In a world that seems almost fully-focussed on online and digital marketing, it may come as a surprise to some that physical means are still used to grow companies and for them to become known. PostcardMania is a very successful company in this line of work, using direct mail marketing to help their clients get the word out on their offers. They are a really great example of how older techniques and styles of marketing can still work in a contemporary context. The company was founded 21 years ago by Joy Gendusa, who we are so happy to welcome to the show today. They mostly serve small businesses and are up to about 60 million in revenue this year! Their pricing model is competitive but not comparatively cheap, and Joy explains how she pegs this. We talk about the history of the company and the organic growth that Joy has experienced over the last decades. She opens up about her target audience and the ways that have provided her with the biggest opportunities to scale and grow her team. Joy credits a lot of her success to her team, believing she leads a group of superheroes! We discuss their company culture, important practices and some of the perks and facilities at the office. So for all of this great stuff and to learn about a slightly different model for marketing, be sure to listen in!
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This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
Snapchat, the instant-photo sharing site, connects people through the picture-based stories that unfold on their mobile devices. Lately, Snapchat has evolved from a teenage phenomenon to a social media platform with great reach into the young adult demographic. With daily video views increasing 400 % last year, from 2 billion to 10 billion, the site’s reach is growing exponentially.
Like any social media site, your company’s potential reach depends on the connections you make through the site. In the case of Snapchat, that means your friend list.
Now, all of us have friends (at least, I hope you do!). But I’m not talking about getting your buddies onto Snapchat, although that’s fine. I’m talking about making connections with others — some you know and some you’ve never met in person — via Snapchat apps that can help you find others with similar likes. That includes customers, potential customers, and anyone else who might want to do business with your brand.
Although Snapchat makes it a little trickier to connect with others on their site, it’s still possible to gain followers. The following methods, techniques and tools will help you add more Snapchat friends to your connections. And the more connections you have, the more likely it is that your content goes viral. If (or should I say ‘when’?) it does, you’ll reach even more potential viewers.
If you’re new to the site, get to know its strengths and weakness, quirks and surprises before rushing to add connections. You need to have a strong Snapchat presence before sharing with others, or else you’ll waste your initial efforts building your friend list.
Open Snapchat’s app on your smartphone and connect it to your iPhone or Android’s contact book. The site will ask your permission before proceeding to connect you with any friends who are already on Snapchat.
You can’t sync Facebook and Snapchat directly, but you can move your Facebook data to another place and then move it into Snapchat.
Download friend info from Facebook into your phone, then use the Snapchat icon to connect friends from your phone’s contacts to Snapchat. Basically, you’re using your phone’s contact book as an intermediary for holding friend data before moving it into Snapchat.
Read More: Facebook Lead Ads – Everything You Need to Know to Increase Mobile Conversions
If you open the Snapchat app on your camera, go to the screen where you take a picture. At the top is the Snapchat icon and clicking the icon will take you to another screen that enables you to add the white or yellow ghost to a colored box. This image differs for every user, so you can think of it as your unique fingerprint on the site.
Share this image on your website, Facebook profile or wherever else you share pictures. If others hover their phones over it, they can connect with you via Snapchat. It’s like your own personal shortcut.
You can also share your Snapchat icon in person. Just hold out your phone and have others swipe the image with their camera. They’ll connect directly to you via Snapchat.
iTunes offers a free Snapchat friend app called Snap Usernames that lets you search for friends on the site. AddMe is another app that lets you add both Kik and Snapchat friends. These apps make it easy to find new connections on the sites.
Many Instagram users are also on Snapchat, so it’s a good idea to create Instagram teasers that encourage people to follow you on Snapchat. You can also add your Snapchat name to your Instagram bio. A direct link will make it easy for people to connect with you on both sites.
Unique deals and incentives that are offered only through Snapchat and are unavailable on other platforms is a good way to generate some buzz and interest. Keeping it exclusive encourages people to sign up and follow you on the site.
You’ve got to have unique, interesting and creative images and video to get people interested in your Snapchat presence. If you just share the same old boring stuff, Snapchatters won’t follow you, and your content won’t get passed along. If you’re not worth following, you won’t be followed on Snapchat, period. Make it worth people’s time and effort to follow your content!
Snapchat automatically assigns “best friends” based on the people you connect with the most frequently. The site sets the limit at 3, 5 or 7. Set it for the maximum to see the most people and develop friendships with their friends, too.
Let’s say you’ve used all these tips and connected with tons of people. Great! Like anything else, you’ve got to build on relationships in order for them to last. That means learning how to be a good Snapchat friend.
For starters, remember: friends don’t let friends do these things on Snapchat….
If, despite your best efforts, you end up with some unsavory characters who send you random videos and you want to block them from Snapchat, you can do it from the app.
Open the Snapchat app, click the gear icon, and find the name of the person annoying you. You can then choose either Block or Delete to keep control over your friend feed.
Snapchat spent four years refining its site, and now it’s time to make money. Though the feature hasn’t been released yet, the social media site plans to show ads between friend’s stories on the app. Advertisers will be able to choose the actions that users take when they see their ads, and Snapchat users will see ads on the site.
Read More: How To Drive ROI Using Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP)
Snapchat Partners, or companies who advertise on Snapchat, will also benefit from a new app that makes it easier to run and manage Snapchat ad campaigns on the site. The company has also added new partners to help advertisers measure their ad campaign’s success and progress towards goals, two very grown-up tasks for a site that caters to high school and college kids.
With Snapchat snapping at the heels of rival Instagram, finding new Snapchat friends is an important task for anyone serious about using the site for marketing purposes. If your customer base includes young adults and Millennials, finding and making new Snapchat friends, using the site in a way they like, and leveraging advertising are all part of the total package that will make you a Snapchat superstar.
What other tips would you add to this list when it comes to making new Snapchat friends? Leave me your suggestions by dropping a comment below:
Images: Snapchat, usdemocrazy
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition. Content marketing is by far one of the best ways to grow your brand and generate profitable leads. So why do many brands only receive modest ROIs from that content? There are two main reasons:
There’s no excuse not to track the performance of your content marketing campaigns when there are so many powerful analytics tools on the market. Google Analytics is one of the oldest and most useful analytics tools available, making it the core of any good content marketing strategy.
Google Analytics is by far the world’s leading online analytics solution, given that an estimated 30 to 50 million websites around the world depend on it. However, many marketers don’t understand its full potential. Google Analytics offers many features that let you create custom reports and get very detailed information about your visitors. In particular, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the following features in order to better optimize your campaigns:
Audience reports provide a massive amount of information on your users. Some of the data that you can uncover with Audience reports includes:
Check the active users’ data under the Audience reports dashboard. Doing so will show you how many times visitors returned to your site over different time intervals, ranging from one to 30 days.
The Audience reports section allows you to track the lifetime value of each user. You can also use this feature to figure out the value of users acquired from different marketing channels, enabling you to determine the ROI of your AdWords, media buying, email marketing, and other campaigns. Read More: 44 Ad Networks that Will Help Open Up New Channels of Growth For You
Knowing the demographics of your users is an often-overlooked aspect of many content marketing campaigns. The Audience reports section provides this detailed demographic information, including the age, gender, and interests of your visitors. Take the example of Scott Perry, Director of E-commerce at Jerome’s Furniture, who found that his Google Analytics reports suggested that women convert 30% better than men and spend nearly twice as much. Based on this data, his company invested more heavily in reaching women through display advertising. He also found that visitors browsing real estate sites converted 50% better, prompting him to increase spending on that demographic as well. Too many brands ignore the demographic data available in Google Analytics because they think they already know which visitors are most interested in their products. Don’t make this mistake. You may be surprised that the demographics of your best-converting customers are different than you expected. Of course, there is one caveat to be aware of: Google Analytics doesn’t appear to be as accurate at identifying visitor ages as gender and affinity information. Don’t ignore it entirely, but for now, take that data with a grain of salt until Google’s methods become more precise.
Identifying the language and location of your visitors is also obviously very important, especially for local businesses. You should already have a rough idea of where your visitors are coming from if you’re running campaigns on AdWords (unless, of course, you didn’t set your targeting properly). However, you might be surprised by the locations of visitors from organic search, direct media buying, and other marketing campaigns that don’t have the same targeting capabilities. This is where Google’s geo data comes in handy, as you can use it to find out which referrers are providing customers in your target region. Unfortunately, this data isn’t that helpful for optimizing your organic search campaigns as it used to be, as Google stopped sharing the data on keyword referrers for organic traffic (though it still provides this data for AdWords campaigns). This means that you won’t be able to identify keywords that are providing a lot of traffic from customers outside your target market. However, you can at least pay attention to the conversion rates of organic search visitors within your target demographic, which will help you to better optimize your landing pages. Read More: How to Do a Content Cleanup (And Grow Your Organic Traffic)
The Audience reports section provides detailed information about the people visiting your site. Acquisition reports tell you where these people came from. The data in these reports is key to optimizing your campaigns, as it will enable you to identify the referrers that are driving your conversions and thus better optimize those campaigns. Here are some tips to use these reports to drill down and optimize your campaigns at an even higher level:
Before you start analyzing your Acquisition reports, make sure your conversion goals are set up properly. If you haven’t done so, your Acquisition reports can still identify the referrers that are driving traffic to your site, but you won’t be able to tell which referrers are driving conversions. Identifying conversions is particularly important if you’re relying on paid traffic, such as AdWords. You’re investing a lot of money in your advertising campaigns, so make sure you’re getting the data you need to optimize them.
The Channels section gives a broad overview of all of the places that are driving traffic to your site. It breaks traffic down by various sources, including organic search, direct, and referral. One of the great things about the Channels section is that it provides a graph to help you visualize which places are giving you the most traffic. You can click on each of these sections to find more details on the people visiting your site.
Take a look at the individual referrers that are driving traffic. These referrers are broken up by domain, so you can identify the specific sites and advertising platforms that are providing the most visitors. There are a couple ways that you can look at the referrers to your site:
Pay close attention to both the volume of visitors from each of your referrers and the ROI that you’re receiving from them. You may find that some traffic sources such as StumbleUpon provide a huge volume of traffic, but have low conversion rates.
The keywords section is probably the most important part of your Acquisition reports, and it’s crucial if you’re relying on paid search traffic from AdWords or Bing. Many new marketers are surprised by how much their keywords affect conversions. A visitor who clicked on your ad while searching for the phrase “Houston real estate company” may be much more likely to convert than a visitor who was searching for the phrase “Houston real estate agent.” You have no way of knowing that until you launch your campaign and check the data from your Acquisition reports.
Tracking conversions from every single ad, landing page, keyword, and referrer can be tedious. Sometimes it’s better to just get a general idea of which practices are working. To do this, break down your content marketing strategies into different campaigns. Make sure your campaigns are as granular as possible so you can get detailed data on which practices are working. You may want to have several different AdWords campaigns (each of which may have a different landing page or angle), a campaign for native ads with your blog posts, and another for organic search traffic. You can easily look at the data from your various campaigns to see which are converting best, and this will save you countless hours that you would otherwise spend drilling down through all of your referrers, web pages, and keywords to look for trends.
There are a couple other valuable reports, but they aren’t quite as comprehensive, so I’ll just give a brief overview here. Behavior reports are one of the first to take a look at. They provide some detailed information on the actions that users take on your site, including:
Your Behavior reports can help you optimize your content marketing strategy by monitoring how visitors engage with your content. The Conversions reports is another section worth looking at, as it provides a detailed overview of all your conversions. You can also monitor this information from other sections in Google Analytics, as listed above, but this section saves you a lot of work, as it allows you to see detailed information in one place. Use this data to determine which strategies to scale and which to abandon. Read More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates (Up To 75%!)
There’s a reason that tens of millions of websites use Google Analytics – it’s hands down the best free marketing analytics tool on the web. If you don’t already have it set up, make it a priority today. Truly, you won’t be able to optimize your content marketing strategy without it. What other interesting insights have you noticed by using Google Analytics? Share your insights in the comments below: Images: Pixabay, Flickr, Flickr, Flickr
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
Visitors. Traffic. Sessions.
It’s all the same, isn’t it? As long as potential customers visit your site, it hardly matters how you refer to them, right?
But here’s the catch: no two web visitors are alike.
Your traffic consists of people with different needs and knowledge levels of your brand or products. Heck, some of them might not even realize they have a problem that your product solves. Yet.
Therefore, to get the biggest bang for your advertising dollar, you need to launch campaigns that target all key traffic types: cold, warm, and hot traffic.
Instead of aiming just to sell, you should build relationships with people that are relevant to their stage of the buying cycle:
Luckily, it’s not that hard to achieve.
And in this post, I’ll show you how to split your paid traffic between cold, warm, and hot visitors to achieve the greatest success.
But first …
You know, I think heading straight for the sale is the most common advertising mistake.
In my career in marketing so far, I have seen all kinds of businesses—from hotel chains to e-commerce stores and countless others in between—making this mistake.
They consider every visitor a potential sale, without any regard for the visitor’s current situation and need for information. Many of these companies don’t even optimize campaigns for any objective other than the sale.
But in reality, to build a solid strategy you need to target campaigns to different customers and their needs. You should use ads to slowly build relationships with them until they’re finally ready to buy. And to achieve this, you first need to learn about what types of audiences you need to target and how.
Learn More: The Turkish Rug Funnel (How A Rug Store Got Me To Shell Out A Few Thousand Dollars with ZERO Initial Interest)
In marketing, we recognize three web traffic types:
Each of them has its distinct characteristics and offers different opportunities for converting into customers.
Note: if you work in sales, you might find these three traffic types similar to lead types that salespeople recognize: cold, warm, and hot leads. That is no coincidence. Both traffic and leads share similar characteristics and offer similar opportunities for conversion.
So let’s go through them in turn.
Fact: not everyone clicking on your ads has heard of your brand before.
Many users click on your ads purely on the promise that you’ve made in the copy. Most likely they’ve searched for generic head or body keywords and are interested in learning more about the problem rather than available solutions.
Their decision to visit your site, therefore, wasn’t rooted in any prior knowledge or experience with your brand.
That’s cold traffic.
Cold traffic consists of people who have never heard of your business.
Think of them as casual browsers who are researching potential solutions or looking for information online. These people might have the problem your product or service aims to overcome, but since they know nothing about you, it’s highly unlikely that they would buy from you. As a result, they are the least likely to be susceptible to any sales message.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have no opportunities to convert them at a later date.
Marketing to these users gives you the ability to connect with them and start building a business relationship that might result in a sale at some point in the future.
You should target cold traffic to:
Since your goal is to establish a connection and introduce the brand, driving these visitors to a sales or landing page might only scare them away.
No worries, though, because there are plenty of other content types to which you could attract cold traffic, such as:
Fact: it’s darn hard to sell to cold traffic.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t “warm them up” (i.e. convert) to become customers later.
The most effective way to warm up cold traffic is to attract those visitors to a page offering a lead magnet or any other free resource they perceive as valuable enough to submit their personal details in return for it.
Learn More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates (Up To 75%!)
Once you’ve got their e-mail address, send them relevant information, either as a drip campaign or traditional newsletter to offer value, build trust, and confirm your authority. This will allow you to nurture the person until they’re ready to become a client.
Warm traffic consists of people who already know about you, your brand, products or services.
They may have visited your site before. They’ve read your content. They’ve followed you on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform.
Perhaps they’ve even signed up for your mailing list, downloaded a lead magnet or engaged with you in some other way.
But so far, they have indicated no interest in buying from you.
In spite of the fact that they like your content, site or offer, so far they haven’t purchased whatever it is that you’ve offered them.
Your goal, therefore, is to run ads that will encourage warm traffic to make a purchase.
As your goal is to convert someone who already knows who you are, you need to drive them to pages or assets that deliver value but also remind them of their interest in your product or services.
For example, someone signing up for a product demo or a free trial immediately indicates their interest in your product. Similarly, when someone downloads a highly technical white paper that deals with an advanced aspect of a problem that your product targets, this signals their desire to overcome it.
So you should drive warm traffic to such content types as:
For example, Infusionsoft runs AdWords ads to promote product demo videos that users can watch in order to learn how to generate leads with the company’s product:
Veeam Software promotes a highly technical webinar:
Jason O’Neil offers a free class for anyone wishing to learn how to sell products on Amazon:
Finally, hot traffic is made up of people who have already bought something from you or trusted you with their business (and didn’t ask for their money back).
In other words, they know you, your products or services quite well. And there’s a good chance that they’ll buy more—they could purchase additional products, upgrade their service or send more projects your way.
And you can use PPC ads to follow up with them to see if they’re interested in doing more business with you.
Therefore, your goals for targeting hot traffic should be:
Remember, these people know you and most likely have bought from you already. Your goal, therefore, isn’t to convince them of your worth but rather remind them about your brand or products so they keep buying from you again.
Hot traffic is all about sales.
So when setting up PPC ads for this traffic, send them to:
When planning advertising campaigns to reactivate hot traffic, consider using retargeting to remind them of their previous interest in your brand.
For example, you could send retargeting traffic to pages that are relevant to the person’s prior interest in your products. If they viewed a specific product, send them to that page. If they added products to the cart, send them to the cart with their order, and so on.
Not all digital marketers understand the difference between cold, warm, and hot traffic and how to best target each group. If you’re unclear on this and sending traffic to the wrong landing page, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to build successful customer relationships!
So remember, your traffic consists of people with different needs and knowledge levels of your brand or products, and to really make use of your advertising dollar, you must warm up your potential customers for better conversions.
What tips have you learned when it comes to marketing to cold, warm, and hot traffic? Share what you’ve learned in the comments below!
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
Be sure to check out our previous post in this series: Cold Emailing: Best Outbound Sales Automation Tools
Cold e-mailing is hard.
It’s tough to get people’s attention through all the noise that’s out there. On average, we get 147 e-mails a day, only spend significant time answering about 12 of them, and delete 71 e-mails in under 3.2 seconds.
It takes a lot of work to build a successful cold e-mail campaign. You have to:
And the truth is, your customers judge you on your ability to sell. So if you have an off day, you not only have to deal with not getting any conversions, but also with the negative judgements from your prospects.
When you’re crafting your cold e-mail campaigns, it can be helpful to know what everyone else is doing to benchmark your own numbers so you know that you’re on the right track.
What’s a good open rate? What’s a good reply rate? What does a good cold e-mail template look like? How many people should you be able to convert to a sales call?
Today, we’ll answer those questions for you. We’ll peel back the curtain on some cold e-mail case studies and discuss which strategies companies used to boost their reply rates and conversions.
Ambition is a software product that helps companies increase employee productivity. They built their platform with millennial employees in mind, and are used by such companies as Lyft, Carbonite, and Continuum.
In this case study, they wrote about how they cold-emailed 578 prospects, got a total of 6 responses, and used follow up e-mails to get 67 additional responses (for a total response rate of about 12.6%).
They ran a six-week campaign, targeted 291 VPs of sales as well as 287 VPs of sales operations, and ended up with a total of 73 new leads.
Check out this graph that is instructive about the overall nature of the campaign as well as cold e-mailing in general:
Around half the recipients opened the initial e-mail but zero people replied.
However, with each additional touchpoint, or follow up, more prospects replied to the initial e-mail. Notice that no single e-mail generated more than 18% of the grand total number of leads. In fact, the eighth e-mail generated just as many leads as the second!
According to Ambition, the factor that mattered most here was just pure persistence. By following up constantly with prospects, they were able to skyrocket the number of leads they got versus if they just followed up once like most other sales reps.
Because they were following up so often, they split the time interval between each e-mail by at least a week:
In fact, this was one of the problems we had at Growth Everywhere — there was a lot of manual work involved in keeping track of follow ups, and that was a major point of failure that kept cold e-mail response rates low. Once that was fixed, we saw a 333% increase in response rates!
For prospects, your product isn’t at the center of their world, so if they don’t respond, it’s likely just because they’re busy — not because they’re not interested.
The moral of the story is to always follow up more than you think is necessary.
Shane Snow is the bestselling author of a book called Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success. He wrote the book to outline the process that highly accomplished people throughout history have used to achieve success in a short period of time. He’s also a journalist at Fast Company.
In this post, he wrote about how he explored a cold e-mail strategy for anyone who wanted to connect with important people for mentorship and advice.
To start off, he got the e-mail addresses of the 1,000 busiest business people in America — C and VP level executives from Fortune 500 companies and C level executives from the Inc 500.
The average person gets 147 emails a day, but these execs get significantly more as a result of their status. Shane wanted to see whether he could come up with a strategy to “cut through the noise” in their inbox to grab their attention and get a response from them.
After gathering the e-mail addresses, he wrote a cold e-mail with a simple CTA where he asked them what type of cold e-mail they preferred to receive. Here’s a sample e-mail script he and his team sent out:
Hi [Exec’s First Name],
I’m doing a study on cold emails and want to ask if you could share some thoughts on what differentiates an effective cold email from a bad one?
Your insight will contribute to research I’m conducting to help a lot of people get better at email, which will make the world a little better for us all.
He then changed different elements in this “base” e-mail to test out the results when adding in differences. For example, he tested variables like:
Here’s a quick summary of the results he saw out of the 1,000 e-mails sent to high level executives from Fortune 500 and Inc 500 companies:
However, according to the case study, the previously mentioned variables (i.e. subject lines, length, purpose, etc.) played a much lower role in determining the results than expected — only 1.7% of those who received Shane’s e-mails actually responded.
Shane came to the conclusion that the one thing he could have implemented in the study which would have made all the difference in terms of bumping up his reply rates was personalization. He wrote:
“With the right subject line, it’s not inherently harder to get a busy executive to click on your email than someone else. The important part is making the content speak to the question, ‘why me?’”
Jake Jorgovan is a creative strategist who helps consulting companies win dream clients. He wrote in this post how he was able to generate $12,030 just through cold email — including some Fortune 500 clients.
According to Jake, there are two different ways you can approach cold e-mailing.
Once you define your approach, Jake suggests that you create at least one high-quality case study. The case study should show a portfolio piece that you’re proud of, feature a raving testimonial, and outline three major things:
Then you should choose your specific target audience. Ideally, this target audience should be similar to the customer you helped in your case study. For example, if you’re reaching out to dentists, then you should have a case study where you helped a dentist. If you’re reaching out to a Fortune 500 tech company, you should have a case study where you helped a tech company.
It’s a psychological fact that people believe that they’re special and that their situation is unique. Because of that, they want solutions that feel like a “tailored fit” for them. If you worked with a tech company, you might be able to use those same fundamentals to help dentists, but dentists won’t feel like you can help them unless you show them that you’ve already worked with dentists.
Next, Jake writes that you need to find a list of prospects. The ideal place to look for this kind of information is in sales or trade organization directories for the industry that you’re in.
Finally, it’s time to write an e-mail that actually gets responses. Here’s an e-mail script that landed Jake a $4,250 client:
Recently I came across [Company name] in the [Directory where I found their information] and I wanted to reach out. My name is Jake Jorgovan and recently I finished up a website design project for [case study client] and wanted to reach out to similar companies.
When I came across the [Client’s website], I noticed [review of 2-3 things that I found wrong with the client’s website]. With the [case study client], we were able to build a professional site and get it up and running in under three weeks. Their site is mobile friendly and extremely easy for anyone at the company to update.
If you are interested in rebuilding your website, please let me know and we would be more than happy to help you out. Also, I have attached a case study for [Case study client] with a raving testimonial from the owner of the company.
Thank you [Prospect name] and I look forward to hearing from you.
According to Jake, the most important part of the e-mail is in the second paragraph where you list the 2-3 things you found regarding the client’s site/product/service that you feel you can fix. If you’re writing blanket statements that don’t feel tailored to the prospect’s specific situation, your response rates go down.
Jake also sends follow up e-mails 7-10 days after the initial inquiry. Here’s a sample e-mail script he uses for this:
I wanted to send a quick follow up to see if you received my e-mail from last week in regards to your new website design. Please let me know if you are interested and I look forward to hearing from you.
Much like the Ambition case study, Jake was surprised to find that many prospects responded to the second e-mail after ignoring the first.
Learn More: 4 Reasons Why You Should Be Pushing Email Marketing
LeadFuze is a lead generation product that helps salespeople quickly gather contact information of prospects and automatically send personalized e-mails. They’ve been used by companies like Bidsketch and CrazyEgg.
Justin McGill, the founder LeadFuze, used cold e-mail to grow his company’s revenue to $30k/month in 12 months.
As a first step, he used his own software to find leads and build out his outbound campaign. Here’s how he used the search feature within LeadFuze to find the e-mail addresses for his target audience:
From there he was able to look at a list of prospects that he could potentially add to a list. Once the relevant prospects were added, the software pulled information about the prospect.
Once you have your leads, the next step is to write a high-quality cold e-mail. Justin has a formula for writing cold e-mails which he calls the “QVC Formula” (Question, Value prop, and CTA). Here’s how all those components fit together:
Here’s an example of a cold e-mail that Justin sent on behalf of LeadFuze:
Like a normal e-mail blast, it’s important to let your prospects know that there’s a “way out” from receiving your e-mails and your follow ups. If you’re sending out e-mails to a list, then you already have an “unsubscribe” link that readers can click on to opt out of your e-mails.
For cold e-mails, Justin uses the following line in his “P.S.” below the signature:
He explicitly states that it’s okay for the prospect to tell him not to follow up anymore.
After the initial e-mail is written and sent, you should also have a follow up sequence ready. As we’ve seen before, the magic is in the follow up. Most salespeople never follow up, or if they do, they stop after the first or second time.
Steli Efti from Close.io writes that he follows up as many times as necessary until he gets a response. In fact, once he followed up with an investor 48 times before getting a meeting — which led to that person investing in Close.io.
In follow up e-mails, you shouldn’t just “check in” or rehash the same exact message that you already sent the first time. Instead, you should use this opportunity to send new, valuable information that could help your prospect move closer to making the decision. For example, you might want to include a relevant case study, or results that you got for someone else.
Justin from LeadFuze writes that he has seen success with the following cold e-mail sequence:
Here’s an example of a break-up e-mail:
By using a sales automation service like Outreach, Sendbloom, or Reply, you can craft your own custom follow up sequence for prospects who don’t respond so that you don’t have to manually go in and send every single e-mail.
Using this simple process, LeadFuze scaled to $30k/month within just one year.
Learn More: How to Find Emails Quickly Using This Tool
Crazy Eye Marketing helps small businesses and entrepreneurs plan, build, and optimize sales funnels. They use marketing automation systems to convert more leads into customers.
In this case study, they wrote about a cold e-mail campaign they ran for a small mobile app company: they sent out 4,897 cold e-mails and analyzed what worked and what didn’t.
First, Crazy Eye started off with a list of leads provided to them by the client, a mobile app company. After removing duplicates, they ran the list through a service called Kickbox, which helps verify whether the e-mail addresses are actually legit or not, and had a final number of 2,160 good addresses.
Next, they used Reply to set up a cold e-mail autoreponder campaign. This way, you won’t have to comb through your inbox to see which prospects responded and which didn’t, and then copy and paste the right follow up e-mails to the right prospect. There’s a lot of potential for human error in this process, which is why using an outbound sales automation tool can save you lots of valuable time while doing the work more effectively.
Crazy Eye then connected Reply to Gmail for the cold e-mail campaign. They created five different e-mail series and sent them to a few hundred people to test the effectiveness. From there, they sent the most effective series to the rest of the list.
The winning series was a three-email sequence along with a CTA that asked for 15 minutes of the prospect’s time:
Subject: Quick question
Hi [first name]
My name is Nathan and I am the founder of the Car App. We work with used car dealerships to help them stay connected with their prospective customers.
The Car App is a mobile app for used car dealers. Our solution is 7 times more likely to result in vehicle sales than Craigslist, Autotrader, and eBay combined.
Is it possible to get 15 minutes on your calendar to further discuss the benefits the Car App would bring to [company]?
Subject: (replied in the same thread)
I’m sorry to trouble you again. At my company, the Car App, we make keeping in touch with prospective customers a breeze through our one-of-a-kind “push” messaging system that instantly, and automatically, notifies them when the car they want is in stock.
Our mobile app not only makes your life easier, but generates more sales and revenue without any added effort. Who would be the person to speak to about this at [company]?
Subject: Just checking
Hi [first name],
I wanted to make sure that you saw my earlier message. I’d like to learn about the struggles you have with staying in touch with prospective customers at [company].
If you’re the appropriate person to speak with, what does your calendar look like for early next week? If not, who do you recommend that I talk to?
These were the results of their three-email sequence.
Source: Crazy Eye Marketing
They received open rates around 50% for every one of their e-mails, and got reply rates just under 10%.
Notice how the reply rate for the second and third e-mails is similar to the reply rate for the first e-mail. This shows that your follow up e-mails are equally as valuable as your initial outreach e-mails.
Salespeople who don’t follow up are leaving a lot of money on the table.
Marco Massaro runs a web consultancy that works with tech companies and high-growth startups. The consultancy works on UX design and web development.
Marco closed a $15,000 consulting project with a cold e-mail campaign.
Before diving in and blasting out e-mails to hundreds of people, he started off by outlining who exactly he was targeting. He needed to identify his ideal clients.
The more specific you can get at this step, the more targeted your cold e-mails will be when you send them out. Marco got extremely specific about who he wanted to work with. Here are the main categories he filtered companies by:
Next, he had to find companies that matched this profile.
He used Crunchbase because his target was mostly early stage tech companies, but other lead gen sources might include AngelList, or even software products like LeadFuze. Outreach also has a Chrome plugin that allows you to quickly extract contact information from professional profiles on LinkedIn which makes lead gen more efficient.
The next step was actually writing up the cold e-mail pitches and sending them out.
Marco crafted a quick e-mail with the goal of grabbing the recipient’s attention right off the bat, and getting them interested in his services:
Subject: Work together
Hi [first name],
I wanted to find out if you have any design needs at [company] (redesign, landing pages, UX, etc)?
We can increase sales, engagement, conversions, and more through our design and UX strategies.
Interested? Email me back, I’d love to chat.
Notice how this e-mail doesn’t jump right into an introduction in the first sentence? People don’t care about you until they are interested in what you have to offer first. You shouldn’t waste your valuable first few sentences talking about something that your prospect isn’t going to read anyway.
The e-mail also addresses the recipient by name. However, it could be a bit more personalized as it doesn’t include how web development or design consulting could help the prospect with their specific situation.
Marco sent this e-mail to 500 prospects, received 67 replies, and got a response rate of around 13.4%.
Apart from personalizing it more, other ways that the process could be improved include 1) A/B testing subject lines or CTAs, and 2) integrating with an outbound sales automation tool to keep the campaign more efficient. According to Marco, the lack of structure here made it confusing at times to remember where they were in the sales process for each prospect.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: cold e-mails are tough. There are many steps involved, and for most people it can be pretty time consuming.
You have to identify who exactly you’re targeting, scrape the Internet to figure out where those people are hanging out, and then figure out what their e-mail addresses are.
Finally, it comes down to how well you conduct your research of the people and the companies you’re targeting, how personalized your message is, how much of an attention grabber your subject line is, and how specific your call to action is.
To make things more efficient, remember that you can always use software tools to automate your processes. Tools like Outreach, Sendbloom and Reply can help you craft the perfect follow up sequence for your prospects (so you never have to remember who’s in what part of the sales sequence) and also track all your data.
Now that you’ve had an “insider’s look” into some highly successful cold e-mail campaigns, you know exactly what sort of templates to use, what numbers to expect, and how to improve the templates going forward.
If you get all these points right and send out a massive volume of e-mails, you could see a number of responses that are large enough to change the course of your business.
How will you craft your next cold e-mail campaign? Leave your answer in the comments below.
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition, by Peter Boyle.
The marketing world can be pretty confusing, right?
We all want the best results, but it’s hard to know whether you should focus on the current model of content marketing, e-mail campaigns (the king of ROI), or the social crowd (Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks).
The list goes on and on. Every year new marketing methods spring up and with them a new set of gurus who vehemently defend that particular approach as the best thing for taking your business to the next level.
Rest easy, I’m no guru and I’m not going to push a new marketing method with some terribly hyperbolic sales pitch on you. What I am going to do is examine one of the more popular marketing approaches that has not only outlived many fads, but has adapted to the times.
I am, of course, referring to paid advertising.
The act of paying a third party with better visibility or larger distribution to promote your business is as old as marketing itself. But one of the reasons paid advertising has remained so popular is that it’s managed to adapt with the times.
Technological developments have enabled marketers to set up and implement a campaign in next to no time, and the data that’s available from these campaigns makes getting the most out of your campaigns easier than ever before.
One of the more recent developments, and the one I’d like to focus on in this piece, is how paid advertising has crossed over into the world of social media.
Large numbers of people use social media in their day-to-day lives. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks each attract anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions of monthly users. With such a huge user base, social media is the ideal platform for you to increase the reach and visibility of your business.
While all networks share some common features, getting the most out of each with a paid campaign is an entirely unique effort. This article is going to focus on how to get the most out of your Twitter paid ad campaign.
Read More: The Complete Guide to Gmail Ads (How We Got $.10 CPCs & Leads As Low As $7)
I know what you’re thinking.
Paid ads are great and all, but is Twitter really the best option? I mean, if you’re set on a paid social media ad campaign why not go with the big fella—Facebook?
I can’t argue that the reach Facebook offers is greater, quite a lot greater in fact!
But as folks are given to saying: size isn’t everything. Yes Facebook might be bigger, but Twitter has a few little gems that make it a pretty worthwhile contender for your attention.
What really makes Twitter worthwhile is its effectiveness.
Call me old fashioned, but if I’m running a paid campaign, I’m most interested in the financial side of things. I want to know how much it’s going to cost and how great the ROI is. As such, I’ll track:
You might notice how I’ve completely omitted a few favorites.
As far as I’m concerned, CTR, impressions or any of the other favored metrics don’t affect your bottom line and as a result shouldn’t be your focus. They’re still important and will play an important role in optimizing your campaigns, but your primary focus should always be on how it affects the company’s bottom line.
And it’s here that Twitter excels.
A couple years ago there were a number of studies conducted on the effectiveness of paid advertising on different networks. Below are the results for lead gen from Optify.
Studies also point to Twitter dominating the mobile space. A pretty big deal considering that 2015 saw the first instance of mobile browsers exceeding their desktop counterparts.
But this was a few years ago; surely the faster growth of Facebook has skewed these results and left Twitter in the dust, right?
Not according to this study by Yotpo, which found that Twitter still has a higher conversion rate and average order value.
Twitter may well be smaller and have a more limited reach than Facebook, but that hasn’t stopped it from pulling ahead in the metric that counts: conversions.
The question, then, is how to ensure that you’re seeing the greatest conversion and revenue gains with your Twitter ads.
What do you want to achieve with your Twitter advertising campaign?
That should be the first question you ask yourself. Admittedly it’s pretty broad and can encompass a lot. Thankfully, Twitter’s selection of campaigns should help you decide on what next steps are best for your needs.
Upon logging into the Ads dashboard you’ll be greeted with the below:
Here’s how each campaign breaks down.
As you’d expect, this campaign is aimed at increasing your Twitter following. The cost for the campaign works on a cost-for-follow basis, meaning that you only pay when you gain a new follower.
The ads appear in two different formats depending on whether you include a tweet or not. Those who don’t will have an ad that looks like this:
And those that do will have an ad that looks like this:
This is a great option for new businesses on Twitter but it’s not really the best option for an established brand. If you’ve been around a while, there are plenty of other smart tactics I’d recommend over paying for new followers.
Web clicks or conversions
This is one of the best options for those looking for quick traffic or conversions. The parameters you set when establishing the campaign define the audience that will see these tweets. The tweets you create are accompanied by a ‘learn more’ button which redirects them to your website or landing page.
Read More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates – Up To 75%! (podcast)
This is one of those options that’s really only useful if you’re looking for an incredibly engaged audience. It’s not a bad campaign by any means, but it’s not necessarily going to have the same impact on your bottom line.
Aside from the obvious benefits of increasing reach and visibility, this campaign can be a goldmine for marketers doing a little audience research.
Ask a question to which you need to know the answer so that you can optimize your marketing and promote it. More people will see it and, on top of the retweets and favorites, you’ll get some great answers to help hone your approach.
App installs or re-engagements
Got an app? Want more people to use it? Then this is the campaign for you.
This campaign puts a direct install link on your tweets so the prospects you’re targeting can quickly and easily install the app at the touch of a finger.
The great thing about these ads is that you’re not going to waste money through dumb folks on desktop computers clicking the install button. These ads are only displayed to Twitter users on mobile.
Leads on Twitter
Twitter offers an easy sign-up procedure that integrates with many of the popular e-mail marketing services. You’re able to include a lead generation card in your ad which then adds the prospect directly to your list.
These are great. They not only contribute to a meaningful metric (the money’s in the list, right?), but they abolish the need to fill out a form. With these, your prospects literally just click a button.
This is a relatively new feature.
Twitter will promote your videos to targeted customers. What’s key to note here is how they charge. According to their info page, they consider “a chargeable view as 3 seconds of playback in 100% view in the timeline, or a click to watch in fullscreen/unmute — whichever comes first.”
Of course, video is well known as being an incredibly engaging and successful form of content. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on whether that three-second rule is ruining your campaign budget.
Remember, this campaign is costing you cash. You’re going to want every click you pay for to have the best possible chance of converting into a paying customer.
The biggest mistake marketers make with PPC campaigns is going on gut instinct. You might know your product better than anyone else and you may well have some pretty kickass audience personae mapped out, but that doesn’t mean that you can implement your targeting without doing a little research first.
The targeting parameters with Twitter Ads aren’t going to present anything you haven’t seen before.
The only things that may surprise veteran marketers are the specificity of the locations (seriously, you can target specific postal codes which is great for local businesses!) and perhaps the option to target by TV show preference.
The rest are pretty run of the mill so I’m not going to waste time with a redundant explanation of what location is or how to target followers of larger related accounts.
Instead I want to quickly touch on how to get your campaign off to the best start. Not by targeting those you think might be interested in whatever it is you’re offering, but by using the data of those who have already converted.
Your Google Analytics account has a wealth of information to get your campaign off to the right start. to begin with, you can pull interest data straight from GA as is. Organize this data from highest-converting interest category to lowest and you’ll have a great starting point for your interest-targeting Twitter Ads.
You can do exactly the same to pull pertinent information for other key demographic information.
After you’ve done this you’ll want to find the keywords that convert on GA. You should already have tracking set up on GA so you know the exact behavior of those who convert and the revenue they bring.
The next thing to do is implement this custom report created by Griffin Roer over on KISSmetrics. The report will show you your landing pages organized by organic searches. Again, filter this by conversion rate to know which landing pages have the highest conversion rate.
Make a note of the top-converting landing pages before heading over to Webmaster Tools. Open Search Traffic > Search Analytics and use the filter option on pages to find the highest-converting pages outlined in the above GA report.
Once you’ve filtered by your top-converting pages, click on “Queries.” This will bring up a great list of the terms that garner the highest number of clicks on Google.
These terms, while from organic results, obviously appeal to the segment of your audience that converts, so they’d be a good starting point for you in your targeting.
Once you’ve done the whole GA thing, you’ll want to supplement and cross reference the information with the engagement rates that your Twitter account is already receiving.
Your next stop is over on Twitter’s Analytics suite.
There are lots of visually impressive results in Twitter’s Analytics dashboard, but more often than not they’re just a visual representation of your audience. I’m not aware of any way to track conversions unless you’ve already set up Twitter’s conversion tracking. Something that very few people I’ve spoken to seem to have done.
Read More: 13 Quick Tricks to Increase Conversion Rates that You Can Do Right Now
However, you can track which of your tweets gained the highest engagements by clicking on the “Tweets” heading in the menu.
Ignore the pretty graph at the top of the page, scroll down, and click on “Top Tweets” and you’ll find a list of your tweets with the highest engagement rate.
Copy the text from your top tweets and cross reference them with your GA data. Doing so should help you understand the kind of copy that resonates well with your audience.
If there’s a keyword or phrase that pops up across both platforms regularly, it’s likely that it’s going to grab attention and convert those users into list subs or paying customers. Use it in your keyword targeting and in your Tweet copy.
Over 80% of Twitter users access the platform through mobile. If you’re redirecting users to a landing page on your site, make sure it’s optimized for the device and OS they’re using.
There’s nothing worse when on mobile than clicking a link and finding yourself on a page optimized for desktop. Links are too small to click with a finger, copy gets cut off by the smaller display, and the whole process just seems to run sluggishly.
These little annoyances are enough to put anyone off converting. Target your ads to appear only to those on mobile or desktop, but ensure that the links within those Tweets link to pages that are optimized for that audience.
You’ll also want to target ads and have specific landing pages for:
It seems like overkill, but the best way to ensure a higher rate of conversion is to provide an ultra specific and tailored experience.
You’ve got to ensure that the page you’re directing people to is perfectly optimized for their needs and behaviors.
Twitter often seems to get overlooked simply because it doesn’t have the reach of Facebook. But studies clearly show that it’s an incredibly effective platform for gaining a higher level of conversions.
Implementing any form of paid marketing strategy shouldn’t be done without thorough planning. Before you pay for your campaign to go live make sure that you’re not only comfortable with the way Twitter Ads works, but also feel confident that you know exactly who you’re targeting.
Have you used any other methods to help better target your Twitter campaign? Leave a comment below and let us know!
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
If you are an online retail company, you should be intimately familiar with Google Shopping. Google Shopping was first released as Froogle in 2002 and was a key growth driver of Google advertising revenue before it transitioned over to its current “pay to play” model in mid 2012.
Google Shopping is one of the biggest revenue drivers for both retailers and Google. Its engaging format drives a high click-through rate and qualifies visitors before they visit your site. The advantageous above-the-fold placement grants the valuable possibility of high traffic levels.
Too bad it’s not a secret—the ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending) on these placements are lucrative, so the competition is fierce. The average cost per click has been rapidly increasing ever since its release and it’s only getting worse.
Google has also been testing a “16-pack” of Google Shopping results that will only serve to exacerbate the pain of participating in this cost per click battleground. What’s a ROAS fanatical growth marketer to do?
When CellularOutfitter.com first participated in Google Shopping ads, it was driving a fraction of revenue. As we optimized the campaign structure over hundreds of iterations, we slowly developed a Google Shopping campaign structure that was perfectly optimized for squeezing every last penny of return from your Googlebase feed.
We will outline the structure below in our plan for the Ultimate Google Shopping Restructure.
Elite performance in the Google Shopping auction starts off with the quality and cleanliness of your Googlebase feed. Google will harvest and index your feed and serve up results based on what it deems to be the most appropriate match to the user’s search query. If you have a greater volume of optimized attributes versus your competitors, this will be a key advantage in impression share, cost per click and click-through rates.
Item title: Most e-commerce companies will simply import their product titles into this column. However, savvy paid search marketers know that Google Shopping results will bold any sort of keyword matches to help users find what they are looking for. With this in mind, you can harvest your top search queries in terms of revenue or traffic contribution from your top text ad keywords and start to optimize your product titles for the best visibility and impression share.
You will reap the dual benefits of increased CTR % as users will see more bolded keywords with your title versus the competition’s as well as higher impression share % as Google gets a more exact match to the user’s search query. Optimizing your feed in descending order of revenue contribution also ensures that your business will get the best bang for your buck.
Example: We had a high revenue contribution query of “Galaxy S6 TPU cases” doing well for our text ads. We then modified one of our highest converting products to exhibit this exact keyword in the title and descriptions in order to give this SKU more visibility in the Google Shopping results.
Learn More: The Complete Guide to Gmail Ads (How We Got $.10 CPCs & Leads As Low As $7)
Item description: With the above in mind, do the same thing with your descriptions and ensure that they are keyword rich for a few of the keyword variants that are driving the highest proportion of sales. If you are doing frequent ad rotations (which you should to figure out what type of messaging resonates well with your customer base), you can also incorporate some of those learnings into your product descriptions as well.
Example: When we ran our A/B tests for thousands of ad groups we found out that the “Up to 88% off Retail Prices” gave the highest click-through rate and conversion rates. Subsequently, most of our initial ad copy now has this value proposition and we are incorporating it into our SKU descriptions.
(CTR % over time)
The Googlebase contains a multitude of optional fields, including color, product variants and product sale information. Filling these in will allow users to better narrow their search results within the Google Shopping interface as well as grant the Googlebot better information about your products.
Having these fields appropriately filled in will also give you an edge over your competitors as most retailers are too lazy to fill them in.
Make copious use of the “Google Label” fields. The Google label fields allow you to segment your Googlebase feed into different sections that you can exploit for different optimization techniques. A few use cases I would suggest are:
The default method of setting up the Googlebase feed places an inordinate amount of control in Google’s hands: they decide which SKUs show up for which search query, they decide what is served in what proportion, and you only have a few levers to pull in order to influence performance.
However, the Alpha/Beta structure allows paid search marketers to continually harvest insights about their campaigns and maximize performance while incrementally wrestling control away from Google. As a good rule of thumb, the more draconian you are about controlling your paid search traffic, the better your performance will be.
Let’s explore the Alpha/Beta structure! If we were to map it out, it would look something like this:
First, we need to create a “catch all” campaign and assign it a low bid. This campaign will simply bid on all products in the feed at the lowest acceptable bid possible in order to get a decent amount of impressions.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s pretend that you have a catalog of 500,000 clothing SKUs and you set the bid to .50 CPC. The campaign priority for this campaign will be “Low”—this campaign level setting allows Google to better make sense of how it should deliver Google Shopping traffic if there are multiple Shopping campaigns utilizing the same Googlebase feed.
The goal of this campaign is to:
For your next campaign, we’re going to utilize either your Google custom labels or the Brand/Category columns that are present in your Googlebase in order to better sculpt your traffic. We will continue to go along with our clothing store retailer analogy and start to build out campaigns that represent the next tier of keywords that might present themselves in the sales cycle. For example, a prospective customer might search the following in order to buy a pair of dress socks:
Online clothing store > online clothing store socks > dress socks > men’s dress socks > black men’s dress socks > black Spiderman men’s dress socks
The first layer should be designed to capture search queries in the upper funnel, so a campaign structure might look like this:
And so on and so forth. The categories should have the following attributes:
By adding this layer into your Google Shopping campaign structure, you are effectively sculpting your Google Shopping traffic and will earn the following benefits:
Read More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates (Up To 75%!) [Podcast]
As your Catch All and First Layer campaigns collect data, they will start to provide enough user-driven insights for you to flesh out the remaining, more specific layers of your Shopping campaign. The eventual goal is to create SKU-specific ad groups that are targeting one ID; this will allow you to get the most granular performance and the best shaping of search queries to SKU IDs.
Example: you decide to click on Dimensions > Search Queries in your “Category – Socks” campaign. You see masses of search queries corresponding to rough subcategories. For simplicity’s sake, let’s vastly simplify some of your findings and assume you gathered enough data for the findings to be significant and that all five groupings have large amounts of traffic:
We now have enough data to add all five subcategories to a new campaign designed for your 2nd Layer in the Alpha/Beta hierarchy. These campaigns will have their serving priority set to “Medium” and have a higher bid than the Catch All or Category campaigns. You might structure the bids this way:
By structuring the bids this way, the profitable search queries catered toward “pink socks,” “men’s socks,” etc. will be funneled toward even more specific ad groups with their own corresponding bids, bid adjustments, negative keywords and promotion text. Performance will continue to rise as the more specific subcategory ad groups continue to gather SKU specific data.
You might be asking yourself: why would we want to bid so high on women’s socks even though the ROI isn’t there? We would want to do this because:
(Wow, terrible performance! Turned out this SKU was not priced appropriately.)
Lastly, once your subcategories start to gather significant amounts of data, you will gain the ability to build the most important piece of the Alpha/Beta structure—your SKU specific campaigns. These campaigns and ad groups will be focused toward individual SKUs that drive the performance of your entire account.
You will enjoy total control over the performance of these SKUs and will be easily able to monitor their performance with a microscope. This campaign will drive highly-defined search queries that sit at the very end of the user’s purchasing funnel. It will also be easy for you to dominate impression share % for high contribution SKUs.
The campaign should have its Priority set to “High” and have the highest bids across your entire slew of Shopping campaigns. This will ensure that AdWords will always show the SKUs you want when you want.
You can build out these ad groups by proceeding to the Dimensions > Product ID breakdown tab in any of your higher hierarchy Shopping ad groups. You will see a complete breakdown of the SKUs along with their performance:
Once you export a list of your top contributors, sort them into the following categories:
As your SKU specific campaigns gather more data, you will start to exhibit dictator-like control over your Shopping campaign traffic. An ideal situation is your generalized “Alpha” campaigns consistently and efficiently directing traffic to the places in the account structure where they can best performance while serving as “miners” looking for golden nuggets—the gold nuggets are SKUs that deserve to be in their own ad group so they can be optimized for even more traffic.
As your negative keyword structure and bids start to further sharpen your traffic stream, a greater proportion of your traffic will be funneled toward the highest ROI ad groups located in your SKU specific campaigns.
In the course of running Google Shopping campaigns for years and spending millions in ad spend, we developed a few novel techniques for further improving the ROI of our Shopping campaigns.
When mining for product IDs to add to our SKU specific campaigns, there are often SKUs that lose money no matter what. Since we don’t have infinite time or the wherewithal to figure out how to make them profitable, we might want to completely exclude them from being served.
However, when excluding product IDs across hundreds of ad groups and campaigns it can be a chore to keep track of the SKUs that you don’t wish to exclude. We wound up playing a frustrating game of “whack of mole” where a SKU excluded from one campaign would simply pop up in another.
We had our developers build a special tool for us—the SKU Exclusion Tool. PPC marketers wishing to exclude a SKU would upload a list in .CSV format. Upon our nightly feed generation, those SKUs would be completely removed from our Googlebase feed. This allowed us to quickly eliminate losing SKUs with 100% certainty and saved countless ad dollars.
Mining search queries amongst all your Shopping campaigns can be a massive endeavor. With the enormous scope of search queries that can crop up in the Search Query dimension, it can be difficult to come up with negative keyword additions that would move the needle.
We found that certain unprofitable terms such as “free” would show up countless times, but they were dispersed amongst thousands of unique search terms. This made it impossible to truly determine the ROI of the word “free.”
We had our developers build a tool that would separate each word in a list of search queries into a separate entity and then pivot all of the KPIs we needed and attach it to each instance. We could then export this list into an Excel file and quickly build a negative keyword list that would save tens of thousands of dollars. The word free might appear in the export like this:
“Free” – Appeared in 15,201 search queries. Contributed 150,304 impressions, 10,521 clicks, $5,260 in ad spend, $217 in revenue.
Once we added “free” and a host of other broad/phrase match negatives to the Shopping campaign, we would immediately save tens of thousands of unprofitable ad spend per month. We would immediately reinvest these dollars in capturing more impression share for the other profitable areas of the Adwords account.
This is a new technique we just started to implement. Export your list of search queries from your Google search campaigns into one Excel file, and export another list of your Shopping campaign search queries into another.
Perform a VLOOKUP and try to find mismatches amongst the files. These represent proven opportunities that you can quickly exploit.
You might find search queries that are performing well for your Shopping campaigns that aren’t added as keywords in your Search campaigns. Adding these search queries as keywords to your Search campaigns will boost your revenue as these proven winners will now start to appear in Google’s search results with greater frequency. You will also appear for both Shopping ad results as well as Search results and capture more impression real estate.
On the other hand, you might have search queries that are performing well for Google Search but are not contributing to your Google Shopping campaigns. For example, some of the below might be huge contributors to our fictional Google Adwords Search campaigns:
If you do carry these products, this would be a great opportunity to go into your Googlebase feed and modify the title, descriptions and attributes of these products to more prominently feature the search queries in question. Once Google starts serving the right products to the right search queries, build them out into their own ad groups and spike up the bid to dominate the impressions for that particular search query tree.
With the Search and Shopping results looking more competitive by the day, aim for granular, hyper optimized to annihilate your competition. For our core search queries, we often have 4-6 products appear in the results which can take up 75-90% of the available Google Shopping impressions.
This case study is a guest post by Edwin Choi, VP of Marketing at Mobovida, a customer-driven, vertically integrated mobile accessory brand delivering fashion forward products direct to consumer.
Let us know your experience with Google Shopping Campaign in the comments section below!
Hey everyone, today on the show we have Jason Swenk, who teaches digital agency owners how to double their business through setting up the right systems. Jason ran a successful agency for 12 years until he sold it and now has the number one resource for agency owners who want to scale and grow their businesses. Jason actually helped me with my business, and I think he has a wonderful model!
In today’s interview we’ll be talking about how Jason built his agency into a seven figure business, the financial transaction that consisted of equity, earn-out and cash up front, and how Jason was able to transition to become the world’s largest resource for agency owners. We also discuss some of his lead generation and segmentation techniques and his policy of doing work he loves.
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Jason Swenk Built His Coaching Business Into a 7-Figure Company By NOT Making Decisions Based on Money TRANSCRIPT
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You’ve probably noticed that a lot of link building and SEO guides focus on creating high-quality content. There’s a good reason for that: it’s far easier to build links to top-quality content because that’s what gets shared. Businesses and individuals are in search of quality material to link to so that they have something of value to offer their website visitors, and if you’ll notice, few people link to a homepage, product page or shopping cart.
Of course, there’s a difference between creating content that is simply stuffed with keywords and links, and creating top-notch blogs and articles that are specifically geared towards helping you build authoritative links to your website. And just to be sure that we are speaking the same language, here are two important definitions:
Content marketing is when you create and share content (articles, blogs, infographics) for the purpose of driving traffic to your website and navigating visitors through your marketing funnel in order to acquire new customers.
Link building is when you get other websites or blogs to link to your web page in order to improve your search engine rankings. The engines crawl the web looking for links between your web pages and other websites to decide how valid your content is and thus where your page should rank in their search results.
As far as the search engines are concerned, if your website or blog contains a lot of authoritative links plus receives a lot of links to it, then you are not only considered popular, but valid, too. And search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms to discern the spammy links from the trustworthy ones, which means that valuable content and inbound marketing are more important than ever.
Because 93% of marketers use content in their marketing strategy and 42% of them regard their content marketing skills as effective, this is an area where you don’t want to get left behind! In this guide, we’re going to share tactics that will help you create linkable high-quality content for your website as well as use that content for link building to your website.
In the introduction, we explained that linkable, well-crafted content is that which is specifically geared towards helping you build links to your website. But let’s step back for a moment and explain what exactly quality material is.
High-quality content is made up of:
By incorporating these five points, your work will stand heads and shoulders above the crowd.
The first thing to do is start the process with in-depth research. Find the top pieces of content about your subject and determine what each one of them is missing. You’ll probably find that out of ten posts, each one covers something different. If you combine all those ideas into one piece of content with your own unique take on the subject, you’re already well on your way to success!
In addition, aim for meaty posts with over 1,000 words. Studies from analyzing a million articles have shown that content that is 1,000+ words tends to get the most social shares and backlinks.
If you’re not a writer, don’t worry. There are plenty of freelance writers that you can hire to create content for you. Just be sure to find someone who is an expert in your particular niche and who loves writing (trust me, you’ll be able to tell the difference in the finished product!). The fastest way to do this is to look at the top online publications in your niche and see if any of the bylines belong to freelancers. Or just do a search like this on Google:
This search will give you the top writers in your niche along with some samples from their portfolio, which you should definitely read to ensure that their style of writing is appropriate for your brand. Run the search for sites that produce the type of content you are looking to create in order to find writers who already have a handle on the topic and are experts at crafting high-quality content.
Once you have hired someone to create some really cream-of-the-crop writing, it’s time to add the elements that will transform it into linkable material. Here are the elements that you will need in your content and how each will help you get links:
It’s one thing to say that Facebook is the most popular social network on the planet, but without the numbers to back it up, it just comes off as opinion. But when you write that with 1.55 billion active monthly users, 83.5% of which are outside of the US and Canada, Facebook is the most popular social network on the planet, this is no longer opinion; it’s fact-based writing with the statistics to back it up. This is what separates the experts from the amateurs.
Cite specific sources for every one of your claims throughout your article so that readers instantly get that they are looking at a well-researched piece of content. This gives them a reason to trust you and link to your content rather than content written by others. It also allows the readers to dive deeper into the subject to which you sourced if that interests them.
Another way to add credibility to your writing is by using quotes. For example, I could say that link-building methods of the past will no longer help your website. But again, that’s just opinion, and unless you already consider me an expert, you won’t necessarily pay heed to it.
On the other hand, if I say that John Mueller of Google suggests that webmasters should focus less on link building as it’s been done in the past and instead focus more on creating high-quality content that is easy to link to, I have now added expert opinion from Google, a source that most people trust. All the better if I can use word-for-word quotes that are hyperlinked to the source.
Even if someone has never heard the name John Mueller, the fact that he is from Google makes him an instant expert in the area of SEO. When you can’t find specific research or statistics, expert quotes are the next best thing to back them up.
In addition to making your content higher quality by adding in expert opinion, you have also added influencers to the article who might actually help you promote it. Even if Mueller doesn’t link to your content, he might share it with his 14.4k Twitter followers, which may in turn prompt one of his fans to share it with their own audience or link to your content.
Last, but not least, are resources. Look for opportunities throughout your content to mention specific resources. For example:
Better yet, don’t just include links; include images that show what people will find when they click through to one of your recommendations, like this quick peek at a report from SEMrush.
For the average reader, this adds more value to your content because you are giving them additional resources that provide substantial information. Remember, you’ll stand out from the competition by doing this because so few people take the time to give their readers this kind of value.
You have also added more opportunities to connect with people to let them know that you have featured them, their resource or their product in your latest piece of content. Resulting shares based on “ego-baiting” (creating content that features an influencer for the purpose of getting a link or share from them in return) have the potential to result in links.
Once you’ve published your linkable high-quality content, your next goal is to actually build links to it. You’re going to do that in 4 steps:
Each of these steps plays a vital role in getting links to your linkable high-caliber article.
The first step is playing the numbers game. The number of social shares, the number of votes, and the number of comments you receive on your content all play a role in convincing people that your piece is valuable, popular and, ultimately, link worthy.
This is why the second after you publish your content you need to start building up these numbers. Begin by sharing it to all your social media networks. Then encourage those social shares to increase by using networks like Fiverr, ViralContentBuzz, JustRetweet, and CoPromote. All these sites offer ways for you to effectively pay for social promotion.
The key is to build up your numbers somewhat evenly across all networks. In other words, don’t buy 1,000 tweets and nothing else. Look to get an even distribution of tweets, likes, +1s, shares, stumbles, and pins.
Then get it on popular voting networks like Inbound.org for marketing content, BizSugar for business content, or subreddits for any kind of content. It’s best that you reach out to people you know on each of these networks in order to get votes on your content as soon as it gets published.
The faster the votes build up, the better the chances of it getting to the homepage and driving more traffic. Just don’t do anything like buy 100 votes for a network where the top content only has 20, or you’ll likely get bumped off the homepage for voting fraud.
Finally, get comments. You’ll want to aim for a little higher quality on these as you don’t want to encourage spam on your website. The best place to start is your own email list. Send out a broadcast announcing your post and at the end of the email provide a clear call to action: that people stop by and share their thoughts on your blog post. From there, try out the groups on Facebook that are built specifically for bloggers to reciprocate one good comment for another.
The next step is exposure. The more people that you reach with your content, the greater the number of links you’re likely to get from them. The fastest way to get exposure with your target audience beyond simply sharing it on your social accounts is through social media advertising. Specifically, create ads for:
Next, do some Twitter outreach by finding people who have shared similar content using the pro version of BuzzSumo.
If you can find direct contact information for these people, trying emailing them. Otherwise, send them a simple tweet to let them know that you noticed they shared a particular post and that you have a good one on the same topic you think they’d be interested in. Start with those sharers who have the most followers and retweets and work your way down the list.
Just in case your outreach is ignored, you can also combine tactics by exporting lists of people from BuzzSumo who have shared similar content and then create Tailored Audiences for Twitter ads using their usernames. This is a great way to craft a relevant remarketing campaign for your target demographic.
Since Twitter takes a while to create Tailored Audiences, you might want to do this research prior to publishing your content so that your Tailored Audiences are ready when the content goes live.
Now it’s time to reach out directly to the people who are most likely to link to your content. These will typically be bloggers who are already linking to similar pieces. BuzzSumo also offers a feature that allows you to view the articles that link to this piece of content, so as you are viewing sharers, look at the linkers too.
BuzzSumo makes your backlink research valuable by showing you only content backlinks—i.e. links to content from other pieces of content. Seeing the social share potential of the blog will also help you determine if it’s a quality website that will drive traffic to your own site.
Using the results from that report, reach out to the blog author as well as the author who created the link to the similar post and let them know about yours. You’ll have a higher rate of success if you aim for the most recent posts, as they are more likely to be recently updated, as well as posts from authors who write link roundups, like Marketing Day (shown in the search results above).
From here, start looking for additional link roundups in your industry. They will usually have keywords like:
Reach out to those people directly so that they can include you in their next edition.
Also be on the lookout for people who do roundups by email. In the SEO world, the holy grail is the Moz Top 10. Subscribe to their emails (preferably in advance), familiarize yourself with the content they share, and then reply to the latest one to let them know about your suggestion for their next email. Subscribers to those emails might have blogs of their own and might link to yours.
Last, but not least, look for ways to answer questions with links to your content. Search for these opportunities in Q&A networks like Yahoo Answers and Quora, forums, and social media groups.
Not all of these arenas will create SEO links per say, but they will allow you to gain more exposure for your content in a helpful way. And more exposure has the potential to lead to more links.
Here is a quick rundown of the steps to building links with content:
If you follow these steps each time you write an epic piece of content, you will ultimately create a library of linkable high-quality content on your website that drives up the overall authority of your domain with great, editorial links.