Social Media Marketing

How to Decide Which Online Sales Channel to Sell Your Products On

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Whether you wish to offer handmade soaps or the current tech devices online, there’’ s no lack of sales channels to pick from. From Amazon to WooCommerce, each ecommmerce platform features its own set of distinct functions to assist you handle your company well.

There’’ s just one issue: Some online sales channels use style templates and satisfaction outsourcing while others provide item auctions and numerous rates alternatives.

When you’’ re trying to find the ideal platform, there ’ s a great deal of info to learn, so we ’ ve assembled this guide to assist make your choice procedure a little much easier. You wear’’ t need to choose a platform since that ’ s where the masses select to offer their products. Rather, you can select a platform based upon your particular requirements.

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To assist you begin, let’’ s take a look at how to find out what you require from an online sales channel and after that at how to pick a platform based upon these requirements.

.Produce clear goals to focus your search.

Instead of opting for a popular platform, find out what kind of assistance you require and how you prepare to utilize the platform. Some channels utilize design templates to make style easy and to make sure all listings, regardless of the seller, look the exact same.

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These watches are offered by various Amazon sellers, however the listings all look comparable. This is based upon noting design templates that all Amazon sellers need to utilize.

This may work for you if you desire the advantages of having your items noted on a credible, high-traffic website. If you desire more versatility to display your brand name’’ s special design, a channel that lets you tailor your online shop may be a much better fit.

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[ Source ] 49th Parallel Coffee utilizes Shopify to note its items and has the versatility to utilize branding to display its coffee.

Figuring out your particular, private requirements suggests your look for an online sales channel is more focused. You’’ re most likely to discover a platform with the ideal mix of functions and assistance to assist you handle your organisation precisely how you desire. If personalization is crucial to you, look for platforms that use the most develop versatility.

To assist you determine what you require from an online sales channel, here are 5 essential requirements to think about. Each of these will assist you compare platforms to discover the one that works for you:

.Platform functions. Consider what functions are very important to you. Do you wish to handle listings, reporting, and satisfaction in one location, or are you OKAY with linking external apps to your shop?Style versatility and use. Think of your ability level and just how much energy you wish to put towards structure and keeping your shop. Are you OKAY with rolling up your sleeves and structure from scratch, or would you rather have a basic drag-and-drop tool?Satisfaction alternatives. Consider what kinds of satisfaction alternatives you require. Depending upon the size of your shop, do you wish to bundle and mail orders by yourself, or do you wish to contract out those jobs?Competitive landscape. Consider the kinds of items you’’ re going to offer. Not all items offer well on all platforms. You wish to utilize a platform that will offer you direct exposure to your target market.Cost. Think about just how much you wish to invest in an online sales channel. Some platforms have regular monthly membership costs however provide you access to premium functions. Other platforms are complimentary, however a great deal of brand names complete on it.

Based on these requirements and any brand-new ones you include, utilize your responses to compare the platforms you’’ re thinking about. Here are a couple of examples of how to utilize this list to compare a few of the most popular online sales channels: Amazon, eBay, Shopify, WooCommerce, and social networks.

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.Amazon: The relied on ecommerce leader.

Amazon is a platform that lets third-party suppliers offer a wide variety of items on the platform. It’’ s seen remarkable development for many years, ending up being the leading online sales channel. Countless brand names utilize Amazon to offer their items, and in 2018, 19% of expert sellers made more than $1 million is sales . Amazon has actually ended up being the go-to location for both recognized and brand-new brand names to flock to. This makes good sense, thinking about Amazon had 2.63 billion gos to by consumers in January 2019.

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But offering on Amazon isn’’ t all a bed of roses. If you’’ re simply starting, possibilities are you aren’’ t banking millions in earnings —– unless you’’ re offering the next essential item. For this factor, Amazon is much better fit for bigger, more recognized brand names that have a strong marketing technique and great deals of traffic to their items.

.Does Amazon satisfy your requirements?Platform functions. Amazon makes offering simple for sellers. If you offer items throughout North America and South America, Amazon lets you choose which items consumers have access to, based on demographics. With the platform, you can likewise tailor your shipping rates based upon where you deliver to and can offer items based upon their condition —– for example, brand-new, utilized, reconditioned, or collectible.Style versatility and use. There are stringent standards for how sellers publish their items. All item pages have the exact same look to develop a harmony throughout the platform. Even as a third-party seller, your items put on’’ t look any various from Amazon’items. This function includes trustworthiness to your items if you ’ re still growing your brand name. Satisfaction alternatives. You have 2 choices: You can deliver orders yourself or benefit from the Fulfilled by Amazon( FBA) program and have product packaging and shipping contracted out. If you have a lot of stock and items offered regularly, this is handy. FBA likewise manages quality, so it doesn ’ t matter the number of consumers you have– they all have the very same experience. FBA likewise assists you scale your service; some sellers experience a 30-50% boost in sales . Competitive landscape. From infant items to electronic devices to pet products,there are 21 item classifications to select from. This implies that there ’ s a wide variety of sellers and competitors on the platform. Utilizing keywords and top quality images is the initial step in making it simpler to discover your items. Cost. There are 2 strategies to pick from, depending upon the number of items you wish to list and sell. Recommendation costs and variable closing charges use to both of these strategies:. The Individual strategy doesn ’ t have a regular monthly cost which is great is you just intend on noting a couple of items to start with. There is,’nevertheless, a selling cost of$ 0.99 for each product you offer. The Professional strategy has a regular monthly membership rate of$ 39.99 that lets you list as numerous items as you desire amonth. The decision.

While medium-sized and little services( SMBs) can take advantage of the direct exposure Amazon uses, with more than 20 item classifications and 12 million items noted , there ’ s a great deal of competitors on the platform. When they investigate their purchase, it ’ s possible your target audience won ’ t even see your items.

. eBay: The auction-style option for distinct items’.

Unlike other online sales channels, eBay utilizes a conventional list-and-sell format along with an auction-style method to offer items. To auction your items , produce a listing and include a reserve rate or opening quote. Set the cost low to get interest and views so that you increase your opportunities of drawing in greater quotes compared to selling items at a set cost.

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eBay is terrific for sellers who desire the advantages of a market however likewise desire the versatility to run their shops the method they desire. eBay lets sellers handle their own shipping rates, shipment and tracking, and return policy.

. Does ebay satisfy your requirements? Platform functions. eBay uses a number of functions to ensure you construct a shop that fulfills your requirements. Sellers can get up to 50 totally freelistings per month, enhanced mobile improved, surfing seller protection. What ’ s likewise terrific about eBay is that it frequently shares function and cost updates. That method, you ’ re constantly familiar with what choices are readily available for you to attempt. Style versatility and functionality. eBay offers you the versatility to handle your shop nevertheless you’desire, however there are standards for how to publish and note your items.Listing needs just a couple of actions, however the standards make certain your listing follows eBay ’ s requirements. Satisfaction choices. It ’ s your obligation to handle your shipping choices and the satisfaction later. You choose if you ’ ll usage flat-rate shipping; shipping based on location, bundle size, and weight; or pickup for regional consumers. eBay even lets you print your own shipping labels and ship through USPS or FedEx. Competitive landscape. There are 9 several subcategories and primary classifications. Since March 2019, there were 1.2 billion listings offered and 180 million active purchasers. To get observed, your items and messaging need to accommodate particular niches. There ’ s a lot to take on, however eBay lets consumer filter their searches so they can discover precisely what they ’ re trying to find. Rate. When you note items, there are several listing costs to represent. There ’ s an insertion charge’that varies fromfree totally free $20, depending on what types of products items list. There are likewise final-value charges that are based upon the rate of your items. This can vary from 2% to 10% of the overall sales quantity, with optimum caps from$ 300 to$ 750. The decision.

This online sales channel is perfect for sellers with sought-after items like classic items, antiques, and other special items that offer well based upon the auction-style technique.

. Shopify: The one-stop purchase sellers.

Whether you ’ re offering sporting devices or fashion jewelry, Shopify makes it simple for you to get whatever you require on one website. Shopify lets you

.produce a brand name design and logo design;.gain access to more than 70 styles to construct your site;. purchase a customized domain;. gain access to totally free stock images to customize your shop;. list and offer items;. run advertisements to draw traffic to your shop; and. handle payments and satisfaction.

It ’ s a one-stop look for sellers who wish to streamline their ecommerce experience with a tool that ’s robust enough to let thempersonalize their shop, however easy adequate to handle.

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Plus, Shopify continues to develop to make it simpler for sellers to grow their organisations in time. Shopify provides sellers complimentary tools, such as a gift-card design template, a billing generator, and shipping labels that can be incorporated intoany siteWebsite

. Does Shopify fulfill your requirements? Platform functions. The specific functions you have access to depends upon the strategy you acquire. Bigger strategies provide you access to gift-card development and management, a customized report-builder tool, and an SSL certificate. Shopify accommodates organisations of all sizes by providing more basic functions, such as the following:. Unrestricted listings. Scams analysis. Discount rate codes. Distinct combinations. Drop-shipping services. Style versatility and use. Like a lot of the alternatives on this list, Shopify offers you the alternative to create your shop to look the method you desire it to. There ’ s likewise a drag-and-drop contractor to make personalization fast andsimple.You can likewise establish yourcontrol panel to assist you do anything from computing shipping rates to printing shipping labels to running earnings analysis without needing to leave the website. Satisfaction alternatives. You have the choice to meet your orders on your own or utilize FBA. The alternative you pick depends upon the number of items you ’ re shipping monthly. The more you ship, the more it makes good sense to utilize FBA so that you can concentrate on other parts of your organisation where you can include worth. If you produce your own items, this may suggest investing more time with item advancement and screening. Competitive landscape. Since February 2019, Shopify was hosting over 800,000 sellers on its platform. Much like Amazon, there are various item classifications, and countless sellers within every one. Stand out by constructing a strong brand name credibility and client assistance, construct a distinct site that gets individuals talking and sharing about it, and talk to the discomfort points your specific niche audience experiences. Rate. There are 3 strategies to pick from , and what you pick depends upon your requirements due to the fact that functions vary in between strategies. The Advanced Shopify Plan offers you the most functions, however it likewise offers you larger cost savings on shipping rates:. Fundamental Shopify Lite Plan: $29/mo. Shopify Plan:$ 79/mo. Advanced Shopify Plan:$ 299/mo. The decision.

Shopify is terrific for brand-new brand names that wear ’ t desireto trouble with linking several platforms to make their shop run. If you desire a platform that ’ s simple to utilize and has the capability to support you as you grow, Use Shopify.

. WooCommerce: The “ Do It Yourself ” choice.

WooCommerce is a plugin created to deal with WordPress. The plugin offers sellers optimalversatility to develop their shop their method. Merely select from one’of countless WordPress design templates, based upon the feel and look you ’ re choosing, and utilize WooCommerce to personalize anything from how your items are shown to where you deliver to.

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WooCommerce works for big and little organisations alike. Whether you offer handcrafted items or own a growing subscription-based service, WooCommerce can manage everything with its product-listing functions. You can note items separately, group together comparable items to offer variations of the exact same item, or set up membership billing for clients.

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The primary downside with utilizing WooCommerce on WordPress is the preliminary setup. There are lots of settings to update sinceof the amount quantity flexibility WooCommere gives providesUpgrade There are lots of subcategories in tax and shipping settings. The bright side is, as soon as you ’ ve established your shop, there isn ’ t much for you to do, besides upgrade your listings and procedure orders.

. Does WooCommerce fulfill your requirements? Platform functions. WooCommerce is really robust and can be personalized to fulfill really particular requirements, like setting the currency in the nation you ’ re situated in. To satisfy the requirements of little to big companies, the WooCommerce plugin includes functions like. preinstalled payment entrances, such as PayPal and Stripe;. geo-location-enabled taxes;. discount rate voucher and code alternatives;. automated tax estimation; and. personalized cart notifications to keep consumers notified throughout the checkout procedure. Style versatility and functionality. There ’ s 100% versatility to create a shop based upon your particular requirements. If you desire to develop social evidence, you can include the choice for consumers to include evaluations to each of your items. Depending upon what extra functions you desire your shop to display screen, like a contact page, some extra complimentary plugins and basic brief code is needed on theback end. Due to the fact that not all sellers arelikewise tech designers, WooCommerce likewise uses a huge video and resource library to assist you repair and find out more about the platform. Satisfaction alternatives. You or your group is accountable for order satisfaction, however WooCommerce assists by letting you incorporate apps into your shop, such as ShipStation for mailing. You can link it to your WooCommerce shop if you have an existing ShipStation account. Every time a brand-new order comes in, ShipStation instantly updates with consumer information so that all you have to do is print the shipping label. It ’ s a genuine time-saver. Competitive landscape. Since January 2019, approximates put the overall variety of sites utilizing WooCommerce at over 2.9 million. It represents 22% of the leading 1 million ecommerce websites . Given that shops powered by WooCommerce are custom-made made vs. on a market like Amazon, you ’ re not always ensured a stable stream of traffic and earnings. You ’ re merely completing’versus other shops inyour specific niche. To get your items seen, you require marketing, a strong material marketing method, and a great social networks existence. Cost. The WooCommerce plugin is totally free to utilize, however to tailor your website, you ’ ll need to purchase extra items . :. WooCommerce Pre-Orders lets your clients order items prior to they ’ re launched: $129. WooCommerce Subscriptions lets you use membership items: $ 199. Item Bundles lets you use custom-made item packages to clients:$ 49. The decision.

WooCommerce is a terrific alternative for sellers who currently have a WordPress website and desire the versatility to construct their shop from scratch to fulfill their specialrequirements and requirements.

. Social network: The development of online selling.

As more individuals hang out on social networks, these platforms are making it simpler to store and purchase in one location . Sellers on Pinterest can utilize Shop the Look Pins to promote items to users.Instagram just recently presented Product Tags that let users purchase items they find on the platform. Facebook Marketplace lets little, early-stage sellers post and offer their items.

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. Since it caters to where audiences invest a lot of time, #ppppp> Social media has actually ended up being a competitor in the online sales channel area. When they ’ re on social media, there ’ s no requirement to interrupt their searching experience. With a couple of taps, your audience gets what they require.

Depending on your audience, if they engage with you on social networks through remarks, shares, and likes and by publishing user-generated material( UGC) in action to your projects, focus your efforts on making their shopping experience simpler.

. Does social networks fulfill your requirements? Platform functions. This depends upon the platform, however, in basic, Facebook Ads Manager lets you develop advertisements on Facebook and Instagram at the exact same time, and Pinterest lets you develop boards that concentrate on consumer interests to acquire fans and traffic back to your Shopify’or WooCommerce website. You can engage with fans in genuine time; they put on ’ t need to await a text or e-mail from you. Style versatility and functionality. You can utilize social networks to draw traffic back to your site. What ’ s excellent about social is you can produce custom-made messaging, images, and pins to bring in attention. For a brand-new item release, you can include a series of item images to Instagram, include shoppable item tags, and close the sale. You can even utilize tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to immediately arrange your posts. Satisfaction choices’. Payments are processed through the social networks websites with the assistance of tools like Stripe. You get a payment and after that send out the purchased items the method you usually would.Competitive landscape. This depends upon the items you offer and on your audience. For’example, Pinterest reaches 83% of its female users in between the ages of 25-54 , and much of the items on the website are house decoration and style products. Other brand names that deal with this audience with a comparable item mix present a genuine hazard just if they ’ re likewise actively utilizing social networks to target the exact same audience. Usage advertisements and seo( SEO) strategies to stick out and get seen. Cost. The very best part of utilizing social networks as an online sales channel is that these platforms are totally free to utilize. Just established an organisation account on every one to get access to ecommerce functions. The decision.

Social media is a strong online sales channel for sellers with a big social networks following. Making it simpler for your audience to purchase your items makes it much easier for you to make more sales.

. Picking the best online sale channel.

Choosing the right channel to offer on assists development occur naturally gradually. You get comfy utilizing it and benefit from more functions. This is opposed to’picking an online sale channel that isn ’ t an excellent fit and leaves you feeling annoyed.

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Since each platform has advantages andadvantages, and sellers incorporate totally with them, selecting a platform to offer on isn ’ t something to ignore. Put in the time to determine what you require in order to prosper and grow, and after that search for platforms that support that.

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Social Media Marketing

12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

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 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

Having a YouTube channel is an excellent method to put your material in front of over a million audiences. Plus, YouTube videos tend to have a longer life span when compared to material on other platforms.

But when your video material is published, you’’ ll still require to keep your eye on a couple of crucial metrics to put your YouTube channel on the course to success.

Some YouTubers tend to keep away from their Youtube Analytics since it can feel frustrating initially, however preventing it won’’ t assistance you to comprehend it.

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So, In this post I’’ ll be revealing 12 Youtube Analytics every youtuber requires to understand.

.1. YouTube Analytics to Track: Watch Time.

Your Watch Time report reveals you the variety of minutes your audiences invest enjoying your videos.

The longer your audiences view your videos the more Youtube will suggest and press your video on the search page. YouTube’’ s algorithm worths videos with longer watch times due to the fact that it suggests individuals are investing more time on YouTube.

 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

You can utilize this report to see the overall watch time you’’ ve collected given that beginning your YouTube channel.

.5 Tips To Increase Your YouTube Watch Time.

The only method to increase your watch time is to keep audiences looking for longer. How do you keep those eyes glued to the screen?

Here are 5 methods to increase your watch time:

.Catch an audience’’ s attention in the very first 5-10 seconds of your YouTube video . Your introduction needs to rope them in right now, or they ’ ll go to another video to discover what they desire. Have a look at’your Audience Retention ratings to assist you discover the number of audiences wind up enjoying to the very end of your videos. Contrary to common belief, making a longer video can assist to increase your watch time due to the fact that longer videos tend to do much better naturally. It ’ s all about balance, it can ’ t be too brief, or you ’ ll have to make more videos to battle for more watch time, and it can ’ t be too long so that when individuals see the video ’ s time length, they prevent enjoying it. Produce material that ’s worth looking for your audiences. You can ’ t fill your video time with fluff, no matter what length your video is. Fill it with content individuals wish to see they ’ ll endure the whole video no matter the length of time it is. Include an introduction a fantastic into the clip to your YouTube video. Attempt being direct about what your video has to do with or by including a little cliffhanger to keep them interested. It ’ ll just include a couple of seconds or approximately a minute, however it ’ s enjoy time that can build up with time. Believe me it’accumulates in the end. 2. YouTube Analytics to Track: Impressions Click-Through Rate.

Your Impressions click-through rate report, holds a bitmore weight than your common impression report.

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 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

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Your impression click-through rate is more crucial due to the fact that it demonstrates how frequently audiences communicate with your video after seeing it as it attempts to reveal your video to the audience probably to view it.

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YouTube begins emerging your video to an appropriate audience. Based upon numerous signals, our systems identify which audiences are probably to view your video.

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Your impressions click-through rate generally increases as quickly as you launch abrand-new video since your customers will look out or revealed your brand-new material initially, then YouTube ’ s algorithm will do the rest. From there, your click-through rate will decrease’and after that remain at a steady rate.

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Pro Tip: Learn Who Watches Your Video

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Sometimes this report can feel a bit depressing, however set it with your typical portion seen and typical view period and you can begin to get a concept of the number of individuals see your video from start to end up.

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Yes, a high click-through rate might be excellent however if individuals click your video and leave after the very first 5 seconds, you ’ re losing on prospective customers.

. 3. YouTube Analytics to Track: Average View Duration.

Your typical view period is the overall watch time of your video divided by the overall variety of video plays, consisting of video replays.

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 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

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This report assists you to see how well your video engages with audiences. The less engagement your video has with your audience, the more your typical view period and watch time will drop. Typical view period likewise impacts your suggested ranking and video search.

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Think of your typical view time simply as an Instagram post, the more likes, and engagement you get, the more Instagram will reveal your material in individuals’s feeds.

For many videos, a typical view period in the 70-80% variety is carrying out well. Anything above that is an effectively built video.

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Pro Tip: Youtubers regularly ask the concern “How can I get more views on YouTube? ” But what you should be asking is” Who am I producing videos for?”. You can develop videos particularly that draw in the attention of your target audience as soon as you address this concern. This instantly assists to increase your typical watch time.

. 4. YouTube Analytics to Track: Audience Retention.

Audience retention reveals you the portion of audiences who view and leave your video at a specific point. You can utilize your audience retention report to assist you with your future video technique.

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 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

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You can utilize the most appealing parts of your video to stimulate brand-new video subject concepts and utilize the least appealing parts of your videos as hints to stop producing content around those subjects moving on.

. Since it’s shown to get audiences attention, #ppppp> YouTube rewards videos with high retention with high rankings in search and ideas.

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There are 2 kinds of retention reports you need to take note of your outright retention curve and relative retentioncurve.

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The outright retention curve report reveals you which video and how well it keeps audiences. When audiences are most likely to drop-off, I discover that paying close attention to the very first 15 seconds of your video can assist you to see.

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The relative retention curve report compares how well your YouTube videos are carrying out with channels with comparable audiences. Your audience retention curve report is based on around the world information even if you pick a particular area to see the information.

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You can likewise see your retention traffic by natural or paid traffic.

. 5. YouTube Analytics to Track: Re-Watches.

This report reveals you the variety of times audiences re-watch specific parts of your video. You see your re-watches in your retention report, re-watches are normallysuggested by increasing curves in the chart.

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Having your videos monitored and over once again is constantly a plus. It means indicates specific particular topic subject a popular one if a lot of individuals arere-watching a particular specific or a specific particular of your video.

. 6. YouTube Analytics to Track: Engagement.

Like any social networks platform engagement assists to grow your channel. YouTube remarks, shares, likes, and dislikes are measurable information points that permit online marketers to see how their videos are truly doing. You may be missing out on something if you produce terrific videos however have little to no likes or remarks.

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 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

. 3 Easy Ways To Increase YouTube Engagement. Attempt to motivate shares, likes, and discuss your videos. Don ’ t be shy to request what you desire. At the start or end of your video motivate audiences to comment listed below or like your video. When they understand your open to it, audiences are more most likely to provide engagement. Provide it a shot and see what takes place. Make the effort to speak with your audience: one error YouTubers typically make after requesting for engagement is not putting in the time to promote engagement back with their audiences after they leave a remark or a like. Make the effort to address remarks and even state thanks for all the likes on your last video in your next video. This lets your audiences feel and see that their engagement is significant to you. Be the pal or professional that theynever ever understood they required. Screen your video engagement: videos with the most engagement will naturally increase to the top. Take down the subject, length, and publishing schedule of videos to see how you can revamp effective videos into other videos, or possibly alter your technique progressing. 7. YouTube Analytics to Track: Real-Time Report.

This report assists you to see the overall views for all videos on your YouTube channel and provides you insights into your most just recently released videos. If you require to increase your promo method, this will come in useful to understand. You can likewise see this information in reports for private videos.

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 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

. 8. YouTube Analytics to Track: Card Click-Through-Rate.

YouTube cards enable you to put clickable call-to-actions on your videos, triggering audiences to click.

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Cards can appear at any point in your video, consisting of, external links, and even content that ’ s downloadable for audiences to have– they ’ re absolutely a plus for any newbie or specialist Youtuber.

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12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

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Each of your cards ’ click-through rate or card reports reveals you which call-to-action audiences choose compared to others while enjoying your videos and can assist you enhance your watch time and grow customers.

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It can be a bit difficult in the beginning, however after a while, you ’ ll start to comprehend thefinest locations and timing to position your YouTube cards on future videos.

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Analyzing card click-through rates can likewise assist you reveal the ideal timing, positioning, and the period of your cards in future videos. You can discover your cards ’ click-through rates inthe Cards Report.

. 9.’ YouTube Analytics to Track: Playlist Engagement.

YouTube playlist assists to arrange your videos on your channel in search. Audiences can see as numerous videos at a time with the aid of topic-specific playlist.

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Having the best keywords provides your playlist more prospective for ranking on Google and YouTube searches.

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Your playlist engagement is seenunder your YouTube Playlist Report. This report is determined by 2 primary metrics: views per playlist start and typical time in a playlist.

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Views per’ playlist start are the typical variety of videoviews your playlists collect, and typical time in the playlist is the typical quantity of time that audiences saw the videos in your playlist.

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Pro Tip: If your playlist metrics are low attempt modifying and rearranging your playlist withthe videos with the greatest retention report or typical watch time.

. 10. YouTube Analytics to Track: Unique Viewers.

Unique audiences assist you to comprehend the real size of your audience who have actually viewed your videos over a long time.

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 12 Youtube Analytics Every YouTuber Should Know

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Unique watching metrics lie under reach views and audience tab in your YouTube studio.

. If your views are low or not getting sufficient customers, #ppppp> You can integrate this metric along with engagement and retention reports.

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You may require to get a bit more active with your engagement or asking audiences to turn and subscribe on the notice bell.

. 11. YouTube Analytics to Track: Traffic Sources.

Every YouTuber requires to understand where their traffic is originating from, social networks, external recommendations like social networks or internal recommendations from their own site or platform.

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This enables you to discover the very best platforms to promote your videos on. If you see many of your traffic coming from your Instagram page, then including your videos in your Instagram can drive more customers your method.

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Your YouTube traffic source report reveals you how your audiences discover yourvideo material and what source assists to grow your customers, views, and see time.

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While your YouTube traffic report offers aexcellent summary of traffic sources, including Google Analytics is constantly an excellent addition for more in depth insights. If you ’ re brand-new to Google Analytics here ’ s a detailed guide on to Setup Google Analytics In under 15 minutes. .

. 12. YouTube Analytics to Track: Subscriber Growth.

Reviewing your customer development assists you to determine your efforts to grow your YouTube channel. When to comes to your material and general brand name, your customers are your most devoted fans.

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Without customers, you wouldn ’ t have anybody to often see your videos, improve your views in search or suggestions, and get more re-watch time and supporter for your YouTube channel( offline and’online ).

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YouTube ’ s Subscribers Report reveals you which videos, places, and when you lose or acquire customers.

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If you ’ re concerned about getting more customers here are 17 Ways to Get More YouTube Subscribers.

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As essential as customers are you shouldn ’ t let them be your primary focus, or you ’ ll forget the genuine reward. When they just focus on getting their numbers up, the majority of YouTubers end up getting burned out.

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The genuine objective of having a YouTube channel is for your brand name to be viewed as a go-to for any video material you develop in addition to producing a neighborhood of faithful fans. As soon as you do that your customers will grow together with you.

. Summary.

Here are 12 YouTube analytics every online marketer must understand:

. Enjoy Time. Impressions Click-Through Rate. Typical View Duration. Audience Retention. Re-Watches. Engagement. Real-Time Report. Card Click-Through-Rate.Playlist Engagement. Distinct Viewers. Traffic Sources’. Customer Growth.

Using YouTube reports and analytics is important to your channel ’ s success. Your analytics are customized to your channel so that you can utilize them to see where there ’ s a chance to see and enhance if your efforts are settling.

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Read more: business2community.com

Social Media Marketing

Should Brands Be Authentic or Aspirational on Instagram?

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What’s more important in what we post on Instagram: authenticity or perfection?

Most of us would probably answer the former without thinking twice. Of course, it’s better to just be yourself, right?

The “just be yourself” credo feels natural to extend beyond personal accounts to consumer brands, too. After all, the push to humanize companies and commodify our own personalities has made the two increasingly difficult to distinguish between.

But we’ve found that the answer isn’t quite so simple.

For starters, there’s no clear-cut definition of what authenticity actually means for your brand’s Instagram presence. And to complicate things further, examples of brands achieving success on Instagram can be found on both ends of the authenticity-perfection spectrum. So, if you’re deciding which is best for your brand’s Instagram presence…the debate remains.

Do you opt for less-polished images and conversational captions that your customers can instantly relate to?
Or do you strive to create an aspirational feed that will have your customers fantasizing about what they could become with your product?

Let’s explore the case for each type of brand account.

What does it mean for brands to be authentic on Instagram, anyway?

The question of what makes an authentic Instagram presence is hard to answer.

Some brands (like General Electric) have taken to sharing behind-the-scenes photos of their company, while others, like Aerie and ModCloth, have pledged to not share photoshopped images.

Authentic or Aspirational Brands on Instagram - Sked Social

However, it’s not clear whether this is enough for these brands to be considered “authentic” on social media.

Most definitions of the term say that to be authentic is to be true to your personality or spirit, not necessarily true to objective reality.

By that definition, a company with a larger-than-life brand, like Walt Disney World, should post fantasy-driven, perfected images. If the Walt Disney World Instagram account was full of candid snapshots of long lines, tired toddlers, or sweating parents, that would be less authentic to the famous Disney spirit than their imaginative feed of fireworks and attractions.

On the other hand, for many, a lack of authenticity is indicated by a sense that what a brand is posting is probably not what you’d see with your own eyes, without filters or professional editing.

So, for the sake of clarity in this article, let’s say that an “authentic” Instagram presence is one that doesn’t rely heavily on professionally styled, photographed, and edited images.

Your brand’s Instagram: the case for authenticity

A whopping 86% of consumers say that a brand’s authenticity is important when they decide what to buy. With half of all Instagram users following brand accounts, it’s likely that a brand’s Instagram presence factors into how authentic the brand is perceived as being.

Plus, if Instagram influencers are a trend to rely on, they represent a growing movement away from the jaw-dropping, perfected images that originally gave Influencers, well, their influence.

Especially those with younger followers, many Influencers have adopted a rawer presence, deliberately posting images that are not only unedited but show them in an imperfect light.

Such accounts, like fashion influencers Reese Blutstein and Courtney Trop, don’t break from their version of authenticity even when partnering with high-end brands. In fact, they often draw attention to the flaws in their shots: In one post, Trop captions a photo featuring a Louis Vuitton bag, “My dream bag but it’s cut off in this pic so I’ll have to take another.”

Also, consider the immense popularity of the relatively new Instagram Stories feature, which was launched mid-2016. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom told Vox that the move sprung from their insights that users were backing off Instagram due to “feeling the pressure of sharing really amazing photos.” Stories were meant to give users (and brands) a place to share more off-the-cuff images of their uncurated life.

Clearly, it’s worked. Today, over 500 million people engage with Instagram Stories daily.

These trends point to a major opportunity for brands to connect with their customers through an Instagram presence that feels more authentic and less styled.

Your brand’s Instagram: the case for the perfect aesthetic

Despite the hype about authenticity, a look at the most popular Instagram accounts tells a different story.

Accounts that cater to the fantasy of a fairytale life, complete with stunning images of perfectly styled models or professionally lit lifestyle photos, have followings that dwarf the accounts mentioned above.

Accounts like that of fashion mogul Chiara Ferragni boast photos of a jet-setting life (with never a hair out of place) and tens of millions of followers.

Aspirational Linstagram Brands - Sked Social - Chiara Ferragni

The same can be said of the Kardashian sisters’ accounts, which have some of the highest follower counts in the world. Brands who have paid partnerships with Kim Kardashian reportedly pay over $500,000 for a single Instagram post. For that amount, their ROI must be much higher, suggesting that a large number of consumers are indeed excited to buy from a brand that promotes perfection.

Even with the addition of the lower-pressure Instagram Stories feature, many people still feel the pressure to be perfect on social media, particularly Instagram. Highlighting the widespread desire to be perceived as perfect, a recent study links Instagram use frequency to negative feelings about one’s self-worth or physical appearance.

However, brands offering a fantasy of perfection on Instagram can capitalize on a powerful buying motive: wanting to have (or at least be perceived as having) a better, more glamorous lifestyle.

Successful brands with an authentic Instagram presence

There are dozens of brands that have tapped into the authenticity movement on Instagram and created a devoted community around their product.

With two million followers on Instagram and a valuation of $1.2 billion, Glossier is the quintessential example of a brand that has leveraged a down-to-earth Instagram presence to skyrocket the success of their company.

Aspirational Instagram Brands - Sked Social - Glossier

Their photos, while high-quality, aren’t overly styled. Sometimes, photos of their products seem like the ones you could take in your own bathroom. The makeup company is also known for re-posting photos that customers share. And because their product is natural-looking makeup, this choice makes sense.

In another example, men’s casual wear brand Chubbies uses Instagram to post exclusively humorous images.

Authentic Instagram Brands - Sked Social - Chubbies

Often, the photos take the form of funny memes poking fun at their brand. With a customer base of people who don’t like to take themselves too seriously, this type of Instagram branding works well. They currently have about 450K followers.

Successful brands with a perfect-aesthetic Instagram presence

By contrast, some of Instagram’s coolest brands are doing the opposite, going for a polished and defined feed.

Direct-to-consumer luggage and travel brand Away is a company that disrupted the travel industry with their curated Instagram presence. Their luggage, while generally less expensive than other luxury travel brands, nevertheless promises customers a globe-trotting lifestyle. Their Instagram feed is a long stream of aspirational images of travel through business class and enviable locations. With 400K followers and counting, their strategy seems to be working.

Authentic Instagram brands - Sed Social - LNA

Similarly, LNA, a clothing brand based in Los Angeles, posts images of their picture-perfect, California-cool models against immaculate backgrounds or posing in hillside pools. The account has one of the highest reported engagement rates of any brand.

LNA - Authentic or Aspirational Instagram - Sked Social

Takeaway: Be true to the brand you’ve created

There is an opportunity for brands with the call for more Instagram authenticity. A lot of consumers are tiring of the super-perfect world projected by marketers and advertisers… especially when it comes to seeing that content amid photos of our friends.

And Instagram users, in particular, seem to be suffering from perfection-weariness. These consumers are craving brand content that doesn’t try to impress them with dazzling photos. Instead, they want images that reveal what your product looks like in real life.

On the flipside, brands that are sticking with the aspirational aesthetic are doing remarkably well. It turns out that just because authenticity has become a buzzword doesn’t mean that the tried-and-true “perfect shot” Instagram feeds have lost their appeal. After all, achieving a perceived higher status or esteem is one of the age-old buying motives that almost every consumer has.

However, looking at how different brands have been successful with both types of approaches on Instagram, we can pinpoint one clear kernel of advice: Be true to the brand you’ve created.

If your brand is built on humour or if your customer-base prizes realness above all, then aim to be authentic on Instagram. But if your brand serves up luxury products, you’re probably better off sticking with your perfect aesthetic.

What do you think? When it comes to Instagram for brands, what’s more important: authenticity or perfection?

Read more: business2community.com

Social Media Marketing

How to Work with Affiliates to Boost Your SEO

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For merchants in the e-commerce space, having great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can make or break your profit margins. After all, you have to get traffic to your site and product pages no matter what, and there are only two ways to achieve this: either you pay for it (ie. Google AdWords) or you get it for free, which entails doing SEO well. In the long run, great SEO will return months, if not years, of unpaid traffic which will free up more budget for other aspects of your business.

Of course, achieving great SEO is easier said than done, and there are many (many!) posts across the internet to help boost your rankings in various ways. But one thing a lot of these write-ups miss is how affiliate marketing can help with your SEO. We always like to say that working with affiliate reps is an effective way to outsource your marketing team, and there are ways to work with your reps specifically on SEO-related activities. Here are 4 ways to work with your affiliates to boost your e-commerce SEO.

1. Create authoritative, evergreen content.

Generating content is just table stakes for any e-commerce business, especially ones that have an affiliate marketing channel. If your blog posts or images or videos are dull and uninformative, even if affiliates share it, it won’t get any traction. Content is still king, and good SEO always starts here. If you do nothing else to boost your SEO, at least create good content.

Specifically, create authoritative and evergreen content. Let’s break these two adjectives down:

Authoritative content means it comes from an expert. For us, we’re experts at all aspects of affiliate marketing (eg. our guide to getting affiliates via Instagram). But that’s a given. A more practical approach is to think about it this way: it’s information you can’t get anywhere else, usually because you generated it yourself. For example, if you mine your client data and come up with industry benchmarks, that is useful and unique information. It’s inherently authoritative and sure to garner attention, and better yet, links.

Evergreen content means it will still be relevant years from now. This is tough since the pace of technology and the internet runs so fast, but it’s also industry specific. A comprehensive guide on SEO might need to be updated every year, but a guide to identifying trees will probably last forever. Think about content in your niche that can last, and they will pay dividends as they continue to bring in more links, and traffic, that will boost your SEO score year over year.

2. Generate important backlinks to your product pages.

Here’s a crazy stat: according to ahrefs.com, a whopping 91% of content on the internet gets no traffic from Google. Not a single visitor! And they surveyed about a billion web pages. One of the main reasons?

That’s right, over half the pages that didn’t get any traffic had zero links pointed at them. We’ve known for decades now how important backlinks are to getting traffic to your site, but now we know that not having them can be a death sentence for your product pages.

Building a stable of high-quality backlinks might be the most helpful SEO boost that your affiliate reps can produce. And the beauty is that it’s built right into what affiliate marketing is: they have to link back to the products that they are marketing on your behalf. And each one of those links not only directs traffic to that page on your site, but adds to the overall authority of your website (more links generally equate to higher authority) which means a higher ranking on Google’s search results page.

A few tips on making the most out of these backlinks from your affiliate reps:

Make sure that the anchor text they use is descriptive. Instead of making the text a generic “click here,” urge your reps to link back to your pages with significant keywords. “Highly rated and recommended iPhone cases” is the type of phrase that should be underlined in blue.
Dissuade links from “low quality” origins. Not all links are created equal. Make sure your reps are linking to you from within well-written and compelling content and not, say, from the comments section of some random blog. If they want to link from these “low quality” places because they might be good for conversions, ask them to use no-follow links that won’t ding your site:

<a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>

Utilize Google Search Console to manage your links.

 

Logging into your Google Search Console will provide an easy way to check out which sites are sending you the most backlinks and the top linking text that’s associated with this traffic. It’s a great, free way to keep tabs on the state of your backlinks.

3. Social media’s correlation with, or causation of, SEO boosts.

Google doesn’t disclose what goes into their special sauce of how they rank websites on their search results page. Sure, we know the broad strokes of what matters for SEO, and we might even know the smaller details. But we don’t really know everything, especially how much certain aspects are weighted against each other.

The impact of social media likes and shares is one of those hotly contested aspects in SEO circles. Ostensibly, we all know that lots of social media activity is correlated with a boost in rank. But many experts argue that this increase is a side effect of simply having more backlinks when content is shared hundreds or thousands of times over. Then again, Hootsuite conducted a quite thorough investigation of their own and concluded that social media activity alone is enough to boost rank, regardless of backlinks (the entire post is quite fascinating if you’re into this sort of thing). But then again, Google’s official stance is that no, it doesn’t.

We’re not here to resolve this debate. But one thing is clear: leveraging social media can only benefit your SEO, regardless of whether it’s correlation or causation. And to that end, working with your affiliate reps to leverage their individual social networks will seriously impact your SEO and ranking. Some tips in this effort:

Encourage your affiliates to create great content. Not only should you lead by example and create content to be shared, you should always allocate some time and effort to assist your reps in creating amazing content that features your product or service. Once they do, make sure you ask them to use your hashtag, tag your business, list you in their YouTube video/channel keywords, and add a linkback in the post description.
Go on their podcast or vlog. Many social media Influencers may be reluctant to inorganically talk about or link to your products. Even before you establish a partnership relationship with them, ask to appear on their podcast and/or vlog to discuss a subject that would engage their followers. It’s a more organic way to have a reason to link back to your site as well as increase brand recognition.
Encourage resharing/reposting. A good piece of content shouldn’t be a one-and-done situation. After all, a post today will only reach a fraction of any affiliate rep’s social circle. Remind them of, or help them schedule out, resharing and reposting. Today, three days, a week, a month, 3 months, 6 months, a year.

4. Dominate the top of Google (and voice search).

It’s tough for a single company to own the top spots on Google’s search results page for a given query (that’s not their own brand name), but it can be done much easier if you tag-team the effort with your high profile affiliate reps. Here’s an example of what we mean:

A search for “red cellphone battery cases” resulted in links for Mophie, Mophie on Amazon, and Mophie on eBay. That’s some excellent SEO done by Mophie’s team; they own 3 out of the 4 top spots not with their own domain, but with the assistance of others.

Likewise, optimize around the keyword phrase of your choice and work with your affiliates with high-profile sites to create content that will similarly own the top spots. You can’t copy and paste a blog post, since Google abhors duplicate content, but similarly authoritative and evergreen posts can help.

And another benefit of this tactic? You’ll have optimized to show up on voice search results, since 75% of the spoken results on Alexa, Google Home, and Siri come from results that rank in the top 3 for that query. A couple of additional tips here as well:

Make sure your affiliates optimize their content to encourage a paragraph becoming a Featured Snippet.

Google tends to pull a 45-word paragraph from a highly ranked page to feature as an answer to queries, especially if the query is a question (ie. “how do I…”) and the paragraph is a direct answer to that question. Thus, it’s beneficial to tell your affiliates to add concise Q & A sections to pages that are already ranking highly. And again, these Featured Snippets are often pulled for voice search answers.

Finally, encourage basic SEO. If your affiliate reps are creating a lot of content for you, it’s a good idea to run an SEO bootcamp to help them understand the importance of title tags, descriptive alt text for images, ideal length of posts, and the like. As we started with, your reps can be considered your outsourced marketing team. Help them help you!

Your business can exponentially increase your SEO by working closely with your affiliate reps who operate their own sites and own social networks. With intelligent utilization of backlinks, quality content, social media, and tag-teaming your best keywords; you have a much better chance of rising to the top of Google than acting all on your own.

Read more: business2community.com

Social Media Marketing

How to Increase Online Sales: The Complete Checklist

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What if there were a method—even a process—that you could apply to increase website sales? Wouldn’t that be swell? Well, there is.

I’ve turned it into a checklist.

This method works across all categories; it doesn’t matter what business you’re in. Take your website, assess it for any item on the list, make improvements, and your online sales will increase.

Start with measurable goals

Before we get started on the checklist, make sure you have actual, measurable goals in place (e.g. sell boots, get subscribers).

If you don’t have a single focus for your site, it’s very difficult to achieve results.
You cannot systematically improve what you cannot measure (or won’t notice it when it happens).

Start with specific goals and make sure your web analytics software is tracking those goals.

Personal opinions do not matter (much)

There’s no shortage of opinions in the world. Sadly, most are misguided, even incompetent. People see the world from where they are and think everybody else is like them—”But I never click on ads!”; “Nobody shares their email!”; “I think it should be blue!”; and so on.

You are not the world. You are not your customer. Hence, you can’t draw conclusions about user behavior based on your personal preferences. It’s natural to want to, but try to resist. Instead, focus on evidence-based marketing.

The internet is not in its infancy anymore. We’ve had many, many years to test, try, and see what works online. There are entire frameworks for testing programs, reams of academic research, and mountains of data.

The following checklist is a summary of key elements that will help you get more online sales (or whatever conversion you’re after).

Increasing sales online: the checklist

Here it is:

Create buyer personas.
Drive relevant traffic.
Design a great site.
Create compelling value propositions.
Understand buying phases.
Reduce friction.
Focus on clarity.
Eliminate noise and distraction.
Engage visitors.
Add urgency.
Follow usability standards.

Now let’s look at each item individually.

1. Create buyer personas.

The more people feel that an offer is right for them, the more likely they are to take it.

Let me prove it to you. Let’s say you want to buy new running shoes. First, list:

Your gender;
Age;
Weight;
Where you normally run.

Now, would you rather buy running shoes that are suitable for all runners, or ones specifically designed for your gender, age group, weight, and type of use? That’s a no-brainer.

Your goal is to identify customer groups—their needs, wants, requirements and use cases. Buyer personas are essentially a specific group of potential customers, an archetypal person whom you want your marketing to reach.

sample user personas

Buyer personas help you better target your offers, making them more likely to resonate—and helping you win more online sales. (Image credit)

Optimizing your site for buyer personas diminishes the egotistical point of view and gets you to talk to users about their wants and needs. People care about themselves and answers to their problems, which is why buyer personas are so critical for marketing success.

Essentially, it’s about knowing whom you’re selling to, their situation, what they’re thinking, their needs, and their hesitations. If you know the exact person you’re selling to and the problems they have, you’re in a much better position to sell to them.

How to build a buyer persona

The truth is that most companies have only the faintest idea what lies behind the buying decision. We presume an awful lot. The buyer persona is a tool to help you see deeper into the buyer’s thinking.

Use customer interviews to map out different personas. Your personas will dictate every word and every image on your site. Your website layout, navigation, and general user flow should all come from personas.

2. Drive relevant traffic.

This is about two things:

Targeting the right people;
Communicating the right message.

It’s almost impossible to sell people things they don’t need or want. If you sell laptops and somehow get me to your site, I won’t buy one. I already have one. What you offer is not relevant to me at that moment.

A key ingredient of high conversions is relevant traffic. If you stop wasting resources that drive irrelevant traffic to your site, you will increase sales. As a marketer, one of your constant jobs is finding the right marketing mix:

The right media. Where to advertise/promote, free or paid;
The right message. What to say;
The right offer. How much money for what.

If you get the media right and the traffic is relevant (i.e. people are genuinely interested in what you have to offer), you’re instantly doing better.

Next, you have to figure out which value proposition works best for this audience. This is when you go back to Item 1 and customer personas.

Learn why people need your product, which problems it solves, and reflect it back to them. When your target group feels understood, magic happens.

3. Design a great site.

In a nutshell: Beautiful design sells better than ugly design. Beautiful does not mean laden with bells and whistles—often, it’s quite simple. Beautiful design looks great and works well.

BMW, Apple, and Nike don’t throw millions at design for fun. They know it sells better. In fact, design (how it looks and how it works) is a key reason people buy from them.

How do you know if your site is ugly?

If you built your site yourself—and you’re not a designer—it sucks. Get a new one.

If you use cheesy stock photography—like customer service people with headsets or suits shaking hands—the rest of your site probably sucks, too. Don’t use the “women laughing alone with salad” style:

example of bad stock photos

If you had a freelancer build it who charged you $2 per hour, it sucks. Quality craftsmanship always comes at a fair price—no matter what country they’re from.

The more you know about something, the better you’re able to tell the difference. Have you seen The Devil Wears Prada? There’s this scene where Anne Hathaway’s character mocks the fashion people who think two identical belts look “so different.”

Be it dogs, fashion, or web design, you have to spend years analyzing them to separate the good from the bad, and know exactly why. (If you want to commit to a feature-length explanation of this concept, watch Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?)

I’ve seen too many butt-ugly websites that their respective owners thought looked great. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder—to an extent. But, mostly, it’s not. Your site either is ugly or it isn’t.

There are exceptions, like Craigslist, but those are outliers. Craigslist started when butt-ugly was the standard, and later made bare-bones design its “thing.” If they started that way today, nobody would use it.

Visual hierarchy and user guidance

Your website design has another important role—it communicates what’s important and what the user should do next.

Every page on your site should have a most-wanted action, the number-one thing you want people to do on that page. This is where visual hierarchy comes in.

Look at this screenshot:

Now, what was the order of your eye movements? What did you notice first, second, last? The first two were probably the headline (“It’s all coming together”) and the image, followed by the explanatory paragraph and call to action (“Sign up Free”).

It’s not a coincidence. They wanted you to see those thing in that order. And what’s equally important is what you didn’t notice—the navigation and other secondary information that’s less important.

4. Create compelling value propositions.

A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the main reason a prospect should buy from you (and not from the competition).

In a nutshell, a value proposition is a clear statement that:

Explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevance);
Delivers specific benefits (value);
Tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not the competition (differentiation).

Your value proposition should be the first thing that visitors see on your homepage, but it should also be visible at all major entry points to the site.

If your main landing pages (homepage, product pages, etc.) don’t have a value proposition or users don’t understand it (see Item 7), you’re losing sales.

I’ve written an extensive post on creating value propositions along with a bunch of examples. You should read it.

Optimizely does it well:

What is it? A website experimentation platform.
What’s the benefit? Outperform competitors.
Who’s it for? Marketing and product teams.

example of site with clear value proposition

5. Understand buying phases.

Let’s say you surf the web and come across this site:

What stands out is that they go straight for the sale—asking you to register right away. But they’ve give you zero information about who they are or why you should register.

Understanding buying phases is all about understanding how people work. Largely, customers fall into three groups:

People who have a problem or need but don’t know it;
People who are researching different options, comparison shopping;
People who have made a decision to buy.

Depending on your industry, there may be a few additional groups. Use customer interviews to learn about the different phases your buyers are in.

You have to sell differently to each group. The first group is pretty much hopeless. It’s difficult to sell them anything since you need to sell the problem first.

The other two groups—those researching and those who have made a decision—warrant added attention.

People who are researching

In most niches, these people form the majority. The main question you need to answer is “Why should I buy from you?”

If you don’t have a compelling value proposition, you’re going to lose. If you don’t make it clear how you’re better or different from the competition, you’re going to lose—especially if you’re not the cheapest.

Humans don’t like to think. They like to compare products by looking at a couple of simple parameters, like price and maybe something else (e.g. for web hosting, server space).

If people can’t understand the differences between your product and that of your competitor, they’re going to choose based on price: “If it’s all the same, why pay more?!”

Do this:

State your advantages and differences on your homepage and product pages.
If you sell mass-market products (e.g. Sony TVs, Dell laptops, Gucci perfumes) and you’re not the cheapest, clearly communicate the added value of your higher price.

Researchers are looking for information to help them decide. Your job is to give them what they need to feel good about buying. If you rush the sale—ask for a sign-up before they have enough information, you will scare them away.

Here’s a good case study for burying your sign-up or buy button. One company removed the sign-up call to action from the top of their homepage, and signups increased 350%.

People who have decided

After conducting their research, some people will come back for the transaction. They’re looking for clearly visible call-to-action buttons (e.g. “Add to cart”) or links with trigger words (“Sign up”).

Your job is to make sure those are easy to find. Conduct “think out loud” usability testing to test it.

6. Reduce friction.

Whenever you ask people to commit to something, there’s friction. It’s impossible to remove all friction from a business transaction. You can only minimize it.

Friction includes all the doubts, hesitations, and second thoughts people have about giving you money for a product.

Is it really worth the money? Will it break? Can I trust this site? Will it work? What if it doesn’t fit? Is this a scam? Is it the right choice for me? Will she like it?

The way to convert an infidel to a believer is to address all doubts and give them full information—so they can convince themselves.

Elements that add friction:

Long and/or complicated process. These are “get a quote” forms with 10 fields, 3-page applications, etc.
Websites with horrible usability. People don’t understand how to buy or can’t find any contact info.
Anonymous site. No names, photos, phone numbers, or physical address is visible. If you’re trying to hide, you must have something to hide.
Ugly, amateur website. See Item 3!
Insufficient evidence. You make a bunch of claims but don’t back them up.
Insufficient information. A chair: 2 feet tall, black, $5,000. There are thousands of sites provide hardly any information about the products they sell. Research says 50% of purchases are not completed due to lack of information.
FUDs. Fears, uncertainties, doubts. The way to overcome these is to address those FUDs in your sales copy. Interview your customers to find out what they are.

One classic way to boost credibility is to use testimonials:

example of testimonials on website.

Credible testimonials are with full name and photo, from celebrities and people like your buyers. Anonymous testimonials are not believable.

Fitness sites are easy examples. People are skeptical that any fitness program actually works. “No one can achieve those results in three months,” you can imagine everyone saying.

So, programs like Beachbody (which includes P90X) add tons of testimonials with real people and plenty of visual evidence. They make a point on their homepage to highlight that customers’ results are legitimate:

example of testimonial page that addresses user skepticism.

Make a list of all the FUDs that your target group have, then address them with evidence.

Social proof is powerful. Show impressive numbers, like how many happy customers you’ve got. Nobody wants to be the only idiot buying your stupid product.

Basecamp doubles down on this concept, offering a weekly counter with testimonials and a multi-year growth chart on their homepage:


7. Focus on clarity.

People won’t buy what they don’t understand. In fact, people fear what they don’t understand. Racism and xenophobia come from the fear of the unknown.

Whatever you’re selling, the buyer is a human. It doesn’t matter if it’s your granny or a top executive from IBM. They’re all humans. If the text (or video) on your site is easy to understand and written compellingly, your conversions will go up.

Years ago, a friend of mine blogged about an email he received. I think it’s a good example of what NOT to do.

Hi Deniss,

My name is […], Senior Director of Feedback Management at [..]. I wanted to let you know about some information that could impact on your role at […]. A recent […] study, “Customer Feedback Management: Leveraging the Voice of the Customer to Amplify Business Results,” revealed that companies successfully leveraging Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs accomplish quantifiable year-over-year performance gains including increased annual revenue and higher customer satisfaction ratings.

[…] I will be hosting a webinar, based on the study’s findings […]

I hope you’ll be able to join us for what is sure to be an informative webinar that will yield valuable take-aways for your organization!

You can avoid jargon by using the “friend test.” Read the text on your website out loud and imagine it’s a conversation with your friend. If there’s a word or a sentence you wouldn’t use, re-write it.

What does this company do?

example of clarity on homepage copy.

Pretty clear, isn’t it. No fancy-schmancy stuff. You don’t need big words. You need to be clear. If the text on your website isn’t fun to read and takes effort to understand, you’re doing it wrong.

Same goes for video. Here’s a good example of a clear presentation by Nest:

It’s a thermostat! This could be the most boring technical video of all time. But it’s not. And it worked. Nest became so popular that Google bought it in 2014 for $3.2 billion.

8. Eliminate noise and distraction.

There’s an adage for outdoor billboard design—it’s ready when there’s nothing left to remove. In a way, this also applies to websites.

The more choice you give people, the harder it is to choose anything. When there are too many options, it’s easiest to choose nothing at all. There’s tons of research to confirm this. In addition, more choices make us unhappy.

If you have a ton of products, you have to provide great filters to help people narrow down their options.

Noise and distraction aren’t just about how many products you have. It’s about how busy your layout is, how many competing design elements there are, how many things—in total—ask for user attention.

The “rule of noise“

The closer you get to closing the sale, the fewer things you should have on your screen. Once users get to the checkout, you shouldn’t have anything on the page that doesn’t directly contribute to the conversion.

Look at the Amazon checkout screen. No sidebar, no menu, no related products. They just really want you to click the “Place your order” button:

example of streamlined checkout page on amazon.

Identify a single-most wanted action for each screen, then make sure the important stuff stands out. Don’t have anything in the layout that isn’t absolutely necessary. Simple works.

9. Engage visitors.

What’s your conversion rate? 1%? 3%? Even if it’s as high as 5%, that means that 95% of visitors don’t buy anything. They came to your site—maybe even through paid advertising—bought nothing, and left.

Now what? Have you lost them for good? Not necessarily. In many cases, the best way to increase online sales is to avoid one at first. Remember buying phases? Instead of asking for money right away, engage users and, ideally, collect their email address so that you can keep talking to them.

As a general rule, the more expensive and/or complicated the product, the more time people need to make a decision. If you’re selling cars or computers, it’s unlikely that someone will buy one online on their first visit. This is why you should get their email first, add value, prove your expertise, get them to like you, etc.—all before you ask for the sale.

Beardbrand wants to sell you products to manage your facial hair. Even with an inexpensive product, they still go for an email first, asking users to go through a quiz funnel on their homepage:

example of engaging visitors with a quiz funnel that generates an email lead.

While email is the best way to go, you might also go for

Social media follow (Twitter, Facebook etc.);
Immediate product trial;
Sweepstakes (“Enter to win!”).

Buzzsumo lets you just enter any topic or domain to see their product in action:

example of homepage letting users try the product

10. Add urgency.

Urgency is a powerful motivator—if done well. All of us have seen something like this:

example of urgency on travel website.

There are three ways to create urgency:

Quantity limitations. “Only 2 tickets left at this price!”
Time limitations. “Early-bird pricing ends July 1!”
Contextual limitations. “Get a gift now for Father’s Day!”

As long as the reason for the urgency is believable, it will work. Too many marketers abuse it and add urgency to everything. OpinMonster, for example, suggests that there’s a time-limited offer any time you visit their pricing page:

time-limited offer example

When it makes sense to use it, it will produce a ton of results.

11. Follow usability standards.

If your site is difficult to use, people won’t use it. Nobody will bother to figure out stuff. The best websites provide a seamless experience—everything is intuitive; people don’t have to think.

Luckily, it’s not the 1990s or early 2000s anymore, when usability was awful. Check out these fantastic usability checklists for different sections of your website.

Compare your site against all of them and make necessary corrections.

Conclusion

More than a decade ago, Jakob Nielsen proposed a formula based on four variables:

Business results;
Visitors/traffic;
Conversion;
Loyalty.

Business results, the formula suggested, were the product of the other three variables: B = V × C × L.

If you want to double your results, you can either double the number of unique visitors (very expensive), double the conversion rate (possible, but increasingly harder), or double repeat purchases.

As Nielsen foresaw:

Whereas we might aptly call the period 2000–10 the conversion decade for website usability professionals, 2010–20 will be the loyalty decade.

That prediction has held up. If you want to increase website sales right now, focus on conversions or driving traffic. If you want to increase sales online in the long run—well past 2020—focus on loyalty.

Read more: business2community.com

Social Media Marketing

“The End of Likes”: The Last Meaningless Proxy For Social Media Success?

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“The network

A digital frontier

I tried to picture clusters of information

As they moved through the computer

What do they look like?

Likes, reactions

With the circuits like freeways

I kept dreaming of a world

I thought I’d never see

And then, one day

I pulled out”

While being a quick adaptation of a sci-fi movie score, it fits the last few weeks of social media news.

Mark Zuckerberg started his keynote on Facebook’s F8 with a mantra: “The Future is Private”. He went on explaining how Facebook was created to be a digital representation of a town square. In them, people are able to share their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs.

But the truth is, no one wants to be “that public” anymore. Conversations have been shifting from the town square to the living room, as Mark puts it. The analogy refers to the private conversation apps available in the Facebook ecosystem. These are Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, and WhatsApp.

The theory, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism says, is simple. Over time, Facebook networks have become so big that people no longer feel comfortable sharing content openly. Mark also thickens the plot by saying that people prefer ephemeral content (stories) and private feedback.

So, the claim is that the future is private, cool. What do likes have to do with it?

Adam Mosseri

Adam Mosseri

Rings a bell? Adam Mosseri is Instagram’s CEO, a former high-rank product exec at Facebook. He was Instagram’s VP Product before taking the company lead.

There’s a big advantage of having a product person on stage, despite their current title. They speak to and for the user.

Adam started by following Mark’s approach to private communication. A good insight was that people really valued stories (ephemeral content) due to private feedback loops. You see, when you reply to a story you’re privately messaging to someone. The feedback is private, it’s a safe space, it’s people first.

These smaller spaces feel much less pressurized than previous formats, the town squares. In fact, users in close-knit groups (close friends) share more and their stories get more responses.

The winds of change blew when Adam mentioned likes and follower counts. He said they’ll be testing hiding the “like” count from photos and remove viewership numbers from videos. The goal? One, to get users to pay more attention to the content itself. Two, to rein in competitive tendencies and make the experience a little “less pressurized.”

So, moving forward, if the test goes as intended, as you scroll through your feed, you won’t see like counts. You’ll see that Anna and others liked your photo, but now many of them.

A paradigm shift for marketers?

The year was 2009. Tesla had just released its first car. DNA tests began being sold retail. Uber was founded. iPad didn’t exist.

Neither did Instagram. But Facebook did.

facebook like button

Source: Facebook turns on its ‘Like’ button

On February 9, 2009, the like button was launched. The purpose was simple: to allow users to easily and quickly interact with updates, comments, photos and videos of their friends.

Beyond a button, the like was basilar for the newsfeed algorithm development. Amongst others, it was a primary social signal of whether the content was engaging or not.

And brands and publishers understood quickly understood that. Soon, every social marketer, every audience developer, every person with a social presence was fighting for likes.

Presentations, reports, investment pitches, all of them had some sort of “social validation” to them.

The like was important, it still is. But what if it disappears? What if news articles are liked by people and not by 14,000 people?

What happens when a video has views instead of 1.4M views? Is it still viral then? For whom?

Replacing or removing engagement metrics will only be a blow for those who still look at it as a social media success.

There are no likes in private conversations

If we continue to think that most sharing occurs privately, we come to a very simple conclusion. There are no likes in private conversations. The person on the other side is validation itself.

In a newsfeed scenario, I may need the wisdom of the crowd (and of the feed) to verify the relevance of a piece of content.

However, if Sophie shares that same content privately to me, I’ll consider such share already vetted. I’ll consider that Sophie believes that I’d be happy to know/read whatever she’s sharing.

Ultimately, a close friend is still going to beat the best feed algorithm available.

But in a world where the like disappears, how does social distribution work?

Content Analytics: beyond the like

It’s very common to look at social analytics platforms and identify the #1 metric for success: engagement. Most of these platforms gather and aggregate platform data and present some sort of insights from it.

But in a post-world where engagements are hidden, which metrics should marketers look at? How do we measure social media success?

Our vision relies on loyalty. Loyalty to brands, to their content, by their users. And to track loyalty one cannot depend on publicly available data.

If social is going private, a good place to start is by understanding private social engagement. We’ve written extensively about dark social, what it is and why it is important to track.

Understanding user recirculation is another very good sentiment for loyalty. Identifying which content pieces drive your audience growth is fundamental in a like-free world.

Finally, we must look at platforms are the sparkles, not the fuel of digital conversations. We now know that conversations are happening 1-to-1 or 1-to-few in these silos. WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, millions of very active (yet small) groups.

However, content discovery still happens elsewhere, normally in a public setup. So what’s our suggestion? Track, understand, automate.

3 steps to drive private conversations about your brand
#1 – Track

To start a buzz in private messaging apps, you first need to identify the best possible content to feature in your public channels. Understanding how many dark social & private shares your content has is crucial for this analysis. Tracking the impact of those shares provides you better answers even.

#2 – Understand

The second thing you must do is to find engagement patterns and get timely information on what’s getting viral. A notification/alerts system is the best way to achieve this. Define what success looks like for you and make sure you get a notification when something’s picking up.

#3 – Automate

In a post-like world, managing social profiles will be a task of the past. Instead, make sure you have the processes for #1 and #2 streamlined and automated. Start by having 2-3 posts per day automatically distributed on your social profiles. These posts should be the ones who are most likely to drive private conversations. Don’t forget to track impact along the way.

Conclusions

The future of social is private.

We must understand and accept that conversations are shifting from public to private. We shouldn’t panic: plan, adapt, overcome.

If likes disappear from social, the paradigm shifts. We need to create new metrics for social media success. Recirculation, user loyalty, and dark social sharing are good places to start.

You can win the private conversation game in three steps:

Make sure you’re identifying which content is driving private conversations
Understand patterns and create processes for timely notifications
Automate distribution for maximum audience growth and development

Read more: business2community.com