Aug 31

A Beginner’s Guide to ROI

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Companies often spend a lot of time, money, and effort into creating a content marketing plan that they think their target audience will love. However, without a positive return on investment (or ROI) there is no point in having social media accounts or running campaigns. While trying to measure social media ROI might sound like an impossible task, if you use the correct tools and create a plan it is easy to gather data and achieve results.

Metrics: First of all, what metrics do you need to be tracking? While this varies a bit depending on what social media platform you are measuring, there are four primary areas you need to measure: Conversion rates, leads generated, increased site traffic, and brand awareness. Although these all tie in with one another, it is helpful to analyze them one at a time to truly get an idea of where you are doing well and where you need to improve.

Once you decided which of these four areas you would like to focus on first, optimize your ROI by taking action. Interact with your audience, engage them, and search for niche community sites to mingle with. Monitor and observe where you are being mentioned, where you are getting positive and negative reviews, and where you are influencing your audience online. Mention is a great resource to track where and when audiences are talking about you. Use free tools such as Google Analytic to track your website’s visitors and conversions. Once you have a decent amount of information, create a report that correlates social media to Key Performance Indicators (or KPI’s). KPI’s include measurable things such as revenue, orders, leads, phone calls, and referrals.

What should I measure: The social media metrics you track will depend on your social media platform, as well as your company’s individual needs. Some examples of metrics to track are inbound links, ratings on other websites, comments and mentions, downloads, membership increase (such as an increase in followers), engagement, page views, and subscribers. Of course, there are many more than these, but tracking basic metrics such as these will give you quick insight to how your company is doing. Define KPI’s you want to track or improve while looking at these to help boost your social media and ROI. Choose to look into metrics that can translate into new sales or leads, and specialize KPI’s to different networks. For example, you might want to increase the number of followers you have on Facebook, while your goal for Twitter could be more re-tweets.

There are 5 main metrics you should look into tracking: Audience, interactions, brand perception, expenses, and sales. While tracking your audience, look at who you are reaching- is it your regular customers, influencers, potential customers, or the general public? See who is viewing and interacting with your pages. Looking deeper into the interactions, tracking views, shares, likes, and comments across social media. Use call-to-actions or promotions to see how your audience is responding to what you are putting out. You can use interactions to help track how your brand perception has changed. Customers will either have a positive or negative response to your social media marketing, and keeping up with how they view your brand is crucial to helping you create the brand image you are aiming for. Running adds, using subscription websites such as HootSuite, and spending valuable time creating and executing social media campaigns can add up more quickly than many companies realize. While social media is still much more cost efficient than traditional marketing methods, make sure you are keeping track of how much money you are spending vs how much money you are making.

What not to do: While learning to track ROI, it can be easy to get off track. There are some simple mistakes marketers tend to make. First, make sure you have a plan for measuring ROI. It is easy to get excited and want to jump right in, but having a plan for what you intend to do will help you stay on track and make the most of your time. Measuring everything, instead of focusing on one area at a time, is another mistake many marketers make. By trying to measure everything at once, you are putting yourself more at risk to miss important data or overlook information that could come in handy. Not tracking your progress is a costly mistake that is common. Keeping up with how you’ve improved is very important so that you can analyze what you have changed and how you can continue improving. If you are making changes and not seeing results, that is a sign that you need to update your marketing plan and possibly do some more research on what your target audience is looking for. If you are working on a team, do not keep your progress to yourself. Set up a regular meeting time to go over what you have found and keep each other updated on your research.

Tracking ROI is worth the effort if you are looking to grow your business and reach a wider audience. If you are not getting a return on your investment, it is time to rethink your marketing strategy. Not only do you want to make sure that you are spending your time and resources wisely, you want your customers to feel heard and appreciated as well.

Aug 24
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

For many business owners and marketers, it can seem like there is a large divide between search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. However, that could not be father from the truth. While SEO and social media are not the same thing, using them to work together creates value and relevance for your target audience. A well thought out digital marketing plan should include SEO and social media working together to boost one another. Here are 5 tips to use to get started using social media to boost your SEO.

Use social media to drive customers to your website: Using social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter can introduce new customers to your product or service, encouraging them to visit your website. Not only will this potentially increase sales for you, but it can boost your SEO ranking on Google. While Google keeps pretty quiet about how to get your website ahead in search rankings, they like to offer customers the most relevant content to their search. This means if you are getting more website views, Google will start to rank your website as more relevant and you will start to move up. If you are using “sponsored” or paid ads on social media, you will start to turn up more on customers’ other social media channels that they have linked together.

Build engaging social media content: Now it is easier than ever to get feedback from your audience on social media. While you do not want to make every post a poll or survey, asking questions every so often gives your audience a chance to interact with you and voice their opinions. It is also an easy way to collect data on what your customers like or don’t like, as well as their opinions on certain topics. Twitter polls are easy to create and show voters the poll results after they submit their answers. Instagram has a new feature on their stories where users can opt to ask a question and be given an answer, which is then posted for everyone else to view anonymously. Facebook and Instagram are both useful for posts where businesses ask a question in the caption and ask users to answer in the comments, and can even lead to conversations between customers. If you choose this method, it is important to moderate the comments to make sure that everyone responding is being respectful of one another so that all involved feel comfortable and safe voicing their opinions. By asking questions and starting discussions, you are creating a sense of community and helping drive traffic to your accounts, all of which will boost SEO.

Brand awareness helps SEO: Brand awareness is a great way to increase SEO, and social media is great way to increase brand awareness. Customers are more likely to trust a brand that they have heard of. They are also more likely to search a brand that they have heard of. By putting time and effort into your social media accounts, you are helping to increase your brand awareness. Running some social campaigns such as the Share A Coke campaign gets people talking about your product, and drives traffic to your social accounts and websites. Social media acts as a search engine of its own, with customers searching for business accounts to get a feel of the brand’s personality, as well as reviews from other customers and company updates. Using analytics on your social media accounts can help you collect more data to see what kind of posts customers are resonating with, and keep track of when you rise or decline in page views and interactions. Building a strong, unique brand image will help you create brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.

Form strong relationships: Social media revolves around relationships, so make sure that you have a strong connection with your followers. A good reputation will get you more website views, social media profile views, and will get customers talking about your company in a positive light. This will help boost your SEO by having your company’s name come up higher in keyword searches, especially when your name is ranked with other positive keywords. Affiliate marketing can help you spread the word about your brand, by using brand ambassadors or partners who have a social media following to promote your product. Typically, brands will send their affiliates a free product, which the affiliate then shows themselves using with a positive review. By teaming up with the affiliate, your outreach has dramatically increased, and your brand name will be linked to the affiliate’s in keyword searches.

When used well, social media can dramatically boost your SEO. By using social media to reach out and make connections, you can forward those efforts to increase your SEO. Using a strategic approach to collaborate the two can make your efforts go far with amazing results.

Aug 17

Introduction To Usability Testing

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Usability testing is an easy step to overlook while developing or redesigning your website. After putting hard work into creating something you are certain your customers and potential customers will love, getting someone else to evaluate it can slip your mind. However, it is easy to let little mistakes slip past you, no matter how much effort you’ve dedicated, and a fresh perspective can make a huge difference on ensuring that your website is at its full potential.

What is Usability Testing? Usability testing is a way to evaluate a user’s experience on your website. By testing the usability of your website, you can tell if your website is easy and practical for customers to use. Typically, a test is done where participants complete tasks on the website, while a researcher takes notes. This allows you to see where your website is clear and simple to use, and where you could make some changes.

What are the benefits of Usability Testing? There are some major benefits to usability testing. The first benefit is that is provides you with an unbiased and accurate examination of your website’s user experience. Typically the team running the assessment is detached from your company, so they are unbiased and coming in with a clear mind. It is a convenient way to measure how usable your website is, since all you need is a quiet room and someone taking notes. Usability testing is fairly quick to tell you the pros and cons of your website, making it easier to implement changes needed to improve. It can save you money, as you catch problems early on, allowing your website to be at its best from the start.

How to use Usability Testing: The first step to usability testing is to decide what part, or parts, of your website you want tested. Is there a page or feature you struggled designing or questioned? That might be a good place to start. If you have a pros and cons list before you start, usability testing can help you improve more quickly and accurately. Next, set goals for your participants. Think of common tasks that users will visit your website for. Make sure popular products contact information and FAQs are easy to access. Testing the checkout experience is often a good idea as well.

Your next step should be to create a script. Make everyone aware of their role in the usability testing, what the purpose is, what the tasks are, and some questions to determine how familiar participants are with your website previous to the study. To keep everything unbiased and consistent, use the same script with each participant and testing session. Once you have your script and plan, delegate the roles to all of the participants. The moderator will be running the session, and he or she needs to remain neutral. The moderators job is to make sure that the participants complete tasks and feel comfortable with what they are being asked to do. You will also need a note taker, so that you can keep track of all of the issues participants find, as well as what they liked.

After you have the script and roles set up for your usability testing, recruiting participants is the next step. This tends to be the most difficult step, as you are testing a small sample size to represent your whole user base. To find your ideal participants, create a buyer persona and reach out to customers that fit those guidelines. Offer them a discount or gift for participating in your usability testing. If they like your company enough to help you, they will be glad to get a reward of your product or service. Once you have your participants screened out,you are ready to conduct the study. While you are conducting the study, ask participants to complete tasks without your help. It is often beneficial to ask them to “think out loud” as well, so that you are able to hear their opinions as they navigate your website. After they complete a task, ask for feedback before moving on to the next task. This allows you to get the most accurate information. At the end offer them a survey letting you know what they liked and did not like, if they would recommend your product or service to a friend, and how difficult the tasks were to complete. Once you are done with the study, you will have a lot of qualitative data. Analyzing your data will help you pinpoint problem areas, especially if many participants report the same problems.

Although usability tests are a lot of work, they are a great way to have a quality website from the start. Having a wonderful product or service is simply not enough if your website does not live up to customer’s expectations. Letting others review and critique your website can be nerve wracking after you put in so much effort, but working as a team will help ensure that your website is up to its full potential.

Aug 10

Increasing Brand Awareness

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You hear it all of the time- people referring to a soft drink as a Coke, a tissue as a Kleenex, or a bandage as a Band-Aid. Brands like these have become so popular and well-known that they have replaced generic terms in today’s language. While there is no quick fix for becoming a household name, raising your brand awareness can help boost your business and give you a reputation as a reputable company. Getting started in raising your brand awareness is more simple than you might think.

Why create brand awareness: The more familiar a customer is with your brand, the more likely they are to trust it. Customers are likely to do a lot of research before purchasing a product, and having a brand that many people have heard of and trust is a great way to bring in new customers. Brand awareness also creates association with your product, and can lead to your company becoming the “go-to” brand for your product or service.

Brand recognition vs brand recall: When starting to get your company’s name more well known, customers will likely recognize your name and logo before they are able to recall them. For example, say a customer buys a new hair product that they like. They go on to tell one of their friends about it, but cannot remember the exact name of the product or brand. However, when they return to the store they purchased the product from, they are able to easily pick it out of all the options. This is an example of brand recognition, and an important first step. After you have customers wanting your product and recognizing your logo, packing, etc, you want them to be able to recall your brand. An example of this would be if the same two friends from the first example were discussing the same new hair product, but this time the first friend could tell the second the name of the brand, as well as a description of stand out features of the logo or packing. Coca-Cola is a great example of a brand that most people are able to recall by their iconic logo. Both brand recognition and brand recall are types of brand awareness.

Building brand awareness: There are many ways you can go about creating brand awareness. Using social proof is a great way to get started. Utilize the opinions of others in promoting your brand, and making others more aware of who you are and what you stand for. By getting positive feedback from celebrities, experts in your field, or even positive reviews from everyday customers, you will raise brand awareness. Referral programs are another simple way to get started. Giving your customers a discount or freebie uses word-of-mouth marketing to raise brand awareness for new customers from their friends, who are a trusted source. By offering them something in return, they are more likely to invite their friends to purchase your product or service. Sand Cloud is a popular brand known for their beach towels and Ambassador program. Every time an Ambassador’s friend uses their code, they get a discount on their product, and the Ambassador also gets a discount. Leaving a product review also gets customers a discount on their next purchase, encouraging more purchases from Sand Cloud.

Depending on what kind of product you sell, sponsoring events, athletes or celebrities is an option as well. Red Bull is a well known energy drink that has worked to raise brand awareness as a drink for those daring and adventurous. While there are many other energy drinks on the market, Red Bull’s brand awareness through event sponsorship and athlete sponsorship has made them a leader in energy drinks. Creating a brand personality will help you decide on the type of events and people you would do best to sponsor.

Freemium” is another popular method to draw in customers and raise brand awareness. Brands such as Canva and Spotify offer free versions of their services, with limited access to features. This allows customers to try the services out before committing to them. Often free versions of services help promote your business by announcing on social networks that a new user has joined, or adding a watermark to media they create. If a customer likes your service enough to pay for it, chances are that they are also sharing your business with their friends.

While brand awareness can seem a bit vague and hard to measure at times, it can have a major impact on your sales and marketing efforts. Gaining customers and keeping up a positive image is easier and more rewarding the more developed you get, and having a brand that stands out to people is the first step.

Aug 3

Sales Psychology In 6 Steps

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Psychology and ecommerce might not be two words that you put together, but when used correctly psychology can be a powerful sales tool. While you do not want to use psychology to manipulate customers, you can use it to persuade customers to use your products verses a competitors. Psychologist Robert Cialdini even created 6 principals of sales psychology: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, liking, authority, social proof, scarcity, and unity. When we take a deeper look, we see what these principals are and how they relate to ecommerce and help you boost sales and conversions.

Reciprocity: In sales psychology, reciprocity means that when your customer gives you something, you give them something in return. Although they are getting your product or service in exchange for money, giving them something extra, no matter how small, can give your company and extra edge. Many companies use this tactic to give customers more of a reason to choose their product. You could offer customers free shipping on their first order, a free month trial, a small gift with a purchase for new customers, or a discount. HUM Nutrition offers first time customers $10 off if they take a short quiz to help them decide what products are best for them, and Benefit Cosmetics offers free samples with any purchase. Giving your customers trials or samples shows that you have faith in your product, and helps them potentially discover new products that they might not have discovered otherwise.

Scarcity: Customers don’t want to miss a good deal, so alerting them of a popular product that is running low, or a sale that is about to end encourages them to make up their mind on purchasing the item. Giving them a deadline rather than always keeping the item in stock, or having a sale, lets them put off the decision to purchase. When pressured, they are more likely to act, especially when given information such as an actual number of inventory left, or a countdown clock until the end of a sale. Seasonal products are a good way to temporarily boost sales and bring attention back to your company. Starbucks sets a good example with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which many people look forward to drinking every fall.

Authority: Studies such as the infamous Milgram experiment have shown the impact authorities have on decision making. If you can show your brand as an expert in your field, customers will be more likely to trust your product. Videos and images can play a large part in showing your authority, by giving a behind the scenes look at what you do and the credibility of your product. Getting endorsements from celebrities or well known experts in your field is another way to make your business stand out, and give your customers more reason to believe that you really do have the best product available.

Consistency: Consistency goes a long way when drawing in new customers, as well as retaining your current customers. You want to create a brand image that stands out as having stellar customer service and dedication to the quality of the product. In the same way, having your customers commit to you in small ways (such as subscribing to your newsletter) encourages them to buy more products from you over time. Make sure to apply your commitment to easy returns as well. Knowing that they can return a product if not fully satisfied is much less daunting for customers than a final sale policy. This also shows that you have faith in your product.

Liking: If your customers like your brand, or brand representatives, they are more likely to purchase from you. This is why as a brand, it is important to keep up a kind reputation, and to care about your customers as people, not just as a source of income. Likability is also why brands such as Sprite and Clean & Clear often use popular celebrities in their advertisements. Other companies, like Amazon, show you what products other customers were interested in based off of products you view. People respond to people they have something in common with, so showing “frequently purchased together” items gives credibility to new products customers might not have discovered on their own.

Consensus: Also known as social proof, consensus shows if customers are uncertain, they will look to the behaviors and actions of others around them. Even when reading the reviews of strangers, customers will take that as a personal recommendation. Even if you do not have five-star reviews on every product, it will go to show that you are a real company with real customers, giving their unfiltered opinions. This will build trust with current and potential customers, especially if you interact with those leaving the reviews.

Using sales psychology might sound a bit complicated at first, but it really breaks down to speaking to your customers in a way that relates to them. Using these 6 principals can help you influence your customers in a non-obvious, but open and honest way. Try implementing some of these techniques and watch your sales go up.