Ah Portland, OR! Surprisingly, it's a location I never considered visiting until I read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed and became a loyal admirer of her writing. When I discovered HeroConf was taking place in the hippie-living city I was pretty thrilled. Unfortunately, I spent about 95% of my time inside, but this was to be expected. I was just happy to get a taste of some local craft wine (we concluded that in Portland you can add “craft” in front of anything – craft beer, craft wine, craft gin, you get the gist).
Anyway, even though I wasn’t able to spend my time hiking and consuming all of the craft alcohol that the west coast has to offer, I did learn an insane amount and met some “PPC celebrities,” leaving me somewhat star-struck in an embarrassingly nerdy way. After participating in several #ppcchat’s and working closely with some of the attendees, it was pretty exciting to meet these people in the flesh. I think I said the line “Yes, I recognize you from Twitter” way too many times.
I’ll stop rambling so we can dive into the nitty-gritty of the most remarkable things I learned at HeroConf. I was wishing I could duplicate myself to attend every informative session, but since Google hasn’t invented this capability yet, my scope was limited due to overlapping sessions; I apologize for leaving any mind-blowing tricks out of this post.
Tip #1: Psychologically Manipulate Shoppers on Your Landing Page
Stop rolling your eyes. I know the way I framed this tip is ridiculous, but isn’t that what we do as marketers? We test CTA’s, button colors, headline fonts, whatever we can do to get more emails or online purchases we’ll do! We all want our bosses to credit the 70% increase in conversions to yours truly, but testing shouldn’t be randomized. Stop changing the “Sign Up” box from blue to red to green to yellow. Yes, colors can make a difference, but you need to use psychology when creating the content and design of your landing pages instead of just conducting tiny test after tiny test. To some of you, this might seem obvious, but Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners and author of Landing Page Optimization, revealed some thought-provoking ways to get the consumer buying exactly what you want them to buy. Here’s a couple that you should try:
- Limit choice: We love choices! When buying a dress, selecting a movie, or searching for a vacation destination the more choices the merrier, right? Wrong. Tim explained that we actually become overwhelmed by choice. Have you ever been to the Cheesecake Factory? I hate that place! Why? Because their menu is insanely overwhelming! You can get anything from baked ziti to a Mediterranean salad to Chinese dumplings. I have come to not trust places that offer too many options. How good could their food actually be if they claim to specialize in every cuisine? The moral of the story, if you go to a landing page with thousands of offerings in a variety of styles, bounces are like to ensue. “Only 4 items can be stored in our short term memory,” says Tim. Take note, and limit the options on your landing pages.
- Add a high-end option that won’t sell: Priming, framing and context matter! Tim shared this study by psychologist and professor Dan Ariely, and I must say it’s super interesting. Take a look at the image below…
Now, which option would you chose? Probably the last one right? The diagram makes you aware that you’re essentially getting a two for one deal. No one would be dumb enough to choose the second one; the first one perhaps, but if they really want a deal they’d go with option number three. Now take a look at this image…
Testing these variations, there was a 30% drop in average order value when the middle option was removed. People weren’t aware they were getting a deal so they felt more compelled to opt for the low value order. Tim shared how adding a high-end option that people won’t likely buy will actually increase profits. Also, make sure to show your offerings in decreasing order because people tend to anchor on the first thing they see.
- Dollar signs cause physical pain: Why wouldn’t they? No one likes to spend money. Well, aside from Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, and the miniscule percentage of the population that actually has money to blow. So, the solution? Stop putting price signs in front of your products. Rather provide the options with the price number minus the price sign. It’s that simple.
BONUS TIP from Unbounce Co-founder, Oli Gardner (who is hilarious): let copy inform design! Too often marketers focus in on the design of their page, and then form relevant copy around the visual elements. Oli preached that this doesn’t work well! You need to write outstanding copy first, then design your landing page around that copy.
Tip #2: Target People Not Keywords
All right, I’m sort of cheating here because I’m stealing this tip from my own HeroConf presentation on B2B PPC, BUT there was a consistent theme throughout the conference that keywords are on their way out. I heard this echoed from many PPC experts including our founder here at WordStream, Larry Kim. So what’s replacing keyword targeting? Persona based targeting! Right now you can only set up targeting for gender, age, income, and parental status via Google’s display network, and with search you’re restricted to keyword targeting, but thought-leading marketers believe this is going to change.
“The future of PPC is like email marketing, but better. You can target people that can’t unsubscribe,” Larry explained in his HeroConf presentation on RLSA’s.
But since this is only a prediction for Google, what can you do right now to target people rather than keywords?
- Utilize Customer Audiences on Social Media: This option is available on both Facebook and Twitter and allows you to pull in a list of leads that you already have via their emails, phone numbers, FB/Twitter ID’s etc. It’s honestly insanely powerful and gives you the ability to create tailored messages to your relevant audience. USE THEM!
- Remarket: Cookie your site visitors and follow them around the web with relevant ads. If they’ve visited your site, you know they’re somewhat interested. Utilize your persuasive visuals and copy to intrigue and convert these people.
- Test out RLSA’s: RLSA’s, or remarketing lists for search ads, work similar to remarketing by cookieing your site visitors, but instead of showing you ads across the web, you show them to past site visitors on the SERPs by targeting a broader set of keywords. Confused? Check out Larry’s HeroConf slide deck. He covered three presentations in one in just fifteen minutes, all on RLSA’s!
Tip #3: Stop with the One Size Fits All Marketing
This is similar to the last tip, but Bing Evangelist John Gagnon was able to take the audience out of the typical one-size-fits-all marketing mindset. Let’s face it, John is the face of Bing Ads, and as a frequent industry speaker I’ve heard wonderful things about his presentation skills, and was able to confirm these rumors after listening to his deck on winning with the unexpected. The most actionable takeaway? Think outside the box when it comes to your PPC strategy. Steal these three takeaways from John’s presentation:
- The ways people search are changing: 1 in 4 searches on Bing is kicked off from voice! What’s important to note is that people search differently using voice. Voice searches are usually 4-10 keywords long, compared to text, which are usually 1-3 keywords long. Are you optimized for both?
- Take events and locations into consideration to find true seasonality trends: John provided a somewhat fascinating case study of how Cheggs, an online back-to-school provider of educational needs like books and tutors, used aggregated data to identify hot zones to predict and maximize profitability. Cheggs was able to decipher when and where certain locations were going back to school, as well as how far in advance consumers start shopping to fulfill back-to-school needs. This example just proves that we need to think about trends, locations, and differences between communities. What events are going on in a specific location that might increase consumer needs? How do weather patterns influence locations? How can you bid smarter by taking location-based events into consideration?
- More and more people are searching for brand terms: Branded terms are becoming more and more prevalent. What does this mean for you? Well, if you haven’t already established a well-known brand this should be top priority on your to-do list. 30 of the top voice searches on mobile are brand-related. You also should be bidding on brand terms! Organic results get 56% of clicks on brand names, but when combining SEO with PPC you’ll get 88% of brand clicks.
After living out of a suitcase for a few days and spending the nights at Bing-sponsored open-bar events I was just about ready to ship myself back to Boston. I must admit, taking a step back from the day-to-day grind and listening to other industry experts definitely changed my perspective, and rebooted my motivation.
Did you attend HeroConf (or another marketing conference or event lately)? If so, I’d love to hear your top takeaways.
About the Author:
Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream with a background in PPC, content and digital marketing. Margot is passionate about writing, and in addition to being a top author for the WordStream blog, she also regularly contributes to Search Engine Journal and socialmediatoday.com. Margot enjoys running and eating ice cream during her free time (not simultaneous although that would be impressive). Follow her on:
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