Tips for better conversions, a content marketer gets angry, and David Ogilvy's liquor of choice! Hijinks Volume 4, Feb. 20, 2012

The End Is Nigh!

Repent, landing page sinners!

The end of what? Not sure, really, but you had better start converting your website visitors over to your cause now. Optimizing your site for conversions is really the magic bullet that can make your marketing expenses worth it. Why? Simple - more traffic (the usual go-to of web marketers) is great, but we've worked with enough brands and companies, and have spoken to enough web marketers, to figure a couple of things out:
  1. As traffic increases, conversions decrease. Lots of reasons for this one, and we'll talk about it in a later blog post.
  2. As traffic increases, quality of conversions decreases. This could mean more quote requests but fewer final sales, or a smaller $/Order amount.
  3. Traffic building suffers from a steep diminishing returns curve. The more traffic you get, the more it costs to get additional traffic. And since your sales are not rising proportionally with your traffic, your ROI takes a big hit (see below).
    Increasing traffic costs more and more, while bringing smaller and smaller returns
So the obvious solution? Gear your site up to convert. Here's a simple 5-step Conversion Optimization Getting Started guide we wrote up. Look for something more advanced, possibly an illustrated e-book, from us soon.


First up in email, a great piece by Colin Nederkoorn, co-founder of, over at unbounce that talks about a "surprise personal email". The premise of the surprise personal email is simple: after your customers sign up for your service, you automatically send them a short semi-personal email asking if they have any questions. Engagement rates from the SPE are surprisingly amazing, and it's worth a shot for any service provider.

Next, we have a story from Optify about designing great emails. It's a simple guide, and quite useful if you're ready to give up the template lifestyle and try a template of your own. Word of Warning: Putting together a great email template is hard. I have no problem admitting that my first three or four custom templates looked absolutely hideous and preformed poorly. So please, make sure you have a really good designer on staff, or that you contract out to someone who knows design and email well.

Finally, a great little mini-rant from content marketer Hector Cuevas about Louis Vuitton and their failed attempt at email content marketing. Long story short: if you promise something in the headline/subject line, you had better deliver it in the body. One of the premises of content marketing is that you skip the sales and instead provide value. If you skip the value and try to push sales, your credibility will be shot.

Blogging and Website Copy

Since we've got our laser-like focus set on conversion optimization this week, I found a really great and in-depth piece on writing great landing page copy from a guy named Nathan Barry. I don't know Nathan personally, but I like the cut of his jib. The article uses lots of illustrations and flows really well. Just be prepared to scroll a bunch, because it's long.

Next, we have a creative firm from Orlando who use terrible, bad bad bad, make-me-angry SEO practices (check the URL) but still managed to produce an interesting blog post publishing a letter from David Ogilvy about his copywriting process. I'm including this here because his process is an almost perfect mirror of my own, except with less Handel and more run. We just want our clients to know what they're getting in to. 

Lastly, here is an interesting (and in-depth) article on deciding what to focus on first: design, copy, or branding? Our answer? Branding, followed by design, followed by copy. Save the best for last, right? Still, not everyone agrees with our methodology, and this is a great article to read if you want to make up your own mind!

Getting Social

Sometimes, we read about an agency or marketer talk about social, and wonder how it's possible they're still employed. Take this piece about "taking back social media from Facebook and Twitter". I'm not sure what that means, and the author never really bothers explaining, except to mention that his company couldn't engage fans on Facebook, which sounds like making excuses to me. There are some valid points here, though: 1) Link social goals to broader business goals, and 2) Don't silo your social team. Which still doesn't change the fact that disregarding channel performance indicators is silly. 

Looking to start a start-up? Before you write a single line of code (or do whatever you plan on doing), take a look at this great infographic about using social marketing for start-ups. It's big, it's informative, it's colorful. There's nothing not to love.

Finally, an article about the changing face of social from Hubspot. This article is very informative, and the advice it gives is very actionable and immediate. On the other hand, Hubspot has a really bad habit of selling aggressively in every piece of content they produce. We get it, Hubspot, you want to sell us a product. Stop inserting it into every paragraph you write.

Data, the Collection and Interpretation of

Graph search is still big news in the analytics and data-mining community, and will probably stay there for a while. In the meantime, here's an amusing diversion that will teach little but probably make some of you chuckle. A collection of mildly amusing Facebook Graph search searches.

I love articles about Google Analytics almost as much as I love Google Analytics itself. So, here's an excellent step-by-step of setting up a GA dashboard geared towards tracking and measuring PR. Even if you don't work in PR or do PR, it's a great little dashboard to have saved, and to check occasionally. Just don't get sucked in the trap of staring at it obsessively while mashing F5.

Finally, a fantastic guest post on the Google Analytics blog about turning your company from data-shy to data-awesomeWe've noticed recently a lot of companies are retreating from the idea of using data to achieve business goals, probably due to data-fatigue. There's so much of it out there that it can all seem like too much at times. This piece does a good job of reassuring managers that too much data doesn't have to be scary. 

That's all the time we have for today, folks. As usual, share if you care and forward to a friend!

We're also contemplating a move to a bi-weekly newsletter instead of a weekly one, and we'd love to hear your thoughts. Let us know what works better for you!

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