How much does SEO cost?

How much should you be paying for search engine optimization (SEO)? Columnist Marcus Miller breaks down what factors go into SEO pricing.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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How to Use the New Lifetime Value Feature in Google Analytics

You’re drowning in data.

You’ve got enough KPIs to track and report on already.

Why would you possibly need another one? What good would come of adding yet another hour to the end of you’re already long work day in order to dig it up?

The truth, in this case, is that you can’t afford not to.

Lifetime Value isn’t just another vanity metric. It’s THE metric. The one that stands head and shoulders above all others.

IF there was one and only one metric you were tracking, this should be it.

And now you can do it simply and easily inside Google Analytics. Here’s how.

What is Lifetime Value (And Why Does it Matter?)

Metrics often lead you astray.

Take Cost Per Click.

They range wildly from industry to industry. $2 bucks in one industry, but $50 bucks in another.

Crazy, right? Surely that $50 is just “too expensive.”

Not necessarily, obviously.

The first easy answer is your break-even point. If your Cost Per Acquisition is less than your initial average order value, you’re golden.

But sometimes, in some cases, you actually want to willingly lose money initially.

amazon revenue net income overtimeImage Source

Ever heard of Netflix? How about Amazon?

Amazon routinely enters a new market with razor thin (or even negative) profit margins so they can grab market share. Only to then turn the dial back once they’ve gained a market leadership position.

amazon revenue from retail and web servicesImage Source

So what’s a reasonable Cost Per Click in that scenario? Now it depends.

This can even change from company to company within a vertical (and their appetite for risk).

Let’s talk insurance.

Two ways to make money:

  1. Upfront commission when you close a sale
  2. Ongoing residual payments over the life of each deal.

So you’ve got a new company. Entering a new market and trying to expand.

Would you willingly, purposefully sacrifice #1 in order to scale #2?

Of course you would.

Why? Because the lifetime value of a customer.

The full potential value of each new client you add will eclipse the initial commision. So as long as you can stomach the negative cash flow for a bit, you’d probably be willing to drive that Cost Per Click as high as humanely possible.

You go all in, when the stakes are right, and drive everyone else out.

All of this sounds perfect, except for one teeny, tiny detail.

Does your company track lifetime value? ‘Cause most don’t.

I’ve personally worked with dozens (hundreds?) of clients over the past few years and I can count on one hand the number who were actually tracking conversions properly. Let alone seeing anything past the first purchase.

One of the reasons is because tracking this info, with current systems, isn’t always easy. It might be easy if you’re using a Shopify and do all sales in a single channel or two. That way, everything happens inside one platform.

But usually your business is spread out. Each department has their own independent systems. So it’s tough to bring everything together.

Thankfully, Google Analytics has been hard at work recently.

Their new Lifetime Value report helps business owners acquire data to understand how valuable certain users/customers are to their business based on their lifetime performance.

And best of all, it pulls together lifetime values for people acquired through different channels and mediums, like social, email, and paid search. You’ll also be able to view data by engagement (pageviews, goals, events) and then trends (like 90 days after customer acquisition).

Using this will help you determine which sources are driving the most valuable traffic and which corresponding marketing investments are truly delivering an ROI.

Here’s how to run a lifetime value report inside Google Analytics.

How to Run a Lifetime Value Report

Start by signing into your Google Analytics account and then follow these simple steps:

    Step 1: Click on Reports Section
    Step 2: Click on Audience
    Step 3: Click on Lifetime Value

find lifetime value in google analytics

Note: The Lifetime Value feature should already be available inside your GA account (no need to change your code!).

Now let’s get started generating a report. Here’s how to setup your graph first:

setting up lifetime value in google analytics

Start by setting your acquisition date range (the option on the far right). Any customer acquired during this date range (May 2017 on this example) will be included in the LTV report.

Let’s say you ran a promotional campaign or online sale during the month of May, you can easily analyze the data for these customers and segment by date based on your campaigns.

For steps two and three, you can select the following list of metrics to compare:

lifetime value metrics comparison

Now let’s break this graph down a bit to help you understand what the heck is going on:

lifetime value google analytics

Essentially, this graph is showing site users acquired during the month of May, and how their lifetime value changes based on the page views and session duration metrics over a 90-day period on the site.

These are obviously engagement metrics, you can customize this even further to track the exact amount spent if you have eCommerce tracking enabled.

Now, let’s jump to the table below:

acquisition channel google analytics

Now we’re able to compare the number of acquired users (and the Pageviews per User) in this case by acquisition channel.

Click on the dropdown above the table to pull up different granular sorting options like Source, Medium, or Campaign.

acquisition channels in google analytics lifetime value

How is this helpful? Check it out:

google analytics channels attribution

Let me break it down:

  • Blue: Acquisition channel. This shows what channel the users were acquired through, i.e, direct, organic, social, referral.
  • Pink: Users. The amount of users in the specified acquisition date range (May 2017 in this example)
  • Purple: Your selected lifetime value metric. In this example, pageviews per user is the LTV. This column is where the data begins to get interesting.

Let’s zoom in on the last column in detail to see if there’s any insight we can already glean from these reports.

pageviews lifetime value

Now we start to notice patterns among the different channels. For example, Referral traffic has double the pageviews per user (LTV) than almost every other channel. While Organic pageviews per user (LTV) is beginning to fall behind.

Want to pull back the curtain even more? Like being able to see things what individual Referral sites are driving higher LTV’s?

Head back over to the “Acquisition Source” on your table. Now we can break down which individual websites are sending us the most valuable traffic (based on LTV). And the winner is…

lifetime value acquisition source example

Kissmetrics! What, what! 🙌

Here’s why this new insight important.

Data Lies. LTV Forces it to Tell the Truth

Data lies to you daily.

For example, pull up your Goals inside Google Analytics to conduct a similar analysis to the one we just did.

You can even view the Reverse Funnel Path to see which pages, posts, or campaigns delivered the most conversions. This report is helpful… to a point. If you understand its limitations.

For example:

Problem #1. These could be subscribers or leads. Not solid purchases. So you’re basing hard decisions off of ‘top of funnel’ data.

One campaign or channel might send 100 subscribers while the other only sends 20. But none of this takes into account how many of those people are converting. Or even how much money each is spending.

Problem #2. Oh, these are sales, you say? Ok.

Except for one thing: You can’t tell if they’re one-off or repeat. So you can’t tell if each customer is a $100 order or a $1,000 one.

Which is kinda important when you’re looking backwards to see how that content investment performed vs. the paid campaign.

Problem #3. A/B tests lie, too.

Things start off great. That new button resulted in a big conversion rate leap.

The only problem is that these small, temporary fluctuates often regress back to the mean. Larry Kim likened it to “moving desk chairs around the Titanic.”

ab testing reverts to meanImage Source

There might only be a literal surface level change, without ever fundamentally improving the organization as a whole.

When does this commonly happen? When you over-optimize.

Problem #4. Over-optimization.

A/B tests that increase top line metrics often backfire.

For example, another study from Larry Kim showed that for every increase you made in a conversion rate, the lower your rate of Marketing Qualified Leads.

landing page vs mqlsImage Source

In other words, the more aggressive you at are collecting that initial opt-in or lead can often lower the overall quality of the leads that are getting in. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the grand scheme of things when you think about it.

The point is that there are many, many ways data often lies to us. We think we’re seeing the whole picture, when in reality, it’s only a tiny slice of it.

Conclusion

Metrics aren’t always they appear. And data often lies.

What’s an “expensive” Cost Per Click for one business, isn’t for another. And sometimes that overall conversion rate we’re looking at to base our decisions around is fraught with peril in reality.

The one savior is Lifetime Value.

It gives us a broader, big picture context when viewing other bits of information. It helps us put things into proper context.

So we can not only make better decisions to drive additional revenue. But also realize when we’re about to make a few costly mistakes.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.


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In the debate over net neutrality, make some noise

As the battle over net neutrality heats up, columnist James Green chips away at some misconceptions about the regulations to help you understand what’s at stake for advertisers.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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How to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast Interviews

"If you want interesting responses, you have to ask the right questions." – Jon Nastor

When I started Hack the Entrepreneur, I had never conducted a single interview before.

But during the past two years, I’ve hosted more than 350 podcast interviews. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes, embarrassed myself a few times, and learned countless lessons.

So now I have a number of insights to share with you today, as well as tips to avoid some not-so-obvious blunders.

Want to learn a simple path that builds an audience of dedicated listeners? A path that eases the burden of content creation, puts you at the forefront of your brand, and harnesses the power of experts and their audiences?

Although interview-based podcasts may seem like casual conversations, becoming a great interviewer takes practice.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The work required to conduct a not-to-miss conversation starts before you sit down for an interview …

Do the work, then let it go

The foundation of any good interview is knowing your guest and the topic you’re discussing. Podcast hosts need to treat interviews with extra care, especially when they’re performed remotely.

Your job is to quickly and effectively warm up your guest, engage them, and remove any barriers holding them back from sharing compelling details of their story.

Researching your guest before the interview helps you empathize with them. Your research can be as thorough or basic as you want it to be, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with the interview.

Your research should give you everything you need to ask good questions.

The familiarity you will have with your guest will also breed confidence. When your guest feels confident that you know your stuff, it will be easier for them to relax and open up to you.

But once the interview begins, your job is to be fully present in the conversation — so let go of your research. Following your notes is distracting.

Prepare a guide and signposts for your conversation, but not a strict direction for every single step in the discussion.

Ask better questions

When I began conducting podcast interviews, one of my biggest fears was that my guest would answer my question with a simple “yes” or “no,” and I would be caught off guard without having a follow-up question ready.

The fear was not entirely unfounded, as that very scenario has happened to me on more than one occasion.

It turns out, in order to get interesting responses, you have to ask the right questions.

What, how, and why

“The question is just as important as the answer.” – Charlie Rose

The best questions will entice your guest to open up in unique ways. It’s your job to ask questions that make it easy for your guest to shine.

Try asking:

  • What was it like?
  • How did that feel?
  • Why did you ___?

What, how, and why questions are an interviewer’s best friend: they prompt your guest to describe something, look a little deeper, and avoid a one-word answer.

Can silence produce better podcast interviews?

The next time you are having a conversation with a friend or coworker, try this small, three-step experiment:

  1. Ask, “What did you do last night?”
  2. Listen attentively until they stop talking.
  3. In your head, count to five.

Nearly every single time you do this, your friend will start talking again — and typically elaborate on their previous answer.

As humans, we are conditioned to avoid those awkward pauses. Smart interviewers can use them to draw out more from their guests.

Former PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer describes it as:

“If you resist the temptation to respond too quickly to the answer, you’ll discover something almost magical. The other person will either expand on what he’s already said or he’ll go in a different direction. Either way, he’s expanding his response, and you get a clear view into his head and heart.”

When you leave space for your guests to respond, it will seem agonizing at first. But the rewards are worth it — a deeper conversation and a better understanding of your guest’s true nature.

This is what matters most

There is nothing more valuable to your growth as a podcast host than the experience you gain from getting behind the microphone.

My simplest advice boils down to:

Ask a good question, listen attentively, and sit quietly.

If you research your guest and subject, prepare open-ended questions, and take advantage of uncomfortable silences, you’re well on your way to becoming a great podcast-interview host.

Oh, and most importantly, have fun. Seriously.

None of the advice above works or matters if you aren’t enjoying yourself.

Grab Your Free, 9-Step Showrunner Guide …

If you want to take the next step to develop, launch, or run your remarkable podcast, start with The Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Remarkable Podcast.

The free ebook helps you get your podcast off the ground.

It follows the framework mapped out inside The Showrunner Podcasting Course. Yet, at the same time, it is a standalone guide to getting started today.

Get your free copy:

The Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Remarkable Podcast

The post How to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast Interviews appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Behavioral Marketing: A Closer Look at What Gets Consumers Clicking

In the past, marketing to consumers based on things like how many pages they visited on a site were rudimentary at best. They could tell you, in broad strokes, what a customer might be interested in — but they weren’t very specific. It was a lot like trying to guess what kind of picture a puzzle might make when you only have a couple of the pieces.

Behavioral marketing has changed all of that. But what should you know about it, and how do you get started? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Behavioral Marketing?

Rather than throwing a bunch of ads at consumers and hope some of the marketing message sticks, behavioral marketing takes all the available information — browsing and search history, IPs and cookies — and uses it to build a more definitive profile of the user, and then tailor marketing messages accordingly.

As the consumer visits more pages, browses more products or lingers on certain coupons, deals and offers will become more targeted and precise. The more information an ad network has, for example, the narrower they can define an ad’s segmentation to reach the right people at the right time.

Ingenious, right? But actually seeing behavioral marketing in practice can really stoke the fire in terms of generating new ideas. Rather than just give you examples, however, we’ve gone a step further to list out some of the best tools you can use to get started with behavioral marketing as well.

Examples of Behavioral Marketing

Behavioral marketing actually encompasses a wide range of marketing strategies — including retargeting (also known as remarketing), email marketing, product suggestions and much more. All of these are facets of behaviorally-based targeting and can be used as standalone strategies or coupled together for even greater effect on your target audience.

Retargeting

Retargeting and remarketing take into consideration the pages and products you’ve viewed, and then show them again even if you’re not on the original website. Both Google and Facebook offer retargeting options in their respective advertising platforms. You’ll need to think about which segment of your audience you want to retarget, and what kind of offer(s) you want to present to them.

How to Set Up Ad-Based Retargeting

To Set Up Retargeting in Google Adwords

  1. Sign into your Adwords account
  2. Click on Campaigns and click the +Campaign button
  3. Select “Display Network Only” (click here if you want to set up a remarketing campaign for the Search network)
  4. Leave “Marketing objectives” option selected and check “Buy on Your Website”
  5. Enter your campaign name, bidding strategy and budget
  6. Click Save and Continue
  7. Enter your ad group name and bid
  8. Under the option “Choose how to target your ads” click “interests and remarketing”
  9. In the “Select a category” drop down menu, choose “Remarketing Lists” and then click Set Up Remarketing
    At this point, Adwords will create a remarketing tag for you. You can send it to yourself or your developer along with instructions on how to add it to your website. If you have Google Analytics running, there’s a checkbox to “use the tracking code that’s already on your website” instead.
    Adwords starts you off by creating an “All Visitors” list, so you don’t have to have a remarketing list already made up. When you’re just starting out, this list includes anyone and everyone who has visited pages on your site with the remarketing tag.
  10. Next, enter your ad group name and bid. You’ll see the “All Visitors” list added to your ad group under the “Remarketing lists” tab
  11. Then simply click Save and Continue to start creating your ads, or Skip ad creation to do so later. It’s a good idea to create both text and image ads in various sizes so that you’ll have an ad ready to show no matter what other pages your ideal customer visits.

To Set Up Retargeting in Facebook

  1. Login to your Facebook Ad manager and choose Audiences
  2. Click on Create Audience and choose Custom Audience. For this example, we’ll retarget people who have already visited your site.
  3. Under “How do you want to create this audience?” choose Website Traffic
  4. Choose your target audience from the dropdown menu. You can target a wide range of users, including
    Anyone who visits your site
    People who visit certain pages
    People who visit certain pages but not others
    People who haven’t visited after a set amount of time
    A custom combination of your own choosing
  5. Then, you’ll simply get your pixel code and you’re ready to start retargeting.
    As a side note, if you don’t yet have a Facebook pixel code, you’ll need one in order to accurately track visitors for Facebook retargeting. Here’s a step by step guide from Facebook on how to do this.

In order to get the most momentum out of your retargeted Adwords and Facebook ads, you’ll want to plan your campaign accordingly. Who do you want to target? Create an ad that appeals to that specific segment. For example, people who looked at a specific product and possibly added it to their cart, but didn’t make a purchase may benefit from a retargeted ad offering a discount or free shipping.

Here are a few examples to get you brainstorming:

Amazon
This Amazon retargeted ad on Facebook shares Valentine’s day deals to last-minute shoppers and throws in free one-day shipping to help seal the deal.

Best Buy
This retargeted Best Buy ad lets you know you have items in your cart and helps ease any reluctance by reminding you of their Price Match Guarantee, free in-store pickup and free shipping.
best buy retargeting ad

Expedia
This ad from Expedia targets last minute shoppers looking for a great travel deal.
expedia advertisement

Behavioral Email Marketing

Behaviorally-targeted email is another example of behavioral marketing. Instead of using the pages that users visited or the actions they took on those pages, behavioral targeting via email targets users based on their status or actions with the site (whether they’re subscribed, added an item to their cart, and so on).

Nordstrom
Nordstrom shows you the item(s) in your cart and lets you view your bag directly. This ad could still be improved, however, by linking to a method of contacting support or live chat should the user have any questions before checkout.

nordstrom behavioral email

Birchbox
Here’s an example retention email sent to users who unsubscribed from the Birchbox service – with a 20% off discount for rejoining.

birchbox behavioral email

If you’re looking for more examples, we have 29 examples of behaviorally-targeted emails.

How to Set Up Behavioral Email Targeting

You can use Kissmetrics Campaigns to set up behavioral email targeting in just a few simple steps. Watch the video below to learn more:

The types of emails you can send through a behaviorally-targeted campaign are virtually unlimited. The most common types include messages like:

  • Abandoned cart notifications
  • Come back/login and see what you’ve missed
  • Onboarding/Getting started emails
  • And much more

Here’s a helpful guide that gives you tons of examples of the different types of behaviorally based emails you can try.

Demographic Targeting

This is one of the most common types of behavioral targeting and looks at things like gender, age range, education level, geographic location, race and other traits to essentially “paint a picture” of a user based on their browsing habits.

You may not think that something as simple as the websites you visit can reveal anything about you on a physical level, but you’d be surprised. And, of course, advertisers are keen to these differences and often repackage and rebrand their products accordingly:

product design colorsProducts geared toward women often contain pink and pastel tones, while those targeted to men have much simpler, conservative designs and colors

Even when you’re not online, demographically-targeted ad examples are all around you:

Toyota
An ad promoting the fuel efficiency of the Toyota Prius – targeted to those who are looking for ways to help the environment:

go green prius

Pepsi
A “skinny” can of diet Pepsi targeted to women who are trying to watch their figures

the new skinny can

Not surprisingly, you can target your behavioral marketing ads to specific demographics of users, right down to their professed interests. Facebook has turned this kind of targeted advertising into a fine art.

Suggested Selling

Suggested selling pairs additional (or larger/better) items based on things you’ve already bought. Common examples of suggested selling are up-sells and cross-sells. You can think of a cross-sell as ordering a burger and being asked “do you want fries with that?” Whereas an upsell to your burger would be the offer to “make it a meal with fries and a drink for $X”. Suggested selling is often used to great effect on sites like Amazon, where buying certain items will tell you not just what others bought, but what they bought together.

Amazon
An Amazon behaviorally-marketed suggested sell with the current item, as well as accessories that users often buy in addition to the original.

Godiva
You’ll often see suggested selling used on flower and gift websites, where upsells can include everything from chocolates to popcorn.

go deluxe suggested selling

This is an extension of behavioral marketing in that it doesn’t dissuade the customer from their current order, but rather advises them or suggests other relevant items based on their current purchase behavior.

Taking the Next Step in Behavioral Marketing

Now that you have some powerful examples of behavioral marketing, as well as a wide range of tools and guides at your disposal, the next step is to try it out for yourself! Make a plan, then try out some campaign ideas to see how your customers respond. You may be surprised at the money you’re leaving on the table by not including behavioral marketing as part of your strategies!

And if you are using behavioral marketing tactics as part of your advertising and promotions – we’d like to hear about it! Share your thoughts and success stories with us in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!


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