Author: Neil Patel

How to Increase the Average Order Value on Your Ecommerce Store

As an ecommerce shop, you always need to come up with new ways to increase your revenue.

But with that said, it’s a common misconception that you need to find new customers to generate more sales. That’s simply not the case.

In fact, there are plenty of ways to increase revenue without acquiring new customers.

Rather than trying to get more transactions on your ecommerce site, you should be focusing on tactics that increase the amount of each transaction.

Don’t get me wrong. Obviously, new customers and more transactions are great news for your business. But it’s not the only way to make more money.

What’s the average order value on your platform?

This is a metric that you should be tracking at all times. If you’re unfamiliar with average order value, abbreviated as AOV, it’s really easy to calculate.

Tactics that improve your AOV work for new customers and existing customers alike.

It’s all about how you display information on your website.

I know what some of you might be thinking. Your current average order value is adequate. Do you really need to make any changes?

Absolutely.

When it comes to what’s acceptable as an AOV, the sky’s the limit. Don’t settle for anything less. There is always room for improvement.

Use this guide as a reference for increasing your AOV. Once you apply these strategies, your ecommerce revenue will increase as a result.

Set a minimum for free delivery

Free delivery has a major impact on ecommerce conversions.

In fact, 60% of consumers will abandon their shopping carts during the checkout process if they’re presented with extra costs, like shipping.

So I’m definitely a big advocate of not placing those shipping costs on your customers.

But with that said, you don’t need to offer free shipping for every order. Here’s what I mean.

At the end of the day, someone has to pay for the shipping. It’s either going to be you or the customer.

So those shipping costs should be included in the base cost of your products.

That way, shipping is perceived as free to the customer, but you’ll still be able to cover those costs with their purchase.

If you want to increase the average order value, set a minimum purchase amount for free shipping eligibility.

REI uses this strategy on their website.

Take a look at this shopping cart.

The total cost of the of the cart is $22. But this total isn’t enough to be eligible for free shipping.

REI reminds their customers in two places on this page that they ship orders over $50 for free.

As a result, people will be more inclined to add additional items to their cart.

Why pay for shipping if they don’t have to?

Assuming the customer in this scenario takes the bait, REI was able to increase the purchase amount of this transaction by more than double the initial value.

Upsell on the checkout page

The most successful ecommerce shops find ways to upsell their customers right before they finalize the purchase process.

However, you need to be careful if you decide to implement this strategy. Here’s why.

Upsells shouldn’t take away from the initial purchase intent.

By the time your customers reach your checkout page, they already added items to their cart and want to convert. Don’t let your upsell be a distraction that eventually hinders them from completing the purchase process.

The buying process needs to be as fluid as possible with minimal friction. So don’t make the upsell be an extra step.

Let me show you a great example of an upsell from Jetties Bracelets that conveys what I’m talking about.

Based on what the customer added to their shopping cart, the website automatically generated an upsell of other items that are frequently purchased together.

If the customer wants to add these upsells to their cart, all they need to do is click one button.

This takes the value of this order from $9 to $27.

As you can see, a simple upsell on the checkout page can triple the order amount. Just make sure that it isn’t too distracting or forced upon the customer.

You still want them to convert, even if they don’t go for the upsell.

Offer package discounts

Bundle or package discounts provide an incentive for customers to spend more money.

The concept behind this tactic is simple.

You can generate more profits by focusing on your pricing strategy. Most pricing models make it more expensive to buy a singular item.

But if the customer is willing to buy higher quantities of that item, they’ll receive a discount depending on how much they’re willing to spend.

It’s the basic strategy behind “buying in bulk,” which is common for B2B companies.

However, you can apply the same method to your B2C ecommerce shop. Customers shouldn’t have to buy thousands of an item to get a quantity discount.

Look at how MeUndies accomplishes this.

They use this strategy all over their ecommerce site.

For starters, they advertise that customers can save up to 35% off items by purchasing packs.

Then, if you look at their navigation menu, “packs” is one of the five options for segmenting products.

They reinforce these discounts when a customer clicks on a pack to purchase.

For this pack of underwear, MeUndies offers a discount for buying three as opposed to just one.

However, if they buy a 6-pack, the cost per pair goes down even less. Customers will benefit from additional savings if they buy a 10-pack.

The price of one pair of underwear is $20. But if they buy a 10-pack, it’s $15 per pair.

This strategy encourages people to spend more money because it makes them feel like they’re getting a better value.

Customers can get a 25% discount by spending more money. As a result, you’ll benefit from getting a higher average order value.

Include a gift wrap option

Another way to increase the AOV of your ecommerce shop is by enhancing the value of your products.

What can you do to make your products more valuable?

One strategy that I like is the gift wrap option.

During the holidays, 82% of shoppers plan to buy gifts online. But holidays aren’t the only time of the year when people buy gifts.

People get gifts for birthdays, weddings, graduations, and retirements, as well as other milestones and accomplishments. So your gift wrapping feature should be available 365 days per year.

Look at how Target uses this strategy on their ecommerce store to increase their AOV.

On the checkout page, there is an option for shoppers to select if their order includes a gift.

If the buyer wants gifts wrapped, it’s going to cost them an additional $5.99 per item. So an order with three gifts adds roughly $18 to the shopping cart.

At this point, it’s all about convenience for the customer.

Without this option, the customer would have to get the gift sent to their house, then wrap it themselves before delivering it or re-shipping to the final recipient.

There is nothing convenient about that.

But the gift wrap option eliminates these steps and ultimately improves the customer experience. So they’ll be happy to spend more money.

Charge more for personalized items

Let’s continue talking about ways to enhance the value of whatever you’re selling.

If you can figure out how to apply this concept to your business, it can result in a major increase in revenue.

That’s because consumers say that they are willing to pay 20% more for personalized products.

You need to recognize this fact, and adjust your personalization strategy accordingly.

Check out how The Perfume Shop does this on their ecommerce site.

They give their customers a chance to get custom engravings on certain bottles.

However, this upgrade comes with at an additional cost. But as we saw, customers are willing and able to pay more for customization.

It would be unreasonable for them to expect a premium feature like this to be available at no additional cost.

Incentivize minimum spending thresholds

We talked about minimum spending thresholds earlier. Having a minimum order amount for free shipping eligibility is an example of this strategy.

But with that said, free shipping isn’t the only way to encourage higher spending with thresholds.

You can set up a discount based on spending amounts.

Here’s an example from the Rue21 ecommerce website.

Customers can take advantage of getting 30% off of their order, which is a significant amount.

However, there is a catch. In order to get the 30% discount, they must spend a minimum of $40.

This strategy works well because it also has a deadline.

As you can see, they have a running clock for when this promotion expires. So customers will feel as though they need to act fast to get this discount before it’s too late.

By combining these two strategies, Rue21 is able to increase their conversion rates while increasing their AOV at the same time.

Use BOGO

Have you heard of BOGO?

BOGO stands for “buy one, get one.” It’s up to you to decide how you want to fill in the sentence after that.

Buy one, get one free. Buy one, get one half off. You’ve got lots of options to choose from.

The reason why BOGO works so well is because psychologically, it encourages people to spend more money. After all, how could they pass on such a good deal? Here’s what I mean.

If you have a buy one, get one free sale, then that implies that if someone buys two items, they’ll get two free. If they buy three, they’ll get three free, and so on.

Maurices uses this strategy on their website.

It’s the first thing that you see when you navigate to their ecommerce homepage.

Don’t let BOGO limit your creativity here. You can run other promotions based on the same concept.

For example, buy two, get one free would encourage people to spend even more money.

Either way, this strategy can help you increase your average order value.

Give cash back

If you create a cash back system on your ecommerce site, it gives people an incentive to spend more money.

The more money they spend, the more cash back they’ll receive. Ultimately, they’ll benefit from these rewards as much as you will. So it’s a win-win scenario for everyone.

The Kohl’s cash system is a great example.

For every $25 that a customer spends, they’ll receive $5 in Kohl’s cash.

This promotion is valid on their ecommerce shop, as well as in their physical store locations. So for those of you who have brick and mortar shops in addition to your ecommerce platform, you may want to consider a similar structure.

Once customers spend money, they receive Kohl’s cash in the form of a coupon.

These coupons are automatically stored on their customer profiles.

Kohl’s doesn’t have any limit on this spending. So if a customer spends $1,000 on a transaction, they’ll get $200 in Kohl’s cash as a reward.

I know what some of you are thinking. If the cash back eventually gets redeemed, wouldn’t it lower your average order value for those future purchases?

Not necessarily. It’s unlikely that people will spend only the amount of their reward for those future purchases. Plus, you can set dates for when the cash back can be redeemed, which is what Kohl’s does. So there’s a chance not all of these rewards will even be used.

Recommend products to your customers

58% of consumers are more likely to buy from online retailers that recommend products based on their purchase history.

In addition to their previous purchases, you can also recommend products based on what your customers are browsing for.

For this strategy to be effective, it works best if you encourage people to create a customer profile. Then it’s easier for you to monitor their behavior.

It’s also effective for those of you who have a mobile app. In fact, personalized recommendations made my list of the top 10 features of a successful mobile commerce app.

When you recommend products to your customers, it speaks to them. We talked about this earlier when we discussed upselling.

But you don’t need to wait until the customer reaches their shopping cart to offer recommendations. Here’s an example from Sephora’s website.

In addition to recommending and showcasing their bestsellers, they also have a “recommended for you section” on their homepage.

The items displayed will vary depending on who is browsing.

For example, let’s say your ecommerce shop sells sports equipment.

One of your customers recently purchased a new set of golf clubs on your website. The next time they visit your site, you could recommend golf balls, tees, golf spikes, and other similar accessories.

These recommendations will ultimately help you increase your AOV.

Create a loyalty program based on spending tiers

Loyal customers spend more money.

82% of consumers are more likely to shop from businesses that offer loyalty programs.

Plus, repeat customers spend 67% more money than new customers. That’s why you need to learn how to increase sales by implementing a customer loyalty program.

However, there are so many different types of loyalty programs out there.

One of my favorite options is to create a program based on spending tiers. This is the best way to get your existing customers to spend more money each time they shop.

Here’s a look at the Nordy Club benefits, which is a loyalty program from Nordstrom.

As you can see, the benefits get better as customers reach each spending level within a calendar year. These loyalty programs reward your customers that spend the most money.

For the most part, people probably won’t spend $500 or $2,000 in one purchase.

However, they may be willing to spend an extra $50 or so on each transaction to get them one-step closer to the next rewards tier.

By encouraging them to spend more, your average order value will increase.

Conclusion

While new customers are always great for company growth, they are necessarily a requirement for increasing your revenue.

Instead of prioritizing customer acquisition, you should focus on strategies that encourage both your existing customers and prospective customers to spend more money on your ecommerce site.

The average order value is a metric that you should be tracking.

Regardless of your current AOV, I’m confident that you can improve that number.

Not sure where to start? Use this guide as a reference.

If you implement the strategies that I’ve outlined above, you’ll notice a significant boost in your ecommerce average order value.

How is your ecommerce shop taking steps to increase your AOV?

How to Create a Trustworthy and Transparent Pricing Page

Is your pricing page designed to drive conversions?

There are some common problems I see all the time when I’m analyzing these landing pages. It’s a tricky situation for businesses.

On the one hand, you want your pricing page to be informative, useful, and beneficial to your prospective customers. But at the same time, you want to make sure it’s designed to make people spend as much money as possible.

All too often, I see pricing pages that are either on one end of the spectrum or the other. You need to find that middle ground.

You’ve spent a lot of time learning how to generate more profits by focusing on your pricing strategy. Now you need to learn how to properly display those prices.

What types of pricing pages will encourage website visitors to convert?

Pages that are transparent and build trust will ultimately be your best bet. Here’s why.

If your pricing page is honest and doesn’t withhold any information from prospective customers, you can still implement tactics that encourage people to spend more money.

In fact, 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services that promise complete transparency. Furthermore, 39% of consumers say they’re willing to switch brands to pursue transparency.

Both you and the customer will benefit from trustworthy and transparent pricing pages.

Those of you who need help increasing conversions on your ecommerce platforms will learn how to create profitable pricing pages by reading this guide. Here’s what you need to know.

Create a comparison table

The best way to show customers their options is by displaying a comparison table.

This makes it easy for them to make a decision without having to navigate to different pages or do too much scrolling. Ideally, your comparison table can be displayed on one screen.

Here’s an example of how Netflix uses this strategy on its pricing page:

As you can see, this is an extremely simple yet effective design.

Netflix offers three different subscriptions:

  • basic
  • standard
  • premium

The first line of the table shows the price. It’s obvious and transparent how much each option will cost. There are no surprises or secrets here.

After that, it lists seven features. The comparison table shows whether each price point has the listed feature.

This is the perfect size for a comparison table.

According to research on short-term memory, the brain can store only about seven items at a time. Most adults have the capacity to store five to nine pieces of information in their short-term memory bank.

If your comparison table has 30 lines, you’ll need to cut that down significantly.

It’s just too much for people to process, and you’ll struggle to get conversions.

Plus, if they have to keep scrolling to see information, it’ll be difficult for them to keep track of which option is the most appealing to them.

If you don’t know how to shorten your comparison table, here’s what I recommend. Only include line items that are different for each price point.

For example, if all your options come with a 30-day free trial, don’t add that to your table. Instead, find another spot on your pricing page to showcase that feature.

Showcase your value proposition

For your business to be successful, you need to create a highly effective value proposition.

Your value proposition will explain how your brand, products, or services will benefit your customers. Highlight what makes your company better than your competitors.

Here’s a look at how Constant Contact displays these benefits on its pricing page:

The platform offers a 60-day free trial.

Nothing says trust and transparency like the offer of two free months. This gives customers a chance to get to know the software without having to pay for anything. It shows that this company stands behind its product.

Constant Contact also gives its customers the option to cancel any time. It doesn’t make anyone commit to long-term contracts, and it doesn’t charge cancelation fees.

In addition to the 60-day trial period, Constant Contact will refund customers 100% of their payments if they cancel within 30 days of signing up.

The company guarantees satisfaction.

As you continue to scroll down this page, you’ll find the pricing options. But the website visitor is already primed to convert after reviewing the company’s value proposition.

If your value proposition isn’t on your pricing page, you need to put it there right away.

This will help you build trust with your customers and increase their chances of converting.

Highlight the top option

Tell your customers what to buy.

There are a few different ways to approach this.

If you look at the Netflix comparison table above, you’ll see the highlighted top choice. The premium service was red, while the other options were grey. The red color jumps out at the customer more than grey.

Plus, the premium subscription was the most expensive. Obviously, you want your customers to spend as much money as possible.

I know what some of you are thinking. Is this strategy trust-building?

Yes. Your most expensive option will likely still be the most beneficial to your customers.

Continuing with the Netflix example, spending the most money gives people the option for ultra HD and the ability to stream videos on four devices simultaneously. These features aren’t available with the other subscriptions.

Let’s take a look at another example. GoDaddy highlighted its top option by referring to it as the best value:

Obviously, everyone wants a bargain.

As you can see, the best value choice is also the most expensive. But again, this gives its customers the most bang for their buck.

But your top option doesn’t always have to be your most expensive.

A great way to get your customers to convert is by putting your top option next to a choice that’s significantly more expensive. This will make it look even more appealing.

You can also entice consumers to select a certain option by telling them it’s your best seller or most popular choice.

Implementing this strategy helps create social proof, which I’ll discuss in greater detail shortly.

Encourage people to spend more money

Your top option likely won’t be the cheapest.

But you can still encourage your customers to spend.

Here’s an example from the Litmus pricing page that illustrates my point:

As you can see, this comparison table shows customers what’s not included in each plan.

It conveys this message by listing those features in a light grey color with a line going through the text.

Litmus is being completely transparent here. Now its customers won’t expect those features in a particular plan since it was clearly shown that certain options aren’t included in the selection.

If people want certain features, they’ll be encouraged to spend more money.

Take a closer look at this pricing page. Litmus also highlighted its top option by calling it the best value selection.

By positioning it between the least expensive and most expensive option, the value choice seems more appealing.

Offer free trials based on cost

You already saw a couple of examples of free trials so far in this guide.

Netflix offers a free trial period to all new customers. Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial for new customers as well.

Including a free trial establishes trust with your customers. But how long should your free trial last?

I like the idea of increasing the free trial length based on the cost.

For example, let’s say you offer a service that costs $10 per month and another one that costs $100 per month. Setting both of these trials at 14 days would be ineffective.

For a customer to dish out $100 per month, they need to be absolutely certain that the cost is worth it to them. Give those people an extended trial.

Pandora uses this strategy on its pricing page:

By offering a free trial, Pandora doesn’t force customers to pay for its services without testing them out first.

Customers who sign up for the $4.99 monthly service get their first 30 days free.

If someone signs up for the service that’s double the price, their free listening period is double the length as well.

Consider using this strategy on your pricing page.

You may not be initially thrilled about offering your service free, but it will pay off in the long run.

In fact, research shows that the overall conversion rate for monthly and annual plans is roughly 60%.

That’s pretty good if you ask me. Don’t hesitate to offer extended trials.

Understand the paradox of choice

Less is more. That’s the paradox of choice.

The more options you give your customers, the less likely they will convert.

Look back at all the examples I showed you so far. All these pages have three options for customers to consider, with the exception of Litmus, which had four.

However, that fourth option from the Litmus pricing page was for enterprises that need custom pricing. Basically, it offered three choices to most people.

If you have five, six, or seven different plans for people to select, it’s hurting your conversion rates.

Researchers conducted a study on this concept.

When customers in a grocery store had the option to sample six flavors of a product, the conversion rate was 30%. However, when they had the choice to sample 24 flavors of the same product, only 3% converted.

Another study found that decreasing the availability of product choices resulted in a 10% increase in revenue.

Limiting choices also helps build trust and transparency. It shows people that everything your company has to offer can be found in just a few different options. They won’t have to sift through dozens of choices to find what they’re looking for.

Create social proof

When designing your pricing page, you need to learn how to effectively use social proof to increase conversions.

The concept behind social proof is simple. If other people are doing something, it must be right.

That’s what you want your prospective customers to think.

Take a look at how Pipedrive creates social proof at the bottom of its pricing page:

After people have a chance to review the pricing options for Pipedrive, they’ll see this screen as they continue scrolling.

More than 75,000 sales teams use this service. Pipedrive has customers all over the world.

The product must be good if more than 75,000 people are using it, right? That’s the idea behind social proof.

Furthermore, the company features customer testimonials on its pricing page.

It lists the name, company, and position and includes a photograph for each testimonial.

For a more in-depth analysis of this, review my guide on how to correctly manage customer testimonials to increase your brand credibility. This will help you build trust with your customers.

Here’s something else to consider. Take a look at the bottom right corner of this pricing page.

Do you see the little message box? This gives the company’s customers a chance to communicate via live chat. I’ll discuss this tactic in greater detail next.

Add a live chat feature

You need to communicate effectively with your customers.

As you just saw in the Pipedrive example, adding a live chat feature to your pricing page shows that your brand is available to assist prospective customers on demand.

This will help you build trust and show how transparent your pricing is.

If a customer has any questions or needs clarification, your live chat support team can offer solutions.

Let’s look at another example. Here’s the HubSpot pricing page:

It has a chatbot that automatically pops up.

The note encourages visitors of the page to write a message if they need help understanding any of the pricing options.

In addition to the live chat function, HubSpot also includes its phone number on the page.

This adds more credibility to the website and improves its customer service.

Having both live chat and phone support available will appeal to a wider range of customers based on their preferences for customer service communication.

Justify your pricing

Depending on your business, some of you may have high prices for your services.

If your most expensive option is only $5 per month, you may not need to justify that price. However, if you’re charging hundreds or thousands of dollars for your products or services, some justification may be necessary.

This is important for B2B companies.

Unlike the average consumer, businesses need to see a return on their investments. Spending money on your service is an investment for them.

What will they get in return? Show them.

Buffer added case studies to its pricing page to justify its pricing:

These case studies explain how other companies benefited from the product.

Business Insider reached 1 million Facebook fans. The Seattle Times increased its traffic by 150%.

In addition to justifying the prices for the company’s services, this strategy also creates social proof, which I previously discussed.

Build an interactive estimation tool

This isn’t applicable to all of you, but it’s a useful strategy for some brands.

Depending on your pricing model, the cost of your service may not be the same for everyone for each billing cycle.

Some businesses base their prices on usage and other metrics. However, this strategy can sometimes appear untrustworthy since the prices aren’t set in stone.

Adding an interactive estimation tool to your pricing page helps with transparency.

For example, MailChimp has prices that fluctuate based on the number of subscribers their customers have.

Its pricing tool gives people a chance to see how much they’ll get charged if they add subscribers to their mailing lists.

As you update the number of subscribers, the prices for the plan change accordingly.

Prioritize security

Security needs to be a top priority for your business.

Why?

Research shows that 69% of consumers say they are concerned about their privacy and security. And 68% of people do not trust brands to appropriately protect their personal information.

With so many people concerned about security, use your pricing page to showcase how you protect your customers’ information.

Check out how Highrise accomplishes this on its pricing page:

The pricing page features the words “safe and secure” all over it.

Highrise goes above and beyond to explain to prospective customers that it prioritizes security.

This strategy will help you establish trust with your customers and ultimately increase the chances of them converting.

Conclusion

If you want the conversion rates on your pricing page to increase, you need to make sure your page promotes trust and transparency.

Build a comparison table that lets customers view all their options on one screen.

Leverage your value proposition.

Tell your customers what to buy by highlighting your top option. Use this strategy and other tactics to encourage people to spend more money.

Offer a free trial. The more expensive the service, the longer the trial should be.

Limit choices on your pricing page. Fewer options will result in higher conversions.

Create social proof and justify your prices. Make sure your customers know their security is a top priority for you.

If you follow the tips I’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to increase conversions on your pricing page.

How does your company’s pricing page promote trust and transparency?

How to Drive Sales with These 11 Instagram Marketing Strategies

In today’s competitive landscape, your business needs to leverage as many distribution channels as possible to increase sales.

By now, I’m sure you understand the basic concepts of applying a social media marketing strategy.

You’ve created business profiles on the most popular networks. You’re sharing content on a regular basis. Your efforts have helped you get more followers.

But you’ve got to elevate your game and learn how to convert your social media followers into customers.

According to research, 74% of consumers use social media to guide their buying decisions. And 71% of people are more likely to buy something based on a social media recommendation.

Simply put, consumers are eager and willing to use social platforms to find new brands, conduct research, and aid the purchase process.

As a marketer, you need to recognize the latest social media trends and use them to your advantage.

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform. This social network makes it very easy, friendly, and appealing for brands to reach their target audiences.

Take advantage of everything Instagram has to offer. I’ll show you the top 11 ways to drive sales on Instagram.

1. Run contests and giveaways

Promotional contests and giveaways are two of my favorite strategies for brands to engage with their audiences on social media.

If you can learn how to run a profitable giveaway, your efforts will result in more sales.

I know what some of you are thinking. How can you make money by just giving away your products?

Let’s review an example to show you what I mean. Here’s a look at how Lander used this strategy on a recent Instagram post:

The company is giving away a smart lantern, power bank, phone case, and lightning cable.

Doing this increases the exposure of its page. It gives people a reason to follow its profile and engage with the brand.

As you can see, this giveaway is a bit different from the ones you may have seen in the past. Lander partnered with other brands to sponsor this giveaway.

Again, this strategy will drive more users to its page. These other accounts will post information about the giveaway and direct users to follow Lander’s profile to win.

Here’s a look at the caption from one of the other accounts it partnered with:

There are plenty of other ways to get creative with this marketing tactic.

Instead of giving away items at random to your followers simply for liking a post and following your account, you could run a more structured contest that requires skill.

Contests that encourage user-generated content are the most effective.

To enter, ask your followers to upload a picture and tag your brand. This strategy will expose your company to anyone who follows the users who enter.

If someone sees that their friend is promoting a brand, they’ll be more inclined to follow your profile and potentially enter the contest as well.

Now that you’ve got these users interested in your products, you can use other strategies to get them to buy. Even if they didn’t win the contest, the product you were giving away is still on their minds.

2. Take advantage of the “swipe up” feature

The swipe up feature is a game-changer for businesses.

For years, you probably had some trouble getting users on Instagram to navigate to your website from a specific link. You would post content and then direct people to click a link in your bio.

But that strategy has lots of faults.

First, it’s an extra step for the user. They have to navigate to your profile page and then make another click.

People don’t want to go through that hassle.

Plus, what if you want to promote two different landing pages? Or maybe three? or four?

You will not have multiple links in your bio. That’s too confusing.

The swipe up feature eliminates this problem. Now you can use your Instagram story to drive traffic directly to specific landing pages.

Here are a couple of examples:

Once your business profile reaches 10k followers, you’ll have access to this feature.

Just promote a product or service on your story, and add the swipe up function with a link to a landing page about your promotion.

If you’re advertising a specific product, a logical landing page would be to the product description on your site. There, the user can look at additional photos and add the product to their shopping cart.

These lead magnets are a great way for you to drive more traffic to your website and ultimately increase conversions.

3. Use shoppable posts

If you have an ecommerce brand, you need to take advantage of shoppable posts.

This strategy allows you to sell products directly through the Instagram platform.

The reason why I love this feature so much is because it increases the chances of getting your current and prospective customers to buy something. Here’s why.

Right now, you’re relying on consumers navigating to your website to buy your products.

This can be from organic traffic, paid ads, or direct navigation.

The problem is that people probably won’t do this every day. But they’re active on Instagram daily.

In fact, 500 million people use Instagram on a daily basis. So there’s a great chance your target market falls into this category.

Here’s an example of a shoppable post from Patara Shoes:

It’s simple. This post is just a regular image that includes one of the brand’s products.

You also see a tag of the product by name, the price, and a link to purchase it. All someone has to do is click on the tag, and they’ll be directed to the website.

This is much easier than having to manually search for the product by opening a web browser. Shoppable posts increase conversions.

Check out the caption. It’s creating FOMO—the fear of missing out. I’ve discussed this strategy in the past.

Telling users they have only a few pairs of these shoes left nudges them to buy right now.

If you’ve never sold products on Instagram before and don’t know where to start, check out my complete guide on how to increase your ecommerce product sales with shoppable posts on Instagram.

4. Post the same product more than once

If you post a product once and then never promote it again, people may forget about it.

Think about the way users behave on Instagram. They quickly scroll through their feeds.

The first time they see your product, they may not have a reason to buy it. But if they see it more than once, it may start to pique their interest.

According to a study from Sprout Social, more than 60% of people need to see something on social media between two and four times before they buy it:

I’m not saying you should post the exact same image four different times on your Instagram page. That’s boring and might even cause people to unfollow you.

Get creative.

Start with a post of just the product. A few days later, you can share another image of the product on your Instagram story.

The following week, run a contest to promote the same product. Weeks later, you can share a video of the same item being used in a demonstration.

Posting the same product multiple times increases the chances of people buying it.

5. Partner with social influencers

Using social influencers to promote your brand, products, and services is an extremely efficient tactic.

In fact, 94% of marketers say their social influencer strategy was effective for their companies.

That’s because social influencer followers trust them.

We know that 82% of people are likely to follow recommendations made by micro influencers. And 94% of consumers believe these influencers are highly knowledgeable.

Basically, if you can get an influencer to promote your brand, you will get sales.

Instagram is the primary social platform for influencers across the globe.

This is a cost-effective marketing strategy.

Most influencers will charge only a few hundred dollars or so for a post. However, if you’d rather work with celebrity influencers, be prepared to spend significantly more.

But for the most part, that’s not necessary.

I recommend looking for influencers who have between 10k and 50k followers. These people have more authentic interactions with their followers and higher engagement rates.

Plus, the cost per post will be less.

If you’re struggling to find the right influencer to promote your brand, review the top 10 platforms for effectively managing social influencers.

6. Respond to comments and messages

I know it may seem like a time-consuming and tedious task, but you need to respond to your followers on Instagram.

By responding directly to comments on your post, you will add a human element and personal feel to your brand, which people really appreciate.

This strategy is especially important if people are asking questions or voicing complaints about your business. Respond to these comments as fast as possible to come up with a resolution.

It shows other users who see your responses on social media that your brand values customer service.

Consumers are willing to pay more for good service. You can expect to see an increase in sales by communicating with your customers effectively on social media.

7. Go live

The majority of the strategies I’ve discussed so far focus on Instagram posts. But that’s not the only way you can reach users and drive sales.

Like other social networks, Instagram has a live broadcast feature.

This is your chance to engage with your audience in real time.

Users can comment on your broadcast. Acknowledge those comments. Answer their questions. Show them you’re listening.

Social media users love watching live videos.

What’s a good reason to go live?

That decision is yours. But there are lots of different ways to get creative with these streams.

Give your followers a tour around your office. Introduce them to your employees. Show them how products get made at your manufacturing facility.

If your company is at an event, give your followers exclusive access to what happens behind the scenes.

This type of content will keep your audience engaged, get them excited about your brand, and ultimately increase the chances they’ll make a purchase.

8. Run targeted ads

How can you reach people on Instagram who don’t follow your account?

Some of the strategies, such as location tagging, running contests, and working with social influencers can accomplish this.

However, those strategies don’t always expose your brand to people within your target market. Running targeted advertisements will do this.

Instagram has been acquired by Facebook. You can set up your ads the same way on both networks.

You can use parameters such as age, gender, and location to select your ad audience. You can even take that one step further and target users based on their interests.

Here’s an example of a targeted Instagram ad from Tentree:

As you can see, this post looks like any other post on Instagram. The only difference is that it says “sponsored” where the location tag would normally be, and there is a CTA button at the bottom.

But when a user is scrolling through their feed, this post blends in with the rest of the content they’re consuming. It’s not invasive or annoying.

Yes, you’ll have to pay if you want to run Instagram ads. Those of you who don’t have the funds in your marketing budget for this right now would want to stick with the free strategies on this list.

However, if you can afford it, I recommend at least trying it out to see how it works for you. This can be a great way to drive sales by reaching a new audience.

9. Use your story to showcase products

Earlier I mentioned examples of posting content to your Instagram story.

But now you can use your Instagram story to sell your products the same way you did with shoppable posts.

As of June 12, 2018, Instagram brought the shopping feature to stories.

Here’s a look at an example from Madewell:

As you can see, the post is promoting a silk button-down cami.

Since the shopping feature on stories is new, the post features additional text as a way to tell the users the post is clickable.

If you tap on the button as instructed, you’ll be redirected to the brand’s website. From here, you’ll have an option to buy the product displayed in the story:

Use this strategy if you’re running an ecommerce shop.

As I said before, people need to see a product multiple times on social media before they decide to buy it. Add shoppable stories to the list of ways to showcase your products.

10. Connect your followers to your Facebook page

If your company has an Instagram profile, it probably also has a Facebook page.

Since Instagram was acquired by Facebook, these two platforms have lots of features that work together. I mentioned this earlier when I talked about running targeted ads.

Now you can sync your Instagram followers with your Facebook business page.

Once this process is complete, you can use messenger bots to nurture those users.

There are more than 300,000 active monthly bots on Facebook messenger. Clearly, other businesses are taking advantage of this strategy already.

Jump on board now before your competitors’ bots steal your customers.

11. Offer discounts to your followers

Everyone loves a good deal.

Share discounts with your followers on Instagram to encourage them to buy.

Instagram is a great platform for running flash sales. Since your story disappears after 24 hours, you can use that type of post to share a promo code.

This will make your followers feel as if they’re getting an offer other people don’t know about. That feeling of exclusivity will also encourage them to buy.

Look at how J. Crew offered a discount in this post:

Notice anything different about this post?

The reason why I used this as an example is because it also uses another strategy I discussed on this list. This is a targeted advertisement.

Don’t think your promo codes should be limited to just your profile posts and stories.

Combining that deal with a targeted ad can be extremely effective. That’s because your ads will have CTA buttons bringing users directly to your website.

If someone clicks on the “shop now” button in the J. Crew ad, they’ll be able to use the promo code right away. This is much easier than having to navigate to a new window.

Conclusion

You can’t rely on website traffic alone to sell products. Take advantage of other distribution channels as well.

Social media influences consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Since Instagram is growing at such a rapid rate, it makes sense to use this platform as a primary method of driving sales.

Plus, as you’ve seen from this list, Instagram has features that allow businesses to sell items directly through its platform.

If your Instagram marketing strategy needs improvement, refer to this guide.

Once you implement these strategies, it will be easier to generate sales from Instagram users.

How is your business using Instagram to drive sales?

How to Generate Sales by Triggering an Emotional Response from Your Customers

Emotions drive our lives.

Whether you recognize it or not, you feel a wide range of emotions on a daily basis. You might even be feeling some emotions right now as you’re reading this.

The word emotion is defined by an instinctive state of mind as a reflection of mood, circumstances, relationships, knowledge, or reasoning.

Sometimes emotions can cause erratic behavior, depending on the circumstances.

Other times, emotions can make people do great things. If someone is feeling inspired, they may create something that changes their life and the lives of people around them for the better.

As a marketer, you need to find ways to put yourself into the minds of the consumer.

You should be doing things like developing a customer persona to improve your conversion rates.

Once you can understand how people think, you can use that information to your advantage.

Marketers that know how to leverage the emotions of consumers will have greater success over extended periods of time.

In fact, 43% of emotional advertisements had positive effects on businesses for three or more years.

Ads that trigger above average emotions create a 23% increase in sales volume.

That’s right. If you can stimulate an emotional response from your customers with an advertisement, it will increase your sales volume today and potentially for years down the road.

But where do you start? Which emotions work best?

Depending on who you ask, humans have anywhere between 6, 27, or upward of 100 emotions.

Honestly, the number doesn’t really matter. As long as your strategies can trigger a response that impacts the way the consumer feels, you’re getting the job done.

I’ll show you some of the best ways to generate sales by guiding consumer emotions.

Build trust

Would you give money to someone who you don’t trust?

I doubt it.

So you can assume that consumers won’t give money to brands that appear to be untrustworthy. That’s why you need to take steps to build and establish trust with your customers.

Take a look at the most trustworthy advertising channels based on a recent survey of consumers.

As you can see, none of the top five responses are forms of digital content.

Online advertising just isn’t as trustworthy as the other types of advertising channels.

People have the perception that they’re going to get scammed online. They are afraid of getting their identities stolen or credit cards compromised.

However, if they know that they’re dealing with a trustworthy brand, they’ll feel much safer.

For example, would you hesitate to enter your personal information and credit card number to make a purchase from Apple? Probably not.

That’s because they’re a well-known, established, and credible brand.

But if you’re browsing online and get a popup advertisement from a company that you’ve never heard of, are going to buy something without asking any questions? I hope not.

If your business doesn’t have a reputation established yet, you need to take the right steps to add credibility to your website.

Showcase customer testimonials. Encourage your customers to review your products.

Display your contact information. Make it easy for people to reach you with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Secure the checkout process. Get rid of ads for other brands on your site. Promote your hassle-free return policy.

If you do things like that, people will trust your business. Once they trust you, they’ll be more willing to buy.

Create FOMO

Fear is a powerful emotion.

I’m not saying that you need to scare your customers, although that can be an effective strategy as well.

For example, let’s say your company sells home alarm systems. You could run a video ad showing the results of a robbery.

The camera can show a missing TV that was ripped off the wall, furniture displaced and flipped over, a broken window, bedroom drawers pulled out of the dresser. Maybe the ad even shows a child’s bedroom.

As a result of this type of ad, people without an alarm system might be afraid that this could happen to them. So they buy an alarm from your company.

However, this type of tactic isn’t reasonable for every business.

Let’s say you sell clothing. It wouldn’t make sense to run an ad about trying to scare people into buying a t-shirt.

So instead, you can create FOMO or the fear of missing out.

Here’s an example of how Expedia uses this strategy to sell hotel reservations through their platform.

They use this method all over this page.

For the first hotel, they have a message stating that four other people booked a room at this hotel in the past 48 hours.

Then there is a separate alert saying that the hotel is in high demand. There are only two rooms left at $135 per night.

As a result, the consumer will be afraid that if they don’t book the room now, the rate will go up, or the hotel will potentially sell out of rooms.

Expedia doesn’t stop there. When you click on a property to get more details, they continue applying the FOMO strategy.

So they’ve already told you that there are only two rooms left.

But now you find out that there are 14 other people viewing this property right now.

This makes the consumer think that they need to act even faster to secure the advertised rate.

You can apply this same tactic to your ecommerce website. Put up an alert that tells people there are a limited number of a certain product remaining.

I’m not advocating that you should lie to your customers, but realistically, nobody will know if you actually have plenty left in stock. So do what you want with that information.

Identify the desires of your customers

Desire can stimulate emotions as well.

Just like you and I, your customers have wants and needs. If you identify what they desire, you can use that to reach them through your marketing campaigns.

Let me show you what I mean.

Here’s an example of a simple advertisement from Calvin Klein.

What do men desire? Women.

Look, I get it. It’s 2018. I’m not here to get into a debate about sexual preferences or anything else like that.

I’m just trying to show you how Calvin Klein’s marketing team positioned this advertisement in a way to stimulate desire.

The ad implies that if you use this cologne, beautiful women without clothes will be attracted to you.

Obviously, that’s outrageous. But subconsciously, people will see this ad and get an emotional reaction from it.

Let me give you another example so you can look at this concept from a completely different perspective.

We’ll say that your company sells running shoes.

What do competitive runners desire? Winning.

So you can run an ad that shows someone winning a race while wearing your shoes.

Focus on what your customers want. Then tailor your marketing strategy accordingly around that idea to stimulate their desires.

Trigger envy

Envy and jealousy are not necessarily considered positive emotions.

However, as a marketer, you can still use these ideas to your advantage. I’m sure you’ve seen ads like this before.

There are commercials on TV all of the time about products like fertilizer that will help you grow a lawn that’s greener than your neighbor’s.

Those ads are trying to trigger the envious emotion that people feel. You walk by your neighbor’s house and see that their grass looks better than yours. Time to do something about it.

So when you see an ad like that, it speaks to you.

Here’s an example of this strategy used by Zeus Beard.

Zeus Beard sells a variety of beard grooming products and accessories.

This blog post explains how people can grow a beard that’s thicker and fuller than their friend’s beard.

So anyone who is envious of their friends or other bearded people will be inclined to read this content.

After that, they’ll be eager to buy products from this company.

It sounds silly, but it’s human nature to want to be better than people. Whether you want to admit it or not, I’m sure you’re envious sometimes too.

Don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone.

Fortunately, your customers get envious too. So trigger that emotion to get them to make a purchase from your brand.

Create content that’s creative and humorous

You need to run ads that will get the attention of your current and prospective customers.

So be creative and try to get some laughs out of people.

Here’s an example from the Old Spice Instagram page.

What exactly is happening in this picture?

It looks like this guy is skydiving with a lion on his back while putting mustard on corn dog that the lion is holding.

Is that going to make people buy deodorant? Not necessarily.

But it certainly grabs their attention. It may even make people laugh.

As a result, it will show them the human side of your brand, and even establish trust with them. This is something that we discussed earlier.

Laughter will improve the mood of the people viewing your ad.

If someone is happy, they’ll be more likely to buy whatever it is that you’re selling. So have some fun and get creative with your next marketing campaign.

Go for shock factor

Is a lion going skydiving shocking? Yes, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

Shock your audience with reality.

Depending on your approach, this strategy can be used to stimulate fear, which we previously discussed.

One of the best ways to shock people is by showing them an alarming statistic to back up whatever you’re selling.

Here’s an example from the Action on Smoking and Health Organization.

This company is trying to get people to stop smoking.

So they ran this ad to inform people how tobacco products can cause diseases that lead to death. The idea here is that it’s more common than people think.

Someone may not realize the harm that they’re doing to their bodies by consuming certain products.

However, after seeing a shocking ad like this, they may reconsider their actions. As a result, they could reach out to the organization and seek whatever services they’re offering to help them quit a bad habit.

With that said, shock doesn’t always have to be associated with fear.

You can shock people with news that’s exciting and encouraging as well.

Inspire your customers

Sometimes you just need to give people a little bit of motivation to accomplish something.

By triggering emotions that inspire consumers, you can entice them to make a purchase.

Here’s a great example from the Nike website.

Just do it.

We all know this as the Nike slogan. But what does it really mean?

This powerful image on their website shows exactly what their slogan looks like in real life.

Football is a difficult sport for anyone to play. So for someone with only one good arm, it may seem like just a crazy dream.

Nike explains that it’s only a crazy dream until you do it, and they have proof to back it up.

Are they displaying this content to tell people across the globe that they can play football with one arm? No.

They’re doing this to inspire people.

No matter what you think is holding you back, you can accomplish it.

Do you think you’re too overweight to go to the gym? Are you too old to run a marathon?

Whatever it is that you need to overcome, a promotion like this can inspire you to accomplish your goals. Once people feel inspired, they’ll need to buy the right products to help them reach their potential.

Build anticipation

Anticipation can drive you crazy.

We’ve all been there. Waiting by the phone for a certain call. Sitting in front of the TV anticipating a new episode of your favorite show to start.

Waiting to hear back the results of a test.

Once anticipation gets built, you can get your customers to buy something.

Here’s an example from the Apple website.

Apple is notorious for their keynote events.

During these events, they announce the launch of new products and software. In the past, some of these announcements have been groundbreaking to the industry.

So by promoting the event with not much information besides the date, location, and time, it builds anticipation.

If they told people exactly what they were going to announce at the event, it would defeat the purpose.

This is a great example of how to build hype for a new product launch.

Once they announce the new products, they still aren’t available right away. However, Apple gives their customers the opportunity to pre-order items.

First, they build hype by promoting the event. Next, they continue to build anticipation by announcing a new product without launching it.

By the time the product hits the shelves, people are lined up around the corner ready to hand their money over.

Entice kindness

Despite what you might think, people are actually kind.

I know some of you who live in certain places may not agree with that, but just bear with me for a minute here.

If people believe in a certain cause or want to help other people, their kind nature will be brought out.

Take a look at how Box Lunch incorporates this strategy with their overall brand mission.

For everyone $10 spent, this company helps provides meals to people in need.

It’s a great pitch to consumers.

Buy from this brand, and you’ll help feed the hungry.

If your company supports charitable organizations, don’t be afraid to share that with your customers. Use that to help stimulate an emotional response.

This will help you generate more sales.

Promote joy and happiness

Lots of times people associate certain emotional responses with negative feelings.

Someone may do something stupid if they’re mad or angry. But on the flip side, people who are happy and joyful can have an emotional response as well.

Nobody who is in a bad mood buys coffee for a stranger.

But someone who is having a great day might pay it forward to the car behind them when they’re going through a restaurant drive-thru.

If someone is feeling down or depressed, they probably won’t be as open to spending money.

However, if you can find a way to bring joy to the lives of your customers, they’ll be more likely to buy what you’re selling.

Here’s an example from Tropicfeel.

This startup company sells sneakers for both men and women.

They posted this image on Instagram to show two people having a great time while wearing Tropicfeel sneakers.

Just look at their faces. As a consumer, you almost can’t help but smile while looking at how happy these people are.

Sure, they’re models working for this company.

But that doesn’t change the fact that this picture can make you happy.

This relates back to one of our previous talking points about identifying desires. People have the desire to be happy.

If you’re able to explain through your ads how your brand can make this possible, it will increase your chances of getting people to convert.

Conclusion

Certain actions and behaviors happen as the result of an emotional response.

Marketers need to recognize this concept, and learn how to leverage consumer emotions into sales.

Build trust with your customers. Identify their desires.

Stimulate fear, envy, shock, creativity, and humor.

Be inspiring. Build anticipation. Entice kindness. Find ways to make your customers feel joyful and happy.

If you can stimulate these emotions properly, consumers will respond by making purchases.

How is your company driving sales by leveraging the emotions of your customers?

How to Use A/B Testing to Experiment with These 13 Elements of Your Website

You’ve done a great job of finding new ways to drive more traffic to your website. But if that traffic isn’t translating into conversions, you’ve still got plenty of work to do.

I see this common misconception in my consulting work all the time.

Businesses spend much time and effort trying to improve their organic SEO while simultaneously running PPC campaigns to get more website visitors.

There’s nothing wrong with this strategy, but increasing site traffic isn’t the only metric that matters. You also need to focus on how visitors behave after landing on your pages.

Are they converting?

If not, that traffic isn’t translating to dollars. That’s why you need to learn how to use continuous A/B testing to increase conversions.

These experiments will help give you a better understanding of how to optimize certain design elements of your website. Subtle changes can make a major impact on getting your traffic to convert.

To those of you who have never run these tests before, I recommend reviewing my guide on everything you need to know before you start A/B testing.

However, if you already know how to run A/B tests but just don’t know what you should be testing, this list is perfect for you.

In reality, the number of things you could test on your website is seemingly endless.

That said, I narrowed down the top 13 elements you should start with. You can continue to tweak these and run several tests for each component on this list.

I’ll even give you some examples and real-life data to explain how other websites improved conversions by testing specific elements.

1. CTA size

As you read through this guide, you’ll notice that CTA buttons will appear several times in the discussion. This makes sense since it’s the most important feature in terms of driving conversions.

Start off with the size of your CTA button.

For the most part, this button needs to be big and bold. That way, it’s obvious and jumps off the screen. The last thing you want is for someone to be unable to find your CTA button.

How big should it be for optimal conversions? The only way to know is by experimenting with different sizes. Here’s an example to show you what I mean:

As you can see, these two CTA buttons are identical. They have the same font, color, and placement on the page.

The only difference is the size.

But bigger isn’t always better. In fact, after running this experiment, it was found that the larger CTA actually had 10% fewer conversions.

There could be a number of different reasons for this, but we don’t need to get into that right now. The important thing is that this would have never been discovered without running the A/B test.

Don’t assume that your giant CTA button is ideal for conversions. Test the size so you can be sure.

2. Headline wording

Your landing pages will have different headlines. These headlines will tell your visitors exactly what they’ll find on the page.

Depending on your goals, the wording can also prompt people to take a certain action.

Plus, you want your headlines to be SEO-friendly as well. Obviously, lots of thought should go into crafting these words.

That’s why you need to learn how to increase clicks by mastering your headlines.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to run A/B tests to find out which phrasing yields the highest conversion rates. Check out this example from the Movexa website:

At first glance, the two pages look the same.

The only difference between the control and variation is the headline. As you can see, the difference is minor. All they did was add one word.

Movexa increased sales by 89% after adding the word “supplement” to the headline on this landing page.

So don’t assume your headline is perfect until you test different variations. You may be surprised with the results.

3. Free shipping information

This one is more specific to ecommerce sites. But it’s an important feature that shouldn’t be overlooked.

First of all, you shouldn’t be charging your customers for shipping.

If this expense is coming out of your pocket, just include it in the base cost of each item as opposed to charging separately for it.

This added charge is the top reason for shopping cart abandonment.

But simply not charging for shipping isn’t enough. You need to display this information proudly on your website.

This way your customers won’t have to get to the checkout page to know that shipping is free.

But where do you tell them? That’s for you to find out through A/B testing.

Try different locations on the banner of your website. Maybe include it in the headline.

After you experiment with the placement, you can continue to run tests on the size, font, and color of this text as well. Try using all capital letters, or add an exclamation point to see if these variations change your results.

4. CTA phrasing

Let’s get back to discussing the CTA button.

Now that you know the optimal size of this button from a test I talked about earlier, you can start to experiment with the phrasing.

Obviously, the phrasing will depend on your goal. For example, a “buy now” CTA won’t make sense if you’re trying to get website visitors to subscribe to your email list.

Here’s an example from a landing page that targets visitors who need a loan:

The team tested “apply now” against “submit.” Everything else about the pages was exactly the same.

The hypothesis here was that the word “apply” implied that the visitor could be rejected from a loan, which would discourage them from converting.

On the flip side, the “submit” button makes it seem like anyone can be approved simply by filling out the form field above.

I highly recommend experimenting with CTA button phrasing on each landing page of your website. This button is too important for you to overlook.

5. Pricing display

Some websites don’t display their prices on their landing pages. Do you?

Depending on the type of business you have, your branding strategy, and the industry you’re in, you may not think this is necessary.

However, it’s possible that displaying your prices could help increase conversions. Check out this example below:

Adding the price to this landing page increased its conversions by 100%.

After adding the price, you can also run other tests to make sure it’s optimized on the page. Change the location, color, font, and size to ensure you’re getting the maximum number of conversions.

6. Promotional content

Promotional content on your landing pages gives your website visitors an incentive to buy whatever you’re selling.

In theory, these elements will drive conversions. But don’t make assumptions without testing them.

Look at the example from this case study on the SimCity website:

The original landing page had promotional information at the top of the screen, below the menu bar.

It’s simple. Pre-order the game, and you’ll get $20 off your next purchase.

An incentive like this must be good enough to get people to convert, right?

Not so fast. By eliminating this promotional content from the landing page, they saw a 43% increase in checkouts.

Websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

Adding too much promotional content to your pages can make it difficult for the visitor to focus on your CTA buttons. Removing unnecessary text can actually be beneficial.

I’m not saying you need to completely trash all of your promotional content. I’m just trying to show you that you have to run experiments to see if it’s worth including.

7. CTA placement

No, you’re still not done testing your CTA button.

Now that size and phrasing are taken care of, it’s time for you to find the best location on the page for this button. You’ll need to run lots of experiments with this.

Typically, your CTA should always be above the fold. Make sure it’s clearly visible at all times.

But test different locations on the page. Try the middle, left side, right side, or even slightly off-center to the right. Try every location.

Experiment with two CTA buttons. Keep running these tests until you find a winner.

8. Image subject

Your website shouldn’t always have a plain white background with no images. You need to use visual elements to improve your marketing strategy.

But don’t just pull a picture out of thin air and assume it will make your website better.

Use A/B tests to find out which images convert the best. Here’s an example of how Highrise experimented with images on its website:

Michael had nearly 5% more conversions than Jocelyn.

This may seem marginal, but depending on the amount of traffic to a website, it could be the difference in tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

9. Navigation menu

How do website visitors find what they’re looking for on your pages?

Typically, navigation menus are the best way for them to jump from page to page. However, if these menus are too complex, it can hurt your conversions.

Remember, keeping things simple is always your best bet.

Take a look at what happened when Yuppiecheif removed the navigation menu from its homepage:

As a result of this design change, Yuppiechef was able to increase conversions by 100%.

If it worked for them, it could work for you as well.

Even if you don’t want to remove your menu completely, you can experiment with other elements of it. Change the color, size, placement.

Consider removing some of the options to keep people focused on converting.

10. Value proposition

Earlier we talked about the importance of free shipping.

But you can test other elements of your value proposition as well. Here’s a look some of the other key phrases that give consumers an incentive to shop online.

By highlighting these other benefits on your pages in the form of a value proposition, you’ll be able to drive more conversions.

Refer to my guide on how to create a highly effective value proposition if you want to learn more about this concept.

11. CTA color

As I said before, your CTA needs to stand out and be obvious in order for it to be effective.

That’s why the color of this button is so important.

Sure, you want the color scheme of your website to be visually appealing, but that doesn’t mean your CTA button should blend in with everything else.

A blue CTA button on a blue background will get lost in the shuffle. And a color like bright yellow will be difficult to read.

So what colors work the best? Run tests to find out.

Here’s an example testing green and red CTA buttons:

Usually, we associate green with go and red with stop. So you could assume that the green CTA button would outperform the red one.

But the results of this test were surprising, which is why we shouldn’t make assumptions.

The red CTA button got 21% more clicks than the green one.

12. Product page layout

On an ecommerce website, the design of your product pages will have a major impact on conversions.

Since these conversions will ultimately translate to dollars, you need to prioritize these A/B tests because a mistake here could be costing you money.

Here’s an example from Smartwool socks:

At first, they tried to highlight certain items on their product page.

But after transitioning to a uniform grid system with an A/B test, they saw a 17% increase in the average revenue per visitor.

Try this as well.

Experiment with the number of products you display on the screen at once.

If you have a grid, test rows of three compared to rows of five. Or maybe two columns instead of three columns.

Test the size of your product icons.

After running numerous tests, you’ll be comfortable knowing you have the optimal design for the most important pages on your website.

13. Length of form fields

Test the length of form fields on your landing pages.

For the most part, shorter form fields have higher conversion rates.

But as you can see from this graphic, that’s not the same across the board.

Right now, if you have six form fields and you can get that down to four, you could assume your conversions will increase based on this graph.

However, some of you may need to have longer form fields if you need to collect lots of information from your customers.

If you look at the data above, it implies that a form with 28 fields won’t perform as well as a form with 40 fields.

So there are certain instances when shorter isn’t always better. Run an A/B test on these forms until you get this figured out.

Conclusion

When it comes to the design elements of your website, you should never make assumptions.

Instead, create a hypothesis, and run A/B tests to test it.

As you can see from the list I’ve created, the CTA button has a huge impact on your conversions. But there are other elements that should be tested as well.

Don’t stop after one test.

You should always be taking steps to improve your design, drive conversions, and ultimately increase your profits.

What elements of your website are you trying to improve with A/B tests?

How to Increase Your Brand Exposure in 2018 with Public Relations

How are you managing the reputation of your company?

If you are struggling to find an answer to this question, you may need to re-evaluate your strategy moving forward.

There are certain aspects of your brand’s reputation you have control over, e.g., the way you distribute content through your marketing channels and use website elements to add credibility to your website.

But a news story or a review of your product on a third-party site can be out of your hands.

Your public relations strategy encompasses all these scenarios.

Public relations, or PR, can help expose your business to new audiences.

Simply put, public relations is how businesses communicate with people.

There’s a common misconception about PR. Many business owners I work with don’t have a PR strategy.

They believe it’s only for companies that made a mistake, needing to run PR campaigns to issue apologies or make their businesses look better in the public eye.

While that would fall under the public relations category, that’s not the only reason why you would implement a PR strategy.

Your PR efforts will manage how you spread information. It’s part of your overall branding strategy, except it focuses more on your reputation and communication as opposed to things like your company slogan and logo.

In a digital era, information gets spread faster than ever. That’s why every business needs to have a public relations strategy in 2018.

It doesn’t matter how new or old your business is. Even if you’re trying to create an effective marketing strategy for your startup company, it’s not complete without PR.

I’ll explain everything you need to know about the basic concepts of PR and how it can help your brand gain more exposure.

Differences between PR and marketing

For starters, it’s important for you to be able to separate your PR strategy from your marketing strategy.

Don’t get me wrong: public relations and marketing are very similar. However, there are differences in the goals of these two departments.

For example, some goals of your marketing campaigns would be to drive more traffic to your website, get new email subscribers, or drive sales.

While you ultimately want your PR strategy to result in revenue, the primary goal of these efforts will differ from that of your marketing strategy efforts.

There isn’t necessarily a measurable impact on sales from public relations. It’s more of a big-picture strategy.

The goal of your PR efforts would be to improve the reputation of your business. You may already be doing this with things such as:

  • displaying customer testimonials
  • encouraging customers to review your products
  • leveraging social proof

However, these campaigns would be marketing-oriented.

To improve your reputation through PR, you’ll focus on things such as press releases and guest-speaking engagements at industry events. These are indirect strategies to promote your brand.

With a marketing campaign, you’d run a promotion on one of your distribution channels. Do you see the difference?

Ultimately, your PR efforts will still support sales.

People don’t always buy products. They buy brands.

That’s why PR is so important.

If a consumer buys your products as a result of one of your marketing campaigns, that person has already established a connection with your brand through your PR efforts.

Understand the different types of media

To keep things simple, public relations can be segmented into three main categories:

  • owned media
  • paid media
  • earned media

All three of these will help establish and build your brand reputation. This will help you get one step closer to achieving your goals.

I’ll go into greater detail about each one of these categories to give you a better understanding of how they work.

Owned media

Owned media is any piece of content your company has control over.

Although we are grouping owned media as a function of PR, it’s similar to your marketing strategy.

I’m referring to things such as your blog posts, social media content, and website copy.

For example, if you’re learning how to enhance your content by building infographics, this type of media is owned by you.

You control how it gets created. You control when and where it gets distributed.

Owned media will help improve your overall PR strategy. When someone hears about your brand from another source, you want to make sure the content you own is informative and drives them to convert.

Paid media

To improve the visibility of your marketing campaigns, you may consider using a paid media strategy.

Just as the name implies, this is when you pay someone to display your content.

Social media ads and PPC campaigns both fall into this category.

But for a PR strategy, you may want to consider using social influencers to increase your product credibility.

Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular in 2018.

Incorporating a paid media strategy will help expose your business to a more specific group of people who fit within your target market.

This is more effective than content that’s distributed to everyone and anyone who just happens to turn on a local news station.

Earned media

Earned media is out of your control, at least to some extent.

Your actions, behavior, and the quality of your products and services are all within your control. If you can get those things right, your earned media should be positive.

However, you don’t have control over what’s said about your brand with earned media.

That’s the biggest difference between paid media and earned media.

For example, let’s say your brand or one of your products is reviewed on a third-party website. That’s an example of earned media.

Customers saying positive things about you on social media is earned media as well.

But earned media can also be negative.

Let’s say you did something wrong. In this case, you probably won’t be bragging on your website about your mistakes. That’s not something you’d highlight in your owned media content.

But if a news channel picks up that story and writes an article about your company on its website, it could give people a negative perception of your business.

That said, there’s an old saying I’m sure you’ve heard before:

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

I can’t say I agree with that statement 100%, but don’t let one mistake discourage you too much. Your other PR efforts can still improve your reputation and increase your brand exposure.

Inbound public relations

I’m sure you’re familiar with inbound marketing.

This helps you reach customers through campaigns related to SEO, branding, social media, and content marketing.

But what about inbound PR?

You may have heard of it although you may not be very familiar with it. The concept and application of this term are actually quite simple.

With inbound marketing, you’re targeting customers. That’s not always the case with inbound PR.

Inbound public relations focus on media outlets. Here’s a visual aid to explain the inbound PR methodology:

As you can see, strategies targeting consumers and media outlets involve many of the same marketing channels and types of content.

In the past, I’ve explained how to develop a customer persona that improves conversion rates. You can apply the same concepts to creating a media persona.

Now, you just need to tweak a few things based on whom you’re targeting.

For example, let’s say you’re a local business owner. To help give back to your community, you make a donation to sponsor an event at a nearby high school.

You’re doing this to be charitable, but you also want some recognition for your donation.

In addition to sharing this information on your website, you could make the announcement at an event where you know a local news station would be present.

This increases the chances of getting the story picked up, which will give you positive PR.

Instead of focusing on repeat customers, as you would with inbound marketing, you want to focus on repeat publishers. This makes things much easier for you.

These are the media outlets that will continue running positive stories about your business.

Measuring PR goals

As I said earlier, it’s tough to see the result of your PR efforts with metrics such as sales.

But you can still use attainable goals to see if your public relations campaigns are working.

One of the first things you should do is track your brand mentions.

A brand mention occurs whenever someone talks about your business. This is a form of earned media.

Just because someone mentions your company doesn’t mean they’ll provide a link to your site. You do want that if the mention is positive.

Consider using a tool such as Mention to help you keep track of your brand mentions.

In addition to helping you see what people are saying about your brand, products, or services, Mention can also connect you with potential influencers.

This tool is used by PR agencies, but it also has options for business owners. You can manage your PR efforts in-house instead of outsourcing them.

A mention of your brand may not be a good thing.

You need to take the time to review what people are saying. Sort out the positives, and use this to your advantage.

Reach out to certain websites talking about your brand to help you consistently build backlinks to your website.

With these backlinks, the earned media audience will be able to navigate directly to your site. The combination of more traffic and backlinks will improve your SEO ranking.

You also need to measure your website traffic.

Track new customers.

All these metrics will help you determine whether your PR strategy is working or whether you need to go back to the drawing board.

Responsibilities of a PR manager

Whether you’re looking to hire someone new or promote an employee from within, you need to know what a PR manager does on a daily basis.

For starters, a good public relations manager needs to have outstanding communication skills. That’s because they will be the voice and face of your company at times.

It’s common for the PR manager to be the one who speaks at events.

You should also find someone who has great writing skills. This person will write content, e.g., press releases of news related to your company.

It’s possible for you to use this person to write blog posts and other website content as well.

Find someone creative. And PR managers need to have strong research skills.

They’ll use tools, as I previously discussed, to find out what people are saying about your business. Then they’ll leverage that feedback to benefit your company.

The majority of businesses believe it’s hard to find new employees with the skills required to build and protect the reputation and credibility of their companies.

Even if your new hire has an MBA, it doesn’t necessarily qualify them to do the job of a PR manager.

We know 93% of business leaders say PR is just as important to their companies as every other type of communication method.

Whether you take on these responsibilities, hire someone, or delegate tasks to an employee, these are some of the things a PR manager would be responsible for:

  • write press releases
  • create fact sheets
  • send content to media outlets
  • provide media training to in-house staff
  • meet with external agencies or teams your company works with
  • analyze media content to leverage both owned and paid PR campaigns
  • attend industry events
  • represent the business at job fairs and trade shows

Make sure you find the right person to handle this job. Otherwise, your PR efforts won’t be effective.

Conclusion

Learning how to manage your public relations strategy properly can help improve your brand exposure.

While PR and marketing have many similarities, the two departments are not the same. It’s important for you to know the differences between these two strategies.

Understand how owned media, paid media, and earned media all have an impact on your brand reputation.

Use inbound PR tactics to target media outlets as opposed to consumers.

Track metrics that relate to your PR goals.

Part of having an effective public relations strategy means putting someone in charge of those efforts. You need to make sure that role is clearly defined in your company.

If your company is new to public relations, use this guide as a reference to help you build brand exposure.

How is your company leveraging owned media, paid media, and earned media to improve your PR strategy?

How B2B Audiences Engage with Business Content Online

As a B2B company, you need to learn how to properly market your brand to the right audience.

That’s because your target market doesn’t consume content the same way as the average consumer does. Following the habits and trends of a typical consumer won’t help you.

This is especially important for businesses operating as B2B as well as B2C companies. You need to be able to segment your content for each audience.

If your company is strictly a B2B operation, the content creation process should be even easier for you. You won’t have to worry about consumer content at all.

But regardless of your situation, to do this effectively, you need to understand how B2B audiences engage with content.

Then, you can adjust your B2B marketing strategy accordingly to reach these people.

The majority of B2B marketers believe that their content marketing strategy is still in the early stages.

Further, 91% of B2B companies use content marketing to promote their brands and reach their audiences.

But as you can see from the metrics above, the maturity levels of their marketing efforts are all over the board. Unless you’re in that top 9% who believe their strategies are sophisticated, it’s safe to say you could use some improvement.

That’s why I created this guide.

I’ll tell you exactly how B2B audiences engage with content. Then you can take this information to tailor your content strategy accordingly.

As a result, you’ll be able to generate more leads for your B2B company. Here’s what you need to know.

Focus on technology advancements

Your company needs to create business content that’s related to technology.

The best way to approach this is by discussing and showcasing new technological advancements your company has to offer.

Whether it’s new software, hardware, or other equipment, you’ll be able to offer exactly what your audience is looking for.

In fact, research shows that technology is the most popular business topic consumed by B2B audiences online.

This makes sense. Just think about it.

What is your B2B audience trying to accomplish?

Just like you, they want to improve their businesses. They’ll be researching the latest and greatest technology.

Even if your company hasn’t released new technology, you can still create content on the subject. Discuss industry updates and other advancements you’re anticipating.

Maybe you are developing something. You don’t need to wait until it’s released to share that information.

Learn how to build hype for a new product launch before the release.

Blog content

You know you need to create content focusing on new technology. But how do you distribute it?

You need to put lots of effort into your blogging strategy.

We know that 76% of B2B marketers publish blog posts. And 73% publish case studies.

You should do the same or risk falling behind your competitors. B2B marketing is a competitive field. Once a client builds a relationship with another company, it could be difficult for you to get their business.

But running a credible, informative, and resourceful blog will give you an edge.

That’s because 96% of B2B buyers say they want to consume content from industry leaders.

You can become that industry leader. Just make sure you publish content frequently to establish credibility. This will make it easier for you to get your target audience to engage with your content.

Plus, blogging is one of the best types of content that gets your audience into the conversion funnel.

If they’re reading your blog, it means they are on your website.

And that means they are more likely to convert, especially if you offer them actionable content.

After all, you’ve become an industry leader. The people reading your blog will be more inclined to use your products and services.

Furthermore, the publishing frequency of blog posts has a direct impact on website traffic.

This statement holds true for both B2B and B2C companies.

Simply put, the more blog posts you publish, the more inbound leads you’ll get.

Blogging will help improve your SEO strategy, which will result in expanding your reach through organic traffic.

Infographics

Right now, your content might be good. But who wants to be good? That just isn’t enough.

You need to find ways to make your content great. Figure out how to stand out and speak to your B2B audience in ways they understand.

Learn how to enhance your content by building infographics.

Your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words alone. Plus, 90% of information transmitted to your brain is visual. And 65% of people are visual learners.

That’s why infographics are so powerful, especially for B2B audiences.

As you can see from this data, 76% of B2B buyers said that infographics were a valuable part of the buying process.

This ranked higher than any other type of content from each buying stage.

As a B2B marketer, you need to create infographics to cater to your audience’s needs.

This can work in conjunction with your blogging strategy, discussed previously.

To make your posts more appealing, add custom infographics to them. As you can see from reading my content, I use images, graphs, and infographics in my blog posts all the time.

I believe in this strategy, and you should as well if you want to reach your B2B target market effectively.

Make it easy to find solutions

Your B2B company needs to offer solutions to your target audience.

For example, let’s say you manufacture goods. Once an order is placed, you promise to ship within three business days.

That could be the differentiating factor giving you a competitive edge over companies that may not ship for two weeks.

If a prospective B2B client is searching for a manufacturer that can deliver goods faster than their current supplier, your company would be a viable option.

However, you won’t be able to acquire these customers if it’s too difficult for them to find solutions on your website.

Keep these questions in mind when you’re designing your site:

Prospective clients need to find solutions to their problems. If you can create content that shows your qualifications, they’ll be more likely to use your services.

In addition to displaying information properly on your website, you need to take this strategy to the next level.

Share content on social media, which I’ll discuss in greater detail shortly.

You also need to offer excellent customer service. Make it easy for people to contact you online, over the phone, through email, or potentially in person.

Consider implementing live chat to provide better customer service as well.

This will make it much easier for your audience to find solutions when they’re consuming your content.

Social media

As I just said, you need to market your company through distribution channels outside of your website. Social media is a must.

Your B2B audience is active on social media.

Just like you, they probably have profiles on these platforms to promote their own businesses as well.

But they don’t consume content the same way as B2C consumers do. You can’t expect them to scroll mindlessly through Instagram to engage with business-related content.

Instead, B2B marketers have greater success on other platforms.

LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are the three most popular platforms for consuming B2B content online.

Your company needs to have an active presence on all three of these if you want to be successful.

Am I saying you don’t need Facebook? Absolutely not.

You should definitely have a Facebook page for your B2B company. It just shouldn’t take priority over your LinkedIn strategy.

Don’t waste your marketing dollars on Facebook ads that won’t get seen by your audience.

Know your audience’s business hours

If you’re going to use social media to attract B2B audiences, which you should, you need to understand when these people are active.

Post content during the hours when they’re online. This is different from targeting a B2C audience.

As a business owner, your company is on your mind 24/7. But that’s not always the case with your B2B audiences.

Your audience may not necessarily be other business owners. The people who have the buying power for other businesses could be managers or employees who get paid hourly or receive a salary.

When they go home after work, they aren’t thinking about their jobs.

Don’t share content on a Saturday afternoon when these people are not at work. They don’t consume business-related content when they’re not on the clock.

Email communication

Email marketing is another effective way to reach your B2B target market.

In one day, the average office worker receives 121 emails. Your content needs to be impressive to stand out from the other hundred messages in their inbox.

Otherwise, your message could go straight to the trash folder.

Although office workers get many emails, 77% of B2B consumers still say they prefer to have business communication through email.

That’s why B2B marketers name email as the most effective tactic for generating new leads.

Since you know this is how your audience is engaging with content, and it’s how they want to consume it, you need to focus on building quality email lists.

This will be different from a B2C email list building strategy.

When targeting consumers directly, you’ll have much larger email lists. Yes, obviously it’s better if those email addresses are qualified, but you won’t be as picky.

But with B2B email lists, qualified leads are an absolute necessity.

In addition to sending out newsletters and content, your B2B email strategy might require a bit more work.

You may want to consider sending individual messages to your current and prospective clients as opposed to using email software for mass distribution.

Depending on the size of your company, this won’t be unreasonable. Some of you may have only a dozen clients or so.

This strategy is unrealistic for B2C brands with thousands of subscribers on their email lists.

Prioritize organic search

I briefly mentioned SEO when I discussed your blogging strategy. But it’s worth talking about in greater detail.

If you want to successfully reach your B2B audience, your SEO strategy needs to be a priority.

Think about the way you personally consume content.

You are not only a B2B marketer but also a B2B consumer. Your habits should be similar to the habits of your target audience.

When you’re looking for information online, I bet you start with a Google search.

In fact, 81% of B2B purchases start with search.

As you can see, B2B audiences want to get to know companies from articles instead of paid ads. That’s why your blogging strategy is so important.

Not only will it help you with SEO, but it will also give your audience content they want to consume.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay for ads or run PPC campaigns. You can still generate leads from those.

But as you can see from those numbers above, organic traffic is more important.

Optimize content for mobile devices

One area where B2B audiences and B2C audiences have similarities is with the devices they use.

The days of business content being consumed only on desktop computers in the office are over.

Smartphones and tablets have penetrated the workplace.

Companies are getting more relaxed. They are not forcing their employees to sit in a cubicle for 40 hours a week.

With mobile devices, people can be productive on the go. They can work from homes, coffee shops, or even public transit.

People will work anywhere where they can be productive. If they finish their work for the day, they’ll be able to go home.

That’s probably why we’re seeing such a major growth in smartphone usage throughout the B2B buying process.

At the very least, your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices.

But you can take that strategy one step further. Your email content should be mobile-friendly as well.

Depending on the size of your company, you may even want to consider building a mobile app to reach your B2B target audience.

Industry trends

B2B audiences need to stay up to date with the latest industry news and trends.

In fact, 45% of B2B audiences read business content online to stay informed about industry trends.

You can become a resource for that information. Consider using this topic to your advantage with your blogging and email strategies.

Publish blog posts about what to expect in your industry.

Send out email newsletters with breaking news stories.

If you can master this strategy, you can become the primary resource of industry information for your target audience.

Conclusion

B2B audiences don’t consume content online the same way as B2C consumers do.

You need to recognize this and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Publish content about technological advancements. Keep your audience informed on industry news and trends.

Establish yourself as a credible resource through your blogging strategy.

Enhance your content with infographics.

Build a quality email list. Personalize your messages.

Stay active on social media. Just make sure you’re prioritizing the right distribution channels.

Know the days and times when your B2B audience is consuming content.

Recognize the devices people are using to engage with content. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile searches.

Once you understand how your target audience consumes business content online, you’ll be able to improve your overall B2B marketing strategy.

What type of online content is your company producing to reach prospective B2B clients?

Use These 10 Tools to Enhance Your Instagram Post Conversions

Your business needs to have an active presence on Instagram.

With more than 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram is officially the fastest growing social media network.

According to Sprout Social, 71% of businesses in the United States are using Instagram for marketing. By now, I hope you have your profile set up and are taking steps to get more followers.

Once you’ve done that, you can convert your social media followers into customers.

You need to prioritize conversions.

But to do this, you need to find the best ways to improve your engagement rates on your Instagram posts.

You have to understand how users consume content on this platform. They’re scrolling through their news feeds.

Each day, 95 million pictures and videos are shared on Instagram.

If your posts aren’t jumping out at your followers, they will scroll right past them. You won’t be able to get conversions this way.

It’s tough to stand out from the crowd when everyone using the platform has the same features available at their fingertips. Here’s what I mean.

If you are using only the filters and effects offered directly on Instagram, your content will look strikingly similar to that of the other billion users on the platform.

After all, the number of these editing options and types of posts is limited.

However, if you want to gain a competitive edge and really make your content stand out, you need to take advantage of other tools. By enhancing your posts, you’ll be able to increase your conversions.

Here are the top 10 tools I recommend for improving the quality of your Instagram posts.

1. GIPHY Cam

With the growing popularity of GIFs, GIPHY Cam is a top option for you to consider.

This app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Your entire social media marketing team can take advantage of this tool, regardless of the platform they’re using.

The concept of this app is very simple.

The software allows you to create your own GIFs by recording content directly through the app.

Once your GIF is recorded, you can add effects and other elements to enhance the posts. This is a great way to make your content stand out from the typical pictures and videos uploaded to Instagram.

Since GIF creation isn’t a feature offered on Instagram, these posts will give you a competitive advantage over content from other profiles.

GIPHY has other apps to help you with your GIF needs:

  • GIPHY
  • GIPHY Capture
  • GIPHY Sticker Embed
  • GIPHY World

In addition to GIPHY Cam, you can check these out to help you use visual elements to improve your marketing strategy.

2. Perfect Video

If you are not tech-savvy, Perfect Video is extremely user-friendly.

It’s great for anyone who doesn’t have a background in video editing and is intimidated by fancy or expensive software.

None of that is necessary when it comes to uploading videos to Instagram if you use this app.

Yes, Instagram has editing tools built directly into its platform, but those features limit your ability to make your content great.

With Perfect Video, you can trim clips and merge multiple videos into one file.

Add subtitles to your videos to appeal to people consuming content without their volume on. You can even add watermarks to your videos as a branding strategy, in case someone wants to repurpose your content.

The software also has tons of transitions to choose from when you cut from clip to clip.

Take advantage of the ability to add music to your videos as well. It’s really easy to export your videos directly to Instagram.

Perfect Video is great for creating slideshows too.

This app is free to download. However, there are some in-app purchases for some features.

3. All Hashtag

Your Instagram posts don’t live and die by the visual content alone. You need to learn how to write Instagram captions that drive engagement.

Hashtags are part of these captions.

That’s why you need to take advantage of tools such as All Hashtag.

This resource will help you generate hashtags to complete your posts. Just type in words related to your brand, products, and campaigns.

All Hashtag will take care of the rest.

In addition to generating hashtags for your posts, you’ll also be able to discover the top hashtags being used right now.

The app displays the top trending hashtags for each day, week, month, and all time.

Analyze hashtags through this tool. Learn the probability of ranking and getting hits with the hashtags you’re planning to use.

It will save you time and money. While we’re on the subject, you can also review my favorite time-saving social media marketing tools.

4. Quik

Quik is another app available on both iOS and Android devices.

What makes this tool unique is that it was developed by GoPro.

If you’re using a GoPro to film content for your Instagram page, this is the perfect tool for you. The app makes it really easy to import videos.

You can do this from your phone gallery, Dropbox, or Google Photos. Quik also lets you import content from GoPro Plus and GoPro Quik Key.

One of the top features of Quik is the ability to analyze your video clips to make smart cuts automatically.

Further, this tool can detect faces. All images, clips, and videos will get framed perfectly. If you don’t want to take advantage of that feature, you can crop your content manually.

Quik comes with more than 100 free songs to add to your videos. If those songs aren’t what you’re looking for, you can import your own music.

This tool makes it easy for you to sync video transitions based on the beat of the music playing.

5. AutoHash

Can’t think of a hashtag? No problem.

AutoHash has a unique way of helping you generate hashtags specifically for each photo you’re planning to share on Instagram.

This tool scans the image and then, as the name implies, automatically generates a hashtag.

If you upload a picture of a dog, you’ll get hashtags related to dogs.

In addition to coming up with relevant hashtags, the app will sorted them by popularity in different niche categories. This will make sure that your post gets the widest possible exposure.

You can save your favorite hashtags to use them again in future posts.

Post your content directly on Instagram from the AutoHash platform, without wasting your time copying and pasting.

AutoHash has a feature for location-based hashtags as well. Simply enable your GPS location settings, and the software will produce hashtags relevant to your location.

6. Rookie Cam

Rookie Cam offers a more advanced version of the camera already built into your smartphone. But it’s just as easy to use.

This app also has more filters than the options available on Instagram, including a live filter function.

You can view filters and other effects in real time while you’re taking a picture or video.

This will give you a better understanding of what the image will look like for the final product.

Rookie Cam allows you to create collages. You won’t need to download another app for that specific feature alone.

These collages can have up to nine images in one frame. Select different image sizes, and create different filters and edits for each photo within the collage.

Rookie Cam has awesome design editing elements as well.

You can add text to images with tons of different fonts. Add badges, stickers, and unique frames to your content.

7. Ask Lisa

With Instagram, we all know the image that ultimately gets posted is one of potentially dozens of options.

If you can’t decide what photos are worth sharing, Ask Lisa can help you make an informed decision.

The Ask Lisa tool uses AI photo recognition software. Technology like this is one of the top ways machine learning is reshaping marketing.

You can compare between two and five photos on this platform.

In addition to helping you determine which photo will perform the best, Ask Lisa will also help you generate hashtags based on the images.

8. Hashtagify

Like some of the other tools on this list, Hashtagify helps you find the best hashtags for your posts.

But Hashtagify has some features that make this platform unique. You can explore hashtags related to current trends and specific categories.

This tool also helps you with analytics components.

Monitor how well your current hashtags are performing. Determine the best time to post, and analyze your marketing strategy based on this research and information.

Hashtagify helps you discover influencers using similar hashtags.

You can reach out to them to help you expand your reach and get more visibility. Then use the top platforms for effectively managing social influencers to your advantage as well.

Export PDF reports and download CSV files. These reports make it easy for you to share information with your entire marketing team.

9. MIKU

When it comes to editing your Instagram photos, some of you may be overwhelmed with all the options.

Some of the tools on our list give you even more filters and editing choices to choose from. But which ones are the best?

It’s hard to say for certain unless you experiment with them.

When you’re running a business, you may not have time to do this yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if someone else could do it for you?

Instead of assigning these tasks to a social media manager, try using MIKU.

All you have to do is upload your photo to the platform with a brief explanation of what you want to be edited, and a professional will take care of everything else for you.

The average response time is 30 minutes, but you’ll get your photo back within two hours.

Pricing for this service is based on volume. You can pay per photo or pay a set rate based on a monthly allowance.

For example, you can subscribe for $19.99 per month, which gives you a chance to get 20 pictures edited during that time frame. This ends up being $1 per photo instead of the standard rate of $3.99 per photo. It’s a good deal if you use this tool frequently.

10. Storeo

Storeo is a tool that helps you enhance the content of your Instagram story.

How many of you have encountered this scenario before?

You were recording something to post on your story directly from the Instagram platform, and then the time ran out. As a result, you missed what you were trying to record.

This ultimately hurts the overall quality of your video.

Even if you record content from your phone before you upload to your story, Instagram doesn’t allow you to upload story clips longer than 15 seconds. You have to manually cut longer videos and add each one individually to your story.

This is a pain and leaves much room for error.

Storeo eliminates this problem.

This tool allows you to record a long video without having to hold down the record button either. Then, it automatically exports the video to your Instagram story in 15-second intervals.

When users watch your story, it plays as one long video.

Conclusion

If you want to boost engagement on your Instagram posts and ultimately get more conversions, you need to enhance your content.

Sometimes, the editing options offered directly from the Instagram platform aren’t enough to make your post stand out.

Take advantage of the tools I’ve covered on this list. There are plenty of options for everyone, based on your needs.

Some of these tools are made for enhancing images, videos, and GIFs. While others are designed for hashtags, captions, or your Instagram story.

Use whichever ones will help you improve your Instagram marketing strategy the most.

What tools is your company using to improve conversions on your Instagram posts?

The Top 13 Tools to Use for A/B Testing

To have a successful website, you need to find ways to maximize your conversions.

Right now, you might think the layout of your site has an optimal design, but how can you know for sure?

The only way to figure this out is to test it. This isn’t something you just do once and forget about it.

You need to learn how to use continuous A/B testing to increase your conversions.

These tests are a great opportunity for you to make design choices that ultimately result in revenue.

Subtle changes, e.g., moving your CTA button or changing the color scheme on your site, can make a huge difference.

In the past, I’ve explained everything you need to know before you start A/B testing.

But now I want to take that concept one step further. I’ll show you the best tools for you to use for A/B testing.

That’s because these tests are not created equally. Depending on the size of your business, marketing goals, and technical experience, some tools will be more beneficial for you compared to others.

Regardless of your situation, I suggest you review my list of the top 13 tools for A/B testing. I’m confident you’ll find a solution in this guide that will benefit your business.

1. Google Optimize

It’s tough to put out a list of software solutions like this without starting with Google. All of its tools are great for business owners who manage websites on their own.

Google Optimize is no different.

This tool should be a top choice for you to consider because it has native integration functionality with your Google Analytics profile.

This gives you an edge because you already have information on record about how visitors behave on your website. Using this data will make it easier for you to prioritize what needs to be tested first.

Another benefit of Google Optimize is it’s free.

The visual editor is simple for anyone to figure out, regardless of their technical experience.

In addition to Google Analytics, this tool can also be integrated with Google AdWords and Firebase.

You can test mobile features and optimize your mobile website for Google searches.

2. Optimizely

Optimizely is one of the most popular options. They are definitely a market leader when it comes to A/B testing software.

The tools on this platform let you run lots of different experiments on your website.

These experiments allow you to focus on A/B testing and personalization.

One of the highlights that makes Optimizely stand out in the crowd is its ability to run A/B tests on multiple pages and platforms simultaneously.

For example, you can run tests on your homepage and contact page while also testing the shopping cart on your mobile site on Android and iOS devices.

Unlike other tools, Optimizely generates results that are easy to read and comprehend so you can make decisions based on the outcome.

With Optimizely, you can run A/B tests on a number of factors outside of obvious components, like a CTA button. You can run tests on:

  • cookies
  • geography
  • ads
  • audience segments

All of this information will give you a competitive advantage and maximize your conversion rates.

3. Apptimize

Just as the name suggests, Apptimize is made for running A/B tests on mobile apps.

This is the ultimate tool if you want to improve the profitability of your small business mobile app.

All too often I see businesses ignoring mobile users. You were one of the smart ones that catered to their needs and developed a mobile app.

But the development process isn’t over when your app launches. It’s imperative that you always strive to make improvements on your platform.

Mobile app conversions are just as important as those from your desktop and mobile sites. With Apptimize, you can run tests on all three of these.

The software also supports different code blocks:

  • Objective-C
  • Java
  • React Native
  • Swift
  • Xamarin

You can run tests on your app regardless of the code used for development.

4. AB Tasty

AB Tasty is a great option for businesses just starting to run A/B tests and focusing on conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Since it’s designed for beginners, the pricing options are really affordable.

AB Tasty offers different options for testing. You can test two or more variations of a single element on your site, such as CTA placement, images, or colors.

You can also do split testing.

This feature lets you build two separate landing pages to see which one converts more.

Its multivariate option allows users to run combinations of tests simultaneously.

You can also take advantage of the funnel testing feature. This lets you test changes of the user experience as visitors navigate through each step of the conversion funnel on your site.

5. Convert

If you have a small or medium sized business, Convert has great A/B testing solutions for you.

It’s meant for people focusing on optimizing their websites in-house.

It’s ideal for these types of business owners because it’s easy to use. Part of what makes the navigation so simple is the drag and drop features.

You can use Convert’s software for A/B tests, multivariate tests, and split tests as well.

They make it easy for you to integrate and onboard your content management system and Google analytics data.

This allows you to focus on personalization. You can build customer profiles by using this software.

Another reason why Convert is so popular is because it has an outstanding customer support team to help you answer any questions if you’re having trouble with the software. It’s easy to reach a representative through the platform’s live chat option.

6. Adobe Target

Another one of my favorite options is Adobe Target.

When you use this platform, you’ll go through a workflow process that has three steps.

First, you’ll determine the variation you want to test.

Next, you’ll decide how you’re going to segment that variation with your visitors.

The final step is to customize all your settings and set a goal for the experiment.

Automated personalization is one of the top features available on Adobe Target.

This tool has an algorithm that automatically makes changes based on visitor behavior to optimize your results. It will help you increase sales by personalizing the customer experience.

You can run tests based on how different visitors experience your site.

7. Kameleoon

Kameleoon uses artificial intelligence to power its personalization tools.

The AI makes it an advanced platform. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are just starting A/B testing on your website.

It’s better for those looking to test deeper elements of their sites.

The reports generate user insights with the navigation analysis tool.

Kameleoon lets you test multiple user segments with more than 40 different benchmarks for targeting, such as:

  • lead management
  • engagement with visitors
  • conversions
  • social proof
  • customer loyalty
  • reactivating old customers

These are all examples of experiments you can run with Kameleoon’s advanced software.

All of the data is updated in real time. There’s no need for you to wait for a report to get generated to see your results.

8. Conductrics

Conductrics is another great tool designed for business owners who want to focus on their mobile sites.

In addition to your mobile site, you can also test features on your mobile app.

Conductrics lets you focus on things, such as:

  • widgets
  • navigation
  • upgrades
  • discounts

You can use this platform in different ways. It offers Conductrics Express, designed for the everyday user, without a technology background.

No coding is required to use Conductrics Express. You can change elements of your site with a visual tool directly on your pages.

But it also offers a more advanced option made for developers. This makes it easy for developers to integrate tests with apps, websites, and processes.

The developer option uses AI machine learning to set parameters and conduct an in-depth analysis.

9. SiteSpect

SiteSpect is another tool designed for people who are more technologically advanced. If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t start with this software.

This platform gives you the option to edit the HTML before it departs from the server.

The ability to do this makes SiteSpect a popular choice for brands that self-host their websites. It’s also great for businesses that prioritize security.

SiteSpect has a visual editing tool. This is a common option for A/B testing as you’ve seen so far.

However, the biggest difference between this tool and others is the ability for you to access your website from both the client and server sides, which ultimately gives you a better understanding of the user experience.

10. Oracle Maxymiser

Oracle Maxymiser has a visual editor—similarly to other options I’ve talked about.

Use this software to set up variations and run basic tests.

In addition to the simple functions of this software, it also has coding features for more advanced testing.

These functions are ideal for targeting and personalization tests. You can target your most profitable customer segments, and the Oracle Maxymiser tool will automatically build a customer profile.

The profiles are based on data and behavior from each unique visitor who navigates to your website.

11. SiteGainer

In addition to standard A/B testing, SiteGainer gives you other options to help you with conversion rate optimization.

Some of its other tools include:

  • personalization features
  • surveys
  • popup windows
  • heat maps

These can help you improve your website, especially when you use A/B tests to maximize its efficiency.

It’s easy for anyone to use SiteGainer, regardless of their experience level.

Another benefit of this software is that it offers a free trial, so you can try it before committing.

Instead of flat rates, it offers prices based on things such as your monthly traffic and how often you want to pay, so you’ll have options for your budget. Basically, you only pay for what you use.

12. Sentient Ascend

If you’re looking for something different, consider Sentient Ascend.

It’s different because it uses conversion optimization paired with algorithms for machine learning.

I know this sounds a bit complex, but let me explain how it works.

Basically, these algorithms are written to find the most optimal combination of design elements on your website. The tool allows you to test multiple variants at the same time to see which performs the best.

As a result, you’ll learn the best way to design your pages for conversions.

13. Monetate

Last, but certainly not least, is Monetate.

In addition to A/B testing, Monetate offers multivariate tests, segmenting tools, and personalization tools.

The software adjusts how your site traffic is allocated to maximize the return on your investment.

One of my favorite features of this tool is that it helps you determine what needs to be tested on your website based on your goals. The results help limit false positives so you can know for sure the reasoning for your changes was accurate.

Conclusion

A/B testing is a great way to maximize conversions on your website. I highly recommend every website to take advantage of this strategy.

That said, you need to make sure you find a tool that’s best for your business and your individual circumstances.

Are you looking only to run A/B tests? There are certain platforms for you.

If features like split tests, multivariate tests, funnel tests, and simultaneous testing are important to you, you must find software that has these options.

If you want to test your mobile site and mobile app as well, look for those specific tools I highlighted above.

Certain tools are for beginners, while others are designed for developers and users with a technical background and coding experience.

No matter what your circumstances are, if you use this guide as a reference, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a tool for A/B testing that works for you.

What types of A/B tests are you running on your website to increase conversions?

How to Improve Your Online Reputation

Things happen. You made a mistake and did something that damaged your reputation.

Maybe you said something that people took as offensive. Or maybe your social media manager tweeted something inappropriate.

The delete button doesn’t erase things from someone’s memory.

Or maybe your company was the victim of a credit card breach that impacted your customers. In this case, it’ll be tough for you to get your customers to recommend your brand to others.

But just because you had a slip-up doesn’t mean your company is doomed forever.

There are steps you can take and changes you can make that will improve your reputation online.

That said, this guide isn’t just for brands with a bad reputation. Those of you who have a new company with no reputation will need help building your reputation from scratch.

Some of you have been in business for a while and don’t even realize your actions aren’t helping your reputation. Regardless of your situation, I’m confident you’ll benefit from this guide.

Research shows that 58% of business executives think they need to manage their reputation online. However, just 15% of these people actually do something about it.

Furthermore, 41% of brands that experienced an event that damaged their reputation said their revenue decreased as a result.

You don’t want to be one of these statistics. It’s time to do something about your online reputation.

Ask your customers to write reviews

Right now, you may have some negative reviews online hurting your reputation.

That’s bound to happen. It’s an unavoidable part of being in business because not everyone will have the best experience with your company.

But if you don’t have lots of reviews online, these negative ones will stand out more.

What about all your current customers happy with your business? You need them to review your brand.

How can you get them to do this? Just ask them.

Check out this email Sleefs sent out to its customers:

The company gives its customers an incentive to write a review.

I know some of you are thinking this might be unethical, but that’s not so.

Look at this message a bit closer. It doesn’t say anywhere you need to write a positive review. It just invites you to write a review.

Its customers also have a couple of different options here. This will appeal to people who have different preferences.

If customers are willing to write a review and share it with their friends, they’ll get a free product. The people who just want to write a review will receive 15% off their next order.

Another great part about this message is the emoji at the bottom. You can learn how to improve your click-through rates with emojis.

If people do write positive reviews after receiving your encouragement, the good reviews will balance out the negative ones.

Plus, a mix of positive and negative reviews will show people your brand is authentic. If every review was positive, it may cause prospective customers think that some of the reviews are fake.

Nobody’s perfect, and people know that. So don’t let a few bad reviews bring you down.

Ask your current customers to write more reviews, and you’ll be just fine.

Expand your presence

Where can people find out more information about your business?

You can’t just rely on one platform for ratings and reviews. Your customers have different preferences for researching brands.

OK, so your business has a Facebook page. That’s great.

But that alone isn’t enough. Take a look at which review sites consumers trust the most:

As you can see, the answers are quite different. No single platform is that far ahead of the others.

  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Trip Advisor
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Yellow Pages

You need to have a profile on all of these.

Here’s something else to consider. Even if you don’t currently have an account on a platform such as Yelp, customers can still leave reviews on those sites about your business.

It’s in your best interest to claim those business pages to make sure all your information is accurate.

I’m referring to information such as your website address, phone number, physical address, and store hours. If you don’t claim your pages and check them for accuracy, it could hurt your reputation even more.

Let’s say someone sees a bad review online but they still want to give you the benefit of the doubt. They call you to find out more information and get a disconnected line because your phone number was inaccurate.

You just lost your chance of getting that person’s business. Don’t let this happen to you, and make sure your business is getting reviews on as many platforms as possible.

Remove ads from your website

You may not realize it, but your website may be hurting your credibility.

There could be certain design choices or elements that are turning people away and making them think your business is untrustworthy. You need to correct this as soon as possible.

Identify the top elements adding credibility to your website, and compare them to those on your own site.

One of the first things you should do is get rid of any ads you’re currently running for other businesses.

Look at how many different types of ads consumers dislike seeing:

Pop-ups and banner ads both ranked high on the list.

I know some of you may be selling ad space on your site as a way to increase your revenue streams, but it’s not worth it.

How much are you generating from these ads?

Compare that to the potential you could be making from selling actual products and services on your website. It just doesn’t make sense to prioritize something like ad space.

Encourage customers to upload their photos

In addition to asking your customers to write reviews for your business online, you also want them to upload photos.

Why?

Well, 77% of consumers say customer photos have a greater impact on their buying decisions than professional photos.

This makes a lot of sense. Photos you take of your business will obviously be great and make your brand look good.

But customer photos are much more authentic.

They won’t be taken on a professional camera and be positioned in perfect lighting.

Customer photos are likely to be taken quickly on their smartphones. But those images are enough to improve your reputation, especially if they’re uploaded with a favorable review.

Here’s an example of how JCPenney encouraged its customers to upload photos with this email campaign:

As in a previous example, this message is designed to encourage the store’s customers to write reviews. By writing a review, they’ll be entered into a contest to win a $1,000 gift card.

This is a great strategy for running a profitable giveaway.

But customers have a chance to get additional entries. If they upload a photo with their review, they’ll get a second entry to increase their chances of winning.

Use a similar tactic when trying to get your customers to write reviews. Ask them to upload photos as well.

Publicly respond to customer complaints

When users write unfavorable reviews about your business online, it can be a tricky situation.

Obviously, you want to defend yourself. But at the same time, you don’t want to start an argument with anyone.

Ignoring complaints isn’t the best option either. Other people will want to see how you’re able to handle a negative situation.

Remember the first rule of business? The customer is always right.

Even when they’re wrong, you need to treat them properly. Rather than being defensive and trying to make yourself look better, focus on making them happy.

Here’s an example of how Best Buy responded to a customer complaint on its Facebook page:

This customer had a problem with her experience at a specific store location.

Rather than trying to defend the situation, the company politely replied, empathizing with the customer and trying to get more information to help come up with a resolution.

Furthermore, this customer continued having problems when it came to reaching customer support on Facebook.

Best Buy responded to that comment as well by replying again and making sure her personal information and privacy were protected. This is a great example of how to publically handle customer complaints in the digital world.

Share user-generated content

As previously discussed, customer photos attached to a review are a great way to improve a brand’s reputation.

However, not everyone who writes a review will upload a photo.

Fortunately, that’s not the only way for you to get customer photos in the public eye. Start sharing user-generated content on your social media platforms.

Now you can control which types of customer photos make your brand look the most appealing.

Check out this example on Instagram from Vuori Clothing:

This photo shows a real person wearing the company’s product as opposed to one of its employees modeling the gear.

User-generated content creates social proof of concept and is beneficial to your reputation.

Prospective customers will be more inclined to support your business if they see social proof on your platforms.

Take advantage of tools that monitor your reputation

How is your online reputation?

Unless you had a damaging event, some of you might not even know whether you have a positive or negative reputation online.

Sure, you might monitor some of your comments and review websites, but that alone isn’t enough to get the full picture of how people really feel about you.

You need to start using online tools to notify you when someone mentions your business. For example, a third-party review website could write an unfavorable blog post about one of your products.

If you were monitoring reviews only on Yelp and Google, you wouldn’t know about this at all.

But if you use a tool such as Google Alerts, you’ll be notified every time you get mentioned.

You can even take this one step further and use Rankur that has more specific software for online reputation management:

I definitely recommend trying options like these.

After all, how can you improve your online reputation if you don’t know where it stands to begin with?

Start prioritizing your blog

A great way to get a better online reputation is by improving your domain authority.

Blogging is one of my favorite ways to accomplish this.

If you’re one of my faithful readers, you know how much I believe in this strategy. You can start scaling your lead generation through blogging as well.

Publishing posts on your website on a regular basis will improve your SEO. You’ll be able to get both inbound and outbound links through this strategy.

Posting images and enhancing your content by building infographics will increase the chances that other websites will repurpose your content.

As a result, your authority ranking will also improve.

Partner with social influencers

Social influencers are another way to help you create social proof, which I discussed earlier when talking about user-generated content.

Studies show 90% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers. And 71% of consumers are more likely to buy something based on a social media referral.

That’s what makes social influencers so appealing.

Take a look at how CALIA used this strategy by partnering with Anastasia Ashley as an influencer on Instagram:

Instead of sharing this image on its own page, the company posted it on the influencer’s account.

As a result, the content got seen by a much wider audience.

Leveraging your relationships with social influencers exposes your brand to a group of people who may not even know your company exists.

Plus, if people are following that influencer, they must value their opinions. So they’re already primed for you to target them.

Showcase customer testimonials

Customer reviews on third-party sites are an important aspect of improving your reputation.

But you can showcase the top reviews in the form of a testimonial on your website. Ask your best customers to take the time to write a testimonial for you.

Here’s an example of how BuildFire uses this tactic on its homepage:

The company highlighted testimonials from three very different businesses.

Having a well-respected insurance company such as Travelers write a testimonial for its business automatically improves BuildFire’s reputation.

Try to get testimonials from authority figures in a specific industry.

For example, let’s say your business makes musical instruments. A testimonial from a guitar player in a well-known band would help your reputation more than a review from a kid who plays drums in his parent’s garage.

Conclusion

If your company’s reputation got damaged, you can still correct it.

Even if you’re just trying improve your reputation or build credibility from scratch, you should follow the advice I’ve outlined in this guide.

Encourage your customers to write reviews. Set up a profile on as many review platforms as possible.

Reviews with pictures are even more impactful.

Get rid of ads on your website. Learn how to respond to customer complaints in the public eye.

Use tools that help you manage your reputation online. This will help you stay informed anytime someone mentions your business.

Share user-generated content. Start blogging more frequently. Work with social influencers.

In addition to reviews, use your website to highlight customer testimonials.

If you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have much trouble improving or repairing your online reputation.

What steps are you taking to improve the online reputation of your business?