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  • 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips for Small Businesses

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016 by
    5 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips for Small Businesses
    Conversion rates will always be part of a business. You spend time building a product, you spend time polishing it, you spend time marketing, and that's when potential customers start to roll your way, but not everyone becomes a permanent customer, so strategies and tactics need to be revised, and most commonly this is done through conversion rate optimization. A business can be doing really well, but in terms of sales, there is always room for more. Quite often, our business module is not performing as good as we have anticipated because we haven't put in place some solid strategies for optimizing our conversion rates on a global scale. The traditional way of optimizing conversion rates is about improving our website and the landing pages, which is what we will look deeper into in this post.

    1. Utilize marketing widgets

    One of the most popular widgets to come to the market in recent years has been the SumoMe widget. A versatile widget that offers a variety of ways to optimize your website for marketing purposes. You can use a feature called Smart Bar which will add a header bar to your website through which you can share free premium content with your visitors in exchange for their email address. A feature called Heat Maps will allow you to record live website interaction from your visitors, giving you a chance to review those recordings and understand fully where a user starts to browse the website, and where it ends, and what could be done to improve the overall navigation experience.

    2. Solve specific problems

    More and more businesses are trying to solve more and more problems, when in fact trying to solve ten problems with one piece of software might actually be very dangerous for your business. WordPress advertises itself as a blogging platform, it doesn't specify that it can be used as a shopping platform, or that it can be built into an auction site. It sells one message only, the fact that it is a blogging platform. Your business should have the same ideology about your products. If you're selling an email marketing platform, don't try to sell integrated services for customer relationship management; they just don't go together. It's important that our sales pitch matches our actual product, making it easier for our customers to make the final decision.

    3. A/B/C tests are invaluable

    Testing different versions of your website still remains as one of the most rewarding and convenient ways of understanding how different versions of your site work for your users. Simple understanding of color psychology might change the way you use colors on your website forever. The fact of the matter is, whenever we optimize our sites for conversions, we are constantly changing the way our website looks, the heading elements, the number of images we use, and yes even the choice of colors we have made, but how exactly do we know which changes caused an increase or a decrease in our conversions? The only way to find out is by implementing a solid A/B testing strategy.

    4. Optimized content

    Content marketing is an invaluable way of generating free exposure and ultimately leads. Having a good content marketing strategy, and understanding of content marketing itself, is essential to the success of your business growth. Content needs to be shaped around answers and questions, and before you sit down to write that big piece of content, perhaps you should first understand who your content is for:
    1. Who is this content being written for? What kind of customers are we trying to target?
    2. What particular problem this content is trying to solve? How will this content help our visitors to take actionable steps?
    3. What are we trying to achieve with this content? What's the main call to action?
    Good content will be able to answer all of these questions and will naturally help a business to increase conversion rates by utilizing tactical answers and button placements.

    5. Customer success

    As a business, your job is to help your customer achieve a certain goal, to solve a particular problem. Beyond the basic use of your software/platform, they will be more than keen to explore tutorials and insightful content about the industry you're working in, all yielding potential for your customers to succeed. To help your customers achieve their own success, focus on the following:
    • Customer Support -- Be proactive about the support services you provide, especially to customers who may have less technical experience.
    • Customer Engagement -- Having a team of people who are with the customers from the pre-customer stage to customer stage can be an immense help in increasing your conversion rates. An online experience should be as seamless as physical experience.
    • Customer Education -- This is where we come back to content, as it can be a means of educating our customers about the latest updates, tips, insights, and offers. This includes email marketing.
    And if we can combine all of these tips together in a single strategic plan, we are bound to increase our conversion rates by a significant margin.
  • How to Create a Plan for Getting Your First 1M Visitors

    Thursday, November 19, 2015 by
    Louis CK is arguably one of the funniest men alive right now. He fills up massive theaters, sells out in minutes, and is so well known that he makes millions selling his recordings on his site with no advertising.  But he didn’t get there overnight. In 1984, he was getting on stage for the first time, and did so poorly that he didn’t try stand-up again for two years! Eventually he came back with a plan, worked his way through the ranks, and became a massive success. Louis CK Building a successful website follows the same path. It’s like Biz Stone’s famous quote: “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” You can’t get your first million website visitors overnight. It requires creating a plan, having dedication, and constantly iterating and adjusting what you’re doing to make sure you hit your goal. Here’s how to do that.

    Planning to Get 1 Million Visitors

    We made a spreadsheet for you to make this easy. 01 Spreadsheet Go ahead and open up it here, make a copy for yourself, and follow along, plugging in numbers as you go. The only areas you need to edit are the ones in blue. The ones in grey update automatically.

    1. Figure Out Where You Are Now

    At the top, plug in your current number of monthly visitors. Current Traffic This is your starting point. Your goal will automatically be set to double your current number. It’s aggressive! But it’s the best start on the road to 1 million visitors and we believe you can do it.

    2. Pick Your One Channel

    Now I want you to pick one channel to focus on. Pick the one that’s most exciting, or that you feel the most comfortable with. Here are your options:
    • Organic (traffic from search engines)
    • Advertising
    • Referrals from other websites
    • Emails
    • Social Media
    Why these options? Because that’s how Google Analytics breaks out your traffic channels so this will make it easier for you to assess how you’re doing. The easiest way to monitor how you’re performing in these channels as you go? Just use an on-site Google Analytics dashboard plugin. 03 Pick your channel Your #1 focus for the next month: getting this ONE channel up so you can hit your goal number. To make up the difference between your goal and where you are now, you’ll need to try some things that you’re not currently doing. This is where the experiments come in. 04 Experiments

    3. Brainstorm Experiments

    Now, for this first month, come up with 3 things you could do to get more traffic. Make sure they’re actionable. Don’t say “get more twitter traffic” say “tweet five times a day and include at least one hashtag in each.” Here are some ideas: Organic Traffic
    • Optimize existing content for keywords
    • Reach out to 100 publications for getting backlinks
    • Set a search volume minimum for future content and stick to it
    • Add more internal site links
    • Buy PPC ads to test potential keywords
    Advertising
    • Spend $500 on Facebook ads to see how they perform
    • Try the same with Google and Twitter
    • Use an automation service like Automate Ads to test different ad designs
    Referrals
    • Reach out to 50 bloggers in your field to build relationships and links to your content
    • Find people who compile lists of products / blogs and ask to be included
    • Look for podcasts / webinars you can participate in and get linked to from
    • Use a tool like Mention to find references to you that aren’t link to you
    Email
    • Start an email list if you haven’t!
    • Read up on copywriting to improve the emails that you send to your list
    • Add an email popup tool to your site to get more people to sign up
    • A/B test your emails when you send them out to see what headlines get more clicks
    • Simply change the frequency of your emails to your list to see how it affects activity
    Social
    • Join a new social network you aren’t currently using
    • Optimize your tweets for the best number of hashtags
    • Find Twitter chats that you can join in on
    • Create strong visuals for each Facebook post
    Not sure what to do for experiments? Ask in the comments! Someone else is bound to hop in with more ideas :)

    4. Guesstimate Your Traffic

    With your experiments in place, guesstimate how much traffic you think you can get from each idea. Think about it on a daily schedule, and base it on your existing numbers. For example, if a tweet usually results in 5 visits to your site, then sharing 3x a day would get you 15 more visits a day, or 450 a month. Don’t worry about your guesstimate being perfect, the point is to give you an idea of what to prioritize. 05 guesstimate traffic Now you’ll see the one experiment you should focus on. This is where you need to start putting your efforts for traffic building, everything else is a distraction. ONLY do 1 for the next 30 days.

    5. Print it Out

    Last, print that baby out and put it by your computer. You should be getting reminded of your goal and experiments daily to make sure it happens. To recap, here’s what you should have done. If you skipped a step… well do you want your million visitors or not?
    1. Grabbed your most recent month’s traffic from Google Analytics to get your goal
    2. Picked which of the channels you want to focus on
    3. Come up with three experiments you could try for that channel
    4. Guesstimated your possible traffic from each, and put it by that experiment
    5. Printed out your spreadsheet and put it by your computer
    One Last Thing Post what your first experiment is, and how much traffic you want to get with that experiment, in the comments below. Making a public statement will help you follow through, and other people might join in with ideas to help make it happen. Let’s get your traffic growing like crazy.
  • Snappy’s ProTips, pt. IV

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 by
    The inspiration for today's ProTip is going to be the following KB article, which addresses how to modify DNS information from within cPanel: https://support.hostgator.com/articles/cpanel/how-to-change-dns-zones-mx-cname-and-a-records However, we're going to drive a little bit deeper into DNS; how the various parts function and we'll even be sharing some of our internal documentation on DNS. snappy_protips04  
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  • Spying On Competitor Targeting To Determine Their Facebook Marketing Strategy

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015 by
    HostGator Facebook Ad Help If you're advertising on Facebook, you've probably hit a road block at least once when it comes to targeting. You can play with audience insights all day long, but sometimes you just can't locate that exact sweet spot that would be best for your specific business. So, why not use what your competitors are using? Whatever niche you're in, you've probably done your research. You've visited some of the top sites in the game, Liked some of the highest performing Facebook pages, and maybe even bought an array of products. Doing all of this online has most likely made Facebook think you're interested in the industry. Therefore, if your competitors are targeting properly, you'll start seeing their ads appear. For example, I'm in the Internet marketing game and I see a lot of ads for Internet marketing products, ebooks, and webinars. But I also help my girlfriend with her makeup blog. So I also see a lot of ads for makeup and beauty products even though I don't actually use these products and certainly am not their target demographic. This can apply to almost any niche provided that you've done your research into the given industry.  

    Spying On Your Competitor's Facebook Marketing Strategy

    Of course, you can't get gain access into your competitor's business / ad manager. Therefore, we will have to use a little reverse engineering to make this strategy work. This is something that I love to do when trying to kill time, and to see what my own competitors are doing as well. We're going to do that here with some real-life facebook ad examples from my own news feed. There are 3 main placements for Facebook advertising. You have your native ads on desktop and mobile, and you have your right rail ads. Each of them will show you information about the ad you are seeing. We'll begin with the right rail:  

    Right Side Ad Targeting

    How To Spy On Your Facebook Ad Competitors As mentioned, the ads currently targeted at me include both makeup/beauty ads, as well as some for Internet marketing. Given the above 3 ads, how do I find out what they're doing? The answer is easy enough. Hover on the image to see a little X. How To Find Your Competitors Facebook Strategy Click on the X and you'll be presented with several options. Click the option "Why am I seeing this? Why Am I Seeing This Facebook Ad? From here, you'll be given a lightbox popup with information about the ad. Sometimes this is very vague, as we'll see momentarily, but sometimes it will give you some interesting ideas. Let's see how Mr. Brown targeted me. How To Reverse Engineer A Facebook Ad For the Liberty Mutual ad, it's one of the vague descriptions since they're using an agency called TheTradeDesk. Ad using An Facebook Advertising Company The Nordstrom ad? They're using TellApart to target people. So unfortunately it doesn't reveal exactly how they targeted me. It's possibly a retargeting ad.  

    Newsfeed Ad Targeting

    Let's take a look at a few Newsfeed ads. This first ad I saw was from a competitor. Which is funny because this is exactly what I would look for when doing my research. To find what they're doing, let's click on the chevron that points down on the top right. Digital Ocean Facebook Ad You'll receive a similar box of options as the right rail. Click the same "Why am I seeing this" to see more information. You'll see that our competitor is using a dark post that's targeting me based on my interest in Linux. Interesting, because I was briefly targeting this not too long ago. Maybe they did a little reverse engineering as well? How To Target A Niche On Facebook Here's another example of a Newsfeed ad. They're selling SEO services and the targeting they are using is interesting. Facebook ad for SEOFacebook Ad Targeting Moz Marketing Software They're targeting Moz Marketing Software, something that Glen at Viperchill wrote about a few months ago. This is interesting to me because they've been targeting this for awhile and so did Glen before he wrote his article. I am only aware of this due to a mutual friend of mine and Glen's. As such, either this advertiser has a relation to Glen or they've been doing some reverse engineering themselves. Although we're only scratching the surface, you are beginning to see how deep the rabbit hole can go. In a matter of coincidence, Viperchill showed up when I continued scrolling down my page. Let's see how Glen is targeting these days.

    Viperchill Facebook Ad How Does Viperchill Target on Facebook He's targeting those interested in Darren Rowse, the founder of ProBlogger. This is actually the 4th person that I've seen this month targeting Darren. I really like this targeting because it shows you that you don't have to just target brands and hobbies, you can find some of the biggest names in the industry to target as well. Which, if you're doing it, there's a chance your ad costs might be slightly less expensive because most advertisers would go after recognizable brands rather than individuals.  

    Mobile Newsfeed Targeting Examples

    My first example was the first ad to show in my feed, and it is actually our good friends Bluehost. How about we take a look at what they're doing. How To Spy On Your Facebook Competitor Facebook Ads Help I'm glad this one showed up because of the targeting they're doing here. In this example, they're targeting a lookalike audience from an existing audience. A lookalike audience is an audience that Facebook will generate for you based on an audience you've added into their system. So this could either be their customers, a retargeting list, or a couple of other options. They're trying to find people that are similar to people who have bought their services previously, so there's a good chance that they may be interested as well. Our next ad is one of those ads that doesn't give you much information. Why is that? Because they've incorporated several layers within their ad. Age, location, interest, and many other options can be used to target. Using multiple targeting options will make it more difficult to see exactly what is being done. How to tell how your competition is targeting on facebook This is basically how you can tell what your competitors are doing on Facebook in order to give you some ideas for targeting. These were just a few examples, certainly not all-inclusive. One particular ad message to be aware of will say something similar to "ABC advertiser is trying to reach people based on their current customers" which means they uploaded your information as a custom audience. When I see this from an advertiser that I know that I haven't given them my information, I block and report them since it probably means they bought my email from somewhere or scraped it somehow. Neither of which should be done.  

    How Can You Edit Your Facebook Interests?

    This can be a little complicated as Facebook takes a lot of factors into consideration when matching you with interests. Some of these can be what pages you like, what websites you visit, and what products you buy. To remove specific interests, you just need to manage your ad preferences.  From the "why am I see this" popup, you can remove the exact interest (for example, the Moz Marketing Software) or you can click to go to all of your preferences. There, you can pick and choose what to remove or add. Hopefully this has shed some light on how to use your competitors' Facebook ads to find new targeting options. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!
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  • How To Build An Effective Hashtag Campaign

    Monday, January 12, 2015 by
    Hashtag Campaign Hashtags have slowly become a part of the popular culture, especially the digital culture. Over time they’ve grown to become a central part of an effective social media campaign. However, if you’re just getting started with using hashtags they can be overwhelming, and frankly a bit confusing. Once you get the hang of using hashtags it will get much easier, but it’s important to know the basics so you have a better chance at running an effective campaign from the start.  

    What Is A Hashtag?

    In a way, hashtags can be seen as keywords. They allow for the aggregation of information that’s all based around a certain topic. Originally, hashtags were used by Twitter as a way to categorize their messages. Since their inception hashtags have grown across other platforms as well, including Instagram, Flickr, Vine, and more recently Facebook. For instance, if you’re posting a picture of a tasty cup of coffee on Instagram, you may tag that picture with the hashtag #coffeelove. Or, if you’re posting a picture of a beautiful sunset, you could use the hashtag #sunset. Of course, hashtags apply to more than just pictures. In order to utilize the power of hashtags for your business it’s crucial you create your own. You may be able to reach new followers by hopping on existing hashtags, but to truly create the buzz you’re looking for you’ll want to get creative. A successful hashtag campaign will help to build awareness for your brand or business, or even promote certain contests or giveaways you might be running.  

    Rules For An Effective Hashtag Campaign

    The most effective hashtags are short, sweet and inspire action. To get to that point it’s going to take a little work, but it’ll be well worth it.   1. Be Unique, But Not Too Unique When you’re creating your own hashtag you’ll want to make sure it’s unique and memorable. If you already have a company hashtag you’ll want to improvise on this to show association, but still have enough difference so it stands out. When it comes to length try not to overcomplicate things. Face it, no one will remember a hashtag that’s a sentence long, but it will also be hard to differentiate from other tags if it’s only a few letters long. Finding the right balance is crucial. Your hashtag also needs to be relevant to the campaign you’re trying to run. For example, if you’re trying to create a hashtag around an event make sure the hashtag alludes to what the event is actually about. Once you’ve come up with a unique, catchy, easy to remember, and slightly descriptive hashtag, then it’s time to move on.   2. Use It Across Multiple Channels As was mentioned earlier, hashtags are useful across multiple social media platforms. When you’re executing your campaign you’ll want to have a presence on the social media platforms your audience hangs out at. People use different social media platforms for different purposes, but your hashtag can help weave a thread back to your business throughout all these seemingly disparate networks. This will help your hashtag get more exposure across more social channels, which will increase the likelihood of your campaign catching fire. Secondly, this will help people remember your hashtag, as they’ll be exposed to it in multiple settings.   3. Always Research First You’d hate to tweet your super unique, extremely creative hashtag only to realize that another person has been using the hashtag for an entirely different purpose. This would not only be detrimental to the success of your campaign, but could also result in serious customer backlash. It’s always worth it to spend time researching potential hashtags to see what comes up. Make sure you check across multiple platforms as well. By doing this beforehand you could avoid a seriously embarrassing incident for your company.   Overall, an effective hashtag campaign is all about using a memorable hashtag at the right time, all in service of your customers. The steps above will get you going in the right direction.  
    Photo Credit: quinn.anya via compfight
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