Your website is a 24-hour salesperson.
For SaaS businesses, and anyone with an ecommerce website—having that 24-hour sales person setup to perform like Billy Mays could be the difference between a good, and a great year.
Think about putting together online sales numbers at the end of the quarter, and seeing the number of transactions and revenue generated increasing—getting you closer and closer to your annual goals.
Strategic digital marketing has the power to do this.
Creating Awareness + Growing Online Exposure
To grow exposure, your brand needs to be put in front of the right people. The best way to do this is with social media, online display and search result advertising.
You might ask—why not radio, billboards, etc.? I’m not opposed to traditional media methods if you have a bigger budget. However, I gravitate towards methods that gather and regularly update data, which allows us to continuously improve.
Billboard/radio can be difficult to track. Digital advertising can track impressions (appearances), clicks to a website, transactions/revenue generated, and other key conversions of your choice (phone call or email link clicks, RFQ form submissions, etc.)
Social and Display Advertising-Targeting
Social Media advertisements have a wide variety of placements available to choose from and a good number social advertisements are display advertisements, so I’ve paired these together, as they use similar targeting techniques.
Advertising on social media and in the display network is inexpensive, and can generate a lot of exposure.
Using research, we can identify good demographics, job titles, interest groups, online activities and more to target. This will trim a lot of fat, quickly.
EX1: You’re a company selling some kind of tech-related software. You may want to look for interest groups involving software, computers, innovation or something along those lines. There are a lot of options.
EX 2: Someone that regularly browses a tech-related website for the latest information, we can target those folks with an ad if we were Last Pass. Last Pass saves various passwords and auto-fills them, securely. It’s a big time saver.
This strategy will have your brand appearing across the web and on social media platforms, frequently.
Search Text Ads (Bing and Google)-Targeting
To successfully go through this process and reach scalable ROI, targeting needs to be refined until it’s excellent (and still continually refined beyond that). If it’s not, your business will be wasting money by advertising to the wrong users. We’ve all been browsing a website where we’re presented with an ad that is irrelevant to us. On the advertising side, we want to avoid that as much as possible.
Again, we identify targets is with research, and use a lot of tools to make sure our research is the best it can be, before we take action or make integrations on a website.
For search text ads, I’d look to identify the best locations, demographics, devices, etc. to target. Then I’d bid on search phrases that show intent/interest. This can all be refined as chunks of data come in and show us what is resonating with users, and generating the most return.
This strategy can have your brand appearing at the top of key searches in Google and Bing.
Whether it be in Reddit, searching Q & A forums, or reading and finding discourse in the comment section, problems/difficulties are always being discussed online, and it gives your brand an opportunity to provide a solution.
Often times this will naturally lead to a link back to your website, a mention, and a direct lead for whoever initially had the problem, and all of those following the thread.
This strategy generates exposure, engagement, direct leads, and is helpful in an overall SEO strategy.
Content allows us to target specific search queries. If we create great content that helps searchers find solutions, it has a good opportunity to rank, and allow our website to rank for more search phrases. This sends a lot of positive signals.
Once a user is on the page, reading, it’s our job to input CTAs (calls to action) and attempt to guide the user through our funnel.
EX: If someone is looking to change their own oil. You create a piece of content explaining how, but include a CTA to call for a service appointment. For those that see the oil change on their own may be too complicated or are worried they’ll mess something up, they may stop reading and look to make an appointment. Content like this can be evergreen.
This strategy can generate exposure, engagement, and is helpful in an overall SEO strategy.
Turning Exposure + Free Trials into Recurring Revenue
With the plan in place for gathering exposure, your site needs to be strategically crafted for those visitors. Over time, accumulated data will us to refine the website more and more, to enhance the likelihood of a purchase or conversion.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
To me, CRO is about further defining a conversion funnel, finding hesitation points, and making adjustments to eliminate any hesitation of converting. The site visitor should have a path that they naturally flow through.
Let’s say you’ve become aware of a problem people are having, and your software or product solves it. You decide to write a targeted blog discussing this. If that blog post doesn’t have any CTA’s in it, users have to hunt to convert. If we were to add a free trial link, it would encourage users to try it, right as they’ve found out it can solve their problem. We could also add a newsletter signup link on the page—an alternate conversion where we can nurture a lead to conversion, or a place for us to stay top-of-mind with someone who is weighing their options.
I’ll elaborate on CRO in the future with a dedicated blog post.
This strategy will get a bigger percentage of users visiting your website, to follow through on a conversion (purchase, RFQ, phone call, etc).
UX goes hand in hand with CRO. We want the site to have a natural flow to it.
If we have a page or blog post discussing something, and a related topic is mentioned that we’ve written about, and the user might be wondering about, it’s a good idea to have a link to it (opening in a new tab.)
If the primary conversion goal is to get a user to shop and make a purchase, then that should be evident in the main navigation throughout the site, so that it’s easy for them to get there. It is also wise to eliminate hesitations like added costs, and make that evident throughout the site. The below example is in an action bar at the top of every page.
If there is a lot of content on certain pages, make sure those pages have an easy way to return to the top of the page, or skip from section to section.
We want to give site visitors what they’re looking for, and make their browsing experience easy. This will encourage them towards an action (ideal converting in our funnel). At worst, we’ll be considered among other brands.
It’s also not a bad idea to give them reassurance on any doubts!
This strategy contributes to CRO, and makes it easy for users to go through the content on your website.
Enhanced Advertising Strategy
These are the display ads you get whenever you go online shopping and don’t make a purchase.
I know, I know. These ads can be annoying. That’s why I’m always sure to cap client ads to a certain number per week. This allows us to stay top-of-mind and encourage conversion, while keeping boundaries.
Investing in What is Working
If we see that a particular campaign, set of keywords, or particular device is driving significantly more conversions, we can leverage that.
EX: Tablet users aren’t converting, and mobile device users have driven 75% of conversions. We can put a bid adjustment to ensure our ads don’t appear on a tablet, and then another on mobile devices to ensure we’re bidding a little bit more.
This is part of our constant improvement process with ads that increases conversions, and lowers the cost.
On top of leveraging data with manual changes like this, we can also switch automated bid strategies. Once we have some data, maximize conversions and target cost per acquisition (CPA) leverage Google’s AI to put your ads in places they’re more likely to convert.
A lookalike audience is perhaps the best (in most cases) way to advertise if your goal is to reach entirely new audiences that have the highest chance of converting.
A lookalike audience, in the most basic sense, is a targeted audience who have characteristics, demographic similarities, or other treatable qualities that “look like” you current audience. Your current audience can be defined in a number of way — such as current website traffic, current page fans, or even a current email list.
After defining the audience you want to create a Lookalike Audience around Facebook will use it’s advanced algorithms to create a new audience with users are similar to that defined group of users. This is an audience that is continually updated on Facebook end and refined on a minute by minute basis so you can ensure you’re always targeting the correct people.
Below is an example of a campaign running for an SaaS client using Lookalike Audiences. As you can see, by using social media ads we are able to get great exposure and growing Ad Results while simultaneously lowering the CPR (Cost Per Result).
Oct 8: 1 Download, $14.53 per download
Oct 22: 12 Downloads, $1.21 per download
Real SaaS and Ecommerce SEO Client Examples + Results
Jan 2019: 3,295 Conversions, $1.08 per conversion
Dec 2019: 7,217 Conversions, $0.81 per conversion
Conversions: Primarily Downloads (Software). Then we rely on the product, in-product messaging, newsletter marketing to encourage a purchase + install.
Aug 2019: 5 Transactions for $4,665.00
Nov 2019: 11 Transactions for $24,205.00
Conversions: Transactions/Revenue (Lab Research Supplies/Kits)
Exciting opportunities ahead
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