How Developing Your Business’s Point of View Can Explode Your Fan Base

In today’s world of consumer content, it can be difficult to stand out. Many companies spend a great deal of time and money developing content but few truly understand how to connect with readers by developing a point of view (POV).

A point of view is a valuable content strategy that allows companies to tap into the minds of consumers. Since consumers are generally more connected to one another than they are to a company, developing a business POV is a great way to market directly to customers and increase relateability. Additionally, a strong point of view is a great way to brand your company as a positive, enlightened, progressive force in your industry.

When it comes to marketing, a point of view is the way that a brand views the world and looks at certain situations. A strong and well-developed point of view gives a brand’s product personality, authenticity and individuality and makes it easier for customers to access.

Companies around the globe are focusing on their company’s point of view. Many times, POV is displayed in a company’s stance on important cultural or social issues. Customers want to know how companies feel and what drives their product. When customers can relate to your point of view, they’re much more likely to be loyal to your brand.

Why is POV Important?

According to em marketing:

“A POV creates a framework for a broader conversation around a series of topics and data that help shape your brand in the eyes of your customer.”

With this in mind, it’s obvious that a well-defined POV is a strong and valuable way for companies to boost their interaction with customers.

Customers today are very driven by values and they want a product that feels the same.

For example, after H & M was named one of the world’s most ethical company in 2014 on the basis of corporate and production standards, business boomed. This is because people are more likely to buy from companies they admire (think of how many people have boycotted big box stores due to low employee wages, utilization of sweatshop labor for product production and poor working conditions.) Customers care about what the companies they purchase from stand for and are more likely to feel familiar with and fond of companies that exhibit a POV that aligns with theirs.

3 Companies That Have an Emphatic, Successful Business POV

1) Patagonia


Patagonia, a well-known outdoors and lifestyle clothing and gear brand, has exemplified the power of a POV for years. Patagonia has made it clear that they care about organizational responsibility, paying all employees and production workers a living wage, fair labor practices, safe working conditions and sustainability in a series of well-written position statements. The POV is plastered all over their site and appears in everything from their product descriptions to their catalogues. By aligning themselves with this POV, they have managed to succeed hugely in connecting with high-income, like-minded customers. Additionally, this eco-friendly, ethical POV has made them a leading provider of active wear for a variety of outdoor events and allowed them to fund like-minded environmental work, which only serves to further establish them in their field.

2) Mozilla


Known for its web-wide call for Microsoft to undo aggressive and limiting user overrides, Mozilla has become a folk hero in the arena of the open web movement. Thanks to its strong POV, Mozilla, once a somewhat obscure name, has now become a virtual beacon on web freedom and user choice. It is clear that Mozilla’s prerogatives includes values like choice, control, opportunity and equality for all web users and the company even goes so far to state that they established themselves as a non-profit in order to better deliver these things to users. Because they are so outspoken about their insistence on user choice, Mozilla is likely to draw like-minded web users who are dissatisfied with other available services.

3) Apple

Anyone who has ever read a biography about Steve Jobs understands that he built Apple (now one of the most valuable companies in the world) on the power of POV. Jobs believed from the get-go that consumers would want a product that was beautiful, sleek, intelligent and unique and he was right.

Additionally, Jobs was obsessively focused on the intersection between art and technology and the way in which that intersection created a product that was well suited to make a definable difference in the world. Nowadays, Apple consistently dominates brand polls and has built up what may possibly be the most loyal customer base in the entire tech industry. This is no accident, of course, and owes largely to the fact that Apple has always been brilliant at defining its POV: innovation, intelligence, beauty, and creativity. As a result, consumers attracted to the same ideals and wooed by Apple’s marketing, production and technological scruples have fallen hard for the brand. Apple is and has always been great at helping their customers understand exactly what they stand for, and – notably – what they don’t. Apple customers feel like they know the company and, as such, they’re loyal to every single product the tech giant produces.

Developing a POV: 5 Things to Remember

Developing a POV is a sure-fire way to go beyond content and ensure that your company is truly making an impression. This, in turn, is the only way to ensure that customers don’t immediately forget about your brand or product as soon as they leave your site or store. A definable, well-written POV goes a long way toward ensuring long-lasting business and earning returning, loyal customers.

1. Make it About the Customer

A large part of an effective POV is ensuring that your message applies to your customer. Much the same way nobody enjoys talking to a self-obsessed blowhard, customers don’t want to hear endlessly about what you do and why it’s so great. Keep in mind that they do need to understand exactly how you do what you do, as in the earlier Patagonia organizational responsibility example and, specifically, their pledge to protect migrant workers.

Customers need details, yes, but primarily they need to understand how what your company does affects or benefits them. The bulk of all of your POV content should be dedicated to providing useful information and statistics on topics of interest to the consumer and helping them to see how, exactly, your company’s POV can benefit their lives. Are your clothes more sustainable? Longer lasting? Organically sourced? Focus on the benefits to the customer and the customer will love your brand in return.

2. Tap into the Community

The entire purpose of a POV is to tap into the community at large. Who else is in the conversation and how can you join them? One great way to do this is by creating content that taps into the larger conversation (Apple could write about tech concerns, for example) that customers are interested in.

This content shouldn’t be focused on hawking your company’s products and, in fact, should probably not even mention them. Instead, it should focus on developing POV-focused content that your consumers will find interesting, engaging, illuminating, valuable and inspiring.

3. Avoid Being Combative

Customers like companies with values, but they won’t appreciate a company that takes the world to task on every detail. This simply comes off as combativeness, which is not a great trait for a company. Be passionate but pick your battles. Aim for being engaging and inspiring rather than petty and inflammatory. Consumers will value intelligence over insistence.

4. Package it Well

If you shout your POV out to the web and nobody is around to hear it, did it still happen? Like most things, a POV is pretty useless if it isn’t properly disseminated and packaged in order to be as shareable and social as possible. Focus your efforts on creating POV content that encapsulates your company’s philosophy and values but also benefits your customers and makes it something they will want to share with their friends. This is the best way to spread word about your company’s values and, when done correctly, can be an effective way to draw new customers.

5. Be Authentic

A phony POV is about as obvious as having a cut-rate nose job and, trust us, people are going to notice. For this reason, it’s important to approach your POV from a place of authenticity and, also, to participate authentically throughout the course of engaging with your POV.

Find out where people are talking about the things your company is interested in and then get in on the conversation. Talk to consumers, comment on their thoughts, respond to debates and create content that addresses current issues from your own unique POV. Consumers appreciate authenticity and putting your most authentic face forward will win you great business.

Did You Do it Right? 8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Creating POV

According to Marketing Interactions, there are several questions content marketers can ask themselves when addressing their POV content.

In order to serve the reader as well as possible, POV content should meet the following criteria:

  1. Is it helpful?
  2. Is it generous?
  3. Does it provide valuable information
  4. Does it display expertise?
  5. Is it flexible?
  6. Is it kind?
  7. Does it promote reader interaction?
  8. Is it definitive?

These questions can help companies decide whether or not the content they’re creating is truly POV and can assist them in the process of disseminating high-quality information to their customers.

The Case for POV: Why Companies Should Pay Attention

Unlike mass content creation, a POV is a special way of communicating with customers. POV’s are more organic than many defined and rigid content strategies and provide customers with more honest, valuable and helpful information about a company they are interested in purchasing from. When done well, a great POV can draw new customers in and provoke existing customers to spread the word and remain loyal for many years.

All strong companies develop an easily identifiable POV that is unique to their business and helps brand them, allowing them to stand out in the market. Additionally, a POV is an ideal way for companies to live in the important place where their brand and products intersect with the community at large.

What Do You Stand For?

Chances are, your customers want to know.

This is by far the most valuable component of developing a company POV: allowing customers to glance inside and see exactly what truly makes your company tick. When a company is willing to wear its values on its sleeve, it has a high chance of bringing in new customers and making a name for itself in an increasingly competitive and saturated world.

About the Author: Julia McCoy is a self-taught copywriter and Internet marketer who founded Express Writers at 19 years old. Today, it’s a full-size copywriting team providing agencies and businesses of all sizes with high quality content. Subscribe to her blog to learn insider tips and news on blogging, web content and all things copywriting. Follow Julia on Twitter.

Source: KISS


The Marketer’s Guide to Periscope

Everyone and their mom knows that Periscope is becoming more and more popular. In fact, according to TechCrunch, over a million people signed into the app in the first 10 days after the launch on March 26.

That’s just incredible!

Want to know the best part?

Periscope still “fresh”, and you (as a marketer) have a HUGE opportunity to start growing your network. This is why I decided to create this guide; to show you step-by-step where to start and how to crush it with live video streaming.

Let’s get rolling…

Fundamentals: How to Develop a Successful Plan

As with anything in marketing, you need to start with a plan. Why? Because this way you’ll know where you are going, why you are going there and exactly how to get there.

Most importantly, a well-thought plan helps you stay focused on the right things, which ultimately will save you a ton of time and money.

In simpler words: Without a plan, you’re going to fail.

The question is: How can I develop a plan?

Start by following the next steps:

1) Set Your Goals

You need to know exactly why you are using Periscope in the first place. Just because your competitors are doesn’t mean you should. Start by answering the next questions:

What do I want to accomplish?
Do you want to drive traffic to other channels? Do you want to get more leads or customers? Do you want to build your brand? Whatever you want to achieve, just write it down.

Writing your goals will invite accountability and will be easier to measure the results. The more specific, the better.

For example, if you decide to use Periscope to drive traffic to your blog or social media accounts, your goals could be:

  • 1st quarter: 5,000 extra visitors
  • 2nd quarter: 8,000 extra visitors
  • 3rd quarter: 10,000 extra visitors
  • 4th quarter: 12,000 extra visitors

This way, all your goals will be measureable and tracking results will be relatively easy.

Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve, you need to define why you’re trying to achieve it. Numbers alone don’t mean nothing. You need to know the why.

Why do you want 5,000 extra visitors? Why do you want 10 leads every day? How can these goals influence your business? Write it down.

2) Perform a Competitive Analysis

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to try to develop a strategy from scratch. It can work, but chances are that you’ll fail.

It is much better to analyze what competitors are doing, and then model those things that are giving them the most success. This way, your chances to win increase.

Start by following your competitors on Periscope and analyze what kinds of videos they create, how often they’re sharing new content, what topics they’re covering and even the gaps or what they’re not covering in their strategy.

Become an active member of their communities. You’ll learn a lot by watching.

3) Create a Differentiator

When you’ve been studying your competitors for a while, you start noticing certain patterns on what they do – you start noticing gaps.

And when you find gaps in your competition’s strategies you can create content that helps your audience in better ways.

This is where you need to find a differentiator. Something that makes your content unique – it might be your style, specific topics or certain angles your competitors don’t cover – this will help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed.

For example, Derek Halpern, from Social Triggers, focuses on “scooping” marketing and entrepreneurship insights from a psychological perspective. That’s his differentiator.

How to Setup and Use Periscope

Now that you’ve created a plan, you’re ahead of most of your competitors. However, in order to get results you need to get familiar with the app.

Don’t worry, it’s really straightforward, just follow these steps below and you’ll be ok.

1) Download the app – you can choose between Apple or Android.

2) Sign-up – you have two options:


You can either:

A. Log in with your Twitter credentials (the easier one)
B. Sign up with your phone number

3) Create a username – Periscope still has a lot of usernames available, so this is your opportunity to get the name you really want.

Although there is no real science of choosing the right username, it’s highly recommended that you go personal and choose your real name.

4) Do something cool – the best thing about Periscope is that it’s really simple. Once you’ve signed up, you have three options:

  • Follow people
  • Start a broadcast
  • Watch other people’s broadcasts


I recommend that you start by watching other people’s broadcasts, so you can see how the thing works – you only need to click the globe icon to see who’s live right now.

How to Crush it With Live Video Streaming

I’ve seen many people fail with video streaming just because they focus on applying trendy techniques, but forget to follow the principles.

Remember, techniques change over the time, but principles remain the same. This applies to any subject, so if you learn and master principles, you’ll always ok.

Here are the 5 counterintuitive principles of live video streaming:

1) Tell a story that matches up with your audience’s worldview – It’s not a big secret that storytelling is a powerful tool to engage an audience. However, there are good and bad stories, so you need to make sure you’re telling a story your audience really want to hear.

Of course, you need to know your audience to make this works. You need to know who they admire, what are their problems, what makes them feel good or bad – this is where buyer personas come in handy – so you can start creating stories around those things.

For example, Spotify constantly shares behind-the-scenes videos with celebrities their audience admire.

2) Develop a distribution plan before you start the broadcast – People only have 24 hours to watch a replay. This means that you have a limited amount of time to promote your videos. If you start to develop a distribution plan after your presentation, you’re screwed.

Instead, start planning with at least 2 days of anticipation, this way you’ll always have an ace up your sleeve. For example, I always create a list of 100 to 250 people who might be interested in what I’m going to publish the upcoming week. Then, once the content goes live, I let them know about it.

You can also let your audience know ahead of time. For example, you may say “this Thursday at 2PM Central I’ll be on Periscope discussing how to market electric cars. Mark your calendars! I’ll tweet with the link once we go live.”

3) Encourage users to participate – You’ll reach more people and be more effective if you can turn your audience into promoters. This is why you need to encourage them to comment and share.

Giveaways are a great way to encourage people to participate, so you can try to create some kind of “mini-contest”. For example, Doritos is releasing a contest that consists on tagging three people with the hashtag #DoritosRoulette. Those people participate as a team and have the opportunity to win great prizes.

Of course, they share the live event through Periscope. It’s a really smart strategy.

4) Use Periscope to solve specific needs – If you focus on solving your audience’s problems, they’ll come back again and again – you’ll create a loyal community. Start by asking your audience what topics they want you to talk about, and start developing ideas based on that information.

How to Create the Perfect Headline for Your Broadcast

I don’t need to tell you that headlines are basically the most important thing of any piece of content. If your headline sucks, nobody will care about the rest of your article, video or audio. This is why you need to spend enough time on this.

But don’t worry, creating a good headline is not that hard. There’s lots of information on headline copywriting you can get through, but in the meantime you can start by following the next “hacks”:

Step 1: Find a proven headline idea

Instead of using a headline you think might work, it’s much better to use a headline that has a proven record of success – there are two options:

A) Reverse engineer BuzzSumo results:
First, go to BuzzSumo and type in a keyword related to your main topic.


B. Select “Video”:


C. Then, sort the results by Twitter shares:


D. Select 2-3 successful headlines and create a template.


For example: Is this the ______ [Your Topic] job ever?

B) Find popular YouTube videos:


  • Go to Youtube and type in a keyword related to your main topic
  • Look for videos with over 100,000 views
  • Take 2-3 of them and create templates

For example: Top [number] [your topic] mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Step 2: Use Twitter to Test Your Headlines and Find a Winner

Once you have 3-5 headlines, it is time to test which of them is best. To do that, you need to have access to:

  • Twitter account with at least 1,000 followers (or at least get someone with a high follower count to retweet you)
  • Your best time to tweet

First, tweet out one of your headlines when most of your audience is online, wait 24 hours and then tweet out the other headline. Repeat the process with each of your headlines and see which of them got the most engagement. That’s the winner.

This might not be an exact science, but will give you an educated clue of what people want.

As an alternative, you can list out your headlines in 1-3 tweets and ask your followers which they like best. In most cases, this will only work if your audience is copywriters, marketers, or writers.

How to Get More Periscope Followers

The more followers you have, the more reach you’ll get, right? Here are some ways to get the most out of your current resources to get more Periscope followers:

1) Follow Other People

I’ve heard a lot of people who say that the “follow back” approach doesn’t work. That’s BS. It works extremely well. As long as you just follow relevant people and avoid spam you’ll be fine.

The first step is create a list of at least 100 people in your industry who are already using Periscope to market their businesses. Then, follow them and start the conversation.

Start watching their broadcasts, commenting and even creating content around them. If you do that, you’ll definitely get noticed and a good percentage of them (and their followers) will follow you too.

2) Respond to Every Single Comment

People always come back to the places where they feel appreciated.

Think about it: Which store would you come back to? The store where employees are rude, or the store where everyone treats you incredibly well?

The answer is obvious.

If you treat every member of your community like if she or he were the most important person in the world, they’ll feel really appreciated. And one of the best ways to demonstrate your appreciation online is by responding to their comments.

This will encourage more people to follow you because it will help turn followers into evangelists.

3) Don’t Go to the Third Round

Some people will analyze everything you do, including the good and bad things.This is why you need to be careful with what you do. Not only on Periscope, but in all social networks.

What I mean by “don’t go to the third round” is that if someone starts to post negative comments on your videos, don’t fight with them.

You can reply once, but if that person replies back, no matter how much you want to tell them how wrong he or she is, just don’t do it. Ignore that person. If people see that you offend your audience, they won’t follow you.

4) Be Constant

People like to follow people who constantly shares new stuff. If you’re expecting that people follow you because you published a video 3 months ago, you’ll not see the results that you want.

The best you can do is creating a publishing schedule. This way, you and your team can develop ideas and keep your calendar full.

You can schedule a 20-30 minute meeting each week or month to do this.

How to Increase Your Reach

1) Leverage the Power of Brand Evangelists

It doesn’t matter how small your follower base is, you’ll always have a small group of people who always are sharing, commenting and linking to your content.

These are your “brand evangelists”.

Most people make the mistake of trying to connect and engage with every one of their followers. It’s much more effective to focus on creating strong relationships with your evangelists and then let them introduce you to their own audiences.

Focus your energy on the few and you’ll get the most out of the masses. It’s a smarter approach to social media.

2) Find Your Best Time To Go Live

As with anything in social media, there are better times to publish your content than others. For example, Buffer found that on average, tweeting at 5 PM can increase your chances to get noticed.

It doesn’t mean you should share your videos at that time, but it definitely means that you can increase your reach by finding the exact hour where most of your audience is online, so you can share your content at that time.

There are no tools to do this with Periscope yet. However, since Twitter owns this app, a huge percentage of your Periscope followers are already on Twitter (if not all of them), which is very useful.

You can use tools like FollowerWonk or Hootsuite to find your best time to publish content on social media. In addition, this guide from Hubspot will guide you step-by-step through an effective process.

3) Create Co-Branded Content

One of the best ways to grow your audience is by creating relationships with people who have an established audience in your industry, but who aren’t your competitors. This way you can collaborate to create content that both of you can use.

For example, Noah Kagan recently launched a co-branded free training course where he and other industry experts collaborate to help you get your first 1 million visitors. They created special deals, so people who subscribe to the course can get products they own at special prices.


It’s a win-win.

You can look for relevant people in your industry who are doing it well on Periscope, and then create co-branded live video streaming, so both of you can get introduced to a different audience, and therefore, grow yours.

How to Hack the Advanced Twitter Search to Evangelize Your Videos

One of the best things about Twitter is that you can easily find people who might be interested in your content. Just need to type a keyword in the search bar and Twitter will show you all the people who have shared content on that specific topic.

And when someone shares something on Twitter you know two things:

  1. That person is interested in your topic
  2. That person likes to share content related to that topic

That is very useful because now all you need to do is put your content in front of them.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to Twitter and type in a keyword that describes your main topic. For example, if I was going to share a video related to greenhouses, I could look for “gardening”.


Another option is to look for a specific name. If you know that one of your competitors is doing it well with Periscope, you can search for their name.

Step 2: Click on “more options” and select “Advanced Search”.


Step 3: Fill the form as you need, just make sure to add #Periscope in the section called “these hashtags”. This way, Twitter will show you only tweets that have that specific hasthag.

Remember, we want to find people who might be interested in attending your live video streaming, so is highly important that you follow this step.


Step 4: Make a list of all the people who appear in the results and let them know about your upcoming event. Since they’ve seen and shared similar content before, they’re very likely to attend to your streaming, too.


You can use the following script:


I noticed that you tweeted out a Periscope broadcast the other day: TITLE OF THE BROADCAST

Great stuff, I really enjoyed it, too.

I actually have a broadcast on TOPIC coming out on DATE

Let me know if you want a heads up when it comes out :)



Note: For this strategy to work, I recommend that you create a list of at least 50 people. Also, If you’re wondering how to find a person’s email, you can read this post.

How to Get Tangible Results

One of the biggest problems people have with live video streaming is they don’t know how to achieve results. I’ve found that the reason for it is they simply don’t know how to connect it with business objectives.

We talked about setting your goals earlier in this guide for that simple reason. When your goals are clear, everything is much simpler.

Here are 4 ways to connect the dots between Periscope and your core marketing goals, so you can see tangible results. Choose those ones that better fit your business objectives.

1) Humanize Your Brand

One of your main goals as a brand is to build strong relationships with your audience, and Periscope helps you do that in a very unique way – you can basically open the gate and give to people an inside-look to your company.

Think about it: What better way to humanize your brand than sharing what you do in a common day?

Reality TV is so popular because people love to connect with other human beings. If you share behind-the-scenes content to your audience, they’ll feel more connected with you, and therefore they will trust you more.

2) Product Demos

What better way to offer proof than showing your audience a live product demonstration? This way, they can see in real time how your product actually works and the results they can achieve if they decide to buy it.

3) Customer and Audience Research

Audience research is one of the hardest things when it comes to online marketing (especially when you don’t know where to look). However, once you get it done, you’ll an unfair advantage over your competition.

Periscope gives you the opportunity to learn what your audience really wants, in real-time. You can conduct live Q & A to see what specific questions they ask, you can study comments people are making to find patterns on the way they think, and you can even find untapped keywords they’re using to describe their problems.

This information will help you develop better strategies and help your audience in unique ways.

4) Create Exclusive Content For Your Subscribers

You can create a private group for your blog subscribers and share content that only people who are in your private community can see. This will create an athmosphere of exclusiviness, which people love so much.

Over to You

Periscope is new and fresh. If you think it’s right for your business and goals, then take a dive and start a broadcast using the guidelines we discussed.

Hopefully this guide has shown you that Periscope is a powerful social media tool to grow your brand.

What other tips, techniques and insights do you have about Periscope?

About the Author: Josue Valles is a content marketing evangelist, strategist and die-hard entrepreneur. He constantly blogs about Inbound Marketing, SEO and Social Media Marketing at Engagebit. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Source: KISS


Avoid These Five Online Advertising No-No’s

In today’s world, you don’t have to go to Hollywood to be a star. All you need is a YouTube account, and of course, something interesting to share.

You don’t need to be a director to make a movie. You don’t need to be a newscaster to deliver news. And you don’t need to be a stock broker to trade on the stock market.

With today’s technology, anyone can do anything, and that includes online advertising. What used to be the exclusive purview of advertising companies can now be done by anyone. You simply decide what platform you want to use, and then sign up. More and more businesses are going it alone in what seems to be an under-the-radar trend.

But the tools making the world more accessible are also making it more dangerous. If you play the stock market without knowing what you’re doing, you could end up broke. Online advertising is definitely something you don’t want to do on a whim.

Here are five simple mistakes that can cause big problems:

1. Not Understanding or Noticing Location Options

If you have ever seen an ad on Google that had nothing to do with your location, it was probably a result of the campaign manager not using targeted location.

When setting location in AdWords, there is a small + tab that opens up the advanced options settings. The default setting is “People in, or who show interest in my targeted location.” This means that if you place ads for a pizzeria, and a searcher is looking for “American Pizza,” they will see your ads even if they are located in Africa. To avoid this, always choose “People in my targeted location.”


2. Placing Ads on Your Own Selling Websites

Ad placement such as AdSense is an easy way for websites to fill their ad inventory and make some extra money. This is usually a great fix for large news websites, blogs, and other sites that don’t sell online.

However, often, you can find these ads on sites belonging to SMB’s that don’t understand the ads do more harm than good. For example, you won’t see AdSense on the Kissmetrics site because it degrades the user experience and takes attention away from the messaging.

Having ads on a selling site usually does not generate a lot of revenue, and worse still, it takes customers off your site. Additionally, it opens an option for competitors to promote their products on your site.

3. Being an Advertising Yes-Man

Many advertising platforms, such as AdWords, highlight certain features that sound great but don’t always work to your benefit. For example, when choosing your bid strategy on AdWords, you are offered an option to use “Enhanced CPC”. What this actually does (if you look at the fine print) is allow AdWords to raise your bids by 30% in order to get you better placement.

While it may do just that, if you set a certain budget and forget about this setting, then every time you raise the budget, you will essentially be increasing the 30% allowance.


4. Not Understanding the Platform’s Algorithms

You don’t need to be an engineer, but you should have a general grasp of how the platform you choose to advertise on works. It can make a huge difference. For example, AdWords Search is highly based on relevance (Quality Score). The more relevant your keywords, ads, and landing page, the higher your quality score and the less you will pay per click.

On Facebook, each user has an actual value based on how active they are on the site. A user who spends money on Facebook has a higher value than one who doesn’t. Why is that important? Well, if you have an audience of 100k users and the suggested bid is $2, but you decide to place a bid of $0.50, you are in fact telling the algorithm that you want to show only for users who have a value of $0.50.

If $0.50-value users make up 10% of your total audience, your true audience in this case would be 10k users, not 100k. Your budget, set to reach 100k, will show the ads only to the 10k $0.50-value users in your audience over and over again. Eventually, your frequency will get too high, and you will be spamming that audience, which will in turn make your cost higher. And the worst part is that you will never even reach the value audience you really wanted to reach in the first place.

5. Being Your Own Competition

When it comes to bidding, it’s easy to get carried away with your bids. And most platforms make it easy for you to overspend by suggesting what you should pay in order to beat your competition.

If you underpay, your ads might not appear as often. However, this doesn’t mean you should overpay.

You should bid according to your ROI, not your ego. Overpaying puts all your competitors into overdrive and raises bids for everyone. On most major platforms, there are enough impressions to go around.

On AdWords, some advertisers even overbid on their own brand keywords. This makes no sense at all since usually you are the only one buying your brand keywords. Essentially, raising bids on branded keywords simply lets the algorithm know you are willing to pay more, and so you will.

There are cases where your competition might be buying your keywords. Remember, you should always have a higher quality score than they do, and you can beat them that way.

So, should you tackle online advertising on your own?

At the end of the day, it depends on the scope of your business, the results you expect to gain from your campaigns, the budget you plan to spend, and your willingness to learn a new trade. There are many plusses to running your own campaigns, such as full transparency and the ability to monitor your spending and branding. After all, no one knows your business as well as you do.

It is possible to do your own online marketing, but be aware that the endeavor will require the same amount of preparation as doing your own taxes, representing yourself in court, or flying your own plane. You will need to do some homework, understand the inner workings of the platform, and choose settings carefully. If you don’t know what something means, look it up. That’s what Google is for.

Everyone makes mistakes, even the pro’s. Learning to spot the mistakes is key. If something seems off, if you aren’t getting the results you believe you should be, then investigate, go over your settings, and make sure you’re not committing any major advertising no-no’s.

About the Author: Daniel Rosenfeld is a Digital Marketing Professional, always looking for the smallest details which have the largest impact.

Source: KISS


How Marketing Funnels Work

If you’ve spent any time learning about marketing analytics, you’ve probably come across the term “funnels.” If you’re curious about what they are and how they can help, this post is for you.

What Are Funnels?

You undoubtedly want visitors on your website to take certain actions. Maybe you want them to make a purchase, sign up, or fill out a form. When someone does something you want them to do, it’s known as a conversion. The visitor converts from browsing to taking the action you want them to take.

A funnel is the set of steps a visitor needs to go through before they can reach the conversion.

Think about the Amazon purchase funnel. There are a few steps a visitor has to go through before they can purchase a product. Here’s how it looks:

  • They have to visit
  • They have to view a product
  • They have to add a product to the cart
  • They have to purchase

There are additional steps/actions that can be taken in between each of these steps, but they do not matter in the purchase funnel. For example, a visitor may view Amazon’s About page, Contact page, and Careers page, but we don’t need to count these in the funnel because they aren’t necessary steps.

Why is the set of steps to conversion called a “funnel”? Because at the beginning of the process, there are a lot of people who take the first step. Then, as the people continue along and take the next steps, some of them drop out, and the size of the crowd thins or narrows. (And even further along in the process, your sales team gets involved to help close the deal.)


The top of the funnel is where everyone goes in (visiting your site). Only the most interested buyers will move further down your funnel.

So when you hear people say “widen the funnel,” you now know what they are referring to. They want to cast a larger net by advertising to new audiences, increasing their brand awareness, adding inbound marketing, etc. in order to drive more people to their site, thus widening their funnel. The more people there are in a funnel, the wider it is.

You aren’t limited to using your funnel strictly for signing up and/or purchasing. You can put funnels all over your website to see how visitors move through a specific website flow.

You may want to track newsletter signup (Viewing newsletter signup form > Submitting form > Confirming email) or a simple page conversion (Viewing a signup page > Submitting signup). Figure out what your goals are and what you want visitors to do on your site, and you can create a funnel for it.

Once you have the data, you’ll be able to see where roadblocks are and optimize your funnel. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.

Why Funnels Are Beneficial

With a funnel report, you can see where you are losing customers.

Let’s take your average SaaS business as an example. Here’s how a funnel may look for them:

  • Visited site
  • Signed up for a trial
  • Used product
  • Upgraded to paying

Do people have to use the product before paying? They don’t, but it’s a good idea to track it so you can see if it’s a roadblock for them.

Here’s how that funnel would look in the Kissmetrics Funnel Report:


In this example, the business manages to get 165 people to use the product, but only 13 people convert to Billed. There are opportunities for improvement at every step of the funnel, but it’s important to first work on the areas that need the most attention. The more people they can convert to Billed, the more revenue they’ll have. This should be the first area of the funnel to optimize.

A Funnel in Real Life

Funnels occur everyday with consumers. Let’s look at the funnel process for a retail store and see the corresponding steps in an ecommerce store. We’ll be tracking a purchase funnel.


The Ecommerce store has the fortune of being able to see a funnel. If they use Kissmetrics, they’ll see the exact number of people that move through the funnel, and where and when they drop off in the purchase process.


Okay, so now we have an understanding of what a funnel is and why it helps. Let’s take a look at two products that offer funnels – Google Analytics and Kissmetrics.

How Google Analytics Funnels Work

Google Analytics offers funnels, and we’ve written extensively about it in the past. There are a few things you’ll need to know when creating funnels in Google Analytics:

  • It’s a pretty basic funnel. If you don’t want to dive deep into the data and optimize, you can go with this.
  • You cannot go back and retroactively view data. Once you create your funnel, you’ll only be able to the funnel going forward as the data comes in.

Click here to learn how to set up a conversion funnel in Google Analytics.

How Kissmetrics Funnels Work

Kissmetrics funnels, on the other hand, are simpler. You just create your events and then set up the report. Events are various actions people take on your website. These may include signing up, downloading something, clicking on something, viewing a page, using a feature, etc. Once you have these set up, you can create funnels. There are a few benefits to Kissmetrics funnels:

  • You can go back and retroactively view data. Want to create a funnel that views your performance 3 months ago? No problem. As long as you were tracking data during that time, you can go back and view your performance. If you weren’t tracking data during that time, there are ways to import data into Kissmetrics.
  • It doesn’t matter if people leave your funnel and then return to it and convert. In other words, they don’t have to follow a strict path. In the example funnel above, a visitor can go on other pages of your site before signing up. They don’t have to go to your homepage and then straight to signing up. If they go to your homepage, then your About page, your Contact page, and your Pricing page, and then enter signup, they’ll still be counted.
  • It doesn’t matter if the conversion takes a long time to happen. As long as it’s within your date range, you can track it. Do you have people who visit your site one day and sign up 20 days later? If it’s within your date range, Kissmetrics will register the signup conversion.
  • You can segment your traffic to see your most valuable segments. This can come in especially useful if you’re tracking traffic or UTM segments. Tracking these can help you find your highest converting sources. Once you know what they are, you can put more effort into getting more traffic from those sources. We covered this in this blog post on increasing conversions.
  • We don’t track pageviews. Our technology tracks every person on your site. This means you can see each person in every step of your funnel. Take, for instance, the example funnel above. With the Kissmetrics funnel, you can see the people who did not convert to “Billed.” You can then email them to gather feedback and find out why they decided not to convert to paying. You can then take this information back into your product development and marketing.


We’ve gone through a fair amount, here’s a recap:

  • When someone on your website does something you want them to do (i.e., sign up, make a purchase, fill out a form, etc.), it is known as a conversion.
  • A funnel is used to track the steps that lead up to that conversion. For example, Ecommerce companies want people to purchase products on their website. Their funnel may have these steps – visited site > viewed product > placed product in cart > purchased.
  • Using a funnel report you can see where people are dropping off in the path to conversion.
  • Both Google Analytics and Kissmetrics provide funnels. Each have their unique use cases. Kissmetrics provides additional reports in addition to the Funnel Report.

Video Explanation

Want to know more about the Kissmetrics Funnel Report? Just click play below.

Ready to see how the Funnel Report and other Kissmetrics reports can be used to grow your business? Then request a personal demo today.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

Source: KISS


Resource-Based Marketing: 5 SaaS Companies That Are Doing It Right

Want to put your company on the map? There are many ways you can approach your marketing in order to get eyeballs and grow your business.

From press releases that result in media mentions to a great paid campaign for your social media page, and from an ad that gets you seen in search engines to a commercial on TV or an ad on a website, there is no shortage of opportunities to grow your online footprint.

A lot of people use the aforementioned tactics to build visibility. When you think about it, online marketing typically encompasses the three standard marketing components: SEO, social media marketing, and PPC. That’s your SEM (search engine marketing) in a nutshell.

But what people don’t seem to recognize is that there are other creative tactics to use within SEM that could be incredibly valuable to your company’s bottom line.

What tactics, you ask?

Tools and education!

Lots of companies are using free tools and resources as well as education to power massive customer acquisition. In this article, I’d like to showcase five companies that have created significant resources which really helped grow awareness of their product.

1. HubSpot: Building a Product to Drive Leads

Inbound marketing company HubSpot is your classic example. Years ago, it launched to appeal to a niche audience of marketers by creating the now defunct Twitter Grader, which would grade your presence on the social media platform. At the time, the social media space was abuzz with news about the tool, and everyone wanted to share their statistics. The result was significant awareness (the company went public last year).

While Twitter Grader doesn’t exist anymore, HubSpot replaced it with a more ubiquitous (and more appropriate for its product offering) Website Marketing Grader. But, now, even that’s out of date, so HubSpot is building a better version at Website Grader.


Once you grade your site, you get pitched to try out HubSpot’s service offerings, all of which can help with your website presence online. By doing this, HubSpot not only offers a tool that’s relevant to what it does, it also captures leads regularly.

What you can learn from HubSpot: Product-based launches that are relevant to your business are best. Offer a tool that will lead people to want to know how to “fix” the problems you identify for them.

2. Groove: Building a Business on the Back of a Super Informative Blog

If you haven’t checked out Groove yet, you should. It’s one of my favorite blogs, and if you have a look, you’ll see why.

GrooveHQ is a relatively simple helpdesk application for small businesses. Beyond having a really great interface, their customer experience goes far beyond the product offering. Their blog is a goldmine of great content, and it keeps on getting better and better.

Groove has three blogs. Their main blog is the Startup Journey, and it is authored by their insanely intelligent CEO, Alex Turnbull. In it, Alex talks about his journey and gives tips on how people can learn from other businesses just like his. For example, he talks about how he grew his email subscription base to 50k, how to manage remote teams, and what he learned from failing to hit his 12-month growth goal. The blog is beautifully designed, giving readers a true chronology of his successes (and failures).


Groove’s second blog is the Customer Support blog. True to its name, it covers topics related to customer support, such as a weekly customer service maintenance checklist and articles on how to reduce the number of customer service emails you get, how to deal with bad reviews of your business, and how to turn your most unhappy customers into brand promoters. It is chock full of good content, as is their third blog, which is product-oriented.

The Product blog covers new feature additions written in such a way as to engage the reader. It also covers topics like “how Company ABC switched to Groove,” product hacks (i.e., how to make the product better with some hacking), and more. The way these posts are written is refreshing and really conveys a true interest in connecting with the reader. It’s not your typical educational blog. It is passion in (digital) print. No wonder Groove is growing so much.

What you can learn from Groove: If you write amazing content, your business blog can soar above the rest. It’s even better if you are transparent about your journey as a business, discussing your successes and failures so that people can really identify with you and the situations you describe.

3. Synup: Building a Resource that Drives Awareness on top of What You’re Already Selling

Synup, a local listings tool, has been really making waves in the local SEO space. Earlier this summer, it launched the Local SEO Checklist to help anyone working on local SEO to learn what steps need to be taken to ensure their local website has the best possible SEO. The tool is totally free, and it is a true checklist of every step necessary to grow a local online footprint.


Synup’s tool has worked. Their service has attracted thousands of new users in the past three months who needed to do more with their local SEO. After all, Synup’s offering is tangential to review monitoring for small local businesses. This complements the standard local SEO tips wonderfully. With the checklist, one will learn the steps it takes to be visible, while their review offering gives companies the tools to maintain positive visibility.

What you can learn from Synup: Customer acquisition can be jump-started by offering value-added functionality that enhances what you already offer, especially if it is tangential to your product offering. With Synup’s checklist and its review management solution, one gets a great grasp of local online marketing.

4. Zapier: Gated Content that Drives Product Awareness and Customer Acquisition

Zapier is a tool that connects apps you use and helps you automate tasks to get more out of your data. For example, you may want to use Zapier to add a Google Calendar entry to your to-do list or add basic information from LinkedIn contacts to a Google Spreadsheet or send emails directly to Slack.

Zapier has grown on me, especially through their great content promotions. Beyond their blog (which is incredible, just like Groove’s), they also have a learning center with more exhaustive guides that are way too big for a standard blog post. My favorite, by far, is “The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work” because it speaks to my lifestyle as well.


As you can see, not only are these guides beautifully designed, they are also pretty informative, too. The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing talks about how great emails are made, the top 25 best apps, how to grow your subscriber base, how to segment email lists, how to import/copy/remove subscribers, the basics of drip marketing with 25 tools to do so, the best 7 tools for transactional emails, how to a/b test, 21 mistakes to avoid, and how to keep sending great emails.

In other words, there are 15-20 blog posts in one super cool and informative eBook. And it’s free. This puts Zapier’s amazing service in front of many people who would be interested in learning more about what they have to offer.

What you can learn from Zapier: Going a step beyond what Groove did, rich pieces of informative content that read like eBooks are fantastic ways to acquire customers. Significantly, they shouldn’t be boring whitepapers, but rather cool content about a variety of topics that would be of interest to your audience, even if they’re not actually about what you’re selling!

5. Dropbox: Building a Product that Enhances the Usefulness of the Main Offering

Dropbox is one of the world’s topmost file sharing and storage tools out there, allowing people to easily store their most important files online with cloud backup and redundancy. Files can be synced from one computer to the next seamlessly. Dropbox has gotten better and better through the years and has enhanced its offering substantially.

While Dropbox has a lot of business applicability, it also has a lot of personal applicability. Dropbox encourages users to automatically upload photos to its platform, and that’s synced to its Carousel gallery app.

Carousel advertises itself as a “lifetime of photos, simplified.” It’s an amazing organizational tool for photographs, allowing users to see the photos anywhere. This app can also help you review what you’ve been doing in previous years, giving you small flashbacks into your life in the past.


These flashbacks are similar to a lesser-used Facebook feature (and what Timehop already does), but they are far more appropriate to the medium in this case. Since Dropbox stores files from the past and the present on the cloud, having photographs with a historical perspective at your fingertips is not just fun but applicable to the primary tool. Carousel is an optional download that simply enhances the Dropbox experience.

What you can learn from Dropbox: Offering tools that make your service more appealing to use is a great way to acquire customers. Your SaaS service or business may not be very exciting, but adding small tools that make product usage fun (even if it isn’t directly correlated to your business offering) is another great way to acquire new customers.

Create Resources to Grow Your Business

There are many terrific ways to market your product. Creating content or an app to enhance its presence online is an excellent way for your brand to stand out.

Has this article inspired you to create something outstanding? Then I hope you do so and reap the benefits.

About the Author: Tamar Weinberg is a professional hustler and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on The Social Web. She blogs about all things tech, productivity, and social media customer success at Techipedia.

Source: KISS


5 Hacks to Make the Most of Social Advertising on Mobile

Social and mobile are exploding. That much is a given. With the powerful insights and data that social brings to the table, and the far stretching reach mobile offers, when we put the two together we’re left with digital’s power couple.

Perhaps these numbers will paint a better picture: on Pinterest 92% of users are logging in via their mobile devices, compared to 86% of Twitter users and 68% of Facebookers, not to mention mobile-only networks like SnapChat and Instagram. Needless to say, social on mobile is definitely where you want to be.


Here are five proven hacks to make your social advertising more effective and meaningful on mobile going forward.

1. Utilize Targeting Options Built for Mobile

One of the most useful aspects of social advertising is its plethora of advanced targeting options – the result of an enormous amount of data that’s unique, accurate and tied to specific users with known interests. What unique targeting options do social campaigns offer that are unique to mobile?

Hyper-local Ads: As a mobile marketer working with social media, location based ads will become one of your most powerful tools. Engaging with nearby customers can be extremely valuable whether you’re at an event, an owner of a restaurant, or a brick and mortar shop. By channeling the GPS capabilities of your smartphone, Facebook and Twitter can help businesses by allowing them to enter the business’ address along with a predetermined radius to notify users in the area.


For example, fashion retailers can target users who have an interest in fashion when they are near one of their stores. If they happen to know that a user viewed a stunning new dress in their app, they can retarget that user when she’s near the store by encouraging her to actually try it on. Lots of potential here.

Platform & Device Targeting: Another very useful targeting method for mobile marketers is related to the user’s mobile device. This includes fine tuning based on OS, OS version, device type and model.

OS version enables you, among other things, to exclude users with an out of date OS version that may not be compatible with your app or does not perform as well as with newer versions.

When targeting by device type, it is recommended to customize your ad using images of that same device you’re targeting. In device model, you should target new phones as the ‘new phone’ market is a great one for app developers as they’re the ones currently on the hunt for all of the latest and greatest apps to fill their 32 GB with.

Make sure to optimize your bid for each segment, as competition on prices may vary between different OS versions, device types, and models. This will maximize your ROI by paying the right price for the right audience.

Selecting Android devices to advertise on Twitter

Wi-Fi: If your app is heavy, you should only encourage users to download it when connected to wi-fi. By turning this feature on or off, you’re in control.
Last but not least, know that there is always a tradeoff between depth and reach. The more granular you target, the higher the cost, but also the greater the value generated. So, if you know your audience, great. If not, you can get a fairly good understanding by investing several thousand dollars, starting wide and letting the social networks’ machine learning figure it out.

2. Adapt the Right Native Format

Native advertising is red hot. By creating ads that are in the same format as the editorial content, marketers are providing a much more streamlined user experience, especially on mobile. According to Yahoo, effectively integrated native ads gained 3X more attention than non-native mobile ads, and a 2.6X higher CTR than other Yahoo mobile display ads.

Within native, social will account for the biggest share of ad revenue, according to BI Intelligence. This comes as no surprise as social is perhaps the “nativist” form of native advertising with powerful social sharing tools and an algorithm that most likely increases frequency of sponsored posts liked and shared by your friends.

Before choosing where to run your native ad, think hard about which format best suits your product. Facebook, for example, offers advertisers sponsored news feed posts, photo sharing apps like Instagram offer sponsored photo posts, while Pinterest offers sponsored pins. So if you want to advertise design-related products, Pinterest, with its powerful visual platform is a great match. Likewise, if you’re a travel app you can share images of your spectacular traveling destinations on Instagram.

3. Video in Social on Mobile

If mobile and social are the dynamic duo of digital advertising, video in social on mobile is what makes up the golden triangle. Although more costly, the format’s level of engagement is a world of its own (take Facebook’s video ads that generate 5-6% higher engagement than non-video Facebook ads).

Video ads on mobile are already working strong for YouTube, whose users are 1.4x as likely to watch ads on smartphones and also 1.4 times more likely to share the ads they watch on mobile; for Facebook with its whopping 3 billion views on mobile (many of them auto-played but impressive); and for Twitter where 90% of Promoted Video views take place on mobile devices.

Pinterest has just introduced Cinematic Pins, which can be classified as a form of video ads. They are a new motion-based mobile ad format that moves during scrolling.

If millennials are your aim, social networks like Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat are rising steadily in popularity, with new native video ads expected to be the next big thing.


Having said that, it’s important to note that video advertising is expensive and when it comes to creative it’s fairly static. What this means is that you should start running with video only once you already know what you want to say, and what worked for you on other channels. In other words, video is not the best testing format for new companies with limited budgets.

The auto-play function provides an excellent opportunity to catch your user’s attention. And best of all, you can also use a performance model here as Facebook will only charge you if your video was viewed for at least 10 seconds, while with Twitter you’ll only pay if the video was 100% in-view on a user’s device for at least three seconds.

4. Deep-Links for Optimal Social Sharing

Deeplinking is the technology that connects different mobile environments (app-to-app and mobile web-to-app), while allowing the opening of a specific app screen. Linkage is a non-issue on the web but on mobile it certainly is with lots and lots of broken user experiences.

For example, imagine you’re scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and you receive an invite from a friend to play a game (Farmville, CandyCrush, whatever floats your boat). The invitation promises some type of reward i.e. 10 free coins, or all new powers, etc. If you want to create a seamless experience for your user, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to cash in on that promised incentive. Deep links allow you to bring users to a unique landing page within your app enabling them to cash-in on their freebie.

There are two ways you can use this feature on Facebook, one being through App Links, Facebook’s deeplinking tool, by following these implementation methods. If you haven’t enabled App Links, Facebook has created a new field in their app creation tool allowing developers to define the exact location they want to link their ads to.


Twitter enables deeplinking as well as allowing users to tap a link in twitter and end up on the specific page within the given app – if they’ve already installed it on their device. If not – they’ll be taken to the app store to download it. In order to enable the deeplinking feature on your Twitter ads, you’ll just need this new set of markup tags.

5. Measure, Measure, Measure

It goes without saying that if you want to become a super ‘social on mobile’ marketer, you need to measure your efforts. And do so tirelessly. You can either use the social networks’ analytics dashboards to understand what’s working and what’s not, or an analytics partner to get advanced functionalities like retention and cohort reports, multi-touch attribution, enhanced lifetime value analysis and comparison to multiple marketing activities across hundreds of media sources.

It is important to stress that the only way to measure campaigns on Facebook and Twitter is by either integrating their SDK in your app or the SDK of its official mobile measurement partners (here’s the Facebook list, and here’s Twitter’s).


Facebook has also announced that as of November 4th, 2015, advertisers will no longer have access to device level data from app install campaigns running on the social network. That means the only way to use this data in your Custom Audiences campaigns is by working with a mobile measurement partner that can transfer this rich in-app event data to Facebook for this purpose.

The Bottom Line

Mobile has taken the popularity of social networks to a whole new level entirely. Social engagement on mobile is dominating digital today, and this includes advertising – because it’s native, it’s video and it’s based on amazing data that leads to super sharp targeting with capabilities unique to mobile devices. When advertisers across the board embrace deeplinking to create unified user experiences and analytics to generate smart, data-driven decision making, the potential will be met in its fullest.

About the Author: Ran Avrahamy is the Head of Marketing at Managing a complicated relationship with mobile. (Too) early adopter. Loves being an entrepreneur – Hates the word entrepreneur.

Source: KISS


The Dark Side of Retargeting: How Retargeting Could Be Killing Your Sales

Retargeting is the holy grail of digital marketing. It’s the solution to shopping cart abandonment. It’s the end of wasted Adwords revenue. It’s the panacea for everything that ails you.

It’s awesome. Except when it isn’t.

Before I launch into what comes next, I want to make it clear that I am a fan of retargeting/remarketing. I use it. I recommend it. I think it rocks.

Whether you’re trying to sell a pair of shoes or marketing a SaaS, retargeting has major advantages. It works on social media, general web browsing, and even across devices. Remarketing is a smart technique with a ton of advantages.

But is there a dark side to retargeting? The short answer is yes. Let me explain.

Retargeting Can Be Expensive

Many marketers leap into retargeting because they assume that it would somehow reduce their overall advertising costs.

For a long time, PPC experts have been strategizing the means and methods for reducing adspend. The high cost of Adwords and the meteoric bidding levels for ultra-competitive terms have sabotaged some marketing budgets.

Based on the promises of many retargeting services, it seemed the obvious solution.

In reality, however, the way to reduce spending is to make a decision and stick to it. While retargeting may have a higher ad ROI, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’re going to spend less on it.

Here’s one popular retargeting claim:


Sounds awesome, right? Well it is. But you are ultimately in charge of your retargeting costs. If you let things get out of hand, you can end up spending just as much if not more, and you may have diminishing returns on investment.

Don’t allow your excitement over retargeting to blind you to its real cost.

Retargeting Can Annoy or Anger Customers

When it comes right down to it, what does your customer think of retargeting? This is a significant issue, because ultimately, retargeting is about them (not you).

Take a look at the data. InSkin Media’s consumer survey found that the two main responses to a retargeted ad were annoyance and anger.


Based on the data, the more frequently an ad is displayed, the more aggravating it can be. By the tenth time someone sees an ad, they get the message. More impressions aren’t going to compel them. You’ve driven them off a cliff. It’s too late.

What do these emotions mean for sales? Again, let’s look at the data. The news isn’t great.

  • 55% of customers put off buying
  • 53% get irritated
  • Only 10% buy


If you are retargeting, it’s probably not a good idea to increase the number of impressions. The higher your frequency, the greater the likelihood of ticking someone off.

The chance at gaining 10% is nice. But what about the remainder of your potential customers? Are you gaining a few at the expense of alienating a majority?

Rather than risk it, it’s best to err on the side of fewer impressions and happier potential customers.

Retargeting Can Create Concerns Over Privacy

One of the most common complaints about retargeting is that it’s “creepy.” This is why ClickZ had to try to explain away the creepy sentiment surrounding retargeting.


Retargeting may not be creepy in actuality, but that won’t keep customers from thinking it’s creepy. Saying it ain’t so won’t change the fact that they think it’s so.

In a New York Times article on retargeting, reporters quoted Julie Matlin who was innocently looking for shoes.

Her quick glance at a pair of kicks on turned into a recurring marketing experience:

“For days or weeks, every site I went to seemed to be showing me ads for those shoes,” said Ms. Matlin, a mother of two from Montreal. “It is a pretty clever marketing tool. But it’s a little creepy, especially if you don’t know what’s going on.”

The creepy sensation has been enough to increase the interest in Do Not Track laws rolled out by the FTC.


Retargeting Can Ignore the Buy Cycle

It’s ironic. One of the most fundamental of all marketing principles can be so easily overlooked in the frenzied rush towards retargeting.

I’m talking about the marketing buy cycle — the concept that customers go through a cyclical process that prepares them to buy.


It’s similar to the sales funnel, in that the process begins with more customers, and ends up with the converting few.


Retargeting is intended to capture more of those consumers as they proceed through the funnel. If you’re not careful, however, you can actually damage conversion rates by ignoring the buy cycle.

The customer may simply not be ready to buy. They’re no longer leaning towards your alternative. They’ve chosen a competitor. Maybe they already bought the product from a competitor.

If you keep your retargeting window open for a long time, you increase the likelihood that you are retargeting a customer who is no longer in the right spot of the buy cycle.

Retargeting can cause you to abdicate control.
One of the major benefits of retargeting is that it allows a more hands-off approach to marketing.

One B2B blog describes the advantages of a managed retargeting platform:

Managed platforms are ideal for retargeting newcomers who are unlikely to roll up their sleeves and dig into the minutia of managing a retargeting campaign. Managed platform providers will help you run your retargeting campaigns based on the target metrics and settings you specify. These platforms offer account managers and automated optimization tools that help build and tweak campaigns to maximize performance.

Yet this perceived advantage can quickly become a disadvantage. Being hands-off of any marketing effort is risky, to say the least. At worst, it can turn into a sales-killing, prospect-aggravating, brand-ruining fiasco.

I have a very simple recommendation if you’re considering pulling letting your retargeting machine roll along on its own: Don’t do it.

It’s not just about losing control. It’s more about losing all awareness. If there’s one thing that marketers need, it’s a keen understanding of their data and the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives. What’s successful and what’s not. Who’s converting on what? Which method has the higher ROI? Which version is adequately reaching our target audience?

Setting up your retargeting, and letting it purr along without your oversight is a risk too great to take.

Retargeting Can Show You Only Partial Data

In the section above, I referenced data — the marketer’s best friend.

Any retargeting platform you use will give you plenty of data. You’ll feel like you are awash in a sea of data. But is it the right kind of data?

Keep in mind that retargeters show you the kind of data that they want you to see. It is in their best interest to compel you to continue purchasing retargeting services and impressions.


Thus, their carefully curated metric presentation can blind you to some of the not-so-pleasant trends in remarketing.


Marketers run risk of overlooking the small customizations and refinements that retargeting requires. Are you presenting multiple impressions on a single page? Are your prospects seeing ads long after their original visit?

Beyond the metric-driven insights, it’s critical to stay aware of the non-data information. Every impression is either enhancing or tarnishing your brand. If your retargeting is ruining your brand’s reputation, the marginal uptick in impressions may actually be a net loss if you take the longview.

The Makegood group provides this cautionary comment:

While retargeting can create a lift in direct response metrics, what is the long impact on branding from being relentlessly stalked like this? It’s a question that smart brands are considering carefully.


Am I saying that you should stop retargeting? Absolutely not.

Retargeting is the modern wave of marketing, and we ought not neglect anything simply because of some attendant risks. We don’t give up on something just because it has risks.

There is risk in doing business. There is risk in life. The pathway to success is paved with bricks of risk. What we must do is be aware of the risks in retargeting.

It’s not the holy grail that some marketers claim it is. It’s powerful. It’s effective. But it does have a dark side. Know this dark side, and you’ll be able to use retargeting with maximum effectiveness.

Have you seen any pitfalls with retargeting?

About the Author: is a lifelong evangelist of Kissmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

Source: KISS


21 Marketing Experts Share the Top Reasons Why You Should Talk to Your Customers

How often do you talk to your customers?

If you’re like most of us, probably not as often as you should.

One of the biggest mistakes I see marketers make is not talking to customers, asking them questions, and listening to what they have to say on a regular basis.

You can learn all sorts of important things by talking to them, for example:

  • The pain-points and frustrations they experience on the day-to-day
  • The exact language they use to describe those problems
  • Questions and objections they have about your product

And once you get their feedback you can use it to market your product better, create useful and relevant content for your audience, and write copy that makes them feel like you’re reading their mind.

But at the end of the day, all these tactics revolve around one thing: giving them a better experience.

When we deliver amazing experiences to our customers, they spend more time with us, buy more from us (hopefully), and tell their friends about us.

Plus, who doesn’t want to make the world a little bit better by delivering great experiences?

Of course, I’m not the only one who thinks you need to be talking to your customers. I reached out to 19 smart and successful marketers and asked them:

“What’s the most important thing marketers can learn from talking to their customers?”
Said differently: “If I never talk to my customers or get their feedback, what am I losing out on?”

Here’s what they had to say:

1. The hesitations and questions customers had before buying or signing up

Peep Laja — Founder of ConversionXL

You get to learn two very important things (among other stuff): the hesitations and questions they had before buying/signing up, and what matters to them about the product.

The first bit helps you understand the friction in the buying process—so you can tweak the website copy and offer accordingly.

The second bit helps you figure out how your customers use the product, and what matters to them when they’re shopping for it.

This again helps you improve the way you sell, and improve the product / offer itself.

2. Where to find and reach your best prospects

Rand Fishkin — Founder of Moz

As a marketer, you need to know where your best customers are—what they read, who they follow, what events they attend, how they consume content, etc.

That’s what I’d urge every inbound marketer to talk to their customers about, so they can effectively reach more people like them.

3. How to improve the onboarding experience or delivery process of your product

Pat Flynn — Founder of Smart Passive Income

Besides the obvious (what they like and dislike about your product), I think one of the most important conversations you can have with a customer is what could have been done to improve the onboarding experience or delivery process of your product.

That ‘first touch’ with your product is incredibly important and that first impression can often determine one’s overall general feeling about a product. This will help with getting reviews and testimonials, retention rate, and obtaining more repeat customers down the road.

4. The exact language your prospects use to describe their problem

Brian Dean — Founder of Backlinko

The #1 thing is the language that they use. Sure, you can learn about your customers’ thoughts, fears, wants and desires by chatting with them over a cup of Starbucks.

But if you don’t know how to speak their language, they’re never going to hand you a single dollar.

For example, I ask all of my new email subscribers, “What’s the #1 thing you’re struggling with?” And to date I’ve received stacks of replies (over 25,000 to be exact).

These replies are solid gold for my business. I used to say thing like “It’s frustrating not to get traffic.” But I noticed a lot of my subscribers referred to their sites as “ghost towns.”

So today I’ll say something like: “I know it’s frustrating to feel like your site is a ghost town.” That copy resonates with them significantly more than text that I pulled out of thin air.

Bottom line: Don’t just study what your customers say, but how they say it. Their words=priceless marketing intel.

5. Why your customers do the things they do

Brian Balfour — VP of Growth at Hubspot, Writer at CoElevate

True growth insights come from blending three things together. The what, the why, and your intuition. It’s impossible to understand those three things, especially the “why,” if you don’t talk to customers.

Why did sign up but not activate? Why did they visit your invite page but not invite a friend? Why did they decide to churn?

Why is one of the most powerful questions in growth, and the only way you answer it is talking to customers.

6. What they’d actually pay for

Neville Medhora — Founder of Kopywriting Kourse

The biggest thing you can learn from talking to your customers is what they’d actually PAY for.

Almost all the time you can tell what people will whip out a wallet for if you keep prodding. Their eyes will light up on certain things, or they’ll just flat out tell you what they need.

What’s the biggest pain the in A$$ for you to do….and would you pay over $100 for it?

7. What the majority your customers actually want

Noah Kagan — Founder of Appsumo and SumoMe

The most important thing they can learn? It’s interesting because many of the times it’s not what people say.

Only 1 out of 10 customers complain or really give a compliment so you have to go out of your way to the 9 people to see what the majority of your customers actually want.

8. Why they came to your website, what’s preventing them from converting, and what will keep them coming back

Dmitry Dragilev — Growth Hacker at Criminally Prolific

Plain and simple if you don’t talk to your customers you’re losing out on:

  1. Finding out why your customers came to your website
  2. What is preventing them from accomplishing the task you want them accomplish on your website.
  3. What can keep them coming back to your website and referring other people to your website

9. What kind of products people want

Nir Eyal — Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Getting user feedback is the first step to building products people want.

(Note: In his book, Nir points out that while getting user feedback is the first step, “The fundamentals of consumer psychology can help you build the right products not only by understanding what users tell you they want, but by what they’re unable to articulate.”)

10. What your their real needs actually are

Chris Guillebeau — Founder of The Art of Non-Conformity

Without talking to customers, you can only assume what their real needs are—and you know what happens when you assume.

Talking to customers also opens up a whole new set of possibilities for relationship.

11. Find out their biggest pains and struggles

Joanna Wiebe — Founder of Copyhackers

Struggling moments! Only your customers can tell you the actual parts of their workflow and/or day-to-day lives that your solution can (or does) make better.

Once you talk to them, you quickly find out their biggest pains and struggles, and you can then use that brilliant voice-of-customer data to:

Write copy that sounds like you’re reading your prospects’ minds and
Improve your product or service.

(You can also come up with new product ideas—that’s especially useful if you can move fast on your products, like info marketers can.)

Result? More money.

12. The difference between what you think they want and what they actually want

Paul Graham — Co-founder of Y Combinator

The most important thing you can learn from talking to customers is how what they actually want differs from what you think they want.

(Note: Paul goes into more detail in this essay. He said, “They’ll like you even better when you improve in response to their comments, because customers are used to companies ignoring them. If you’re the rare exception—a company that actually listens—you’ll generate fanatical loyalty. You won’t need to advertise, because your users will do it for you.”)

13. Whether or not you’re building the right solution for them

Alex Turnbull — Founder of Groove

The single most important thing you can learn from talking to your customers—and there’s a ton—is whether or not you’re building the right solution for them.

The biggest mistake we made was not doing enough customer development during the building of our prototype, and we spent 6 months and $50,000 building a product that nobody wanted, a mistake that took us over a year (and yes, a lot of conversations with customers) to recover from.

14. How to improve your operations and reduce churn

Jay Baer — Founder of Convince and Convert

Without customer feedback you are literally flying blind. This is especially true for unhappy customers. 95% of dissatisfied customers never mention it, they just fade away forever. This robs you of the insights you could use to improve your operations and reduce churn.

15. Understand and solve their everyday problems

Laura Roeder — Founder of Edgar

People aren’t interested in all the bells and whistles of what you offer so much as whether or not it solves their everyday problems.

The more you talk to your customers, the better you can understand those problems, so you can improve yourself with a clear goal in mind rather than just blindly tinkering and hoping for the best!

16. Understand the needs of your different segments across the entire customer lifecycle

Laurie Kuhn — Head of Strategic Solutions at UserTesting

Increasingly, marketers are acting as the customer experience evangelists for the brand and product/service. Talking to customers helps marketers validate and/or learn the needs of different segments across the entire customer lifecycle.

From there, marketers can drive change and rally an organization by bringing the customer voice to life, helping to break down internal silos that have historically lead to fragmented customer experiences.

17. Build something your potential customers will truly love

Corbett Barr — Co-founder of Fizzle

Unless you’re a mind reader, the best way to ensure you build something your potential customers will truly love is to talk to them directly.

(Note: Corbett dives deeper into the topic of customer feedback in this article. He said, “On The Fizzle Show, we often recommend talking with customers frequently, through both in-depth one-on-one interviews, responsive and frequent email conversations, and through surveys.

Each approach has different benefits. Interviews are great for really getting to know one customer’s perspective, problems, and how your solution fits in. Surveys are great for finding out how well you’re doing across the board.”)

18. Learn the words they use to describe the success they’re having with your product

Oli Gardner — Co-founder of Unbounce

Marketers and business owners often have an over-glorified version of one’s value proposition in their minds, based on internal knowledge and language.

By talking to your customers, you can learn the words they use to describe the success they are having with your product.

A brilliant exercise that you can do to leverage this is to ask a few of your customers to write your homepage headline for you. Fascinating to see your value proposition *actually* written in the voice of the customer.

19. Discover their joys, challenges, problems, and curiosities

Kevan Lee — Content Crafter at Buffer

Talking to customers helps you see the world through their perspective—their joys, their challenges, their problems and curiosities that you can help solve with your content and products.

20. Knowing exactly what they’re struggling with

Bryan Harris — Founder of Videofruit

Most important thing = Being on the frontline and knowing EXACTLY what they are struggling with.

Using their exact words and questions in your marketing copy and sales pages is one of the smartest things you can do.

Then make sure your product actually solves their problems.

21. Understand who truly considers your product a “must have”

Sean Ellis — Founder of Qualaroo and GrowthHackers

The most important thing startup marketers can learn from talking to their customers is understanding who truly considers the product a “must have” and why it is a “must have.”

With this information you’ll know who to target as future customers and which benefits to highlight.

And if no one considers your product a must have, then you should be focused on changing the product rather than growing.

What do you think?

What do you think? What’s the most important thing marketers can learn from talking to their customers? If we never talk to our customers, what are we losing out on? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

P.S. Huge thanks to all the amazing people who contributed to this article! Please share if you think it was useful!

About the Author: Spencer is a Content Marketer at UserTesting — a platform that gives marketers on-demand access to users in their target audience who deliver audio, video, and written feedback on websites and apps in less than one hour. You can follow him on Twitter at @slanoue.

Source: KISS


The Simple A/B Test That Increased Our Product Adoption by 16.5% and Blog Conversion by 9.2%

Imagine you are shopping for an upcoming vacation. You walk into a department store, you have no idea where to go and start looking around for anything you need.

Now imagine a store associate comes up to you right as this moment and asks, “Can I help you find anything?” You tell her you’re just browsing and she mentions, “Well, we just marked down a lot of our most popular sunglasses.” How did they know? You lost your sunglasses two weeks ago and have been meaning to replace them ever since.

That friendly reminder about sunglasses is similar to what an Engagement is, our latest conversion rate optimization tool for websites and apps. Websites and apps don’t have in-person customer service like this, and that’s where a tool like Engage comes into play. Read on and we’ll tell you how we used it at Kissmetrics for a successful product launch and increased conversion on our blog.

For New Product Launches

In June of this year, we launched a new product called Engage, which allows you to set up smart onsite interactions to a segment of your audience with a personalized message–in order to guide them into conversion.

And while very exciting, it was also a bit challenging to introduce a new product that was very different from our core product, Analyze. Even though we had promoted the new product at the time of the launch, there was still a segment of our users who didn’t know what Engage is or why they should use it.

Because the product is so new, we wanted to see if we could increase adoption of Engage by using Engage. Basically it’s an Engagement about Engage–so meta, right?

We set up an Engagement within the app and served it 50% of users who logged into Kissmetrics as an A/B test. It fired immediately upon loading the page.


The Engagement linked to the setup wizard where they can select their design, audience, and message. We served the Engagement for one month, and here’s what happened:


We ran the test with our own A/B Test Report. Here are the results:


The variation with the Engagement received a conversion rate 16.57% higher than the control!

This was one of the most effective and easiest way to drive adoption for the product. The user is already in the app, so it’s easier to guide them to the Engagement setup because we’re not disrupting what they’re doing. Our other option besides an Engagement would be to send an email, but it would have taken much longer to write, design, and send the email than it would be to create an in-app notification.

And this isn’t just for product launches. If you have just written an eBook or want to promote your best content, you can use an Engagement to guide them in the right direction.

For Growing Our Blog Email List

While our blog already has a fairly large email list, we wanted to see what effect launching an Engagement on our blog would have for our conversions.

We set up an Engagement to new visitors who have visited the top 50 high traffic pages on our blog. It shows up when you scroll ¼ the way down the page. We’ve included it on this page – you’ve probably seen it by now.

When you click it, it takes you to the blog newsletter signup landing page.


Not surprisingly, we saw a 9.2% increase in subscribers per day on average in just one week from 6/29/15-7/6/15. We compared this to the daily average during 1/1/15-5/29/15.


If we had used a pop-up instead, the numbers might have looked different. We wanted to start off testing out this bumper because it caught our visitors’ attention in a polite way. We’re not exactly sure yet if our visitors find pop-ups to be annoying or not, so the nudge Engagement was a great first test.

Nudge Your Users Towards Adoption and Conversions With a Friendly Reminder

The truth is, not all of your visitors will get to your CTA and subscribe, even if they love your content. And not all of your customers open and read your emails about your product launches or newly released. The best and easiest way to guide your audience into conversion (and to cut conversion time in half) is to simply remind them what to do and how to do it–just like friendly sales associates in the store.

Want to see more about Engage? Just click the Play button below.

Interested in using Engage on your site? Request a personal demo.

Source: KISS


The Power of Persuasion: Utilizing Brain Science to Get Users to Act

Making fact-based, data-driven design decisions (say that five times fast!) is the mantra of Google, and who better to emulate than the Big Kahuna itself, right? That being said, utilizing data for web design isn’t always as easy as it sounds. But did you know there’s a heap of scientific research from the brainiacs at academic powerhouses, such as Stanford, Princeton and Harvard and the like that can help you persuade people to buy your product? I know… it sounds heavy, but let me make it easy. Just read on.

Here you’ll find three ways to design utilizing brain science data that will persuade your users to act. I’ve found word-of-mouth consumer research studies, marketing studies on fluent and disfluent typography, and cost transparency research that can all be applied to your next web design project. My hope is that this will help guide you in the right direction, one smartypants design decision at a time.

The Science & UX Behind Reviews

What does PTSD research, persuasive design and writing online reviews all have in common? Well, not much… except for one little connection that I learned of after talking with Dr. Sarah Moore, a prestigious consumer researcher hailing from the University of Alberta, Canada.

When Moore and her research group looked at past clinical psychology research on how journaling helps alleviate PTSD symptoms, they noticed that journaling helped some sufferers experience amazing, curative results, while others still suffered. Moore explained to me that the difference is people who wrote using what researchers call explaining language, (whereupon they sought to understand and evaluate their traumatic event), recovered better—but when they ruminate and re-lived the experience via journaling, they tended to get worse or stay the same.

How people feel after they write reviews that are positive or negative great affects the way the view the experience and describe it in future word-of-mouth situations.

Using this knowledge to power her own study, Moore looked at how people felt during and after writing positive or negative reviews. She determined that writing positive reviews using explaining language, words like “I feel because ABC,” or “I think this because XYZ,” made the reviewer feel less positive about the experience. Conversely, writing negative reviews made storytellers feel less negative when using the same explaining language.

Moore explained this phenom with her own experience as a child watching “Jurassic Park” with her sister. “We were terrified of that movie,” she said chuckling, “But then someone explained to us that all those ‘bone-crushing’ special effect sounds were actually created by breaking ice cream cones in toilet bowls and we weren’t really scared anymore. It unpacked the fears for us and made us less afraid.”

Her results are interesting, but you may be wondering, what are the implications for UX design? When businesses use reviews to build awareness, or use testimonials to create positive social proof, there may be a better way to design the review experience guided by her research.

Using Moore’s research as a guidepost, it could be suggested that making reviews available only via desktop could be viable, but what about the effects of negative reviewing on the fly? Those folks seem to self-soothe by ranting, so perhaps let them have their say. So maybe it’s about changing the design.

What if your review platform served up only canned questions with a rating scale of 1-10? This might alleviate the positive reviewer’s apathy while still allowing the negative reviewers a space to vent and forgive-and-forget.

Changing the paradigm so that people can easily offer a rating will help you maintain social proof without sacrificing the possible post-review apathy that Moore’s study highlights. After all, you want a positive reviewer to remain positive, so although a testimonial on your site is dandy, it’s not worth as much as a heart-felt referral to one of their colleagues. The more positive reviewers unpack their emotions about the experience and explain it thoroughly, the more they feel less attached to the positive emotions they had, and they may even lose sight of their love for your brand, or products, Moore explained.

Another creative approach is to solicit fact-based customer feedback or testimonials. Storytelling may well be the ultimate weapon, but it works best in certain areas of a strategy. So, let’s not inadvertently shoot ourselves in the foot by asking “why,” “how come,” and the like.

Moore concluded in her final study that using explaining language makes reviewers “less likely to retell their experience in the future,” so with that in mind, use your design and copy wisely to make sure the happy campers and the not-so-happy ones walk away thinking and feeling more positively about your business, regardless of the emotions behind their sentiments.

Typography & Background: dO YoU knOW wHAT i WanT?

What is it about Facebook’s Status Update Form that makes people just spill their guts? I mean, you only have to look, here, or here, or here, for some really juicy stuff.

In 2009, Adam Alter, a marketing-focused researcher, best-selling author and professor at NYU decided to study this phenomenon. What he uncovered was quite interesting: “Cognitive fluency encourages self-disclosure.” To put it in layman’s terms: Using easy-to-read typography and contrasting elements persuades users to freely disclose some really embarrassing tidbits. These UI decisions can be made simply, and potentially have a huge impact.

The simplicity of Facebook’s Status Update Form is, according to research, a winning way to encourage users to freely disclose their deepest, darkest thoughts.

Thanks to Alter’s research findings, we can now see the connection between typography and its effects of readability on user’s behavior.

Alter’s work suggests:

  • Simplistic, serif typefaces — which are fluent—encourage people to disclose more information.
  • Script-y, fancy typefaces — which are deemed disfluent (hard to read)—encourage people to disclose less personal information.
  • Black text on a white background, versus the opposite, has the same effect as fluent typefaces—more disclosure.

The overarching results of these studies “suggested that people are less willing to disclose potentially damaging information about themselves when they experience disfluency,” Alter explained in the study’s introduction. “One likely explanation for this effect,” he went on to note, “is that people tend to experience diminished confidence and greater vigilance when they experience disfluency, which might temper their willingness to disclose self-incriminating attributes.”

The goal then, of all their work combined, was to show that there’s a distinct connection between how you present content and how it engages or disengages users. The implications of this for designers, product managers, and marketers is quite exciting! Let’s say you are soliciting your customers for their personal information—you want their name, address, email address, age, family size, maybe even their banking information. Using these insights to design your form could improve conversion rates.

Alter and his team of researchers found a website that was about to make a simple UI change, which would bolster their research because it was an organic, naturalistic setting for the study. The site was called and the powers-that-be at Grouphug agreed to allow Alter to study their UI change, which was really quite small. All they were going to do was update their black background color to a white background color. And guess what? Confessors tended to disclose more embarrassing information on the white background than on the black, hard-to-see background.

Or, another use case could be surveying your customers or potential customers. Designing the right survey could be the key to garnering the type of unbridled criticism or praise that your company is seeking. For instance, Typeform uses a minimalist layout and design plus the ol’ black-fluent-font-on-a-white-background formula, too. The ease of which users can see, understand and visualize “the ask,” the more willing they are to give up the goods, so to speak.

Persuade with Pricing Transparency

Harvard Business School (HBS) is ripe with data on consumer research and pricing studies are a hot topic as of late. Bhavya Mohan, a doctoral marketing student, alongside HBS assistant professors, Ryan Buell and Leslie John, researched the phenomenon of pricing transparency in their recent paper, “Lifting the Veil: The Benefits of Cost Transparency.”. The results showed that “when a company selling T-shirts, for example, itemizes what it spends on cotton, cutting, sewing, dyeing, finishing, and transporting each shirt, consumers become more attracted to the brand and more likely to purchase.” In addition, the researchers also noted that whether or not the customer was brand spankin’ new or a longtime brand advocate, using cost transparency surfaced positive buying motivations.

Consumer’s apparently feel so positively about cost transparency because they consider it an “intimate disclosure.” In fact, they discovered that businesses can actually charge quite a lot above the actual cost of production before consumers start getting ticked off.

Dr. Buell interviewed with Working Knowledge, a news organization at HBS dedicated to showcasing their employees’ work and explained this phenom, “We wanted to understand when cost transparency would be harmful,” Buell said. “With a T-shirt that cost $6.50 to produce, it seemed reasonable to us that cost transparency would be helpful [in motivating buyers] if the price of the shirt was $10. But even at $35, we still saw an advantage to revealing the cost of production, which is interesting because the markup was five times the cost.”

What he noted during the research is that the markup could go quite high and consumers still didn’t care, as long as the pricing transparency was there. Surprising, in one of their studies checks-and-balances, they finally informed people in one condition that regardless of the transparency, they were indeed being price gouged. Then, and only then, did the pricing strategy fall apart. Folks needed to be told point-blank that it was a rip-off before they questioned the cost of the goods. Pretty amazing, huh?

To enforce their findings, as we noted, the researchers did look to the “real world” to study retailers that were actually using price transparency as a marketing strategy. Both Everlane and HonestBy augment this strategy. In an interview with Forbes, the CEO of Everlane, Michael Preysman, said of his pricing strategy:

“Before founding Everlane, I worked in venture capital. During my time there, I learned a lot about the astronomical markups in fashion. I really couldn’t understand why a shirt that cost $7 to make was selling at stores for $50 and up. We realized people had no idea of these markups and saw that there was a real need to educate consumers. At that moment, we decided to incorporate pricing and factory transparency with every product we make.”

Bloomberg reported on this pricing phenomenon, noting that, although Everlane sold only T-shirts back in 2011 when it launched, it now sells other types of clothing and boasts sales of about 30K tees, topping off at about $30 apiece. So clearly the transparency strategy isn’t slowing Everlane down.

Other companies are following suit, such as Zady and OfAKind, who show consumers how it was made via the production process to provide transparency in the manner in which it was crafted.

This also helps consumers understand the indirect cost and that cost may be higher because the product wasn’t produced in a “sweatshop” -esque environment.

In this instance, using the power of storytelling to convey the pricing strategy is useful if you have a competitive edge that you would like to remain private, or perhaps is also useful if you have so many manufacturers to account for that creating a transparent price may be too tricky to execute, the study showed. No matter your logic behind your technique, being honest and transparent with consumers seems to always provide big wins, as long as you’re being honest.

Are You Convinced?

Using scientific data and brain research studies to support design decisions isn’t cut-and-dry. But many of these techniques offer high yield for those willing to apply these findings to their business. For example, in one of the experiments on pricing transparency, the researchers noted that there was a 44 percent increase in sales for products with transparent pricing as opposed to not.

Alter’s font research showed up to 20-40 percent increases in disclosure when using content designed fluently.

Lastly, with Moore’s research on word-of-mouth, we can see significant indicators for how and why you encourage or showcase reviews of your products or services. This isn’t brain surgery, it’s brain science. Don’t be afraid to get your neurons a little wet!

About the Author: Lauren Ventura has been researching persuasion, reasoning and its effects on users, customers and everyone else since her graduate school days. Way back then, in her Rhetoric program, she learned the basics—Socrates, Plato and Aristotle—and the not-so-basics—the Toulmin Model. She’s found that there’s not much difference between user experience and those old Greeks—it’s all about convincing the right people with the right strategies in the right place. She currently works at a UX design agency, DigitalTelepathy, as their in-house copywriter. Follow her on Twitter @DoItWriteNow.

Source: KISS