Retargeting and Marketing Automation For Beginners

One of the more difficult aspects of digital marketing is explaining how a process works to a client who doesn’t understand, or doesn’t have time to understand how the technology that helps convert new business works.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

At the end of this post, I have included my Slideshare Conversion Optimization Flowchart For you to use as you see fit. It is a fantastic visualization on how the entire process works together.

Retargeting and Marketing Automation are two unique inbound techniques that can work great independent of one another, but when combined can lift a marketing campaign to new unparalleled levels.  The question is, how do we get these campaigns to sync up into a cohesive understandable system.

Retargeting Lists

Retargeting Marketing StrategyTo begin a successful campaign, we need to begin organizing our visitors into lists or buckets.  To keep things simple, we’re going to start with 4 lists.

  1. All Visitors
  2. Visitors we do know
  3. Visitors we don’t know
  4. Customers

This is the most basic way to differentiate between our visitor types.  Depending on your automation provider or technology involved, you can gain insight into the visitors and gain information about that visitor without requiring a form-fill, but to keep things simple we’re going to assume a visitor must provide their information through a form-fill or phone call.

Now, how do we differentiate between each list type? Tags (Or Cookies.. or pixels.. doesn’t matter)

All Visitors

The first thing I do is tag each visitor that comes to the website. This is allows us combine, remove, or edit sub lists to target the precise users that we’re trying convert.

I won’t go through how to do this at a technical level today.  Depending on your provider (Google, RadiumOne, Bing, etc) you will have slightly different methods to create those lists.  Personally, I use Google, and One Third Party provider to keep things simple.

Visitors we do know

When I began writing this, I started with visitors we don’t know, but logically it makes more sense to do it this way. We need to create an additional tag for customers we do know.  The goal of this tag is to identify any visitors that we have contact information about, that are not customers.  We then can place this tag at various points in our digital strategy to allow us to target these visitors with specialized messaging.  A few examples –

  • Thank You Pages (After form-fills)
  • Emails targeting leads from CRM (Not Customers)
    • Phone Call Entries
    • Previous Data
    • Data Collected via 3rd party provider
    • Social
    • Purchased Lists
    • etc.

This data allows us to target visitors we have information about.  If we have an email address, this is where we can begin the Marketing Automation process, which I will be talking about in greater detail in a little bit.

Visitors we don’t know

This is the easiest List we can make. Subtract Visitors we do know From All Visitors.  This gives us our third list.  Visitors we don’t know.

This list is our primary target for our retargeting campaigns.  We want to market to this list and convert these visitors into visitors we know.  This is where Retargeting will come into play.

Retargeting

Retargeting can serve two purposes.  For Google AdWords, we can use our lists to decrease or increase our bid % based on visitor activity.  For example, if you tag a visitor who visited a certain product page, you can now retarget that customer if they’re looking for that or similar products again through google.  You can increase your bid to increase the likelihood of that visitor seeing your ad and returning back to the website again.

Additionally, Retargeting allows us to offer display or text ads on tagged visitors as they traverse other websites.  For our purposes, we develop a profile of target customer and establish a list of websites that are frequently accessed by that profile.  We can then show tagged visitors relevant messaging on those websites creating new engagement opportunities to bring them back into the funnel.

We limit our retargeting for these visitors to ~ 3-5 impressions per day.  We’ve found that more engagements can be perceived as spam and in some cases can adversely affect campaigns.

Google has some great insights (they call it remarketing.)

 Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is a great tool that we suggest using in conjunction with other digital strategy platforms.  This technology is  effective when we have enough information about our visitors or leads to target them automatically with predefined strategies.  You can tell through tags what products the user is interested, how frequently they come back, etc.  You can then use this and automation to send them communications to push them down the funnel, offer promotions to encourage a sale, and even screen pop your sales agents when that visitor returns to the website.  Some websites that do this extremely well are amazon.com, newegg.com, and cars.com.

A great example of the whole process working together-Retargeting and Automation Funnel

  1. User visits website (Tag All Visitors)
  2. User Goes to Product Page (Retag Product Page)
  3. User Bounces to ESPN (eligible for retargeting)
  4. RETARGETING
  5. User Clicks Retargeted Ad
  6. User Comes back to website and fills out form (Tag Visitor We Know)
  7. MARKETING AUTOMATION
  8. Wait One Day Send Follow Up Email (Automation)
  9. No Response
  10. Wait One Week Send Email With Discount Offer (Automation)
  11. User Returns to website
  12. Screen Pop Sales Agent when user is on the website
  13. Sales Calls User
  14. User Signs Up – Becomes Customer
  15. REMOVE RETARGETING AND AUTOMATION

 

And here it is, a great flowchart for you to look through the process of Retargeting and Marketing Automation working together!

[slideshare id=28491765&doc=conversionoptimizationflowchart-malachithreadgill-131121084528-phpapp01]

Matt Cutts has some Brady Bunch love on youtube

First, Matt Cutts recently released a great video highlighting common misconceptions about the SEO community.  I recommend taking 5 minutes to hear his thoughts on Penguin, Panda, and Link building.  It’s truly great stuff.  After the video finished, I was pulled from my desk to work on a quick project.  I came back to a hilarious picture of Matt Cutts and a semi-Brady Bunch title screen.  Hope you enjoy.

Matt Cutts youtube Brady Bunch

 

Dallas SEO Presentation

I’ve been busy with multiple engagements recently that have kept me from blogging.  My schedule has calmed quite a bit and I am ready to jumpstart my local advertising tips and techniques.  To start, I have attached my Dallas SEO presentation from a speaking engagement earlier this year.

If you would like a copy to hone to your own needs, please let me know

 

3 Laws of Social Media Marketing

It was once thought that there were no laws in social media, that anything would due. Well, that is no longer the case. The Internet used to be a lot more open and easier to manage, but it has become more difficult than ever to gain any attention in the social media realm if you starting from scratch. There are most definitely laws and you must know them well in order to succeed.

Law #1: Know Thyself

The main problem with a lot of social media campaigns is that the people running them have not figured out who they are. They do not have a clear objective or a sense of what they are trying to do and who they want to do it for. It sounds really simple, which it is, but it does require some you to stop and think strategically. Sit down for a hour and write down who you are, describe your target audience, and exactly what your goal is in terms of the social media campaign.

Law #2: It’s All About Them, Not You

Social media marketing has nothing to do with you or what you want, at least in the beginning. Constantly posting about new products and services is the fastest way to turn off potential clients and ruin your reputation. No one on social media websites wants to be spammed, they want to here about things that matter to them. Before you start asking them to do anything for you, you need to do something for them whether it means having a giveaway on Twitter, answering questions on Facebook, or providing helpful tips and strategies about your field.

Law #3: Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is easier than ever because you can just go to their profiles and see who is following you. The thing is that you need to be aware of your primary audience is and act in ways that would encourage their support. Once you know who these people are, cater your strategy to fit them. Hang out where they would hang out online, talk about the things that they care about, and show them things that would be of interest to them.

Social media is truly not rocket science. The bottom line is that you need to know who you are, know your target audience, and give them something before you start asking for anything. In short, don’t expect to get a million followers on Twitter or Facebook without putting in the work upfront. If you break any of these laws, then your audience will either never appear and leave right before your eyes.

Ashley Bennett is a writer and marketing consultant. She has recently written a book entitled The 7 Laws of Social Media Marketing  that explains the other laws that govern social media marketing. You can read more about her at Ashley-Bennett.com.

Dallas Mozcation

Dallas Loves Moz! 

I’ve taken the personal responsibility to build a post with various reasons for the Moz Meetup to come to Dallas.  Besides the food, people, and great sports teams, Dallas is a great hub of technology and marketing.  (20 Fortune 500 companies are in the DFW Metroplex).  We are also a very strong center for SEO and PPC companies.  We need excuses to meet up and interact.

 

 

Here is a list of DFW companies that work with some amazing companies ranging from SMB’s to Fortune 500 Companies. (these are in no order and some great companies are probably left out)

Dallas is also home to some amazing communities that are already meeting and working together.  In Fact, Guy Kawasaki came in spoke to SMC Dallas recently!  We already have a ton of great people who like to meet up.  We would love to combine in a great forum and mozcation could be it!

Dallas is also home to some great gaming and entrepreneurial companies.  ID, Gearbox, the words with friends guys, and Shopsavvy all have a presence in dallas.  We also have a growing startup culture and have great educational resources in UTD, SMU, TCU, UTA, and other top universities.

Dallas is a fun city.  We have lots of culture, food and places to mingle including

  • Historic Deep Ellum
  • Stock Yard
  • Cowboys Stadium
  • Uptown Dallas
  • Addison

Dallas already lost out on something great this year. Deron Williams chose New  York over us.  Don’t let the Moz meetup make the same mistake… Mark Cuban would be even more sad :(

Continuing with basketball, we know you’re based in Seattle. That’s interesting.  We don’t like the OKC thunder either (only because they left seattle, promise..)

More Fun Facts for you to come to dallas.

  • We have had not one, but 2 TV Shows named after our city
  • We have a strong reddit community
  • We are centrally located for travel from houston, austin, okc, and other surrounding hubs, regionally and nationally

In conclusion,

Dallas is awesome.  We’d love to have you.  We’d be great hosts and show you a great time.

If you are from dallas and have more stuff to add, please contact me and I’ll update the site!

Above The Fold is Dead

Having worked as an SEO for various companies over the last decade, there have been constant battles between IT departments, Creative teams, Marketing teams, and Management.  Everything is in constant flux and rarely does anyone agree on the changes that need to be made to a website.  This will probably never change, unless the top-down management structure dies in the United States (Not happening anytime soon).

Historically, web content has been broken up like the archaic newspaper.  The hierarchy began with the most important content above the fold on the front page.  Menus and links guided users to 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th level pages that disseminate information in a similar structure to the home pages.  As technology changed, we began adding some key elements including blog snippets or links to social media and some geniuses decided flash would be a great technology… for about 15 minutes.

Change Is Gonna Come 

For the last few years something interesting has started happening.  A few very talented designers and UX / UI developers have started decreasing the hierarchical structure historically seen in websites and have created content rich pages with more content and fewer links.

I’m not a true expert, but I believe three things happening in tandem played a role in the new concept that broke the idea that “above the fold” was necessary for marketing success.

Search Engine Optimization & Above the Fold

SEO is an obvious reason for increasing single page content (without stuffing).  Keeping link juice on a single page, while creating high value content is one of many steps to help SEO success.  By keeping the majority of content on a single page, you can optimize the page for better information with more “crawlable” content.  This content if done with moderate design and UI input can create a compelling page with high link bait.  

This link bait can be used in multiple facets.  infographics, and other visually appealing high-value data is easily shared across social networks including facebook, twitter, and pinterest.  These infographics are a great way to add value while educating visitors on a product or compelling piece of data.

Next Page Abandonment Syndrome

 Call it advertising overload, information overload, ADD, disdain for clicking “next”, call it anything you want.. but it still exists.  A study has shown that you lose an average of 33% of visits with each additional click they make.  Users have lost tolerance and have started abandoning websites that have required clicks for additional content.  In an age when the majority of web titles start with “Top 10 reasons why…,” Visitors expect at least the majority of the content to be available and accessible on the first page or bounces start to spike.  Businesses have started using this method in their sites as well.  Jacob Cass, a pretty well known designer, has a pinterest that highlights some of these UI’s.

Smart Phone Ubiquity

The third and most important reason for the death of above the fold importance is the mobile device.  Smart phones and tablet saturation has made single page content more accessible and in some cases more usable than previous methods of design.  It is easy to scroll up or down to consume a webpage than it is to zoom in on the next button on a site.

As mobile devices reach critical mass for internet browsing, accessibility and design are becoming the most important aspect of content delivery online.  Having your high value content readily available in a format that is easy to read, understand, and react to is vital for  the next generation UI / UX designers.

Above The Fold Focus Is Still Necessary

Even though the legacy attention to above the fold details is fading, there are still key elements that should remain in tact to increase usability, conversions, and customer service. Key contact information including a phone number is generally accepted to be placed in the top-right corner of a website.  This best practice is still common, specifically for a local business, or a localized landing page where conversions are heavy on the site.  For a corporate, or portfolio site, this information is less necessary.  Other important details should include a logo to let the visitor know they’ve reached the correct website, and a high-value statement to keep them on site and wanting to learn more.  Strong Call to Actions with well placed visual content including videos, or non stock photography images are a great way to entice visitor interaction.

Some Below The Fold Inspiration

 

Let me know what ya’ll think, is Above the Fold really less important than it used to be?

 

HyperLocal Advertising – The Bare Necessities

I’ve been doing a lot of work for companies needing “hyperlocal” advertising for the last half decade.  Businesses like Foursquare, Gowalla  ,  Facebook, Yelp, and other social media outlets have definitely convoluted hyperlocal advertising and promotion.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

A few years ago, a well edited kml file attached to the Google Maps API, a halfway decent landing page, and a claimed Google Listing almost certainly guaranteed high ranking for localized searches.  Today, competition and a more internet savvy userbase has increased the complexity of a successful localized marketing campaign.  Below I have included some quick tips to help start your journey into hyperlocal advertising.

Claim You Local Listings – This is the newest change to local advertising and needs to be the first thing you do after reading this post.  Go here and claim you Google Places listing from google.  More than likely it will take a few weeks for the postcard and phone number to arrive, but you need your listing in the “directory” if you’re going to have success down the road.

Create a Localized Landing Page –  No matter what size business you are running, having a personalized and localized landing page is necessary for hyperlocal advertising success.  If you’re a franchise with strict guidelines there may be some red tape, but work with your marketing team to make sure you have a landing page with these key elements.

    1. Keyword Rich Content – If you know anything about SEO or PPC you will understand why keyword rich content is important, especially for local landing pages.  If you’re a florist in Dallas, Texas, or a Carpet Cleaner in Phoenix Arizona, you definitely want to have descriptive keywords to describe to potential customers what you do and what you’re about.  This is SEO 101.
    2. Phone number in the upper right corner of the page –  This is more about best practices,
 but users have inherently learned to look for contact information in the upper right hand corner of any B2C page they visit.  Over a decade of reinforcement has made this practice a mainstay for the foreseeable future.  Just place your 10-digits in the upper right hand corner and conversions will be increased.
  1. Address above the fold –  This should really be a 2a. Especially for local businesses.  You need to have an address readily accessible to your visitors.  If you are a B2C with a brick and mortar it is absolutely imperative to your local advertising campaigns to let your customers know where you are and in addition to that they need to know….
  2. Google Map API, with the ability to give directions – How to get to you.  Visualization is the easiest way for potential customers to see where you are.  If you can show a user where you are on a map, and give them an option to get directions to your location, you will have a much higher conversion rate.  Google Maps makes both of these tasks extremely easy.  There is no reason not to toss the API code onto your site and make it easier for your customers to find your store.
  3. Hours of Operation – Continuing the trend of basic information that needs to be included.  This key metadata is critical to potential customers.  If you own a business that has non-standard hours, this information is even more critical. If a customer doesn’t know your hours of operation and shows up outside of those hours, you will more than likely lose a customer and the lifetime value they provide.  It is simple to include your hours of operation on your site.  Customers will appreciate it.  Don’t forget to update your hours during the holidays.
  4. Value Proposition or Call to Action – Don’t forget to give your customers an incentive.  Sometimes a call to action is all someone needs to start the buying funnel and convert a lead into a customer.  Including an updated list of current offers, promotions, or incentives, is a simple and reliable way to give your customers the perception of value and drive further conversions.  Don’t forget to included expiration dates or deadlines to create urgency!
  5. Access to user reviews – Customers trust other customers.  If you have primarily bad reviews, this may not be a good bullet, but if you have moderate to great reviews, definitely use these reviews to highlight the positives of shopping with your business.  If your reviews are less than stellar, offer incentives to happy customers to post a review for a a future discount or another offer.  Remember, happy customers rarely leave reviews.  They buy their product and go on their merry way.  Unhappy customers will leave terrible reviews in many different places and can be difficult to placate.  This makes happy customers even more valuable.  Do your best to encourage positive reviews whenever possible.
  6. links to social media  – Social Media is the future… er, um.. the present.  Right now there is a very large focus on social media.  Use this to  your advantage by linking your local pages to your social media sites.  Also, link your social media sites to your localized landing pages.  Use cross-promotion where necessary to encourage overlap and exposure.  If you can, offer incentives to users who are willing to leverage your social media assets.  This will allow you “push” access to your customers and you will be able to reach them more easily and effectively.

So, you’ve done all your hard work and have an amazing, functional, and informational landing page ready for your customers to visit.  Now its time to make sure this is the main site you’re generating localized visibility through.  Make sure you’ve linked to this site on local search engines and other outlets including:

Pay Per Click Advertising –  Bonus!!!!  If you have any budget left for marketing, I highly recommend testing a local PPC campaign to your landing page.  It is easy to setup, integrate, and launch.  And you can market your site with maximum exposure and very little upfront cost.  Done correctly, a PPC campaign can cost < $300.00 a month and generate far more revenue.  If you’d like help discussing setting up a PPC campaign with a proven adwords expert.  Contact me, I’d love to help.