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Events drive leads for sales and are a powerful networking tool that enables companies and brands to connect with their audiences and clients face to face. At least, that’s what we know. But as any marketer, sales rep and event organizer will tell you, qualifying those collected leads is anything but certain.
Because not all leads are created equal, and every individual at your event has their own unique journey to the final sale.
According to Statista, only 14% of B2B marketers’ budgets are being allocated for in-person trade shows in 2015. Because of this, event marketers are pressured to find the metrics that matter when it comes to proving value.
Traditionally most event organizers and sales reps have focused on the data that is generated before and after an event, which gives a good picture of who showed up, but not much else.
Here are 5 ways that event marketers can use the data that is being generated before, during, and after their events to create a richer experience for their attendees, while providing insights into the value of their show.
1. Social Listening
Using social media to track activity pre and post-event is nothing new, but keeping up with what your audiences are saying during your event could lead to valuable clues and insights to help optimize your event for the future. EventTrack revealed that nearly 77% of event marketers use social media as a key engagement strategy before an event. But that number drops to 61% after the event. It seems silly that most organizers would disappear on social after their event is over, and even sillier that we wouldn’t be prioritizing social media during events!
Try setting up a social listening dashboard to track your event’s unique hashtag. (And if you don’t have one of those, you’d better jump on that bandwagon!) Look for valuable clues such as sentiment, number of posts, images, etc. from your audience. Are they posting quotes from speakers who inspired them? Or are they complaining that the speaker went on too long? Are they posting a ton of photos about a specific exhibitor’s booth or product that they’re excited about? Those comments can go a long way to tailoring future events and finding the content that’s really connecting with your audience.
Using that social data will help you identify engaged attendees who really are invested in your event. Or use that social data to generate post-event content that you know your attendees loved by sending out notes from your most popular speakers, creating graphics based on trending quotes from your sessions, point audiences towards presentations that were used during keynotes, post photos of people having fun and enjoying themselves, or send out a newsletter highlighting all the great social activity that your event attracted to make attendees feel special.
Some tools you can use to set up an easy to use social listening dashboard:
- Hootsuite – Set up an alert for your event’s unique hashtag or name and collect all social mentions on your registered social accounts. The mobile app will allow for real-time responses and monitoring no matter where you are on the floor.
- Google Alerts – An “oldie but goodie” in terms of being able to have all mentions from around the web about your conference’s hashtag or name sent directly to your email account.
- Mention – A personal favorite of mine for setting up a dedicated dashboard to listen for any mention of your show. Mention pulls in everything from blogs, to forums, to social posts all in one dedicated location.
2. In-Event Surveys
Want to know what your audience thought about the speakers or exhibitors you’ve booked? Ask them while the content is still fresh in their mind! Sending out surveys during or the night of an event is a great way to gauge interest from your attendees and an excellent way to collect additional data that you can use when planning for your next one. How long did they spend at the session? Did they enjoy the topic? Is there anything else they wish the speaker would have covered? What topics are they most interested in?
Don’t forget to look at the metrics that come with your survey as well, such as open rate, bounce rate, time on page, etc. Those people who took the time to give you feedback might be qualified leads waiting to be added to your sales pipeline! And what a great excuse to follow up with them to thank them for their time, whether the response was good or bad!
Don’t forget to pool your exhibitors for their thoughts and feedback on the event. They are in the trenches talking to your attendees, and they can probably offer some unique insights as to how they thought the event’s marketing worked, what could be done better, attendee attitude, etc.
Some survey tools you can use during your event to maximize attendee response:
- Your Mobile App – If your conference has a dedicated mobile app that allows for surveying, this is an effective way to reach those who are already engaged and using your content to find their way around. Create surveys on the fly or work with your speakers to craft a questionnaire that will give valuable insights.
- Email – If you’re collecting attendee email addresses at your event (and you really should), then you already have a direct way to connect with them to gain insights. Not everyone will respond during the event, because hopefully they’re still engaged with the event itself, but you might be surprised who answers after the day is over.
- SurveyMonkey – A powerful and free survey tool to help you manage the email addresses, which allows organizers to “jazz up” their content a bit. Pro tip: Add your company’s branding to legitimize the messaging and increase response rate.
3. Targeted Messaging
If you’re tracking movement during your event using beacon or RFID technology, then you have a good idea of where people are gravitating on the floor. Most event organizers send out messaging via their conference app, or using emails to “remind” attendees of upcoming speakers, special offers, etc.
Use that digital data to help understand which messaging and attractions at your event really resonated with attendees or inspired them to attend. For example, you can correlate how many individuals were scanned going to the events that you messaged them about via your conference app or use the email analytics to understand who was reading your content and who wasn’t. Not only will you have a better understanding of what messaging really caught people’s attention, you can prove to speakers, exhibitors, and your boss, which partners you should be securing for future events who will really drive attendance and traffic.
Gamification is a trend that’s worth looking into when it comes to live events. What better way to engage attendees and get them excited about exhibitors, speakers, and parties than by creating a fun game with swag to encourage them to discover?
Some examples of successful gamification methods would be:
- Scavenger hunts – just as much fun as when you were a kid, but now you’re competing for grown-up prizes, and there’s networking along the way.
- Photo quests – encourage attendees to find locations or people to snap photos of that they can post to their social channels; it gets them to use your event’s hashtag, while promoting how much fun they’re having (and again, there’s prizes).
- Social check-ins – getting people to check in at certain event locations can be difficult, but not when you incentivize them or make it part of a bigger game!
- Networking challenges – Who’s going to be the first to collect 100 business cards or gain 20 new followers on Twitter?
The data that these types of games collect will be invaluable to knowing whether or not your content was compelling, and will help you understand which of your attendees were really interacting with your event.
Getting exhibitors in on the game is another great way to collect data too. They will appreciate the increased networking opportunities, and you will be able to see how actively people participated and where they went. Those attendees who enthusiastically played along may qualify as sales leads for your organization or possible thought-leaders to partner with in the future to help promote upcoming events or content that you plan on releasing.
5. Mobile App Insights
Your event’s mobile app is a treasure trove of attendee activity that you can export and use to produce data-driven insights. Beyond the total number of downloads, ask your app provider for a full breakdown of who used the app and how to discover whether or not it was effective. Did your attendees use the messaging function? Or were they more focused on the app’s networking capabilities? You could even send out a survey to ask attendees what improvements you could make to your event’s app. Those metrics will drive a better understanding of your audience’s needs as well as improve functionality.
Using this kind of digital data to help inform the layout, agenda, and messaging for your event will take a lot of the guesswork out of planning, not to mention deliver a more qualified list of leads to your sales teams! And because events are an expensive and immersive experience for everyone involved, marketers need these kinds of insights to help them prove value to their attendees, sponsors, speakers, and exhibitors.
Connecting with your prospects and clients in person is key to driving your sales and marketing. As described in this post, I am proposing several ways that you can learn about the actual experience of your attendees. Because each attendee has their own agenda, priorities and social behavior, it is complicated to understand every journey throughout your event.
At the very least, you should identify and understand those attendees who are the most engaged at the event. By focusing on these attendees, you will be able to optimize your messaging before, during, and after future events? With the right combination of tools, you can reveal much about your attendees and translate this on broader scale into successful sales and marketing campaigns.
Watch Our Upcoming Webinar
Brian Friedman will be the presenter in our upcoming webinar, How to Leverage Data to Drive Event Marketing Decisions. Signup if you’d like to learn more.
About the Author: Brian Friedman is the founder and CEO of Loopd. Design driven product leader socializing technology through wearables and analytics.
Are you marketing on Periscope? Want to reach more people? You can develop a following on Periscope by promoting your broadcasts, engaging with viewers and repurposing your content on other channels. In this article you’ll discover how to build a Periscope audience for your business. #1: Cross-Promote Broadcasts While content is ultimately king, think about how you can attract […]
This post How to Build a Periscope Audience for Your Business first appeared on Social Media Examiner.
It’s easy to make a confusing website. It’s hard to make a simple website.
The things that we create — websites, user interfaces, business plans, articles — are the product of our minds. How we think impacts how our product looks, feels, and functions.
When making a website, things can get dicey. So many different groups are providing their input, making requests, asking for changes, insisting on features, and making the whole thing pretty darn complicated.
By the time the website gets to the end user, the website a hopeless, confusing mess.
It’s time to change all of that. The KISS rule helps to stamp out confusion and turn your website into a simple, seamless, powerful, well-oiled machine. (Your users are going to love you.)
The Surprising Truth About Simple Websites
First off, let me whet your appetite for simplicity.
You’ve probably heard that smart people love simplicity.
Einstein, who discovered that E=mc2, was a major fan of simplicity. There is nothing simple about mass-energy equivalence or special relativity, but Einstein was able to express it in five characters.
What does Einstein have to do with your website?
It’s simple. You can distill the complexity of your website into something way more simple. Humans love simplicity. Our brains are wired to love simplicity.
Simplicity Makes People Happy
In one study, scientists asked subjects to pick up a two types of objects: easy-to-hold objects (simple), and hard-to-hold objects (complicated). The subjects were hooked up to electromyographic equipment to measure facial response to the objects. Scientists found that the easy-to-hold objects made people smile slightly. In other words, simple objects made people happy.
Simplicity Makes People Think Better
Another test discovered that simple fonts and print helped people reason more clearly. The more complicated or hard-to-read the font, the harder it was for subjects to process information and impaired reasoning skills. Another way of saying it is that simplicity makes people smarter.
Simplicity Makes People Spend Money
A final study should convince you. Yale researchers in partnership with Stanford and University of Michigan scholars, wanted to find out if people were more likely to spend money in response to complicated descriptions or simple ones. As you would assume, the simple options won. If consumers felt that an option was simple or easy, it made them more likely to spend their money.
Google’s research discovered that simple websites — those with low visual complexity and high prototypicality — were much more appealing than complicated websites. One of the most surprising findings of the study was that people can tell whether a website is simple or complicated in 50ms (just .05 of one second).
Maybe that’s why Google, the most-visited website on the planet, is also one of the simplest websites on the planet.
Yep, that’s it — the most popular website of all time:
The concept behind simple websites is cognitive fluency. Cognitive fluency is “a measure of how easy it is to think about something.”
As you’d guess, we like to think about things that are easy to think about. Our brains get tired easily. If there’s an easier way to think about something, we choose it.
Take a simple example: Stocks with easy-to-pronounce ticker symbols outperform those with hard-to-pronounce ones. BABY is going to perform better in the stock market than, say, JWXEV based on the name alone.
In the face of such evidence, why would you not make your website simpler?
Scientists can throw around terms like “cognitive fluency” and they can run complicated tests with electromyography. But me? I like to measure the stuff that matters to my business — dwell time, conversions, revenue.
Guess what. I’ve come to the same conclusions, with a sharper point. Simple websites convert better, too.
Let me say it as simply as possible: A simple website will make you more money. Period.
Here’s the Rule: KISS
KISS stands for “keep it simple, stupid.”
A less abrasive version is “keep it simple and straightforward.”
The idea has many iterations among engineers, developers, designers, architects, and programmers:
- Simplicity is the most important consideration in a design.
- It is more important for the interface to be simple than the implementation.
- Don’t repeat yourself (DRY).
- You aren’t gonna need it (YAGNI).
- Do the simplest thing that could possibly work (DTSTTCPW).
I prefer KISS.
Keep it simple, stupid.
Here’s How to Apply the KISS Principle
None of this matters unless you actually implement it.
Redundant acronyms aside, here’s how to do simple.
1. No ads. None. Period.
Ads on your homepage are a major no-no. Unless you’re running a site whose primary purpose is ad revenue, then ditch the ads completely.
Ads inject tons of complexity into a website. Only use ads if your business is ads.
2. Reconsider the Sidebar
Do you really need a sidebar?
Brian Dean, conversion guru, used Crazy Egg to discover that a paltry 1.9% of his visitors clicked on his sidebar.
This was a problem. Why? Because that sidebar was his conversion goal — a social squeeze page.
I’ve wondered if the sidebar — a fixture of most blogs (even one of my blogs) — is actually a distraction.
3. Make Your Homepage a Place of Absolute Simplicity
The page that matters most is your homepage. Your homepage should set the tone for the rest of the website — simple, clear, and free of distraction.
Look at the website of designer Jonas Lindvall. It takes minimalism to the nth degree, and showcases an extremely subtle design (look for it).
The beauty of the website is its simplicity. The user knows what they should do next.
4. Use Your Above-the-Fold Real Estate For One Thing
An easy way to apply the principle of simplicity is to think of it like this: What is the one thing I want the user to do when they are on this page?
If you were to ask people in your website what they want users to do on the website, you’d get tons of different responses:
- We want them to start a free trial.
- We want them to read the blog.
- We want them to enter their contact information so we can add them to the mailing list.
- We want them to find out about our team.
- We want them to click the “products” menu.
Clear the table and start fresh: What is the one thing that you want the user to do?
Find out, and then design the website around that one thing. You can still provide a menu, giving the user flexibility and option, but don’t force them to think hard. Give them simplicity, and they will be more likely to do what you want them to do:
I’ve tried to make my website, Neilpatel.com, very simple. There is a menu, but you have to scroll below the fold to see it.
5. Limit Your Menu to Seven Items
The short term memory can hold only seven items. To make your website as simple as possible, limit your menu to seven items or fewer.
Many websites try to give their users as many options as possible, but this only confuses them.
IBM, for example, has 11 menu items, plus a couple of other things I could click. That’s way too many.
Keep it simple, like this.
Four menu items. Much better.
6. Use Lots of White Space
White space, or negative space, is the area of your website that doesn’t have stuff — no menus, no text, no images, etc.
The space doesn’t need to be literally white. In fact, it can have subtle design, like in the image above. The clouds and horizon are red tinted, and they have texture. But it’s safe to call it negative space, because it’s not an area of the page that is competing for the user’s attention and action.
In the website image below, the white space would be the background image of the coffee beans. There is an image, but it’s not distracting. The website uses white space in order to create a sense of simplicity.
A site like the one below uses lots of negative space to focus attention on the central point of information.
White space is not wasted space. It’s valuable ingredient in creating a simple and elegant website.
7. Make The Structure Intuitive and Shallow
Site structure has a lot to do with simplicity, too. Make the navigation easy to understand for a user who knows nothing about your business.
Don’t require that a user click menu after menu. Give them all the information that they need in one or two clicks.
8. Avoid Drop Down Menus
Drop down menus seem like a good idea. They save on space. They allow you to add more information.
The ecommerce website below has created massive dropdown menus that cover the entire page, a clear violation of the KISS rule.
If you must use dropdown menus, use them carefully and sparingly.
9. Reduce Choices
Hick’s Law states that the more choices a person has, the longer it takes them to make a decision.
In other words, too many choices is a bad thing. Reduce the number of choices on your website, and you’ll improve your simplicity and conversions.
10. Use Minimal Color
Color is a good thing, but not too much of it. Some of the best websites designs keep it simple by using a single color or very limited colors.
11. Kill Stuff That’s Not Clicked On
If people aren’t clicking on certain parts of your site, get rid of those features. An easy way to tell what people are clicking on is by analyzing your site using a heatmap tool like Crazy Egg.
12. Use Lots of Images
Images are easy on the brain. Your brain can process images faster and easier.
The more images you add to a website design, the more enjoyable it is for people to look at.
Plus, it makes your website feel so much simpler and intuitive.
13. User Testing
Finally, test your website. Every target audience is going to respond differently to color, design, imagery, layout, and functionality. Test your website early and often, and make sure that you’re adapting to what users need and want.
We all want a website that “looks good.” But what makes a “good looking website?” It’s simplicity.
Simple websites work better, look better, feel better, act better, function better, respond better, appear better, and are better.
Follow the KISS rule, and you’ll make your website the kind of place that users want to spend time on.
How have you applied the KISS principle to your website?
If you don’t have a system in place for promoting your content, you’re really missing out. Fortunately, Hit Publish host Amy Harrison has you covered.
Today, we’re going beyond hitting the publish button.
You’ve taken time to research, write, and publish high-quality content your audience is going to love. The mistake you don’t want to make is to think hitting the publish button is the final step — because really, it’s just the beginning.
Many business owners get frustrated by putting time and effort into content creation only to see their social media counters at zero, no blog comments, and no real engagement. If you can relate to that, you’re going to love the following nine techniques and tools.
Tune in to Hit Publish to find out:
- The first place you should go to share your content (it’s an easy win)
- How to get industry leaders to share your content
- How to automatically promote your latest content with every email you write (without being spammy)
- The tools you can use to build content karma and make it more likely people will promote your posts (in just a few minutes a day)
Hit Publish on iTunes
The post So You Hit Publish, Now What? 9 Simple Ways to Get More Readers Once Your Content Is Live appeared first on Copyblogger.
You could have the most sale-clinching copy in the world, the most beautiful design, and the most well-thought-out sales funnel, and your conversion rate could still remain stagnant. Have you ever looked at your analytics and thought “what can we do better?” If you’re the kind of marketer who’s always looking to improve, let’s take a look at the core human behaviors and psychological tactics that are powering your conversion rate – and how to use them to their fullest.
Value: The Spark that Ignites Interest
One of the first things you’ll learn in marketing is that you should always create or provide something of value to your customers. This usually ties in with your USP or Unique Selling Proposition – what makes someone want to do business with you?
But how do you actually create value? And even if you do offer something of value to the customer, what can you do to ensure they’ll want to continue doing business with you? On the customer’s end, you have the all-important questions like “what’s in it for me?” and “why should I do business with you [now]?
No matter what you’re selling, the customer needs to know that their most pressing issues will be solved and that they’ll be understood. They’ve gotten this far in the decision-making process and are taking a serious look at you. To keep that spark aflame, you have to go beyond telling them about the value you provide, and actually show them in the way you do business.
A recent report from eConsultancy and Sitecore asked companies and agencies alike what the most effective tactics for improving a customer’s lifetime value were:
The most effective methods for improving customer LTV
No surprise that customer service improvements are at the top, followed by personalization. People find inherent value in being treated well and getting answers to their issues. They appreciate businesses taking the time to make personalized recommendations and sharing information that’s relevant to them.
In other words, the value that customers so eagerly crave is driven just as much by what you’re selling as who you’re selling too, and how you can convert them from casual browser to brand evangelist.
Consistency: The Glue that Holds the Conversion Together
What is consistency when applied to customer loyalty and conversion rates? According to a study by The Society for New Communications Research, quality was the number one factor in how customers form an impression of a company, with pricing and customer service not far behind.
Consistency in these cases means that a customer can depend on the same level of product, service or care from each time they order. A cheeseburger from McDonalds is the same quality whether you’re in California or Maine. Customers rely on that and it drives their expectations.
Their expectations in turn drive your conversion rate. As you might imagine, there’s a certain level of inherent trust here. I trust you’ll be able to provide me with the same caliber of goods and services I’ve come to expect from you. The more companies can do this over time, the more favorable the impression becomes, the more likely they are to recommend, rate, like and share with others because it is a reflection on them.
Even if you have demonstrated value to the customer and ensured a quality process that delivers consistency, you’re still not finished. You have to ensure that what you do present to the customer is clear enough to encourage them to act on it.
Clarity: Making Sense of What’s Presented
How clear is your marketing message? Not just to you and your team, or to your marketing department, but to everyone from the CEO to the janitor. Many companies rebrand themselves every few years to focus on something new in an attempt to appear fresh and vibrant to their consumers.
But look at things from your customer’s point of view, or even better, the perspective of someone who hasn’t visited your site before. All this change makes them question the value of what they’re getting, and consistency gets swept to the wayside. They’re not sure that this company understands or embraces their lifestyle and motivations, much less has a place in it.
This isn’t to say, of course, that you should remain stuck in something that isn’t working or that your company should be perceived as old-fashioned. But change when and where it makes sense to do so – not just because it seems to be the “in” thing to do at the moment.
Creating and living true to a mission statement, a philosophy or a manifesto that affects everything from how the company operates to how it treats its customers paints a perfectly clear picture of what “clarity” truly means when it comes to driving conversion rates. Better yet, share this philosophy with your customers. Don’t just tell them, show them how your company is taking strides to be better in tune with what they want, and make yourself open and available to the two-way communication street that is the social web.
Clarity means complete understanding and reliance on the company to deliver what they promise without a shadow of a doubt. And conversions can only happen when all the other factors come together to make your offer, and the customer’s actions to take advantage of it, crystal clear.
Alleviate Friction and “Action Paralysis”
Two of the issues that plague most conversion optimization touch-points are friction and “action paralysis”. Friction happens when one of these key drivers doesn’t align with the others. For example, you may provide clarity and value to the customer, but consistency isn’t always there. They’re not sure what they’re going to get this time and would rather not turn it into a guessing game.
Or your message is clear and consistent, but the value doesn’t drive the customer to click. They might fear they’re being cheated or duped, and no one wants to look like a fool. In other words, there’s a misalignment of persuasive factors and that can cause your conversion rate to flat-line.
Even if you have all of the key conversion drivers working in perfect harmony, there’s still the ever-looming specter of “action paralysis” which makes the customer second-guess themselves and their decision. Common questions here would include:
- How much is shipping going to cost on top of the price? How soon will my order be here?
- What happens after my order is complete? What if I don’t get an email confirmation?
- Who should I contact if something is wrong with my order when I receive it? What is the return policy? Can I exchange my item for something else?
- How does the company use the information I give them?
- What are other people saying about this product/service?
Here again, it all goes back to the cycle of what’s driving your conversions – value in your offer, consistency in your methods and quality, and clarity of purpose and message while avoiding frictions that cause the customer to step back and question their decision. Getting these things right may take time and effort, but anything worth improving your conversion rate always does.
Have you used these methods in your own conversion optimization campaigns and processes? How have they worked out for you? Tell us about it in the comments below!
About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!
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