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Increase Your Online Conversions

Vapor Guys

In 2009, I had an eCommerce business called Vapor Guys (electronic cigarettes and related accessories). Most of the marketing for the business was web based, and the business was profitable inside of 3 months.

There are two things to keep in mind regarding our audience at the time. First, I knew that I could leverage sales from impulse buyers given the nature of the industry. The other thing to keep in mind is that there are consumable items that are sold in addition to the e-cigarette that users need to re-order such as e-liquid, atomizers, and batteries.

A Brief Overview of the Site Design

I designed the website in a way that was completely different than any of our competitor’s sites. I made sure that page real estate, especially for the index page, was laid out in a way that would encourage specific behavior. The same techniques that brick and mortar stores used to set up their displays (such as at a grocery store checkout), were used to ensure that impulse buyers had easy access to products and promotions that would entice a sale at that time or in the near future.

Two Ways that I Created Urgency & On-line Sales

Time Sensitive Marketing
My first goal was to get traffic to the site as often and efficiently as possible. To achieve this, I frequented a number of message boards and social networks where I answered a lot of questions for new and existing e-cigarette users. In the process of answering questions, I would also provide specific time sensitive coupon codes for tracking purposes.

In addition to using coupon codes, I also encouraged the users I interacted with to subscribe to our RSS feeds, which I used specifically for rolling out special offers. Depending on what we wanted to accomplish, the offer might only be for the next three hours, that day(s), or a future date.

Inventory Tickers Rock!
Once the prospective buyer arrived at our site, and more specifically the product page, they were able to see our inventory &#8212 in real time! If they were on the verge of running out of supplies, displaying a low inventory was just enough to encourage them to buy at that point.

The aforementioned techniques have been overly simplified for the purpose of this article, but that is the gist of what I did to convert my on-line marketing efforts to sales. There were a number of other follow up techniques used either at the point of sale or after the sale to create incentives and motivate both another visit and purchase, but I’ll discuss that in a future post!

Marketers, Have No Fear — Your Leads Are Not Wasted!

An article on HubSpot really resonated with me as I’ve been on both sides of this coin. If you’re a marketer that is frustrated with your sales team, then here’s some good insight for you to consider.

So you’ve spent a ton of time and energy building the sales funnel for your sales reps, but they are not closing the deals. Don’t be discouraged!

Assuming that you have done a good job with Leads Management and you have a nice flow of qualified leads, all hope is not lost. The main reasons that your sales team are not working your leads are:

  1. They do not see the leads as being high quality.
  2. They are being overwhelmed with leads and can’t work them all.

In the event that sales is on target with determining which leads are low quality, kudos to them! If this is the case, they are maximizing their efforts on leads that have the best chances of closing.

If the issue turns out to be the fact that they simply can’t keep up with all the in-bound generated leads, then kudos to you! Do not stop what you are doing!

5 valid points on lead generation that you should take into consideration:

  1. Your sales team will be working leads that they feel are the strongest. Providing them with enough options gives them more room to pick and choose the leads they think are the best to close.
  2. If your sales team is working hard to close deals, but they’re coming up short, then chances are they are not identifying the high quality leads. Step up and help them identify the strong leads and don’t get fixated solely on the number of leads you’re generating!
  3. Ensure the leads that you are sending are ready for the sales team. Do your due dilligence to nurture the lead until it is qualified and ready to be sent to sales.
  4. Keep building the funnel, regardless if the leads are ready for sales or not. What’s not good for February may be great for April! Nurture the lead!
  5. When you are consistently generating leads, you are more engaged with your audience and they are talking about you. This is a good thing!

You can read the article in it’s entirety here.

Measure Social Media ROI with Ease

How can we see ROI within our social media marketing campaigns? Well, it’s actually very simple! In a recent article on Mashable, Todd Wasserman explains the 5 Dead Simple Ways to Track Social Media ROI:

1. Coupons and Offers

If you offer a coupon solely on Facebook, then you know with 100% accuracy that every coupon that customers cash came from Facebook.

2. Call Tracking Phone Numbers

Relatedly, another idea is to provide unique call tracking phone numbers on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to learn which channel drives the most leads and conversions.

3. Conversion Measurement

Conversion Measurement lets advertisers track the behavior of people who click through an ad. If a customer clicks and then goes on your site to register, then you have proof that the ad was at least effective for that.

4. Google Analytics

This won’t tell you what people are buying, but at least you can see if traffic is coming from Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to your website.

5. Look at Overall Results and Then Work Backwards

Perhaps the simplest way to calculate ROI is to look at your overall sales and then attribute a boost at least in part to your social media advertising or activity.

Don’t Forget Landing Pages!

While these are all great points, I would also add that landing pages are a great way to measure social media ROI. In the same way that you can use unique coupons and offers for each social media site, you can very easily set up unique landing pages that correspond to a specific social media site. Additionally, these techniques not only apply to social media, but they can and should also be applied to more traditional forms of advertising such as Print and Radio.

Readability; It’s Not Just for Writers

I grew up a colloquial writer. It was one of my favorite things to do; to write how people speak, to write how people think. Often times I believe that the words we are using have become ineffective, useless in this world of “txt u l8r” and those blog-writing jargon cannons, foaming at the keyboard.

After reading Sabina Idler‘s article: 8 Guidelines for Better Readability on the Web my faith in the lost art of “wordsmithing” was restored and my conviction never stronger. Okay, okay. It may not be that dramatic. But still, if you’re not paying attention to this list, then you’re not being effective with your content.

Here’s the lowdown:

  1. Choose Fonts Wisely
  2. Font Size & Line Spacing Are Important
  3. Use High Contrasts
  4. Keep Lines Short
  5. Keep Paragraphs Short
  6. Get Straight To The Point
  7. Don’t Use Jargon
  8. Use Highlights, Lists, and Images

Click here to read the full article.

No Matter How Big You Get, You’re Still Accountable

Scott Monty is no slouch. He’s the global head of social media at Ford Motor Company, and checking out his personal blog is the easiest way to get some insight into how the world of social media works.

Monty wrote an article about the the out-lash Instagram received after changing the wording in their privacy policy and terms of use.

The short version is simple:

Instagram gave its users the idea that it would be using their photographs for advertising without compensating them in any way. And the response from its users was a unanimous “Awww, heck no!” The anti-tin-foil-hat truth is, the language used in the changes was not much (if any) different than the other major social media sites. They can’t sell your photos outright. However, Instagram and its affiliates responded to maintain accountability for their actions.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stated,

It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear. To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

After careful consideration of the opinions and feelings of its user base, Instagram’s Systrom updated their blog days later,

Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.

Like ’em, hate ’em, or indifferent, the company has at least let its users know that they are listening to feedback, and are continuing to find a middle ground that suits both parties’ interests. These actions confirm; no matter how big you get, you’re still accountable.

6 Big Myths About SEO

Michael Mothner, founder and CEO of Wpromote.com, writes an article to bring you up to speed on the what’s what of Google SEO. Chances are, what you think about how this behemoth scores data is outta date!

“In the world of online marketing, misinformation abounds–and it gets compounded exponentially by an incredibly dynamic and rapidly evolving world.”

  • Myth 1: Metatag Descriptions Help Your Rankings
  • Myth 2: The More Inbound Links, the Better
  • Myth 3: PageRank Still Matters
  • Myth 4: Google Prefers Keyword-Rich Domains
  • Myth 5: Websites Must Be ‘Submitted’ to Search Engines
  • Myth 6: Good SEO Is Basically About Trickery
Read the full article here.

Wpromote’s Mike Mothner Talks SEO on “Your Business” on MSNBC (Search Engine Optimization)

Why Running Ranking Reports Is a Fool’s Errand

Jill Whalen, from Highrankings.com, posts an article advocating a Galileo-type paradigm shift for most web professionals. Rankings do not matter. Search results are personalized by location, cookies, and previous browsing and search history. So, that means no matter what search ranking your SEO professional is reporting to you, there’s no way for anyone other than the person searching at the keyboard to see how the results unfold. Don’t buy into the “rankings!”


Because they don’t actually exist.

“The fact of the matter is that for many years there’s been no such thing as ‘a ranking.’ Oh, sure, there’s the ranking that a keyword had when someone clicked to a page of your site, but just because that page showed up #1 or #2 or #10 for one person doesn’t mean that anyone else saw your page in the same position in the search results. Someone else may have not seen your page show up at all.”

Read the full article on Highrankings.com

Write a Perfect 15-Second Sales Pitch

Forbes contributor, Carmine Gallo, explains how he writes the perfect 15-second sales pitch. He explains that by creating a “Message Map”, which is a visual representation of your brand or product, you can define the most important aspects of your message and fine tune it to a well formed 15-second “elevator” pitch.

In his article, How to Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds, Gallo explains that there are 3 steps to creating a message map:

  1. Create a Twitter-friendly headline.
  2. Support the headline with three key benefits.
  3. Reinforce the three benefits with stories, statistics, and examples.

Watch his video below for details on how to do this for any product or brand: