little bit about our client. The organization had developed an online training program for people interested in yoga and meditation. The program was called Inner Engineering and sales had been flat for quite some time.

By the way, while I’m thinking about it, it’s important to note that not everything we did for them was successful. In fact, two things we did for them (PR and direct mail) failed miserably. That said, all of our efforts were designed to be measured in some way, so that once we ran the campaign, we could choose to run it again or kill it, depending on the results.

So what was our process? Here goes:

Step 1: We analyzed their competitor’s messaging strategy. The first thing we did was to examine the competitors in the industry (loosely defined as the Human Development Industry). You’ll be familiar with some of their competitors because they have excellent brand recognition — they include Deepak Chopra, Transcendental Meditation, Eckhart Tolle and others. (We even included Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield in the competitive review. They don’t offer yoga and meditation courses, but they do they work in the Human Development industry, so we wanted to see what they were doing to be so successful.)

By examining the competitive landscape, we were able to plot out where our program, taught by an Indian Guru named Sadhguru, would fit into the landscape.

Here’s a graphic that shows how we plotted out the industry landscape on a 2×2:

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Now that we had a sense of where the competitors were, we were able to start exploring how we were going to position our client’s product in the marketplace. But before we did that, we had to examine the existing website to analyze its strengths and weaknesses.

Step 2: We acknowledged the weaknesses of the original website. Our next step was to take a look at the existing website. As you can see in the image below, for the U.S. target market, the site would come across as overly-cluttered and wouldn’t express the sense of peace and calm we felt the new site would need.

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Step 3: We came to grips with the target market. After doing some initial research into the target market, we realized something important — there are vast portions of the U.S. population who will never be interested in an online yoga and meditation training course.

By our best estimate, about half of the country would be seriously interested in doing an online yoga and meditation program taught by an Indian guru.

With that in mind, we decided to incorporate a strategy that is often used by political parties. When the Democrats and Republicans survey the American landscape, the initially group each state into one of three categories — states they have locked-up, states that are on the fence, and states that they’ll never win in a thousand years.

The low hanging fruit, of course, are the states the political parties have locked up. Their goal here is to spend very efficiently, but not to waste budget. The states that are on the fence get the biggest share of the budget, because the political party’s goal is to get those states to swing over to their platform. The states that get little or no budget are the states they’ll never win in a thousand years.

Using that approach, we divided our target market into 3 groups — people who were likely to take the course (provided they knew about it); people who might consider taking the course; and people who would be very difficult to persuade to take the course.

We then developed personas around these 3 target groups and wrote up a short profile about each, highlighted in the graphic below.

We did a realistic assessment of the target market as outlined below.

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Another Digital Marketing Secret? Analyze How Your Prospects Navigate the Sales Funnel.

The goal for most digital marketing campaigns is to add leads to the top of the sales funnel so that you can slowly nurture them through the funnel and convert them to customers.

It sounds easy, but it’s not.

As Jeanne Hopkins (the former Vice President of Marketing for HubSpot) told me, “If generating leads were easy, everybody would be doing it.”

Truer words were never spoken.

All that said, the starting point for a digital marketing campaign is to do an analysis of how prospects will be nurtured through the sales funnel.

Here’s the sales funnel analysis we conducted that gave us a roadmap on how to move forward.

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After reviewing their sales funnel and helping the client understand the different mindsets that happen throughout, we started to explore key messages that the potential customers would be interested in. Over the course of time, we took a look at dozens of different key messages and came to the joint conclusion that the prospective customer was most interested in three things.

Here are the three messages we felt provided the biggest opportunity for success:

• Stress reduction

• Improved relationships

• Increased mental clarity

In addition to zeroing in on our key messages, we also wanted to review the consumer thought process. As Dr. Flint McLaughlin at Marketing Sherpa taught me, one of the most important things you can do when creating a landing page is to understand the consumer thought process.

With Dr. McLaughlin’s teachings in mind, here’s the consumer thought process our prospects would go through when they first arrived at our landing pages:

• Where am I?

• What do they have that will solve my problem of stress, relationships or mental clarity?

• Is this different from what I’ve already experienced? What are the benefits?

• Is this credible?

• How much does it cost?

• Do they have a special offer/incentive?

Our next step was to block out what the landing page would look like as a way to explore how we were going to help the consumer on their journey. Here’s what that looked like:

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In addition to working through the fundamentals of the consumer thought process as well as the landing page design, we wanted to explore what tone of voice the brand would take on. In order to do that, we plotted out contrasting tonalities and explored where we needed to move those tonalities as we launched the re-branded site.

Here’s the brand tone analysis we developed that helped us fine-tune their brand tone of voice.

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The blue dots where where their current brand tone was. So, as an example, on the bottom spectrum, you can see their brand tone gravitated too far towards towards mysterious. Our recommendation was to move them more towards the red dot on the left where they would be seen as more open.

The same was true on the contemporary vs. traditional spectrum. Our goal was to move them away from a traditional tone of voice and more towards a contemporary tone of voice.

In addition to a brand tone analysis, we also developed a visual analysis that helped us explore where to take them graphically.

We knew that colors, textures, and graphics were going to be pivotal in our brand make-over. With that in mind, we analyzed three different directions we could take the brand aesthetic.

The first, see below, was called Classic Cool and represented an updated, East Coast aesthetic that was reminiscent of Ralph Lauren.

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In the end, we decided that Classic Cool was too elitist to appeal to a broad audience, so we explored another aesthetic called American Heartland that looked like this.

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As much as we liked the American Heartland brand aesthetic, it still felt too traditional for our target market, so we developed a third aesthetic, which was called California Cool. You can see that one here.

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The graphics seen above pointed us in a good direction, but we still needed to drill down, so we started exploring color themes that we felt would work when we re-launched the brand. Here’s what we ended up with from a color theme point-of-view.

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Now that we had settled on many of the brand elements, it was time to put pen to paper and build out the website.

By Doing a Little Digging, We Uncovered a Secret Weapon That Transformed the Campaign.

One of the key things we wanted to do when we re-launched the website was to feature testimonials from people who had taken the online course or who had said good things about Sadhguru. In one of our multitude of brainstorming meetings, we uncovered an as-yet-to-be-revealed nugget of information — Ariana Huffington, Donna Karan and Ed Begley were fans of Sadhguru and had publicly said some very kind things about him.

That was a goldmine.

What better way to add credibility to a brand than to have respected thought leaders saying positive things about it?

So, of course, we introduced testimonials from these three celebrities smack dab in the middle of the home page. Our intent was to get visitors comfortable with the idea of an online course from an Indian guru by showing them celebrities who were already fans. That way, we would be able to ease people in to the sales funnel and ultimately convert them into customers.

In the end, the re-designed website incorporated all of the brand aethetics and messaging that I’ve referenced above. Here’s what the re-designed website looked like.

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As you can see, the new website design was more friendly, less cluttered, and more contemporary than the original design. The openness and minimalism was designed to ease people in to website so that they felt comfortable and relaxed.

You Might be Surprised by This, but We Were Disappointed by the Initial Results.

What were the results of the re-launch? I would love to tell you that we hit a grand slam right off the bat, but that wasn’t the case. Our digital marketing campaign that launched to support the brand make-over had some good things going for it, but we had to scramble to quickly make adjustments to the overall campaign.

For starters, the conversion rate on the landing pages was better than the original site, but not as high as we wanted. So, we began A/B split testing new landing pages with different designs and different messages. Ultimately, we were able to more than double the conversion rate of the original landing pages.

But that wasn’t all we had to do. We also realized that our paid search campaign was going to struggle to convert. Why? In a nutshell, nobody is going to buy an expensive online course the first time they click through to the landing page.

Given that, we had to supercharge our email marketing campaign. In other words, we had to drop people into the top of the sales funnel so that we could build a relationship with them that would ultimately result in a sale over time.

Within months, we started to see the results get better and better. About 2 months after our re-launch, we started to turn the corner. By the 4th month, we had more than doubled their sales. And by the 6th month, we increased monthly revenues by more than 350%. (Ultimately, we averaged out to a 278% increase in sales, which is why the headline of the post uses that figure.)

Three Secrets We Learned During This Journey.

We learned a great deal during the re-launch of the Inner Engineering brand. It wasn’t always easy, and I have to give credit to the client whose inquisitive mind and attention to detail forced us to keep drilling deeper and deeper for insights and information.

With all of that in mind, here are some things you should consider if you decide to move forward with a re-launch of your own.

Clean the Slate. Your re-launch will yield the best results if you allow your agency to start with a blank slate. That’s not always possible, but if it is, give them that kind of flexibility.

Think Backwards. One of the best things we did was to get inside the mind of our prospect and think backwards from there. By having a customer-centric approach, we knew that our end result would meet them where they wanted to be met.

Test Your Way to Success. As mentioned, the digital marketing campaign wasn’t a grand slam the minute we re-lauched the site. But the fact that we measured all of our results allowed us to track what was working and what wasn’t. By adjusting the program along the way, we were able to optimize the campaign, which resulted in a 278% average monthly increase in revenues vs. the previous same year period.

I’ve covered a lot of ground here. Believe it or not, this is only about half the story. If you’d like to hear the rest of the details, feel free to email me. I’m more than happy to share some of the additional details via email.

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and SIXTY an Atlanta-based advertising and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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What Every Advertising Agency Executive and CMO Should Know About Digital Media

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If you work in an advertising agency or as a marketing director at a corporation, you may have heard a lot of buzz about Programmatic Media Buying and Real Time Bidding.

What is Programmatic Media Buying? In a nutshell, it’s essentially computerized media buying, although that may be an oversimplification. Peter Naylor, former evp at NBCUniversal says that Programmatic is “…advertising’s newer, better mousetrap. (It’s) a catchall term that many people are using to categorize everything from behavioral and intent-based targeting to real-time bidding and exchange-based buying of inventory.”

But Programmatic isn’t the only thing you need to understand. You should also wrap your mind around Real Time Bidding.

Real-time bidding (RTB) refers to the means by which ad inventory is bought and sold on a per-impression basis, via programmatic instantaneous auction, similar to financial markets.

That definition probably didn’t clear things up much, but fear not — our friends at Fiksu created an infographic that does a good job of laying out what Programmatic is and what Real Time Bidding is, and how both of those technologies can be leveraged in mobile.

The infographic begins to introduce some of the important concepts around digital marketing that you should know about. It doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a great start.

Speaking of which, if you want to learn more about digital marketing, programmatic and real time bidding, stay tuned to these pages. We posted a great overview of the important concepts in digital marketing on this post last week, and will be doing more and more posts on this topic as the days go on.

In the meantime, check out the infographic below. It’s a great overview about a quickly-evolving topic and should get you headed in the right direction on some of the more complex and sophisticated topics that are coming down the digital marketing highway as we speak.


How to Use Digital Marketing to Grow Your Sales and Revenues

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Are you interested in learning more about digital marketing? If so, then you’ll want to read a new book on the subject called Targeted: How Technology is Revolutionizing Advertising and the Way Companies Reach Consumer by Mike Smith and published by AMACOM.

I’ve been in the digital marketing and advertising business business for several decades. One of the things that has kept me interested is that the industry is in a constant state of flux and change. Sometimes, those changes can be very good news for businesses because if they jump on a new technology or technique, they can differentiate themselves from their competitors.

But other times, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on all the changes and new technologies that are being introduced.

That’s Why Targeted is Such a Valuable Resource

Mike Smith has done a terrific job of laying out the world of digital marketing in consumable and digestible chunks. Each concept is laid out carefully with just the right amount of detail so that you’re not overwhelmed and are always asking for more.

What follows is an excerpt from the book which provides an overview of the digital marketing landscape — an important subject for anyone interested in learning more about all the different players in the digital marketing world.

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Targeted, by Mike Smith, is a must read for anyone interested in digital marketing.

Publishers: If you have followed the news even casually over the last few years, it’s likely that you came across a story about publishing in crisis. (In fact, you probably saw that story on a screen instead of reading it on paper.) While rumors of newspapers’ last gasps have been greatly exaggerated, no one in any part of the media food chain would deny the industry upheaval that is reshaping the publishing world.

For our purposes, a publisher is any content provider whose business model is providing information that is paid for by advertising. This includes portals like AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!; traditional news and special interest outlets such as,, and; search engines such as Google and Bing; and social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. These publishers may be “platform agnostic.” That is, they may deliver content by means of more than one medium. So, for example, Hearst provides Esquire’s content both in print and online.

Ad Networks: Now we’re getting into the heavily trafficked part of the toll road, where the most transactions take place. As Internet use expanded, most ad agencies did not have adequate media-buying resources to select and purchase ad spaces (impressions) across the multitude of websites suddenly sprouting up. Ad networks arose to meet this need for selective and efficient ad space allocation for presenting what are called display ads, which look like little billboards. They bought ad space in bulk from publishers, often at prices far below the full retail prices publishers asked for. Often, the impressions they bought were those the publishers were unable to sell – or unable to sell for good prices (known as remnant inventory). Then the ad networks resold their aggregate inventory across the Internet to advertisers and their ad agencies. (See Chapter 5 for a more detailed account of this moment in interactive advertising history.)

Some of the noteworthy ad networks are AOL’s, the Yahoo! Network, DoubleClick, Microsoft Media Network, and 24/7 Real Media. DoubleClick (which now operates a major online ad exchange) is owned by Google, providing the search giant with a perch at many locations long the toll road – as publisher, exchange, network, and advertiser. Smaller ad networks, such as Blogads, Deck Network, and Federated Media, help advertisers reach more specialized, niche audiences on sites that have limited ad inventory. By using these smaller networks, advertisers gain the benefit of knowing they are reaching a desirable, very selective segment of consumers.

Ad Exchanges: The primary function of an exchange is to aggregate ad space (supply) from publishers and sell it via an auction, thereby matching the supply with the demand (the advertisers), theoretically with greater efficiency than if publishers and advertisers interacted one-to-one. Publishers might divide their inventory among, and advertisers may buy impressions from, multiple ad networks, operating as intermediaries. In contrast to all that dividing and allocating, the premise of an ad exchange, as with a stock exchange, is the consolidation of inventory so that these inventory-clearly, ad-serving transactions can take place with greater transparency and scale and at prices that work best for buyers and sellers.

This category of the toll landscape has seen a big consolidation over the past several years. The most prominent ad exchanges have been acquired by major online media conglomerates. Right Media was acquired by Yahoo! in April 2007 for $680 million. DoubleClick was purchased by Google in May 2007 for $3.1 billion. Microsoft bought ad exchange AdECN in August 2007 for an undisclosed amount.

Demand-Side Platforms: As the road between publishers and advertisers became more crowded with intermediaries, advertisers and their ad agencies began looking for help navigating the increasingly complex terrain. So-called demand-side platforms (DSPs) were formed to work for and consult with the buyers of online advertising. They offered expert services helping advertisers select potential audience members across ad networks and exchanges by, for example, helping them pick the right media and/or actually buying the media on behalf of their clients, promising advertisers that they could greatly improve their ability to target and buy specific audiences. By aggregating demand by means of DSPs, ad agencies and media buyers can better manage their campaigns across a range of sites. DSPs such as MediaMath, DataXu, and Turn Inc. help improve the selectiveness of those who buy ad space.

Supply-Side Platforms: These are companies that work with and consult for publishers, the sellers. Their role is to help publishers make the most money in selling their media; that’s why they are sometimes called yield optimization companies.

Since mass-media advertising began, brands have sought assurance that their ads were being heard or seen by the right prospective customers at the right time. Yet, as we saw earlier, the fragmentation of Internet audiences, the vagaries of viewers’ attention, and their flitting among sites have raised doubts about the ability of publishers or ad networks to deliver the right target at the right time. Supply-side platforms (SSPs) rose to the challenge with technologies that demonstrated to advertisers that they were reaching those they wanted to target. SSPs work on behalf of publishers to help them sell more impressions and/or sell them at higher prices. Prominent players in the field include Admeld (now owned by Google), PubMatic, and the Rubicon Project. Publishers often enlist their help when they want to maximize their revenues by selling remnant ad inventory.

Data Aggregators/Suppliers: The growing use of the Internet has created a deluge of digital information about you: the identity and address of your computer, the make and model of your car, the online and off-line destinations you visit, and myriad other facts about your preferences. Given the increased splintering of online audiences, behavioral data about who is doing what and when grows more valuable.

BlueKai, eXelate, Nielsen, Intelius, and Spokeo are some of the companies currently providing or mediating the exchange of data. Such data gathering is controversial because it arouses concerns that it infringes on our privacy. The increasing amassing of data files about individuals is met with suspicion, especially by consumer advocates, who view such data gathering as if it were a video camera keeping us all under surveillance. Nevertheless, it’s likely that the growing volume of Internet traffic will only add to the amassing of data, especially as content is served in new ways by new networked devices (for example, tablet computers such as the iPad).

Targeted is a Must Read Book for Marketers of All Shapes and Sizes

If you’re in digital marketing — even if you’re only on the periphery — this is a must-read book. It’s perfect for anyone interested in learning more about the digital marketing landscape and how you can use it to grow your sales and revenues.

Excerpt from Targeted by Mike Smith provided by AMACOM Books. ©2015


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