Many predictions for 2015 and recaps of 2014 show a trending decline in the effectiveness of traditional methods used in attracting website visitors. Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates are making SEO challenging, paid advertising costs (social media as well as pay-per-click advertising) are on the rise, and users are drowning in the content marketing flood.
This may all sound like doom and gloom for marketers, but really this is a great opportunity to shift your focus from outdated measurements of success to looking at the data that really matters. I’m talking about forgetting trying to get the greatest number of visitors, and instead attracting visitors with the highest potential for conversion – then converting the heck out of those leads. By the way, if you have any questions on what metrics you should really be looking at, check out this infographic, Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Online Marketing: What Metrics Really Matter.
The beauty of focusing your efforts on conversion instead of traffic is that, much of what you can (and should) optimize on your site will also help lead to an increase in traffic and awareness, promote your brand, make your customers happy and keep them coming back.
Brought to you from around the web, some key tactics to focus your optimization efforts on to achieve this success include:
Build Personas, Optimize for Your True Target Audience
The first step to attracting the right customer is to understand who that customer is.
This is a great description of a marketing persona from the team at Krux: With personas, businesses can be more strategic in catering to each audience, internalize the customer that they are trying to attract, and relate to them as human beings.
Bufferapp also offers a great guide to setting up your personas to help you get started.
Write Copy for The “Human Being,” Not Search Engines
Once you have a clear understanding of who the human beings are who visit your site, rather than thinking of them as anonymous “visitors” or “users,” you can find solutions to their problems and tailor your content to specifically address those needs. This is a great benefit to those human beings and your SEO efforts.
Always write content that will appeal to actual humans; don’t write exclusively for search engines. In doing so, you will inherently appeal to the search engines. The reason? Google’s algorithms are virtually all rooted in user interactions; the search engine’s goal is to deliver relevant, accurate results that its users will enjoy. Therefore, user experience is of utmost importance when it comes to Google’s ranking algorithms.
Personalize Every Part of Your Marketing
Marketers want users to interact with their content, and what better way to achieve that than through providing something relevant? By offering personalized content during the last year, companies were able to increase the number of sales, lower the costs of operation, inspire users to stay longer on their websites and foster customer satisfaction. Personalization is expected to become a widely adopted practice in 2015, leading to the growth of 1-to-1 marketing.
This isn’t just referring to inserting “first name” into your email or webpage. This is truly understanding the needs of your audience and providing them with content specific to their pain points. The VP who visits your site is going to have vastly different questions and concerns than their intern. Also consider the content your visitor is viewing and provide additional resources that directly relate to keep them converting.
Be Mobile-Friendly (Location-Based Marketing and Focus on Context)
The importance of mobile will grow in each and every aspect of business, online marketing included. People use mobile devices all day long and in various contexts, allowing marketers to target them in a longer stretch of time and during different phases of the day – at work, during rest or play.
Some believe that the mobile web will become bigger than desktop usage in 2015, but one thing is clear – spending for mobile ads will grow – and grow fast. All agree that the popularity of mobile devices will only grow in 2015, driven by smartphones, tablets and wearable technology.
Look to Data to Make Decisions
Digital marketers have the potential to capture massive amounts of data related to sales, purchase history, search activity, online behavior, site interactions, and more.
As digital marketing grows, so does data. This kind of data has proven to be very valuable to digital marketers and has changed the perception of how marketers communicate to consumers. In the past, marketing was all about how creative an advertising piece can be.
Now a days, it’s all about how in line are you with your target audience and what kind of data did you use to prove your marketing strategy. From generalization to personalization, data driven marketing will move the needle to allow marketers to be more in tuned with very niche markets in order to prove the ROI.
Testing Should Be the Norm
In 2014, there was a tipping point that moved CRO to being a mandatory practice for all high-traffic websites and this trend will only be magnified in 2015. Most companies now understand that optimizing their website and app conversion experiences are just as important as optimizing their advertising.
Designers, UX professionals and marketers can no longer rely only on their gut instinct or intuition. They are being asked to prove that their ideas work through rigorous A/B testing.
Where do you think CRO is going in 2015? Add your comment below or find me on Twitter @JennyKnizner.