How can your conversion optimization be in a rut? You have an ongoing AB testing program, you stay on top of your analytics’ conversion goals, bounce rates, traffic sources, etc., and you know which are your best performing digital marketing channels.
And there’s the rut.
You’re never set.
Everyone knows how fickle customers can be and how constantly digital marketing evolves. Yet we continue to pour more resources into finding set-play solutions to most of our digital marketing hurdles. While we are convinced of the efficacy of being constantly aware and reactive to many digital benchmarks, those to which we pay attention are overwhelmingly numbers-based.
Think about it, you probably know the number of visitors you get; you likely have a good idea of bounce rates and you certainly stay on top of how many conversions you get.
But did you know that over 20% of your keyword research is obsolete from the moment it’s completed?
How big of a rut are you in? Despite years of research, testing and analysis, average online conversion rates continue to languish in the low single digits for ecommerce and lead generation. Bricks and mortar retail conversion rates are 700% higher. While it’s not really fair to compare online and offline commerce, it gives you an idea of the depth of the rut.
And what do we do about it? We keep tracking and reacting to the numbers and we tend to ignore many many of the ‘softer’ digital marketing tactics to which we cannot easily apply a numeric value.
- Persona Creation – If you don’t use personas, you may think they’re a waste of time; after all, who doesn’t know their target customers? If you use personas, you probably wonder how anyone can market or optimize conversions without them.Personas are fictional amalgams of your customers’ personalities, lifestyle and buying habits. Their purpose is to give you a clear idea to whom you speak when you create your marketing messages.You should use a number of different personas to represent different personality types. Many automated online marketing and sales packages include handy modules to create many personas and assign them to new contacts.
Whether you do it by hand or use a package, the problem is that personas, like your customers, are not static. And the longer they remain so, the further away they will get from being a true reflection of your current markets.
World events, competing messages, the weather; anything that might affect walk-in customers’ buying habits, should be reflected in your online personas. And as all of those factors change almost daily, your personas should change almost as often
Of course it’s impossible to adjust your personas so frequently, but the mere fact that you should underlines the folly of doing the opposite: never changing them. Start thinking about dynamic personas.
- Email Database Optimization – ‘Whoa’, you say. Yes, you get the idea that optimizing your online marketing can’t be based on static data and numbers, but you have an active and aggressive program to make sure your email marketing database constantly grows. In other words, if there is anything that’s dynamic about your digital marketing, it’s your email list.But the rut is to think that dynamism is a one way street of list building.
‘20% of the pea pods contain 80% of the peas’ – There’s perhaps no better example in digital marketing of the Pareto Principle than your email database. Statistics show that email open rates are 400% higher and click rates are 500% higher for initial emails versus subsequent messages.
But, when it comes to email benchmarks, we are stuck in the numbers game of list size and we are afraid to reduce it. But if you want to instantly increase your open rates and click-through rates, start weeding out the 80% of addressees who rarely react to your messages.
Start focusing your efforts on your new leads and customers. They are, overwhelmingly, the ones who listen and take action.
- Keyword Research – Long ago, or at least in pre-google times, marketers used things like focus groups and consumer surveys to discover the thought processes their customers went through during the buying cycle. Those were the best tools available, but they are at once brilliant and flawed. Brilliant in that they put the focus on the customer and not the product. Flawed because of the intermediation of time between the completion of the research and the delivery of the messages it fostered.For the first time, keyword research gave us insights into the very moment that consumers seek out the information they need to make a purchase.That little gem of a trait quickly made keyword research a basic tactic in even the simplest of marketing programs.
If the overriding point of this post is that it’s a mistake to set and forget any part of your digital marketing, keyword research is the most salient example. From the very moment you finish your research, its effectiveness starts to deteriorate significantly.
16% to 20% of the keywords your customers use in searches have never been used before. So even the most effective research today will uncover only 80% of the terms your potential customers will use tomorrow. And, presumably, those new terms will replace many of those that show well in your research resulting in a significant number of under-performing keywords almost from the time you spot them.
And that process will further ravage your research as time goes on. Yet we continue to spend gobs of cash on one-time keyword searches.
The temptation to set-and-forget these digital marketing tactics is difficult to deny. Who can afford to develop dynamic personas, to keep email lists fresh and to weed-out under-performing keywords in favor of timely terms?
But can you afford not to do so?