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Archive for March, 2016

Map Your Call-to-Action Visitors Flow

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Is your site sending visitors on a path to nowhere? The answer to this is always “no” but the reality is that many trainers, consultants, and professional coaches have digital marketing offers that ultimately lead to nowhere. It’s important to review your site at launch and then periodically to make sure that calls to action lead visitors step-by-step to the offer they have expressed interest in. If there is any gap in that process, even a small one, it’s likely that you are losing a significant portion of your audience along the way.

During a review of a site for a redesign/development process, we followed the navigation paths of the primary offers on the client’s website to integrate into the proposed new development. One of the offers was for visitors to register to attend a free training session. The navigation went like this:

  1. Click the offer for a free training session.
  2. Choose one of six possible class topics from the landing page.
  3. Click to reserve your seat from the specific topic’s page.
  4. Land on the firm’s class calendar page.

The thinking was that visitors would pick a date from the calendar that suited their schedule and then register for that class. There were three problems with expecting visitors to make this leap.

The first is that there was no instruction on what to do, just the calendar of the current month. We need to take visitors by the hand and make sure they don’t get confused. The internet is too chaotic and full of bait and switches. If we don’t show people exactly how to get an offer they are interested in, they will not fill in the gaps on their own.

The second is that there was no administrative plan set for the site after launch. Since there was not a person or process responsible for updating the site, most of the calendar was filled with recurring event information devoid of topic information. So visitors were asked which class topic they wanted to take but were not provided a way of knowing which dates offered that topic.

The third was another administrative error where certain classes would have a registration form. That process was also not developed or adhered to so only public events had a sign up form. The classes that the trainers intended for people to attend as a guest did not provide a way for visitors to register for them.

This is an obvious lapse in the call to action fulfillment process but any one of these items missing would have reduced lead generation. The heart of the matter was that the call to action process was too complex for this firm to maintain. We refined the process by eliminating the last two steps and providing a form where people could input their information, select the topic, and request a particular time. One of the trainers would then contact them to set a date and a meeting with them.

Make sure to review your offers. If you don’t have time or expertise to follow each call to action that is offered in your digital marketing, your analytics can usually point you toward problem spots. Google analytics offers a visitor flow map. If that graphic shows a lot of paths that stop at a particular page then it’s a good bet that there is a gap in the call to action there. Secondarily, your bounce reports can indicate a gap in the process if an offer page has a lot of bounces (This could also point to a lot of friction with the amount of information you are requesting, pricing, or layout). At least it will provide a starting point for your review.

Calls to action are the payoff of marketing. Make sure not to lose interested visitors by not including clear instructions or intuitive ways of taking advantage of the offer.

Visitor-Flow-example

New Digital Products and Services: An Elegant Solution to a Problem That Doesn’t Exist?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Digital marketing is often focused on the tools and tactics for communicating to your target audience. However, marketing should play a role in what is offered as well as how it’s offered. This is very true of digital products and services that are often planned and developed without a clear understanding of what the target demographic really wants or needs.

Development of applications as products or delivery of services via digital media has become much more widely accessible to trainers, consultants, and professional services. Unfortunately digital offerings have not advanced to a point of on demand development so a “sell it then deliver it” model is not practical. So if an idea surfaces on using digital delivery for a product or service, it’s important to do some homework on the level of demand and if the intended delivery platform meets your target market’s needs.

How can this be accomplished? There are a lot of well vetted processes on surveying large target demographics and sophisticated techniques to analyze that data for the best development and profitability. However, most of those techniques are unnecessarily complicated for smaller training or consulting firms that want to deliver a digital product or service to a select group.

Instead of a complex process, do a simple survey or checklist call to get client or target prospect feedback. This has three advantages. The first is that you can test the idea on those you hope will use it. This avoids creating an elegant solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. The second advantage is development improvement because target prospects can share their suggestions on how they’d like to use the product or service or features they’d expect to see. The third is that it serves as a teaser to your target market. Getting a sense of how the product or service will benefit the target prospects will help generate a buzz for them and their connections that might also benefit from your digital offering.

It’s not uncommon for a trainer, coach, or consultant to respond that they can’t ask their audience about the offering they intend to deliver because they might steal the idea. The truth is that if your target audience has the capability or knowledgebase to so easily steal the development of your product or service, then it’s likely not a viable solution to be offering them.

As technology continues to evolve in making these digital products and services more affordable and simpler to develop, it will be more and more tempting to build without a go-to-market plan. Rather than guessing at what your target audience wants, approach them with the idea. This will avoid a lot of wasted time and effort and ensure that your market needs your new digital product or service.

Consolidating Marketing Emails

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches have a lot of good ideas, strategies, and tactics that they are eager to share with their target audiences. Sometimes that eagerness boils over to form an overloaded and cluttered email marketing newsletter. Typically, it’s best to simplify an email campaign so that each email has a single topic and/or a single call to action. However, there are a couple cases where a more robust newsletter that consolidates several topics is advisable.

Here are samples of the styles:

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Consolidation typically only makes sense in one of two cases:

  1. Particular segment is receiving communications too frequently.

    Unfortunately, consolidations are often the first option that trainers, coaches, or professional coaches jump to if they want to scale back on message frequency. However, the first and best option is to segment into appropriate lists and deliver only the content customized to that target. If you’ve already segmented your list and find that the email frequency is higher than you have targeted, consolidating can be a useful option.

  2. The email is designed as an index of information.

    Some trainers, coaches, or professional coaches produce newsletters that highlight timely industry or topical news rather than producing new content themselves. In this case, the goal is to be a valuable information repository that is amplified through commentary or editorials on how the information affects the email’s target group.These emails are better delivered in a consolidated format because only the original content (the commentary or editorial) should be included in the email, where the referenced material should be linked.

Consolidated emails have their place but be sure to verify that it’s the best layout for your email campaign. Often times consolidated emails happen because a trainer, consultant, or professional coach has problems trimming down their content rather than a true need for a more robust newsletter.

If you can manage to deliver your content in a simple way with more frequency or segmentation, do so. If not, then be sure that you are providing a consolidated newsletter that has direct relevance to the audience and makes it simple to scan so that it’s not overwhelming.